Superheroes: My Favorite ‘Mighty Morphin’ Rangers

Screenshot of Jason David Frank as Tommy Oliver in ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’. Copyright of Saban.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Recently I’ve been going down the nostalgia train that is the amazing ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’. Because my mental health has severely needed an old comfort. If you’re familiar with ‘Mighty Morphin’, you know that the series went through several rangers. The colors changed hands, for the most part, generally once in the series. And though I love all the rangers, I thought I would talk about my favorites to wear those iconic colors and why I love these characters so much. It’s really a difficult choice between all the characters, but I think the importance of each character was determined in the way the team changed. Because the group dynamic was definitely different if even one character was gone or different. So I’ll inevitably also be talking about some of the relationships between characters. And, yes, that includes some of the relationships that you’re already thinking. So, with all that out of the way, let’s just get into it!

Tommy (Green vs White):

So, with both the Green and White rangers I think it’s pretty clear that there was only one person who took both of those titles. At least in the ‘Mighty Morphin’ series. So, I’m instead going to compare Tommy’s time as both ranger colors. When Tommy wore the Green Ranger suit, half the time he was evil. But I think we can all agree that Tommy had one of the best redeemed hero arcs of the time. I would argue that he still has one of the best redeemed hero arcs. Tommy was a formidable villain, which was why Rita chose him in the first place. Anyone could see that his martial arts skills matched Jason, if not surpassed him altogether. I think the fact that Tommy alone during this period could reasonably take on all five other rangers is proof enough of this. Tommy’s evil nature didn’t last long though, and in the end they were able to break him out of Rita’s spell. But Tommy’s powers as the Green Ranger were never the same after that. He eventually lost them, and for a while we didn’t see much of Tommy. Which was a shame. In reality, Jason David Frank had signed up to do a different show and they were going to cast an entirely different sixth ranger. This idea didn’t last long with fan pushback, and Jason David Frank agreed to return. This time as the White Ranger and the leader of the group. (Which Austin St. John may or may not have known about but all of that’s a lot of drama I’m not going to get into.) Tommy was a natural leader right off the bat though and his powers were restored. And there’s a certain level of badassery with every Tommy color, but I think white was when we saw the best of Tommy. And let’s be real, seeing him descend in the White Ranger suit was iconic. I have a soft spot for the Green Ranger, but I think the White Ranger steals this round for me.

Winner: White Ranger

Red Ranger (Jason vs Rocky):

Now we’re actually getting into characters. Jason was the original leader and was originally conceptualized as a pretty stereotypical jock. But that’s not how he came across to audiences. Jason was absolutely the person there who was more of leader. He was already a martial arts teacher and took care of kids, and he also demonstrated a level of bravery and understanding for the danger of the situation that the other rangers didn’t have as immediately as he did. Jason is one of those characters where he comes on screen and you feel like everything is going to be ok. I mean, just look at how many times he’s saved Tommy. Jason even had to be dragged away from saving Tommy once so that he could, well, save Tommy. (It’s a long story). Rocky is a character that I also really like. But I definitely don’t think he was given as much depth as Jason right off the bat. Even though Rocky was in for multiple seasons (including Zeo) he felt like the forgotten member of the team often. So much to the point that his personal stories often felt shallow and I couldn’t really determine what his hobbies were. Most of the time he was the dumb one, in contrast to Jason’s cool intellect in tight spots. I liked Rocky, but the writing was unkind to him in both content and dialogue. In particular, some of his jabs at Billy weren’t very funny. Jason over-all seemed to have much more respect for everyone around him.

Winner: Jason

Blue Ranger (Billy):

There is no Blue Ranger other than Billy. And there’s also no other colors that Billy takes on. So this is just Billy appreciation, because Billy has always been one of my favorite rangers. If you haven’t watched the season two episode of ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’ titled ‘Opposites Attract’, I highly recommend you go watch it. It’s a Billy-centric episode. And while the romance plot wasn’t my favorite, there’s a scene in it where Billy takes on a hoard of villains completely by himself in one of the best choreographed fight scenes in the entire show in my opinion. Billy is intelligent, incredibly kind, and one of the most badass rangers. Billy deserves more love. I know he already has a lot of fans, but I feel like he often falls by the wayside in comparison to Tommy, Jason, and Kimberly. Billy is a badass. There’s nothing else to say.

Winner: Billy wins at life.

Yellow Ranger (Trini vs Aisha):

Obviously, another set of characters that I absolutely love. Trini was an overall kind person and an environmentalist. She was constantly ready to kick ass and take names, but help someone else out of the way first. Trini was also one of the most observant members of her team, sometimes discovering weaknesses of monsters that other characters hadn’t even noticed yet. But it was hard not to notice that she was often eclipsed by Kimberly. Especially because they were always seen together in earlier episodes of the show. And most of the time scenes with them together highlighted Kimberly more than Trini rather than giving them a more equal share of the spotlight. Aisha didn’t have this problem. It was as if, with the addition of the new female character, the writers knew that they couldn’t pair the female characters forever. Especially because Aisha was introduced as being best friends with two other members of the team. Adam and Rocky. Aisha was often better able to make herself heard over everyone else, and her personality always shone through storylines that didn’t even focus on her because of that. Trini and Aisha were both inspirational in their own ways. In the end, I think Aisha was able to take more screen time for herself than Trini was afforded.

Winner: Aisha

Black Ranger (Zack vs Adam):

Once again, I love both of these characters so much. This one kind of pains me at the same time I have to admit that I’m biased. Adam has been one of my favorite Power Rangers since I was a kid. But the original Black Ranger was Zack, and he was amazing at it. The mix of dance and martial arts was something that translated to the screen beautifully. It was fun to see! Zack had an amazing energy that the team needed, he made things more lighthearted when things got too dark for the other members. But there’s something about the way Adam was written that always gets me. Adam was written to be sensitive. Which is not something you often see in male characters at that time and it was brought out of his character naturally. Adam’s character dealt the most directly with feelings of insecurity and because of that he later helped other characters with their own feelings of insecurity. I know it’s a little unfair to bring up ‘Power Rangers Zeo’ (which has my favorite theme song of any ‘Power Rangers’) because that’s not the series we’re talking about. But I have to bring up when he encouraged Tanya to break up with her boyfriend because her boyfriend was angry at her for being better at baseball than he was. And then telling Tanya that she deserved better. I think we all need an Adam in our lives. Anyone would benefit from having a friend with that much support and empathy. And, let’s face it, it’s Johnny Yong Bosch.

