Two episodes does not a regular make

As Edward’s thoughts turn to finding his brother, we return to Alphonse and Hohenheim…

Al knows everything. About Xerxes, about what Hohenheim and Father really are. He knows everything and he chose to believe his father was telling the truth. Good ol’ Alphonse.

Maaan, so much is being talked about here! Hohenheim explaining what it feels like to be immortal, explaining that if Father’s body is destroyed then the dwarf inside him will be as well (so basically, the duplicate body is essentially a fancy glass container)… Also, Hohenheim identified the mysterious Transmutation Circle from Scarface’s Bro’s research as “A reverse transmutation circle” but supplied no further comment on what the fuck that means.

Hohenheim also warned Alphonse about Pride, and advised against trying to destroy the tunnels.

Finally, Alphonse raised a question I’ve been wondering about. If Hohenheim is, well, Hohenheim… Does that mean Edward and Alphonse aren’t regular humans? Hohenheim assured his son that they are. So I’ll have to trust him on that one.

It makes me so, so happy that these two are working together. I’m looking forward to Edward’s reaction to the truth about his father as well… Though, Ed hates Hohenheim a lot, lot more than Al does.

The Big #Arrowswerve

I had a long talk with my sister yesterday about the large and unpredicted changes we’ve seen in Arrow particularly since the last half of S4, and this morning I woke up needing to write them down. I believe they point to something big happening behind the scenes. This list explains why I feel so unsettled about predicting Arrow into the future and why I can no longer say I think Olicity is endgame.


It seems appropriate to start with Oliver:

  • Oliver’s killing again randomly without a stated, thought-out change in philosophy.
  • Suddenly Oliver has to trust everyone and let them be on the team despite 4 years of not trusting anyone ever.
  • Oliver’s open to dating again after a year of celibacy, then his relationship with Felicity and telling her that she’s his ALWAYS many times.

Felicity: 

  • Felicity’s many S4 issues - injury, paralysis, father, breakup, loss of CEO job - go unreferenced. She appears to have been rebooted to a diluted S2 version of herself, a pretty face with plenty of funny one-liners. 
  • Felicity suddenly has a boyfriend with no backstory or details about him, how she met him, why she needs a boyfriend, or why she’d like him specifically. 
  • This amazing, heroic woman, who has now saved Star City 4 times and the whole world once, now has no job and feels she owes her detective boyfriend sex for canceling plans with him. She’s also encouraging Oliver to take in a maniac wildcard street vigilante and allowing him to call her “Blondie.” 
  • She’s seemingly fine with being Oliver’s teammate (and only his teammate) this season after 24/7 togetherness in S4 and almost marrying him.

Diggle: 

  • The writers walked back Diggle’s self exile into the military and ignored those consequences. How is it even possible for him to resume his life without being hunted down or Lyla questioned about his jail break? 
  • Flashpoint erases the beloved Sara Diggle from existence.

Laurel: 

  • Laurel Lance’s death was followed by extreme character retconning in S5. At least 5 or 6 episodes were crammed full of mentions of her saintly deeds and importance unrelated to her actual character history on Arrow.
  • Interestingly enough, the EPs tell us that Laurel Lance will be back in future Arrow episodes not as a ghost or a flashback and she will be featured across multiple series in some capacity.
  • Arrow writers retconned Laurel Lance’s last words to Oliver to be: make a new Black Canary.

Thea: 

  • Thea’s bloodlust storyline was miraculously solved and dropped despite it being featured early on in S4 as a way to defeat Damien Darhk. 
  • Thea has no interest in being a mask now, can barely be arsed to rescue her kidnapped brother Oliver who sacrificed his life twice to save her.
  • Thea is now some kind of career politico running Star City for Oliver. 

Curtis: 

  • Curtis is no longer a mad inventor juggling 17 projects, would rather street fight with people he barely knows.
  • Curtis’s husband Paul is MIA and apparently has no questions about his job loss, nighttime activities with Team Arrow, or his knife-in-back injury.

