Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Long Time No See

Hi guys. I'm just checking in. 

Normally, when I publish posts they have Topics (with a capital T!) that they focus on, tv shows they discuss, books they review, stories they tell. But today, for the first time ever, I think I'm just going to write, without a direction.

The first thing I have to say is sorry. I assumed that once I was done with exams (!!!) I would have a ton of time to blog. And truthfully, I do. But between spending time with friends and family and my writing and crafting and reading, I just haven't blogged.

I think partly, it's because I haven't been able to think of a good topic. I mean, I could talk about the fact that I'm totally loving Tim McGraw/Faith Hill duets. Or I could discuss the Make It or Break It finale (Payson and Max! Kaley and Austin! And, of course, Summer and Sasha!!!). Or I could review Oymg or Stay or If I Stay or Where She Went or any of the other books I read this week. But, somehow, none of those things feel like they could fill a whole post.

Instead, now, I'll give you the grab bag of my week:

-I went to Goodwill with my father last thursday. Now, normally, I maybe find one or two books if I'm lucky. But this week I hit the jackpot! A brand new hardcover of Jennifer Weiner's last book! An awesome collection of medical stories! And that's not even the best part. I have three words for you: Advanced Reader Copies.

I know!! Now, for legit book bloggers that actually have followers and things, these are easy to come by. But for people like me, an ARC is like a secret little stolen gift. And there were so many! Many of which don't come out until the summer, at least! So excited!

-I bought a prom dress yesterday. Now, I'm finding the whole prom thing rather fascinating. You'd think someone like me would go crazy for prom. I mean, it's a staple of the young adult romance genre, a must see event on any teen tv show. Glee. Gossip Girl. Princess in Pink. Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson. Never Been Kissed. She's All That. Second Helpings. Everwood. Dawson's Creek. Given how much I love (or love to hate) all those things, I should be insanely excited for prom. It's a huge cultural phenomenon! Yet, I don't find myself caring. At all. It's inexplicable. But, any way about it, no matter how much I buy into the prom concept, I still have to go. And so, I went to the mall with my friend yesterday and bought a very pretty white and silver dress. I like it. But I still don't want to wear it to prom. Ugh.

-While I quilt, I've taken to watching the second season of the OC.

I don't like it exactly, but it's enjoyable enough. It's interesting to watch, in comparison to Gossip Girl (both created by the same man--Josh Schwartz). There's a definite overlap. The OC storylines are less ridiculous--less Georgina's baby with a Russian mobster, more stupid misunderstandings. But the base set up is the same. A lot of episodes end with giant parties. And the characters all date each other incestuously. Yet, I think I enjoy GG more. Because, once upon a time (read: First season, when the show was actually good), I invested in those characters. I fell in love with Chuck and Blair, and I even liked Dan and Serena. That's why, all these years later, I still get excited about Chair babies, and why I still watch GG live every week. But with the OC, it's like I'm jumping into the fourth season of GG with fresh eyes, never having known the characters. I'm a lot less invested in them, and so I enjoy the show a lot less. It's an interesting comparison for me.

-The whole writing thing is going well. Very well, if I may say so myself. I have a requirement for myself: 500-1000 words a day. So far it's working. I go to bed at ten, pull out my laptop, and usually finish between 11:30 or 12:00, and I fall asleep before 12:10. Perfect routine! It's only been a few days though, so we'll see how it goes.

So yeah, that's me. Nice to check in every once in a while. I'll try to think of some topics so I can write a real post next time. See you soon!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review: What Happened to Goodbye

Sarah Dessen is a brilliant novelist. She is, undoutably, one of the best young adult novelist out there, but beyond that, she is a masterful story teller. Unlike many authors in her genre, she develops more than just a basic plot and character. Her books are so full, coming to life with theme and symbolism and a thoroughly developed world where all these things interact. Sarah Dessen is a genius, a master of her genre, and she will always be one of my favourite authors.

That's the spiel I give every time the topic of Sarah comes up. I am forever singing her praises, and forever recommending her books to my friends. I have loved her for so long that I now purchase her books without hesitation. I read about them months beforehand, hearing about them on her blog, and hunting down early reviews everyday until the release date. But even if I didn't do that, I would pick them up without a second thought, without even reading the back cover. As I have said time and time again, it's Sarah freaking Dessen. She can do no wrong.

Until now. Until now, I've loved every one of her books. But this weekend, I had my first little bit of free time, and I ran out to buy her newest novel, What Happened to Goodbye. And... I didn't love it. Not even close. Which is very hard for me. I feel such a loyalty, such a love for the Dessen name. I really, really wanted to love the book. But, the truth is, I don't know if I would have finished it if it didn't have the Dessen name on the cover.

I think my criticisms can be best illustrated by the exchange I had with my dad last night:

Dad: So, how's the book?
Me: Good, but it's boring me to tears. 

One of the biggest overarching problems I had was character. I just didn't care that much about Mclean. I was so bored. She kept talking about how she was tired of reinventing herself, and how she didn't know who she was. That's fine. Realistic, even, for a teenager. But she has to have something. Something I can love about her. I spent so much of the book trying to find that thing, but I couldn't. Mclean was perfectly nice, but also terribly bland. After four hundred pages, she was still finding herself, and I was still looking for a character I could invest in. That's a challenge, which really limited my enjoyment of the rest of the book.

I had to push to get through the first hundred pages, I was so bored. I wasn't buying into Mclean, I didn't care about Dave or her dad or her issues with her mother. The book was unstable from there, with a few moments where I thought it had taken a turn for the better, but, in the end, it didn't change course all that much. I was bored, frustrated, disappointed. I expected so much more.

It's not like it was badly written. Of course not. This is still Sarah freaking Dessen. The writing has to be good. But the rest of it was less enchanting. I think for a first time Dessen reader, the following issues wouldn't even register. But for this seasoned fan, it was all I could think about.

