Things I’ve Noticed

The Gilded Age, HBO. Bertha and George, Carrie Coons and Morgan Spector.

March. Warming up. Raised bed for squash almost done. Cat doing great. Now that you’re all caught up–

I happened upon Minx, over on HBO.

It’s about a fictional women’s soft porn mag started in the 70’s by a radical feminist and a hardcore porn mag producer. Whacky hijinks ensue! Yep, it goes about how you think it does.

Penises everywhere. Shrill, naive, unpleasant female lead named, seriously, this is her name– Joyce Prigger. I do mean unbearable. Holy shit. Fun, easy-going male lead, named Doug Renatti, who sees ‘something’ in the Matriarchy Rising mag layout of Our Heroine. She pitches her over the top feminist scream to several mag producers in SoCal at this fair. She of course gets nowhere because no one will give her a chance! She’s an editor shopping around her liberated woman ideals and no one will throw her wads of cash and accolades, wah.

I lost any and all sympathy for her about five minutes in. I’ve seen this shit so many times. The unpleasant, uptight female lead, the lead male totally likable and smart, the rest of the cast pretty adorable, sweet, intelligent at times and…ugh. Okay. It’s rom-com time. At least, that’s the take I take away here.

Our Heroine is fresh outta Vassar, working on selling subscriptions for other magazines and generally so stupid about how the world works it’s goddamn painful to watch. She doesn’t know how that to get financed, you have to get big donors with money? She went to fucking Vassar. She didn’t rub up against the children of politicians and even presidents? For fuckety fuck’s sake.

She can’t sit through picking a male model for their debut issue without losing her shit. Joyce is embarrassed and squrimy, tee hee. The college girl hasn’t seen many dicks! Tee hee. She’s not only a shrieking harpy, she’s a prude! Oh goody!

It’s not funny or charming or astonishing. It’s just dumb. She’s a dumb character, a stereotype, a Men’s Rights example of what they think a feminist is. There is no nuance to her. At least not in the episode and a half I made it through before switching over to Youtube animal rescue videos to clear my head of the ‘Why the fuck are they still writing this type of female character? And during the so-called women’s liberation height??? Fuck fuck fuck fuck!’

And then, yeah, I rewrote this series in my head. Because, writer.

What if.

What if Our heroine, renamed Linda Lewis, or some other normal name that doesn’t hint a thing, was cool. I mean, with it, on top of her life, ambitious, calculating, willing to take chances. And a force of nature or someone you’d want to hang out with, hear their views. She’s got a sense of humor! She wants to change the world and she’s not asking for permission to do it. Linda can be unsure of herself at times but mostly, she works out what needs to be worked out. She approaches the pornmag producer guy, pitches him her magazine idea and he suggests the nude male centerfold every month. As Linda is mostly okay with her sexuality, she agrees to this, but says she wants to be in charge of the whole enchilada, even the tasteful nudie stuff. They begin a tentative partnership and learn a lot along the way.

I’m so tired of the naive, awful female lead and the cool, with it male lead that makes the female lead look both childish and boringly stupid. See the Ugly Truth, with Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigel. The Proposal, with Sandra Bullock– which, despite her charm and Ryan Reynold’s scowling with his usual charm throughout it–presented a horrible female boss stereotype straight from a Hallmark Christmas collection of Bad Lady Bosses that just need a Good Man to Show Them Some Good Lovin’. Sweet Home Alabama, where Reese Witherspoon went home to shit all over her home town and her parents, yet wound up with her ex-hubbie after…ugh.

So yeah, done with Minx. Boring and irritating, not my cup of anything.

I’m also struggling with Our Flag Means Death. I want to like it more. I just fail at that. I do like Blackbeard. It helps that he’s played by Taika Waititi. I wish this series had centered more around Blackbeard facing the end of his time as the most bad-ass pirate ever. The Stede Bonnet character just repels me so utterly. A guy with a lot of money getting to do whatever he wants. Where in American politics and private blah dee blah have we ever, ever seen this crud?

