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Fandom Fuckery: A Former Fan’s Tale

Hello, my lovely Geeklings! I know that it’s been a while, and perhaps you thought that Michelle and I had thrown in the towel… Well, we haven’t! (But you are certainly forgiven for thinking so.) We have been doing a lot of behind the scenes work aimed at making the BF Geek Girls experience better for all. Our goal all along has been about fostering creativity and developing a sense of community, so we’re sorry for any confusion, feelings of abandonment, and emotional trauma.

Like so many things that I have written here on BF Geek Girls, this week’s posting comes to you courtesy of a Tumblr post, this one sent to me by Michelle H, asking me to describe the fandoms that have let me down in the past. And not that I’m all about the negativity, but sometimes it’s our dissatisfaction with what we are being given to consume which inspires us to create something new and satisfying. Now, let me preface this by saying that it really takes a lot for me to ditch a show once I have gotten passionately attached to it… But once I get to that tipping point, you can bet that I have accumulated ESSAYS worth of reasons the show sucked. Enjoy!

1) Angel– basically, once Buffy moved to UPN, I stopped watching Angel. His character was never as interesting to me, and I really watched for the other characters. I made it to the episode where his son was born already, but just before Wesley turned on him. Darla having the baby in the first place was just too weird for me. I’ve seen the odd episode from the last two seasons, but haven’t brought myself to sit down and watch the series start to finish. On that note…

2) Buffy Season Eight in the comics–graphic novels are not my speed, but I really tried with this continuation of the Buffyverse. But when Buffy suddenly went lesbian?! After the very first page of the comic is her having a naughty nurse fantasy with Spike AND angel?! If there had been any clue or hint of her being interested in girl’s before, I might have bought it.

3) Game of Thrones/A Song if Ice and Fire–two words, both literal and figurative: character assassination! I could forgive having many of the characters I absolutely loved being mindlessly and ruthlessly butchered (to a point). But the fucking Mother of goddamn Dragons chains up “the only children she’ll bear” in a fucking pyramid because one of them MIGHT have killed/eaten a peasant child? Out. Of. Character. Plus, as fun as Tyrion is on the show, I really don’t care about his river cruise down Denial. Give me more of the remaining Starks, Martin, or stop writing! Oh wait, you already are incapable of consistent production. The show lost me before the Red Wedding because I was already bored by then, with the books and the show.

4) The Walking Dead–ironically, I didn’t start watching this show until the end of season 4. I saw the Lizzie episode at my best friend’s place (she and her boyfriend at the time were avid viewers), and knew that I needed to see it from the beginning. While her character wasn’t my favorite at first, I kind of fell in love with Beth; she and Maggie were the ones that I really connected with because I could see a lot of myself in them. So, when she died, I lost a lot of interest in the show. Maybe in having watched the whole series in such a short amount of time, I had achieved death-of-hope-and-humanity overload, but killing Beth sucked the heart out of the group, IMO. I kept watching though, because it had become a Sunday night tradition with the bestie at this point… And then Glenn “died” because of Nicholas’s stupidity. I ceased to give any fucks.

5) Castle–another show that I came to late, I got lost somewhere in season 5. And then it was one plot device after another aimed at creating unnecessary drama/angst in the relationship. It reminded me too much of the few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy that I had seen and disliked.

6) House, M.D.–loved Jennifer Morrison, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard, Jesse Spenser, and Lisa Edelstein. Hugh Laurie was also a big draw in terms of his acting, but I didn’t actually like House himself. I also discovered a loathing for Sela Ward, who played his ex-girlfriend, and for the guy who played her husband. When House and Cuddy started their love triangle with Lucas, I was heading for the exit.

7) Sleepy Hollow–one of the single greatest examples, aside from Once, of how NOT to proceed too quickly with a show, especially a show that will be heavy on the mythology (both in and out of Canon). In having a short first season, the writers knew that they had to absolutely nail every mark; and they delivered. With the two seasons’ renewal, they got room to breathe, but it was too much freedom, and too much hype, too soon. Season two was going swimmingly, until that pesky little OOC move on Henry’s part convinced Mommy Dearest to side with the devil; and it was OOC for Katrina to so easily be persuaded. After that, the third season opener killed off another supposedly unkillable big bad (Plague and Famine were probably ready to peace out on the apocalypse at the rate the other Horsemen died), and was tonally very different from the other two. And the lapse in time and their separation really made no sense for someone as duty-bound as both Abbie and Ichabod were set up by the narrative. Plus, no more Orlando Jones? Criminal!!

8) Supernatural–now this one hurts because I loved seasons 1 through 5. If the show had end with Dean making a family with Lisa and Ben, Sam locked in Hell with Lucifer, Michael, and Adam (or potentially resurrected, even)? Great ending with a twist! Season 6 lost me. Soulless Sam was weirdly more likeable than whiny little bitch Sam, and for those of us who actually know our Apocryphal Judeo-Christian documents, Lilith was the mother of all demons and the rejected first wife of Adam (ironically, because she wanted to sexually dominate him; i.e., have non-missionary position sex). Basically, Kripke wrapped things up really nicely before ending his tenure as the showrunner; season 6 felt lost and disjointed, and I never cared to see if they ever got their act together. Speaking of lost…

9) LOST–……. THEY FUCKING KILLED CHARLIE!! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! HOW CAN YOU JUSTIFY KILLING THE ROCKSTAR HOBBIT?!?!

10) Heroes–I really have no clue what happened in that writers’ room after season one, but at the very least this show caused me to shudder at the sight of a Nissan Versa to this day! Once again, I think the writers were given too much room to breathe; in their case, the show became more about the mythology/conspiracy elements rather than keeping the viewers grounded by consistent characters.

(Bonus) True Blood—as with ASOIAF and TWD, I respect that the shows and the source materials often overlap and inform each other, but that they are different entities. So, while I dug the Sookie Stackhouse books, I was so excited for them to make changes and/or corrections when adapting the show. But part of the problem with the books was that the writing was very… inconsistent. Charlaine Harris spent far too much time insisting to us that Sookie was a) human and b) a good Southern Christian, only to reveal to us that she was at least one-quarter Fae and that surviving the supernatural world required a whole lot of moral and ethical Twister. And Sookie’s identity crises were often linked to a change in her romantic partners or a shift in her current romantic relationship. By the time her 12th book ended with Sookie’s “revelation” that she loved Sam more than she wanted to save/salvage her relationship with Eric (which, Sookie is the martyr in EVERY situation, if you hadn’t been paying attention throughout the series)? I was already heading out of the door, and that was before I found out that she ended up with her worst romantic partner ever! The show made a lot of really good changes, altering some plot lines to have them make more sense and adding/keeping characters who exited the books too quickly. But try watching the series from start to finish (still haven’t been able to slog my way past the season five Bilith clusterfuck)… Basically, the show became a glutton’s feast of naked, nubile babes and vampire sex. Which, I can’t really fault the physiques on display, but I’ve seen porn with better plotting, acting, and pacing. Also, Jason Stackhouse… If Harris deserves to spend time in Purgatory, it’s going to be for creating such a vacuous, yet toxic miasma of chauvinism and man pain. Also, you don’t throw in fairies just to alleviate YOUR boredom with YOUR stories!

On Notice: Once Upon a Time…. I’m watching you, Adam & Eddy, et al….. Glaring at you so hard right now!!

The Showdown: Team Batman

Good evening, and welcome to our second installment of The Showdown! For this post J.J. and I watched (for the first time) Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. As evidenced by the title, I represent Team Batman. Now, I feel like I shouldn’t have to say anything to support my side other than: He’s Batman. However, I realize I owe it to you, dear readers, to put out a fiercely passionate argument worthy of being called a showdown!

Disclaimer: I loath Superman. Admittedly, I am incapable of being unbiased towards this character. I just really, really HATE him. But this post isn’t about why I can’t stand Superman.

