Friday, April 29, 2011

My Weekend Crush

This isn’t so much just a crush, since merely calling it a crush sounds silly or superficial, but an expression of deep admiration. By now, you have probably heard about CBS News correspondent Lara Logan and the terrible sexual assault she suffered while covering the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt this February. The terse yet horrifying statement CBS released at the time read that she had “suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating.” The word “sustained” chills me still. After the news broke, the same tired cycle of victim blaming began again. Women shouldn’t cover wars. Women are asking for negative attention in certain cultures. Women who are beautiful should be more careful. It’s a little-known fact that many news organizations automatically turn off commenting on stories about sexual assault and rape because the things people post are so offensive it’s beyond the pale of decency. For some reason, we haven’t yet evolved past this stigmatization of the victim. We humans can be so inhuman sometimes.

But that’s where my respect for Lara Logan comes in. I’ve written about her before, back in 2008 when her sex life inexplicably became the headline instead of her professional abilities. Now the veteran war correspondent is going public about her sexual assault, sometimes she does not have to do. The identities of sexual assault victims are not routinely publicized in media accounts. This is to protect survivors from further victimization. But in other ways, it stigmatizes them again. As if it’s something so shameful to must be carried around in secret. I’m not saying, necessarily, that this policy should be changed. But I commend women who speak up publically about what has happened to them. Rape, as we know, has nothing to do with sex. It’s about power, subjugation, dehumanization. It’s been a weapon used in war for centuries, but not one you’ll hear read bout in the history books. And it is something that female journalists have encountered again and again when working in combat zones. You may not hear about it much, but it happens and the risk is very real.

And that often unspoken reality is one of the reasons Logan said she wanted to come forward. She said she wanted to break the silence for the “millions of voiceless women who are subjected to attacks like this and worse.” She has given an interview to The New York Times and will also appear on “60 Minutes” this Sunday. You can read her account of her ordeal yourself, but it involved by her estimation a mob of 200 to 300 men. She said, “What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.” And that’s an important thing to note. Because by showing the lack of humanity involved in this heinous act, we hopefully wake up our own universal humanity. She has said these two interviews will be the only one she gives on the topic, because she does not want it to define her. And that’s understandable, too. But that she is speaking out at all is commendable. It’s easy to call her decision brave, which it is, but what it really is is strong. Women are strong, they can survive this and much worse, but they should never have to. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Everybody dance now

I like to dance, but only under certain circumstances. Most of those circumstances involve adult beverages. Many, many adult beverages. I’m not particularly good, but I hope my enthusiasm makes up for my utter lack of coordination or grace. But what I do like is to watch other people dance. It’s all of the sexy and none of the sweaty. Not that sweaty is necessarily bad. Hot. Sweaty. Sticky. Wait, where was I going with this? Right, dancing. As much as I love super sexy dancing (and, I do – see previous sweatiness tangent) I really love dorky dancing. You know, the spontaneous, out-of-context, exuberant kind that isn’t about being in da club (God, I hate the phrase “in da club”) or on a chorus line. It’s just about your body releasing. It’s about joy. Dancing, when done right, is an expression of joy. Our days can sometimes seem an endless series of mundane tasks and rote responsibilities. But, once in a while, we break free and let our limbs follow their own song.

Dorky dancers of the world, I salute you. Now, let’s get down with our bad selves.

Cast, Grey’s Anatomy

This makes me wish I watched this show more. And was friends with Cristina Yang.

Angela Chase, My So-Called Life

Angela’s “Blister in the Sun” dance is exactly how it feels to finally be over a breakup. Exactly.

Dana Fairbanks, The L Word

Dana Fairbanks will forever and always be the queen of dorky dancers. All hail the queen.

Liz Lemon, 30 Rock

But, you’ve got to admit, Liz Lemon is at the very least a princess of dorky dancing.

Angie Harmon, Rizzoli & Isles

There is no better job in Hollywood than behind-the-scenes backup dancer to Angie Harmon. None.

Kat Graham & Candice Accola, The Vampire Diaries

Truth be told, this sort of workout is my total nightmare. I’m the person always jumping left when everyone else is jumping right. But I’m not above observing a class. Ahem.

Callie Torres, Grey’s Anatomy

This isn’t dorky. Just hot. Smoking hot.

So, any favorite dorky dancing TV moments to share? Don’t be shy. Nobody’s watching.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lebanese for Life

Let us talk, for a moment, about the improbable wonder that is Santana Lopez. Who, in their wildest, craziest, naughtiest dreams, would have ever imagined that the super bitchy sidekick cheerleader would become the character undergoing the most personal growth this season? Who would have guessed that the apparent one-trick insult pony would become a complex, textured and ultimately incredibly interesting person whose story matters? Who would have thought, when we first met her of so many, many months ago, that Santana would be here? A closeted lesbian in love with her best friend and becoming the beard for a closeted football player while coming to terms with her sexuality. Or, as Santana herself put it: “The only straight I am is straight-up bitch.” If you said you knew all along it would come to this, my friend, you are totally lying.