Other characters: 

  • Quentin Lance has been all but retired from use. They’ve awkwardly shoehorned him into the mayor’s office for now.
  • Malcolm Merlyn is gone after seasons of hanging around for no real reason.
  • Donna Smoak was summarily shelved as a character after being featured in 9 episodes of S4 & given a love story - which the writers blew up in episode 5x01 with one sentence. 
  • There have been leaked sides for new character “Tina,” describing her as a romantic partner for Oliver, recurring with the possibility of becoming a regular.
  • Nearly all of Star City’s cops are now dirty or compromised.
  • 4 new masks were suddenly introduced and given primary focus in the series - far more than established characters. 


Off screen these things have happened: 

  • Geoff Johns was promoted to head of DC Entertainment.
  • Stephen Amell was unhappy at the CW upfronts and no one else from Arrow’s cast was invited to be there.
  • Arrow’s EPs speak using only canned talking points.
  • The CW has clamped down on spoilers. 
  • Paul Blackthorne was obviously unhappy at SDCC and has continued to be largely silent on social media. 
  • EBR has shunned social media and has had a noticeable lack of things to say about Felicity in interviews.
  • EBR’s is still down in billing - after Willa Holland - even though’s she’s been functioning as leading lady for 3 seasons now. 
  • The Arrow 100th party was odd, choosing to focus on none of the show’s main or core characters. The green carpet was FULL of newbies.
  • No one took photos of OTA, Olicity, or the current main cast at the #Arrow100 party.


All in all, there has been an obvious refocusing from Oliver, Olicity and OTA to the team of new masks and from the details of Arrow’s characters’ lives to their ROLES as masks and mentors of new masks. 

There was NO follow-up on Olicity for 12 episodes after the breakup. The showrunners promoted 5x05 as an Olicity episode that should give viewers clarity. 5x05 featured Felicity having sex with her new boyfriend and then Olicity saying good bye to their romantic relationship again (and giving each other permission to move on to new relationships) while looking at each other with loving eyes.

Given this array of stunning new choices that radically differ from the show’s previous focus and characterization, I have to wonder if someone behind the scenes is forcing the show into a more comic book format, perhaps moving Arrow from a show about Oliver Queen to a TV version of the Justice League over time. It seems like Diggle is the only regular player who hasn’t been either completely retconned, or reduced dramatically in importance. Who is Oliver anymore, even? Is he killing? Is he not killing? Does he love the love of his life with the same unflagging passion he has for over two years? 

My fear is that this new BTS person is forcing a recast of Black Canary so they can try to make Black Canary and Green Arrow finally happen. This would explain the casting of Tina, Felicity’s boyfriend, the 12-episode silence regarding the Olicity breakup, and last Wednesday’s mutual agreement to let each other move on (while still holding the door open for a reunion if the audience doesn’t embrace the new BC/GA pairing). 

But at this point, Olicity really isn’t the issue. It’s that the show isn’t the same show. They’re not writing for the characters I grew to love. They’re not even writing them as the same characters with the same passions, motivations, and emotional complications they’ve had or developed over the course of Arrow. 

I said this week that I’m not watching Arrow again until Olicity is back together, but even if they choose to reunite them, if they’re not writing Oliver and Felicity as they’ve been written, does it matter? 

This is a talented cast with amazing chemistry who can knock decent writing out of the park. What they’re giving them to work with is a disservice to the cast, the crew, and the audience.

If S5 of Arrow is a backdoor JLA pilot, I don’t even know what to say except I’m not here for any of this

Here’s my two cents on the new donation perks. I’ve thought about this all week. I had mixed feelings, but after trying to really think what I would do in their place… Well, I can’t think of anything else they could do. Except alienate most fans by adding ads to the podcast, or charging for the regular episodes. They need to make a living. 

