Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Fades 1x04

This episode was so good I didn't even post about it for a week and a half because I was so intimidated. Plus I started descending into the joy/awfulness of Bedlam. So it's not super fresh in my head now, but it was really great and made me feel bad for ever doubting The Fades in the slightest.

Paul got magically brought back to life but it didn't annoy me, which seemed like it would be impossible until it actually happened. He was a Fade for most of the episode. He hung out with the Joe Dempsie ex-Fade (who is now an immortal human) and learned about how badly Angelics have treated Fades in the past. Just when the viewer was hoping Paul would stay as a Fade and start fighting Neil and the other Angelics, Paul brought himself back to life BECAUSE HE LOVES DANIEL KALUUYA SO MUCH. Then he threw up butterflies.

I have to admit that if I magically brought myself back to life, those would probably be the circumstances. The butterflies helped a lot.

In The Vampire Diaries, which is crammed full of annoying resurrections, I think what makes the resurrections most annoying is that they are so obviously driven by the importance of the person who died. If a recurring character gets bitten by a werewolf, she dies. If the star of the show gets bitten by a werewolf, they find a way to keep him from dying. The major human characters wear rings that cause them to come back to life if a supernatural creature kills them--well, okay--but what happens when one of the characters gets shot by a human with a gun? Don't worry, a girl who has been doing magic for less than a year is able to bring him back to life. For some reason none of the other humans who died on the show got to be brought back to life, but oh well. They weren't main characters.

I think The Fades avoided this kind of bad writing by having Paul bring himself back to life. It had already been established that Paul is the most powerful Angelic ever, so there's no need to explain why Angelics have never brought anyone back to life before--no one as strong as Paul had ever tried it.


The awkward previouslies were actually cool this time, because in the middle of narrating them Mac almost started crying about Paul's death. He also sounded like he was crushing on Paul so hard. I appreciate that this show is about a friendship but I can't help wishing there could be a horror-quirkfest show about gay kids.

Sarah's husband decided that he doesn't like knowing her ghost is following him around, and he told her to go away. Everyone obvs found out he didn't really kill any of those people. Sarah didn't annoy me in this episode. PLUS, at the end she told Neil that it was time for her to eat some dead bodies and become powerful. She told Neil that this was so she could be a Fade on the Angelics' side or something, but I bet she was just tricking him.

I guess the main important thing I learned about Fades was that they can't just not touch people--they find it unbearably painful to do so. The special guns that Angelics fire at Fades have little pieces of blood and skin in them. The Joe Dempsie ex-Fade started having the power to touch humans when he was lying on the bathroom floor while his wife was committing suicide. He loved her too much to move away from her dripping blood, and he grew new skin in the places where the blood had hurt him. This is quite beautiful and even Christian, and really messes with the evil/zombie implications of the Fades eating people.

The Joe Dempsie ex-Fade is perfect, as I think I said before. He eats chocolate, moves his head around like a raptor, and throws up black liquid every so often. Paul trusted him so he killed a bunch of Angelics and he saved Natalie (the best character!!!) and turned her into a human by the same process that he was turned into one. Josh's comments about her in 1x05 were "oh my gosh, dribble" so I guess that she is going to be hot?

Neil was a dick. I'm not going to try to actually summarize this episode since I watched it so long ago (and am super tired) but Neil was such a dick that even some of the other Angelics were mad at him. For example! Mac kept saying it was his fault Paul had died, and Paul's Fade kept telling Neil to say that it wasn't, but Neil was just like, "Yeah, it sounds like it was your fault, great job ruining the last hope of humanity."

Hate Neil! Anyone who upsets Daniel Kaluuya should be erased with the giant eraser from Are You Afraid of the Dark. You should have seen Daniel Kaluuya by the way. He was just...I don't even know how many times I wrote "Daniel Kaluuya is a perfect human being" in my notes while watching the episode. He was so fucking good when Paul was dead. They did a good job portraying the stereotypical geeky comic relief character actually being sad, without losing his character traits.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bedlam 1x04, 1x05, 1x06

Heart is broken that even the ever-loyal Jim won't read my posts about this show. It is so funny you guys! Can't actually explain why.

Anyway, it is British and therefore short, so it wasn't too much trouble to finish. HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED.

Episode Four

"IS THIS SOME KIND OF EX-MENTAL PATIENT THING GETTING ALL MORALISTIC THE WAY PRISONERS GET RELIGION?"--one of Kate's awful comments when Jed criticized her for sleeping with a married man.

When I watched the teaser for episode three, I had dared to hope that Lily Loveless was going to be having power exchange sex with Jed! But in fact the clip that I thought (hoped/dreamed) was her was actually about Kate getting possessed by a creepy ghost while having sex with a married man, and slapping him and acting like she was going to kill him, and then seeing herself in a mirror with giant lopsided eyeballs.

Anyway, in this episode Kate tried to come back to the guy and get him to sleep with her again. FAIL. She did this by saying, "I was in bed and I lost control, how flattering is that?" and suggesting that this time, he can hit her during sex. It's only fair!

Not surprisingly the guy was not into it and told her to go away. I did think it was weird since she's his landlady that he didn't try to be more polite about it. But how could you be?

Molly got a job as a nanny/babysitter for a little girl named Ella who lives in the building. She wanted to sleep with Ella's dad and they had the most bizarre romantic dialogue as he told her he wished he could switch lives with her and she told him that, in fact, her life sucks.

