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This entry moves from gushing to contemplative and critical to critical. This is an entry comprised mostly of pop culture critique along political lines, specifically around issues of sex and race. If that is not fun for you, or you don't think that's a worthwhile use of fannish energy, you should skip this entry.

This entry includes spoilers for all aired episodes of all three of these shows.

Rizzoli and Isles

Have you ever watched a buddy cop show and thought, "If only this were about women"? If so, Rizzoli & Isles is the show for you. Angie Harmon plays detective Jane Rizzoli while Sasha Alexander is medical examiner Maura Isles. Together, they solve cases. They're also the kind of buddy cops who are practically married. They go undercover in a lesbian bar in season one and pretend to be together (unfortunately badly) in season two. They bicker and talk about fashion and facts and people. The show also does a fantastic job of including Jane's family. And I like the male cops. My two favorite things from this season: Spoilers )

Haven

Earlier this year, [livejournal.com profile] norwich36 linked me to an anonymous thread about shows with strong women characters to catch up on over the summer. Haven was one of them, so I started watching it. I was fascinated by how many people commented back about it when I tweeted about it, particularly for a show I'd never even heard of before. It's really good. Those of you reading this might also like it: the lead character is a woman, and there's a fantastic slash pairing. (Nate/Duke forever! Where is my story where they're exes?) But in the context of this post, what I want to talk about is how Audrey is interestingly nonsexual and nonsexualized, which is not something you see in women on TV. Spoilers )

Suits

In case you haven't noticed, I love Suits. The plot is stupid and gets in the way of a really fun show, but the fun stuff is enough to make up for it. My strategy has been to watch it once, and then only watch the fun parts again. But that's not what this post is about. This post is about women, so let's talk about the women on Suits. Parts of fandom (including me) are very excited about the women: Gina Torres as Jessica Pearson, lawyer whose name is in the firm name and who got Harvey out of the mail room and into law school in some fashion we haven't been made privy to yet; Sarah Rafferty as Donna, Harvey's fantastic assistant who gets all the best lines; Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane, paralegal who's smarter than most of the firm but with test-taking anxiety that's keeping her from taking the LSATs; and Vanessa Ray as Jenny, Mike's best friend Trevor's girlfriend who later becomes Mike's girlfriend. (Okay, fandom isn't as fond of Jenny. I think there are strong possibilities for some interesting stories there, but fandom's "OH MY GOD A WOMAN" thing means no one's likely to write them.)

But what I haven't seen yet (largely because I haven't gone looking for Suits conversation outside of the two email threads I'm on) is any discussion of the ways in which the show's portrayal of women is problematic. I think there's a layer of sexism on the show that's particularly insidious precisely because it's under the surface. Details/Spoilers )
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Reduced Information Intake
I'm greatly reducing the things I read. I pruned my friends list, stopped reading fueledbygossip and Bandom TFLN (to the extent that I deleted them from my history so they wouldn't show up and tempt me when I start typing into the location bar), and stopped following Nathan Fillion and the majority of TAI's hangers-on and ex-bandmembers on Twitter. I was annoyed with Facebook's declining usefulness, but I guess it'll keep me from spending too much time there. Delicious has been similarly helpful. I'm only reading Sociological Images sporadically (I think I'm going to try once a week). I'm not clicking on every link that appears in my Twitter feed or email. (This is hard for me. I never want to miss anything, but I just need to remind myself that it's okay. I don't have to read/watch/listen to everything.) I'm trying to step away from the internet and go read a paper book when I'm feeling overwhelmed. This all sounds more dramatic than it actually is. I go through this kind of media pruning every once in a while when I'm either feeling like the internet is too much (which I have been for most of this month) or when I'm trying to cut out things that aren't my core priorities (which I'm starting to do since it's starting to be fall, which is when I have a lot more energy).

Movies
The last two movies I saw in theaters (unless there was something else in there I'm forgetting) were Colombiana, which I wanted to like more than I did, and Attack The Block, which I very much liked. Attack The Block was fun and funny, and the experience had the bonus points of (a) introducing [livejournal.com profile] norwich36 to our local art house theater and (b) running into a friend I'd just been thinking about but hadn't seen in years. A win all around!

I've had my Netflix account on hold for a while (and will probably keep it that way into the foreseeable future - again with technology helping me stay productive by being less and less useful), so I've been checking out DVDs from the library. I've seen some very bad movies. Two of those are Diane Keaton movies. I was looking to see what else Gabriel Macht had been in, and one of the things is Because I Said So, which was already on my Netflix queue (because Piper Perabo is in it; she's beautiful as always but the movie gives her nothing to do), and which my library owns. It's not a good movie, and yet I still cried. I'm so easily emotionally manipulated. But because the movie is all about a mother-daughter relationship (Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore), it reminded me of another movie that also has an interesting mother-daughter relationship: The Family Stone. It's possible that The Family Stone is even worse than Because I Said So, and I'd seen it before so I really should have known better. It does have one absolutely lovely moment between the mother and one of her daughters (Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams) when they open presents.

