BINGE OR NO: Degrassi: Next Class Season 1 – Review (May Contain Mild Spoilers)

degrassi next class

The Little Canadian Show that Never Grew Up made its premiere appearance this weekend (starting January 15th) in its new home (Netflix), with ten highly binge-able half hour long episodes. The episodes were all conveniently titled using hashtags to make them seem “all cool” and “millennial-approved” and stuff. Because, really, who wouldn’t want to watch something called #ThisCouldBeUsButYouPlayin and #SinceWeBeinHonest?

reaction shot

 

As the Proverbial Peter Pan of Television Shows, this little gem has been around in various iterations, since some time in the early eighties. (That’s a REALLY long time to be in high school!) As such, its seen a whole lot of cast members come and go, some of whom (well, mostly just Drake) went on to become major household names.

baby drake

call me on the cel

Admittedly, I’ve been a bit of a fairweather fan of Degrassi, which makes sense, seeing as I’m no longer exactly (cough, cough) part of its target age group. I was all about the show during the early “Paige, Spinner, Jimmy, Emma, Manny” years, but found myself watching a bit less diligently as time went on. This was so much the case, in fact, that when I readied myself to watch the new Degrassi: Next Class, I was surprised at how few of the current castmates I actually recognized from previous viewings.

dancing tiny

Like this guy . . . I had no clue who he was before I started watching.

Fortunately (though I’m sure it helps to have seen previous episodes, to provide context and understand inside jokes), Degrassi: Next Class functions pretty well as a standalone series. The characters’ personalities, their various relationships to one another, and their basic backstories, are pretty easy to pick up within the first episode or two. (Though I did often find myself consistently confused as to which characters were in which grade.) The rest of the gaps, you can fill in fairly easily, by paying a visit to your local Degrassi Wikia.

hug friends

I’m only a little ashamed to admit that I completed the entire season in a single weekend. And you know what? I really enjoyed the darn thing!

need girl talk

All the things I loved about “old school” Degrassi (the humor, the drama, the friendships, the cute little high school romances, the surprisingly sensitive tackling of current teen issues) were all there. But the series also had a new modern spin to it. Throughout the episodes, there was a pervasive undercurrent of online activity in all its various forms: texting, vid chatting, gaming, tweeting, cyber stalking. I found this to be a pretty accurate reflection of today’s world, in which most of our lives and relationships, particularly those of teenagers and young adults, are carried out online and through social media.

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headline 3

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This fairly recent change to our society really impacts the way in which we all interact with one another. It also tends to lead to some pretty humiliating hijinks, the likes of which Jane Austen never could have predicted.

never talk no emojis

Issues addressed during this season included, to name a few: new feminism, cyber bullying and stalking, drug addiction, mental illness, masturbation, sexual consent, homosexuality and bicuriousity, depression, panic attacks, school shootings, STDs, and battling with terminal illnesses.

your keychain

keychain buz

Another thing I enjoyed about the new series was the wide array of characters. No matter who you are or were in high school, there’s going to be someone on this series with whom you could relate.

three some

Stand out performances for me this season, included Eric Osborne as Miles Hollingsworth, the guy who, at least on the surface, seems to have everything, tons of money, good looks, and the kind of superficial popularity most of people dream of in high school. However, as with most characters, Miles’ inner demons, anxiety, and the unrealistic expectations placed on him by his family and himself begin to take a toll on him in a major way throughout the season.

moody miles

This gives the Osborne the chance to show some real vulnerability, and unravel in a way that seems raw and real. It also makes the character’s journey intriguing and immersive. So, by the end of the season, when Miles is able to turn around and help someone else in need, the emotional gravity of his scenes with that character feel particularly well earned.

favorite son

For Olivia Scriven’s Maya Matlin, the shy band geek turned feminist rockstar, the issues she copes with this season are more external. As anyone who has ever published their work online can tell you, not everyone is going to like what you do, or agree with your message. And standing behind the safety of a telephone or laptop screen makes it a heck of a lot easier for those people to tell you exactly what they think of you, without fear of repercussion. It also makes it easier for those same people to find out personal details about your life that wouldn’t have been accessible ten, even five, years ago.

fingering blow mind

If you have ever felt unsafe or targeted, while you go about your daily life, for whatever reason, you can relate to the trauma and transformation Maya undergoes throughout the season. And Scriven does a nice job of portraying that unique mixture of fear and frustration.

reading

The third big stand out performance of the season, for me, was Spencer Macpherson, as the young Hunter Hollingsworth, an introverted gamer with a hair-trigger temper, who seems to teeter on the fine line between reserved dejection and uncontrollable anger, throughout the entire ten-episode season.

friends suck

 

 

It’s the kind of character, which, if put in the wrong hands, could seem at best, unbelievable, and, at worst, a cartoon villain. But Macpherson handles the role with a surprising sensitivity and finesse, offering the character of Hunter some complex and interesting layers that might not be successfully conveyed if the character were played by a lesser actor.

tearing up

But lest you think Degrassi: Next Class is all doom and gloom, there are a lot of laughs to be had throughout the season as well . . .

crying frank

not so bleak

. . . like, for example: an entire episode about masturbation, a classic sitcom-worthy misunderstanding involving online medical diagnoses, an important warning of the dangers of stuffing things down your pants to make your ass look larger, and a very special, highly meta, visit with the dad from Gilmore Girls.

dont know

holding my

In short, if you like teen dramas, with humor, heart, solid character development, and lots of talk about butts, junk and vibrators, Degrassi: Next Class is right up your alley. If not, stick to the shows about really old people . . . you know, the ones over 20 . . .

held back a grade

(This article has been cross posted at Happy Nice Time People.)