It felt like someone had pulled back the curtain, revealing all the mechanics of what goes into a good Dessen novel. It felt so laboured, so paint-by-the-numbers Dessen.

If you read young adult romance like I do, you come to accept some basic issues. For instance, you will always be aware of the male lead, because his physical attributes will be described in multiple paragraphs, rather than the one liners afforded to lesser characters. Also, you know that the guy and the girl will get together at the end, no matter what. But, you accept that there's no way to avoid such traps, no way to sidestep such pitfalls. You accept those predictable problems. You don't let them annoy you too much.

But you don't accept this much predictability. I would literally be reading along, and think "wow, this is just like _____________ Sarah Dessen book". This sexual tension scene is just like in the The Truth About Forever. This basketball metaphor is just like the bike symbolism in Along for the Ride. This character arc is just like Ruby's from Lock and Key. So many of the major moments in the book felt formulaic like that--cheap knock offs of previous Dessen novels.

That's the thing. It was the Sarah Dessen formula, and it wasn't even done all that well! Dave was not a true Dessen boy. He does not belong among the ranks of Wes or Owen or Dexter. The model motif was so forced. And the ending was lack luster. Nothing special. Usually, Sarah's novels are full of great lines. This time, so many of those lines rang false. Even the integration of character's from previous novels, a Dessen trademark, was less exciting than usual. I've had enough of Jason. Yeah, we got Heidi, Colby, Lakeview. I wanted more.

In all, the book was nothing special. Certainly not up to the super special standards I have for Sarah Dessen. Of course, I'll still pick up her next book without hesitation. But if that one is weak as well, I may have to start reading the back covers.

I'll always love Sarah for what she's given me, and I'll probably read every book she ever publishes. I just hope they're better than this one was.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

TV Finale Trends (Spoilers Ahead!)

I love tv finales. They always shake up the show, bring some new, exciting twist to contemplate for the summer. A good finale can change a whole season. It's so much fun!

This week was the week of finales. Tons of cliffhangers--is Pete going to survive on Private Practice? What's going to happen with Mer/Der on Grey's Anatomy? What about Penny and Raj and Leonard on Big Bang? All so exciting! But the one of the most popular cliffhanger this season has seemed to be pregnancy. Cristina and Owen on Grey's. And, of course, my two favourites: Chuck and Blair on Gossip Girl and Booth and Brennan on Bones.

The pregnancies have totally different implications on each show. In this post, I wanted to explore those implications a little bit while (1) evaluating the finale as a whole and (2) assessing the predictability of the pregnancy. Sound like fun? Can I hear a hell yes?

Let's go chronologically, starting with Gossip Girl (Bones fans, skip down a while!)

Let me start by saying that I find it absolutely hilarious how they tried to make it seem like it could be Serena or Blair who's pregnant. Yeah right. It's Blair, no doubt about it. It was Blair's garbage can. It was exactly three weeks since Chuck and Blair slept together. Not to mention the fact that Serena hasn't dated anyone since Ben, who has been written out of the show and is not coming back. People have suggested to me that Serena could have slept with someone off camera, which would be totally lame. GG is lame A LOT of the time, but I don't they'd be that lame here.

So, it is a Chair baby! YAY!!!!! Do you know how long I've wanted this? Seriously, at least three seasons. I've always thought a baby would be the perfect thing to link Chuck and Blair. When they had a pregnancy scare in season one, it was good they didn't have the baby. Their relationship wasn't ready. Chuck sure wasn't ready. Since then, they have grown up a lot. They are still somewhat immature, and they still make a helluva lot of mistakes, but they're in a better place overall.

I pray for a pregnancy at every finale, and it never happens. So, you know, I'm happy. And I don't really count it as predictable. Going into the episode, I didn't think there was any chance of it happening. But, when you think about it, what more do they have? They've exhausted most of their options with Chair.

On the whole, the baby makes me excited for next season. The rest of the cliffhanger stuff (Charlie is Ivy, Vanessa and Dan and the book, Serena and her stupid new job) is okay. Standard Gossip Girl. Nothing I particularly want to watch. But a baby? SO EXCITED! There are just so many questions: How will everyone find out about the pregnancy? How will Chuck react? And what happens to Louis? And, if they keep the baby, will they get together? What will they be like as parents? I mean, can you imagine Chuck cooing over a baby? Hilarious! All I know is that that kid is screwed, having such awful parents. But hey, it'll be fun to watch!

I also question what this means for the show. If two characters are tied down with a kid, that really changes the nature of Gossip Girl. And what about the rumours that Leigthon Meester and Ed Westwick are leaving the show after next season? What does that mean for a baby? Does it mean a possible end date for the show?

See what I mean about finales? So many questions! So much fun!

Now, of course, we have to talk about Bones where a baby means very different things.

After last week we knew the finale was going to be big. After all the questioning and theorizing, we would get our answer to the huge did they/didn't they question. And, hopefully, we would get something on the future of their relationship. Not to mention a standard case and a Hodgins/Angela baby. So, we knew it was going to big. But we didn't know it was going to be this big. 

Also, the news about Emily Deschanel's (Temperance Brennan, for anyone not obsessed with celebrities like me) pregnancy broke a few weeks ago. So, we knew that the probability was a little bit higher with the lead actress be pregnant. But, most likely, it was going to be written out of the show. Hidden. Plus, there's the fact that the show is going off the schedule midseason, so we wouldn't see Deschanel at her most pregnant. Going in to the episode, I didn't think there was much chance that pregnancy was on the table. 

The episode itself was okay. The case was below average. The Raven guy was too obvious, too creepy. The fact that Max was a part of the bowling league was a little too convenient. It wasn't the best. But no matter. We got a perfect baby boy for Angela and Hodgins, which was great. And of course, we got all the stuff between Booth and Brennan. 