But come to this it has and wondrous it is. While no show can have something for everyone, “Glee” has gotten pretty damn close. You’ve got the traditional straight love triangle couple (Rachel-Finn-Quinn), the unconventional couple (Puck & Lauren), the adult couple (Will & Emma), the Asian couple (Tina & Mike), the differently abled/differently intelligent couple (Artie & Brittany), the gay couple (Kurt & Blaine) and now even the beard couple (Santana & Karofsky). That’s a lot of crazy couplings.

But the couple we’re rooting for, against the odds and against expectations, is Brittany and Santana. Sure, we love how sweet Kurt & Blaine are together. Sure there are probably Team Edward/Team Jacob-worthy battles over Finchel or Fuinn (I’m guessing, I don’t know what the straight kids are into these days). And, fear not, I love me some Achele. But the Brittana arc is epic. It’s the kind of messy, not always pretty coming out that isn’t fit for just one very special episode. Is it Shakespeare? Heavens no. But it’s engaging and unexpected, which is a hell of a lot more than I can say for almost anything Mr. Shue has done all season.

And while we’re at it, can we get an “Amen” and “Hallelujah” for the extraordinary work Naya Rivera has done this season as Santana. The ability to drop one liners and WTF faces is one thing, the ability to make us care and break our hearts is entirely another. Naya has given Santana scope. She isn’t just the girl who will cut you with her razor blade words or hair. She’s a person whose world has boiled over with the complicated brew of trying to figure herself out. It’s pretty fascinating and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. But without Naya, it would be nothing. I know Lea gets all the big heartbreak ballads, but it’s Naya who has truly given this season its aching heart.

So thank you, Santana Lopez. You’re my favorite closeted lesbian/judgmental bitch. And while you might not be ready to eat jicama or get a flattop, just keep wearing that Lebanese t-shirt with pride. We’ll get you to an Indigo Girls concert yet, honey.

p.s. See the entire Brittana saga via locker scenes today over at Ms. Snarker Regrets.

p.p.s. Get your very own “LEBANESE” T-shirt here, courtesy Heather. The entire $2 Café Press markup will be donated to PFLAG. (Kurt would be so proud.) And get 15% off using the promo code “SPRUNG” through Thursday.

p.p.p.s. I really don’t have anything else to add, but isn’t Naya adorably evil in her Davy Crockett hat?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tank Top Tuesday

Oh, Tuesdays. People always complain about Mondays, what with it being the first day of the week and on Garfield’s mug and all. But Tuesdays, Tuesdays are the real killer. Tuesdays are still too many days away from Friday, but without the excusable grumpiness cache that Monday carries. Plus, all the really boring meetings happen on Tuesdays because managers figure everyone who calls in “sick” on Mondays should actually be in by then. Hell, Tuesdays even make Charlize Theron scream – and not in the good way. So that, that’s why we must fight back the Tuesdays with everything we have. Some use a gun, others a sword. I, of course, never come armed without the best Tuesday killer possible: tank tops. Just doing my part, folks. Just doing my part.

Naomi WattsI can’t tell if I’m more impressed by the tank, the shoes or this pose. So I’m going to answer, “Yes.”

Thora BirchWhere’d she go? And wherever she went, I hope she’s still a redhead.

Scarlett JohanssonIf all her contracts don’t have a tank top clause, they should.

Aubrey PlazaAre you still not watching “Parks & Recreation” yet? Don’t make me scold you again.

Maggie QFine, this isn’t “technically” a tank top. But it’s got straps and fabric down the front, so I’m claiming it.

Padma LakshmiI miss “Top Chef” so much. And by “Top Chef,” I mean “Padma.”

Gwyneth PaltrowI miss her on “Glee,” too. But on the plus side, perhaps this means fewer Mr. Shue storylines.

Leisha Hailey, Kate Moennig, Laurel HollomanOK, I miss them most of all. Not the storylines, per se, just them.

Sara RamirezDo you know how hard it is to find a picture of Sara in a tank top? I give and I give, Internet.

Right, so I think it’s safe to say we totally kicked Tuesday’s ass.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Practice makes perfect

Right, so last night while watching “Game of Thrones” (getting a little better with the female characters, a little), one scene in particular peaked my interest. It is when Daenerys ask her handmaiden to school her in the ways of pleasing a man. Normally, the last three words of that request would mean I couldn’t give a flip. But, oh, how different things are in execution. So Dany (for short, because Daenerys is too damn had to spell) and her handmaiden Doreah have a very instructional session together. I am not ashamed, I rewound it more than once. What can I say? Beautiful women straddling each other will never not work for me. Oh, please, like you can resist. (A tad NSFW, though mostly just educational.)

But then, while watching, I thought, “Gosh, that handmaiden looks kind of familiar.” And thanks to you all (Hat tip, Tiffany!), I had my eureka moment. Well, more like a lesbureka moment. Lovely handmaiden Doreah is none other than cheeky daytime TV host Lou from “Lip Service.” Yes, that’s the delightful Roxanne McKee in both roles. No wonder she was so good with the ladies. What? Can’t remember Lou? Well, let me help jog your memory a bit with a little visual aid. I’ll bet Tess hasn’t forgotten her. (NSFW, oh, like that’s going to stop you.)