Molly: You would get the worst deal, trust me.
Ella's dad: (looking lovingly at her) I don't believe that for a second.
Molly: (swoons)

If I told someone I thought I had a crappy life and they told me they DIDN'T BELIEVE ME...that probably wouldn't increase my attraction to them? Is Molly turned on by men thinking she's a liar/unable to judge the circumstances of her life?

Admittedly, as far as I can tell, Molly's life IS better than everyone else's life on the show. Kate is possessed and her dad is probs evil, Jed's life sucks for obvious reasons, Ryan is gay and his brother got murdered, and John Foster has to look in the mirror every day and see this:

But I guess no one on this show tells anyone their secrets (except Jed and Ryan, bros forever!) so Molly probably doesn't know how good she has it. Anyway, they slept together, but the guy started hating her because a ghost was after his daughter and Jed saved her. I know this doesn't make sense, but Ella's dad decided that because Jed was in a "loony bin," he clearly kidnapped Ella and then brought her back as a joke.

All of the sudden, Jed looked up and guess what was there:

This show is making me want to make little YouTube horror movies because it's SO EASY TO MAKE THINGS SCARY. This was the only semi-scary ghost and they didn't have to do anything expensive: they just made her a little kid who runs really fast, draws creepy pictures, has clown makeup on, and has her spooky face flashed on the screen at random moments. Finally. This isn't rocket science.

By the point she was randomly on the ceiling though the episode stopped being scary because I had seen her face enough to just go, "Oh, there's a little kid wearing clown makeup."

Oh well. Good try.

Episode Five

Can someone explain why Jed always looks so scared when he has a vision. He has them all the time! I get it when the vision is about someone drowning or cutting their wrists, but in this episode, he kept having a vision of a girl having sex with an ugly man, and every time he surfaced from the vision he would look really shaky and upset. Ugly people have sex too Jed!

Ryan and Molly researched Jed's biological mom who I may have mentioned was a patient at the hospital who died in childbirth. Some shady things were revealed. The best part was when Ryan told her that Jed was born in the asylum and Molly said, "What." As beautiful as Molly is, I have come to realize that the actress who plays her never attempts to come off like a person having emotional reactions, but just tries to seem more and more and more beautiful.

The ghost was okay.

At the end of the episode Kate realized that her dad John Foster is obvs a serial killer, so she was crying to Jed about how she wants to run away or something, and then they made out. I was SO surprised, not.

Episode Six

This episode started with Kate being the worst person in the world. Molly and Ryan were playing with Tarot cards and a ghost got mad and set Molly's arm on fire. Then Kate came home and yelled at Molly for burning "stupid hippie candles" and said, "I'll charge you for damages."

Later Kate apologized, which led me to believe she has been possessed by someone nicer.

Jed got a text that said "kate dad danger" and showed it to Ryan and was asking what it meant. FFS. I WONDER WHAT IT MEANS.

Jed did explain thought that he hasn't always gotten supernatural texts. It turned out that he just started getting them at the beginning of the series and they're from this weird number, which turns out to be the number of a room in the asylum. I think it turns out his mom is actually texting him, which is solid.

Molly kept trying to hint to Ryan that they should get married. Kate kept telling Molly Ryan was gay and Molly basically said that she didn't care if he was gay because "love is more than sexuality." FFS Molly! Her greatest goal in life is to be the Linda Thomas to someone's Cole Porter?

John Foster was trying to be a good dad and take Kate out to lunch which was awkward since Kate knows he's evil now. Kate basically ended up admitting she knows he's a serial killer and he told her he's actually not and she believed him. I actually thought this was a pretty realistic turn of events because it would be hard to accept your dad is John Foster. But whatever.

Ryan and Jed were discussing the ghost who set his sister on fire and is now trying to set Molly on fire. Why did he do that?

Ryan: Maybe he was just a nutter.
Jed: No one's just a nutter, Ryan.

Come on Ryan, if someone appears in multiple scenes and we see their face they can never be "just a nutter." Actually this time I guess he was because the show kind of forgot about him in all the drama. Ryan slept with Molly like an asshole and when she realized he wasn't into her she angrily decided to leave and stay with friends. She was walking down the street trying really hard to look cute:

I think it took that moment for me to realize how much Molly's facial expressions are just NOT facial expressions. She just opens her eyes really wide and looks dazed and bites her mouth. Anyway, she got into a white van just as a helpful voiceover reminded us that Zoe (her friend who went missing) was last seen getting into a white van.

A bunch of stuff happened but none of it made sense. Kate went to the room she's been having scary dreams about. It turned out that when she was a little kid she saw her dad and another guy carrying a dead body out of that room. Jed and Kate went to smash the wall and get into the room and Kate's dad was running after them saying that he didn't kill Zoe but implying that he knows who did and Kate definitely shouldn't go into the room.

In the room there was an elevator and Jed went down on it. Kate went down too but her dad caught up to her and made her go back up while Jed was yelling at her from inside a room that she needed to leave because it wasn't safe. This was actually semi-scary because we didn't know why everyone was so upset about Kate in particular being there. Jed said something to his mom and there was a scary ghost.


As someone said on the IMDB board:

"A cliffhanger is something that leaves you wondering what will happen next. By that definition, Bedlam did not end on a cliffhanger."

The unfunny Bedlam post

So here's what I have to say about the show Bedlam that isn't really about the show at all. It's about the way people think about disability and the way this is reflected in and reinforced by pop culture.

