( last christmas i gave you my heart )
( last christmas i gave you my heart )
For the sake of brevity, I’m not going to include any teen shows with supernatural elements (sorry, Buffy and Sabrina!) because that’s like a genre and an entry unto itself. I’m also going to try to focus on shows that are primarily teen-centric, not where the teen stuff is only a portion of the whole story (like, say, Gilmore Girls) or where the coming of age happens over a longer period of time (Boy Meets World). Leaving those kinds of shows out means I am absolutely painting an incomplete picture of the development of teen dramas (BtVS is obviously so instrumental to the genre) but I wanted to keep the focus relatively narrow.
Something I find interesting is that with the exception of one (and that one show has a pretty distinct hook), all of these kinds of normal teen coming of age shows are basically defunct.
So, in chronological order, shows that I feel mark the evolution of the art form we call the Teen Drama:
( nostalgia bomb )
There are many things I loved about the show (Jessica’s everything, Jessica and Trish, LUKE CAGE, Malcolm!!!!!, how Jessica is another in a growing list of female protagonists who are MESSY AS FUCK, and how the show does not blitz past Kilgrave’s many victims but instead gives voice to a lot of them and follows up on many of their individual consequences/coping mechanisms) but I was really surprised by the turn it took re: Jessica and Kilgrave in the middle and it brought up some stuff for me so I kind of wanted to have a quickish little post about that specifically. And the “that” in my excessive run on sentence would be abuse in media, specifically romantic abuse.
( You were kind to me. You were a bastard to everyone else but you were kind to me. I was special. )
Inspired by reading spoilers for a show I do not watch (and a quick convo w/ 12_12_12!), I wanted to make this post. I got to thinking about the prevalence of supernatural pregnancies in the vampire genre (though, it must be said, pregnancy is a HUGE thing in horror in general, and I'll talk about that a bit too). That made me think about vampire kids, too, so that's where I'm going with this post. In my vague googling on the topic, I got mostly weird blogs of people who thought they were vampires. So. This is TENUOUSLY RESEARCHED and based mostly on my experiences as a teen goth who read a lot about vampires.
( having a baby is terrifying )
As of right now, I am desperately obsessed with Penny Dreadful. Desperately obsessed. I have honestly not felt like this about a show in a long time; FX's You're the Worst probably came the closest to rustling up such intensity of feeling in me. And of course excluding longer-running now-defunct stuff like Mad Men. I am just so satisfied with Penny Dreadful; it is like everything 13-year-old goth me would have ever wanted in a show, except also attuned to 25-year-old me's non-asshole tastes. What do I even do until season three.
I don't know if anyone on my flist watches it so I'mma try to keep this post a mix of spoilery and spoiler-free; let's just all dive in together.
( let's talk about penny dreadful! )
( tw: rape, sexual abuse, pedophilia )
Did you guys know about how Shawn Hunter has a literary podcast? Well apparently he does, because he likes to read books and stuff. And I've been listening to a couple eps (do you even call them episodes with podcasts? oh well) and generally liking it, but I was rather irritated when it came to their discussion of Flowers in the Attic and Sweet Valley High. There was a kind of automatic dismissal there that really bothered me – I hate people being snide about girl books. Those things are important to me. They are important to many girls, I'm sure. They are incredibly revealing of the culture of girlhood and the lives of girls, even the trashiest ones. And they shape us, because many of us read these books. It really rubbed me the wrong way, especially because when it came time for them to discuss a John Green book I felt there was a clear level of polite respect even amongst the criticisms that was totally missing from the discussion of FitA and SVH. Because a man wrote the Fault in Our Stars, I guess, but girl trash is girl trash.
lusimeles prompted: what would you say were your most formative books, both as a person and/or writer?
( this was so exciting for me )
I'm not even two hundred pages into the book and there is just so much sort of awesome stuff mixed in with so much totally fucked up nonsense. Mostly in this post I'm going to delve into Gabrielle, radiant badass that she is, and her creepy incestuous relationship with Lestat.
( First of all, Gabrielle is even more amazing than I remembered )
( his face had been close to mine. two curls had spilled onto his forehead. a few freckles dusted his nose, and his eyes said he was sorry for me to go. )
First things first, let's talk about how Char is a total fox. Right? Didn't you die because of his curly hair and freckles? I died. His TAWNY curls. I remember looking up the word 'tawny' and swooning (side note, I distinctly remember having a friend who had the hots for Oliver Wood in the HP books because he was described as 'burly' and when she looked it up, she swooned). And how his freckles were ~surprising on such a dark face. Since I included a page of the novel last time, I figured I ought to do it again:
SUCH A FOX, AMIRIGHT??
