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Black Knight

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  1. Black Knight

    The Bold Type

    (Sorry for being off-topic somewhat, but...) I'm sympathetic to your larger point, but you couldn't have picked a more inappropriate example. The author, Fannie Flagg, is a lesbian who had the courage to write, in only her second book ever, a book released in 1989 and marketed to general audiences rather than hidden away in Lesbian Fiction, a lesbian romance as the heart and soul of her novel. Flagg went on to write (and be nominated for) the screenplay for the movie adaptation. Despite the fact the movie was released in 1992, it actually wasn't "nonsexual" as you describe; although she could only go so far, she made sure to include coding so that queer viewers and knowledgeable straight viewers still got the touching lesbian romance of the book. (I hadn't even read the book first and I knew from the coding that Ruth and Idgie were not only best friends.) Some more explicit moments were cut, but what the filmmakers were able to keep in was enough. For 1992, anyway. Queer viewers understood it had to be implicit. I understand the frustration that comes as a result of a culture that currently insists that that an adult's most important adult relationship is with their romantic partner, and so if there's a very deep friendship that seems to be on par or even above, people read in a romantic/sexual element. (You might be interested in Rebecca Traister's All the Single Ladies, which includes a terrific examination of how women's friendships were treated historically and then, recently, purposely devalued.) But don't hijack what was always conceived and written as a lesbian romance in both book and film as an example of this. That erases Flagg's bravery for writing a lesbian romance in a 1989 general fiction novel, and in not allowing it to be utterly straightwashed for the 1992 film, as well as her brilliance in her screenplay in finding a balance where the delicate sensibilities of circa-1992 straight viewers were protected and they could remain oblivious while queer viewers didn't find one of the few lesbian romances they had back then erased. Find an example where the relationship was conceived as a platonic friendship and then had romantic/sexual elements read into it by others because it's considered weird/impossible for women to have a platonic friendship that's above a certain level of accepted importance and emotional intimacy.
  2. Black Knight

    What Are We Currently Reading?

    Oh, the writing style is hardly similar. I didn't have any difficulty with the few Lovecraft stories I've read, and I liked them quite well enough to get an edition of his complete works so I can read them all. You shouldn't let Stross turn you off. But in a way it's the source material for Laundry Files. Stross had the idea to take these fantastical horror elements from Lovecraft's mythos and similar writings and transplant variants of them into this modern-day office bureaucracy/spy agency that uses computers as much as any classic magical element (wands, spells) to fight and contain the Cthulhu-inspired ancient powers. It's a fun concept on paper, but a very different feel. I think Stross's work would be much more readable for me if I better knew the material that inspired it and thus could catch the references and such. (Sort of like inside jokes.)
  3. Black Knight

    Worst Book Love Interests

    He was definitely being sarcastic.
  4. Black Knight

    Best Book Friends

  5. Black Knight

    What Are We Currently Reading?

    You're not alone. I managed to finish the book, but only because, like you, it takes a lot for me to quit a book, and I had zero interest in continuing the series. I do think a large part of my problem is that I haven't read much Lovecraft; I've got the complete works sitting in my to-read bookcase, but haven't gotten to them yet. I felt like as a result there was quite a lot I was missing while I was reading Atrocity Archives. I plan to try it again once I get through Lovecraft.
  6. Black Knight