Winner: Adam

Pink Ranger (Kimberly vs Kat):

This is a debate that often sparks controversy and overall hatred. Especially towards Kat. Which I find incredibly unfounded, I personally love both characters. But a lot of the infighting came because of Tommy, unfortunately. And I really don’t like the idea of two female characters being pitted against each other because of a man, but that’s what a lot of people still do. Many people hate Kat for “stealing Tommy”. I’ve even heard fan theories that Kat wrote the break up letter to Tommy that Kimberly sent, which is one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard. I love this show, but it is still a children’s show. I think the writers intentions were pretty clear and they were because they wanted Tommy in a romance (for some reason) and they knew that Amy Jo Johnson wasn’t going to come back. Anyways, I digress. Kimberly started out as a very stereotypical valley girl, and that made it difficult for me to connect with her at first. Between the pink and Beverly Hills lingo, it felt like I was watching ‘Mean Girls’. After only a few episodes, this let up. Kimberly started being much more relatable and she even had an amazing talent for making other people feel comfortable. Kimberly wasn’t demure, which was awesome. She was outspoken and empathetic. Kat was a bit more quiet than Kimberly, but she packed just as much empathy. Kat also often took leadership initiative in later episodes. But I think Kimberly was definitely given more time to shine. Especially if you consider how much the writers tried to force Kat into Kimberly’s positions, such as Tommy’s girlfriend, which even Kat’s actress has complained about. Kimberly, in the end, was more well-rounded as a character.

Winner: Kimberly

I know a lot of people aren’t going to agree with me on any of these. Or at least very few. I know that not choosing all the original members isn’t going to be looked on very kindly. But this is just my personal opinion! I invite you to have your own opinions, that’s part of what fandom is all about! I personally love ‘Power Rangers’! It’s always been one of my favorite shows of all time and it was probably the main show I grew up watching. Revisiting it has really made me relax and get into a better mindset. And of course, it’s always nice to see Tommy again. And if you’re dressing up as a Power Ranger for Halloween this year; hell yeah!! I hope you all have an amazing and safe Halloween!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Halloween: Ranking the Characters in ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’

Screenshot of Nell Campbell, Patricia Quinn, Tim Curry, and Richard O’Brien from ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. Copyright goes to Twentieth Century Fox.

Hey! Hallie here!

I’m back! This past week has been really hectic but, at least for now, it seems like we’ll be going back to a regular posting schedule! To start this regular schedule up again I’m going straight into talking about Halloween. It feels like this month just started but Halloween is just a few days away! As part of my regular watch-list for this time of year, I recently rewatched ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. Rocky Horror is one of those things that you have to watch a few times to really absorb. The first time you watch it, especially if you go in blind, it’s completely insane. And the plot only seems to get weirder with every song. But that weirdness and unpredictability is exactly what makes the film so likable. The characters are just as unpredictable as the plot. Between major character developing moments and crazy reveals, you can’t really fully understand any of the characters until the very last moment of the film. Including the extra scenes in the stage production, there’s even more characterization to explore here. So with all that in mind, let’s go through this cast of miscreants and see which characters prove themselves most interesting and most entertaining! (SPOILERS if you haven’t seen this movie. Go fix that immediately.)

11. The Usherette. The Usherette is a pretty obvious pick for last place. She isn’t even in the movie, instead being replaced by the lips of our Magenta, Patricia Quinn. Interestingly, the voice isn’t even Patricia Quinn’s. It belongs to Rocky Horror creator and Riff Raff actor, Richard O’Brien. The Usherette is traditionally played by the same actress that plays Magenta. Patricia Quinn played Magenta and the Usherette in the stage production of Rocky Horror and evidently she wanted to do the same for the movie. However, Richard O’Brien didn’t feel the Usherette was necessary to introduce the audiences to the film and decided to drop the character all together. It’s hard to argue with the creator on this one. While the Usherette is a delight to watch on stage, she doesn’t have a character and ultimately isn’t important.

10. Dr. Everett Scott. Dr. Scott gets to go on the bottom of this list for being one of the most immoral characters on screen while being surrounded by characters who have murdered another person within the last 24 hours. Dr. Scott is first introduced as an upstanding guy. He was a former teacher of our heroes Brad and Janet, and left such a lasting impression on them that they maintain their friendship with him. He’s the person they’re going to visit when they wind up breaking down in front of Frank-N-Furter’s mansion. He’s also studying UFO’s, putting him in the unique position of being Frank-N-Furter’s rival as Frank’s both another doctor and an alien. About halfway through the movie Dr. Scott shows up to come to Brad and Janet’s aid as well as reveal that Eddie, the rock singer who Frank-N-Furter experimented on, is his nephew. Not that it’s that big of a deal because he doesn’t apparently think very highly of Eddie and his life decisions. None of this really shows his true colors as much as his reaction to Riff Raff going on a killing spree at the end of the stories events, though. He lacks any empathy for Frank-N-Furter, Columbia, or Rocky when they die, and even praises Riff Raff for killing them. They might not be the best people, but condoning murder isn’t cool.

9. Narrator. The Narrator doesn’t have much of a character or a personality. However, the Narrator gets a leg up over the Usherette because the Narrator sticks around longer, and in most stage productions, is a celebrity cameo. Richard O’Brien himself has been a narrator for the show. You can’t really beat that.