I also watched The Edge of Love. Wikipedia quotes a review that says, "tonally it's all over the map," and isn't that the truth. I mean, I knew it wasn't going to be good when it was a Keira Knightley movie I'd never even heard of, but I didn't quite expect the part where it didn't know what kind of movie it was trying to be. Fun fact: my library actually owns two copies. According the catalog, there's a third one at another branch. Now I'm very curious about who makes DVD purchasing decisions for the system.

YA Unrec
I read Jennifer Hubbard's The Secret Year last week. It's not horrible, but it's very flat and it doesn't seem to have much purpose. It also has a surprising amount of talk about sex and people having sex (off screen) without ever actually being sexy. The best parts are the family parts. She should have stuck to that story.

Music
I heard Patrick Stump's "This City" (featuring Lupe Fiasco) on the radio yesterday. The radio! I had no idea it had made it off the internet.

New TV Shows I Have Watched One or More Episodes Of
It's not a coincidence that all of these have female protagonists.

Revenge: Ohhhh, I like this one. Soapy but not in a particularly ridiculous way, more in a way that draws you in. This is the new show I'm most impatient to watch the next episode of.

Ringer: This is not a great show, but it gets a few more episodes. If I decide I'm watching too much TV, this will probably be on the chopping block. I do appreciate that Sarah Michelle Gellar is managing to make Bridget, Siobhan, and Bridget-as-Siobhan three separate characters. Minor spoilers if you haven't watched to the end of the pilot. )

Charlie's Angels: Do not watch this show. It's terrible in nearly every way. You know how the Drew Barrymore-Lucy Liu-Cameron Diaz movies were fun? This is not. It's also not really a drama. They seem to be stuck somewhere in a middle ground where they don't know what tone to take, so it all falls a little flat. They don't even manage to make the fight scenes look good. Charlie being a voice on a speaker phone is creepy instead of the joke it probably should be. And then there's the race fail. I was going to leave the entirety of this warning outside of a cut, but once I wrote it all out, I realized how terrible and offensive it really is, so the description is behind the cut in case you'd rather not deal with it. Spoilers and race fail. )

Prime Suspect: I wasn't necessarily going to watch this, but then [livejournal.com profile] norwich36 said I should let her know if I made it past the first fifteen minutes, so I watched it so I could talk to her about it. The sexism is pretty outrageous, and neither one of us or my mother (who I also talked to about it) believed the blatant nature of it. I'm hoping that was just a setup and that now that they have the attitude established, it can be more realistic and subtle. What's most interesting about the show, and what I didn't know from the one ad I kept seeing at the movie theater, is that she's partnered. (It's probably not a good thing that I can't remember the names of either Maria Bello's character or the partner.) Before you get too excited by my choice of terminology, the partner is male. Their relationship is very interesting, and it's what's going to make me watch at least one more episode. What I really want is for someone on YouTube to cut together reels of just those interactions for each episode. I would watch all of those. As it is, this is likely to be one of those shows where I watch an episode here and there when I'm in the mood for a cop show.

The Secret Circle: I wasn't sure about this show. [livejournal.com profile] siryn99 suggested it, and [livejournal.com profile] eleanor_lavish didn't think much of it. I gave it two episodes because the first one was painfully establishing, but two episodes is all it's getting. I might remember to read some brief recaps in a couple of months to see what happens, but it's not worth watching. A few miscellaneous thoughts: Never before have I so clearly seen the use of magic as a metaphor for sex. It's suffering in the transition from page to screen, particularly in the pilot where I could practically see the inner monologue. Somewhere there is a problem in the logic of there being six people to complete the circle when all twelve of the current six's parents seem to have been in the previous one. I would much rather watch a whole show about Faye than Cassie. It really makes me want to watch The Craft, which is an urge I get often enough that I might just buy it.

Returning and Ongoing Shows I'm Watching
In addition to the things below, I'll also be watching Leverage and Rizzoli & Isles when we get to the second half of their split seasons.

Haven: I was looking for things to watch, and [livejournal.com profile] norwich36 sent me a link to a thread of shows to catch up on over the summer that have strong female characters. This was on it, so I watched my way through the first season. What surprised me most were how many people I know replied to me when I tweeted about watching it. Who else is watching this show I'd never even heard of but love? (I have more to say about Haven, but it's going in a separate entry.)

Hawaii Five-0: This show continues to be absolutely ridiculous, and yet fun. Minor Spoilers )

Nikita: I love this show. I'm completely captivated by the story and the relationships. Spoilers )

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Ruth Sadelle Alderson

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