Monthly Archives: June 2010

Merlin – Kind of epic, maybe kind of gay (Originally for Clique Clack Television, Co-Written with Ruby T.)

That’s this show in a nutshell, isn’t it? Always nodding to fairytales or high fantasy epics, always with the same-sex relationships that make you tilt your head and go “hmm.”

Or they make me do that, at least. Ruby doesn’t always agree with me, but that’s what dialogues are for, right? Unless by “gay” I mean “happy,” in which case Ruby and I are in total accord.

Ruby: This felt like Sleeping-Beauty-meets-Lord-of-the-Rings, what with the whole of Camelot fast asleep (except the princess, ironically) and with all those Nazgul — er, knights of Madea — walking everywhere in slow motion. I can imagine them talking in the hallway. Knight 1: “Man, we so fly walking all slow like this.” Knight 2: “Fo shizzle, ma knizzle.”

Julia: The Nazgul hit all my eighth grade Lord of the Rings dork buttons so hard. I spent pretty much the entire episode pounding on the edge of my laptop stadium chanting, “FELL BEAST! FELL BEAST! FELL BEAST!” Sadly, one never appeared, because no one ever listens to me. If the powers that be on this show listened to me, they’d realize that Merlin and Arthur making out requires a lot less character assassination, that Arthur and Gwen should be adorable old married BFF who marry for political reasons, and  that Lancelot should return and they should all be one big happy family. But noooooo, no one listens to me. Not that I’m, you know, bitter. Not at all.

I mean, the whole “servant in the next life” conversation! The meaningful, sweaty looks of great emotional resonance! The love slapping! And I thought it was super-cute when Arthur went all Florence Nightingale on Merlin after the battle. It reminded me of a lady giving a knight her favor to wear. I will not lie and say I didn’t squeal a little. I totally squealed. Like a little girl.

Ruby: I like how Arthur loses a whole mess of red shirts at Idirsholas, and after wrapping up Merlin’s arm, he just starts back home with a “Darn, now I gotta go get me some more knights.”

Julia: I like how they literally have red shirts, just in case you didn’t get the message clearly enough. That is a job with a really poor survival rate, being a knight of Camelot. I don’t know why Lancelot wanted it so badly. They must offer really awesome health insurance or something. Either that, or riding out with Arthur, even if you’re going to your certain doom, is like the best thing that can ever happen to you.

Ruby: Arthur: “Looks like some darn tourists forgot to put out their campfire!” Merlin, upon noticing row of menacing knights standing directly behind him: “Maybe not.” I have to nominate this as Most Hilarious Moment of the episode.

Julia: See? It’s that old Pendragon intelligence and charm that makes the boys go wild.

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Clacking With Julia – Three music videos you should actually see this summer (Originally for Clique Clack Television)

I know, music videos — crazy, right? Who watches those anymore? The answer should be: you. Because believe it or not, music videos still kind of matter. I’m not saying we’re taking a time-portal back to the ’80s and ’90s when MTV actually stood for music television, but some music videos come out that still have the power to shock and awe us, or at least make us watch them on YouTube a few times and go, “Oh man, did you see that?” It’s not about the music with these bad boys, it’s about the video. So if you want to look super-hip during the next water cooler gossip session, I suggest these are the three music videos you should educate yourself on.

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Merlin – Angsty girls and naughty, telepathic boys (Originally for Clique Clack Television, Co-Written with Ruby T.)

Ever since the season 1 episode “To Kill the King,” I have been waiting for Morgana to become the thorn in Uther’s side. And we all knew that Mordred, the little angel (from hell), would be back. Julia and I break it down in this week’s Merlin dialogue.

Ruby: So Morgana has been acting all angsty for a while now. (“Oh nooobody knows the trooouble I seeeen…” Sing it, girlfriend.) When Uther killed Gwen’s father last season, Morgana finally understood how unjust his laws against magic were. She thought that yelling at Uther would solve everything. His response? “If you ever talk to me like that again, I’ll throw your ass in jail.” And then he followed through. See, that’s the key to good parenting. When you make a threat, you have to follow through. (I know because I saw it on Supernanny.) Other than that one time, all of Morgana’s suffering has happened in her head. She knows that she has magic, and she’s perpetually afraid that Uther might find out. I suppose that’s what she means when she tells Mordred and Alvarr, “I too have known Uther’s cruelty.”

Julia: Yeah, Morgana, you’ve really known Uther’s cruelty. In your soft, warm bed. With your full belly. And your pretty dresses. Your life is so hard. It’s not like anyone else has to deal with what you’re going through – oh wait … (And Merlin doesn’t even get to do it in as much luxury!) Chin up, woman. On another note, this episode reminded me how much I missed the Morgana/Arthur sibling interaction.

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Clacking with Julia – The greatest sports show on earth (Originally for Clique Clack Television)

I know it’s un-American to say, but I love soccer. Football. Whatever, I love it. I love every little bit of it.

Every four years when the World Cup comes on it’s like sports television Christmas happens on my television, and I don’t even celebrate Christmas. Personally, I find the World Cup way more exciting than most of the crap sports we have on to watch. Especially American football — can we get rid of that, please? It’s a bunch of fat guys in spandex groping and tackling each other over a weirdly-shaped ball, and then when they get it to their end, they do stupid dances. And yet despite the dancing and spandex and man-piles, it’s supposed to be this great bastion of heterosexuality. Who needs that when you could have soccer, the sport where the players regularly make out with each other every time they score a goal and then un-ironically go back to their super hot wives?