The “members” language in the email bothered me, because it does sound like one of those exclusive clubs. At the airport, you have the “Lounge” for people who can afford first class anyway. You sit in a really uncomfortable chair for four hours, and those people are sipping wine in comfy armchairs. That’s what I think of when I hear “members”. It was disappointing to see them use that word. The scout levels are cool and show-specific, it’s just that word that all the corporations use. Are you a member? What if you can’t be, do they appreciate you less? 

Being poor means being excluded, a lot. It means your life - apartment, transport, gadgets, pets, food, everything - is all about what you can afford. It’s not about what you want or dream of, and it can feel incredibly frustrating. I personally find it especially frustrating that I can’t support artists I love. I would give so much if I could, and not just to WTNV. 

But we must remember that the WTNV creators and cast know poverty. Until summer or fall 2013, Cecil was a waiter while also doing TML and auditioning a lot. Joseph Fink was selling green energy on the streets of New York. That’s a shit job if there ever was one. Meg was… an accountant? Insurance agent? Something financial I think. Jeffrey at least worked for a theater. The Neo-Futurists can’t pay a living wage, so the Neos basically all have day jobs. 

It would be incredibly depressing to see these people go back to day jobs. I think we can all agree that their gifts would be wasted. It would also mean fewer and shorter tours, because employers don’t just let you take off for months on end. (Probably not even weeks.)  

The donations must have dwindled now that WTNV is no longer the Big Thing on Tumblr. Die-hard fans are still here, but most of us are not that rich. Some of the teenage fans have gone to college and have to support themselves now. Life situations do change. The merch sales have probably dropped as well.

I suspect this is something they have to do. And ultimately, they’re including as many people as they can. There are already perks at 2 bucks a month. 5 bucks buys you the extra episodes, which is probably the most coveted perk. This is kind of them, it shows they understand not everyone can donate a lot. The more time-consuming perks - personalized messages and letters - are not something they can give to thousands of people, so they set those at a higher level. 

Membership models always exclude someone, and that makes me sad. It almost makes me not want the bonus content, if someone else is excluded. But I want to see the show go forward, and from a selfish viewpoint, hell yeah I want to be a scout. So I’m joining the donors. WTNV is worth a lot more than I can give, but at least I can do something. 

Finknor have stated that they hate capitalism, like most of us do. But they can’t create a utopia where artists can live on inspiration. 

One more thing. When I met them at Too Much Light, they were incredibly grateful. Cecil and Meg had seen my blog, and that still blows my mind, but they really appreciate that I take time to blog about them. I said to Joseph Fink that I love the show, and he said “Aww thank you!” like he really meant it. Like he still didn’t take for granted that people love his show. 

I just want to say, I really think they appreciate us, just for being here. But the people paying more are giving them a living, and they must reward that in some way. It’s not them, it’s capitalism. 

The Flash 2x01

I found the way they were trying to Push Caitlin and Barry down our throats last night was just gross. Caitlin being the one to see Wells is confession video with Barry and her saying she didn’t want to leave him for Ronnie, no thank you.

Originally posted by i-willdestroy-yourhappiness

They are trying so hard to ship bait the audience and I feel like they are going to try to push for an Olicity esque main ship/leading lady swap. I am a HUGE Olicity fan but The Flash trying to do this makes no sense. A) Danielle Panabaker is an extremely weak actress in my opinion, she seems very sweet in real life but her acting makes me cringe a lot. She doesn’t seem like leading lady material. B) In Arrow KC and SA had zero chemistry and their relationship was always doomed to fail (he slept with her sister and than they both got lost at sea, true love that does not make). Whereas, Candice and Grant’s chemistry is fire!

Look

Originally posted by olicitys

At

Originally posted by timewillpassbyanyways

Them

Originally posted by supagirl

As a whole I was underwhelmed with the episode. It really didn’t seem like a good season premiere even without all the other shipping stuff. Henry leaving  the day after he was released makes absolutely no sense.