Of course, watching that little interlude from “Lip Service” just reminds me how much I miss “Lip Service.” In fact, it even makes me miss “The L Word.” Because as much as I love the lesbian/bisexual storylines on “Glee” and “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Pretty Little Liars,” they’re just one storyline out of many others. What was so great about “Lip Service” and (when it wasn’t annoying the shit out of you with incomprehensible plot points and pointless murder mysteries) “The L Word” was that they were all about the gay ladies. And without them we wait, impatiently patient, to see ourselves pop up again. Or even make due with a little practice session. It does make perfect, after all.

EDIT: Seriously, someone reported the nudity in the Tess & Lou video? Well, let’s see if DailyMotion is less prudey.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Weekend Blogiversary

Kittens, holy crap. Sunday is the fifth blogiversary of Dorothy Surrenders. Five. Freaking. Years. My baby’s old enough to go to kindergarten. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it still boggles my mind that this thing I started on a whim five years is still here, and that you’re all here. Together we’ve made a happy little corner of the internet where we can talk about TV like a beloved family member and drool (respectfully) over talented women in tank tops. And, during those hive years, my have we grown. I’ve gone from having a wee blog to blogging for AfterEllen to becoming a Twittering fool and now even being a Tumblesbian. None of this has been good for my sleep patterns. But I also wouldn’t change it for anything.

In years past I’ve celebrated with milestone with a around-the-world roll call, unsolicited FAQ, The StraHOTski and ruminations on anonymity. But this year, I think I’ll give back. Yes, I’m giving you a gift on my blog birthday. See, I can’t do anything right.

We haven’t done a giveaway in a while, so let’s just see how it goes. But everyone loves free stuff, right? So, I have one copy of “Black Swan” on Blu-ray to give away. This is your chance to relive all the batshit ballerina breakdowns and hallucinatory girl-on-girl make-out sessions in beautiful hi-def in the comfort of your own home. It is a two-disc set with tons of special features and a digital copy included. And, again, this is the Blu-ray, so you’ll need a Bly-ray player or computer that plays Blu-ray of PS3 that plays Blu-ray – you get what I’m saying here. But I will happily send it to wherever in the world.

If you want to enter, leave a comment with 1) your email (feel free to spell it out if you’re worried about spam), 2) your state/country (what, I’m curious) and 3) if you really want to indulge my curiosity, how long you’ve been reading (any old timers in the five-year club?).

I’ll pick a winner at random next Friday, so feel free to enter until midnight Thursday night. I know it’s not much, and I wish I could send you all one. But this is just my little way of saying thanks for being interested in the random things that rattle through my head on a daily basis. I read all of your comments and tweets and emails and while I can’t get back to all of you as I’d like to, I appreciate them more than you’ll ever truly know. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. Even if you don’t want to enter the contest, please feel free to still tell me where you’re from and how long you’ve been reading. I’d love to know.

UPDATE: The contest is now closed. Thanks for participating and the very, very kind blogiversary wishes. Y’all are the best.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

We got Wood

So Evan Rachel Wood likes girls. And boys. And even Marilyn Manson. (Rim shot!) Evan’s coming out as bisexual in the pages of Esquire magazine this week has caused the expected flurry of headlines that usually accompany such an announcement. That it isn’t a cover-of-Time worthy event anymore is, I think, a good thing. The days when such announcements made the cover of People magazine just might be over – at least for the everyday celebrities. I mean, I’m sure if Oprah decided to make such a proclamation she’d still warrant a cover, of course she’d use the cover of her own magazine. She’s not a gagillionaire for nothing.

Evan’s coming out came via the pages of Esquire accompanied by another one of her now patented 40s pin-up meets goth queen photoshoots. Pale skin plus naughty lingerie is never a bad idea. But something about it feels a little like playing up to the ultimate male fantasy. As if to wink and say, “She likes boys and girls, boys.” (That is not meant as a slam on bisexuals in any way, merely a comment on the magazine’s selling of the story.) Or perhaps I’m just jealous Esquire got to have both Ellen Evan and Heather Morris sex it up in the same issue. Still, it’s always, always, always lovely to have another star join our big, weird family. Though what’s in the water over there at “True Blood?” First Anna Paquin, now Evan. Good gravy, how I wish Sookie and Queen Sophie-Anne could have been a couple instead of Beeeel.

Evan apparently dropped three “hints” to the Esquire interviewer before he fully caught on. The first that she “was always into very androgynous things. Guys, girls ... I’m into androgyny in general.” The second she is free and single these days and “up for anything. Meet a nice guy, meet a nice girl.” And then the last was that she would marry her “Mildred Pierce” co-star Kate Winslet is she could. Though, that’s not really much of a hint. Get in line, sister. Everyone would marry Kate Winslet if they could. Once the interviewer finally clued in and asked her if she dated women, she answered with a proud “Yes.”

ESQ: “Do you look for different things in men than in women?”
ERW: “Yeah, I’m more kind of like the guy when it comes to girls. I’m the dominant one.” It’s with women, she says, that her inner North Carolina gentleman comes out: “I’m opening the doors, I’m buying dinner. Yeah, I’m romantic.”