8. Eddie. Eddie only makes a short appearance in the film and in the stage production. His background is extremely interesting, however. The film doesn’t state much of his story, but we do get plenty from the stage production. From what we know, Frank-N-Furter kidnapped Eddie at some point because he found him attractive. Eddie wasn’t all that interested though, instead taking the attention of Columbia whom he did find attractive. Frank-N-Furter became enraged at Eddie for both taking Columbia’s attention away from him and for choosing Columbia over him. As a result, he took out half of Eddie’s brain and used it to create Rocky in the hopes of creating a being that would actually like him. When Eddie appears in the story he emerges from a freezer with a large scar on his head, proof that he was being kept to serve a purpose in the creation of Rocky. Eddie does sing “Hot Patootie”, which is one of the best songs in the entire musical, but his appearance doesn’t last long. The attention he gets from his dynamic performance during the song makes Frank-N-Furter so jealous that he hacks him up with a chainsaw immediately afterwards. Then Frank-N-Furter feeds him to his dinner guests. Poor Eddie.

7. Rocky. Here we start getting controversial. The rest of the characters are so heavily featured and so widely loved that it’s hard to rank them. But I’m placing Rocky here because, once again, we see a lack of personality here. It isn’t really his fault. He’s born during the events of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and isn’t allowed to do much other than have sex with various characters. He even sings about this dilemma in “Rose Tint My World”. It doesn’t help that he was portrayed by a model who couldn’t act in the film. In the stage production we get to see a little bit more of a personality. He seems to connect with Eddie immediately after he wakes up, which is a nice nod to the fact that he shares Eddie’s brain. He also develops a bit more of a petulant attitude towards Frank-N-Furter. But ultimately he still isn’t allowed to do much. His best moment occurs during his death, which is a lot more heart-wrenching in the stage adaptation. In the film he dies while trying to carry Frank-N-Furter’s body to safety, which is sad enough. In the stage production he attempts to attack Riff Raff in order to avenge Frank-N-Furter’s death, is shot before he can make it over to him, and uses the last of his strength to crawl over to Frank-N-Furter before he dies. Regardless of how controlled Rocky felt, he still cared about Frank-N-Furter.

6. Magenta. I like Magenta a lot, but she’s pretty much the ultimate background character. She’s one of the main aliens from Transylvania, one of Frank-N-Furter’s closest confidants, and Riff Raff’s sister. All of that means she gets to get in on a lot of the major plot points. She’s also extremely charismatic. In every single version of Rocky Horror, it’s very hard to tear your eyes away from her when she’s on screen. She still doesn’t get much plot or time to herself, though. She’s just there to be another crazy member of Frank-N-Furter’s team until the big alien reveal at the end. I do very much like that she’s shown to be more moral than her brother. She doesn’t help him kill Rocky, Frank-N-Furter, or Columbia at the end of the story’s events. She even seems confused and slightly disappointed in Riff Raff for doing so. Unfortunately, this is the biggest character moment we get for her.

5. Janet. One of our main characters and one of the characters with the largest amount of character development in the show. The only reason why she’s here is because I like all of the other characters more than her by a very slight margin. Janet is introduced as boring. That’s kind of the point. She’s a goody two shoes who is content to get married and live a normal, predictable life. It’s her time at Frank-N-Furter’s mansion that changes her mind on all this. At first she’s extremely wary of the mansion’s inhabitants and she’s even more eager to run away than Brad is. However, by the end of it, she seems to appreciate her time there even more than Brad does. It is a bit hard to ignore the fact that she spends most of her time during ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ cheating on Brad. Not that Brad doesn’t do the same, but I’ll get back to that in a second. But Janet has a kind heart that she extends to everyone, even Frank-N-Furter after he becomes angry at her for sleeping with Rocky. Where parts of her personality come off as unbearable when she’s first introduced, you grow to appreciate them as the movie goes on.

4. Brad. I placed Brad above Janet mostly because of the stage production. Brad is similar to Janet in a lot of ways. He starts out the show as boring and his positive attitude comes off as obnoxious. In fact, it’s even more positive than Janet’s. Of the two of them, he’s the one that tries to remain pleasant and optimistic when they are first introduced to the rest of the characters. However, just like Janet, his boring nature and obliviousness is quickly done away with in Frank-N-Furter’s mansion. What I like specifically about Brad, though, is that he shows a little more conflict about the situation. In the stage production he gets an entire solo song to himself after he discovers that Janet slept with Rocky. In the song he contemplates the fact that he and Janet might already be growing apart after just being engaged. And yet, somehow, he comes to the conclusion that the fact that he still cares for her means that there is hope for their relationship. Just like Janet, his bright personality turns into a character strength by the end of the story. However, unlike Janet, it feels very satisfying to see it tested before he prevails at the end.

3. Riff Raff. Riff Raff serves as a background character for much of the film, but his persistent appearances are even more prominent than Magentas. Part of his commanding presence in the movie has everything to do with Richard O’Brien and his tremendous voice. But really, every production of Rocky Horror seems to cast someone amazing as Riff Raff. If you need proof, just look up Riff Raff’s final song in the show. The notes some of these actors hit are insane. Like Magenta, Riff Raff isn’t much more than simply obedient to Frank-N-Furter for most of the story. (He is brutally whipped at points in the stage production though, so you can’t really blame him for hating his situation.) But later it’s revealed that, evidently, Riff Raff is the second in command amongst the alien group. When their planet discovers what Frank-N-Furter has been doing, likely because Riff Raff told on him, they make Riff Raff the new commander. He uses that power to send all of the aliens back to Transylvania. But not before killing Frank-N-Furter, along with Columbia and Rocky who are completely innocent. When Magenta asks him why he does this he very defensively protests that they never liked him, betraying his frustration at his treatment and his overall insecurities. But he does let everyone else go and even apologizes to Dr. Scott about Eddie’s death. He’s more complex than he seems.