Originally posted by ashgifs

Plus, absolutely no insight into how Iris is feeling about Eddie except a two second shot of her stopping to look at his picture but Caitlin having moments to talk about Ronnie when he wasn’t even a series regular smh. (Btw Caitlin’s reaction to him ‘dying’ in the flashback, absolutely no emotion).

Originally posted by the-reactiongifs

All in all, the whole episode…

Originally posted by vulpesignum

What did you guys think?

AoJE: A Note on Storytelling, Format and Youtube

Sometimes I’m asked why I make content for Youtube. I work in TV now as well, so why don’t I just stick to that?

 I could wax poetic for hours about the differences and similarities between the two (No really. Don’t get me started), but today I’m just going to talk a little about structure/format.

On a regularly scheduled TV series, aired and distributed by a network – the storyteller has a  a set amount of minutes in a regular time-slot every week (or as dictated by the network). Viewers know exactly when the next episode is going to air, be it the following week or not for several months (I’m looking at you Once Upon a Time) because networks make absolutely certain that we’re reminded.

And while most Youtube content does stick to regularly scheduled content- it also allows creators to control the distribution of said content, freeing us from the stringency of the TV structure.

For AoJE specifically, as scripted, real-time, immersive programming- we get to play with the format.
We’ve taken to breaking the rules a bit; posting on irregular days, irregular times, skipping regular airtimes, and posting episodes of irregular lengths.

Why?

First and foremost, for story. Everything happens as it would if Jane were a real person. She’s freaked out? She posts at 4am. She’s found out the truth? She’ll tell you right away. 

More importantly- you can’t do this in any other medium. You cannot genuinely build the same tension or suspense because in pretty much any other format you are forced to disclose your schedule in advance. Even in the early stages of planning we decided to harness this aspect- after all, Jane Eyre is a gothic novel.  

Secondly, because we know our audience can handle it. Even if you sometimes get an overload of the feels- we don’t doubt that we can challenge our viewers and make a conscious decision to avoid pandering. 

Of course, you’re welcome to disagree with the idea. But where’s the fun (or the challenge) in playing it safe? 

It kinda blows my mind

That there are fans of the show out there who are legitimately upset about Jake’s “death.” Seriously, just take a gander at Facebook. It’s hilarious and mindbogglingly to me. But more than that, it actually annoys the shit out of me that ABC publicity/Scandal social media is on the one hand implying that Jake is dead while AT THE SAME DAMN TIME releasing images of him seemingly alive in non flashback form. How does that work?! 

It’s so stupid. And it’s going to make the reveal that he is, in fact, alive even less effective because 1) SPOILERS, 2) unless his body is made out of fucking Kevlar, it’s barely even possible that he would survive those Emeril Lagasse style chops Russell administered, and 3) what is the point of Jake in the first place?

And to be honest, the fact that there are so many people who think that only Olitz shippers want Jake dead is even more ludicrous to me. I hate to be redundant. I truly do, especially when so many people, including myself, have pointed it out already. But it should be reiterated that Jake barely services the show in any meaningful way. I say barely because clearly Scandal wants to make B613 happen. So as long as that is a thing, he’s not entirely futile. 

But let’s imagine, let’s be optimistic, and assume that B613 is finally over at the end of the season, WHAT COULD JAKE’S ROLE POSSIBLY ENTAIL? He is completely useless! I can find more things to do with a floppy disc than what Jake could do for Scandal. How could you possibly be upset that he would be gone? What does he add to the show? How does he service the plot?  What is the value of having a character who could sit out for like five episodes in a row and still warrant a series regular role? Jake was useful in season two, season three, and arguably the former half of season four. BUT NOW, you have got to be on some local anesthesia, post wisdom teeth levels of delirium to think that he is a vital part of the show. I can make a very compelling case for Mellie, Quinn, Huck, and David, even when they have only have two, throw-away lines for comedic relief. BUT FUCKING JAKE?????? PLEASE BATMAN, RIDDLE ME THIS: NAME A SINGLE ARGUMENT FOR KEEPING JAKE AROUND. For the life of me, I can’t think of one. 