    Another World

    Eplin's contract was up and he decided he wanted to see what else he could get - he'd tried to get other gigs before, back during the Jake/Marley days, and wanted to try again. He didn't take very long exploring his options before deciding that he would rather return to AW. I remember him talking about his epiphany in an interview - it was something like, "I was sitting in a room waiting to audition for a video game and I realized this was nuts, I'm scrabbling out here for a video game when I have a show that wants me back." What I found interesting was that when he returned, AW chose to do the same thing with his character that it was doing with Vicky's - turn these characters who had always been largely amoral schemers who constantly fucked up into classic heroes/heroines. Amnesiac Jake returned once again a rich man, but this time he kept his wealth, and even though he regained his memory he didn't go back to being the Jake of old. He never got involved in another shady scheme. Vicky kept her own hands pretty clean as well, except for nearly cheating on Jake with Shane and then trying to keep that secret, but even then, she stopped herself from going through with the cheating and then she owned up relatively quick in order to save Jake from some stupid legal nonsense Lila had contrived. I remember reading the then-headwriter describing the love triangle of Jake/Vicky/Bobby as an Arthurian one in which Jake was King Arthur, and knew at that minute the Jake of old was gone forever. I didn't entirely have a problem with it because Jake's later schemes were just painfully stupid and contrived (I complained about the loan shark one above, which was his last one) and I was relieved to be done with those, but it was just such an abrupt shift. I assumed at first it was just a temporary effect of his amnesia, in the classic tradition of soap amnesiac storylines, but he recovered his memory almost immediately after his return.
  7. The sequels were green-lit quickly, since the first movie was such a big hit. They'll be filmed back-to-back next year. Here's one article about it.
  8. Black Knight

    Another World

    I enjoy it, but I should mention her role's minimal. The premise is that the teenagers of a town have been mysteriously taken away to a new locale (that looks exactly like the old town except that there are now woods on all sides), and must set up a "society" in order to survive. The whole show is about the teenagers, so we barely see the adults. Carlson plays one of the parents, so we only see her in the season premiere and finale, IIRC. If the talk that she left Blue Bloods because she wanted to work less is true (I know there were a number of speculative angles), taking the part on The Society certainly wouldn't get in the way of that goal. But it was nice to see her. She's aged well. She and Tim Gibbs had wonderful chemistry on AW. I still remember when Gary and Josie kissed for the first time - yowza! @SomeTameGazelle so the stupid inconsistency goes back really far! (I never saw the Jake/Marley years - I came in during Jake/Paulina.) It doesn't make much sense for a guy to be just fine living off rich women some of the time but be all "Me Provider" some of the time. If like you and I said, the writers had it that he became sensitive about it with Marley and Paulina because of the original money-grubbing reasons his relationships with them started, that would have made more sense.
  9. Black Knight

    Another World

    There was a really stupid precedent though. Right before Paulina and Jake finally got married for real, the writers wanted to do a storyline where Jake went to a loan shark, but of course that would have made no sense because at the time, both Paulina and Jake were wealthy. So they wrote some nonsense where Jake wanted to acquire a company but it would have meant using all his money. Then they had an infuriating scene where Iris told Paulina that it never works when the woman has more money than the man (and Paulina listened to Iris for the first time ever) while Jake was told by...I forget who...how stupid it was for him not to buy the company because he had an issue with Paulina supporting them financially. (And there actually was a halfway-decent, non-offensive explanation for Jake - he'd spent a number of years being a gold-digger, including with Paulina, and had had to prove to everyone that he'd moved beyond wanting Paulina just for her money, so it would be natural for him to be a bit sensitive about taking her money now. But of course the writers totally didn't make use of that history and just made it a standard Me Tarzan thing.) So without talking to each other first, Paulina stuck all her money into an untouchable trust for a certain number of years while Jake went into debt acquiring the company. Cue the stupid loan shark storyline! Amy Carlson chose to leave Blue Bloods, didn't she? I just saw her recently on the new Netflix show The Society.
  10. Hermione is the female lead in that she is the one out of the female characters who has the most time and focus. And as I pointed out, in Hollywood films it's pretty traditional for the female lead to end up with the male lead rather than the male sidekick, hence Ebert's impression. I've read all the books multiple times like any good Potter fan, and although Harry/Ginny were certainly telegraphed, I remain in my opinion that the character of Ginny and the romance of Harry/Ginny were not fleshed out in the books. The movies could have done better than the books in this regard (both in writing, and in avoiding the casting of Bonnie Wright, who is a cool person but has almost no screen presence), but didn't bother.
  11. Black Knight