Wait, you say, right? All the stuff? There was barely any Booth/Brennan in the episode! On the surface, that is true. But there were a lot of hints about the pregnancy. A lot of hints about them getting together. I was convinced it was going to happen halfway through the episode. I didn't notice it until someone was talking about it online, but the look Booth gave Brennan after he kissed her on the cheek was amazing. And the "you'll be my girlfriend moment". We might not have gotten a ton, but got enough for B and B. 

And, of course, we got the last scene. It was so perfect! Her testing him, seeing what he thought about babies. She seemed scared, uncertain. And his great response. And the smile. I love David Boreanaz for that smile. 

So, I am unbelievably excited for next season. Again, there are so many questions: Are they really going to get together? And what does that mean exactly? Just dating? But won't Booth want to get married? 

Amidst all the excitement, I'm still a little disappointed that we didn't get to see them get together. But now they definitely have a future, I think I can deal. 

SO EXCITED!!!!! I love finales! And now I have so many little babies to look forward to as well! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I am going crazy!

Here's just a little snippet of my thoughts the morning before an IB biology exam:

"I can't do this. There's so much I don't know. I should have studied more. But how? When? Oh god, I can't do this. I don't want to do this. Come on, you can do it. I believe in you. Come on, it's almost over. And who cares if you do badly? It's almost over. No one cares about IB marks anyways. But it's all you've worked for for four years! It matters, even if everyone says it doesn't. SO I have to do well. I can't screw up. But I'm going to. There's just so much. And the questions are so hard. I'm going to kill myself. I hate this. Why won't this end. What should I look over? Where do I begin? There's just so much. I'm going to fail anyway. Please, someone, help me. I can't do this. I can't do this. I can't do this."
This has been my life for the last month. I just wanted to capture that, so if I'm ever looking back, thinking exams were easy, I'll know the truth. Exams were hard. Very hard. So much work. I miss my life. I miss me.

So, yeah, count yourself lucky. And think of me this afternoon between twelve and three.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Freedom: So close I can taste it, hear it, feel it, read it

I only have one week left! Well, eight days, but close enough! I can't believe it! I am so freaking excited!!!! I have been doing stupid IB assignments and presentations and assessments and exams for so freaking long! And it's finally ending! HALLELUJAH!

It seemed like the time would never come, but seeing as it almost has, it's time to pull out my master book list. All the must reads that were released during this exam month from hell. All the awesome books I found on amazon or read about on fabulous book blogs. A whole spread of authors--some old favourite, some I've heard of for a long time, and some brand spanking new authors I just discovered. The list is long, and it'll probably take me forever to get through them. YAYAYAYAY!

If anyone bothered to read my last post, I tacked a little bit on the bottom about how I haven't been able to read for months because of studying, offering an apology to an bibliophiles who wanted some good book stuff. To remedy such a problem (and share some of my mounting excitement), I've decided to share the my list with all of you. YAYAY! 

1) What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Level of Excitement: I have to have this book. It's freaking me out that there is a Sarah Dessen book out on the shelves right now that I haven't read. That hasn't happened, in, well, ever. It pains me knowing that it's right there, on the shelf, ready to purchase. I spend half my day resisting the temptation to buy it. But I know I can't, because once I have it in my possession, I will not be able to stop myself from reading it. 

Why I Want It: It's a Sarah Dessen. It's guaranteed to be AMAZING. Her books just keep getting better and better and I can't wait to see what she has in store this time. I don't love the premise, but I'm sure Sarah will do fantastic things with it.

2) Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

Level of Excitement: Meh. I didn't love or even really like the other Elizabeth Scott's I've read, and this one has gotten lukewarm reviews at best. But still, part of me wants to read it...

Why I Want It: I want to give Elizabeth Scott another chance. And the cover looks really pretty.

3) Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Level of Excitement: Cautious excitement. 

Why I Want It: I loved the Jessica Darling series (Jessica and Marcus! Jessica and Marcus!), but this is a big departure from that. So far, all the reviews I've read LOVE IT, so that's a good sign. Any way about it, it's Megan McCafferty, so it's at least guaranteed to be funny. I have always been cautious to include Megan McCafferty on my list of favourite authors, since I've only ever seen one series from her. To truly judge an author, I like to see them try out different characters, different premises. If this one is as good as everyone says it is, I see Ms. McCafferty getting a permanent spot on my must read list. 

4) So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti

Level of Excitement: Pretty low, actually. I might pick it up and give the first few pages a read, just to see what it's like. 

Why I Want It: Again, to give an author another chance. I don't love Susane Colasanti's writing style, but I can appreciate it.  I didn't read her last book, about the girl dating her best friend's boyfriend, because I hate premises like that. But I really liked When It Happens and I enjoyed Take Me There, so, it could be good. 

5) The Boyfriend List Series by E. Lockhart

Level of Excitement: Pretty high for an author I have never read.

Why I Want It: I read an excerpt online, and it was pretty entertaining. Plus, reviews have been great. And, if I like the first one, there's many more! Yay, yay, yay!

6) The Little Blue Envelope Series by Maureen Johnson 

Level of Excitement: High enough. 

Why I Want It: This is one of those YA books that's been floating around for a while, that I never really got to. I don't know why. The title sounded stupid or something. But then I read a great review, and I heard there was a sequel, so I figured I better check it out.

7) Things I Know About Love by Kate Le Vann

Level of Excitement: About average. 

Why I Want It: I read a review of this one a while ago that really liked it. And the title sounds cool. I'll pick it up, read the first few pages, see what it's like.

8) My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff

Level of Excitement: Above average. Pretty high for a book with a male protagonist that's younger than me. I rarely read out of gender and young at the same time, so you have to know this one's pretty special. 

Why I Want It: I read Allen Zadoff's last book and liked it. And I am a complete theatre geek, so I'm sure I'll love any part of that plot. And, reviews are good, which can never hurt.