If they found something for Jake to do, I would be here for it. Though to be honest, I am hard pressed to think of any interesting things for him to do. He could work at OPA, but what discernible talents and characteristics does he have that Huck doesn’t, except for self-control? We already have Huck for the clutch deus ex machina, so I don’t see the point in keeping both in this regard. Also, super weird working for your ex. But is he her ex? Who knows at this point! He could retain his role as Olivia’s love interest. I’m actually not opposed to this IF IT WERE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST BIT CLEAR THAT OLIVIA WAS REMOTELY INTERESTED IN HAVING A SERIOUS, LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. But it’s not. If Jake were the boyfriend we saw every few episodes, and Olivia seemed happy him, I would be down for this.But this whole love hexagon we’ve been building for two and a half seasons is overdosing on Melatonin tired. Olivia could choose to stand in the sun, stand in the shade, stand by me, or stand for holiness and righteous, so long as she made a decision. IDGAF. But how we’re supposed to believe any of Olivia’s relationship  are legit when she’s wearing another man’s French heirloom on her finger, is beyond me. 

So until they find something else for Jake to do, I don’t understand why people are even remotely bothered by the idea of him being dead. I’m willing to explore and eager to learn a different perspective, even if it forgoes sound logic. I’m just so utterly clueless, anything will help.

And to be clear, I just mean from a story perspective. I don’t give two shits about Scott Foley because I don’t know him personally. But I’m very curious to understand how in the hell anyone could find his character essential for their viewing pleasure. 

Meg Rants about R&I's Episode/Season Structure

I was thinking about how R&I has such distinctly different types of episodes even when written by the same person:

Type A: The episodes we like; not necessarily great quality, but “okay”. Standard family and/or work drama; rizzly subtext and giffable moments, not too likely to involve beards, and everyone seems more or less normal (4x03, 4x04, 4x05, 4x06, 4x08, 4x09)

Type B: Episodes that shout HETEROSEXUALITY in your face with a megaphone; relentless Jasey shenanigans, Jane acting weird and girly and trying to dive into OOC commitments, Maura extra likely to be bearded, ignored, or characterized as a desperate weirdo, everyone generally just sort of horny and overly dramatic (Ex: 4x01, 4x12, 4x13)

And I thought about how every season (except for the first) is built more or less on this formula: 

BAAAAAAB(hiatus)BAABB

Premieres and finales are practically guaranteed to be the dreaded type B’s, and conversely, type B doesn’t strike often outside of a premiere/finale, and if it does, it’s still likely to be at the beginning/end. Those are the episodes where more casual viewers are expected to tune in just to see how a season is starting off or ending up. Then, once R&I is done putting on its hetero song and dance for those people, the “regular” type A episodes for the fangirls/consistent viewers fill up the bulk of the midseason. 

Of course, I understand the practice of jazzing up those entry/exit episodes - you gotta put your best goods in the store window to attract customers. Every show does that. But the proper way to do it is to make those extra quality episodes, not completely different episodes. It’s literally like “OMG, company’s coming! Act straight!!”  They’re honestly writing two different shows, one for casual viewers and one for the regulars. 

And what they’re showing by this is that the awful clownish hetero sludge is more appealing, will get higher ratings, will hook viewers, is “better” than what the show truly is. Now before anyone gripes about mean old Jtam ruling with an iron-hetero fist, I don’t think for a moment this could be motivated by a single person’s preferences. Every show is carefully put together based on statistics and viewership and demographics. They put out what the numbers say is successful, because there’s a buttload of money riding on it. It just makes me sad to think that the most ghastly, insulting episodes are the type they put in the store window because they’re, in TV terms, successful.