Tag Archives: Season 1

BINGE OR NO: Netflix’s GLOW

(Soon to be cross-posted on Agony Booth.com)

When I was a kid, my mother was a huge fan of soap operas. In the days before DVR, and before Netflix made binge-watching a “thing,” she would record an entire week’s worth of her favorite soap, Days of Our Lives, while she worked, so that she could spend her Saturdays catching up with all her fictional best friends and lovers and their increasingly wacky lives.

As a result, my father would often chide my mother, a career woman with a Masters degree, for her deep-abiding love for this evil-twin having, devil possessing, amnesia abusing, secret love child coveting, art form. Whenever he did so, my mother would wryly reply that my father’s ability to watch countless hours of WWF wrestling was pretty much precisely the same thing as her Days of Our Lives addiction. Wrestling, she claimed, was, after all, a soap opera geared toward men. This argument undoubtedly horrified my father, who would inevitably respond by turning up the volume on his wrestling match full blast, as if to say that no series that LOUD AND OBNOXIOUS could possibly be equivalent to a “ladies’ television show.” But deep down, I think he knew that my mother had a point.

This exact same epiphany is experienced by GLOW’s co-female lead Debbie Eagen, a former soap star, who must now try her hand at a role where your ability to “pretty cry” is not nearly as important as the depth which you could realistically portray the pain of having someone twice your size sit on your face.

Based on an actual television series of the same name that took to the airwaves for four seasons, during the years of 1986 through 1990 (many of the wrestling personas portrayed here are based on characters from the original series), Netflix’s GLOW is a ten half-hour episode long comedy set piece about the maybe (?) origins of women’s wrestling.

The REAL cast of GLOW

Leading this large and diverse cast of mostly female actresses is Allison Brie, as Ruth Wilder, a grown-up theater geek, and out-of-work actress, who is desperate to find an on-screen role where her character does more than bring a powerful male lead coffee, or tell him that his wife is on line 2.

That is, perhaps, one of the most interesting things about GLOW the series, the way in which it argues that women’s wrestling, as an art form, was actually pretty progressive, particularly for its time period, in the way in which it championed strong females, both as the heroes and the villains of its stories. Not such a big accomplishment, you say? Think about what a HUGE deal everyone made over the Wonder Woman movie actually featuring a female superhero, and how long that film took to make it to the big screen. And this is 2017, over thirty years after women’s wrestling premiered on TV!

In GLOW, Ruth is able to take on the role of her dreams, that of a female lead villain, who is strong, tough, takes no prisoners, and would sooner pour scalding hot coffee on a man’s head, than serve it to him black with two sugars. I mean, sure, women’s wrestling had its down sides too. Most of the “characters” on the show were thinly drawn, and often aggressively offensive, racial, and socio-cultural stereotypes: The Terrorist, The Welfare Queen, The Evil Communist, and an Asian Character named Fortune Cookie. Not to mention how the female wrestlers were often hooted at, degraded, and objectified by men, as they rolled around with one another in scantily clad outfits. Yet, arguably all those same downsides applied to men’s wrestling as well. So, there’s an odd sense of equal opportunity here, when it comes to poor taste.

Speaking of objectification, those men out there looking to revel in hot bodacious babes engaging in Sapphic aggressive dances with one another might be a bit disappointed with Netflix’s GLOW. With one or two exceptions, this is not a particularly glammed up bunch of ladies. 80’s fashions (which are showcased in all their neon-tinted, big-hair having, glory here) do NOBODY any favors, appearance wise, at least by modern-day beauty standards. Even Allison Brie, who in real life is quite beautiful, has her looks noticeably, and purposefully, toned down here. Her character Ruth wears little to no makeup throughout most of the series, and often prefers shapeless, oversized, outfits to more form-fitting attire.

In terms of characters, Brie’s Ruth, Betty Gilpin’s Debbie, and Marc Maron’s schlocky, but occasionally paternal, showrunner Sam take center stage here during most of the episodes. The rest of the cast serves largely as comedic support, their roles limited mainly to the stereotypical characters they play on the wrestling mat. As a fan of Jenji Kohan’s other Netflix Series Orange is the New Black, I found myself wanting to see more of many of these characters, and to learn what brought them to this unique job opportunity, possibly through the use of OINTB inspired flashbacks. There are no such flashbacks in GLOW.

Just as OINTB’s Season 1 story was largely about Piper and her complicated love-hate relationship with Alex, so too was GLOW’s Season 1 story predominately about Ruth and her friendship turned antagonistic relationship with Debbie. (I’d tell you why it turns antagonistic, but I’m afraid that would be a bit of a spoiler.) Perhaps, if the show gets picked up for a second season, GLOW, like OINTB, will branch out and feature more of the backstories of its intriguing and diverse ensemble cast.

As for the series itself, though it takes a little while to find its footing and humorous tone, GLOW is sudsy good fun, with just the right amount of 80’s camp, and a pro-feminist message thrown in for good measure. At a mere five-hour run time, GLOW is easy and painless to breeze through. The live-taping of the wrestling show featured in the final episode serves for an exciting and entertaining, colorful capstone to the series. And you will undoubtedly find yourself missing GLOW a bit when its over.

So, in the end, my mom was right.  Wrestling, and shows inspired by wrestling, are a bit like soap operas. Both are guilty pleasures, for sure. But if you look closely, you might just find a little bit of substance underneath those suds.

FINAL VERDICT: BINGE IT!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 . . .

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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.

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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 . . .

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

 

 

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Once Upon a Time Recaps and Retrospectives By Yours Truly at Happy Nice Time People.com

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“NOW, she suddenly decides to recap us? Where the heck was she the first three seasons? I was so young and beautiful back then . . . sigh.”

If you haven’t been stopping by the positively brilliant recapping website, Happy Nice Time People, daily for their hilarious snark-filled recaps of every television show under the sun, you should start now for the following reasons:

(1) They are TOTALLY FRIGGIN awesome!

(2) They were crazy enough to hire me!

Starting today, I will be posting weekly recaps of ABC’s hit drama Once Upon a Time (which premieres Sunday September 28th, at 8/7 central on ABC), including retrospectives of Seasons 1 to 3, to get new viewers caught up on the insanity that is Storybrooke, Maine, and the almost-criminal sexiness that is Captain Hook . . .

broody hook

You can check out my first post, RIGHT NOW, by clicking here.

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Say Hello to My Little Winky! – A Recap of Boardwalk Empire’s Season 2 Premiere “21”

(NOTE:  For those of you who might be poking around for a certain Gossip Girl recap, I PROMISE it’s coming.  I’m just a day behind in my recapping schedule.  😦  Check back here around this time tomorrow, 9/28, and you’ll most definitely find it . . . Thanks for being patient!  )

“The new season of Boardwalk Empire starts this week.  Gotta look HOT!  You just know all the ladies love Buscemi!” 

Greetings fellow Boardwalkers!  Welcome back!  Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve talked to you!  I can’t believe it’s been an ENTIRE year since I last used THIS animated GIF . . .

For the record, I plan to use it AT LEAST two more times in this recap  . . . 

 Did you watch the Season Premiere?  If you didn’t, you missed a good show!  Let’s see .  . . people got blown to pieces, and had their necks slashed . . . there was some very awkward sex in a hotel room . . . we got to hear an interesting discussion about Jimmy Darmody’s winky .  . . that tubby old guy with the glasses did hilarious-looking exercises in his living room.  (By the way, if anybody has a picture of this, please send it my way, and I will be forever indebted to you!)

All in all, it was a fitting end to an interminable hiatus.  And I’m very eager to discuss it with you.

Maybe a little too eager . . . 

So, pop that cork, and load that gun, because we are about to have some fun . . .

The rhyming .  . . it was too much, right? 

“When you get what you want, you don’t want what you get.”

“I’m not wearing any underwear!  WOOHOO!”

Boardwalk Empire is nothing if not cinematic.  And why wouldn’t it be?  It’s produced by FRIGGIN MARTIN SCORCESE!  They don’t get much more cinematic than that . . .

“Are you talkin’ to me?”

The opening sequence of the episode, along with the song that accompanies it, pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the hour.  Four months have passed since we last spent time with our Boardwalk Empire crew.  And though many of them seem to have achieved what they “wanted” last season, few of them appear to be genuinely happy with the results.