This post is about why Batman is clearly the winner in this 183 minute ode to man pain/longest dick measuring contest ever recorded.

Ben Affleck’s Ass-ets:
After we get past the apparently obligatory baby Bruce losing his parents and falling into a bat cave portion of the movie, we get to see grown up Bruce driving in a fancy car. My exact response was, “Holy shit, when did Ben Affleck get hot?!” up until now he has not been what I would consider attractive. But you know what they say, the suit makes the man, and Gucci definitely proved that statement true. The tailor made waistcoat really accentuated Affleck’s broad shoulders and narrow waist, and the pants…I don’t know that I’ve seen a man’s ass look so good in a pair of pants since Gerard Butler in The Phantom of the Opera (you know the ones I’m talking about, don’t pretend you don’t.).

But honestly, superb costuming aside, the real nail in the coffin here is the shirtless-I’m-in-so-much-man-pain-workout scene. He is so perfectly muscled with just the right amount of chest hair. I want to get rid of my washing machine and just use his abs instead. His pecks are absolutely perfect, and don’t resemble man boobs in the slightest.

The same cannot be said for Superman. When he was shirtless I was a bit confused by what I was seeing. I was like, “why is there a close up of these ridiculously hairy lady boobs?”…it was very disconcerting.

Batman is ruggedly handsome. He has just the right amount of stubble, a bit of grey hair at his temples (giving him a very distinguished look), and, even though he’s getting a bit old to be a leading man, he’s kept himself in impeccable shape. It’s remarkable he looks this doable after having 3 kids. Good job, Ben.

But, seriously, Batman:
Now, I know I could go into character development or actual issues that were dealt with in the movie. There just weren’t any of those things.

Honestly, this movie lacked any real plot and the “conflict” lasted all of two minutes. None of the fight scenes were really satisfying and I was left with the lady equivalent of blue balls due to the complete and utter lack of anything resembling a climax.

Be excellent to each other and geek on,
Michelle Renée

Let’s Be Real… The Name Says It All

Do not attempt to move furniture unless you are wearing close-toed shoes, my Geeky darlings! Yes, I have plenty of nerd-tastic things to say to you all after this unexpected hiatus, but this little gem of wisdom is a recent acquisition thanks to actual experience… Toes break and toe nails get ripped off, and it’s just not pretty, my loves.

This has been a Public Service Announcement, brought to you by (BF) Geek Girls.

So, in this edition of “The Showdown,” I get to take on the pro-Superman side after a viewing of Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Fair warning/disclaimer: I don’t have a ton of experience with the Superman canon; I remember watching The New Adventures of Lois and Clark, but can’t actually recall a single episode; I was an avid fan of Smallville when it was on the WB/the CW (but failed to watch the last two seasons… because as long as I do not watch them, the show is technically not finished… it’s a weird me thing); there was also the animated Superman series that used to run with other WB afternoon delights such as Pinky and the Brain, the Animaniacs, and the animated Batman series… but that was an addition that I didn’t really see a lot of (not really sure why, and I don’t really want to spend money on more therapy sessions to dredge up the repressed memories); and, last but not least, I have seen the animated films Superman: Doomsday and Justice League: A New Frontier. All of this is the source of my Superman lore and knowledge, plus this film and its immediate antecedent, Man of Steel. Ye be warned.

So, what exactly makes Superman the hero to back in this film? Well, it’s all in the name really; he’s Superman, so it’s not like we can conclude that he’s anything other than the absolute best, right? That would be like saying that Mr. Incredible is entirely credible, and Frozone is totally hot! Ridiculous statements, just as I said! But for those of you who clearly cannot distinguish the average and inferior from the superior, here’s a list of Supe’s attributes that mark him as the best darn hero ever.

  • That jaw: I mean, you could cut diamonds on the rugged, yet sculpted perfection of that single line of steel!
  • Those eyes: going from sultry, soulful, and earnest blue to fiery crimson balls of death, it’s no wonder he’s a lady killer!
  • That hair: I mean, it doesn’t even get mussed in arid desert wind or during frigid mountain treks! His hair stylist must make a fortune in product endorsements because nary a strand dares to slide out of place whilst fighting to the figurative death! Plus, that lucky someone gets to run their fingers through those luscious ebony locks on a daily basis… So jealous!!
  • Those abs: So much rippling, muscly goodness here. I mean, my brain cells just short circuit at the mere memory of that—
  • That suit: Because only Superman could make yards of blue and red spandex look that good! There’s no air-brushing or digital manipulation here, folks! Just six feet plus of all American, Grade-A hunk!
  • The lack of gadgets: who needs a Bat Tank or the Bat plane when you can be your own flight crew and demolition team?
  • Henry Cavill: I mean, come on, people. He pulls off playful and innocent with a side of man-pain (The Count of Monte Cristo), but can also do smoldering bad-boy/best friend to the King with a side of man-pain (The Tudors)! It’s a (literally) panty-melting combination! Who really needs the x-ray vision at that point?

 

After all that, can you really argue that any hero other than Superman is the ultimate superhero? The best of the best? The creamiest, dreamiest cream of the vigilante crop? The epitome of crime fighting gloriousness? (Yeah, I didn’t think so!)

The Showdown: Batman versus Superman

We at (BF) Geek Girls would first like to apologize for the lack of content over the last few weeks. There are times in life when, interestingly enough, life happens; and boy has the last month been a doozey! But, to make up for this unfortunate and unforeseen turn of events, we have brought back—by no demand whatsoever—The Showdown! Today’s topic: who is the better superhero, Batman or Superman?

Our experts here at (BF) Geeks Girls—namely, us—sat down to watch one of the newest installments in the DC Comics cinematic universe, Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Checking in to Batman’s corner will be Michelle, and supporting Supe will be J.J. We did record our conversation during the screening, so hopefully that will be added to the site at some future date yet to be determined after we have carefully edited the admittedly rambling and frequently tangential gab-fest. Enjoy!

Fabulous Beasts: A Queer Reading of FBaWTFT

Hello again, my Geeky darlings! As you might have gathered from the title (and from Michelle’s post), today is all about the gayness! —I mean about the return to the Wizarding World first introduced in the Harry Potter series of books and films; pardon the Freudian slip there. Now, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the last 15 queers—I mean years, Harry Potter is kind of a big deal. Not only did a lot of kids grow up with Harry, Hermione, and Ron, but a lot of adults reclaimed their own childhoods and inner Geeks with this series. [I was in high school when the books first started to come out, so I’m much more in the latter category while Michelle is a bisexual in between—I mean a bit!]

Naturally, I jest… kinda. I know this makes for a rather out there topic for what is essentially a kids’ movie (and Michelle has frequently told me over the last couple of hours since we left the theater that, yes, I very much am reading too much into it), but I was hyper aware of what appeared to me to be a Queer/homoerotic element in the film; this is also odd in that, as a Sapiosexual and Demisexual, I very rarely “read” a film or book—or go out into the world and interact with people—actively searching to determine the sexual orientation of the characters. In short, a Demisexual is a person who identifies on the sexuality scale somewhere between asexual and sexual; a Sapiosexual is someone who is sexually attracted to a personality (or soul or consciousness) rather than a particular set of genitalia or physical configuration. What this means in practice is that I very rarely find myself immediately attracted to someone—I can admit when someone is particularly handsome or beautiful, even aesthetically perfect, but I rarely feel a sexual compulsion strong enough to ignore my social anxieties. It also means that, on the whole, I think of any characters in terms of their being/personality and pretty much ignore sexuality as an integral, informative part of their identity. However, I simply could not shake the feeling that several of the characters of the film—Newt Scamander included—were gay.