2. Columbia. I’ve just recently developed an appreciation for Columbia. At first glance she seemed uninterestingly straightforward. Columbia is the stereotypical groupie. She finds someone that she likes and she becomes so obsessed with them that she devotes her life to them. But Columbia isn’t stupid and she doesn’t blindly follow Frank-N-Furter either. She first followed Frank-N-Furter because she was in love with him and she felt betrayed when he abandoned her for Eddie. Then she became infatuated with Eddie and started what she believed to be a much more serious relationship with him. She remains faithful to Eddie after he’s frozen, and even mourns him after his death. She’s also clear that she can’t forgive Frank-N-Furter for killing Eddie, though she can’t let Frank-N-Furter go either. As he continues to go on harming others, Columbia is the only one of his followers to speak up. She chastises him for using the people around him and finally breaks the stereotype by coming to realize that her obsession has become unhealthy and that she needs to leave. It’s an empowering moment for her character that’s only dampened by the fact that she gets frozen for it. At the end of the movie she’s the first casualty, putting herself in front of Riff Raff to try to save Frank-N-Furter. Not only does it prove her love for him and her selflessness, but Frank-N-Furter’s reaction in the stage production proves he cared for her too. Columbia is deceptively less straightforward than most of the characters in Rocky Horror.

1.Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Obviously. Frank’s easily the most eye-catching character. In the movie he’s played by Tim Curry. Just try to take your eyes off of Tim Curry in that corset. But other productions have proved that, while Tim Curry is the gold standard, it’s the character himself who really draws the eye. The character is seductive, confident, complicated, and contradictory. He’s supposed to be leading a legion of aliens in a project of some sort, but Frank really only wants to make some mischief and have fun. All of it is seeped in a desire to feel wanted. He invites loyalty because it makes him feel important. This is why he becomes angry at Eddie for dating Columbia even though he never loved her. The fact that Columbia’s affections could change indicates to him that he’s perhaps not as likable as he intended. Similarly, Eddie’s betrayal deeply hurts him. So much so that it results in his decision to create a man who will truly care about him. All of this makes his anger towards Rocky and Janet halfway through the story much more understandable. Rocky’s betrayal is just another betrayal that makes him feel insecure. He never truly realizes that the reason why he experiences so many betrayals is because he never does anything to win anyone’s trust or devotion in the first place. However, despite the fact that he doesn’t care so much about doing things for others as long as things are done for him, he still cares for those around him. He even grows to care for Brad and Janet by the end of the story, growing from his experience with them as they have grown from their experience with him. There’s a lot to like about the complexities in this character. But let’s be honest, Frank won the minute Tim Curry performed “Sweet Transvestite”.

And that’s my list! A lot of this was really close. ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ has a small cast of characters, but each character is a pretty strong one. A lot of my decisions ended up coming down to extra information from the stage production simply because of how entertaining all of the characters are to watch. But Tim Curry wins. As he always does. We’ll probably have one more post before Halloween so be sure to stay tuned for that!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

Video Games: Female Gamers and Support

Screenshot of Mercy from ‘Overwatch’. Copyright goes to Blizzard Entertainment.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Ok, so I know this is really weird. Usually Hallie and I switch off but, as I’ve been saying lately, unfortunately our schedules got really crazy lately due to a massive change. It’s not anything bad, it just means posting for this blog might be more sporadic than we though just for a little while. We’re going to try and get back on track as soon as we possibly can. But for now, you may see a little more from me or a little more from Hallie every once in a while. Anyways, I’ve been on TikTok a little less lately, but every time I’m on there the song “No Mercy” by ‘The Living Tombstone’ seems to have made a comeback. And it keeps getting stuck in my head. The song itself is just about toxic players in RPGs, but the song made me think about female gamers in support roles and the way female gamers are treated in general. So, as a female support RPG gamer, I’m going to go into why women shouldn’t be forced into support positions and why you need to treat the women who play support positions so much better than you probably are now.

Support Isn’t Popular:

Don’t get me wrong, I love playing support roles. But it’s no secret that playing anything healing based in gaming isn’t popular. And really it never has been. The reason why I like playing support roles personally is because I grew up playing support in almost all forms of gaming. My sister has always been the bigger gamer of the two of us, so I would either watch her play or if there was a second player role I would play that. And second player was usually a magic or support related position. I developed a love for playing that during that time, but my sister definitely didn’t. My sister was always the type of gamer who really liked getting up close and personal with opponents. And there are a lot of gamers like that! In fact, in TTRPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons, finding people willing to play healing positions is notoriously difficult. Overwatch made playing healing support characters more popular with the addition of Mercy, who became a fan favorite mainly due to her accent and design. Which is great! But it doesn’t change the fact that this is only one character, and she’s by no means the most popular character to play in Overwatch. Mercy was a start in getting people more interested in support, but that doesn’t mean that people love that position now. I have several female gamers in my friend group, and of all of us I’m the only one who plays support. Hopefully, that puts things into sharper perspective.

Men as Support:

Women most notoriously play support roles, because they are notoriously more interested in them. For ages several types of media have pushed the idea that support positions are positions for women. Media coverage like this has historically made it seem as though men in these positions are too feminine, which is why less men play them. Which is an issue in itself. And if a woman wants to play a support role, that’s fine. But a lot of female Overwatch players complained about men attempting to assign them Mercy. And this isn’t the first time something like this has happened in an RPG setting. Some male gamers just assume that women will play support for them. And when the men themselves are asked to play support, they give a million excuses as to why they can’t. When Overwatch was more of a big thing, men gave the excuse that Mercy was the best support and that they didn’t want to play her because she was a woman. But for some reason, those same players had no issues playing Widowmaker. If you are a male gamer and you want someone on your team to play support badly, maybe consider playing it yourself. Don’t just assume that the woman on your team is going to take up that role.

Women as Support:

You would think that all male gamers would treat women who main support roles well. I mean, we are doing what they want us to be doing, right? Yes, but most of the men who force women into support roles or view women as more likely for support roles also have a very specific view of support roles, also perpetuated by media. For ages, women healing men in movies or television was somehow spun as a romantic thing. So often times, men will assume female gamers are hitting on them by healing their characters. When in reality, we’re just doing our jobs within our positions. On other occasions, female gamers can be caught in situations that make them uncomfortable. I occasionally play Dungeons and Dragons and when I do, I usually play support. Mostly Clerics. On one occasion I found my character in a love triangle that made me uncomfortable because my character’s healing was seen as something romantic. At the time I didn’t know how to communicate that I was uncomfortable. And eventually I felt uncomfortable healing within the game because every time I used this ability with male characters it was viewed as romantic. When in reality, I just wanted to do my job as support. Obviously, every person deserves to be treated with respect. And this is just another example of how sometimes female gamers aren’t treated with the respect that they deserve. Playing a support role does not always exempt women from being treated with less respect.