New address . . . nicer clothes . . . better hair . . . same perma-b*tchface.

The year is 1921.  Prohibition is technically still in effect.  Except, it’s about as well-enforced as the “No Underage Drinking,” regulations at a present-day frat party, or the “No Pot” laws at a Dave Matthews Band concert.  A new shipment of booze has just come to shore.  And a bored-looking, recently-married, Jimmy Darmody, along with his trusty facially-challenged sidekick Richard Harrow, direct the cargo off the boats and into cars, where it will be shipped to Chalky White’s distillery.

YAY, Capitalism! 

There, it will be watered-down significantly, and rebottled, so that restaurants and bars around town can pay twice what it’s actually worth to serve it.  And Average Joe American can pay double THAT price to drink it.

Meanwhile, the no-longer arsenic-poisoned Commodore is doing what appears to be Tae Bo in his stuffed animal-infested living room.  Also in this sequence, we get to see a very sad Margaret Schroeder (Isn’t she ALWAYS very sad?) waking up alone in Nucky’s big empty bed, while he canoodles with a new trampy-looking lady, at yet another high class Atlantic City Orgy “business meeting.” (Well, that certainly didn’t take long!)

“What can I say?  I’m irresistible!”

Lest you think this entire episode is going to be all broody and contemplative about the “meaning of life” and “true happiness” and such, we are about to get to the GOOD STUFF . . .

Those Pesky Sheet-heads are at it again!

SHEEETTTT!

OK . . . this next part . . . I’m not going to lie . . . It’s kind of awesome.  And this is coming from someone who doesn’t condone violence at allWho am I kidding?  Fake violence RULES! So, Chalky is at his warehouse, overseeing the delivery of his alcohol shipment . . .

First of all, loving the outfit.  That hat? The red jacket with the fur collar?  The solid gold tie?  This guy is a TOTAL PIMP!

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 . . . when suddenly there’s a knock at the door.  It’s THIS GUY . . .

“Knock, Knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Dead.”

“Dead who?”

“Dead YOU (and me).” 

Yep . . . so much for a security guard.  Those sheet heads from the KKK have come to crash this Jamaican Rum Party.  (Perhaps, the Rum Runners should have had a little CAPTAIN in them?)

“It’s just a Halloween costume.  I don’t know why you guys are getting so upset.”

 The Sheet Heads are shooting down the doors.  People are DYING!  One of the guys even has the NERVE to hold a gun to my darling Chalky’s beautiful head . . .

Fortunately, like all bigots, Sheet Head is a TOTAL MORON.  And instead of, you know, actually DOING WHAT HE CAME TO DO, he starts making the classic cartoon villain mistake of MONOLOGUING about the murder he’s about to commit.  This gives the Bad Ass Chica in the background the opportunity to fire a round right into Chalky’s would-be murderer’s shoulder, and TAKE THAT RACIST ASSHAT OUT!

Talk about standing by your man (or . . . someone else’s man . .  . whatever)!  I haven’t seen this much self-sacrificing bravery since Rupert Murdoch’s wife dove into that PIE, during the congressional hearing . . .

Unfortunately, she got blown up about two seconds later . .  .

R.I.P. Little Miss Awesomesauce . . . I’ll still remember you as the best thing about this episode. 🙂 

And then those damn Sheetheads got away!  But not before a thankfully ALIVE Chalky got one more parting shot at them . . .

 

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I may or may not have cheered, and raised a fist in triumph, when this happened.  Does that make me a bad person?

“Let’s SCHOOL these crackers!”

Learn, dammit! 

Nucky arrives home from a long HARD night of getting wasted and banging whores  planning Atlantic City’s future, when he gets news about the shooting.  Since the KKK are a fairly influential group in Atlantic City at this time, and Chalky is an important ally of Nucky’s both in the illegal liquor business, and in his ability to secure for the politician the much-prized African American vote, Nucky finds himself between a rock and a hard racist place.  And so he decides to visit Chalky at his home, along with his turncoat soon-to-be dead, just like Fredo brother, Eli.

All in all, it’s a rather uncomfortable meeting, that begins with an uncomfortably long piano solo by Chalky’s suprisingly preppy son, and continues with an uncomfortably awkward meal.  Nucky is frustrated with Chalky for shooting at white people, without consulting him first, because that makes HIM look bad.

Seriously, Chalky, had you texted me, when all this was happening, I would have totally told you to hold your fire.  Wait . . . sorry . .  wrong decade. 

(Ummm . . . yeah . . . it’s called self-defense, Nucky . . . learn it . . . live it . . . love it.)

 Chalky wonders why this happened in the first place, especially considering that a big part of the reason he allied with Nucky in the first place,  was to get protection from gun-toting wackadoodles like this.  Chalky’s plan is to crash a Klan meeting, guns blazing, and “SCHOOL THE CRACKERS.” And this is just such a cool phrase, I’d totally have it printed on a t-shirt, if I didn’t think that would probably get me beaten up in the city . . .

I was just kidding about the t-shirt, Chalky.  I swear! 

Nucky promises to do a less sucky job protecting Chalky in the future.  However, he cautions him to hold off on the “Cracker Schooling,” lest he accidentally get himself killed.  Nucky also agrees to refrain from arresting Chalky until further notice.  All in all, it seems like a pretty level-headed compromise on BOTH sides . . .

But things become even more complicated when, during one of Nucky’s community forums, one of the KKK members barges in to announce that a member of clan has died, due to wounds he sustained during the shoot out.  Coincidentally, this is the same guy that ALMOST killed Chalky, but was taken out by Little Miss Awesomesauce (R.I.P.).

“I should be in a brothelhome having sex with a random slut my wife, right now.”

Nucky, who had begun his speech, diplomatically condemning BOTH the African American Rum Runners and the KKK for their actions, finds himself forced to secretly arrest Chalky .  . . “for his own good.”  Something tells me Chalky isn’t going to like that very much . . .

Why PETA HATES the Commodore . . .

So, you like to shoot animals, and stuff them, huh, Old Man?  Well, STUFF THIS!

Back at La Casa de Commodore, Jimmy’s heretofore absentee dad is hard at work Lady Macbeth-ing his ambivalent son to usurp Nucky’s control over Atlantic City.  (It’s pretty strongly implied that Commodore and Co., were behind the KKK raid of Chalky’s warehouse, and his attempted assassination.)  Some of Commy’s advice makes sense.  For example, he tells Jimmy to start forging his own business connections in the liquor trade (a good idea), and to start developing a more positive public presence in the community, by shaking hands, kissing babies, and such (another good idea).  Then he starts point out all these creepy dead animals hanging around his house, and talking about how he killed them . . .

I don’t get it . . . and I don’t LIKE IT! 

He starts telling one story in particular about shooting a bear in the stomach, while looking him straight in the eye, when he was 10.  And I think it was supposed to be “metaphoric” about how you should, confront your enemies, and show no fear, and other such bullsh*t.  But, honestly, I was so disturbed by that poor teddy bears horrified visage, that I wasn’t really paying attention . . .

In my defense, I don’t think Jimmy was either . . . 

Oh, the Commodore did have one thought-provoking line in his otherwise interminable animal-slaughtering monologue.  And this was it: “You will be judged by what you succeed at, not by what you attempt.”

Depressing . . . but true.

In other Bad Parenting News . . .

Things you shouldn’t do to your kids #1 – KISS THEIR WINKYS!

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So, Jimmy finally decided to make an honest woman out of his lesbian wife, and move her and his kid into a nice big house, thanks to the raise he got from Nucky.  Also crashing in this rather sizeable pad, is Jimmy’s pretty, but promiscuous, Mommy, and his loyal sidekick, Richard (more on him later).

“Did you just say, ‘Grandma’s hot?” 

The odd little dynamic of this extended family, becomes immediately apparent in this breakfast scene.  Mrs. Darmody is clearly the third wheel in her own marriage.  First Mama Darmody insists on making Jimmy’s eggs, since SHE is the only one who knows how he likes them.  Then, when Jimmy suggests taking his son bird hunting, just as Nucky took him, back when he was young (important later), and Angela protests, Mama Darmody jumps right in, and sides with her son.