I’ve always admired Evan’s work. She had basically grown up right in front of our eyes. From “Once and Again” to “Thirteen” and “Across the Universe” to “The Wrestler,” I’ve always admired that she tends to picked smaller, smarter projects instead of, say, a superhero’s girlfriend. So welcome to the fold, darling. I know you like to pick up the check, but today the first round is on me. In fact, I’ll buy you two. The second one if for that beautiful scene between Jessie and Katie in “Once & Again.” It moves me still.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mirren mouth

How fucking delightful is Helen Mirren? So fucking delightful. We already knew the great dame was up for almost anything – a little lady motorboating here, a little lady snogging there. But what really, really fucking delight me about Helen is her propensity to swear. As I’ve said before, I fucking love a woman who swears.

This week she slipped up on a live BBC morning show and had the most delightful (yes, I’m know I’m using that word a lot – but it’s really fucking true) response.

Of course, this is not the mighty Mirren’s first time cocking up with curse words on live TV. .

And the most delightful thing is that she doesn’t even need to resort to dirty words to be dirty. Or, more accurately, diiiiiiirty.

Oh, Helen. Please talk dirty to me whenever you want.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Game changer

It has taken me a full day to process my feelings about “Game of Thrones.” I know we live in a knee-jerk, instacritic culture where 140-characters counts as thoughtful dialogue (and, believe me, no one loves those 140 characters more than this unapologetic Twitteraholic), but I needed more time to truly think about this series. I haven’t read the books, which puts me at a disadvantage. So right now all I have to go on is the pilot. And, right now, I’m just not sure.

Granted, the production is gorgeous. You can always see money on the screen, and this thing looks the exact opposite of cheap. The writing is tight, the acting is solid, the story is complex. It feels epic, it is epic. But, and I means this with all seriousness, what’s in it for the ladies?

I’ve read a lot this past week about the gender politics of this much-hyped show. It’s for boys. It’s pandering to girls. It’s feminist. It’s misogynistic. It’s oddly fixated on doggy-style sex. (That last one isn’t a question, just a fact.)

New York Times reviewer Ginia Bellafante called it “boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.” She also strongly implies that women don’t read fantasy fiction. So, let’s get this out of the way right away. That’s just some crazypants nonsense right there. One, of course women read fantasy novels and to suggest otherwise signifies a profound arrogance about an entire gender. And two, her argument that the sex is thrown into the story to appease women viewers makes me think she actually didn’t watch the premiere. Because the “sex” she spoke of was (SPOILER ALERT) incest, rape and paid servicing from prostitutes. You know, just like “Sex and the City.”

So, clearly the argument that “Game of Thrones” is fantasy therefore women won’t like it and therefore it’s pandering to women and therefore it’s bad is not the argument I’m making here.

But I was disturbed by what I saw happening with the women in the premiere. (MORE MAJOR SPOILERS) We see a wife to a powerful lord, who seems loyal but has little power. We see the queen to a king, who appears to be evil and power hungry and – oh yeah – is totally fucking her twin brother. We see two daughters of the lord, who are made to go to crocheting class while the boys learn archery – one is kind of boy crazy and one is a tomboy. And we see the sister to a power-hungry brother who sells her off to the head of a warrior tribe who then consummates their relationship against her will. Fun times for the lady folk, let me tell you.

Still just because these are dark times for women, does not mean better days aren’t ahead. What I understand from reading about this series is that us feminist fans will need to be patient. This is clearly not a woman’s world – right now they are largely just for pawns or playthings for men. But the question is will the series allow them to overcome their relegated positions in this society? Will we see independence, influence, intellect? I really hope so.

To me feminist stories do not require that all the women are portrayed in a positive light or necessarily even treated well. But it does require that female characters are allowed to be complex and layered and ultimately in control of their own destinies. Are women integral to the story outside of their relationships to men? Do they wield any power? Do they show strength and smarts and other abilities and not just sex appeal? Do they get to be human, just like the men? That is what makes a story feminist. That is what makes a story worth investing in for me.

If “Games of Thrones” starts to make its ladies more than just pieces in powerful men’s games, then I’m in. If it doesn’t, well, then game over.

EDIT: Just wanted to add that I thought it was very interesting and more than a little troubling that, as one of you commented, Dany gave her consent in the book, but not the show. That means the entire foundation of their future relationship in the series will be different from the original book. Like I said, troubling.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend juggling act

Whew, kittens, I had kind of an exhausting weekend. Not exhausting like I was productive or industrious. But exhausting like I stayed up until 6 a.m. reading Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” from cover to cover Friday night. (It was very funny and insightful and only continued to prove I picked the best possible Fake TV Wife.) Then I did my taxes Saturday night. (OK, that was kind of productive, but only in a sweaty palmed procrastinator’s panic kind of way.) Then I watched the first six episodes of the first season of “True Blood” On Demand because doing my taxes got me all wired. (I’m glad I started the show watching the second season last year, because if I started with the first I’m not sure I would have stuck around for the second.) Then that next day I sat out in the backyard doing a whole lot of nothing and broke out the grill for the first time this season. (That first barbecued burger of the year is inexplicably delicious, apologies to my vegetarian and vegan friends.) And then Sunday night I watched “The Killing” (still excellent), “Firefly” (still fun) and the premiere of “Game of Thrones” (impressive, but I’m not entirely engaged yet. Also, holy crap, it’s like the poster child for fucked up brother-sister relationships.) And then, because I hadn’t been quite sedentary enough, I watched the last six episodes of the first season of “True Blood. (Sookie is annoying – there, I said it.) So this morning, please believe me when I say this clip of Ellen Page juggling two oranges and a grapefruit is all I could muster. Those she’s so adorable, I kind of don’t even feel that exhausted anymore.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Weekend Crush