9) If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Level of Excitement: Pretty high. 

Why I Want It: If I Stay is another book that I've been aware of in the YA sphere, but never really found time to read. When I started reading all these reviews for Where She Went, I really wanted to read it. So I did my research and I plan on picking up my copy of If I Stay (and Where She Went, if I can afford it, but we'll see. These's books are going to cost me a LOT of money). 

10) Abandon by Meg Cabot

Level of Excitement: Cautious optimism. I was going to skip this one, but I got pulled in once again.

Why I Want It: I love Meg Cabot. Princess Diaries, All American Girl, Teen Idol, How to Be Popular, event the freaking Airhead series. But she's been writing in a direction I haven't liked for a while, veering away from her usual everyday teen stuff into paranormalcy and vampires and whatever. For a Meg Cabot fan, I sure haven't read a book of hers in a while. And I wasn't going to pick this one up. But...Sarah Dessen reccomended it. Pathetic, I know. I shouldn't need any reccomendation for a Cabot book. But I did, and now I'm going to give this one a try. Hang out with one of my favourite authors for the first time in a very long time. We'll see how it goes. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Did They Or Didn't They: That Is The Question

This week was a great tv week for any romantics out there. Marti got together with Julian (not a couple I thought I'd like, but what do you know?). Ben and Leslie finally kissed on Parks & Recreation! And Booth and Brennan got together on Bones...or did they? Being the crazy romance fan I am, you know I am just dying to figure it out. I keep spinning it around in my head, and now I've decided to spin my theories around with all of you.

When I originally watched the episode I really thought they hadn't, but now, having rewatched parts, I feel less sure. There are a few key moments that can be interpreted a different ways. Let's break it down. 

Moment 1: You're Coming to My Apartment Tonight

Interpretation 1: Booth is worried that Brennan will get hurt at her apartment and doesn't trust anyone but him to keep her safe.

Interpretation 2: Booth knows that he'll worry about Brennan all night, because he would be so devastated if anything happened to her, so he has to have her at his apartment, where he can keep her safe. 

Moment 2: Crawling Into Bed With Booth 

Interpretation 1: Brennan was upset over Vincent's death and knew that Booth would comfort her. Booth was being a good guy, trying to make Brennan feel better in a way only he can. They hugged, she cried, and eventually they both fell asleep. 

Interpretation 2: Booth was being a good guy, hugging her, trying to help her pain and guilt and frustration with life. They hug for a while, and she cries, and than Brennan leans over and kisses him and one thing leads to another and they "sleep together", in every sense. 

Moment 3: Angela Finds Out 

Interpretation 1: Angela jumps to conclusions when Brennan says she "got into bed with Booth". That is literally what Brennan did, and she is so literal she may not know how it sounds or what it suggests to Angela. 

Interpretation 2: Angela is completely right and they did sleep together and all of our dreams are coming true after all these years. This interpretation is supported by the Brennan's smile just a moment later:

Now, that does not look like the smile of someone who really enjoyed laying next to a man and cuddling, now does it?!?!?

Moment 4: Brennan takes Booth's Arm

Interpretation 1: Brennan takes Booth's arm out of comfort. They often do this after cases. They're Booth and Brennan, best friends, and maybe more. But that's all they are right now. 

Interpretation 2: Brennan takes Booth's arm because they officially a couple now. They may not have announced to everyone, but there has definitely been a change in their relationship. They are coming home together tonight and every night after this. 

This theory is supported by two things: (1) the big smile that Booth has after she links her arm through his, like he's finally getting the girl he's been chasing for six years  and (2) the look Angela gives them when she's sees them linked together. 

Overall, I'm really unsure. And, believe it or not, I'm unsure about which interpretation I want. It's kind of a long-term/short-term debate in my head. 

In the long-term, it would be great if they got together in this episode. I believe, given all we know about Booth and Brennan, that once they get together, they probably won't break up. I would gladly watch the rest of the series with them together, where I'm sure we'd get a lot of adorable moments and we'd get to see their relationship grow even more. I may not have loved how they got together, but I know I would love the long-term pay off. 

In the short-term, I'm not so happy. I've watched this couple for six seasons, rooted for them through thick and thin, and loved both of them so much. If this is how they got together, I feel a little robbed. Robbed of their first kiss as a couple, robbed of seeing a little bit of their getting into bed stuff, robbed of the morning after. After all these years, I think fans deserved to see all that. I live for those moments, play them over and over and over again. If we never get to see them, that makes me more than little annoyed. 

And I'm not really sure the show would do that to us. In the season four finale, they gave us all those moments and more. Why would they rob us of them here? I don't know. I just don't know. 

I was hoping to get some answers from next week's promo, but it gives us nothing, less than nothing, doesn't even hint at anything going on between Booth and Brennan. If that's true, I'll be MAD. I cannot go an entire summer not knowing! 

That's my take. That sure was a great distraction from studying for my biology exam! But I should go now. 

P.S. I just wanted to say, to anyone reading this blog because they like books (like many of my followers do) I am sorry for all the tv heavy content. I have banned myself from reading during exams because I cannot afford to get hooked on a book and lose a day of working. Tv is a perfect for a quick study break. But I promise, I'll be back to the books. I imagine What Happened to Goodbye, Bumped, Sisterhood Everlasting, and Between Here and Forever reviews all posted in the near future. So don't abandon me just yet! 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Morality on TV: What's the line?

I don't take tv shows as examples of how I should live my life. I'm not stupid. I find it insulting when networks like ABC Family decide that every single characters who has sex must get pregnant, to teach a lesson about contraception and how premarital sex is evil. I'm smarter than that. I believe teenagers girl are smarter than that. We don't need moral lessons handed down to use my some middle age network executives thank you.