I think the introduction of Char into Ella's life is really great, and it could so easily have been horrible. I mean, they meet at her mother's funeral – in lesser hands, that could be some shady business. But right off the bat, it tells us a lot of great things about Char: that despite having never met Ella, he's the kind of person who could not ignore her obvious distress. So even though it might have been awkward, he went to make sure that she was okay after running out of the funeral. No one else came to get her except for him and they weren't even friends yet. He also does this in a non-obnoxious way, by waiting until she's got her shit together somewhat, letting her approach him when she's comfortable, and then making some low-stress conversation. That was always one of the things I liked best about him – he never put any pressure on Ella in any way. But we see this is not something specific to Ella either; he endeavors to be kind to her stepsisters, whom he doesn't like, and when Ella is pretending to be someone else towards the end, he is extremely happy just to have made a new friend. He doesn't have expectations of people, and doesn't feel they automatically owe him anything because of who he is. He is always willing and ready to see the best in them first.
In many ways, he's pretty much a classic prince-type. He's honorable, kind, forthright, and honest. One of his knights says, "he's smart and he's steady, the prince is. Too steady, maybe. Too serious, maybe. He laughs when there's something to laugh at, but he doesn't play enough. [...] He laughed more in a morning with you than in two weeks with us." He has all the kinds of qualities a fairytale prince should have. But I feel characters like that often get a bad rap for being boring, or at the very least just not interesting, but Char isn't; he's just very much a kind, likable person who has faults and makes mistakes, but always acts with everyone's best interests at heart. I mean, you get some of Char's journal entries in the novel, and he CORRECTS HIS OWN MEAN THOUGHTS IN HIS OWN PRIVATE JOURNAL. That is some cute shit.
But the best thing about Char is how much he flat-out respects Ella. I think one of the rarest things in fiction is to have a male love interest who just flat out respects the heroine. I mean, I'm not saying it never happens; it does. But I'm hard-pressed to think of many more examples where it was this blatant, you know? And I think that's a great thing for a little girl to see.
It shows up in a lot of ways – the second time they see each other, he announces, "I like you. I'm quite taken with you." AND BE YOU EIGHT OR TWENTY-THREE, YOU SWOON A LITTLE. When he finds out she was sent to finishing school, "he was indignant. He demanded to know why you needed to be finished since there was nothing wrong with you to start with." And when he and his knights totally fail at detaining some ogres, Char doesn't pull any dumb boy shit: he knows Ella is more capable of handling them, and basically stands aside to let her do it. When one of his knights makes a crack about how ~thank god all girls don't get themselves into trouble like this bitch or we'd be saving them all day long~ Char shuts it down immediately.
As part of his forthrightness, he is insistent Ella knows all of his flaws, choosing to confess the worst of it himself. He did a pretty legit terrible thing as a kid, which was completely ruin the career of a cruel tutor. That's pretty fucked up? I mean, the guy was a total asshole but also this is his livelihood? And it's unlikely he would've gotten hired to do much of anything if the PRINCE OF HIS LAND has it out for him? I think it was good that Levine gave him an actual shitty thing to have done, to undercut not only his intense kindness, but also to explain it further; i.e., perhaps he is motivated to be so good all the time because of the deep guilt he feels for this action.
I also love that he is kind of boring sometimes; his letters to her are about boring things like cows and construction and poor Ella is all: you are hot pls talk about something else.
And it's just such a good romance?? When he finds her hiding out at her father's wedding and they look for a secret passage and then find the glass slippers and dance, omg, it's so cute. Their friendship was so sweet and genuine. And remember how he's a fox? Remember how he used his buttons as their metaphorical breadcrumbs, which left his shirt gaping open and revealed ~striped silk undergarment~?? Later on when they were dancing and he sang softly in her ear? And when they slid down the bannister and he caught her and swirled her around??? And!!
He put his hand on my waist, and my heart began to pound, a rougher rhythm than the music. I held my skirt.
Our free hands met. His felt warm and comforting and unsettling and bewildering – all at once.
I would love to just throw a million quotes up in this bitch tbh. Like how when Ella is freaking out at the very end as she tries to fight her curse, and she's trying to hide from Char, and THIS HAPPENS:
His face was close to mine. He must have seen my terror. "You needn't be Ella if you don't want to be," he said softly.
I MEAN. What a good love interest!! At this point, Char doesn't know what the fuck is going on. He got this letter saying that Ella was married to a rich old dude and that she never liked him, she was just having fun by getting close to a prince, that she was using him. And then he made a nice new friend at a ball only to have it be revealed that she's actually Ella, who then disappears into the night, and when he sees her again she's dressed in rags and covered in soot. At the very least, dude is REALLY CONFUSED. But he handles it calmly, with utmost kindness. YOU NEEDN'T BE ELLA IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE. I AM CRYING.
And with that, I will leave you with one more cute excerpt:
"ahthOOn SSyng!" I said. "That's farewell."
"It sounds evil."
"It is," I answered, and we parted.
Next: Lawrence Selden