Mommy dearest? 

I have to say, as much as I found the character of Angela Darmody to be a HUGE bore, back in Season 1, I was pretty proud of her, this week.  In most shows where the Mother-in-Law babies her son, and passive-aggressively lashes out at her daughter-in-law, it can takes WEEKS before the wife has the (for lack of a better term) balls to actually say something about it.  Angela confronts Mama Darmody immediately (as soon as Jimmy leaves, of course) about undercutting her authority.  To this, Mama Darmody casually replies that when Jimmy was a baby, she used to kiss his winky.

Now, for a while, a lot of fans have speculated as to the nature of Jimmy’s relationship with his mother . . .  specifically, how Oedipal it might be.  Some have even gone as far as to suggest that their relationship is a sexual one.  Maybe I’m just being naive here.  But, while I think that Gillian and Jimmy DEFINITELY have an inappropriate relationship — one borne out of her having given birth to him at the tender age of 13, and her constant need to be found desirable by ALL men, even her son — I don’t think it quite rises to that level of gross misconduct.

You know how dogs mark their territory, to silently inform other dogs that they should back off?

Yeah.  I think it’s safe to say that Gillian was metaphorically peeing on Jimmy here, to send Angela a message , which coincidentally, is probably exactly what Baby Jimmy would do to Gillian, if she ever got NEAR his winky to do anything other than change a diaper.

Things you shouldn’t do to your kids #2 – Give them wads of cash for trying to SET THEIR SCHOOL ON FIRE

“You just keep lighting those matches, Kiddies.  Mama needs a new pair of shoes!” 

So, remember back in Season 1, when Nucky used to get all weepy, while looking at thost baby incubators . .  . and he boo hoo hooed, about wanting to start a family, and got all upset when Margaret tried to Lysol herself in to contraception?  Yeah, those days are clearly over.  Nucky’s cool about being a dad, when it comes to reminiscing about the “good old days,” of going duck hunting with Little Jimmy.  But when it comes to Margaret’s kids, he pretty much can’t be bothered . . .

This leaves Margaret to cope with the unsightly bruises popping up all over her son, Teddy’s hands, and the fact that he’d rather hide under the kitchen table all day than go to school.  As it turns out, Teddy’s been whacked by his nun . . .

Bad NUN!

Teddy insists that he did nothing to deserve such treatment.  So, Margaret, who seems to be a fairly adept, if slightly cold and Betty Draper-esque mother herself, heads to the school to confront the Slugger Nun.  As it turns out, Slugger Nun hit Teddy because he was playing with matches in the school closet, seems obsessed with fire (FORESHADOWING!), and would have likely been expelled, were it not for Nucky’s high holy connections within the school.  Margie is a bit humiliated now, but relieved .  . . apparently, being a “play toy” for a powerful man has its perks . . .

 

But as kept a woman as she has become, Margaret Schroeder is no dummy.  And so the next time she hears Nucky moaning and carrying on about how Jimmy won’t call him Daddy anymore, she cleverly suggests that he start fathering HER son.  He can start by telling him to STOP TRYING TO BURN THINGS.

Only YOU can prevent Boardwalk Empire Fires . . .

I was saddened, and a bit disturbed, by the fact that, the minute Nucky entered Teddy’s room, he immediately started stripping down to his boxers.  For one thing, it reminded me that Margaret’s first husband was abusive to her, and likely was abusive to her kids as well.  It also reminded me of Gillian’s winky comment .  . . which gave me the shivers . . . if you catch where I’m going with this . . .

But Nucky didn’t want to hit Teddy . . . which was good.  Unfortunately, he didn’t want to PARENT him either . .  . which was bad.  After boredly and awkwardly telling the kids that he should . . . you know . . . not burn stuff anymore, Nucky actually digs into his wallet, and hands Teddy a sizeable bill.  (I think it may have even been a TWENTY  . . . which was SOOO much money back then.)  “Run along to the candy shop,” says Nucky to a surprised looking Mini Schroeder.

Hey Nucky, if by chance you are still alive when this comes out, I have a great movie recommendation for you . . .

(Hey, I just remembered something, didn’t Little Teddy watch Nucky burn down his father’s house, last season?  Uh oh . . .)

Meanwhile, at the complete opposite end of the “warmth” spectrum . . .

Why Richard Harrow needs a HUG . . .

Poor Richard Harrow!  Talk about a serial killer with a heart of gold!  My heart started to go out to the guy, the minute I saw him, sadly pushing his food around his plate, so as not to burden the Darmody family with his inability to hide his disfigurement while eating.  To Jimmy’s credit, he immediately senses his friend’s discomfort, and tells him not to worry about his appearance.  And when that doesn’t work, he kindly offers Richard the option of taking some biscuits back to his bedroom.  An offer Richard accepts gratefully .  . .

Richard’s inquiry to Jimmy about what it feels like to have everything, is an equally sad moment for both characters.  After all, what Jimmy has that Harrow wants is so minimal . . . a family who loves him, a home of his own, and a full-face.  And though Jimmy has all of these things, we know that he isn’t happy.  He wants more for himself, but isn’t quite sure what that entails.  His mother and father are pushing him to usurp Nucky’s position of power.  However, he seems ambivalent about such a future, and slightly troubled by the personal betrayals he will inevitably have to exact, in order to obtain it . . .

“I’m just a boy . . . with a knife . . . and a lot of guns . . . waiting for somebody to love me.”

Later we find Richard upstairs reading . . . Oh, wait  . . . he’s not reading, he’s cutting pictures of families and happy couples out of magazines and pasting them in a book.  OMG!  It’s a DREAM BOOK!  Richard Harrow READS THE SECRET!

Did I just undermine this sweet, and incredibly poignant moment, with a lame joke about a self-help book?   Yeah, I think I did.  Moving on . . . 

Why people who repeatedly refer to themselves in the third person don’t deserve to LIVE . . .

“Yeah, there are these words called ‘I’ and ‘me.’ Learn to use them, or ‘I’ will shoot off your face.” 

In case, I haven’t mentioned it before (and I know I haven’t), AL CAPONE’S BACK!

LOVE HIM! 

Having said that, the one scene we got to see him in, was actually pretty random.  It featured this annoying guy who insisted on talking about himself in the third-person, like the dude “Jimmy” from that one Seinfeld episode they always play on TBS.  Al Capone didn’t like him, and neither did I.  But apparently, this Third-Person Talker guy used to work for Torrio.  Now he has his own business in Cincinatti, which is apparently, a hot spot for liquor.  Torrio and Capone decide to STOP getting their liquor from Nucky, and START getting from this guy, which I guess is just another nail in Nucky’s already VERY HOLEY coffin.

Never . .  . gets . .  . old. 

More importantly, my man Capone is responsible for breaking the bad news to Nucky.  So, we will  DEFINITELY get to see more of him next week . . .

Can I get a HELL YEAH? 

Wasted Tablecloths and Misguided Wedding Gifts

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I’d say Jimmy’s line about the Sheet-Heads was my favorite of the evening.  How about you?

So, remember when I said that the Commodore told Jimmy he should start schmoozing more?   Well, apparently, that meant attending that Almost-Nucky-Murdering Bastard’s funeral.  Nucky, who is schmoozing king, was, of course, also in attendance.  That’s one of the things I love about all these mob shows and movies, they always view funerals as marketing opportunities . . .

JIMMY:  “Hey Nucky, doens’t Chalky have that exact same outfit in red?”

NUCKY: “Yeah, it also comes in purple, green and hot pink.  Would you like one, I have a coupon in my pocket?”

After Jimmy and Nucky pay there respective respects, they engage in an uncomfortable, but meaningful conversation about the fact that Jimmy has pretty much cut Nucky out of his life, apart from the most rudimentary of business transactions.  Nucky is clearly hurt by Jimmy’s recent chilliness, particularly his decision not to consult Nucky about, or even invite him to attend, his recent nuptials.  However, he’s also a bit paranoid (and rightfully so) that Jimmy might be plotting against him with the Commodore.  “He’s a very duplicitous man,” Nucky warns Jimmy, before heading back to the funeral.  “[Now] you’ve been told.”

