Thursday, May 28, 2015

Where I ramble about TV shows and movies

I've come to realise that the second I publicly say I'm going to blog about something, the chances of actually doing so go straight to zero. Case in point - this month. I told @moronmoron I would write about why The Avengers infuriated me even though I loved most of the movie, and I didn't. I wrote in my last post I wanted to write about season 11 of Grey's Anatomy, and I didn't.

Oh, well.

I think it's fair to say that I watch a lot of TV. The fact that it took me two weeks between watching that episode and finishing the last the three episodes of Grey's Anatomy this past week is only partially due to the fact that I seem to have developed a social life that gets in the way of my TV watching, and mainly due to the fact that all the shows I watch on a weekly basis were having their season finales.


I was infuriated by the latest Avengers movie because I couldn't believe they had reduced a kickass character like Natasha Romanoff into a lovesick, baby-wanting woman who used lines like "still think you're the only monster?" after narrating the story of how she came to be sterile. I had conversations with two guys after seeing the movie, and although one of them argued that that line could have been interpreted to refer to her history as an assassin/spy/whatever-it-is-that-she-was, they agreed her arc in the movie was jarring.

I looked up online reviews of the movie to see if others had felt the same way, and surprise, surprise - I wasn't. There were plenty of articles and reviews that expressed my fury far more articulately than I ever could. But here's the thing - a lot of them talked about how Marvel doesn't know how to treat women. Now, I'm not qualified to talk about what Marvel has done outside of their cinematic universe, but I sure as heck disagree with this statement, because just look at their TV show. That show has had major ups and downs in its two-year run, and I have no idea what its season finale was all about, but them women on that show - they're awesome. They're smart, and strong, and amazing to watch.

And if you think about it, a lot of the shows I watch, despite being fairly "soap-y", write women really well. Shows like Once Upon a Time and Grey's Anatomy get astoundingly ridiculous at times (I mean, why anyone would ever want to move to Seattle is beyond me), but both these shows - even Castle as a matter of fact - have female protagonists who are kickass in all sorts of wonderful ways. Grey's Anatomy, especially, shows women balancing their careers and their families/kids in a way that no other show that I can think of does.

Sidebar: Since I seem to be stuffing everything into this post, I'll be honest. My biggest gripe with Grey's Anatomy in particular has always been its lead male protagonist - Derek Shepherd. Ever since the second season, where a, he turned out to be married, b, he chose his marriage over Meredith because it was the "right" thing to do, and c, basically came out and called her a slut because she chose to deal with the break up in a certain way, I've hated him. And then there was his complete arrogance regarding his professional brilliance, whether it was sidelining Meredith over the trials they did, or trying to oust Amelia from the Head of Neuro job because he decided he wanted it back - that guy was an ass. And had no character growth whatsoever in 11 years, unlike Alex Karev, who started out an ass, but is now the best I'll-do-it-grudgingly-but-I'll-do-whatever-you-need-me-to friend a girl could ask for. End sidebar.

What do I want from a movie or a TV show when it comes to women? I don't necessarily need the Bechdel test, because Lord knows it's flawed. I mean, depending on who you talk to, Age of Ultron technically passed it. I want women who are smart and kick ass. I want women who have female friends, and I want women who have male friends. I want women who have/want a relationship and kids, and I want women who don't want that (Christina Yang, you are missed). I want women who can say cheesy lines like "the only one who saves me is me" to the man she's in love with when he comes to save her.

Is that so much to ask for?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Where we react to that episode of that TV show

I just watched that episode of Grey's Anatomy. The one from a few weeks ago, the one that everyone who knows the show exists knew about within minutes of it happening, because this is not a fandom that is able to contain its spoilers.

I've been catching up on this season of the show over the past ten days or so, and have had a lot of thoughts that I wanted to blog about once I was done with the season. But now that I've gotten through this episode, I need to react to this episode in isolation, separate from the rest of it.

There's always that one episode of Grey's Anatomy that gets to me every season, and makes me beak down and bawl like an idiot. In its 11th season, this one was it. The last ten minutes of the episode were it.

The episode reminded me of this conversation.

The episode reminded me of a moment that took place in college. I was presenting in class. What I was presenting on, I can't remember. But I remember the room we were in, and where I was standing. I remember my professor telling us about her father, and how she had to take the decision to end his suffering, because her mother couldn't. I remember standing, facing my classmates, and watching each and everyone of them sobbing at my professor's matter of fact narration. I remember wondering why I wasn't sobbing. I remember my professor rolling her eyes and turning to me, saying "chalo, at least you're still the sensible one. Let's carry on now." I remember beginning my presentation, and having to stop because my voice broke. I remember taking a deep breath and starting again, only to break down completely. I remember turning around to face the wall, taking long and deep breaths and trying to get it together. I remember turning back, mouthing sorry to my professor as she looked at me exasperatedly, and continuing with my presentation.

I remember thinking if just the thought of having to take such a decision could shatter me like this, how had my professor survived it. And I remember thinking I wanted to be like her when I grew up.

The episode reminded me of a decision my family took two summers ago. I remember us spending weeks, trying to put off the inevitable. I remember us looking at each other, knowing we had to, but looking for reasons not to. I remember each of us, one by one, finally saying yes. I remember my brother asking for three days. I remember spending those three days, trying to pile in every moment we possibly could. I remember wondering once or twice why we were were prolonging the agony. I remember taking her for a walk with my brother. I remember coming back from the walk and seeing her refuse to enter the house. I remember her lying down in our driveway, and refusing to move from there, as if she knew what was about to happen. I remember the vet arriving, and all of us sitting around her while he did what he had to do. I remember the scream I let out when it happened.

And anyone who tells me I can't, or shouldn't, compare that memory with the loss of losing a parent, a spouse, or a child, can go fly a kite.

This damn show. It just gets to you, man.

That is all.