Any institution (school, hospital, or prison) is a great setting for horror fiction because a)you can use a huge creepy-looking building with winding halls, b)there are lots of people there hence the potential for lots of ghosts, and c)people are likely to have been abused there.

But mental institutions are such a good setting that they're almost cheating because, even more than abuse or winding halls, people with disabilities are one of the basic units of the horror genre. I'd argue that at least half of villainous humans and ghosts in horror movies could be considered disabled--in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of disabled movie characters appear in horror movies.

I come to praise horror not to bury it though. After all, I like it. I also think that physical and mental "weakness" may be themes that are inherently scary because they threaten our security. The idea of criticizing porn for being offensive always strikes me as really senseless because porn is created to push certain buttons so I don't see how it can be any more offensive than an icemaker can be offensive for making ice--and the same argument can be made about horror.

So I'm not talking about the fact that Bedlam a TV show set in a haunted institution for people with mental health disabilities. I do think it says something interesting, though, that while the idea of the institution (and therefore disability) is used to give the show its spookiness, there are very few disabled characters.

I first found out about Bedlam on the Skins LiveJournal community when someone posted some gifs of Lily Loveless's guest appearance on the show. From the gifs, I could tell that her character was supposed to be ill (she was taking medication) and that she had moved into a new place. The name of the show made me assume that it took place in a psychiatric hospital, so I imagined that she had just been admitted to a hospital for treatment, only to discover it was haunted.

I thought this show was going to be about people with psychiatric disabilities in a haunted hospital. Like, there would be a few main ghost hunters who were either long-term patients or staff, and the guest stars would be various short-term patients who would be menaced by a ghost. After actually looking up the show, I realized that the hospital was no longer a hospital, but I figured the ghosts were going to have psychiatric disabilities since they were the ghosts of patients.

In fact, every single ghost of a patient has been casually mentioned to not actually have been mentally ill--even when this doesn't have anything important to do with the ghost's motivations. I want to make it clear I am not criticizing this particular show for this! But I went through every character in the first five episodes (living or dead) who has been a patient in a psychiatric hospital or is thought to have mental health problems.

There were ten characters like this--four were main character ghosts, three were living characters, and three were part of a ghost or living character's backstory. Only half of the characters who have been institutionalized or said to have MH problems actually have MH problems. Of these five, three are part of someone's backstory--they only appear very briefly and exist to drive the motivation of another character.

Of the four ghosts of patients, not one of them actually has MH problems. They were all institutionalized "wrongly."

The show portrays a lot of abuse against people labeled with psychiatric disabilities. Jed is constantly made fun of, insulted, or feared because of his label. All of the patients, especially the female ones, were treated unfairly or even killed by staff. This abuse is portrayed as wrong, but all the abuse we see against people with disabilities is experienced by characters who don't actually have disabilities.

It would be kind of a heavy accusation (especially against such an awesomely stupid show) if I tried to argue that the writers of the show are trying to say that abuse of people with disabilities is okay, and is only wrong when it happens to people without disabilities who are mistakenly perceived as disabled. I also think it would be wrong to try to read something into the fact that most of the actually-disabled characters are only notable for having killed themselves and/or someone else. That comes with them being backstory characters in a show where every character has a tragic past.

What I'm trying to say is more simple. Definitely a lot of people are institutionalized when they don't actually have a disability, and in the 19th century (which most of the ghosts are from) this was much more true than it is now. But there must have been some patients in the institution who actually had disabilities. Most of them, even.

So, where are the ghosts with disabilities? I think we are probably supposed to imagine they are among the many ghosts in Bedlam Heights. Like the ghosts without disabilities, they probably were abused and had tragic lives. But for some reason, none of the disabled ghosts get to be the ghost of the week, who Jed sees visions of and whose terrible experiences he clucks over with Ryan.

I think this isn't through anyone's decision to ignore the experience of actually crazy people in an institution for crazy people. I think when the writers were coming up with the concept for the ghost of the week, every week they just happened to come up with a ghost who was non-disabled, because main characters--characters whose point of view is show--are almost always non-disabled. Given the premise of this show, it makes absolutely no sense! But I think it's totally, completely ordinary and frankly I would have been surprised if it was any other way.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bedlam 1x01, 1x02, 1x03

So I started watching Bedlam. First it was just the worst ever, not like, "This should be good but I don't like it," like I originally felt about The Fades, but just, like, this is a disaster. But I was really enjoying it from my awkward position as someone who loves horror as a genre while being so easily scared that watching the most average horror movie in the world, or even being exposed to pictures or descriptions of some horror movies, can debilitate me for a week.

Because like...let me tell you. The main character Kate, who is an asshole, was working in the office of the ridiculous apartment building she and her dad own. Then in the background, behind these glass doors, was a ghost! Kate didn't notice and just walked by the doors. Cut back to the ghost.

I couldn't even deal with how hard I was laughing as blood (or possibly black water?) started dripping down the glass. This continued happening for practically the whole episode. Kate was making out with a gay dude in the bathroom, and blood started dripping down over the bathroom walls, including the weird sexy picture of herself that Kate has in her own bathroom because she's CRAZY. (Not really crazy, of course. More on that later.) Later, Kate was lying in a bathtub with her eyes closed and the blood started dripping down the walls again. Also, the ghost started telekinetically writing the word "DROWN" on the bathroom mirror.