Obviously, not all male gamers treat female gamers horribly. But there are enough that sometimes make things, like playing RPGs especially, extremely difficult or uncomfortable for women. Just treat us with respect. Women become gamers for the same reason as men, because they’re interested in gaming, not to find a boyfriend. Do not assume we are hitting on you for doing our jobs. And also, do not try and force the women in your team to play support unless they are actually interested in it. So next time you get angry at a female gamer for not wanting to play a cleric or Mercy or some other support character, try and stop yourself. Because you can bet that they get that a lot and are probably tired of it. If you really want someone to play support, consider doing it yourself.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Disney: ‘Once Upon A Time’ Couples

Screenshot of Emilie de Ravin and Robert Carlyle in ‘Once Upon A Time’. Copyright goes to Disney and ABC.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I once again am going to apologize for the sporadic posting schedule. Everything is really hectic right now, but we’re still going to post whenever we can! This blog is a sense of normalcy for us with everything happening right now. So I’m really glad to be back! Recently I’ve been looking for some easy watching to relax to after my busy schedule, and somehow ‘Once Upon A Time’ came back onto my radar. This was one of my favorite shows until it wasn’t. That is to say, this was an absolutely excellent show until it really wasn’t. I actually really loved the first three seasons and still return to them sometimes, but everything after that was pretty bad. But just because the entire series took a nosedive, doesn’t mean the first three seasons are any less good. And it feels like this is a realization that a lot of people have come to recently. The Halloween costume planning for the Evil Queen, or Regina Mills, has upped significantly in the past few years. But what caught my eye upon my rewatch of some of my favorite episodes, were the depictions of some of the couples in ‘Once Upon A Time’ and how different they are from their Disney counterparts. So I’m going to go through some of them and talk about why I like (or dislike) their depiction of their counterparts.

Snow White and Prince Charming:

I feel like even people who didn’t watch this show, knew about this couple. That’s because Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas, the actors who played these roles, fell in love on set and actually got married. Their marriage upped ratings, because people wanted to see the footage of them actually falling in love. And that’s exactly what you feel like you’re watching. There have been very few television couples with as much chemistry. I always prefer the adaptations of Snow White where Snow is some sort of badass huntress and has much more agency than the original material implied. This is definitely one of those adaptations. In fact, when she meets Charming it’s more on fighting terms than anything else. I find it really interesting that this version of the Prince from Snow White is referred to as Charming. Usually that’s a Cinderella thing, but I digress. Either way their relationship is a pretty slow build to one of the strongest relationships in the entire series. If not the strongest. And the slow build gives it an equally as strong foundation.

Belle and Rumplestiltskin:

This is probably the most interesting couple in the series to me. That’s because of how much I absolutely love ‘Beauty and the Beast’. It’s one of my favorite stories of all time, not to mention that it’s my favorite Disney film. It’s one of the only original fairytales written by a woman and it was written by her for the purpose of imagining a world where women weren’t subjected to arranged marriages. In that vein, this couple could be seen either way. On one hand it gives Belle a lot more agency in her choice to go and live with the Beast (or in this case, Rumplestiltskin) in his castle forever. Belle doesn’t have much in the way of prior connections. Her father is a King who has forced her into an arranged marriage and is far too controlling and Gaston is the husband she’s expected to marry. When she hears Rumplestiltskin’s offer of peace for her kingdom in return for her becoming the caretaker of his castle, she willingly decides to go. Somewhat out of heroism but somewhat out of wanting to get out of her situation. On the other hand, the relationship can be rather manipulative and toxic. I actually really liked the marrying of the stories between Rumplestiltskin and the Beast. The Crocodile thing that came later wasn’t necessarily my favorite. Rumple shouldn’t be four different characters. I did like this one though. It made sense in the context of the show and actually created a fresh and interesting take on the tale that I wasn’t expecting. And for a while they were fairly cute. Some people have argued that the age gap looks awful. I would argue that there’s actually a similar age gap between Killian and Emma, the major issue for people here is more appearance based and the age gaps between the actors. Either way, I actually liked this couple for the first few seasons. And then it became incredibly toxic and kind of annoying. Both Rumple and Belle were some of my favorite characters for a while and it’s a shame that the show treated them in this way. But I at least liked some of the beginning of their relationship. “Skin Deep” is still one of my favorite episodes of the entire series.

Killian and Emma:

Making the pirate character extremely attractive has been a thing since the release of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies. And Killian has become one of the best examples of this. Considering the way we’ve all seen Captain Hook before, I don’t think any of us ever thought that we would ever consider him attractive. Killian Jones changes that. And Emma has the most agency in the entire show. But I think what’s best about this couple, is that it feels the most realistic. Killian and Emma both try to ignore specific feelings or they’re unsure of what the other feels for much of the series. And I think the way they get together comes off extremely organically. The show makes a point to build trust between them first. And it’s adorable to see Killian finally realize that he can be happy with just this. In a way he becomes the anti-Rumple. Of course, the Dark One storyline with him and Emma completely messed things up. But this is another couple I liked for a while before everything took a nosedive.

Aladdin and Jasmine:

They don’t come in until later, but there was a portion of time of me watching this series where this portrayal of Aladdin was the only thing keeping me watching. I love the sarcastic and nonchalant depiction of Aladdin. Jasmine, however, was completely botched. Every time she approached Aladdin it was because she wanted something from him. When Aladdin finally reunites with Jasmine, because he believes that she loves him, she briefly hugs him before telling him that she needs him to do something for her. She even tells him that the entire reason she was looking for him was so that he could help save her kingdom. Ouch. Imagine not seeing someone very close to you for years and the minute you see them again they greet you for a couple seconds and then immediately ask for a favor. This couple was done so horrifically it’s insane. At least they didn’t do what they did to Meg from ‘Hercules’. Like completely strip this character of any and all personality. But this depiction is still pretty awful. I really feel bad for Aladdin. He deserves better.