If Emily can be so smart as to reach the Olympics, I believe she can be smart enough to use contraception. And now that Emily is pregnant, I have no problem with her getting an abortion. Not because I agree or disagree with the practice, but because I can understand that this is a character on a tv show. If I disagree with her, I don't have to be like her. When I watch tv, I can separate myself from the characters. I am a teenager girl, but I am not stupid, no matter what adults may believe.

I don't judge tv shows on moral standards. I judge them on entertainment quality. I didn't care when Lux slept with her teacher on Life Unexpected. I didn't care when Amber started doing drugs on Parenthood. I don't care when the kids drink on Glee or when the people have sex all the time on Gossip Girl. I appreciate those shows for what they are--entertaining television programs, not moral compasses.

But even I have a line. And this week, Gossip Girl crossed it. Specifically, Chuck Bass crossed it when he attempted to rape Blair. That's too far. I'm sure the show will forget it in an episode or two, but I won't. It a line you can't cross, a place of no return.

Due to my outrage over the whole thing, I've read a lot of interviews and articles discussing the incident at length. Many of those articles made me really mad.

For example, one suggested that any Chuck and Blair fans got what was coming to them. We had bought into a character that was fatally flawed, from the beginning, and now we were shocked when he repeated an action he attempted in the pilot. No one was outraged in pilot.

To me, the situation was entirely different. I didn't care about Chuck in pilot. If I recall correctly, I was largely concerned with Blair and Nate, and Dan and Serena, as hard as that is to believe. At that point, Chuck was the random character that didn't fit in with the rest, the oddball I kind of ignored, the way I now ignore Serena or Vanessa or Jenny. But over the course of the next four seasons Chuck stopped being that guy that tried to rape Jenny. He became Chuck. He made me buy into him, and he made me buy into Chuck and Blair as a couple. I felt like Chuck had changed. I didn't care that he drank a lot. I don't find alcoholism morally reprehensible, and even beyond that, I don't think it matters what I think is morally right and morally wrong on tv shows. Moreover, it didn't effect his relationship with Blair. I don't love Chuck as a character. I like Chuck as part of a specific relationship. When he's off screwing Raina, I don't care. When he has troubles with his mother or father or uncle, I don't care. I only care when he's with Blair. Period.

I cared when he traded Blair for a hotel. I didn't think it was morally wrong. Chuck and Blair manipulate each other all the time. I was disappointed in Chuck, but I wasn't repelled by him. My line wasn't crossed. If one is to use that as evidence of an abusive partner, than Blair abuses Chuck just as much he abuses her. Neither of them or good people. No one ever believed that for a second. But what people did believe is that they loved each other, that they were good enough for each other.

Than, we saw last week's episode, and many of us were disgusted, scared. I've almost abandoned the couple all together. Because I had bought into Chuck and Blair. I cared about them now. They're the only reason I watch the show! Chuck has told us that he loved Blair, again, and again, and again. And I believed him. But his actions don't match his words. Never before had I been scared for Blair's life. I think that's the line for me--is it harmless tv? Or are there actual stakes?

Click to view full size image

So, I was upset as a person, and I was upset as a Gossip Girl fan. It's not that I think the attack is out of character for Chuck--it's that I'd hoped we'd long since seen the back of that part of his character. I thought he had grown. I thought they had grown together. I feel tricked almost. Crushingly disappointed, to say the least.

I don't think they should have gone there. Normally, I don't judge characters or tv shows by moral standards. But when you've spent so many episodes--full seasons--trying to get me to buy into these characters and their future as a couple, I find it insulting that they went there. I almost feel like I have no choice but to stop watching. I would, if I had any self control.

But it isn't the fact that I think teenage girls are going to learn from this example, think that is the proper way a relationship should be. No teenage girl is basing their relationship off Chuck and Blair. Teenagers are young and impressionable and confused. But they are not, nor they will never be, stupid. That is not the problem. The issue is that the show turned what used to be a good relationship into a poisoned relationship--which is both bad television, and bad moral standards, so far past the line, that it seems to me that they're forgotten that the line exists. Normally, I don't care about morals and tv. Right now, I do. Not because I think this episode makes rape okay--nothing ever could. But because I think this episode makes rape okay in Chuck and Blair's relationship--which I hoped it never would.

The creator of the show came out and defended Chuck. I don't think that's right. Here's a link to the article. And here's a link an interesting video, with a very different take.

What do you guys think of the whole mess? Should we have seen this coming? Was it appropriate for the show to cross that line? And, most importantly, will you keep watching?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Top Questionable TV Moments

So many exams this week! But so much tv I could not miss! Don't worry, I got both done. Math and english exams both went relatively well. And the tv sure was exciting. Anyway, if I'm ever going to write this post and get back to studying (which is what I should be doing in the first place), I should get listing...

1) The Most Adorable Baby Zola, Grey's Anatomy 

Derek at the CribA good episode. A very good episode. Mostly because it featured the cutest baby I have ever seen, and the most adorable incarnation of McDreamy I have ever known. I'm not a huge Mer/Der fan, but that baby is just the best thing ever. I'm all for McBaby, as the internet is already calling it.

The rest of the episode was solid. Arizona and Callie were both beautiful (Is it wrong to think Arizona's dress was better?). The parent drama was annoying. I did kind of like the scene with Callie's mother. It's a tough situation, when your beliefs are challenged by the people you love. Of course, I'm on Callie's side, but I did have some sympathy for her mother. And I loved the scene when Bailey came to convince Callie. I always love Bailey. She's the best!

I am getting into this whole chief resident race. Who's it going to be? Alex, the annoyingly obvious choice? Avery, the dark horse, with his rats? April, who might not have a flashy project, but sure has a lot of heart? And what's happening with Christina? What about Meredith? I really don't want Mer to get in trouble. And I don't think I could stand another Mer/Der fight (especially if it means losing Miss Adorableness, Queen Zola, as I've come to think of her). So many questions, with so few (one?) episodes to answer them!!