Let’s start with the character of Rupert Graves/Gellert Grindelwald, because yes, they are the same person. Sorry for the spoiler there, but I figured it out thanks to the clippings from “The New York Ghost” featured in the movie’s intro. Because, let’s face it, you don’t cast an actor of Colin Farrell’s caliber and provide the fans with almost zero information about his character, unless he’s going to play the surprise villain. Or maybe I’m just that good at solving mysteries. Now, thanks to guessing who his character really was, I knew that this was the man who had become fast friends with Albus Dumbledore when they were both teens. I will admit that when I first read the HP books, I did not see the homoerotic overtones to the Dumbledore-Grindelwald friendship/world-domination coalition—please see aforementioned lack of sexual insight. However, I could hardly ignore J.K. Rowling’s and Michael Gambon’s famous and oft-quoted conversation regarding the (belated, in my opinion) revelation that Dumbledore is/was gay. So, in a way, I was primed to read Graves/Grindelwald as gay. [Or, if not actually gay, then willing to exploit the sexuality of others (like Voldemort with Bellatrix Lestrange) for his own ends and gain.]

However, throw in a magically/sexually repressed teenager with a zealously religious mother figure? Freud would be salivating at the chance to get Credence Barebones on his couch! Earnestly played by Ezra Miller (who so physically inhabited the role that I didn’t even recognize him until almost the end of the film), Credence radiates a desperate need for even the tiniest scrap of attention and affection. In their scenes together, it seemed to me that Colin and Ezra were playing up a toxic mixture of father/son, lover/beloved; physically, Colin invaded Ezra’s space, and Ezra responded in kind. It didn’t look like they were about to rip each other’s clothes off or anything tawdry (or blatant) in terms of satisfying any sexual yearning on Credence’s part, but there was a physical closeness—heightened by their always meeting in the shadowed alley beside his mother’s home/house of witch hating—that lent itself to a sexualized interpretation. If intended, it was brilliantly done; if I am, as Michelle again reminds me that I am definitely, reading too much into it, then I really need to rethink my life (and fan fiction reading) choices.

But aside from the sociopathic come-to-the-dark-side seduction played by Colin, I also read Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander as gay—or at least potentially gay. I don’t think I can point to one thing in particular, but the overall impression I received was of someone who rarely (if ever) had sex… or really much interaction with other witches and wizards. Yet one of the first things that Scamander does upon coming to New York is make a No-mag guy friend, dragging the unfortunate baker into the magical world by accident and then enlisting his help in catching the creatures who escaped from Scamander’s enchanted suitcase. Not that Jacob Kowalski seemed to me to be the least bit sexually attracted to Scamander, but the fact that they struck up a close bond so quickly appeared to me as potentially indicative of Scamander’s sexual preferences. I also read him as being socially introverted and possibly a Demisexual, being more focused on the care and well-being of magical creatures—his vocation, if you will—than on forming sexual attachments. In terms of physical performance, Redmayne portrayed Scamander as almost literally withdrawn from humanity (and wizard-kind), hunched down and curled in upon himself. He also pitched his voice higher and spoke very softly, in what felt like an attempt to present Scamander as meek, mild, and self-effacing.

If this film were set in more modern times, then all of these characteristics would not read as Queer; but this is prohibition New York City, with several of the characters speaking about eradicating moral depravity and spiritual corruption. The era shown in the film was not all that far removed from the prosecution and persecution of Oscar Wilde. Redmayne’s portrayal often came across as effete, his love of the magical creatures he cares for being the grand passion of his life; indeed, as he shows Kowalski around the menagerie in the enchanted suitcase, Scamander lovingly chides a bowtruckle for his attachment issues and even bottle feeds a young, unidentified creature. He’s sensitive and a nurturer, both of which contrast with the harsh, aggressive Graves and the authoritarian MACUSA President Seraphina Picquery who represent the larger Wizarding World in their dislike of, disdain for, indifference toward, or hostility toward non-Wizard magical creatures. His sensitivity, especially as contrasted to almost all of the other male characters of the film, simply added to my impression that he was a Queer character.

And going back to the character of Credence for a bit… He really comes across like Carrie—a teenager desperate to fit in, starved for genuine affection from the adults in his life, and repressing the very thing which makes him unique in order to appease an implacable God. For every infraction, either real or imagined, Mrs. Barebones (who is not his biological mother) makes him remove his own belt, hand it over to her, and then allow her to beat him with it. Now, after receiving one of these sessions of “loving discipline”, Graves comes to talk to Credence and sees the boy’s palm covered in bruises, welts, and lacerations. As anyone who studies Victorian Literature can tell you, there were lots of colorful euphemism for sexual acts and also some amusing urban legends, some of which have survived through today. For instance, in Dracula, Jonathan Harker notes that the Count has hairy hands, particularly and “curiously” on the palms; due to my sheltered, religious upbringing, I didn’t find out until studying it for a college class that hairy palms is reputed to be a symptom of excessive masturbation (and was a medical diagnosis at the time). Masturbation itself was often referred to as “self-abuse”. So, when Credence presents his obviously abused palm to Graves—who then heals the physical wounds, but obviously does not (indeed, cannot because of his sociopathy) heal the emotional scarring—it read to me as an erotic moment. That Credence is abused by a Bible thumping tyrant, especially after she makes him remove his belt, also read to me as coded sexual abuse and contributed to the toxic environment effecting the boy’s social, psychological, and sexual development.

In the interest of full disclosure, I know that my own past may have me reading too much into the possible exploitation and abuse of Credence (and its subsequent effect on his character development); a person who was considered a friend of the family betrayed their trust, and mine, for a number of years. It is only recently that I have been able to come to terms with what happened and label it as the abuse it was; thus, you could say that I have a heightened sensitivity to the issue of the sexual abuse of children at the moment. However, I would like to point out that this bias and my reading of the characters as Queer does not in any way indicate a dislike for any of them. Indeed, with Credence in particular, I feel a great deal of understanding and sympathy—I intimately know what it feels like to want to do everything in your power to please that one person who makes you feel loved, wanted, and special. As someone who has found that personal satisfaction in life can be tied to a profession or a calling, rather than to a relationship status, I connect with Scamander’s wonder and joy in caring for his infinitely rare and fantastic creatures. And I feel pity, for those people who live their lives with no consideration for the damage they cause, with no compassion for their fellow beings, and I pity the world which has to suffer the consequences of their hate. I, like Albus Dumbledore, choose to turn on a light in the darkest of times and encourage all to live with love (and Geekery!) in their hearts. –J.J.

A Fantastic Review

SPOILERS!* 

*Probably. I’m not altogether certain where this post is going to go, tbh. So, incase there end up being some, consider yourselves warned. Reading past this point is really a gamble on your part either way.

Before I get into the actual post I just wanted to apologize for getting this week’s post out a few days late. I had family things to attend to on our regular posting day.

And now the post!

J.J. and I saw Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them this afternoon; and, naturally, we have decided to share our thoughts with all of you!

REASONS I LOVE THIS MOVIE: 

Niffler

If everything else about the movie sucked, I would still love it because of this delightful little creature. I want this niffler to have his own television series (6 seasons and a movie!). Scamander’s niffler is responsible for getting the “plot” of the movie going, but what he is really responsible for is stealing the entire movie. Honestly, if you don’t fall in love with this weird little platypus-mole-kiwi lookin’ thing…on second thought, never mind. It is literally not possible for anyone to not love this sassy little clepto. Even if you didn’t love him, he’d just steal your heart anyway (assuming it’s shiny enough).

I could keep going on about how much I love this niffler, but I should probably move on to other things before this goes from movie review to  love letter to a niffler. But, seriously, I love this niffler the way Pawnee loves Lil’ Sebastian (guess which show I recently re-watched!).

World Building

I’m a fan of it. This movie did a spectacular job of setting up the wizarding community in America. We got to see how the wizarding community in America was different from and similar to the wizarding community in the UK. A key difference between wizarding communities, in Britain and America, is the policy on relationships with muggles, or no-majs. Wizards in America are not legally allowed to form any type of relationship with a no-maj, and this is a concept that helps add some sense of plot to the movie. We also got a look at a magical creature that is native to North America, which was super awesome. Turns out this is also a “plot point”, but it isn’t revealed until much later in the movie. I love this movie because it really does an excellent job of expanding the wizarding world we’ve come to know and love.