 

 

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ONCE UPON A TIME: GO TO HELL! (Season 5 – Midseason Finale Recap)

the team

The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions . . . also with these schmucks.

The moment we’ve been waiting for all season has finally arrived: a Showdown between all the World’s Biggest Assholes and Emma Swan, with her old lady bun and effed-up eyebrows! It’s an epic battle of Good versus Evil . . . or, rather, Evil versus Slightly Less Evil? But first, we have to learn about Captain Hook’s daddy issues.

squee

Let’s review, shall we?

Papa Don’t Preach . . . or Age

It should be no surprise to anyone who knows anything at all about genetics that Hook’s dad is kind of hot . . . also that he’s kind of a dick. From a flashback, we learn that, on the night of a big storm, Captain Hook’s pop (Guyliner Senior) told Baby Guyliner to be courageous and a good man. He said this literally minutes before abandoning his and his brother’s ass in the middle of the night, and selling Baby Guyliner and Baby Guyliner’s Brother into slavery, basically.

the dad

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful, or because I’m a terrible person, for that matter. But, by all means, feel free to hate me because I have stupid hair.”

doody_head_beer_helmet_1

Now, I know we shouldn’t give Captain Hook a free pass on the whole “mass murderer, who rapes and pillages on the regular” thing, just because his dad was kind of a douchebag to him growing up. But you have to admit, as far as fairytale characters’ sh*tty upbringings go, Hook’s kind of ranks up there as one of the worst . . . right behind the guy who hated his parents so much, he decided to turn into a creepy insect, rather than hang out with them . . .

OUAT Jiminy Cricket

raid

Also, Hook is sexy. And we give all kinds of free passes to sexy people in this world because of hormones. Damn those pesky hormones!

Sometime later Evil Queen Regina picks up a now adult Hook, in her sexy black carriage, and hits on him SO HARD! (Seriously, Regina, you may want to play it a little cooler, in the future. Guys don’t like it when girls seem too desperate.) As it turns out, the Queen wants to hire Hook to kill her mother, but only if Hook can prove he’s a big enough dick to get the job done.

the dance by hook

“Major Dick, at your service!”

“Come into my dark carriage and show me your big . . . I mean, what a big dick you are,” Regina insists, as Hook gamely follows her into the Carriage of Lust.

So, of course, at this point in the episode, I’m getting very excited because I’m thinking. “OMG! They are totally going to bone! Regina and Captain Hook are going to have Evil Angry Carriage Hate Sex! This is going to be the hottest thing ever.”

obamaclapping

“I wouldn’t have preempted the episode, if I new there was a chance there would be hot sex in it.”

Then, I remember that this is 8 p.m. on ABC (actually slightly after 8 p.m., thanks to Obama and some scary terrorists), and my excitement wilts like that flower Belle always used to stare at to see if Rumpelstiltskin was still in a coma, or had finally croaked.

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/m4e1v

In actuality, Regina wants Hook to kill HIS dad, who, thanks to a “sleeping curse,” (and the fact that male actors of above average attractiveness, by TV law, cannot just appear in one scene of a television episode) hasn’t aged a day since he sold his sons into slavery to some old guy.

hooker

“Hi dad! Thank you for giving me sexy genes, but no thank you for giving me douchebag genes. Also, no thank you for making me grow up as a slave to someone old and unattractive. Mind if I murder you?” Hook asks his father.

kil you

“I wouldn’t mind all that much, actually,” replies Guyliner Senior, “I mean, I’m already like a 1,000 years old, so I kind of feel like I should give some other hot people a chance to do the whole living thing. Also, I’m a good person now, because of love and stuff.”

“Because you loved my mother?” Hook inquires.

“No, of course not. I hated that b*tch,” explains Guyliner Senior. “I’m talking about some other random lady, whose name I never mention, who is conveniently deceased . . . also my new son, who I love more than you, and who I named after your dead brother, who P.S. I also loved more than you.”

father and son

“OK, well, you’ll be happy to know that, your painful lack of love for me notwithstanding, I’ve decided not to kill you,” Hook offers magnanimously. “I just have to pretend I killed you, so that Regina will know I have a big enough dick . . . I mean . . . that I am a big enough dick to murder her mother. So, you have to leave town tomorrow. I’ll get you transit papers.”

“Can you also get them for the son I love more than you?” Guyliner Senior inquires, because he’s the kind of guy who has to look a gift horse in the mouth.

“That’s kind of pushing it, but OK,” Hook allows.

That night, Hook goes to give Guyliner Senior and Guyliner Senior’s son, who Guyliner Senior loves more than Hook, transit papers, when he overhears Guyliner Senior giving Son He Loves More the exact same speech he gave Baby Guyliner at the beginning of the episode about being a good person and all that jazz.