2) Chuck Attacks Blair, Gossip Girl

Click to view full size imageThis wasn't a good moment, but it is a moment I just have to discuss. Oh my god! I can't believe they went there! And I don't know where we go from here! I mean, I love Chuck, and I love Blair, and everyone knows I love Chuck and Blair more than anything else on this earth, but I don't know if I can keep rooting for them. He basically tried to rape her! That's just unacceptable. I felt so scared for Blair. I don't know how she'll ever forgive him. I don't know how I'll ever forgive him. This feels like it could be a point of no return, if not for the show, for this Chair fan. I don't know if they'll ever be able resurrect him. I just don't know. All I can say is that all the Chair fans are pretty scared right about now. And that's before we begin to consider the Blair/Louis engagement! Ahhhh!

3) Emily's Pregnant!, Make It or Break It

This is another one where I'm not quite sure how to react. Emily has always been my favourite character on Make It or Break It. Payson's solid, Kaylie's fine, Lauren sucks. Emily's always been the underdog. My clear favourite. And now, what? Is she, dare I say, leaving the show? I don't know! She's not in any of next week's previews, but Damon is. And they can't keep Damon around and not Emily, since she's having his child. I mean, she has to come back, right? RIGHT? How else will I keep watching? Most weeks I watch for what I hope will happen, rather than what actually happens. I hope Emily and Damon will get together and love each other and be a good, stable couple. I hope Summer will realize the error of her ways and get back together with Sasha. I hope all the girls will do well and win the golds they so rightly deserve. But I'm not getting any of that. In fact, every week steers us farther and farther away from that. Damon kissed Kaylie! Summer's engaged to Steve! And Emily's gone!

It would feel like all my couple's have abandoned me, if it wasn't for the next show on my list..

4) Bones is Made of Awesome, Bones 

I was talking to a friend who said she'd stopped watching Bones because the episodes weren't very good anymore. I have to disagree. I think Bones is at a creative high point. They keep turning in amazing episodes, this week's being no exception.

I loved how they explored Brennan's coldness, through Sweets and the squints. We are so used to seeing Brennan through Booth's perspective and we all love her so much, that we forget she can still seem as awful as she did when we first met her. But we know, and Booth knows, how amazing Brennan really is. I loved seeing Brennan open up, I loved Booth defending Brennan, and I loved the whole personal part of the episode.

The case was strong as well. I really liked how it evolved. I came to love the Samantha girl. Not the best case ever (for me, that will always be the one where Brennan and Hodgins got trapped by the gravedigger), but better than average. All in all, a strong episode, with very good character development. Every new episode gets me more and more for the finale, "The Change in the Game"--All my sources tell me this is going to be a big one!

5) Marti Kisses Her (Ex) Law Professor,

This is the first time Hellcats has ever made this list! Wahoo! Isn't it exciting?

I was sure excited by this week's episode. Well, not by most of it. I wanted to gag when AJ Michalka, aka Alyson Michalka real life sister, showed up playing her sister. I used to watch Family Channel a lot, and so I am well acquainted with the duo that made up Aly and AJ and produces songs such as Do You Believe in Magic and Into the Rush. I actually have some of their songs on my ipod. So, I know how forced this whole arc is.

Didn't care for the Savannah storyline much either. I did like the moment when Marti comes in, upset about her sister, and Dan and Savannah looked at each other--"who should deal with it?". But other than that, the episode was something of a dud, save for the last moment, when Marti went to her professor's house and kissed him. Now, normally I don't like student-teacher relationships (Dan and Ms. whatever her name was on Gossip Girl, Lux and her teacher on Life Unexpected, Serena and her professor on Gossip Girl, etc). But I like these two. I don't know why. I'm sure I'll come to hate them soon. After all, this is the network that brings us Gossip Girl every week. Chuck demonstrated to us this week how the CW deals with relationships.

This weeks has been a week of questions. Which is good, because we're heading right down finale alley, where there's sure to be a few answers, and many more questions. I can't wait for the cliffhangers! I also can't wait for exams to be over! Four this week--one english, three history. It may just kill me. But if it doesn't I look forward to seeing if Mer/Der gets their adorable baby, discovering how they resolve Chuck's almost rape, figuring out what exactly is happening with Emily, finally getting Booth and Brennan's happy ending, and watch some more law professor scandal. It should be interesting!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

School: Sad, Scared, and Excited

I am almost done with high school. My classes ended last friday, and my exams are slowly being ticked off. Graduation is no longer a mythical, unattainable goal, but a real, soon-to-be-realized achievement. A large part of me is super excited. I keep researching my university, finding new things to be excited about. Big things, like classes or dorms, or small things like clubs or volunteer opportunities. I love it all. That part of me is excited and impatient, 100% eager, ready to move onward and upward. 

Another part of me is not so excited. Another part of me is scared. And yet another part of me is sad. My high school years have been hard. But, along the way, I've participated in some pretty cool things and met some pretty cool people. I'm sad to say goodbye to them all. I always knew I was going to miss them, but that became so much more obvious tonight, when I went to my middle school reunion. 

Only one person from my high school went to my middle school; I hadn't seen most of the other people since graduation. I went to a really tiny school--there were only 30ish kids in my class/grade. Yet, there were still people I didn't recognize or remember. I remembered my best friends, but other people, people I spent hours and hours with, did countless projects with, spent millions of classes talking to, had been completely erased from my memory. I vaguely remembered most, but they were unrecognizable, so tall and adult-like. I had a lot of those grade 12 conversations--how do you like your school? Where are you going next year? What are you majoring in? But, with the exception of one or two people, it rarely went deeper than that. These people who had shaped my life everyday for two years were distant memories, strangers. The guy I liked so much barely seemed to remember me. One of best friends barely talked to me. 