Later that evening, Jimmy arrives home to find a “wedding present” from Nucky.  But instead of buying him plates, or His and Hers robes, Nucky buys him a rather ugly looking statue, featuring a father and son type hunting.   The significance of the statue is not lost on Jimmy, who clearly has fond memories of his childhood outings with his former surrogate dad, who he is now trying to majorly screw over.

And yet, Jimmy’s facial expression upon receiving the gift is fairly inscrutable.  Does he feel guilty about what he is about to do?   Or is he annoyed at Nucky for trying to manipulate him this way?  Either way, Jimmy literally and metaphorically casts aside his surrogate daddy, by hiding the statue away on the top shelf a closet .  . .

Speaking of things best kept hidden . . .

Hot Times in Atlantic City with Mr. and Mrs. Creepy Van Slappy

Name:  Mrs. Van Alden; Turn-ons: Jesus, churches, warm milk, long walks on the beach, alcohol raids .  . .

After an entire season of being tucked safely away in the suburbs, Mrs. Van Alden has FINALLY come to visit her Creepy, Crazy, Back-Slapping Murderous Husband.  First he takes her to his office at the Bureau, where he finds two of his men, homoerotically wrestling eachother on the floor . . . and act he pretends to be annoyed by, but actually finds quite titillating.

Hey, try not to be so hard on yourself, Psycho.  Your secret is safe with us.

(By the way, have you ever noticed that Nelson Van Alden looks perpetually constipated?)

Hoping to win back the points he just lost from his boss, one of the wrestlers, knowing how religious the Van Aldens claim to be, hands Mrs. V a pamphlet entitled “If Jesus came to Atlantic City.”

The problem of course, is that, while purporting to be a religious guide to the city,  the pamphlet is actually a listing of every WHOREHOUSE and NUDEY BAR in town!  Careful, Wrestler Cop, remember what happened to the LAST GUY who tried to “help” Van Alden with his “religous desires?”

R.I.P. Agent Sebso! 

While reading about whores, Mrs. Van Alden remarks that perhaps it is a good thing she can’t have children, since a world where people have sex for fun, is CLEARLY not a place to raise a godfearing kid . . .

At a swank restaurant, Mrs. Van Alden finds herself once again APPALLED when a sweet and efete-sounding waiter fairly blatantly offers the couple ALCOHOL!

Creepy Van Alden initially doesn’t seem to surprised or upset by this inquiry.  He simply orders himself some warm milk, and is ready to call it a day.  But one look at his wife’s judgy eyes tells him that he must do something about this MORTAL SIN the waiter is committing.  And so he calls his cronies at the Bureau, and stages a loud and over-dramatic raid on the restaurant . . . one that includes punching the poor waiter in the face, as well as raiding the restaurants massive liquor stash, and filled coffers . . .

Now, THAT looks like my kind of party!

Van Alden then takes a totally-aroused Mrs. Van A back to a seedy hotel  (He can’t take her back to his boarding house .  . . we’ll learn why in a bit.), and proceeds to have the unsexiest sex EVER with her.

The next day, Van Alden drops his wife off at the bus station and returns home, with the cash he stole from the restaurant during the raid.   He is not alone.  SOMEONE IS SLEEPING IN HIS BED . . .

Apparently, Van Alden has been boarding that evil slut Lucy (who is now VERY pregnant with his creepy spawn), and paying for her living expenses / doctors bills with money acquired from illegal raids.  Jesus would most certainly NOT approve, Nelson!

“Doh!”

Uh oh . . . I hope you can get a refund on that extra movie ticket, Margie!

The episode ends with a doleful Margaret watching Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid,” with her children, and staring at an empty seat next to her.  It appears her loyal and loving .  . . whatever it is these two are to eachother now . . . Nucky has stood her up.  In Nucky’s defense, he actually has a pretty good excuse.  You see, he’s recently been ARRESTED FOR ELECTION FRAUD!

And that was the Season 2 Premiere of Boardwalk Empire, in a nutshell?  So, tell me, what did you think of the episode?  Was it Jackpot . . . or a disappointing Bust?  Sound of in the comment section below . . .

Until next week . . .

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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The Vampire Diaries’ Klaus / Elijah versus Damon / Stefan (And it’s all just a little bit of history repeating . . .)

Brothers . . . they know you better than anybody else in the world . . . sometimes even better than you know yourself.  And that specialized knowledge gives them an incredible amount of power over you.  It can make them your strongest allies . . .

. . . or your most frightening enemies.

Sometimes brothers can play both roles in your life, at once: protector and destroyer . . . advocate and executioner . .  . confidant and betrayer.  Perhaps, there are no two people that understand this concept better than The Vampire Diaries’ iconic brothers — both in life, and in blood — Damon and Stefan Salvatore.

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Correction:  There MAY actually be two people who understand this concept just a bit better than the Salvatore Brothers, but only because they’ve had about 1,000 years more experience than their decidedly younger counterparts . . .


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Of course, I am referring to the original vampire brothers, Klaus and Elijah, two siblings for whom the phrase “blood brothers” carries with it an incredibly powerful, not to mention, extremely deadly, meaning all it’s own . .  .

Upon completing our four-part Ripper Redux series, last week, Amy, over at Imaginary Men and I, turned to you, our beautiful and brilliant readers, and asked for your suggestions as to what TVD-related topic we should cover in our next pre-Season 3 installment . . .

All of your suggestions were so amazing, that we had an incredibly difficult time picking just one topic to cover in this week’s post.

So, we decided to start with two . . .

Beau’s suggested we tackle the Salvatore Brothers, and their complex relationship with one another.  “The bond between them, is it now rivalry, an unpleasant, unwelcome, brothership, or hidden care for each other?”

Coincidentally, Serendipity, author of the spectacular Delena fanfiction Shadowdancing, was also interested in the Salvatore Brothers.  However, her interests lied less in the way that they loved one another, and more in the way that they loved others . . .

They love others GOOD! 

Specifically, Serendipity hoped to explore the parallels between Stefan’s and Damon’s love for Elena and Katherine, and Klaus’ and Elijah’s “love” for Katherine and the Original Petrova Doppelganger Charlotte, who’s mysterious existence has been hinted at throughout The Vampire Diaries’ second season.

Since Amy and I tend to be rather . . . um . . . visual people . . .

*clears throat* 

We’ve decided to frame our analysis of the aforementioned issue using three iconic scenes from The Vampire Diaries’ series.  The first scene, from Season 1’s “Children of the Damned,features a standoff between Damon and Stefan that inadvertently endangers the lives of BOTH Elena and Katherine.

The second two scenes, both from Season 2’s Klaus, involve a similar standoff between Klaus and Elijah,  in which the brothers discuss the nature of vampire love, and the fate of one,  very special, Petrova Doppelganger . . .

Here’s how it’s going to work.  First, Amy, Serendipity and I will lay out and analyze each of the three individual scenes for you.  Once we are done with that, we’ll take a step back, and discuss what these scenes say about the Salvatores versus the Originals, in terms of their various likenesses and differences.  Sound good?

Excellent!  So, without further adieu, let the Brotherly Betrayals, and Doppelganger Love Triangles begin!

Scene 1: Another Vampire Girlfriend for Stefan and Damon?

Episode: “Children of the Damned” – 1 X 13

Setting the Scene:

So, remember, back last season, when the Salvatore Brothers still thought Katherine was locked away in suspended animation in that vampire tomb?  Ahhh, memories!

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The key to unlocking the tomb lied in reciting a spell developed by Bonnie’s ancestor, Emily.

“That’s ME!” 

The spell was contained in a Grimoire or “spell book.” As it turned out, the REAL reason Damon had initially returned to Mystic Falls — after having abandoned the town and his brother for nearly a century — was to find that book, recite the spell, and open the tomb, so that he and Katherine could be reunited, for all eternity . . .

Though both Stefan and Elena had jointly and separately promised Damon that they would help him do whatever it takes to rescue Katherine from the tomb (He promised to leave town, once he found her), the couple had secretly decided that awakening a rather large group of incredibly bloodthirsty vampires was not a particularly good way to boost Mystic Falls’ morale.  So, based on a hot tip from Good Old John Gilbert’s journal, the pair snuck off, in the middle of the night, to Stefan’s and Damon’s father’s grave, where Old Man Gilbert said the Grimoire would most likely be buried.