“I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided that I’m going to kill you, because you have limited oratory skills, and are the human equivalent of a bad television rerun, basically. Seriously, who has been on earth for 1,000 years, and can’t come up with at least two different speeches to say to his various offspring? You don’t deserve to live.”

“Why? Because you believe that my giving the same speech indicates that I’m still the same douchebag I was at the beginning of the episode, and haven’t really changed at all, despite my telling you that I have?” Guyliner Senior asks.

“No! Because you are clearly a moron. And all morons must die,” answers Hook, before stabbing his dad to death, thereby ensuring that Son He Loved More will also have a very good excuse to grow up to become a Super Big Dick, and not in a good way, either.

The Mosquito Bites of Doom

Back in Storybrooke, all the Dark Ones from the Beginning of Time a.k.a. The Asshole Brigade, run around town and very efficiently touch all the main characters of the show (who aren’t Emma, Belle and Baby Neal) and give them what appears to be either a really gnarly mosquito bite / hickey on each of their arms.

hickey

“That mosquito bite/ hickey thing we have on our arms means we are all going to Hell,” insists Rumpel.

“That seems a bit dramatic, don’t you think?” Snow inquires. “The last time I had a mosquito bite I just went to the medicine cabinet and got out the Benadryl.”

“And the last time I got a hickey on my arm, it was because Snow drank too much red wine at dinner and mistook it for my neck,” adds Prince Charming.

SnowWhitePrinceCharming

“I can’t help it if you have thick wrists . . .”

“These aren’t just any mosquito bites / hickeys,” insists Rumpel. “They are mosquito bites / hickeys of doom!”

“Hey, if we are all in Hell together, anyway, won’t everything pretty much be exactly the same as it is now, except the parties will be way less lame?” Henry asks.

heart racing

“Pretty much,” offers Rumpel. “But it’s the season finale, so the stakes need to be higher, and we all need to act like we’re going to die, rather than just temporarily relocate to a new land, like we do every season.”

Apocalypse Meh!

Snow and Co. look in some picture books for about five seconds to see if there is anything in there about “Not going to Hell.”

When they don’t find anything relevant, they decide to do what most of us would do, if we were told we had to take a permanent vacation to Hell. They stuff their faces (because everyone knows that dead people don’t get fat), and stare lovingly at one another to the tune of cheesy music (because there is no cheesy music in Hell, which really sucks for people like Snow and Henry, who think cheesy music is the bees’ knees).

death food

Meanwhile, Zelena is threatening to make her Rape Baby with Robin Hood evil, while Regina and Robin are in Hell, so Regina decides to magic that witch back to Oz, something she should have done about ten episodes ago.

ydeath food

go away

“I’ll be back,” threatens Zelena, as she floats away.

oz witch

Sure you will, Zelena. Because Once recycles villains and plot lines the way I recycle my favorite pair of underwear (after it’s been washed, of course).

You can check out the rest of this recap HERE.

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ONCE UPON A TIME: Thanks for the Memories! (Recap: S:5, E: 10)

look at memories

“Arts and crafts projects are fine Christmas presents to give to your parents when you are five, Emma. But now that you are an adult, we were kind of hoping you’d be like that nice girl in the commercials, and buy us both matching, his and hers, Lexuses for the holidays.”

 

It’s the episode we’ve waited two weeks to see, Onceies! (Not because it was a particularly good episode, just because it aired a week late. So, we literally had to wait one extra week to see it.) After a summer of flashbacks, and flashforwards that danced around the issue, the writers of Once finally coughed up the missing piece of the puzzle regarding That Thing That happened in Camelot That Turned Emma and Hook into Raging Assholes!

Also, this week on Once . . . wait . . . there was no “also,” that was pretty much it.

Let’s review shall we?

Hello Darkness, My Old (Annoying) Friend

Like my new outfit? I call this style, 'Unibomber Chic'

Like my new outfit? I call this style, ‘Unibomber Chic’

Emerging from the sewers amidst a pile of black dog poopy like sludge, while clad in a greasy hoodie and kind of resembling a Unibomber, or a Ninja Turtle, a newly anointed Dark One Captain Hook returns to Camelot, reborn. Needless to say, he’s not in the greatest of moods. (But hey, you’d act like kind of an asshole too, if you emerged from a sewer covered in dog poopy.)

what the devil

ONCE UPON A TIME - "The Dark Swan" - Immediately after becoming the Dark One, Emma disappears and the heroes must band together to save her, but first they have to find her, which will require the help of an unlikely ally. Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest, Emma struggles to resist her dark urges as she searches for Merlin in the hope that he can stop her transformation. Along the way to Camelot, she gets help from the plucky and brave warrior princess Merida, as well as King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, in the adventure-filled season five premiere of "Once Upon a Time," SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Jack Rowand) ROBERT CARLYLE

Congratulations, Captain Hook! You’ve just been gifted with multiple personality disorder, just like Asshole Emma! (And it’s the gift that keeps on giving!) Hook’s new personality, Rumpelstiltskin, has some great ideas for Hook on how he can make the best use of his new status as Co-Biggest Asshole on the Planet. For starters, he can kill Rumpelstiltskin . . . not multiple personality disorder Rumpelstiltskin that’s sitting inside Captain Hook’s literally dirty mind, mind you . . . but rather, the real Rumpelstiltskin, who is currently back in Storybrooke in a coma.

coma

Really, Multiple Personality Disorder Rumpel? Captain Hook is now the co-most powerful dark wizard in the world, and you want him to celebrate that, by murdering an old, incapacitated and possibly incontinent guy (I never did figure out how the whole going to the bathroom thing works, when one is in a coma?). You can do better than that!