Let us talk, for a moment, about the singularly special television creation that is Leslie Knope. You see, TV hasn’t always been friendly to the Leslie Knopes of the world – especially of late. Primetime has become a place for cynics and smartasses, fast talkers and slick walkers. We like our characters to be badass or sassy or oh-so snarky. Not that there’s anything wrong with snarky – or any of those other qualities. But what makes the world so fun is the variation, the yin to their yang. And so what TV all too often lacks is the eternal optimist. The dreamer. The person who only ever walks on the sunny side of the street. Being optimistic just doesn’t seem cool. We’re a nation of pessimists that delight in the culture of fail. But we can’t all just point and laugh when things go wrong. Some of us have to believe that things will go right, and make it so. And that person, on TV, is Leslie Knope from “Parks and Recreation.”

Leslie is so many things. Amy Poehler called her “open-face sandwich. You always know what you’re going to get.” And that’s so true. There’s no great mystery to her, and that’s kind of wonderful. What we see instead is hard work, enthusiasm, dependability, compassion and hope. She’s just nice – and it’s sad how rare that has become. Leslie believes the world can be better, and that she can help make it so. Sure, sometimes she bumbles. But it’s not out of incompetence but usually lack of insider savvy. Leslie is supremely competent, and I love how over the course of the series she’s become even more so. She didn’t become Michael Scott light. She became something so much better. She’s the closer. She’s the hero – or “shero,” as she’s no doubt say in a blaze of feminist glory. She’s a source of good in the Pawnee, Ind. and the universe. She’s all that, and also adorable, infectious and the kind of gal you know you could be friends with forever. And she’s always in a blazer and you know how I love a lady in a blazer. We could all use a little more Leslie Knope in our lives. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. Oh, another thing about Leslie – she is also a human emoticon.

[Image by conanofallon.]

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Simply Criminal

Maybe this whole horrible season was a dream after all. News came yesterday that A.J. Cook might be returning to “Criminal Minds.” The show has become my favorite traditional crime procedural of late, leaping over “CSI” and whatever incarnation of “Law & Order” is still out there. I liked the chemistry of the team, and I really liked that there were almost as many women as men. Three women, four men. That doesn’t happen super often on crime shows. Usually it’s a whole bunch of guys and a gal. Or a whole bunch of guys and two gals. But that’s about it. (“Bones” has a good mix, too, but it’s as much comedy as crime.)

And, yes, I realize there could be healthy debate about the merits of watching shows where women are the victims of violent crime. Do I sometimes struggle with that when the crime is particularly heinous? Certainly. I actually watch some scenes in fast forward. But I think “Criminal Minds” does a good job of both balancing out male and female victims and not glorifying the people who commit the crimes. It’s about catching the very, very, very bad guy (or gal), which is always satisfying. Also, Kirsten Vangsness is adorable and out. So, that’s always nice to support on the old teevee.

Right, so where was I? Oh, AJ’s return. According to, she could return as a full-time regular just as original series executive producer Ed Bernero is leaving. That would leave executive producer Erica Messer in charge, which coincidence or not seems kind of telling. The series sent fans into a tizzy at the end of last season when they were going to drop both AJ and co-star Paget Brewster’s contracts. Um, what? Drop two of the female leads and keep all the boys? Um, what the fuckity-fuck?

Fans rallied and managed to save a bit of Paget’s role (she was back, though not for every episode and as watchers know, has since departed), but not AJ’s. And then they brought in a younger blond model – The Not AJ. And then they proceeded to make most of her scenes with Joe Mantegna to give the show that weird, creepy father-daughter vibe it had always been missing. GENIUS! Also, can we talk about how utterly ridiculous it is for an experienced, veteran team to bring someone into the field who (when she started) hadn’t even graduated the academy yet? This isn’t a summer internship program, this is a highly skilled elite team.

Also, in one season the show went from one that was guaranteed to fulfill the Bechdel Rule every episode to one with spotty compliance and a lopsided male-to-female ratio. Thanks, but no thanks. I stopped season passing it after Paget left.

Word is that if Paget’s NBC comedy pilot doesn’t get picked up, CBS has an option for her to return to “Criminal Minds.” That means they could be bringing the whole band back together. I don’t wish failure on Paget in any way, but come on that would be awesome. (Yes, I know there are negotiations underway for Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore’s contracts.)

Anyway, bottom line, don’t fuck with the female characters. We’re not interchangeable like building blocks. You can’t just put a newer one in and think the tower you’ve built will keep standing just the same. Especially when those blocks are as badass as AJ and Paget.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wonder pants

Well, shit. The shiny porn pants aren’t gone. While we all let out an enormous sigh of relief when it appeared Wonder Woman had ditched her PVC pants for a more practical, stretchy, dark-blue pair, it appears our relief was ill founded. The porn pants are still there. Repeat, porn pants are go. (Man, that is going to bring some interesting keyword searches today. Helllloooo, perverts!)