I need a third to end this TV review rant.

Gilded Age! Now, it’s trashy, but it’s fun, gorgeous trash. I get tired of Marian, the female blond lead who’s so bland she blends into the scenery no matter what she’s wearing. Please, Jesus– let her be ravished by a pack of rabid sailors after that bland and boring lawyer guy sells her to a brothel after her aunt refuses to accept him into High Society. Wheeee!!!!!

And then she’s seen no more when she leaves with the sailors as their new captain. Work it out, writers!

As that would leave far more screen time to the Russels. Not the kids, yuck. Ick. Boring!

No no, Bertha and George Russel are fabulous, arrogant monsters you just love to love. She’s a social-climbing soft-voiced goddess and he’s a fiery, black-bearded robber baron you hope never escapes to run amuck in these here present times. Together they plan to dominate Old Money Manhattan and make it beg for mercy it ever slighted them in the least. Bwhahahahahaha! Yes, please!!

I also love the Peggy Scott character. Upper class black woman, with ambitions to be a writer. Her mom is played by Audra McDonald, of Broadway. The Broadway Audra! If you can’t tell, I love Audra McDonald. But, the show explores the middle class and even upper class POC post-Civil War strata that developed and lead to such things as Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I also find it annoying and eye-rolling when the blond Marian doesn’t seem to notice all the rampant racism all around her. Okay, sure. Ahem. But. We do get a scene with her bringing second-hand shoes to gift Peggy with during an unannounced visit to Peggy’s parent’s home. Dorothy Scott, Peggy’s mom, rightfully embarrasses Marian with how Marian expected the Scott family to be near destitute and grateful for a white lady savior. Ouch.

It’s not Downton Abbey. It’s a colorful, somewhat empty, imitation but it’s enjoyable. Watching the New Money sorts clash with the Old Money sorts, great fun. Watching the Russels plow ahead like a team of shiny Clydesdales, also great fun. The two aunts of Marian, played by Christine Baranski and Cynthia Nixon, make up for a lot. They remind me of L.M. Montgomery characters, for some reason. I half expected Anne Shirley to pop in for a cup of tea and a saucer of neighborhood gossip.

And there’s servants but nothing so far that grabs the attention or begs for more air time. There’s no Thomas, for instance, slinking about, causing trouble while managing to remain a near tragic figure we have to love. But, maybe in later seasons, the servants will be fleshed out, given actual characters, become part of the stories around them, rather than just set decorations whenever Mrs. Russel stalks by in a red silk dress.

Thomas from Downtown Abbey. Sorry if I lost some of you there.

I wanted to do a fluffy blog post, what with all the horrors here in America and over there in Ukraine. And other places, and other places after that. Oh dear.

Right next door, Ammon Bundy is staging a protest over the state of Idaho stepping in to remove a baby that was being horrifically neglected, as in that baby could have died if something had not been done. This extremist, who’s running for govvie of the state, claims it’s a medical kidnapping and has called for protests and even possible violence if the child isn’t returned to the parents who were abusing it. As these parents seem to be related to Bundy’s campaign manager…it’s a frigging mess in Idaho, in other words, right now.

This bunch of political theatre stunt-makers even shut down a major hospital there in Boise for a bit. The present lieutenant govvie, Janice McGeachin or something like that, attended a white pride rally in the most open and defiant of ways. She’s an elected official. She also wants to be govvie. And she’s batshit insane and a religious nutball. Wheee!! I’m two hours from all this and it sucks. It sucks!

So yeah, I’m watching trashy historical dramas and submitting my writing now and then to the here and there. Spring is around the corner. 2022 already seems a bust. 2023, baby, you gotta give us all some hope, m’kay? Great!

Meridian, Nampa and Boise are close together.

Update– Just saw, in the Idaho Statesman, where the child in question was returned to the parents, more than likely because of Bundy’s threats and bullying. It really can be an awful world at times. I doubt those parents have seen the light. And terrorism wins in Idaho.

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