After a minimal amount of digging, Stefan and Elena uncovered the book, which they eventually planned to destroy, so that Damon could never find it.  The problem, of course, is that, like Stefan and Elena, Damon was also clued in to the Grimoire’s whereabouts.  And when he found Stefan and Elena, in the process of betraying his trust, to say he was not amused is the understatement of the century . . .

Potent Quotables:

STEFAN:  “I can’t let you bring her back.  I’m sorry.”

DAMON:  “So am I.  For thinking, for even a second, that I could trust YOU!”

STEFAN:  “You are not capable of trust.  The fact that you are here means that you read the journal, and you were planning on doing this yourself.”

DAMON:  “Of course, I was going to do it myself, because the only one I can count on is ME!  You made sure of that many years ago, Stefan.  But you (looks at Elena) . . . you had me fooled.”

And later . . .

DAMON:  “Give me the book, or I will snap her neck.  And you and I will have a Vampire Girlfriend.”

Still later . . .

DAMON:  “The problem is that I no longer trust that you will give it back.”

STEFAN:  “You just did the one thing that ensures that I will.”

Let’s Discuss:

Julie:  I find it fascinating that most TVD pundits (myself included) spend so much time and space discussing Damon’s second force-feeding of his blood to Elena, in “The Last Day” . . .

 . . .  whereas this first instance of involuntary blood exchange generally gets short shrift.

Perhaps, this is because, at the time, the act of forcefeeding had comparatively less significance to both parties involved, than it does now.  Elena, though clearly frightened, of the prospect of dying and “going vamp,” had really just started becoming intimate with her vampire boyfriend Stefan, at this point in the series.  Having not yet been exposed to Stefan’s darkside, Elena probably wasn’t particularly aware of the potentially negative impact becoming a bloodsucker might have on her psyche.  She also hadn’t really had the opportunity to consider what she would be giving up, if she was turned .  . .

By the time Elena has drank Damon’s blood again in “The Last Day,” we know, based on her later discussion with Stefan, that she has since given this matter a good deal of thought . . .

For Damon’s part, he was still very much hung up on Katherine, at the time this scene was taking place.  So, the threat of turning Elena was viewed by Stefan more as a bargaining chip to get back the book from Stefan, than anything else.  In fact, there is a good deal of evidence in the scene that Damon is actually bluffing . . . and that he never intends to actually turn Elena.

We see in Damon, a surprising amount of hesitation, caution, and guilt, in his dealings with Elena, following the force feeding . . . the way he nuzzles her hair affectionately, prior to the book being placed on the floor . . . the gentle way he releases her from his grasp, when the book is actually delivered . . . the almost apologetic way he pats Elena on the arm, as she rushes back to Stefan.

For a so-called cold and calculating killer, Damon sure seemed conflicted about the actual act of killing, in this scene!  In fact, I’d be willing to argue that a part of Damon was actually AFRAID that Stefan would call his bluff, and not return the book, forcing Damon to stick to his word, and turn Elena, to punish Stefan.  Oddly enough, Damon’s forcefeeding of Elena in “The Last Day,” which was done out of an INTENSE love for her, was much rougher and more callous seeming.  I think this was because, in that scene, Damon was NOT conflicted at all.  He simply couldn’t picture a life without Elena, and saw turning her as the only way to keep her from dying . . .

Amy:  While Damon seems used to betrayals from his brother, his  new pain over Elena’s betrayal is written all over his face.

And when Damon is hurt – he lashes out and does things that cause irreparable damage – such as  here where he threatens Elena and feeds her his blood. An act he’ll repeat in  S2 when his fear that Elena will die at the Sacrifice for Klaus’ curse leads him to force feed her his blood as a desperate “insurance policy” that she won’t ever die.

At this point Elena does not know the true story of how the Salvatores became vampires. Is this Damon not so subtly telling her that he has
every reason not to trust his brother? Or maybe an early foreshadowing of Stefan’s secret Ripper past?

Serendipity:  This is Stefan’s second betrayal of Damon, the first being (in that same episode) when 1864 Stefan promises Damon not to tell their father about Katherine, and Stefan betrays that trust. Damon says he’s not surprised by Stefan doing that again in the present, but he is very hurt by Elena doing so, especially since he asked her about it earlier that night (“Can I trust you?” And she says “Yes,” which is actually her first act of lying to Damon, I think).

Julie:  What’s interesting about the exchange between Stefan and Damon in this scene, is that you can really see where both brothers are coming from.  From Stefan’s perspective, this has much less to do with Damon’s “right” to be reunited with Katherine, and more to do with the extreme danger that the release of these OTHER vampires will undoubtedly cause for the town.  And yet, you can also see how Damon sees this as the ultimate slight, on his brother’s part.

Damon’s overwhelming devotion to Katherine blinds him from seeing the collateral damage of what he is doing.  He can’t understand why his own brother would possibly choose to ensure the happiness of a town full of virtual strangers over his own kin.  Plus, I’m sure there’s a small part of Damon that wonders whether Stefan is keeping Katherine from him, so that he can have her (or at least, her modern-day equivalent, looks wise) all to himself . . . while Damon, once again, is left alone and empty-handed.

Amy: Here the brothers are forced to trust one another – when neither of them do. Stefan has to trust that Damon cares about Elena enough not
to hurt her despite his threats and his anger with them both; Damon has to trust that Stefan loves Elena enough to give him what he really wants – the journal – and also trust that his “good brother” will make the “good decision.” Whereas Katherine was the one using the brothers as pawns in 1864, in this moment Elena is the pawn the brothers have to bargain for to each get what they want.

Serendipity:  Question though: I wonder how the Grimoire got buried with Giuseppe Salvatore? Stefan killed him to complete his
transition (awkward having to dig him up then) but we see Emily running away from the round-up, and she isn’t a vampire, so how did they get it? Did she just leave the thing behind? Emily didn’t die that day, since Kat had to come back to ‘tie those loose ends’ as she told Damon  in ‘The Houseguest’.

Julie:  Hmm . . . good point.  I never really thought about that before!  I’m thinking that, since John Gilbert survived BOTH Giuseppe and Emily, following Emily’s death, it was John who buried the Grimoire with Giuseppe Salvatore.

Maybe he believed that this would be the best way of keeping the book safe from the Vampire Salvatore Brothers.  The grotesque circumstances surrounding Giuseppe’s death (which were probably fairly obvious, once his body was found) would seem to dictate that Stefan and Damon would NEVER go anywhere near that body, knowing, that, if they did, the townspeople would round them up, and possibly do to them what they had to the other vampires in Mystic Falls.

This is just a guess, of course .  . . 😉

Amy: You might be right about that.  Despite the promises of eternal misery and the constant wall slamming/throwing each other out windows/staking one another throughout the centuries – deep down the Salvatore Brothers love each other. They need each other – why else would Stefan have wanted his brother to turn Vamp with him? He didn’t want to be alone, he wanted them to share eternal life together. Stefan
is always swearing there is humanity still in Damon, and he withstands a lot of Damon’s terrible behaviors to try and force that humanity out.

Scene 2: “Love is a Vampire’s Greatest Weakness”

Episode: “Klaus” – 2 X 19

Setting the Scene:  Klaus and Elijah are half-brothers.  And both are part of THE Original Vampire family, from which all vampires are to some extent descended.  Though they were born to the same mother, the two brothers have different fathers.  Klaus’ father is a werewolf.  This means, technically, that, upon taking a human life, Klaus should morph into the only were-vampire in the entire world!

Fearing that this would make Klaus too powerful, and would mess with the supernatural order of things, a group of witches put a spell on Klaus, rendering his werewolf side dormant, no matter how many humans he killed.  The spell was sealed by the blood of a woman named Charlotte, the Original Petrova Doppelganger, with whom both Klaus and Elijah apparently had intimate relations.