The Creatures

Honestly, the creatures were just amazing. The cgi was just absolutely fantastic. I may have forgotten that these creatures weren’t actually on set (or, you know, “real”), and that, consequently, niffler-wrangler is not actually a job I can apply for (-_-).  It was also just pure fun to watch Newt and Kowalski run around New York trying to catch all these escaped beasts. Oh, the shenanigans.

RESONS I’M KINDA MEH ABOUT THIS MOVIE: 

Plot

The plot of the movie is fairly farcical, in that I encourage you not to try and find or follow it. Honestly, it was pretty much pure exposition (with some very hilarious chase scenes thrown in). It set up the world of wizards in America, introduced the Magical Congress of The United States of America, introduced issues facing the wizarding community (the New Salem-ers were particularly horrifying for this witch *shudders*), introduced a villain, and introduced a lovable bunch of misfits who turn out to be hero material.  But that’s about it.

I’m actually really ok with this. I wasn’t really expecting much in terms of plot, and was actually pleasantly surprised with what I got. However, I don’t know if this was strong enough to be a stand alone movie. Kids will enjoy it because it’s funny and the creatures are amazing, fans of Harry Potter will love it for its world building, but I don’t know that anyone outside of these groups would be able to watch this movie without getting massively confused.

Eddie Redmayne’s Performance

The reason this is here is because I felt his portrayal of Newt Scamander was very reminiscent of his performance in The Danish Girl (which was phenomenal, by the way). I very much like the character Redmayne developed for Newt, but there was something about his speech patterns and body language that brought me back to his performance of Einar. This, unfortunately, took me out of the world of Fantastic Beasts and disrupted an other wise very immersive experience. If you haven’t seen The Danish Girl, or don’t really remember it all that well, this wont be an issue for you.

CONCLUSION:

Overall, I loved this movie. It was a lot of fun and full of memorable characters. All of the actors gave amazing performances and the pacing was excellent. I highly recommend seeing this movie in theaters as these fantastic beasts really do deserve to be seen on a big screen. I hope we get to come back to this world soon! Also, MORE NIFFLER!

As always, be excellent to each other and geek on!

~Michelle Renée

p.s. Can someone out there look into getting me a niffler? I seriously need one.

Unusual Asks: Michelle Renée Edition

Good evening my geeky darlings! I do not have anything terribly entertaining for you this week because my personal life has been…a bit hectic and full of major events. Consequently, I have not been feeling like my usual enthusiastic, geeky self. One of my closest friends got married, and I got to fly out to perform the ceremony! Then, shortly after returning home, my grandmother passed away.

And then, Trump.

Needless to say, I have been indulging in some much needed escapism, and don’t really feel like turning my brain back on. So, I’m going to fill out these unusual asks like JJ did last week because I’m original like that.

Unusual Asks

Spotify, SoundCloud, or Pandora? None of the above. I actually enjoy the radio or my iTunes library.

Is your room messy or clean? Considering I just moved into my room all of three weeks ago it’s fairly clean and a little barren. I do tend to be a bit on the messier side though. A little bit of chaos makes me feel comfortable and at home. If things are too clean I freak out a bit…I can’t think because it feels too sterile. Also, I’m kinda lazy.

What color are your eyes? They are blue-gray, with a ring of yellow-green around the pupil (a common genetic mutation in people of Celtic ancestry); my eyes will change color based on what I am wearing though. <—- Me too!

Do you like your name? Why? I’m kind of indifferent towards my name. I don’t enjoy how often people spell/pronounce my name as ‘Michael’ or ‘Mitchell’.

What is your relationship status? I have a person with whom I spend a decent amount of time and enjoy engaging in certain…shall we say adult activities with.

Describe your personality in 3 words or less. Subject to change.

What color hair do you have?  Currently, I have my natural ash blonde. For the record, I hate it and will probably change it soon.

What kind of car do you drive? Color? A silver Versa Note. Her name is Greer, she’s a hatchback, and I love her.

Where do you shop? At stores, both physical and virtual.

How would you describe your style? My wardrobe is a combination of gothy/witchy things, woodland faery things, and ‘I-own-this-cuz-it’s-comfy-don’t-judge-me’.

Favorite social media account? What is social media? I don’t social media…I should probably social media.

What size bed do you have? Queen sized; it’s adjustable!

Any siblings? I am an only child. My mom wanted lots of kids, but, alas, that was not in the cards for her.

If you can live anywhere in the world where would it be? Why? Edinburgh, Scotland because it’s seriously the most beautiful place ever. Also, I actually felt at home when I was there which is something I can’t say for where I actually live. Alternatively, San Francisco or Belgium (I have family there).

Favorite snapchat filter? I do not have snapchat, and I don’t really even understand what it is, but my friend has it and I quite enjoyed the bat filter they had for Halloween.

Favorite makeup brand(s). Urban Decay, Bare Minerals, and Tarte

How many times a week do you shower? On average, between 5 and 6.

Favorite TV show? Currently, I am super into Gravity Falls and Westworld.

Shoe size? Depends on the shoe, really. Usually between 7.5 and 8.

How tall are you? I am 5’6.5”. People always think I’m a lot taller, though. I have really good posture due to years of professional choral experience. I literally have to try to slouch.

Sandals or sneakers? Neither. I really love my flats.

Do you go to the gym? I used to. I actually enjoy working out, but my back problems and lack of disposable income have made going to the gym impossible.

Describe your dream date.   What is date? I kind of have a one track mind when it comes to people I am attracted to/interested in, so…I really don’t care what we do or where we go as long as we end up in a room with a bed and some privacy.

How much money do you have in your wallet at the moment? Hehe…that’s cute. I only have plastic, and even it’s value is questionable. It’s like Russian Roulette every time I make a purchase. I need to get my life together, guys.

What color socks are you wearing? I don’t believe in socks.

How many pillows do you sleep with? One, maybe two, and a teddy bear. His name is Teddy and I’ve had him since I was born. Also, baby me was shit at coming up with names. Seriously, I had like 6 stuffed elephants named Fred.

Do you have a job? What do you do? I am currently unemployed! However, before I was a behavior specialist for a non-public skool. I worked with children and adults who had severe/profound special needs.

How many friends do you have? I have a total of 7 friends at varying degrees of closeness, but they are all considered friends. I don’t really have acquaintances because I’m not good with the socializing.

What’s the worst thing you have ever done? Define “worst”…Seriously, define it for me because I’ve done some things and worst is subjective.

What’s your favorite candle scent? I dunno…ones that smell nice? Is it weird that JJ would know the answer to this better than I do? She always knows what scents I like…sometimes she knows me better than I know myself.

3 favorite boy names. Erik, Edward, and Vincent

3 favorite girl names. Vera-Lynn, Branwen, Lyra

Favorite actor? Alan Tudyk. Not only is he an amazing actor, but he is a talented voice-over actor as well. And, yes, those are two very different skill sets.

Favorite actress? Rose McIver, she is incredibly talented and super adorable. Also, Viola Davis; that woman is genuinely a force of nature on screen.

Who is your celebrity crush? Rose McIver, Kerry Washington, Robert Carlyle, and Steven Yeun.

Favorite movie? Labyrinth

Do you read a lot? What’s your favorite book? I read..not as much as JJ, but I read quite a bit. Aaaand….I’m going to have to go with The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Last Unicorn. This question was agonizing…

Money or brains? Brains, hands down.

Do you have a nickname? Not really, no.

How many times have you been to the hospital?  Too many to count, honestly. I’m very accident prone. Also, my kidneys like to make stones and my ovaries like to make cysts…so, that’s fun.

Top 10 favorite songs. Heh…that’s not happening. Nice try though.

Do you take any medications daily? I do, as a matter of fact. It’s in everyone’s best interest, really.