Anyway, Dark One Emma and her crazy eyebrows pop by to tell Multiple Personality Disorder Rumpel to shut up, and stop making a ruckus inside Hook’s head. The fact that Hook instantly knows that Emma is real, and never wonders whether she, another Dark One, is also part of his multiple personality disorder, indicates that Hook has watched way less psychological thriller films than I have.

Anyway, Dark Hook and Dark Emma make out, which causes Multiple Personality Disorder Rumpel to temporarily disappear, but only because watching PDA like this from inside a dirty mind makes him totally nauseous.

PDA

After all that “gross” making out stuff is done, Multiple Personality Disorder Rumpel returns again, but this time to turn Asshole Hook against Asshole Emma. This way, they can’t play tonsil hockey in front of him anymore. Multiple Personality Disorder Rumpel does this by intimating that Emma has stolen from Hook the Excalibur sword, and will use it to become his puppet master, because she doesn’t trust him to not do some seriously assholey stuff when left to his own devices . . . like, for example, beating up the old and infirm.

As it turns out, Emma totally did take the sword from Hook, but she’s really sorry about it, and returns it to him, almost as soon as he asks. Cue the additional PDA!

Sorry Multiple Personality Disorder Rumpel! It looks like your PDA Prevention Plan has failed, at least for now. But hey, look on the bright side! It’s an ABC program on at 8 p.m., so at least you won’t have to worry about Hook and Emma boning in front of you.

Oh my God! You Killed Merlin! You Bastard!

merlin rip

Later that day, Merlin is busy preparing his virtual voicemail for the Storybrooke folks of the future (the one we witnessed a few episodes back, for those paying attention), when Asshole Captain Hook pops by to rip out the Great Tree Dwelling Wizard’s heart, and return Excalibur to its stone. “Hey,” Emma argues. “Back when we were swapping spit, not to mention, a likely case of mono, you intimated that you weren’t going to do shitty things like that anymore, at least until we figured out how to un-Asshole ourselves, also how I can tweeze, and/or rid myself of these awful eyebrows, and old lady bun.”

“You stole Excalibur, and tried to control me, so all bets are off,” Hook explains. “Me = Major Asshole 4 Eva!”

“But why are you crushing Merlin’s heart? He’s really hot, and clearly not that big of a threat as a wizard, considering he’s spent the last 5,000 years of his life stuck inside a tree. That’s the kind of crap that would have Harry Houdini rolling over in his grave.” Emma argues.

“But to kill Real Rumpel, I need to get back to Storybrooke. And to get back to Storybrooke, I need to enact a curse. And to enact a curse, I need to destroy the heart of the one I love most,” Hook offers by way of plot explanation.

“So, you are gay, and have been in love with Merlin all this time. This explains so much,” Emma responds. “Your wardrobe, for starters. I mean, seriously, how tight are those pants?”

“No silly! I’m not in love with Merlin. But one of my multiple personality disorders, Nimue, is! So, I get to cheat and kill her loved one, instead of killing you, because you are the main character on this show, and contractually obligated to live forever, or at least until the series’ inevitable cancelation.”

“That doesn’t seem entirely fair. I mean, the whole point of you having to kill the person you love most, in order to enact a curse, is that it requires a sacrifice, thus proving to all those impressionable kiddies out there that all magic has a price. But you are getting what you want by murdering someone who you don’t give two shits about, based on a loophole!” Emma argues.

“Yeah, isn’t it great?” Asshole Hook inquired, before murdering Merlin.

“Wow Asshole Hook, you are kind of the worst,” Emma complains. “Here, stare at this Dreamcatcher, so you forget to act like the asshole you are, deep down, for three-quarters of a season, until I can figure out a way to magically un-asshole you.”

the dreamcatchers

“OK,” replies Hook, as he obediently stares into the Dreamcatcher.

Seconds later, Hook says, “I don’t remember my name. I think I’m a hot actor named Colin.”

“You don’t have amnesia, you moron! You just don’t remember that you are an asshole,” Emma yelps.

“Oh, yeah! Thanks for the clarification,” Hook answers

“Quick, the rest of you, before we return to Storybrooke, stare at these dreamcatchers, so you can also conveniently forget stuff.”

memories

“But we aren’t assholes,” Snow, Regina, Henry, Charming and the dwarves (totally forgot they were here, by the way), reply in unison. “At least not really big ones.”

“I know, but Plot requires you to forget that this happened, so kindly inflict potentially permanent damage on your brains for me,” Emma pleads.

“OK,” the rest of the cast responds, before having their IQ points sucked away by a Native American weaving that you can find in the furnishings aisle at Target for $5.00.