After we got to see Wonder Woman’s Adrianne Palicki move it in what appeared to be a tweaked costume, NBC President Robert Greenblatt shot us down like the Invisible Jet in hostile territory. He told yesterday:
“There was an initial outcry about the long pants – you know, skintight pants as opposed to those little shorts [worn by Lynda Carter in the original TV series. But the shorts were always planned. They are actually used in the final confrontation when she beats Veronica Cale (played by Elizabeth Hurley).”

Um, dude, no one was mad that the pants were long. People were mad that the pants were shiny. Also, porny. Greenblatt said Wonder Woman has had three costumes all along: The shiny pants, the stretchy pants and the hotpants. And he says for all of our gnashing and wailing, nothing has changed.

“We haven’t made any changes from what was planned. But it’s always good to hear the feedback. I’d rather have people really passionately engaged in conversation, even if they hate something, than be kind of bored.”

Does this guy know how to play to the fans or what? No. 1, I have totally misunderstood your complaints. No. 2, I don’t really care what your complaints are because we’re not making changes. No. 3, watch my show anyway, suckers!

Greenblatt also went on to praise series creator and writer David E. Kelley, whose script for the pilot has been widely panned. Like, super duper, all over the place panned. I understand there have been some rewrites since, but I have the terrible suspicion that the line “Big tits save lives!” will still make the cut. I love boobs as much as the next gal (no, that’s a lie – I love them more), but I wasn’t really looking for Titty Empowerment from the new Wonder Woman. We have Helen Mirren for that.

As for the shiny pants, I’m starting to fear that Wonder Woman’s real foe will not be Hurley’s Veronica Cale. Instead, I think the real villain of the first season will be a lingering, chronic yeast infection brought on by non-breathable fabrics. Say hello to Wonder Woman, brought to you by Monistat.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Back where they belong

Is it July yet? Yesterday I sang the praises of another kind of crime drama. One of methodical realism and gripping intensity. “Rizzoli & Isles” isn’t like that, and that’s just fine. Ice cream comes in a lot of flavors and you don’t have to like just one. What I like about “Rizzoli & Isles” is the chemistry – that electric, infectious, playful connection between Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. Also, super duper gay.

So then it’s been fun to follow both Angie and Sasha’s tweets from the set, and their little behind-the-scenes snippets from the new season. (The season 2 premiere is called “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” They just got the script for the third episode.)

Jane is back:How does she manage to look hot even when getting her hair did?

Jane’s shoe:Angie shows us her suspiciously Doc Martens-like police Oxfords. (It’s not, because I can’t see the yellow stitching. But it’s close enough to draw totally baseless conclusions. Amirite?)

Maura is back:It’s unnatural how adorable she is.

Maura’s buddy:I was afraid they’d hurt the turtle tortoise! in the finale, I’m not even kidding.

But do you know what I really, really miss? Seeing them together. Clearly they are both gorgeous and lovely and talented in their own right. But together they’re like unicorns and rainbows. Awesome alone, freaking magic together. So then, without further adoing, I give you our Rizzles back in action.

July 11 is too damn far away. We want Jane and Sasha Maura eye sex, and we want it now. Though, nice practicing on the camera there, Angie.

p.s. I’m not the only dork counting the days until the “Rizzoli & Isles” premiere. Me & Liz are gonna watch it together with some night cheese.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Killer TV

You’re probably not watching “The Killing,” but you should. The new AMC drama is good, damn good. Like cannot stop watching, bolted to my seat, riveted by the performances good. Like how did this slow-moving crime procedural without big-name stars, frenetic car chases or fancy forensics hoo-ha make it onto American television good. This show isn’t flashy. No one takes off his sunglasses dramatically before delivering a corny cadaver pun. (OK, fine, that’s also because it’s set in Seattle where the rain is major recurring character.) What it is is well crafted, thoughtful and smart.

The show is based on a popular Danish crime drama by the same (albeit Danish) name. Just because it’s not flashy doesn’t mean it’s not stylish. The cinematography is gorgeous, almost cinematic. The screen is washed in the lush greens and blues and grays of the Pacific Northwest. The soundtrack is equally cinematic – sophisticated, taut, kinda creepy. The pacing is methodical, and could even be considered glacial in this current ADHD one-and-done crime procedural culture. Nothing has been solved in three episodes, the mystery has only deepened. But just because it takes its time does not mean it is boring – in fact the exact opposite. And, kittens kittens, we haven’t even begun to talk about the acting yet.

Lead Mireille Enos, the chief detective investigating the murder of high school student Rosie Larsen, isn’t your standard gorgeous TV police detective. And, trust me, I have no problem with standard gorgeous TV police detectives (hello, Olivia Benson, Jane Rizzoli, Kate Beckett – call me). Her Det. Sarah Linden is gorgeous, but in an entirely unglossy way. She doesn’t wear makeup. She shops at Ross. She keeps her red hair in a loose, practical ponytail. She is utterly unadorned. In fact, it may take you a while to come to the conclusion that Mireille Enos is gorgeous, but you will and possibly not even for what is external.