I actually mostly liked the couples in this show for a long while. But I feel like this show also messed up literally everything at one point. I don’t think there’s a single character that they didn’t run into the ground. So, personally, I prefer to see them all as I thought of them when I liked the series. And you can bet that if I start actually rewatching instead of episode hopping, I’m stopping after season three. But some of this is really cute and there’s a reason I return to it every once in a while.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Comfort Entertainment: Are We Really Going to Defend Shatner Right Now?

Screenshot of George Takei as Hikaru Sulu from ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’. Copyright goes to Paramount Pictures.

Hey! Hallie here!

I didn’t expect to come back to Star Trek so fast but here we are. As most people know, William Shatner was recently sent up to space via Jefferey Bezos and his new interest in sending rich people to space. As is typical with trips like this, Shatner and his party spent only a few minutes just above Earth before coming back. However, not so typical is the fact that William Shatner is ninety years old, the oldest person to endure the trip to space. There were split reactions to this whole endeavor. One was the understandable continued frustration over rich people getting the complete privilege of entering space without any real reason. The other was gratification over sending such a huge icon in Sci-fi, and such a huge influence in the public’s interest in space travel, to the exact place an entire generation always pictured him inhabiting. George Takei’s take on this subject was a bit different from both of these. I’ll get into exactly what he said in a moment, but it started an entire twitter war with fans taking either Takei or Shatner’s side. I’ve been vocal about how much I dislike Shatner. And I’ll also talk about that in a bit. But this entire argument is ridiculous even without Shatner’s character coming into question. With it included? I can’t even begin to imagine why people are defending him.

What George Takei Actually Said:

What seems to be going around most is the headline that George Takei referred to Shatner as an “unfit specimen”. News sites are spinning this as a complete attack on Shatner’s character and many people are taking direct offense at just this quote taken out of context. What George Takei actually was trying to communicate, was his interest in the result of sending a ninety-year-old to space. He claimed that whatever space is like for regularly fit individuals, Shatner, who cannot be considered fit mainly because of his age, would demonstrate how less fit individuals would fare during a trip to space. Therefore, an “unfit specimen” to study. It was a blatant jab at Shatner’s age, but most people expressed some level of concern over how the trip to space would affect William Shatner. I’m not saying George Takei was expressing concern here. He famously hasn’t gotten along with Shatner and there was certainly a bit of humor in the way he referred to Shatner’s age. But he wasn’t attacking him either.

Why George Takei is Right to Dislike Shatner:

This is where my title comes from. I don’t know if Shatner’s defenders are individuals who don’t care about the way Shatner has treated others, toxic fans who claim the many, many, reports of his behavior are lies because it isn’t in line with the actor and character they idolize, or fans who don’t know much about Shatner at all. The point is, Shatner doesn’t get along with most people he works with. And most of the cast of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ came away with pretty poor opinions of him. Nichelle Nichols, a long time friend of Takei, nearly quit the series with many reporting that Shatner’s ego contributed to her difficult time on set. After all, it heavily contributed to both George Takei and James Doohan’s hard experience on set. Shatner frequently demanded that others scenes be cut or their lines given to him. This resulted in a much smaller role for Takei specifically in some of the Star Trek films, while Doohan had various lines throughout the series given to Shatner at Shatner’s request. Even Leonard Nimoy went through this behavior from him, sometimes more than either Takei or Doohan. It’s well known that Shatner became extremely jealous once Spock was established as the most popular of the characters on the show. And he didn’t just steal his lines, though that would have been enough. He also hid the bike Nimoy used to get around set and refused to let a photographer do a piece on Nimoy, resulting in Nimoy threatening not to get in makeup until the photographer was let in and the near shutdown of production for the entire day. Nimoy and Shatner did become close friends at some point after all this ended, but they didn’t speak for the five years before Nimoy died and Shatner didn’t show up to his funeral.

Shatner has also been pretty famously creepy on set with his women co-stars. Kristine Alley, most famous among Star Trek fans for her role in ‘Wrath of Kahn’, reported both inappropriate advances on his part and has a well-known story about how Shatner hired her an acting tutor because he felt she wasn’t good enough. Even Deforest Kelley and Walter Koenig, who didn’t report issues with Shatner, expressed complete awareness of his childishness. And if you think this behavior is all in the past, think again. J.J. Abrams tried to give Shatner a role in his recent reboot movies, but had to end negotiations because Shatner wanted the story to focus largely on himself. Of course, with Takei specifically there’s more examples of animosity outside of Star Trek. Shatner frequently plays the victim, calling Takei’s public dislike of him “psychosis”, which is ironic considering that this is Shatner expressing public dislike of Takei. Takei fires right back, saying Shatner brings up his past feuds for attention. Shatner also publicly complained that he wasn’t invited to Takei’s wedding, which Takei denies. A lot of this situation specifically is a he-said-she-said situation, but given the fact that most people, including the Star Trek cast, have had bad experiences with Shatner, I know who I’m more inclined to believe.

As for Takei, he’s been outspoken about LGBTQ+ issues, the struggles minorities face, and achieving equality for all of us. William Shatner got in a twitter feud with a bunch of trans people because he didn’t like being called cisgender. I don’t know either of these two personally. But I do believe that actions speak louder than words and all the actions I’ve seen from Shatner have left me deeply unimpressed. As for Takei, love him or hate him he stands up for some very important causes. I don’t see any world where I would rather defend Shatner over Takei. I don’t understand why this is even a debate.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

BTS: Happy Jimin Day!!!