It made me scared to think of my high school reunion. Now, my class is smaller--under 20 people. And we've known each other for double the time. But still, I imagine that there will be people I will forget, or least, people I won't be able to talk to. These people I have laughed with, ate lunch with, talked to for so long, will be gone, replaced by different, strange people I don't know. It's sad. My dearest friends now are destined to become dear memories. And as much as I've hated certain parts of high school, and as much as I've resented these friends at times, I'm still going to miss them. 

You go through high school, one day after another, caught up in the demands of classes, the drama of life. You get completely sucked into it. It was so weird when I left my last class last week. As I went to my usual places--the library, my locker--I walked a little bit slower. I had run up and down these halls during drama productions, getting costumes ready. I had talked with friends between classes, waited to ask teachers questions. I had loitered these halls when I couldn't find anyone to eat lunch with. They had always been the background, a blur in my memories of life. Now, I was walking them for a final time. I still have to go back for exams and prom and graduation and whatever else, but I won't be caught up in the day to day flurry that is high school. I was quite sad. 

I wonder how I'll feel in five or ten years, when I return for my reunion. 

Dreams, Romance, and Study Notes

In the fourth grade, Eric Walters visited my school as part of the Silver Birch Reading Guild, presenting his nominated title, Camp X. I hadn't read the book, and I still haven't to this day, but it was that book, that visit, that day, that changed my entire life. It was that moment that I decided I had to be Eric Walters. I wanted to be a teacher and a writer, just like him. I thought it would be a perfect life. 

Of course, as I grew up, I abandoned this idea. It was silly. I'm not a writer. And I couldn't be a teacher. And I hadn't even read his book! I can't base my entire life on a writer I've never even read! But now, more than eight years later, here I am, about to graduate from high school, about to go to college, majoring in english and education, setting myself up to become a writer and a teacher just like Eric Walters. Apparently, I still think this would be the perfect life. 

Having realized I wanted to do these things, I decided it might be a good idea to actually try my hand at writing. The first step was the blog, which I started over a year ago, and thoroughly enjoyed up to this day. Now, I think it's time to actually try and write a story. I'll be finished exams in a little over two weeks, and, after that, I'll have more than three months off, to do whatever I want. It seems like the perfect opportunity to give writing a go. Now I just need a story. 

So many people say that you have to write something that you would want to read. Well, for me, I love reading great romances with really great characters. So, that's what I'm going to write. And I'm sure the story is going to suck. But I'll learn from, and I'll enjoy writing it. There won't be any pressure. It'll just be for fun. I'm very excited. 

As I'm planning and plotting and developing characters and relationships in my head (and in my word document), I've come to realize that a little research is necessary. If I want to write a good story, and if I want to learn about writing, I really need to examine what goes into a good romance, a good character. I've decided to do this in a somewhat scientific system, making a list of all my favourite couples of all time, and examining why I love them so much and what I can learn from them. To prevent this post from getting too ridiculously long, I've decided to just start with the tv couples. I'll cover the book and movie couples another day, I promise. Anyway, here's the list, and the study notes:

Cappie and Casey, Greek

Why I love their relationship:

-I love Cappie, as a character. He is so adorable, so funny and goofy, and so real. I wish I knew him. He's easily my favourite character on the show. I know his endless devotion to Casey probably isn't realistic, but I love him for it anyway. He dates Rebecca, and she dates Evan and Max, but he never moves on from her, never forgets her. He is a cool and confident guy, and a really great friend and leader, but he is also so vulnerable. He has weaknesses. He is not an idealized guy. He is incredibly immature, which can be really awesome, but also really awful. He is a great character--with so many strengths, as well as a few important weaknesses. I suppose this may be a benefit from being a tv show character and not a book character, but I think it has to be noted how well rounded Cappie is. In so many young adult books we see the world from the girl's perspective, and we only see the guy in relation to the girl. So much of Cappie is in relation to Casey, but so much is not. He has his friendship with Rusty, and Rebecca, and Evan, and, of course, the KT house. He loves Casey more than the whole world, but he still has his own world too.

-I like Casey a lot. I know some people hate her, but I don't. I admit she has limits, but I like her. I don't love her like love Cappie, but I can appreciate her, let's say. And, much like Cap, she has a whole world beyond the romance, with her great relationship with Ashleigh and her tumultuous relationship with Rusty, and her academic journey.

-I love how realistic their relationship is. Or, at least, how realistic is by tv standards, especially teen tv standards. Cappie and Casey are not fated to be together. It's not love at first sight. And it's not the easiest love. They each have their individual strengths and weaknesses, and their own interests and passions. They compliment each other, but they also contrast each other. Their relationship is not perfect and they specifically acknowledge that at many points. Cappie knows Casey is controlling, and Casey knows Cappie is immature and afraid of the future. But they both know that their love is big enough, important enough to overcome those weaknesses. They know that they are worth it. All together, it is a well developed, realistic relationship between two well developed, realistic characters, that I could not stop myself from falling for.

What I can learn from them:

-If you want people to love the romance, you have to make them love the characters. The most important thing in writing romance is not the steamy kisses or the sexual tension (though those things certainly help!), but a well constructed relationship between two well developed characters who compliment each other, and also contrast each other. It is all about character development--as always!

-You have to expand your characters. Their romance is important, but so is the rest of their lives! They need real friends, not just placeholders. They need parents and back stories and goals and dreams and strengths and weaknesses. They need to be real people!

-No relationship is perfect. Everyone has faults, and every relationship has faults. In order for people to fall in love with your love story you need to explore the limits of relationship, and you need to let the relationship grow and change, just as the character's do.

Booth and Brennan, Bones

Why I love their relationship: 

-I love Booth. I am crazily attracted to Booth (David Boreanaz). But beyond that, I love how manly he is. That's not normally something I would like. But I can appreciate it in him. I love how protective he is, how honourable and genuinely nice and strong he is. In a show full of scientists, I love how different he is. I love everyone in this show, which brings me to my next point...