You see, the thing about “The Killing” is how internal it is. This isn’t a show with great expository speechifying or loud gun battles. As noted by critics much smarter than me, what's so extraordinary is it allows us to see to see the character think. In particular, we get to see Sarah Linden think. She is a woman of few words, not because she is the stoic hero but because she is actually taking the time to turn things over in her head Yet she is so expressive and empathetic. All her actions feel genuine, like someone who knows what she’s doing and has done it all before. Even the simple act this past episode of her wordlessly staring at the ingredients of whatever unhealthy thing she just ate with a split-second flash of self disgust felt real. This is a person, not a character. We’re drawn to her competence and intrigued by her silence. Also, Mireille has the potential to become one of TV’s greatest scowlers. And, given my propensity for sexy, serene scowlers, this is high praise indeed.

Admittedly, this show might be hard for some to watch. There is grief and pain and inexplicable cruelty. But it doesn't wallow in them. This isn't part of the “Saw” franchise. It's about how one horrible act can ripple through so many lives. As Rosie’s parents, Michelle Forbes and Brent Sexton made me tear up not once, not twice but three times in the pilot. That may not sound like a good time, and this surely isn’t disposable fluff, but it’s mesmerizing TV. OK, there’s also a political angle that isn’t entirely as mesmerizing. But I still find it intriguingly complex and have to believe that there will be some further payoff other than an examination of political machine.

And, while we’re at it, this series fulfills the Bechdel Rule. It has a female lead. Sarah and Rosie’s mom have already talked several times, and certainly not about a man. And Sarah also has a female best friend, Reggie, who we were introduced to this last episode. p.s. I want to find out more about that dynamic, too. Plus, “The Killing” has a female creator/writer (Veena Sud of “Cold Case”) and women have directed the first three episodes (Patty Jenkins of “Monster” for the two-part pilot and Gwyneth Horder-Payton of “The Shield” for last night’s episode).

Three episodes have aired, but you still have time to catch up. The two-part pilot is available online at And the third episode re-airs on AMC at 10:30 p.m. Thursday or just before the next new episode at 9 p.m. Sunday (the series airs at 10 p.m. Sundays on AMC).

Oh, and one more little oh-isn’t-that-interesting. Mireille was four month pregnant when she shot the pilot (hence the big, bulky sweater and windbreaker). Guess who she is married to? Alan Ruck, better known as Cameron from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

Look, I know we all have too many shows to watch already. I know the prospect of signing on for a slowly paced crime drama that’s unafraid to examine grief might not sound all that appealing. But you really should, because we need more shows where people are given the time to think – and that make us think.

Friday, April 08, 2011

My Weekend Crush

Spoilers! Alex Kingston is delicious. Like eat her up with a spoon, lick the bowl clean delicious. She’s saucy and delightful, like someone you’d want to monopolize at a party because she was that much fun. She’s also one of the world’s great winkers – and that’s no small feat considering most of the rest of us poor souls look like your corny grandpa or someone in the midst of an epileptic fit while trying to pull one off properly. While you lucky folks across the pond knew her years before, most American audiences didn’t get a proper taste until her days on “E.R.” Even in scrubs and a lab coat, the charm came through along with that irresistible shock of cascading curls. Now that she’s joined “Dr. Who” as River Song, she’s doubly delicious – and packing heat. And, in two weeks, we’ll get to hear her say that most endearing of greetings again. Hello, sweetie. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Gender Fuck Thursday

I will fully admit to not understanding the whole mustache meme. What’s that all about? Why does everyone have a big black fake Mr. Pringles stache all of a sudden? Kid these days. I don’t really get it. Of course, my father had a full mustache and beard for basically all of his life, so maybe I just associate it with dad things and not the apparent old-timey whimsy it’s supposed to imply. Or maybe I’m just old curmudgeony, instead of timey. What can I say, I’m just a sucker for some soft, smooth skin. Still, on Catherine Deneuve I will accept any and all facial hair. And a bowler. And a bowtie. And cufflinks. Sweet fancy Moses, I love cufflinks. Though, other than Catherine, staches just aren’t my jam. (That is what the youths are calling it, no?) I dunno. But I do know that while we may have to agree to disagree on fake facial hair, I hope we can all agree that a lady in menswear will never go out of style. Plus, she has the added bonus of never having to worry about – shall we say – unfortunate mustache tickle. And, to make amends for dissing the old-timey mustache, how about some old-timey black and white gender fuck.

[Hat tip, Jennifer for the delightful Deneuve photo above.]

Isabella RosselliniI used to have a real thing for double-breasted suits. I mean, the name alone.

Zoe SaldanaShoulder pads, on the other hand, I never had a thing for. But all of a sudden I don’t mind so much.

Anne HathawayProper tailoring is critical to allow movement. Yay, tailoring.

Milla JovovichNot everyone can pull off all white. Luckily Milla is not everyone.

Vanessa ParadisHowever, everyone should have a lounging around tuxedo. It should be, like, a rule.

Gemma ArtertonSeriously, I think this lounging around tuxedo rule could be revolutionary.

Monica BellucciAdmit it, most of your wildest dreams aren’t nearly this delicious.

Jessie Matthews, “Just a Girl” (1935)Now this kind of old-timey has my full endorsement.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Why so blue, pander bear?

Let us, for a moment, talk about pandering. What does it mean to pander, exactly? Well, our friends at Merriam Webster say it is “to provide gratification for other’s desires.” Heck, that doesn’t sound so bad. Bring that on. Of course, the connotations of pandering are much less based on simple gratification and much more about exploiting our baser desires. There’s an implied quid pro quo – give a little, get a little. It’s about playing to people’s preferences for not entirely pristine purposes. When people throw it about these days they’re usually talking about politicians. And then sometimes, they throw it at storytellers.