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Breaking the curse requires a Sacrifice ceremony that can only be performed on a Full Moon.  To complete the ceremony requires the incantations of a witch, and the lifeblood of a werewolf, a vampire, and, most importantly, a Petrova Doppelganger.  The problem of course, is that since Charlotte’s death, a Petrova Doppelganger hasn’t appeared in centuries!  That is, until Katerina Petrova enters Klaus’ and Elijah’s life.  For very different reasons, she is precisely what both vampire brothers are seeking . . .

Potent Quotables:

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ELIJAH:  “The full moon is tomorrow, brother.”

KLAUS:  “After all these centuries, it is finally time.”

ELIJAH: “I have been to see the witches.  They believe they may have found a way to spare the Doppelganger.”

KLAUS:  “What does it matter if she lives or not?  She is a means to an end.  That is all.”

ELIJAH:  “But she should die for your gain?”

KLAUS:  “She is human.  Her life means nothing.”

ELIJAH:  “I beg you to consider this.”

KLAUS: “Are you so foolish as to care for her?”

ELIJAH: (hesitates) “Of course not.”

KLAUS:  “Love is a vampire’s greatest weakness.  And we are not weak, Elijah.  We do not feel.  And we do not care.”

ELIJAH: “We did once.”

KLAUS: (softens) “Too many lifetimes ago to matter.  Tell the witches not to bother.   The Sacrifice will happen as planned.

Let’s Discuss:

Amy: The big reveal that Klaus and Elijah were brothers was a doozy. Up until that point the audience sees Elijah as an ally in the war against Klaus (a scary, unpredictable ally, but still) But as his brother – does he have an ulterior motive? Does he want reunion or revenge?

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In this flashback, Katherine (or Katerina) is, for once – the pawn between this set of brothers. Klaus needs her in her human form to break
the curse that will allow him to be a WereVamp, and Elijah who has been assisting with these Curse Breaking duties has clearly fallen for the lovely Petrova Doppleganger and would rather she not die in the service of his brother’s master plan.

Julie: The acting in this scene was just spectacular.  Kudos to both Daniel Gillies and Joseph Morgan for a truly complex and riveting peformance.  Watching the calm, calculating, dignified, and thoughtful Elijah navigate the rough waters that are the easily excitable, and often rash, yet, at the same time, surprisingly cool and calculating, Klaus, was truly mesmerizing.

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In particular, I love the choices Daniel Gillies makes in this scene.  As understated and soft-spoken as the character of Elijah can be, he’s also brutally smart.  Elijah knows exactly how Klaus feels (or at least pretends to feel) about humanity.  And I suspect that the Original Petrova Doppelganger broke his heart BIG TIME.  So, while it’s clearly obvious that Elijah has fallen hard for the maiden Katerina, and desperately wants to save her from death, he’s wise enough not to come right out and say so . . .

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At first, Elijah is very casual and nonchalant about his “suggestion” that the witches can spare Katerina’s life, while still giving Klaus exactly what he wants.  He clearly has experience placating, and playing sidekick to his brother.  And he does it well.

The problem is that Klaus has grown up with Elijah for CENTURIES, by this point.  So, he sees right through his brother’s machinations to the love lurking in Elijah’s heart.  Backed into a corner, Elijah is forced to finally be honest with his brother about his feelings, BEGGING him to reconsider.  Now, that he has him right where he wants him, Klaus puts the final nail in Elijah’s proverbial coffin, by implying that he is weak for having feelings for a human.  And yet, when Elijah not-so-subtly suggests that even the GREAT Klaus is not immune to such affections, we can see the slightest chink in the Big Bad Vampire’s armor.  A chink that will grow into a gaping hole, in the next scene . . .

Scene 3: “DO NOT LIE TO ME!”

Episode: “Klaus 2 x 19

Setting the Scene: Shortly after the above scene has taken place, Katerina Petrova mysteriously vanishes.  And Klaus has a pretty good idea who was behind her sudden disappearance . . .

Potent Quotables:

KLAUS:  “What have you done?”

ELIJAH: “I don’t understand.”

KLAUS: “Katerina has gone.  She has fled . . . What did you tell her?”

ELIJAH: “I told her nothing.”

KLAUS: *insert Original Wall Slam here* “DO NOT LIE TO MEEEE!”

ELIJAH: “I will find her.  You have my word.”

KLAUS:  “If you do not, I give you my word.  You will be dead.”

Let’s Discuss:

Serendipity: What we see in “Klaus” may very well be the  First Betrayal Klaus has experienced from his typically-loyal brother.  At least, I think it’s a First Betrayal (though we do not know that for sure). Not that we see the actual betrayal, just the aftermath of Katherine having gone missing and it being Elijah’s fault for having warned her about Klaus’ plans.

Amy: Here, the Originals’ Brothers do their version of the patented Salvatore Brother Wall Slam. Klaus’ Curse Breaking Party is about to get ruined because Katerina has written her own escape clause and started her life of Vampire Bitch on the Run. He blames his younger, dutiful, brother for having feelings that allowed him to betray Klaus to help the woman he loves.

Julie: In the last scene, we saw how cool and calculating Klaus can be, when it is in his best interest to do so.  But, in general, I think Klaus is a pretty excitable guy.  Unlike Elijah, Klaus’ MO is to rip something to shreds first, and think about the consequences of that action later.  Here, we get to see Klaus in what I believe is his TRUE form.  He is raw, animalistic, and full of RAGE.  And yet, I think a part of him is also extremely shocked, and maybe just a bit hurt, that his own brother has had the GALL (and the intelligence) to go behind his back and foil his plans, in this very personal way . . . especially, since Elijah knows just how much Klaus wants to become a were-vamp, and how long he has been waiting for it.

Klaus feels as though Elijah has made a fool of him.  His brother has done something Klaus thought no one could do . . . trick and betray him.  And the fact that Elijah did it for a HUMAN, and lied about it, when confronted, that just digs the knife in deeper, as far as Klaus is concerned.  When Klaus threatens to kill Elijah, if he doesn’t find Katerina and bring her back, we KNOW he means it.  And centuries later, Klaus proves just how serious this threat actually was . . .

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A Blood Brotherhood Redux: Tying it all Together . . .

Amy: So the Originals Brothers have switched hair colors but clearly Klaus = Damon and Elijah = Stefan. Damon plots, kills and feels nothing. Stefan fixes, protects and cares deeply. Elijah wants to remind Klaus that they DID feel at one time, the same way Stefan wants Damon to remember his humanity and that he too can feel love and compassion. Klaus wants ultimate power and he does not care who he has to kill to get it – innocent girl, brother.

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Serendipity: That’s interesting that you see them that way.  Because, for me, I always want to see Damon as Elijah and Stefan as Klaus… after all, it looks as though Katherine is ‘something’ (lover? Special someone?) more to Klaus than to Elijah, casting Elijah in the role of the pursuing brother, victim of (unrequited?) love, just like Damon.

But on the other hand there are certain parallels being drawn between Klaus/Damon and Elijah/Stefan, because it is Klaus who is betrayed by Elijah, casting Elijah into Stefan’s role of the betrayer of hope. I took a sneak peak at parts of both episodes, and remarked that the clothing seems to reflect that, specifically as far as the first betrayal goes (might be a total coincidence though): 1864 Damon wears a blue suit in CoTD, just as Klaus does when meeting Katherina for the first time (might just be because they both are blue-eyed though, only this is the first time I noticed this; and neither usually wears blue), while 1864 Stefan wears a brown suit in CoTD just like Elijah (then again, both have brown eyes, but that hardly ever seems to play). I didn’t pay attention to present day Damon and Stefan, though I imagine they wore their regular clothes…

Julie:  You both raise good points.  On one hand, Elijah and Damon both seem to have that broody, unrequited love, thing going for them.  (“I’m going to save that Katherine’s life, dammit!  So, what if she’ll probably end up choosing my brother over me!  At least she will know I care!”)  And yet, in the scenes we’ve selected, Klaus and Damon were both definitely playing the role of The Betrayed to their brother’s Betrayer . . .

Also, there’s a definite similarity in temperment and ideology, between Klaus and Damon and  Elijah and Stefan, respectively.  Regarding Klaus and Damon, these two are clearly, the more emotional and impulsive brothers.  When they feel something, they ACT on it.   And very little effort is made on either of their parts to disguise their emotions.