    Another World

    Paulina had that with Jake, too, once Jake fell in love with her. Once he did, he never slept with another woman, even the year that they were broken up during which she was banging Ian. The writers did set up an affair between Joe and Josie, by the way, but it got scuttled before things went too far and the show went a different direction, IIRC because Tim Gibbs had exited and they recast Gary, but I don't remember too well now. Ryan's death spun off strong story, but I think it also really ultimately hurt the show in lasting ways. It ended not just one supercouple in Ryan/Vicky, but another in Paulina/Jake in order to make Jake available for Vicky (and then quickly bogged them down in the awful triangle with Bobby/Shane, or Shabobby as some of us called him). And while I was into Jake/Vicky, the pairing did have problems because of Jake's history with Marley, and it meant Paulina went with Joe and that pairing was the ruination of her character. She lost all her spark and spirit and complexity, and became so incredibly boring after that, save for the storyline when she was hooked on pills and hit Vicky's kid on Vicky and Jake's first attempt at a wedding day. Paulina used to be one of the lead females, paired with a top male lead, and she became a supporting character paired with a supporting male lead in a boring relationship. I felt so bad for Judi Evans. So in summation, Ryan's death ultimately destroyed two supercouples and caused the demotion of one of the best actresses/characters on the show, and in return we got a likable but problematic supercouple that didn't compare to either of the two destroyed ones and largely ate the show. Again, I did enjoy Jake/Vicky, but it wasn't worth it. Just like I liked Cass/Lila, but knocking out the tentpole couple of Cass/Frankie did permanent damage.
  12. Black Knight

    What Are We Currently Reading?

    I can mostly take or leave Jackson, so when I saw this in the bookstore I picked it up with a feeling of, "Well, I've read all the others, I may as well continue." Then I saw from the cover teaser that Reggie's back for this one, and now I'm excited. Reggie's my favorite character in the series by a wide margin.
  13. Black Knight

    Season 1 Discussion

    I just finished the season. I liked how serious matters were done in a very...teenage way. Like they were trying to copy what adults do but it came off as play-acting and showed how over their heads these kids are. The worthless trial. The shitshow execution. When the coup started being planned, I had images in my head of the Guard waving guns around and shooting some people, but when they actually effected the coup it was quite restrained. (Although I certainly wouldn't want to lay money on Clark and his buddy whose name I forget - the really dark-haired one - and Campbell continuing to be restrained.) It was only some random kid or two that threatened to push things over the edge by throwing stuff at Allie and Will, and Lexie quashed that quickly.
  14. Black Knight

    Worst Book Love Interests

    The subtitle of the book is "A Novel Without a Hero," after all.
  15. Black Knight

    Heroic Fails: Literary Heroes That Are Secretly Awful

    I don't get caught up in the rape in GWTW for quite a different reason, a meta one. BookWoman pointed out that at the time the story is set, marital rape wasn't considered to be a thing that existed - well, at the time Mitchell was writing GWTW, allowing female characters to enjoy sex wasn't permissible unless they were evil and/or going to be horribly punished in short order for it. Mitchell wanted to show Scarlett finally enjoying sex, and with the real love of her life, Rhett, but the only way Mitchell could do that is by having him dominate, rape Scarlett. Because Scarlett wasn't a classic heroine, Mitchell had been able to push the boundaries of her sexual desires (see the earlier scene with Ashley), but she still could only get away with so much in a book published in 1936. She couldn't actually write Scarlett enjoying sex entirely through her own agency. So to me, getting upset at GWTW/Mitchell over the rape scene in that book would be like me getting upset over the endings to the 1950s lesbian pulp novels, the ones where the lesbian romances would end rather abruptly with one girl being crazy or dead and the other "And then she realized she had never really loved her." A writer putting out a novel like that today would rightly be called homophobic, but the writers of those pulps weren't homophobic - at that time it was the only way that these writers could get lesbian content out there to be read and enjoyed by women, by having the fig leaf of an unhappy ending where heteronormativity reasserts itself. And lesbian readers knew to just disregard the last few pages. Likewise, I'm deeply bothered by 50 Shades and other problematic rape romances that come out in our times, but GWTW, in 1936, I get it. To show Scarlett sexually satisfied, that was the required fig leaf. I don't take it seriously any more than I do the obligatory publisher-mandated unhappy ending to a 1950s lesbian pulp. Now all the glossing over of the horrors of slavery, on the other hand...