Then it started trying to pull Kate underwater and drown her. Her adopted cousin Jed runs in and saves her by giving a ring she was wearing to the ghost, because the ghost was the original owner of the ring. Jed pulls Kate out of the water and as she sits all upset in a towel trying to recover from almost dying, Jed comforts her by saying:


Is this supposed to make anyone feel good? Now Kate has to be concerned that not only is she an asshole, she's apparently so incompetent that she can accidentally drown herself while taking a bath?

Maybe it's just me, but this show makes me LOL and LOL, and I felt relieved that there was a horror show I could watch without being at all scared.


This show is terrible. Look:


The major characters are, from left to right:

1. Jed, the ~adopted cousin of Kate. I use an ironic squiggle for the reason that apparently, this is a really big deal? I don't usually think about whether people are adopted, but the fact that Jed both was adopted and has been labeled with mental health problems (don't worry, he's not actually crazy, he's just a ghost hunter!) has caused him to be some sort of family outcast, e.g.:

Ryan: Who is this, Kate?
Jed: I'm her cousin.
Kate: You're not my cousin. We're not even related.

What the fuck? He's just adopted.

I have a really bad feeling that Kate and Jed might have sex at some point and this is the reason for the constant reiteration that they aren't related. Jed comes to the apartment building because his phone was sending him texts telling him to save Kate, because yeah, in addition to seeing ghosts he somehow receives texts and big popup windows on his computer giving him supernatural advice on what to do? (Originally I thought he was using a dayplanner to remind him of his various ghosthunting tasks.) Then after he saves Kate from that particular hilarious ghost, he realizes how many ghosts are in the apartment building, so he decides to stay and put them all to rest.

2. John Foster. I don't know this guy's real name. All I know is that on Skins he played a character so annoying that a person of my acquaintance uses his name as a safeword when engaging in BDSM. John Foster is the perfect safeword because the mere mention of his name destroys all happiness/boners.

In Bedlam, John Foster is Kate's dad who does nothing but act sort of evil and nasty. At one point, Jed tries to pretend it's a joke (I don't remember the context but we're probs better off without it):

Jed: Ha ha, are you trying to electrocute me?
John Foster: It's a pity they didn't give you some of that at the hospital, might be less bother.

What the hell, John Foster? Let me be clear, I really don't like Jed very much, but it seems like he can't do anything without his terrible uncle and cousin yelling at him that he's adopted and making fun of him for having been institutionalized. I get the impression that John Foster is going to be revealed to be a serial murderer or something, so the fact that he's an asshole is a little less annoying than the fact that Kate is an asshole.

3. Kate. The biggest asshole in the entire world. Sorry I keep quoting, but let me tell you what she said in the third episode (spoiler alert, like you care).

Jed: Did you know that my mother was a patient here? Did you know that she died in childbirth?
Kate: I didn't know that. Sorry.

I guess it's not possible to capture in writing the way that Kate says the word "Sorry." But it's like she bumped into him on the train and she doesn't even want to say it. Kate spends most of her time doing awful and/or inexplicable things (like having a sexy picture of herself on her own bathroom wall).

In the first episode, Molly tells Kate that she is interested in Ryan. Kate seduces Ryan. Soon after, she starts having sex with a married guy. When Molly's friend goes missing, Kate makes an effort whenever she mentions the missing girl to say, "She's not my friend. I thought she was annoying." When Jed's girlfriend comes over for dinner and mentions she was in a psychiatric hospital, Kate says, "Oh, so you and Jed have something in common!" and starts making fun of Jed's supposed mental health problems.

I assume she's written this way on purpose, but I don't think she's going to turn out to be evil so my question is, why?

4/5. Molly and Ryan. I don't exactly get the background with Molly and Ryan which may be my own laziness. I think Molly is Kate's old friend and knew her and Jed when they were kids. Ryan is a newer friend of Molly and Kate? And when Kate and her dad decided to turn this building into apartments, Kate, Molly, and Ryan moved into a big apartment together (where I think Jed also lives).

I have a feeling Kate doesn't make Molly and Ryan pay rent because they are much cooler than her. In the third episode, the two of them just start bitching about Kate at one point and I was really into it! I'd love to think that they both really hate Kate and are just using her for a free apartment.

Molly is pretty attractive, which is good, and is supposed to be the nice/caring character, but I think without the contrast of Kate she would probably seem like a bitch. Ryan's brother was brutally murdered a year ago and Jed tells him all the details of how his brother was feeling when being murdered? Asshole!

Ryan is also played by a guy who apparently is a famous pop star. My major concern with Ryan was that he was the gayest person I had ever seen, and when I found out he was played by a gay dude whose primary job is not acting, I was like...why did they try to make the character straight. But in this aspect, the show really surprised me, because they revealed that Ryan is gay but maybe hasn't dealt with it or doesn't want to tell Molly and Kate. I'm pretty into the fact that Ryan's character isn't defined by being gay and isn't even revealed to be until a few episodes in.

I'm really fond of Ryan. But his likability and Molly's attractiveness/lack of utter evil aren't enough to make up for Jed being pretty boring and Kate being the most awful person in the world.

So why did I imply this show is less of a disaster after the first episode? Guest characters obviously! In episodes two and three, a new person moves into the apartment building who is better-looking and more charismatic than the major characters. But they have a secret and a ghost starts torturing them. At the end of the episode the guest character goes away, which is awful.