Though in many ways, that makes them SCARIER than their more diplomatic brothers, it also, oddly enough, makes them more “honest.”  When it comes to Klaus and Damon, you always know exactly what you are going to get.  That’s not necessarily the case with Elijah and Stefan, who have been dishonest and betrayed the ones they love on numerous occasions, under the guise of doing what they feel is “honorable.

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In terms of ideologies, we saw in both of these scenes, that Klaus and Damon, each for their own reasons, value the lives of the people they love and their own lives, over the lives of “humans.”  Klaus tells Elijah that because Katherine is human, her life means nothing.  Damon, by wanting to rescue Vampire Katherine from the tomb, at the risk of letting all the rest of the tomb vampires loose as well, impliedly places HER life, and his happiness, over the lives of the townspeople of Mystic Falls.  Elijah and Stefan, conversely, seem to value human life, and see humans, like then-Katherine, Elena, and the people of Mystic Falls, as individuals worthy of having their lives protected.

Klaus’ and Damon’s feelings toward humanity extend toward their feelings toward human emotions.  Klaus doesn’t care for humans, because he sees them as inferior.  (Though, of course, this may be the result of earlier heartbreak, at the hands of the Original Petrova.  Who knows?)

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Damon, on the other hand, resents his loss of humanity, and the experience of human emotion serves as a painful reminder to him of what he know longer has.  A comparison of Klaus’ “Love is a vampire’s greatest weakness . . . We do not feel.  We do not care” line in Klaus to Damon’s “[Being upset over Rose’s death] would be human of me Elena, and I am NOT human,” in “The Descent” is pretty telling in terms of the similarities and differences between Klaus’ and Damon’s respective opinions on the experience of human emotions.

Amy: We haven’t seen enough of the Originals’ Brothers to really understand how their relationship worked, but I don’t get a whole lot of
brotherly love vibes. Elijah actually seems more like pre-Vampire Damon – sweet, quiet, prone to easily falling deeply in love. And Klaus – well I don’t doubt that he’d kill his brother in a heartbeat (heh. Get it? Because they don’t have one?) if he believed he had been betrayed.

Serendipity: Also Damon and Klaus are alike in that they didn’t get on with their fathers.  For Klaus that seems logical, since his father turns out not to be his father at all, which makes me wonder whether maybe the same might not be true for Damon… (pure conjecture of course LOL).  Then there is something about respect, as well, I think… in CoTD, if I heard it right, Giuseppe says he lost respect for Damon, who just
seems to shrug that off. When Stefan tells Damon he has something from Elena Damon will never have (in Klaus), i.e. her respect, they start brawling.  Apparently, Damon does care about Elena’s respect, more than he did about his father’s.

Julie: It makes sense that Klaus and Damon feel rejected by their fathers, their brothers, and their former lovers (again, I’m making assumptions about this Charlotte girl).  In all of the above scenes we see that Klaus and Damon both have a bit of a “Me Against the World” attitude toward life.  In “Children of the Damned,” Damon notes that the only one he can trust is himself.  It’s a sad statement, and yet, it seems largely consistent with much of his life experiences.  Unlike Damon, Klaus might have initially felt that he COULD trust Elijah.  So, it wasn’t until his brother betrayed him, that he felt truly alone in the world.

This Lone Ranger attitude Klaus and Damon have extends to their feelings about the women they love.  Just as there may have been a part of Damon that saw Stefan’s keeping Katherine from him as a jealous and possessive move, as opposed to a humanitarian one, there also may have been a part of Klaus, that assumed Elijah’s actions were at least partially dictated by his feelings for the Original Petrova Doppelganger.  If that was the case, Klaus, being the cocky self-absorbed vampire, he clearly is, might have assumed that the reason Elijah helped Katherine to escape his clutches had LESS to do with him simply loving her, and more to do with (1) not wanting Klaus to become a supremely powerful were-vampire; and (2) punishing Klaus for getting the girl, once again.

If human brothers are naturally competitive, in all aspects of their lives, it would stand to reason that VAMPIRE brothers are TWICE as competitive, since they have that much more TIME to compete, and that many more opportunities to potentially feel inferior . . .

Amy: Mirroring the 1X13 clip, we see that Damon does NOT = Klaus in this form of the equation, because he doesn’t want to kill either his brother
or Elena to get what he wants, no matter how desperately he wants it.

The Salvatores, on the other hand – talk about killing each other a lot – but when it comes down to it – they never would. If they did, who
would they threaten, slam into walls, and fight over the same girl with for all eternity??

PHEW!  That sure was a lot of analysis!  But hopefully, it’s given you a bit of insight into both pairs of our favorite vampire brothers.  Now, it’s YOUR turn readers.  Do you think Damon is more like Klaus or Elijah?  What about Stefan?  And how do you think these dynamics will change now that Ripper Stefan has, at least temporarily, aligned himself with Klaus?

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Also, I’m curious as to what you all think happened with the Original Petrova?  Perhaps, Stefan Salvatore wasn’t the first vampire in TVD world to have a human Petrova Doppelganger girlfriend . . . 😉

By the way, if you’ve missed any part of the Ripper Redux series, you can find the links to all four parts, by clicking HERE . . .

Well, that’s all for now, Fangbangers.   We’ve still got one more week before the Season 3 premiere.  So, please keep submitting your article ideas.  Who knows?  You might just end up being featured in next week’s blog series installment . . .

See you then! 😉

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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Coed Naked Damon Salvatore – A Look at the TV Vampire’s Best Undressed Moments

“Well, hello ladies.  I’m BAAAAAAACKKK!”

WARNING:  There are certain posts on this blog that are intelligent, erudite, and highly analytical evaluations of pop culture . . . . This ISN’T one  of those posts. 

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Christmas has come early for TVD fans, in the form of two tantalizing new trailers that are jam-packed with Ripper insanity, Delena tenderness, Coed Naked Forwood BED HUMPING, Salvatore Brother Wall Slam Madness, and a raging party at La Casa de Rich and Awesome .  . .

(Rafter Dancing not necessarily included . . .) 

Did I mention SHIRTLESSNESS?  Oh, yes, boys and girls.  This season’s new trailer delivered not one, but TWO “less than dressed” moments from our favorite TVD males.  And ONE of those moments, featured a teensy tiny bit of soap where UNDERWEAR was supposed to be  . . .  Any guesses as to who that lathered-up lad was?

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(Well, read the title of this post, DUH!)

So, in honor of our new pal, Mr. Sudsy Weiner, I’ve decided to take a look back at some of Damon Salvatore’s most mesmerizing less-than-dressed moments.  Because we all know how much Damon likes to please the ladies (and the men) with his unique . . . um . . . assets . . .

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So, grab that rubber duckie, and leave your clothing at the door, because it’s time to get NAKED with the sexiest 170-year old I know . . .

He Makes Bathtime Lots of Fun!

Rub, a, dub, dub, Fangbangers!  Damon Salvatore is not only the sexiest vampire in Mystic Falls, he may also be the CLEANEST.  After a long hard day of ripping out hearts, dancing like a maniac, flirting, and doing “that eye thing he always does,” the Elder Salvatore brother would like nothing more than to rip off those pesky clothes, and barrel into that pristine bathroom of his, for some “one-on-one time” with the tub.


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“Go away SOAPDISH!  Bathtub and I need our privacy!”

When most of us think of Bathtub Damon, THIS is the image that comes to mind . . .

Having made his wet and wild debut, in the opening moments of Season 2’s “Daddy Issues,” before the title card for the show even appeared, this version of Bathtub Damon offered EVERYTHING a connoisseur of shirtlessness could possibly want:  pectoral closeups, abdominal appreciation, the long lingering upward crawl of a camera lens, and the brood and smoulder of a pensive, wet-haired Salvatore brother.

Admittedly, Damon had a whole lot of angst to wash off at the time (which may explain why he thankfully bathed AGAIN at the end of the episode).  After all, in the past twenty four hours, Damon had been forced to (1) euthanize a were-rabies addled Rose; (2) come to grips with his unquenchable desire to regain his humanity; and (3) eat a lonely young female traveler on the road, so as to avoid dealing with his FEELINGS.

Not only is the above scene undeniably sexy, it also silently and beautifully conveys the pain, guilt, longing and uncertainty Damon is experiencing at this point in the series.