What is your skin type? (oily, dry, etc.) Pale as f*ck. It’s prone to sunburn if I’m inside sitting next to a window. Other than that, I don’t really break out or dry out.

What is your biggest fear? Maieusiophobia, the fear of becoming pregnant and giving birth.

How many kids do you want? Please refer to the previous question. Zero. I want ZERO kids…biologically speaking anyway. I am open to the idea of adoption much, much further in the future.

What’s your go to hair style? Down. It’s too short to really do much with, but that is why I opted for the asymmetrical bob.

What type of house do you live in? I have a separate apartment above my parents’ house. It’s nice, self-contained, and I get free dinners on nights I venture downstairs.

Who is your role model? J.K. Rowling.

What was the last compliment you received? “You’re amazing”.
What was the last text you sent? “Also, I’m here” sent to JJ because Wednesdays are BF Geek Girl days.

How old were you when you found out Santa wasn’t real? I don’t understand this question…He’s very real and it’s thinking like that that results in fewer presents. Damn non-believers…

What is your dream car? A hearse with good gas milage.

Opinion on smoking? I buy one or two packs of cloves a year because I enjoy the taste and smell…but that’s about it. I don’t really have an opinion on it.

Do you go to college? I technically have two degrees…except one is far more useless than the other (it’s an AA and a BA). I made it half way through a Master’s program, but then decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I am currently in two certificate programs at a community college. Yay career changes!

What is your dream job? Film/television location manager; voice-over actor

Would you rather live in rural areas or the suburbs? Neither. I’d rather live in an actual city like San Francisco.

Do you take shampoo and conditioner bottles from hotels? Nope…they expect you to take them.

Do you have freckles? Yes; I was born with some and got some others due to sun damage. Yay being pale as shit in a very sunny climate…

Do you smile for pictures? I don’t show up in pictures, especially if the flash is on.

How many pictures do you have on your phone? 526

Have you ever peed in the woods? In all honestly, probably. I did a lot of camping and backpacking as a kid.

Do you still watch cartoons? Hell yes! Gravity Falls is my new favorite. I also love Invader Zim, Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends, and Courage the Cowardly Dog, just to name a few.

Do you prefer chicken nuggets from Wendy’s or McDonalds? I prefer chicken fries from Burger King.

Favorite dipping sauce? Ranch AND bbq or sweet and sour.

What do you wear to bed? pajama pants and a t-shirt. If it’s cold enough, I’ll wear my nyanpire onesie.

Have you ever won a spelling bee? I’ve never even thought to enter one…I’m terrible at spelling. Sometimes I forget how to spell ‘of’. I’m not kidding.

What are your hobbies? Does watching a shit ton of Hulu and Netflix count? Also, reading and singing.

Can you draw? I can in that I have the ability.

Do you play an instrument? I have played the violin, trombone, and piano. I can still kind of play the piano.

What was the last concert you saw? VNV Nation. It was amazing and quite possible the best show I’ve ever been to…and I’ve been to an NSP concert. So…I mean.

Tea or coffee? COFFEE!

Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts? Starbucks

Do you want to get married? Eh…I’ve never been big on the idea. If it happens, it happens. If not, that’s cool too.

What is your crush’s first and last initial? What am I, 12? I don’t have a crush.

Are you going to change your last name when you get married? I’m working on changing my name right now. I hate my last name. I’m either going to make up a new one or just make my middle name my last name. In either case, if I do get married, I’d only change mine if theirs was cooler. Alternatively, we could come up with a totally different last name that we both like and both change our names!

What color looks best on you? Jewel tones and black.

Do you miss anyone right now? Not really.

Do you sleep with your door open or closed? CLOSED! I’m trying to get some restorative sleep, not eaten by monsters or murdered by maniacs…

Do you believe in ghosts? Yes. I had a ghost cat while growing up. I’ve also had some freaky encounters throughout the years.
What is your biggest pet peeve? People who walk just a bit slower than the speed I want to walk but then speed up if I try to get around them.

Last person you called? My mom.

Favorite ice cream flavor? Cake batter from Cold Stone.

Regular Oreos or golden Oreos? Pumpkin Spice Oreos. Also, Halloween Oreos.

Chocolate or rainbow sprinkles? Neither. I despise sprinkles. I really do. They are terrible and pointless.

What shirt are you wearing? A forest green t-shirt.

What is your phone background? A cartoon, gender bent Hades with Cerberus.

Are you outgoing or shy? Neither. I’m just introverted. I can appear outgoing when I’m in a small group of people I’m comfortable with. However, most of the time I just like to hang back and observe people. I’m not shy, though; I’d just rather not interact if I don’t have to.

Do you like it when people play with your hair? Depends on who the person is. JJ or my other friends, yes. Stranger or acquaintance, no…don’t touch me. I’ll kill you.

Do you like your neighbors? They have small children…the children are loud. I do not care for this.

Do you wash your face? at night? in the morning? Yes. Both.

Have you ever been high? Yes and, honestly, I don’t really care for it. I like being in control of my mental faculties.

Have you ever been drunk? Yes, many times.

Last thing you ate? Harvest pumpkin pie.

Favorite lyrics right now. “And all the people say/ You can’t wake up, this is not a dream/ You’re part of a machine, you are not a human being/ With your face all made up, living on a screen/ Low on self-esteem, so you run on gasoline/ I think there’s a flaw in my code/ These voices wont leave me alone”

Summer or winter? Winter!

Day or night? Night.

Dark, milk, or white chocolate? Dark.

Favorite month? October and January

What is your zodiac sign? Vedic Astrology: Sagittarius
Western Astrology (before the addition of Ophiuchus): Capricorn

Who was the last person you cried in front of? Roy.

Oh, thank the gods it’s over! That was a very long list of questions. Now you guys know some completely useless information about me. I hope this wasn’t terribly uninteresting. I have something much better in the works for next week, I promise.

Until then, be excellent to each other and geek on!

~Michelle Renée

The Writer of Fan Fiction

Whenever I tell people that I am a writer, I usually get asked one of two questions: first, anything I’ve read? And second, how do you come up with what your ideas?

Now, as of this moment, the first question is fairly easy to answer—unless you are a reader of Captain Swan/Once Upon A Time fan fiction, then no. The second one is a bit more complicated, and thus is the topic for my post this week.

While I was working on my Bachelor’s, most of my professors gave us the same guidelines: of a certain page length, on one of the books/genres covered over the ten weeks of the course (I went to a University on the quarter system), and be original. It was the greatest four years of my life, academically, because there was zero expectation for us to use critical or secondary sources; if you could provide evidence and analysis directly from the primary text, then you were not penalized for not referring to academic authorities. However, when I started my Master’s program, all of that changed… Oh, the page length was kept, but not only was I expected to provide the opinions of established critics, I was told that “there is not original idea or topic”.

Frankly, I think that that’s rubbish and more than a little cynical, because people are constantly changing and evolving; and if there’s anything else I learned by being an English major, it’s that you can pretty much prove even the most absurd and ridiculous of things about a text. This doesn’t mean that each author is without influence when they sit down to write their next piece. After all, language is built on a foundation of shared knowledge, so it makes sense that the books which have come before will in some way influence those that follow. Take any work in the Western canon as an example—especially ones from the Nineteenth Century or earlier; almost all of them will contain at least one (but typically many, many more) quote from the Christian Bible. Because the Christian religion was such an integral part of society for hundreds of years, writers took it for granted that their readers would not only recognize those references, but that their imaginations would supply them with the surrounding story of the reference and that it would enrich or inform their understanding of the newer piece.