The first guest character was Leah, a cool lady who stole money and flirted with all the guys. Eventually it turned out that while drunk-driving away from her abusive husband, she ran over two kids, so this ghost wants to kill her because his wife committed suicide with their kids in the car? I don't get it. Cars! Kids! Women! Awesomely, Leah is haunted by SKID MARKS (the kind on the road not the kind in your underwear). They keep appearing on her floor, and one day, her cat is lying dead on the floor in a skid mark as if it was run over by a car.

Soon after, the ghost is terrorizing Leah and she runs into the bathroom. BUT THEN THE LIGHT COMES ON IN THE BATHROOM AND GUESS WHAT!

Leah is sitting in the bathroom crying and the walls and floor are covered with skid marks as if some ghost car had been driving around with no regard for gravity

Ahhh! Are you serious. This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen.

I actually enjoyed this episode since Leah was pretty cool but it still made no sense. The most annoying thing was how all the main characters hated Leah after finding out what she had done. Maybe I'm being too easy on her since she was awesome, but accidentally killing people would be a pretty awful experience and they acted like she did it on purpose. Jed was trying to convince Ryan that they should let the ghost kill her by comparing Leah to the guy who murdered Ryan's brother.

Fortunately Ryan was slightly more forgiving and convinced Leah to turn herself into the police, after which the ghost decided not to kill her. Which made no sense. Except for the skid mark bathroom, the best part of the episode was when Kate told Molly that Leah wasn't using her legal first name (because if you were trying to hide from your abusive husband you would obvs change your first name and not your last name). Molly proceeded to look up Leah on Facebook and discovered that, in fact, Leah was on Facebook under HER OLD NAME!

Because if you were going by a different name, you wouldn't change your name on Facebook even if you started renting an apartment under your new name, which is way more likely to cause problems when it's not the name on your credit card. Changing your name on Facebook is super difficult!

The third episode was legitimately not bad. It had Lily Loveless and she looked GOOD. She played a girl named Sadie who moved into the apartment building after being in a psych ward for several years. She started dating Jed, but unfortunately a ghost wanted to fuck with her in a way that was finally actually logical and semi-scary! Great job everyone!

It was also pretty cool that because Sadie has mental illness, she didn't react in the conventional way when she was being tormented by a ghost. For most of the episode, something scary would happen to her and she'd look kind of sad/spaced out, and then tell Jed that maybe moving to an apartment by herself is too much of a change and she should be living with her parents. We have all seen characters who think they are haunted but are actually mentally ill, but I'd never seen a mentally ill character who thought she wasn't being haunted because she ascribed all the supernatural phenomena to her mental illness.

(I have seen this with characters who have been tricked into thinking they're ill, but that's different. Sadie obviously had/has real problems, but the ghost is real too.)

This brings me to the one gripe I have with the show that is not related to its quality--and maybe it's more accurate to say it's a gripe with pop culture in general that Bedlam happens to be a great example of. As you may have guessed from the name of the show, the apartment building in Bedlam used to be a mental institution. But so far, there are no ghosts with mental disabilities. I am going to write a separate post on this instead of sticking it at the end of my post about how funny the show is--and seriously, watch it, I hope you enjoy the ghostly skid marks as much as I do.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Fades 1x03

This made me happy:

Otherwise the episode wasn't that good. I seem to be in opposition with Josh regarding which episodes are good and which are weak, which is totally terrifying and leading to an identity crisis. But there was more focus on the characters I'm less interested in, like Neil's dead friend Sarah, his other dead friend Helen, and Sarah's husband whose name I can't remember because all he did in the last two episodes was have sex.

Speaking of sex, this episode started with a pretty great scene where Paul was jerking off to a fantasy about playing strip rock paper scissors with Jay. When they had sex later in the episode he seemed really disappointed that it didn't involve RPS. Anyway, when Paul came he grew giant wings. Sadly this was the zenith of the episode.

One of the things I did like was how everyone was a complete fail at the typical "keeping magic a secret" trope, and it wasn't really such a big deal. Paul told Jay, "I grow wings when I ejaculate," but again she just thought this was sad/cute bedwetter foreplay. But then his sister Anna saw them kissing, and when she came up and started making fun of them, Paul accidentally magically sealed her mouth shut. People kept yelling at Paul about how weird this was, and Paul would just say, "I know!" awkwardly.

In the next scene, Anna's mouth had come unsealed some way or another and she was sitting in her room refusing to talk to Paul. Their mom came up to ask what had happened, and Anna yelled, "He's having sex with my best friend! He's got superpowers!" but their mom was too busy congratulating Paul on having sex with Jay to notice the part about magic.

Later there was an annoying scene where Paul texted and told Jay this long story about a space probe that is pretty impressive but was built in a boring town, which I guess is supposed to be a metaphor for how he just wants her to see him as normal even though he can do magic things. It was more annoying than it sounds because he had climbed up into the tree next to the window of her giant house, and was magically making all the flowers on the tree bloom like some kind of John Cusack. Then they had sex and he apparently didn't grow wings this time, or maybe he did and they just didn't mention it because Jay thinks that's how bedwetters have sex.

My point is though that even though I didn't like this scene, I did find it refreshing that Paul didn't really stick to his plan to have a secret identity, and just opted to try and make it seem cool when Jay found out about it.

To continue with the stuff I liked, there was a nice storyline where Paul forgot Mac's birthday, although he remained unaware that he'd forgotten about it for an unbelievably long time. Mac was super mad at him and kept telling him that he felt tired because he'd been waiting for someone to surprise him all day, and Paul was like, "What are you talking about?" Eventually Paul remembered and the next day he wrote "Happy birth-yesterday" in shaving cream in front of Mac's house. It was cute.