But what’s a shower scene without a companion Wrapped in Towel Moment to swaddle your recent naked memories in the warmth and cuddliness of a fluffy white towel (easily removeable, of course)?

Oh Damon, you big ole fangy TEASE. . . with your unwrapped towel, which you woefully knotted, just moments before you sauntered across my television screen on those long lean muscular legs of yours.  I was so busy staring at your . . . ahem . . . better half that I barely noticed Future Sex Toy Andie on the TV within a TV, reporting on all those people Were Rabies Rose ate, last week.

“Who the f*&k is Rose?”

Fortunately (or, unfortunately, depending on your thoughts about Sex Toy Andie) both Bathtub Damon and his four-episode “girlfriend” graced the show with their respective presences, less than an hour later . . .


“This tub is so very small . . . and I am so very . . . large, hence, the pouting.” 

This bathtub scene served as a nice parallel to the one at the beginning of the episode, in that, here, in the comfort of his bathtub, Damon was finally able to convey in words all the pain we saw him silently endure, while in the shower.  Damon’s confession — which he felt comfortable giving to Andie, only because she was under compulsion at the time — was an extremely cathartic moment for our antihero.

Of course, it was fitting that he did this in a bathtub, as he was not only cleansing his body, but his soul as well.  Did I mention that it ended with one of the most captivating, transparently sexual, BITES in TVD history?

Of course, Delena fans, like myself, most remember this scene as being the one in which Damon admitted just how much he loved Elena, and that his biggest fear, was that he would never be good enough to deserve her love, in return.  This is a theme that echoes throughout the second half of Season 2.  And, as we well know, it comes full circle during Season Finale, when Elena finally admits to Damon that he IS good enough to deserve her, and that she likes him just the way he is . . .

(click on the internal link to view)

And hey, for those of you who prefer your Naked Damon silent, but deadly . . .

 . . . you can catch ALL THREE shirtless scenes from “Daddy Issues,” without all the pesky wordplay, RIGHT HERE:

Damon’s desire to use water to symbolically purge his inner demons is nothing new.  In fact, he’s been doing it since 1864 . . .

Back in the episode “Blood Brothers,” Damon had just learned that Vampire Katherine, the then-love of his life, may have been burned to death in church fire.  OH, and he also has three days to decide whether to feed on human blood, or DIE.  No pressure!  So, what does our Damon decide to do in the midst of all this stress?  Bathe in the river, of course!

(Clicky!  Clicky!)

 Open-Shirted Shenanigans!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love me some COMPLETELY NAKED Damon.  But sometimes, the delectable allure of just the slightest sliver of bare chest can be precisely what the Love Doctor ordered.  Perhaps, the most notable of Open-Shirted Salvatore Moments occurs during Season 1’s “The Lost Girls,” in which Damon engages soon-to-be vampire Vicki in what has become the SECOND most iconic dance in TVD history.  (The most iconic, being the “Miss Mystic Falls” dance, obviously.)

Given all the angst and heartache we’ve watched him endure throughout Season 2, it’s easy to forget that Damon Salvatore is a FUN GUY!  And when he’s not busy pining for love, or trying to save Elena from the Villain of the Week, he’d like nothing more than to pop open a few beers (or his trademark bottle of bourbon) pop up his shirt collar, and dance from the rafters to the groovy sounds of a Depeche Mode cover band .  . .

(Come on!  Press the link!  You know you want to!)

 Yet, even during Damon’s most carefree and liquored-up moments, there is an inner core of sadness that lurks beneath the surface.

So, no matter how much he tries to use drinking and good humor to dull The Pain, it still peeks out, exposing its raw and vulnerable “skin” through the thin fabric of his unbuttoned cotton shirt . . . And we all know, there’s really only one person who could properly button that “pain” back up: Elena.

(You can’t NOT click the link!  It’s, as Damon says, “irresistabbbllle.”)

But, lest we get too maudlin, we should remember, that drinking and partying, isn’t ALWAYS about dulling the pain.  Sometimes, its just a way to reconnect with old friends through a nice neighborly game of strip poker.

It also could be a sexy way to kill the messenger.

You know . . . because it “sends a message.”

(Hit THAT!)

Sleepy Time for Sexy Vamp . . .

You know, in SOME vampire shows, bloodsuckers don’t sleep . . . or they DO sleep, but they do it in coffins, ick!

Rough sleeper? 

Fortunately, in The Vampire Diaries, vampires sleep just as much (or as little) as us humans do.  And Damon Salvatore is no exception.  You know what else is great about TVD vampires?  They tend to sleep without their shirts on!

Of course, as we know, beds aren’t always for sleeping.  Sometimes, they are for pondering your next move, because you just learned that the woman you love has ONCE AGAIN put her life in the hands of the dubiously trustworthy Vampire Elijah (and his fabulous hair), as we see in the above shot, taken from Season 2’s “Klaus.”

But don’t worry.  Damon does WAY more than pout and sleep in his bed.  He also uses it for HOT SEX. . .

Yes, boys and girls.  Contrary to popular belief, people (and vampires) did, in fact, engage in hot raunchy LOVIN’, back in 1864.  They just had a lot more clothing to remove, before they could get to the good stuff. . .

(Click the link!  Get some)

After a long exhausting night of hot loving . . .

Nothing beats some good old-fashioned breakfast in bed . . .

Just don’t play with your food, OK?

(Munch!  Munch!)

Of course, the problem with eating breakfast in bed, is that it tends to muss up your sheets with crumbs (or blood, as the case may be).  When that happens, you may find yourself having to improvise.  One way to do that is by moving your bedtime activities to THE FLOOR, as Katherine and Damon do in Season 2’s “The Return”

Wow!  Damon’s a DAMN GOOD LOVER, isn’t he?

No wonder Elena is having sexy dreams about him!

Shirtless RAAAAAGGGGEEEEE!

Earlier, we discussed how Damon sometimes uses his shirtlessness to express his sadness and vulnerability.  But sometimes, the Elder Salvatore has been known to rip off his shirt to channel his ANGER!  Take for example these two parallel scenes, in which Damon takes out his anger, over being outsmarted by a fellow vampire, on his SHIRT, his PHONE, and, of course, a Very Special Soapdish . . .

Speaking of Soap . . .

It always comes back to cleanliness with Damon, doesn’t it?  And this post is no exception.  I leave you with the much beloved Shirtless and Soapy Damon clip from The Vampire Diaries’ BRAND NEW upcoming season, set to premiere September 15th.

(Lather up!)

Sweet dreams! 

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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The Vampire Diaries’ Ripper Redux – Part II (a.k.a. Stefan’s “I’m Freaking HUNGRY!” Moment)

Greeting Fangbangers!  Those of you who have visited this blog before, know that I’m obsessed with a little episode of TVD called “Miss Mystic Falls;” and that I am, specifically, enamored with a certain Very Erotic Mating Dance that takes place during the hour .  . .

But what you might not know, is that I am equally obsessed with ANOTHER scene that takes place during the episode . . . one that is as dark and disturbing, as the above scene is romantic and enchanting.  And yet, in its own way, this second scene is arguably just as seductive . . .

In this week’s installment of The Ripper Redux, my brilliant (not to mention, hilarious) blogging pal, Amy (over at Imaginary Men) and I, have analyzed every tantalizing morsel of what is, arguably, one of Stefan’s most deliciously dark moments of The Vampire Diaries‘ groundbreaking first season.  You can read the post in its entirety, by clicking on the link below . . . IF YOU DARE!

The Vampire Diaries’ Ripper Redux – A look back at some of the most pivotal scenes in Ripper Stefan Canon (Part II)

(By the way, for those of you who missed Part I of this series, featuring Damon’s and Stefan’s going through “The Change,” worry not!  You can still check that out, right on this blog, by clicking HERE.)

So, what are we waiting for TVD fans?  Let’s see what Stefan’s got hiding underneath that Nice Guy Vampire Costume, he always seems to be wearing . . .

And be sure to stop back on THIS blog, next week, when Amy and I analyze Ripper Stefan’s notoriously evil flashback moments from Season 2’s “The Dinner Party.”

See you, then! 😉

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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Filed under The Vampire Diaries