Just a Matter of Trust

no memories

Back in Storybrooke in present day, Zelena has put a bracelet on Emma that temporarily removes her ability to use magic, and Hook has dream-catcher vacuumed her memories of his evil plans away. Then, to further complicate things, Hook goes and hides all the dream catchers containing the Once gang’s memories away, while Emma takes a much-needed nap. (Having evil eyebrows and wearing an old lady bun all day can be super exhausting!)

sad em sad eg one sad egg two

Hook then pays a “Welcome the New Asshole to the Neighborhood” visit with Rumpel and Belle, and invites the former to a fun little “Duel to the Death” aboard his trusty ship, The Jolly Roger, a.k.a The Ship that is a Metaphor for Hook’s Man Parts. When Rumpel astutely notes that this wouldn’t exactly be a fair fight, given the fact that Hook is now an immortal asshole, and Rumpel is an aging cripple, who spent the time he should have been training for battle in a coma, Hook gallantly offers to fight using Excalibur, the only sword with the power to mortally wound a Giant Asshole.

the dance by hook

“But I’m still about a million years older than you, and a cripple, who spent last summer in a coma,” Rumpel argues.

“So, you don’t want to fight me?” Hook inquires honestly.

“Of course, I want to fight you. I may be centuries old, but I’m still a dude who thinks with his weiner. And a dude who thinks with his weiner never steps down from a challenge to a pissing contest, especially when that challenge is issued in front of the girl he wants to bone,” Rumpel explains.

“Excellent,” Hook replies. “Enjoy your remaining hours on Earth.”

Elsewhere in Storybrooke, Emma wakes up to learn that the Storybrooke gang is super mad at her for turning her boyfriend into the Biggest Asshole on the Planet, and not bothering to tell them about it. (Besides, Storybrooke already has more than enough assholes running around it. Case in point: Zelena.)

zelly

I mean, honestly, how could someone who willingly wears a hat like that NOT be an asshole.

Then, Henry pops by, to throw his mom some major shade for lying to him lots, and mind controlling his girlfriend into dumping him . . . (Note: This sentence pretty much describes every mother / teenage son relationship that ever existed.)

lied to us needs time

Since no one trusts Emma not to (1) make more people into assholes; (2) steal their memories; or (3) really stink up the bathroom, the rest of the Scooby Gang leaves her alone in the house, with Poor Merida as watchdog, while they all troop off to the library in hopes that they will find a book entitled: “How to Save the World from the Biggest Asshole in the Planet for Dummies.”

You can check out the rest of this recap HERE.

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ONCE UPON A TIME: Much Ado About a Dunce Cap (S5: E9 Recap)

(Please note: This is the recap for Once’s Episode 9: “The Bear King”. To read the recap of Episode 8: “Birth” click here.)

Sometimes life interferes with art, and that art, must in turn, adapt itself to life, or perish. Sometimes that adaptation process leads to better, more innovative, art. And sometimes the adaptation process leads to . . . well . . . “The Bear King.”

This is not to say that “The Bear King” was a terrible episode of Once. I for one, have seen many worse episodes of the series . . . like that random black and white one about Dr. Whale / Frankenstein, for example.

dr whale

Instead, I am merely noting that, the American Music Awards’ upcoming and inevitable preemption of next week’s Once, naturally resulted in ABC having one less week to air a full order of episodes. And this, in turn, resulted in the showrunners’ decision to offer up an immediate follow-up to the series’ landmark episode “Birth” that had significantly less impact on season 5’s main storytelling arc than I suspect it would have, had the episode aired next week, as originally intended.

Let’s review, shall we?

You Hat Me at Hello

 

Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of DunBroch (where being a ginger head is a dominant trait, and everyone has a nearly incomprehensible Scottish accent) Merida’s daddy, then-King Fergus, made a deal with a witch in exchange for a stupid-looking helmet, which was supposed to make Daddy’s clansman like him enough to die horribly painful deaths in battle on his behalf.

doody_head_beer_helmet_1

The King’s receipt of a Stupid Hat that makes him popular, and everyone else around him dumb and suicidal, couldn’t have happened at a better time. After all, his kingdom is about to go to war. Also his daughter, Merida, is about to fight in her very first battle.

The King hires Mulan to help Merida learn how to fight, probably because the Kung Fu Panda and Buzz Lightyear were busy that day.

kung_fu_panda_2_2011_hd-HD Buzz-Lightyear-Toy-Story1

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/kqr11/?pid=

On the first day of war, Mulan distracts Merida with training on the King’s instructions, because the King doesn’t want his daughter to die for his popular ginger ass. As a result Merida witnesses from afar, but isn’t able to prevent, her father’s untimely demise at the hand of a masked warrior, who stabs him in the gut, and steals his Stupid Hat right off his dead head.

It’s kind of heart-wrenching actually. So heart-wrenching that I can’t make snarky jokes about it. So instead, enjoy this adorable picture of a basket of puppies . . .

puppies

The Bear Necessities

That was then, this is now . . .

In present day, Merida is about to be crowned Queen of DunBroch. But then that witch from the beginning of the episode crashes the coronation, and tells Merida, she needs to return her the Stupid Hat, or all the gingers and people with bad Scottish accents in her kingdom will get turned into bears. . . quite possibly even the cute cartoon bears with the toilet paper on their butts from the Charmin commercials.

A fate worse than death!

A fate worse than death!