Does that mean that any new material created is unoriginal, simply because it hearkens back to something already established and known? This is one of the fundamental arguments which surrounds the debates on the literary merits of fan fiction today. Many scholars openly embrace the idea of fan fiction while others shun it as a fad and as a repository for terribly written and terribly uninventive word-slush. As per usual, I’m sitting on the fence (metaphorically, of course)—the world of fan fiction is just as diverse and rich as the world of published literature; some of it is absolute drivel that has me crying due to the number of grammatical errors, and some of it is so brilliant and inspired that I wish some of those “amateur” writers were the ones running the shows I watch. But one thing that I will take an absolute, firm stance on: it is not my job, nor any critic’s job, nor any other writer or persons’ of authority on writing to tell people that they should stop writing or creating fan works (or even printing their own). (And I have had friends who have written some pretty sub-standard pieces which they ended up essentially self-publishing.)

Because, while some people put more time or energy or effort into their pieces of fan fiction—just as some established writers put more research into their work—there’s no telling when and where literary gold will be struck. Example: Jack Kerouac supposedly wrote On the Road in a seven-day whirlwind of typing all on one long sheet of paper. I tried reading it once, and in the words of Grumpy Cat: It was awful! And yet, it’s considered by many to be one of the greatest American novels ever written. Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury… another book considered to be a GAM was one that I couldn’t even get through the first chapter. I somehow managed to go my entire secondary, undergraduate, and graduate education without having to read either of those authors (or Steinbeck or Hemingway), but they were on “The List of Books to Read Before You Die” and I felt obligated to at least try them. And yet, I have gotten more enjoyment out of reading a whole bunch of amateurs than I ever found in some of the accepted classics of Western Literature.

Call me a populist or accuse me of having plebian taste all you want, I’m convinced that some of these paragons of the pen were simply full of their own self-importance and enjoyed writing nonsense just to see if they could get away with it. (Side-bar: I did enjoy Hemingway’s works, which I read for fun; I also am a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald; but I would rather submit to torture that read anything of Steinbeck’s… I read The Pearl in 7th grade and that was more than enough to sour me on him forever.) Or maybe I’m a bit of an old soul, because I prefer the cadences and often poetical phrasing to be found in some of the older works. However you choose to classify me, I would say that I’m always drawn in by good writing, an interesting story or angle, and a compelling character; and oftentimes, I don’t even know if I’ll like it until I’m right in the thick of the book and devouring each page. So, I look for those criteria in the pieces of fan fiction I read as well (and, hopefully, I manage to convey the same in the pieces I write).

But how do I come up with my ideas? The smart-ass answer is alchemy. The long answer is a bit complicated, but I’ll try and give you a sense of how I get started. My current work in progress, His Dark Beauty, started because of a picture—just two isolated images really of different costumes for the characters of Emma Swan and Killian Jones (released not long before the premiere of Once Upon A Time’s season three finale); as a fandom, we had no clue what these new costumes meant, but we definitely had our theories. Mine was fairly simple: somehow, Killian becomes a prince and Emma becomes a peasant. So, then I did some brainstorming.

Of all the bits and pieces of writing, brainstorming has to be my favorite part of the process. I write out, usually with the help of a friend and fellow writer, some of the possibilities… And I throw some pretty wild scenarios out there at first. I always love engaging in the brainstorming process with other writers, too, because by throwing a lot of crazy their way it helps them refine the characters or situations, it makes them find an answer to logically refute whatever it is I’ve put in their way. Brainstorming is kind of like the basket of ingredients given to contestants on the show Chopped—you never know what you’re going to get, and you never know how they are going to end up using some of the crazy. But watching something beautiful (or messy) come out at the end is always thrilling to see. It’s this bubbling cauldron of potential poisons and antidotes that you have to sift through and refine and tweak and worry over, hoping that by the end of the day you have something creative, delightful, and (relatively) wholesome to share.

Back to HDB. So, Killian is a prince and Emma is a peasant… How did this happen? In what kind of universe would these alternative versions of themselves appear? The next question, as I was dealing with a fan fiction, was how do I get their personalities to be similar to the way they are on the show now? First, I needed to decide how closely I was going to adhere to show canon in terms of crafting their character/characterization. This was very important to me because I wanted to start out with them being as true to their television selves as I could make them, while still dropping them in a different setting. Because, if all goes as it should with a piece of fan fiction, the characters will start to grow and evolve in a different direction; in novels, as in life, you don’t want your characters to remain flat and uninteresting, which means that they have to react and change as a result of these new scenarios and situations that you as the author have placed them in.

Another big decision was what to do with Henry. In the show, Emma has a son and gives him up for adoption; because I knew that I wasn’t placing the characters in our reality but rather in a fantastical one, I knew that an unwed mother would come up against resistance and clash with other characters in a way that I didn’t want for my Emma. Yet, Henry has a huge impact on the narrative, so not only did Killian become a prince in my version, he became a father as well. I also decided to flip the genders, because I liked the photonegative symmetry of the choice. Next, in order to create a socially isolated Emma, I chose to have both of her parents be dead at the starting of my story; a lot of thought and rationale went into this choice, and given the popularity of the Snowing ship within the fandom at the time, I knew it was one that might scare off a few readers. But ultimately, it also dovetailed nicely into my (at that time) vague and nebulous theme of an individual’s actions having consequences—this theme really solidified itself for me once the finale premiered because of Regina’s lines in that two-part episode, one delivered to Snow and one delivered to Emma.

And, to be perfectly honest, I started writing this piece as a bit of a smut-war/dare with another fic writer on Tumblr and fanfiction.net named Anja. I didn’t have all of the answers mapped out in my head yet (and there’s still plenty of stuff that I am still in the process of refining). But the more I thought about this version of these characters, and in many ways I now think of them and write for them as my own, the more I knew that I had hit upon something really worth writing well. I decided to go all in, and for me, that meant a lot of research and world building. Given the mixed reactions, I know that not everyone was pleased with my efforts—the immediate feedback you get as a fan fiction writer can be both a blessing and a curse, because the amount of negativity and nastiness that gets sent to you under the guise of “constructive criticism” can be incredibly hard on someone who is not used to it. But the more I think about it, the happier I am that I decided to take my time and put out the best work possible rather than simply wing it and publish as I went.

I do need to say that I am incredibly grateful to my followers on Tumblr and fanfiction.net (and Archive of Our Own) for their support and their enthusiasm for this story, because without them I don’t know that I would have had the courage to keep writing and aspire to make writing my profession. Don’t get me wrong: there’s still plenty of doubt and fear, but having a bunch of strangers who have become friends validate what you are doing is an absolutely powerful and amazing experience. So, for those who have been patient and continue to be patient, thank you! I hope that I can continue to make you proud. And to anyone who is new to my world, thank you for taking a chance on (BF) Geek Girls! Telling stories and entertaining people is our passion, so we hope that we’ve brought a little brightness and a little creativity into your day.

And remember, stay Geeky, my friends! —J.J.

All About Moi: Or, Sorry But I’ve Got Noth–Oh, Look, Squirrel!

Greetings, Geeklings! So, I am without my beloved partner in crime today because she’s probably comatose after a trip to the Mid-West officiating for one of her childhood friends’ wedding. Which leaves me at loose-ends a bit because usually we discuss what we plan on talking about each week, and a J.J. without any sort of limiting or direction tends to get overwhelmed quickly by the vast amount of inexpressible potential topics… And while I was scrolling through my Tumblr for some inspiration, I chanced along one of those inbox games with the list of odd questions that are meant to reveal something about your life and your personality. Since I have almost zero filter or sense of when to stop sharing, I thought it would be fun to let you all know a little bit more about moi. (Disclaimer for all potential identity thieves: I literally have nothing but debts to my name… I wish you a whole new level of frustration in finding a way to milk my name for lines of credit.)