There was another cute scene where Paul gave Mac a key to his house for his birthday and they had a fight with ice cream, but then Paul got HIT BY A TRUCK AND DIED. Whyyyy did this happen. I bet quite a lot of people watching this show are fans of Skins, so it's not like watching someone get randomly hit by a vehicle is the shock it would be to most people. And it just seems like a huge shark-jump moment.

It seems pretty clear that the AED didn't work so Paul is definitely too dead to be brought back by medical means. This leaves two options:

1. He will be a Fade for the rest of the show, which I personally think would be annoying.

2. He'll be brought back by magic, which I also think would be annoying. I find myself struggling to explain why this bothers me so much, but I just think bringing people back to life on TV always seems cheap, and it's especially annoying in the fourth or fifth episode of a show. Bringing someone back to life is one of the most impressive things you can do magic-wise, and it's going to feel like the show already blew its load. Also, Helen and Sarah didn't get brought back to life so it's going to be really obvious that Paul got brought back because he's the protagonist, not for any in-story reason. I'm so disappointed in this!

What else happened. Continuing the trend where we tell everyone in the whole world about stuff we're supposedly keeping secret, Neil told Sarah's husband that Sarah's ghost is following him around, and allowed them to have a conversation through him. Again I like how this departs from cliche, but I just wasn't interested in watching the scene. Some more Angelics came to help out. Paul impressed everyone by healing Neil, who isn't dead by the way, obviously.

The gross Fade who looked like Nosferatu from Are You Afraid of the Dark? went in a cocoon for a while and came out as Joe Dempsie, except he was super buff. Should be fun.

Neil's annoying friend Helen, the vicar, turned out to be one of the dead people who ascends instead of having to be a Fade. I will tell you why this annoys me! Helen is a dick. She kept talking about how Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden for doubting what they were told, and said that Sarah is having a bad time basically because she's a weak person. Helen was absolutely sure she was going to ascend because she believed that she would, and then she ascended, instead of not ascending which is what I was hoping would happen because she was so self-righteous.

This seems really inconsistent of me. I'm Christian, and I get really bored of Christian TV characters who are evil or stupid or are always being proved wrong. But the afterlife in The Fades clearly is not consistent with Christianity, unless maybe you believe that being a Fade is hell and people fail to ascend because they deserve it--but that really doesn't make much sense. So why is Helen still Christian when she knows about Fades? Also, why is she so judgmental?

It was also super Christian when Helen told all the Angelics that they should capture Fades and start torturing them. They captured Natalie (my favorite character) and I guess they're going to start torturing her in the next episode. Whatever. I'm done talking about Helen.

I feel bad for Lily Loveless. There was one sort of nice scene where Anna told her mom that she feels like her mom likes Paul better than her, but otherwise Anna just goes around saying things that are supposed to be horrible but don't sound like things a real person would say. "You're kissing my brother. That's like you're kissing me. It's like you're kissing the worst part of me. It's like you're kissing my ass!" Again, her Katie Fitch redemption arc needs to already be here.


"I've seen you masturbate." "When?" "The school trip to Calais." "You were awake?"

"A truly surprising birthday is one that takes place a day late!"

I love how actors with physical disabilities are being cast in minor roles in the show! In case you don't know, Jack Thorne identifies as disabled and worked on the show Cast-offs where all the characters were physically disabled and played by disabled actors. He is also a supporter of Don't play me pay me, which campaigns for more disabled actors to be cast on television, especially playing disabled characters. I basically love him. But anyway.

I love that Paul seems to own only one pair of pants and they're pink. In all likelihood my favorite thing about a character I already like a lot.

Mac's dad decided to arrest Sarah's husband for the murders of Sarah, Helen, and the rabbit kids, apparently because the guy he works for (or with? whatever) doubts his ability to do his job. The guy told him to his face that he thinks Mac's dad was only hired because he was black, which to me seemed like kind of an awkward attempt to address racism, but then I'm white so maybe people do say things that awkwardly racist in real life.

Paul went to his therapist and told him he didn't need to see him anymore because he was "cured" and "too busy for this...I've got two lives to lead." Can someone please explain to me how someone labeled with mental health problems could get away with saying all the things Paul says that in real life would make staff/parents totally crack down on you?

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Fades 1x02: moral support listens at the door

Just kidding, I love The Fades. It's the greatest show ever. I don't know if this episode was actually that much better than the first one, or if I was just in a better state to appreciate it. But it was awesome and exactly what I want from TV.

Daniel Kaluuya, never change. Or always change, I'm undecided. This episode began with the strangest previouslies I've ever seen. Instead of just showing clips from the first episode they had Daniel Kaluuya's character, who I didn't even realize knew what was going on, describing the concept of the show. It wasn't exactly a "we're telling you what happened in case you missed the episode" thing, because I hadn't figured out most of what he was telling us even though I had seen the first episode. At the end of the previouslies, Daniel Kaluuya announced he was going to watch Star Wars. I hope this doesn't happen again.