Merida finds her old pal Mulan to ask her for help finding the Stupid Hat. But Mulan isn’t in a very helpful mood, due to #LesbianHeartbreak.

felt aobut heartbreak

Soon after, Merida herself, experiences a setback, when she begins to doubt her family legacy, and by extension, her own ability to lead her kingdom, as a result of her father being dumb enough to think that wearing Stupid Hat would make him popular with a bunch of dudes just because some old lady told him it was so. This revelation freaks out Merida so much, that she actually offers up the ability to rule her kingdom to those three douchebags she almost married during the movie Brave, if they manage to find the Stupid Hat before she does.

Brave (2012) weird guys

“Stupid Hats are our specialty!”

But then Mulan meets up with Erstwhile Werewolf Red, who is back in the Enchanted Forest due to “feeling different than other women,” and “not fitting in,” and suddenly #LesbianHeartbreak Mulan is feeling #hopefulandhorny. And so, with Sexy Red in toe, Mulan leads the charge in finding the Stupid Hat that Merida needs, in order to save her kingdom from becoming #Bear-yUnhappy.

hook and red hook and red 2

Also searching for the Stupid Hat are King Arthur and Wicked Witch Zelena, aka Mr. and Mrs. The Worst. King Arthur wants the hat because, apparently, spraying his kingdom with Stepford Doofus dust wasn’t enough to secure their loyalty, because he’s just that terrible and inherently unpopular of a person. Zelena wants the Stupid Hat because she’s having a really bad hair day today.

No Fair! Zelena is already wearing a stupid hat. She can’t have two!

Red uses her wolfy sense of smell to ascertain that Arthur was actually the guy who killed Merida’s dad back in the day, which means he should currently be the proud owner of the Stupid Hat, which, as we already know, he isn’t.

When Red, Mulan and Merida confront Arthur, he admits that the Stupid Hat Arthur pried from King Fergus’ dead head was actually a fake Stupid Hat. (Don’t get me wrong, it was still a STUPID Hat, it just wasn’t the same Stupid Hat that had the power to make you popular.)

found hat

You know what this means don’t you? Merida’s dad, King Fergus, was a good ginger! Sure, he wore Stupid Hats, and spoke with an incomprehensible Scottish accent, but he didn’t use either of those things to become popular, and make his kingdom members die for him. They were dumb enough to do that all on their own, all dunce caps aside!

Merida is elated! Her dad is a ginger hero! Also, she didn’t have to lose her kingdom to those three douchebags she almost married. In fact, they (and everybody else in town) like her now, because she was willing to give up being Queen to save the rest of the kingdom from being turned into bears by an old witch. So, Merida is popular now. Also, she has the Stupid Hat. She found it in the water, right where her dad buried it right before she died.

Note: It is currently unclear whether: (1) Merida’s getting the Stupid Hat that makes you popular and 2)Merida actually becomes popular are related. But I think we are supposed to think they are entirely coincidental because “morals” and because “impressionable kids are watching.”

very pop

You can check out the rest of this recap HERE.

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ONCE UPON A TIME: The Night is Full of Dark Ones and Terrors (S5: E8 Recap)

casting

“Becoming the Dark One has made me so much better at miming. Check it out. I’m in a box!”

Here’s a philosophical question to ponder: if someone is an Asshole, but they don’t know they are an Asshole, does that free them from the usual trappings of Asshole-ism? This week’s first of a two-part special (though the second episode frustratingly had absolutely nothing to do with the first), poses this very question, when we learn that Emma, in a quest to save her lover Captain Hook’s life, made him into her Dark One Twin Brother (um, incest much?). The “Dark Swan” accomplished this, while, simultaneously, fully succumbing to the trademark bad hair and weird eyebrows that she’d been assiduously avoiding throughout an entire season of flashbacks.

sword looker

Emma (based on her tragic makeover, mostly) knew full well that she had become a Super Asshole and behaved as such. But Hook (who used to be kind of an asshole back in the day), had no clue he’d been converted into a Super Asshole (i.e. no tragic makeover for him), and, as a result, acted like a pretty nice guy, up until the moment he learned of his Assholeism.

hook pel

Extend that logic, and it is entirely possible that the only reason Emma’s been acting so sh*tty all season, is that she’s really pissed off about her white old lady bun and having to sport those wacky evil eyebrows.

dark one

Confused? Intrigued? Feeling like an evil asshole, due to some poor fashion choices you might have made recently?

However you happen to be feeling, let’s review shall we?

(I say we change things up, and start our recap in present day, this time around. This way, we can experience our Big Assholey Reveal at the same time Hook experiences it, by looking inside that fateful dreamcatcher at the same time he does.)

You Can’t Handle the Truth!

frat boys

When the episode begins, our boys are back in town! Charming, Hook and Robin Hood, a.k.a. The Frat Boys of Storybrooke, are banding together to sniff out that little weasel Arthur, who is hanging out in his stupid tent with his Stepford Doofus wife. First, they confront him about the whole “trying to burn the mushroom that makes you talk to wizards” thing. Then, they ask him about Nimue. When Arthur is able to offer no helpful information about either, the Fratboys of Storybrooke chase Arthur down, in hopes of beating the ever loving crap out of him, something most fans of the show have wanted to do since this douchebag first appeared on screen.

arthur 1

Hook gets into a particularly sexy and homoerotic tussle with King Arthur. But when he starts to lose the battle, Dark One Emma swoops in to rescue her boyfriend’s tight leather pants-wearing ass. “That was really nice of you, Emma,” Hook offers appreciatively. “I’m thinking maybe you aren’t as big of as Asshole as you want us all to think you are.”

dark one

“Nope. I’m still a huge Asshole. I just didn’t want to see your sexy body bruised by stupid Arthur and his stupider sword play games, because he is clearly the worst, ” Emma responds dismissively.