Unusual Asks

  1. Spotify, SoundCloud, or Pandora? CD’s. Literally, Geeks, I am that person who still buys the actual CD in its case and everything. I am mostly listening to scores and soundtracks as of late.
  2. Is your room messy or clean? A mixture of both really. There are lots of stacks of books on my shelves, and my desk is often cluttered, but dirty clothes belong in hampers and clean one in closets and drawers!
  3. What color are your eyes? They are blue-gray, with a ring of yellow-green around the pupil (a common genetic mutation in people of Celtic ancestry); my eyes will change color based on what I am wearing though.
  4. Do you like your name? Why? I picked it for myself, so yes.
  5. What is your relationship status? Single. As an introvert, I don’t exactly see this changing any time soon, but I’m not seeking anything out either.
  6. Describe your personality in 3 words or less. Sarcastic but sweet.
  7. What color hair do you have? A lovely dark drown at the moment.
  8. What kind of car do you drive? Color? A silver Highlander; a family hand-me-down.
  9. Where do you shop? Target and Amazon. Barnes & Noble on occasion, but the really good ones are a bit of a drive from where I live.
  10. How would you describe your style? Casual and comfortable.
  11. Favorite social media account? Tumblr.
  12. What size bed do you have? Queen sized; also a hand-me-down.
  13. Any siblings? I am the middle child, which should explain a lot; an older brother and a younger sister.
  14. If you can live anywhere in the world where would it be? Why? Oooh… good one! I’d have to say Ireland, because they are an independent republic. Scotland would also be a possibility, but I’m not a fan of their tax system.
  15. Favorite snapchat filter? What’s snapchat? No, seriously… what is it?
  16. Favorite makeup brand(s). I don’t usually wear make-up, to be quite honest. I’ve had a rough couple of years, medically speaking, so my skin is kind of stressed and weird at the moment. But I do like Bare Minerals brand.
  17. How many times a week do you shower? 7+.
  18. Favorite TV show? Conviction, about which I posted last week.
  19. Shoe size? Depends on the shoe, but usually 8.5 or 9.
  20. How tall are you? I am 5’8”.
  21. Sandals or sneakers? Flip flops. I love rain, but that’s the one kind of weather I can’t wear flip flops in… My toes love their freedom.
  22. Do you go to the gym? HA ha Ha ha ha hA!!!
  23. Describe your dream date. Hell, it’s been so long…
  24. How much money do you have in your wallet at the moment? $5 and some change.
  25. What color socks are you wearing? None, because of the toe freedom issue.
  26. How many pillows do you sleep with? 2-4 depending on how often I move in my sleep.
  27. Do you have a job? What do you do? I work as a church secretary…. Stop judging me!
  28. How many friends do you have? I would say that I have four close friends and a handful of acquaintances.
  29. What’s the worst thing you have ever done? I accidentally ran over a skunk.
  30. What’s your favorite candle scent? Midsummer Night by Yankee Candle. I tend to gravitate toward more masculine, assertive scents. Woodsy with citrus notes are the best!
  31. 3 favorite boy names. Eric, Colin, and Connor.
  32. 3 favorite girl names. Sophia, Erin, Selena.
  33. Favorite actor? Colin O’Donoghue. And Harrison Ford.
  34. Favorite actress? Jennifer Morrison. And Carrie Fischer… that woman is a national treasure!
  35. Who is your celebrity crush? Tom Hiddleston. (And Colin O’Donoghue. I try not to crush on married actors/celebrities, but he makes it so difficult!)
  36. Favorite movie? The Lord of the Rings. It’s just one movie.
  37. Do you read a lot? What’s your favorite book? That’s a joke, right? Yes, I do a lot of reading. I think Jane Eyre is still my favorite; it took me a lot of tries to read it all the way through… I think I read the childhood portions like 4 times before I was mature enough to want to keep going.
  38. Money or brains? As I possess an abundance of the later and not much of the former, it’s a hard call… But I’d rather be smart than rich.
  39. Do you have a nickname? What is it? J.J.
  40. How many times have you been to the hospital? Emergency room or actually admitted for an overnight stay? …. I was a very accident prone child… Somewhere in the region of 10.
  41. Top 10 favorite songs. *snorts*
  42. Do you take any medications daily? Yep, for your safety.
  43. What is your skin type? (oily, dry, etc.) Inability to commit.
  44. What is your biggest fear? Abibliophobia, the fear of running out of books.
  45. How many kids do you want? Not sure that’s in the cards for me anymore. Certainly none anytime soon.
  46. What’s your go to hair style? Half up, half down.
  47. What type of house do you live in? My parents’.
  48. Who is your role model? The Kitten Lady, Hannah Shaw. (Look her up on YouTube, Instagram, etc.).
  49. What was the last compliment you received? I’m honestly not sure.
  50. What was the last text you sent? “Nap time done, Michelle time now?”
  51. How old were you when you found out Santa wasn’t real? 10. An older girl from Church told a group of us younger ones; also opened our eyes to the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny fallacies.
  52. What is your dream car? I love cars, but I would be too afraid of scratching it or running into something. The car I drive is just fine and has lived a good long life, so if I destroy it then it’s all good.
  53. Opinion on smoking? I’ve smoked and still have the occasional cigar if I feel in the mood. It’s your body, and we’re all going to die anyway…
  54. Do you go to college? I already have two degrees, but I really enjoy learning. Not at the moment, though.
  55. What is your dream job? Television writer for Disney/ABC; head Mouseketeer.
  56. Would you rather live in rural areas or the suburbs? Suburbs. Rural is nice for a getaway, but I’m too paranoid to live in an isolated area. I’d become a Doomsday prepper.
  57. Do you take shampoo and conditioner bottles from hotels? Absolutely.
  58. Do you have freckles? Yes.
  59. Do you smile for pictures? Yes, but it’s often forced.
  60. How many pictures do you have on your phone? 141.
  61. Have you ever peed in the woods? Nope, but in the Arizona desert, yes.
  62. Do you still watch cartoons? Disney movies count, so yes.
  63. Do you prefer chicken nuggets from Wendy’s or McDonalds? McDonalds.
  64. Favorite dipping sauce? None. I’m a purist.
  65. What do you wear to bed? Depends on how I’m feeling.
  66. Have you ever won a spelling bee? I always came in second place, usually to my cousin.
  67. What are your hobbies? I read, I geek… that’s pretty much it.
  68. Can you draw? Poorly. But I can color inside the lines really well.
  69. Do you play an instrument? I used to play piano, but am sorely out of practice.
  70. What was the last concert you saw? Toby Keith, many moons ago.
  71. Tea or coffee? Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon and evening.
  72. Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts? Starbucks
  73. Do you want to get married? I’m not opposed to the idea.
  74. What is your crush’s first and last initial? I don’t have one. Celebrity crushes don’t count.
  75. Are you going to change your last name when you get married? Might could happen.
  76. What color looks best on you? Black.
  77. Do you miss anyone right now? My Michelle.
  78. Do you sleep with your door open or closed? Open. The cats would stage a coup otherwise.
  79. Do you believe in ghosts? I believe that the truth is out there…
  • What is your biggest pet peeve? People who cut you off and then use their turn signal… and improper punctuation.
  1. Last person you called? Michelle.
  2. Favorite ice cream flavor? One scoop of mint chip with one scoop of vanilla. Perfection!
  3. Regular Oreos or golden Oreos? Classic Oreos.
  4. Chocolate or rainbow sprinkles? Chocolate. I assume that you mean chocolate fudge and not chocolate sprinkles, because that would be lame.
  5. What shirt are you wearing? A tank and a plaid shirt.
  6. What is your phone background? A picture of some succulents I planted (and which I have yet to kill!)
  7. Are you outgoing or shy? Very shy. Except while hiding behind the anonymity of the internet.
  8. Do you like it when people play with your hair? Yes.
  9. Do you like your neighbors? They’re alright.
  10. Do you wash your face? at night? in the morning? Yes. Both.
  11. Have you ever been high? Yes.
  12. Have you ever been drunk? Yes.
  13. Last thing you ate? A piece of coffee cake and a latte.
  14. Favorite lyrics right now. “Oh Lord, Oh Lord, what have I done?/ I’ve fallen in love with a man on the run, Oh Lord, Oh Lord, I’m begging you please/ Don’t take that sinner from me / Oh don’t take that sinner from me /Oh Lord, Oh Lord, what do I do? / I’ve fallen for someone who’s nothing like you / He’s raised on the edge of the devil’s backbone / Oh I just wanna take him home”
  15. Summer or winter? Summer.
  16. Day or night? Night.
  17. Dark, milk, or white chocolate? Dark.
  18. Favorite month? Don’t think I have one, honestly.
  19. What is your zodiac sign? Gemini. I think…
  20. Who was the last person you cried in front of? Probably Michelle.