Like when a person on Twitter accuses “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes of pandering to the gay/lesbian community with her Callie and Arizona storyline. And I quote:

“All you do is pander to the gay/lesbian community. Which is fine. But straight people don't suck, you know.”

Wow, that is some seriously entitled straight person bullshit right there. (And, relax, I’m not saying all straight people are entitled or full of shit, just this particular one.) “Grey’s Anatomy” has a cast of no fewer than 14 main characters, by my count. Two of them happen to be gay and in a relationship. Many, many of the other characters are straight and also in relationships, some of them married even. But that one gay couple is clearly pandering, clearly.

Shonda was, of course, righteously indignant about being called a panderer. She wrote:

“Isn't love universal? Isn't that the point? That you can watch a straight couple in love or a lesbian couple in love and what you see and feel is the LOVE? How is that pandering? Maybe I've been pandering to straight couples all this time.

Another thing: one of the reasons I cast the show the way I did is because I like to turn on the TV and see people who look like me living in a world of diversity. I'm betting there's a lesbian girl out there who likes to turn on the TV and see people who love like her too.

So, you know, yeah I just went all ranty, but come on. Love is universal. Life is universal. Grow up and stop complaining and stop hating on a storyline because the characters are different from you. Because THAT? Is ridiculous.”

Besides rightfully putting that complainer in her place, Shonda got deep into the root of the problem. Which is, how is showing two people in love ever pandering? Do TV shows pander when they show a man and a woman in love? In which case, let’s cancel the entire primetime line-up with the possible exception of “Glee” – but even most of the couples there are straight. Think about that, the gayest show on broadcast television has two possible queer couplings out of more than half a dozen straight ones.

What the wider world sometimes fails to realize is how lonely it can be to turn on the television and never see yourself. Your race, your sexual orientation, your ethnicity, your gender, your religion, your disability, your whatever makes you different. You never flip the channels and think, “God, I wish there were more shows with straight people, like me.” If a show finally gives you an honest glimpse of yourself, well, that’s not pandering. That’s just, at long last, expanding the viewfinder.

When I was little, as an Asian-America girl growing up in the Midwest, I didn’t see a whole lot of myself. Through elementary school there were only two other Asian kids in my grade level. My family watched the evening news together almost every night, and we sat silently as older white men explain the world to us after dinner. And then came Connie Chung. Suddenly, if by magic, there was another opportunity that opened up to me. It wasn’t that anyone had ever told me, honey, you’ll never be a nightly news anchor because you’re an Asian girl. It was that it was intrinsically understood because no Asian girl had ever done it before. Not that I wanted to be a news anchor then. But seeing yourself reflected back in a place you’d never seen yourself before, that’s powerful.

Which brings me back to Grey’s. I watched the big musical last week, like everyone else. I was moved, like everyone else. I kind of wish the singing didn’t get in the way of the larger and more important stories being told. That is, namely, how difficult it still is to be recognized as a legitimate family member, spouse, partner when you’re gay because the law hasn’t yet risen to your level of commitment. And I really, really wish only Callie (and possibly Bailey) did the singing because everyone else, no offense, keep your day job.

But back to the story and its blatant pandering to us gays. How dare Shonda take two central characters on a major American TV show and put them in a near-death situation that only proves to solidify their love and expose our universal frailty? How dare she make us take stock of what makes a family? How dare she make us care for these gay women who want to spend the rest of their lives together? How dare she make some little gay girl out in the Midwest right now watching TV feel a little less lonely? Yep, including gay characters in organic ways and giving them developed narratives is clearly pandering to the gay/lesbian community and should be avoided at all costs.

God, if only more TV shows would pander to us like that. If only.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

That's Ms. Bossypants to you

Happy Bossypants Day! Tina Fey’s book goes on sale today and if you aren’t currently jogging toward a bookstore as we speak I will consider it a personal affront to my Fake TV Wife and you will never be invited over for a fake dinner on a fake double date with your Fake TV Wife, Sara Ramirez. So there. But, seriously folks, I feel oddly proud about her book launch today. (Which, I am fully aware, is in no way my accomplishment. I’m delusional, but not that delusional.) Mostly I’m happy that in a world that so often questions, judges, challenges, restricts, belittles and ignores women that such a smart, capable, independent woman has been able to reach this level of success. It’s not that the world is lacking Tina Feys. There are smart, capable, independent women all over the place. It’s that our society stubbornly refuses to look at them through the lens of just their abilities. It’s always couched in gender. And, don’t get me wrong, I understand there are inherent differences between the genders. Hello, clearly. But when people chastise and even ridicule President Obama for relying on council from his female advisers on how to act in Libya, you know we our opinions aren’t being placed on anywhere near the same playing field as the menfolk. So, today, in honor of Tina’s book, let’s all allow our inner Bossypants to run free. Let’s be (or continue to be, as hopefully is the case) bossy and unapologetic and powerful. Let us never be afraid to be the smartest person in the room. In fact, let’s work hard to make sure everybody knows it.

And, on that note, please enjoy Tina Fey telling everyone how much better she is than Helen Mirren.