“Tell me now, Emma! Tell me why you became a huge Asshole!” Hook demands.

why i

Then comes the weird moment in the episode, where Emma Swan literally morphs into Jack Nicholson’s character from A Few Good Men. In fact, I’m pretty sure she actually says the words, “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH,” making the exact same angrily constipated facial expressions Jack did when he uttered that same iconic line. (Which, I guess, makes Captain Hook our Tom Cruise?)

Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/kqh7q/?pid=happynicetimepeople

https://youtu.be/5j2F4VcBmeo

So, there you have it, folks. Jack Nicholson ordered the Code Red on William Santiago, and Emma Swan turned into a Super Asshole just for her boyfriend. And as much as I adore Captain Swan, and all their eternal broody sexiness, I’m pretty sure I just set the feminist movement back about 50 years by typing that last sentence.

Captain Hook: Detective of Love!

what to see

“I see London. I see France. Dark Ones don’t wear any underpants . . . because they are too binding.”

Fully intrigued by Emma’s Dark One ability to occasionally turn into the greatest actors of all time, and also by the shocking and admittedly ego boosting revelation that he may be entirely responsible for his girlfriend’s Assholeyness, Captain Hook goes on a mission to find out what happened in Camelot that turned Emma into someone who sometimes talks like Jack Nicholson, wears an old lady bun, and has weird eyebrows.

Hook decides to seek his erstwhile enemy Rumpel’s advice on this, because the former Dark One just so happens to be the resident expert on Love and Assholeism. “Anyone who willingly wears eyebrows like that must be feeling super guilty about something. Find out why Emma feels guilty, and you’ll find out the mystery to why she’s such an asshole,” Rumpel advises sagely.

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/kqie8/?pid=happynicetimepeople

“Or I could just become Bella Swan and keep trying to kill myself, so my girlfriend (who I guess would be the Vampire Edward in this scenario) will have to save me and hang out with me, and maybe then she’ll tell me why she’s such an Asshole,” Hook explains excitedly.

depression thing get it

“That wasn’t what I meant,” Rumpel cautions. “Actually I don’t think that suicide attempts are a healthy way to . . .”

“Thanks Rumpel, you’re the greatest,” Hook exclaims excitedly, as he runs to go jump off a building, because making good life choices is for pussies and unattractive people.

Emma saves Hook from dying again. And Hook shows his extreme gratitude for this selfless act by . . . asking Emma once again why she’s such an Asshole. Real suave, Hook!

Hook quickly recovers from his faux pas though, by showing Emma his impressive collection of man jewelry. Because everyone knows that nothing helps a guy get into a girl’s pants (and also learn why she’s such an asshole) like man jewelry.

ouat 4.2 hook squee

Hook admits to Emma that, back in the day, he got a new piece of man jewelry, every time he did something particularly assholey . . . at least until he ran out of fingers. (Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Hook’s feet, so we can’t be sure whether he’s wearing asshole souvenirs on them as well.) Now, he wears the rings as a reminder that he used to be an asshole but isn’t one anymore.

Emma whistles uncomfortably at Hook’s admission of erstwhile assholeism, and later we find out why. She also shows Hook the ring on a pendant he gave her back in Camelot, which now I’m hoping didn’t come off some dead pirate’s fat finger, because that would make the Gift of Man Jewelry a smidge less romantic than we all originally thought it was, and also a little gross / potentially unsanitary.

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/kqjn6/?pid=happynicetimepeople

Hook still insists on wanting to know why Emma is an asshole, so Emma decides to show him the house he wanted to buy for her back in Camelot, in which she now lives. Then, Emma and Hook start making out, and she roofies him with her tongue, because this relationship wasn’t already sufficiently dysfunctional.

i love you

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/kqjpf/?pid=happynicetimepeople

You can check out the rest of this recap HERE!

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ONCE UPON A TIME: Sparkly Assholes Unite! (S5 E7 Recap)

merlin and emma

“Hey, I know we’re in a rush to save the world from Evil and all, but, you wouldn’t happen to know if there was a porta-potty around here somewhere? Being the Dark One gives you the worst gas ever.”

If there is one thing we’ve learned from watching five seasons of Once, it’s that Assholes aren’t born, they are made. Sure, there may be some people with higher assholey potential than others, who suck just a little bit more than your average human. But if you want to become a 100% Bonafide SUPER Asshole, you are going to have to make some really crappy choices in your lifetime . . . or you could just drink some bad tap water. Same difference.

It’s Origin Story Time, Once-ies. And this week it’s Sexy Merlin’s turn to have a Bad Romance (Trademark c/o Lady Gaga) that results in the Birth of All Things Evil, and also his spending 1,000 years as a tree. And you thought your last breakup was shitty . . .

Let’s review, shall we?

Love Means Never Having to Say Drinking Your 500-Year Old Tap Water Turned Me Into a Fart / Sparkly Asshole

loving

You smell like poor life choices and an eternity of agony.