 

Well, that’s me all over. Hopefully we’ll have something better for you next week… Maybe I can convince Michelle to watch Batman v. Superman with me so we can do another installment of The Showdown… Remember to stay calm and geek on! —J.J.

The Walking Dead: A Rant

SPOILERS AHEAD!

*Although, realistically, if this is the post that spoils what I’m about to talk about for you then you’ve clearly been living under a rock (or have MAJOR dedication). In either case, I applaud you because that’s an impressive feat. Go you.

So, I don’t know how many of you are aware of this, but a little show called The Walking Dead had it’s season 7 premier this past Sunday. Fortunately, I was too busy scaring people at the LA Haunted Hayride to actually watch the episode. Since I was not able to watch the premiere, and am incredibly impatient, I took to the internet (after I got all the damn prosthetic adhesive off my face)!

Total side note: Scaring the crap out of people is super fun and very rewarding. However, very exhausting and the reason I have not posted in a while.

I still have not actually watched the episode and, in all honesty, I don’t intend to watch it or any of season 7 for that matter. I much preferred looking like Negan bashed my jaw to bits with a baseball bat (seriously my makeup for the Hayride was insane amazing.) to watching him brutally murder one of my all-time favorite characters. But, I have read quite a few articles about the season 7 premiere, and I have also listed to people talk about it on the radio. I’ve also looked up some pictures, and immediately regretted that decision.

R.I.P. Glenn (and also Abraham, I guess…I dunno, I wasn’t ever really attached to him).

Now, I know that Glenn dies in the comics and that Negan is the one who kills him, quite brutally, using Lucille. Admittedly, I have not read the comics. I really gave it a good go, but just didn’t care for the art style. I found it very unappealing, and since art is a very major component of comics and graphic novels I just couldn’t enjoy the story because of it.

Generally, the knowledge that any adaptation of a story is sticking to the original source material is enough to get me on board with anything that happens…because, hey, it’s in the original source material. Congratulations AMC & The Walking Dead, you managed to do something from the original source material and make me VERY NOT OK WITH IT! You also managed to ruin something I’ve spent 6 years of my life getting heavily invested in. I hope you’re proud of yourselves.

Now, Greg Nicotero would like you to believe that this is just the “knee-jerk reaction” of a fan who lost one of her all time favorite characters and that this has affected me in a way that I may “not necessarily know how to process,”(USA Today) but I assure you, and Mr. Nicotero, that this is not the case. Not by a long shot, and let me tell you why.

*clears throat and steps onto soap box*

WE’VE SEEN SOME SHIT, GREG!
From the get go fans of The Walking Dead knew we were in for one hell of an emotional rollercoaster filled with limit-pushing gore and displays of violence. We’ve continued to watch and invest in these characters week after week, year after year, knowing FULL WELL that they would face fucked up situations, and most likely die in some truly heartbreaking, nausea-inducing way. We are familiar with the feelings grief that accompany the loss of a beloved character. We are at home with images of rotting flesh, blood, and gore. We are Walking Dead fans, after all.

We have resigned ourselves to the fact that everyone in this world will, at some point die. WE GET IT!

We watched Dale get gutted by a walker.
We searched for Sophia only to see her turned into a walker.
We watch as Carl was forced to SHOOT HIS MOTHER in the head after she died in childbirth.
We watched, helplessly, as Hershel got DECAPITATED.
We watched Carol tell Lizzie to “look at the flowers”.
BETH.

We stuck with this show through all of that. We processed and handled decapitation, cannibalism, suicide, mercy killings, and SO much more. So don’t tell me that we, as a fandom, are just having a “knee-jerk reaction” because we “care about the characters”.

Also, NEWS FLASH: OF COURSE WE CARE ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS AND IT AFFECTS US WHEN YOU FIND MORE BRUTAL AND GRAPHIC WAYS TO KILL THEM!

YOUR AUDIENCE DESERVES SOME RESPECT, GREG!
When you are faced with an outcry of this magnitude from your audience the appropriate response is NOT to essentially accuse them of being over emotional. You also don’t call our self-awareness or emotional intelligence into question by positing that the show presented us with something we “don’t necessarily know how to process”.

For fuck’s sake, we’ve ‘processed’ all the shit you’ve thrown at us thus far. AMC even made a show specifically to help us ‘process’ the emotional abuse you put us through. Because, let’s just be real honest here, that’s what this is at this point.

Infuriating comments in defense of season 7 episode 1 aside, The Walking Dead show runners have not been treating their audience with very much respect. Every time we are presented with a character that represents hope and brings light into this dark world they are taken away from us in often overly graphic ways. With each death it feels as if the only purpose behind it is to see how much more the audience can stomach. What can the writers and directors subject us to before we reach our breaking point? This is not storytelling. This is not entertainment. This is unnecessary and cruel.

The show runners seemed to take sick pleasure from leading fans to believe that Glenn died when Nicholas shot himself and took Glenn down with him into that herd of walkers. They provided ambiguous answers to questions, saying things a long the lines of: we will wrap up Glenn’s storyline, and then taking FOREVER to reveal that Glenn was actually alive. WHY?!
The prospect of Glenn dying in that manner during season 6 absolutely ruined me. I cried. I was a wreak. The lovely J.J. had to spend the better part of an hour consoling me. I love Glenn. I love his character development and story arch. I loved his relationship with Maggie. But the worst part, the part that made me feel disrespected as a fan, was how shitty a death that would have been. Taken out by a piece of shit character as a casualty of their suicide? COME ON! If you’re going to kill him at least give him a better death than that.

Now I feel even more disrespected as a fan because they put us through all of that almost immediately before actually killing Glenn. WHY? Why would you put us through that much of an emotional wringer and give Glenn back to us just to take him away in the most brutal and graphic way possible? What purpose did that serve? How did it enhance the story or drive character development?

The answer is it did none of these things. The shenanigans of season 6 simply served as a litmus test for the show runners to see just how much they could get away with and still maintain viewership. Dicks.

With the circumstances of Glenn’s death anyone who continues to watch is now going to be faced with the emotional and psychological demise of another fan-favorite, Daryl. For those fans who choose to continue watching, they will have to spend season 7 watching Daryl blame himself for Glenn’s death, making Maggie a widow and taking away her last remaining family, and rendering an unborn child fatherless. Norman Reedus said in an interview that Daryl is going to go to a very, very dark place. He his being forced to grieve completely alone and in captivity. This will not end well and I know I can’t stomach it.
SERIOUSLY, GREG?!
Mr. Nicotero said that the series is going in a direction that is going to be more graphic and horrible, and that they want to “push it a little bit”. From what I’ve seen, heard, and read you need to seriously redefine your idea of ‘a little bit’, Greg! And to what end?

This show is already ground-breaking and boundary-pushing. More isn’t always better, guys. Especially if that more is traumatizing your viewers! I feel like that really should go with out saying…

*puts soap box away*

I tap out, guys, you found my limit and pushed me past it. The way you’ve treated your characters and your fans has officially killed my enjoyment and love of this show.

Kudos to those of you who continue to watch and see this show through to its end, but this is where I leave The Walking Dead fandom.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some important business to attend to. *aggressively searches for AU fan fiction where Glenn lives*

I hope you all have a spooktacular Halloween and, as always, be excellent to each other and geek on!

~Michelle Renée