Photo of Park Jimin at the ‘Sowoozoo’ concert. Copyright goes to Hybe And BTS.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Yay! It’s Jimin Day! This amazing man has been my bias for so incredibly long and I get the immense pleasure of writing about Jimin’s birthday right after I got to write about my bias wrecker, Namjoon’s, birthday. Jimin has been with me through so much now. And still he’s been with me through so much continued stress. This man is a constant comfort to me and a constant comfort to so many. I still cry when I hear ‘Promise’. I’m glad to see that we’re all doing really well in celebrating Jimin’s birthday, but he is a member of the maknae line so that’s to be expected. But I want to go over some of his more meaningful and comforting moments for me, both small and large. Even some behind the scenes stuff! So let’s go through some of the stuff that really solidify this man as my bias each day!

Jimin Birthday Incident:

Can we talk about about when BTS was performing overseas during Jimin’s birthday? Because that entire scenario was adorable. And absolutely entirely appropriate to talk about during Jimin’s birthday. On that day, all of the other members secretly decided to learn “Happy Birthday” in another language just to surprise Jimin. And when Jimin heard it he immediately wondered why he hadn’t heard the song or practiced this, so he tried to sing along. Only to realize half way through that it was “Happy Birthday” and they were singing it for him. He proceeded to laugh at himself and then do a lap around the entire stage. His bewilderment at the fact that they were singing to him is adorable and something that still lives rent free in my brain.

Three Cute Faces:

I couldn’t do this post without talking about the ‘Run BTS’ from today. After all, it is the last episode they will be doing for a while and we don’t know when it’ll be coming back. This most recent episode recapped a bunch of the most famous moments from all the ‘Run BTS’ episodes. (Which makes me think it won’t be back for a while.) Including the photo episode where they had to time their jumps in order to take a photo based on a prompt. In their revisit of this game Jimin was wearing a hoodie with two black pom-poms on the bottom, which made it look like he was wearing three mics. But even better, they were required to do easy mini games to get more food for dinner. Jimin chose an aegyo game where he built up on one cute face until it was almost unbearably adorable. I don’t think there is a single person out there who can resist the Jimin pout.

Jimin’s Love For ARMY:

For this I’m specifically going to talk about a moment at the ‘Map of the Soul: ONE’ concert that has recently been expanded upon by the behind the scenes for the concert that was just released. Jimin throughout the behind the scenes footage talked about how much he missed ARMY and how he had much less energy without us there to perform for. You could tell that the lack of ARMY discouraged him more with every single rehearsal, but he still talked about his troubles with a smile as he usually does. I think we all know by now that he actually cried at the end of the first day of the concert. I’m not going to delve into that too much because I feel like that’s a very private moment for Jimin. But afterwards he revealed the cause for his emotion, which was that he didn’t know the footage of ARMY on the walls was live. And actually getting to see ARMY live was overwhelming for him and made him miss us even more. I hope he knows that we miss him a lot too!

Jimin With TXT:

Since late 2019 we’ve been getting more and more footage of BTS with TXT, which I absolutely love. We know that BTS are people that TXT look up to massively and they also serve as mentors for TXT because they’re in the same company. I personally love both groups and think that they shouldn’t be compared as much as they are. TXT are their own group and are not trying to be like BTS, but I digress. Anyways, in one adorable clip, TXT attended a BTS concert and then surprised BTS afterwards backstage. While many of the members were giving the members of TXT advice, Jimin was more concerned about their seating arrangements. Evidently, TXT were sitting in one of the top boxes of the stadium and Jimin just kept asking them if the weather was comfortable and if they were too cold up there. It makes me smile every time I see it. Jimin also cleared up a vocal practice room early so that TXT could use it. I love hearing about how much BTS looks out for the members of TXT.

Jimin and ‘Serendipity’:

Jimin has had a lot of solo songs, and I love every single one of them. His performances are insane and his songs have amazing vocals, dances, and are definitely earworms. More recently, I rewatched the concerts where he performed ‘Serendipity’ and this performance sticks out for me for several reasons. Firstly, the video that accompanied this solo song before the performance was amazing and so very Jimin. It depicted Jimin with a beautiful sky blue background wearing beautifully flowing clothing that moved with him as he danced. And adorableness with a pastel yellow blanket. The performance itself is just Jimin also. It’s a flowy but regal costume for his dance, lighthearted with bubbles, and it suits his amazing light vocals perfectly. The pastel look in the photoshoots with his pastel pink hair makes it look all the more colorful. It’s definitely one of my favorite Jimin looks and concepts.

Jimin and Littles:

I have to mention this because it’s adorable. Jimin went viral around Christmas a couple years ago for carrying around a little girl they were performing with. The photos that released of both of them smiling and laughing still succeed in making my day better. On top of that, when going on an American show, Jimin met two younger fans. He was bewildered because the little girl he met, who immediately hugged him, asked him if he was ok. Which was a question that he didn’t understand why she was asking him. But he thought it was adorable nonetheless and actually got on her level to give her a big hug. Most recently, both he and Tae worked with child actors for the “Permission To Dance” MV who got down on their knees every time Tae and Jimin also tried to get on their level. Both found this very cute and just accepted it. Seeing Jimin with kids is always cute. And really the same goes for dogs. Jimin is known for jumping around with dogs. He’s got the kids and puppies thing covered.

I love Jimin so much and I can’t wait to actually see him in person for the concert. I still can’t believe that is actually happening. That I’m seeing one of my far-off comfort people is insane to me. That I’m seeing seven of them is even more unbelievable. Jimin is one of the reasons I smile every time I pull up almost any app on my phone. So a very happy birthday to our Jiminie! I hope your day is amazing and I can’t wait to see you from afar at the concert!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Comfort Entertainment: The Series That Made Me Love ‘Star Trek’

Promotional image of (Top) Nana Visitor, Alexander Siddig, Avery Brooks, Rene Auberjonois, Terry Farrell, (Bottom) Colm Meaney, Cirroc Lofton, and Armin Shimerman for ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’. Copyright goes to Paramount Pictures.

Hey! Hallie here!