Once Upon a Time (See what I did there?) Sexy Merlin wasn’t a wizard. He was just some thirsty dude, chilling with a random friend of his, who had the audacity to be older and much less attractive than Merlin. While stomping through the desert, Merlin and his friend find what appears to be a cup filled with some piss warm tap water in it. Less Attractive, Older Friend is very excited about this, being stuck a desert and all, so he immediately drinks from the cup.

P.S. This “cup” just happens to be the Holy Grail. And because the Holy Grail is shallow and narcissistic, it isn’t about to let some not particularly attractive guy become the wizard, who just so happens to be super important to the plot of Season 5 of Once Upon a Time. So instead, the Holy Grail decides to turn Less Attractive, Older Friend into a fart . . . and not even a cool purple fart, like we’ve seen on this show in the past, or a sexy black fart, like the one Dark Emma occasionally turns into this season. This is a plain old grey fart fit for unattractive older folks.

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/k7y69/?pid=happynicetimepeople

Merlin is momentarily bummed about the whole “my best friend is now a fart” thing, but not bummed enough not to drink from the same cup that just killed his friend. (Oh the benefits of knowing that you are sexy, and, therefore, destined to lead a charmed life.)

cup found holy grail

Not only does Merlin not turn into a fart from drinking the tap water, it makes him immortal, so he never has to worry about becoming older, or fatter, or unattractive like his dearly departed pal. Also, he doesn’t have to hang out in the desert anymore, because it’s magically been converted into a forest.

invin

Fast forward to a few hundred years later, when Merlin meets a hot chick named Nimue, and falls in love for the first time ever. (Yeah, because we are supposed to believe that a guy who looks like THAT kept it in his pants for half a millennium, saving himself for “the right one.”)

flowers

“Hello, Sexy Merlin, please take my flower . . . and yes, I absolutely intended that as an ABC-approved euphemism for sex.”

Though Nimue is excited about having a new hot boyfriend to whom she can give her flower (wink, wink), she’s kind of bummed that some bad guy (named Vortigan? Gorgonzola? Probably Vortigan, because Gorgonzola is a type of cheese . . .) torched her village, while looking for some cup. I smell foreshadowing . . . I also smell cheese, possibly Gorgonzola cheese.

Merlin eventually proposes to Nimue, but not before he tells her he’s a wizard, whose perpetually young and sexy. “But it’s gotten boring being so much better looking than everyone else all the time,” Merlin explains. “So I’m going to turn the Holy Grail into a sword, and use it to cut off my wizardly sexiness, so you and I can grow old, decrepit and ugly together. Sound like a plan?”

propose

“Silly boy,” Nimue responds. “You think I like you for your personality? Why go through all the trouble of making a sword to unsexy and unmagic yourself on my account, when I can just drink the 500-year old tap water and become forever sexy and magical too.”

popular

“What you are saying right now, kind of makes me think you have the potential to be not such a good person,” Merlin muses. “And seeing as how I’m a 500-year old virgin, being not such a good person is kind of a deal breaker for me. But I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear you correctly, because it is absolutely essential to the plot that my having the audacity to actually want to get laid after 500-years of monk-like celibacy inevitably brings about all the evil on the planet.”

merlin

“Cool, let’s go find the Holy Grail so I can drink from it and be hot forever . . . er, I mean, so you can make that sword thingy,” Nimue says, as the two head to the ruins of Nimue’s old village, where the Holy Grail, and it’s clearly contaminated, never evaporating, has the ability to turn old ugly people into farts, water is hiding.

Nimue drinks the tap water, while Merlin is distracted by shiny objects, but doesn’t tell him about it, so he forges Excalibur using the Holy Grail, the gross tap water, and the “Flames of Prometheus.” to cut the sexy right off of himself.

too sexy

Evil Gorgonzola (it just sounds better than Vortigan, so I’m sticking with it), however, wants Merlin to stay sexy just as much as Nimue and us fans do, so he appears to stop Merlin from self-mutilating and steal Excalibur. A fracas ensues, and Nimue gets caught in the crossfire, or should I say the cross-stabbing. It’s all very dramatic and tragic seeming . . .

https://www.whipclip.com/embed/k8113/?pid=happynicetimepeople

But then Nimue pops up and is all, “Just kidding! I’m too sexy for this stab wound, and for dying, because I’m immortal now, just like you”

She then crushes the heart of Evil Gorgonzola, thereby making him more like grated cheese.

Nimue’s punishment for making grated cheese out of Evil Gorgonzola is that she now has to be a sparkly asshole for all of eternity. She also loses most of her awesome hair. But her eyebrows are more normal looking than Evil Emma’s, so at least there is that . . .

nimue

Nimue doesn’t want to be the only one who has to spend an eternity being unsexy, so she breaks Excalibur, thereby creating the Dark One sword. She also turns Merlin into a tree . . .

you destroyed stab it

And the rest, as they say is history. . .

You can check out the rest of this recap HERE. . .

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Heroism for Dummies – Once Upon a Time Recap Episode 5:6

sword looker

You know what’s hard? Being a hero on a Show About Heroes. Why? Because every time you try to do something heroic, there are always at least ten other people lining up to do it first. Continue reading

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