Josh explained this episode to me by telling me that Paul is "the Twilight Sparkle of The Fades." If you don't watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (and really, why don't you?) this means that the episode was like the myriad episodes of Buffy where some authority figure tells Buffy that a Slayer is always supposed to work on her own, but that authority figure turns out to be totally wrong because it's actually through the combined abilities of the Scooby Gang that Buffy is able to defeat the forces of darkness. Paul's mentor Neil tells him that he has to say goodbye to everyone in his life and leave school to fight the Fades, but Paul concludes that he doesn't want to leave his loved ones behind. Instead he wants to have two identities, like Superman.

The best scene in the episode was when Daniel Kaluuya (Mac) adorably brought Paul a SODA like they were going on a date in a Precious Moments figurine


and they were planning to go to a party and "have sex" (Mac paused for a minute) "with girls," but then suddenly, Neil appeared out of nowhere looking judgmental!

I LOLed.

At this point, Paul was still planning on leaving his life behind after going to the party and telling the girl he likes, Jay, that he likes her. But after hooking up with Jay, Paul decided that he couldn't do it.

This kind of pissed me off! According to Jack Thorne, The Fades is supposed to be a "love story" between Mac and Paul. I actually thought the scene that made Paul realize he had to stay in his life would be when he and Mac were having a dance party at two AM and Mac's dad (who is the detective investigating the disappearance of some people that the Fades ate, more on that later) came in and yelled at Mac and pushed him against a shelf. Mac fell down and cut his arm, and after Paul touched it, his hand started glowing and the cut was healed.

Take note, this is exactly the kind of scene I want from television, Jack Thorne (and everyone)! It was already a funny scene between Mac and Paul, which then became sad when we found out that Mac's family situation sucks. Mac's injury wasn't just a plot device for Paul to realize he could do magic, but the magic added another layer to a scene that was already good.

Later, Paul was cutting his arm to see if he could heal it, when his mom walked in. What, you don't lock the door when you cut yourself? Did I mention that for some reason Paul has painted a desert with a cactus on the walls of his room?

Anyway, Paul's mom asked if he was self-injuring and then totally forgot about it, even though Paul is already considered to have mental health problems because he has apocalyptic visions and wets the bed. Paul has previously talked to his therapist about "how you should say goodbye to people if you're going to disappear from your life"--which seems like a stupid thing for someone labeled with mental health problems to go around saying, but okay, maybe this is what British people are like. They must be, because he goes ahead and says the same thing to his mom. "If I disappeared, would you be okay with that?"

Instead of getting worried about this--especially considering Paul was just cutting himself!--Paul's mom is just kind of sad and nice, and tells him that if he disappeared, she definitely wouldn't be okay.

But despite this conversation, and despite the fact that Mac's life is awful and Paul is his only friend, Paul doesn't decide not to disappear until he makes out with Jay. Who is a girl. Even though she looks like a lesbian.

I don't mean that Jay isn't pretty, but just that she has a lesbian haircut. Like every other geeky boy on television, Paul is in love with a popular girl--in this case, Jay is friends with Paul's really mean, popular sister Anna--and in some ways The Fades handles this in a less annoying way than other TV shows. Despite supposedly being very mainstream, Jay seems like someone who could believably be liked by and like Paul. The only problem is that she doesn't look like someone who could actually be mainstream popular as a teenager.

In America, popular girls look like this:

They don't look like this:

I'm not saying that all girls with short hair are social outcasts, but if you were going to hang around with someone like Anna who says things like "There's a difference between you and me--you're retarded and I'm not," you would not have hair like Jay's hair. Don't argue with me, I know the truth, and my token British friend confirmed it is the same over there.

I really like Jay as a character, and since she looks so hipster-y I was hoping it would turn out she was just friends with Anna as a joke. Instead she told Paul: "There's two versions of me, one that likes being friends with Anna and being popular, and" (here I was thinking she was going to say, the kind of person who would actually have a fauxhawk?) "one that likes you." For reals? Paul is her first non-mainstream interest, ever?

She's still pretty good for a love interest though, and the conversation set up Paul's realization that THERE COULD BE TWO VERSIONS OF HIM! "Clark Kent, Peter Parker!" he exclaimed, and kissed Jay for giving him the idea. She was confused, but apparently thought it was the kind of thing sad/cute boys who wet the bed say when they're flirting with you.

Did I mention how pleased I was to notice that Paul is actually a geek? I think--probably through no fault of the first episode--I had gotten the impression that this was going to be one of those shows where the main character is sort of different in a sexy way, and his sidekick is a comic relief geek. But I was relieved to learn that Paul and Mac are both geeks. It was pretty great when Paul confessed his feelings by telling Jay that he would most want to have sex with George Lucas, but that if he had to do a mashup of girls, she would be the only girl in the mashup.

Oh right the actual FADES. They killed Neil but Josh sort of told me that he doesn't really die, but he wouldn't actually tell me. Josh is a dick! The main thing that happened with the Fades was that they turned out to be killing and eating humans. It was gross! This is how they can now touch objects and people.

I know what you're thinking: if the Fades couldn't touch people until they started eating people, how did they eat the first person they ate? If this show is like most shows, it will pretend this question doesn't exist, so I've resolved to do the same.

My favorite character on the show is probably Natalie, the silent, semi-decomposed cute teenage Fade girl. She stands around and shifts from foot to foot, but in this episode she actually communicated with Paul and smiled and seemed really sweet, until she suddenly tried to kill him. Neil seems to be really familiar with Natalie (on one forum it was suggested she might be his sister) and he was surprised that she tried to kill Paul, and even more surprised when he saw her eating dead bodies. He was even more surprised when she set him up to get killed at the end of the episode!

