scandal on set

8

      I’m a gladiator in a suit. Because that’s what you are when you work for Olivia.
         You’re a gladitor in a suit. You want to be a gladiator in a suit. You gotta say it.  
                                        I want to be a gladiator in a suit.

3

“Somehow none of it seems to matter when we’re in Dublin. Class and all that just fades away. I’m Mrs Branson and we get on with our lives like millions of others.”

The Handmaid’s Tale: marketing, then and now

Comparing the Hulu adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale to the 1990 version is… weird, because the old one seems to have been made with a “haha, this could never happen; let’s play it like a fun adventure thriller and sell it as sexy as possible!” kind of attitude. I mean, the trailer has this bouncy narration that starts with “once upon a time…” and turns the dystopian element into more of a soap opera.

And just take a look at the promotional art:

(…I don’t think that was the message of the book, guys. Sure, Offred was longing for human touch, or pretty much any kind of human connection, but I think that the book was more about women being reduced to wombs with legs, not state-owned prostitutes… It was about the desperation of needing to give birth or face punishment. Everything about this dystopia was hyper-de-sexualized.)

Oh, and my favorite:

“A psychosexual movie shocker.” With what looks like half the cover of a cheesy romance novel, minus some buff shirtless guy.

(I also think it’s kind of funny that they say “once upon a time in the near future” sex became used for control and domination, as if rape and prostitution haven’t existed for centuries… but okay…)

I’ll admit I haven’t seen this version (or the Hulu one, for that matter), but I do appreciate that they cast a properly old and creepy man in the part of the Commander, and a properly aged woman for his Wife. The Hulu casting is a little youthful, if you ask me; the book characters felt very weathered, and I think it mentioned that they were supposed to be quite a bit older than Offred. Her “affair” with the Commander is supposed to feel very weird and unsettling, partially because he’s this old man who wants someone to play Scrabble with and dress up in sequins.

Anyway, then we had what I call the “holy shit these dystopias are too real” phase, culminating with the new Hulu adaptation of this particular dystopia, which is waaaay too relevant to today’s issues.

See? This is how you depict the feeling of objectification. Not with a topless woman bathed in flattering lighting – by objectifying a woman yourself, you’re not sending a message so much as continuing the trend. Especially when you sell your film as some kind of sexy romance. “Branded, sold, controlled: she belongs to The State” doesn’t quite cut it; this very simple, very clear message does. Offred is no longer human, she doesn’t have a face; she is just an object. Objectified.

(This also has some fantastic layering because it recalls the messages that you might find scrawled across the bathroom mirror meant to demean other girls; part of Gilead’s system involves pitting women against each other: Wives against Handmaids, Handmaids against Aunts, even Handmaids against each other out of jealousy and in the Red Center with their slut-shaming. To stay in power, the men at the top make sure that the women below them are too occupied with resenting each other that they forget to look up at who the real enemy is.)

*holy FUCK*

Now THAT is how you market a dystopia. This story is not some scandalous fantasy set in the near-but-distant future; it’s a warning, of what might be lurking just around the corner. The Handmaid’s Tale is an incredibly frightening book to read today, because of the things that are being allowed to happen in our society. It shows what happens when we let sexism flourish, when ecological and political crises make us paranoid enough about national security that we let the people in power take away our rights. It is a fucking nightmare.

Korean Drama Recommendations/Fangirling:

So! A friend of mine on FB asked me late last night for Korean drama recommendations. She’s never watched kdramas before, so without intending to I just vomited up brief feels, synopses, and titles for her from which to choose. These titles were only the ones that immediately came to mind off the top of my head. Seeing as how I assume some of you adorable follower-humans might enjoy kdramas too, I thought I’d share. Most likely you diehards (pun not intended) out there have already seen these, but here’s some dramas to throw in your face anyway! Since it’s my thing, I’m going to go by genre; so all will have romance as either a main plot line or as a subplot. Brace yourself for the d'awws!

1. 

If you’re in the mood for a serious, beautiful, powerhouse of a drama with adult themes (ie adultery but not really…long story), dreams and money, sacrificing your true self for security to forsake happiness, and of COURSE sex and pianos, then you need to watch Secret Love Affair. It is hot and intense and has an open ended interpretation for a finale that will leave you stunned and happy.

I mean, damn, guys…come on just LOOK at this sexiness!

Plus it’s just a damn good drama all around. So watch it.

2.

If you’re looking for something that walks the line between comedy and paranormal, you NEED to see The Master’s Sun. Its heroine is an hilariously adorable girl who can see ghosts, and the hero is a skeptic who, when the female lead touches, makes poltergeists disappear. It’s probably one of the best dramas that incorporates creepy horror with perfect comedy!

3.

If you’re looking for something a bit different, you HAVE to watch Arang and the Magistrate. Same concept as The Master’s Sun, except the female lead is dead and a ghost, the setting is ancient Korea, and there’s gods, goddesses, action, magic, and evil political dudes. Plus the male lead is hilariously apathetic, and the female lead is a badass who kicks ass as a dead girl! It’s funny and dark and heartfelt and will leave you with all of the heart eyes! Plus it has the cutest ending that ever cuted itself.

4.

If you’re looking for something strictly comedy and a bit silly, with moments of seriousness and more cute than you could shake a stick at, you need King of High School. Take an 18 year old high school guy and make him pose as his older brother as a prestigious CEO in a company that a dowdy, 30 year old over-looked heroine works at and you talk about some of the CUTEST comedy you’ve ever witnessed in your freakin’ life!

5. 

If you’re looking for something hella melodramatic and intense, go with Secret Love. Heroine is engaged to a guy who gets involved in a hit-and-run that kills a girl, and the heroine takes the fall for her fiance. Turns out the victim was the pregnant girlfriend of the male lead. The drama explores the idea of falling in love with someone, even as you hate them. Suffice to say, IT IS INTENSE, and a bit nuts of a drama, but it will leaving you feeling all of your emotions and then some.

6.

If you want some time travel in your drama diet, go with Queen In Hyun’s Man. Hero is an ancient Korean scholar who finds himself traveling to the future, where he meets the female lead, an aspiring actress who lands the role of the Queen from our hero’s time period. Comedy, cuteness, angst, and adorableness ensues. And smexy kisses. OH MY GOD THE SMEXY KISSES!

7. 

Keeping in the same vain as the historical theme, Sungkyunkwan Scandal is adorable and perfect! Set in ancient Korea, in order to protect her family our female lead disguises herself as a boy to get into a university of sorts that only permits men. Cue “male lead finds himself attracted to a boy despite him not being gay” theme and much hilarious ensues. Ignoring the gay panic is a must, but if you can it’s so entertaining and will leave you so damn amused!

8.

And, last but not least, keeping with the gay-panic theme, Coffee Prince. Coffee Prince is probably one of the best kdramas ever, and it’s basically the same premise as Sungkyunkwan Scandal; female lead lands a job in an all-male working environment to support her family. The only real difference is that in Coffee Prince, our heroine opens and closes the drama as a very tom boyish, masculine girl. She’s never subscribed to gender roles, so it makes her character far more interesting. There’s angst and cute and smexy kisses and great characters and everything you could ever want in a drama!