Soccer is elegant. Soccer is easy to understand. When they say there are five minutes left in a game of soccer, they actually means there are five minutes left in soccer. And these guys are athletes who run, like, miles every single game, not four hundred pound whales who run into each other like mac trucks. Have you seen the leg muscles on these players? They’re ridiculous. And ladies (or gay men), soccer players are gorgeous. A lot of them double as models for a reason. Have you seen the American team? Or, screw the American team, this year the hotness prize I think goes to the Spaniards and their dark, broody team of suaveness. David Villa! Cesc Fàbregas! And especially… (sigh) Iker. (You can’t say this man’s name normally, you have to pause, sigh, and say his name with reverence. Like so: …(sigh) Iker.)

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Merlin – The course of true love never did run smooth… (Originally for Clique Clack Television)

Ah, true love. It’s a subject that has been debated since the beginning of time. In this Shakespearean-inspired instillation of Merlin conversation, Ruby and I once again get our hands dirty debating Arthur’s — is it Gwen? Is it Merlin? What is true love, anyway?

And why do I now have Haddaway stuck in my head?

Ruby: Do I detect echoes of A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Trickler the Jester comes off like a classic Shakespearean fool, while also playing the role of Puck in this episode — although he kind of shares that role with Merlin. They’re both responsible for the romantic mayhem in the castle.

Julia: Definitely, definitely Shakespearean. Though I think Trickler’s much more like Puck — Merlin would be Oberon, perhaps? It’s not really a perfect metaphor. Though Arthur acted like an ass this entire episode. But perhaps not the head of an ass. If Arthur had the head of an ass, we’d miss out on all his amazing elastic face. His pretty, pretty face.

Ruby: We’ve spoken before of Bradley James’s epically hilarious facial expressions. Well, tonight was a bonanza. When Olaf growled, “Unhand her or suffer the consequences!” and Arthur grabbed Vivian’s hand to his chest, he made the most adorably ridiculous frown of indignation I’ve ever seen. And all the goofy grins, the pouts, the scowls… I was trying not to break a rib from laughing so hard. Bradley did good. His delivery was perfect — like when Gwen said she wasn’t there to wish him luck and he remarked, “Well, honestly, that’s rather rude.” Spot-on delivery.

Julia: Bradley James really surprises me with his range. Whenever you read interviews, he’s really self-deprecating, downplays his own intelligence and talent. He doesn’t act like a Very Serious Actor, but he’s pretty phenomenal. Not just a lovely face, ladies!

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Clacking With Julia – You’re Cut Off, the ultimate schadenfreude (Originally for Clique Clack Television)

Most days, I like to think of myself as a good person. I make an effort to be polite to strangers, I’m kind to animals and children, I’m conscious of my environmental impact — that makes me a fine specimen of humanity, right?

Lately, however, I’ve been feeling like a lazy bum. Just doing my daily chores takes up my entire day and leaves me exhausted. I haven’t had the mental ability to write a column in way too long, so instead I play online Boggle for hours and feel super-guilty every time I open the tab I’m trying to write in and all my exhausted little brain shoots out is: “Art. Rat. Tar. Arts. Star. Tars. Rats. Sat. Ras…” After just such a day of feeling kind of like a massive, lazy, spoiled tool who was incapable of living in the real world, my sister, best friend, and I remembered there was this new show premiering on VH1 called You’re Cut Off that we’d wanted to watch, so we tuned into it.

Now, normally I don’t talk about my VH1 reality viewing habits because, well, they’re kind of embarrassingly terrible. There’s no excuse for the in-depth psychoanalysis I engage in for everyone who appears on Tough Love, and I really, really cannot justify my fascinated horror with each increasingly awful dating show that explores Ray-J or Brett Michaels‘ terrible life choices. It’s the television equivalent of every so often indulging in a Ho-Ho when you usually are a conscientious eater of the proper fruits and vegetables.

The premise of this particular reality show is to take 9 super-spoiled girls (we’re talking, buying multiple Ferraris on a whim, shoe closets bigger than my house, don’t know how to make themselves a peanut butter sandwich, spoiled) whose parents are fed up with them, and stick them with a life coach in a “poor” house (read: a nice, normal, suburban house which one of the girls proclaims immediately is “so ghetto” and described as “being so poor we’re, like, on food stamps”) and force them to fend for themselves and take on menial jobs. Cue hissyfits and amazing reality television. When my best friend settled down next to me to watch, she said, “Man, I’m totally prepared to now feel great about myself after watching this.”

And oh, we did.

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Merlin – Tragic love, noogies, and dramatic chipmunks (Originally for Clique Clack Television, Co-Written with Ruby T.)

You don’t have to be a knight to rescue a damsel in distress. This time the grand romance belonged to Merlin, not Arthur, as our favorite once and future wizard came to the aid of Freya, “The Lady of the Lake.” Julia and I loved seeing Merlin in love.

Ruby: It was a dark and stormy night… and then Merlin locked eyes with Freya. That was the first of many breathtaking moments between Colin Morgan and Laura Donnelly in this episode.

Julia: Oh, Merlin, stricken with the systemic need all teenage boys have to play knight in shining armor to a pretty girl. Him! Not Arthur! He’s the hero! No wonder he gets so smit.

Ruby: His whole life is about rescuing/protecting/taking care of people, so Freya’s perfect for him because she needs him. She’s very hurt, and he’s the type who will take home an injured bird and bandage its wing.

Julia: And she is someone he can talk magic with! Poor Merlin. He’s so alone and sad and all he wants is someone who he can be himself with, so he falls for the first person he can. The first time I watched this I had a huge problem believing that Merlin, whose entire world revolves around Arthur, would leave him for a pretty girl. And then I remembered … Merlin’s a teenaged boy, and she’s a pretty girl who understands his magic, and suddenly it makes a lot more sense. God, this show gets teenage anguish uncomfortably well.

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