The reason I like Natalie so much--and the reason I liked it when Neil took Paul to talk to a 140-year-old Fade who, as you might expect of a 140-year-old, is blind and deaf--is that the show is really taking advantage of the nature of the Fades' evil. They're not mindlessly evil, they're just in a terrible situation where most people go evil. So there can be a helpful Fade, and in fact all of Neil's recently dead friends hang out with him and help him (they can even still talk). And there can be someone like Natalie, who probably was harmless for long enough for Neil to still think of her as harmless even as she's starting to do evil things.

I should mention that as the Fades kill people and become more powerful, this is going to lead to the apocalypse somehow? I'm actually trying to ignore the fact that this show is about the apocalypse because I'm not that into it. But I still can appreciate the fact that the apocalypse is caused not by an evil force, but by normal people doing what most normal people would do if they were stuck in the most horrible afterlife ever.



Like all lesbians I will watch anything Lily Loveless does, since I was twelve, and so on, but it is pretty annoying that all she does is flip Paul and Mac off while calling them retards and fags. Last episode, in the teaser for this episode they showed her flipping Paul off, and it was like "...we know, how is that a teaser?" I guess this is actually going to be a Katie Fitch situation and soon she will be the hero of the show. THOSE DAYS CAN'T COME FAST ENOUGH.

Loved that those kids bullied Mac and Paul by pretending to be rabbits!

"I don't understand! I didn't ask for any of this." stfu paul

Did he really just bring a dead bird back to life, for real?



I like that the therapist isn't evil like they always are on Skins.

his mom is such a cockblock<---this was a note I wrote and don't actually understand, but I love it. I think it had to do with him cutting himself.

Lamest ever party, admittedly all my knowledge of parties comes from Skins, and my and Clayton's parties where we drink White Russians and watch The Vampire Diaries.

How come the Fades didn't eat the Angelics they killed in the first episode? (Unfortunately people who can see and fight Fades are called Angelics.) Would they get hurt if they did that? Maybe we should trick them into eating an Angelic!

After an Angelic heals someone, they throw up a bug. I wouldn't care except that I happened to pause the episode at this moment:

I think this post is longer than any post on my "real" blog has ever been. Don't even care. Love it.
shows I really want to watch:

Bedlam (the most)
American Horror Story (I read a review that described the show by saying it was like Glee but with shot-for-shot remakes of classic horror movies in place of musical numbers. Who could resist that?)

shows I feel like I have to finish even though they make me miserable:

Six Feet Under

shows I feel like I should watch more of even though I just want to start Bedlam:

The Fades

shows I have planned to watch since before they even started but never felt ambitious enough:

Game of Thrones

shows I will watch every day for the rest of my life:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Fades 1x01

This is the picture that I found when I googled The Fades

and it all by itself explains why I should enjoy the show. I guess my imaginary ideal work of fiction is something that's genre but not in a way that makes genre the main reason for its existence. I am a greedy person and I think in the ideal work of fiction, you would layer in genre on top of some good characters and feelings to raise the stakes and make all the emotions double emotional. And when a really good description or a really good shot is of a werewolf instead of a tree, it's three times as good. I'm possibly sort of a whore/the kind of person who puts ketchup on everything, but that's all right. I just want to have a lot of feelings and reblog gifs on tumblr.

I partly like this picture because it reminds me of Animorphs my first pop culture obsession, which embodies the ideal I'm talking about and is probably why I'm so crazy for it. But I mostly like it because it itself embodies the ideal. It's probably a promo picture for a genre show because if it was just about this kid going to school, why does he look so CRAZY and what is he doing in front of those birds and lightning, instead of just being in his room? On the other hand, you can't actually tell what the show is about. Birds? Hitting birds with lightning? It looks cool!

The Fades is actually only tangentially about birds; they keep falling dead to the ground in a way that is supposed to symbolize something I didn't pay enough attention to figure out. It's mainly about a sad/cute boy (is there any other kind) who wets the bed and can see zombie ghost things, and is friends with Posh Kenneth from Skins. That sentence sounds like my ideal TV show, so why was I semi-bored watching it?

Maybe there's something else intangible that my ideal TV show needs, or maybe I just need to give it time. Some stuff:

The Fades are zombie ghost things, like I said, or as the main character Paul is told, they're "shitty ghosts." For no particular reason they haven't ascended to the afterlife, and they wander around in the world and are intangible. Understandably this makes them "get shitty." After ghosts get shitty they start looking like the vampire from the Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode with the movie theater.

They've recently become able to touch people, which is scary.

I like the idea of having a monster that has really mundane reasons for being evil. And just like everyone else I like sad/cute boys who wet the bed and are friends/siblings with Skins alumni. Maybe I was just bored by all the scenes that Paul, Posh Kenneth, and Naomi Campbell weren't in, that also weren't scary. I think I might like the show better if we only saw and learned about things from Paul's perspective, instead of having to see scenes with other characters who I think are supposed to be fighting the Fades, or married to people who fight or used to fight the Fades, or something.

My conclusion is for a lot of the time when I was watching the first episode, I was pretty bored, but the end actually scared me a little and after ruminating on this show I've managed to convince myself all over again that I should enjoy it. So I will keep trying.

A cool moment, and what I hope the show will turn out to be like, was when Mac (Posh Kenneth/Daniel Kaluuya) was talking about The Sixth Sense while Paul was watching a dead lady. Even though Mac's fridge logic wasn't even good.