-I love Brennan. She has limitations, of course. Brennan is terribly flawed, but in ways that you can't help but love her. And she's brilliant. And she always tries to do the right thing and tries not to hurt anyone, if she can. She's a good person, though she may not always realize what that means. And she is willing to change. She wants to change. Like she said in the amazing elevator episode, she used to be an impervious substance. Now she is a strong substance. There's a difference, and she knows that, and she continues to work on herself, and her relationship with Booth.

-I love how they click. She is the scientist, who only cares about facts and figures, and never accounts for feelings. His emotions drive him. He is the believer, the lover, such a very human character. Their friendship, and hopefully, their eventual romance, forces them to grow together. They push each other. He makes her grow, makes her expand outside herself and her little bubble. And he understands her. As many, many characters have noted over the years, Brennan can come off as abrasive and mean and just kind of awful. But Booth knows that that is not Brennan's intent. He knows that she's really a good person, which other people can't recognize sometimes because she has so many problems communicating.

-I love how mature they are. They are both smart people, and they both acknowledge their feelings for each other. But they also know that any romantic relationship they would have would be hard. They know they have to be ready for it.

-I love their little moments. By this point, it's pretty much become routine. The case ends. There's a scene with Cam and whoever or Daisy and Sweets, or Angela and Hodgins, or whatever. Then, the last scene is always saved for Booth and Brennan, usually in the bar, sometimes in the lab (earlier seasons), where they talk about the case, and about what they've learned that day. They laugh and grow closer, and just enjoy each other. I know it's becoming a little tired, like the parties that end every episode of Gossip Girl, but I always love these moments. I love being able to just enjoy them, being themselves, just appreciating each other. To me, that's true tv love.

What I can learn from them:

-Again, a good romance is about good characters. And unique and memorable characters. Not in an annoying, overly quirky way, but in a real way. Brennan is unique because of the way she communicates with people, the way she sees the world. Booth is unique in a less obvious way--he is hilarious and a man's man and just so him. If you want to write a good romance, you have write good characters that people like, and that people are going to remember.

-Once you get people to love your characters, you should really give them something for it. You may know your characters, every thing they think and feel and whatever. But the audience doesn't. Throw them a bone. Sometimes, give them a scene, a moment where the characters are just enjoying each other. Every moment doesn't have to be huge and dramatic. In fact, your book will be more realistic if they aren't. Let your characters breath.

-Ask yourself: Why does he love her? Why does she love him? Why do they hate each other sometimes?  If you can't answer those questions (which, surely, could be answered about Booth and Brennan), don't write the story.

Chuck and Blair, Gossip Girl

Why I love their relationship*:

*This one's a little more difficult than it would normally be, since we pretty reached a point of no return this week with Chuck's (SPOILER ALERT) attempted rape and window breaking. For the sake of the list, let's just forget the ending of the episode, and remember Chuck and Blair at their best, not at their worst, like they've been lately.

-I can't hate them. They can't hate each other. On any either show I would both of these people. I would hate Chuck for being such a slut and such a freaking idiot all the time. And I would HATE Blair, I mean HATE Blair for how awful she is to everyone, with all her scheming, and how valueless she is. But on this show, I love them most of all. This is probably in part because all the rest of the characters suck so much worse (ugly hair, no personality Nate, creepy, stalker Vanessa, self-obsessed and awful Serena). But it's also because they are just so ridiculous--which makes them so hilarious. I should hate them, but I don't. I love them. I love how unique they are, and I just laugh at their shenanigans (you know, when they ruin people's lives or whatever. No big deal). They are both so evil, and corrupted, except to each other.

-They need each other. They depend on each other. They sacrifice for each other. They love each other so much. And this produces such great moments. Just search Chuck and Blair on Youtube, and watch the scenes from each episode, especially season 3, and even season 4. They have so many little moments, testing their relationship, testing each other, leaning on each other. They are weak apart and strong together. And they love each other, and they will never stop. No matter how much Blair wants to marry the prince.

What I can learn from them:

-You characters and your romance has to fit in with the setting and atmosphere, and general world in which your story takes place. Characters like Chuck and Blair only work in the heightened reality that is the Upper East Side. They wouldn't work on a show like Bones or Greek--they would be so out of tune with rest of the show. You have to think about what type of story you want, what world you want to create, and you have to make sure your characters live within those limits.

-We all want to needed. Chuck needs Blair whenever drama with his dad comes up. Blair needs Chuck whenever she has drama with Serena or any other non-existent friends. This is part of what binds them together. When do your characters need each other?

Luke and Lorelai, Gilmore Girls

Why I love their relationship:

-I am always a sucker for the love-her-from-a-far storyline. I like almost any variation of it--best friend, best friend's brother, ex-boyfriend, what have you. And Luke and Lorelai are a pretty great example of this type of romance. He always loves her. He keeps the horoscope all those years! He gets jealous when she's dating Max! He waited for her, and once he decided he wanted her, he went and got her. And he so sure that he wants her, forever. I love them! I love them! I love them!

-I love Lorelai. She's an amazing character, played by an amazing actress, Lauren Graham. I love how great a mother she is to Rory. I love how independent she is. I love how funny and special she is. I just love her. She deserves a man like Luke, who's such a good guy.

What I can learn from them:

-Ultimately, it comes to a strong main character. Lorelai was so strong, so well developed, so adorable. Develop your main character! Make her vulnerable and real, and make people love her!!!

-Maybe, just maybe, write a love-from-a-far story. You're supposed to write something you would want to read. This is your favourite kind of romance! It's worth exploring.


Part one done, folks. Look for part two whenever I have another extended study break, which will be never, or May 23, whichever comes first.
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