I’ve only just started mentioning Star Trek on this blog and I’m a bit sad about that. It’s one of the best geeky franchises ever created. Not only has the series massively impacted Sci-Fi as an entire genre, but its focus on deep societal and humanitarian issues make it immensely important to media in general. There’s so much I love about Star Trek, so why hasn’t it come up very often on this blog? The honest answer would be that I actually haven’t been a fan of Star Trek for very long. My parents both liked ‘The Next Generation’ series, so I did grow up watching the odd episode now and then, but it wasn’t something we often watched in my house. When I started college I watched a full season of ‘The Next Generation’, but between my busy schedule and some of the truly awful episodes in the first season, I decided to put Star Trek down for a while. (Aside from the J.J. Abrams movies which are a completely different beast.) Now I’m back to the franchise and more committed than ever to exploring the Star Trek content available to me. But it wasn’t ‘The Next Generation’, or even ‘The Original Series’ that sold me on Star Trek. It was their darker, crazier cousin, ‘Deep Space Nine’. So here’s a huge appreciation post on why this series in particular made me fall in love with Star Trek.

The Captain:

Every Star Trek series needs a good captain to succeed. The captain essentially takes the role of the main character. While Star Trek is an ensemble show, and fans will most certainly find favorite characters among the rest of the cast, the captain is tasked with anchoring in the audience for the majority of the episodes. This means that they need to be both relatable and respectable. Sisko did all of that for me from his first appearance. When I had attempted to watch ‘The Next Generation’ and ‘The Original Series’ for the first time, I hadn’t been able to relate to either Picard or Kirk very well. Picard was somewhat stiff and already so knowledgable at the beginning of the series that I felt it hard to relate to him. Kirk was a bit of a pompous jerk and William Shatner’s acting didn’t help matters much. (If you like William Shatner, I apologize for the amount of times I’m likely going to trash him on this blog. To put it simply, I don’t like him much as an actor or as a person.) Sisko started out his series with a grudge against Picard for something that Picard really wasn’t responsible for and a somewhat bad attitude over his assignment at Deep Space Nine. I clicked with him immediately. Sisko was introduced with relatable qualities. Namely, flaws and emotional trauma. Not only did these things make me feel for him, but I respected him too. Despite his constant struggle with the recent death of his wife, he was completely civil and competent in completing his job. He also spent his entire first two-parter trying to explain the existence of humans to beings we’d later come to know as “The Prophets” in order to create a mutual understanding between them and humans. Not only was this endeavor noble, but he even took some time to explain the emotional moments of his past to them, both baring his soul to the audience and demonstrating incredible grace despite all of his flaws. And Sisko continued to do those things throughout all of ‘Deep Space Nine’. He didn’t always make the best decisions. But he was a good man with a good heart. That alone made Benjamin Sisko great.

The Representation:

We can talk about all kinds of representation on this show. Benjamin Sisko was the first Black captain Star Trek had ever had. The show succeeded at not frequently patting themselves on the back for this move while also acknowledging the difficulties faced by the Black community with the character. Star Trek is supposed to show an idealistic future society where racism, sexism, and anything of that kind has been done away with long ago. But Sisko did have a few episodes where he was forced to acknowledge the hardships the Black community face, most often when the plot called for him to interact with past timelines. And Avery Brooks, the actor who played Sisko, had a lot of say in the exploration of these themes. The show did an excellent job of keeping this idealistic society the main focus while still holding up a mirror to the society of today. Kira Nerys and Jadzia Dax were the first women in Star Trek who had full character arcs that weren’t riddled with stereotypes. In ‘The Original Series’ women were treated pretty poorly, as most women were in shows at that time, and in ‘The Next Generation’ even Marina Sirtis and Gates McFadden, the actresses who played Deanna Troi and Beverly Crusher, have expressed how lacking the writing for their characters were.

This wasn’t present at all with the two women leading ‘Deep Space Nine’. Kira Nerys was the first female main character in Star Trek to take the position of second in command. She also wasn’t to be messed with. She would throw a punch if someone insulted her, talk about her time as a rebellion leader during the war her planet endured, and loudly speak out for her people and her religion. Jadzia Dax also more than held her own. With multiple lifetimes of experience in her head due to the Dax symbiont, she was more intelligent than most of her peers, as well as hilariously sarcastic and tough enough to stand her ground against any Klingon she encountered. Jadzia also added more representation by both having a major female love interest in one of her episodes and, as a result of being a man in her past lifetime, frequently reintroducing her name and pronouns to old friends. This aspect of her character struck a chord with many queer individuals who had experienced similar situations. And on top of all that, while the series itself didn’t go through with this, we did get a good amount of cast and crew supporting a queer relationship between the characters of Julian Bashir and Elim Garak. Star Trek has always been known for trying to represent as many types of people as it can, but this series really did take it to an entirely new level.

The Morality:

Star Trek has always done a really good job of exploring the morality of its characters. While the characters we follow in every series are indisputably the good guys, Star Trek still finds a way to challenge their values and morals through complicated situations. In ‘Deep Space Nine’, the complicated situation is an ongoing war that encompasses multiple seasons. Nothing is simple in war, and the writers make a point of that in every episode. Sisko, our flawed hero, constantly has to face the decision between sticking to his morals or making the call that he knows will save more lives. Garak, a former spy guilty of war crimes, frequently demonstrates that he wants to redeem himself while still falling into old habits. Worf must balance his loyalty to his people with his loyalty to Star Fleet in nearly every episode where the war is discussed. Kira, especially towards the end of the last season, is tasked with putting aside her prejudices against the people who invaded her home world in order to ensure victory. Even Julian Bashir, who is established as being one of the most decent men in all of Deep Space Nine, finds himself making decisions that aren’t very becoming of a doctor in order to gain vital information. These storylines not only explore human morality and the things we hold important in dire situations, but also the beliefs and flaws of the characters. The character building in this series is genuinely almost unmatched.

These are only a handful of things I love about ‘Deep Space Nine’. As a viewer who admittedly focuses on characters more than anything else in the media I consume, I stuck to mostly the aspects of the show that involve the characters. But there’s so much more I love about this show. The location, a space station next to two planets that don’t get along, lends itself to some excellent world building. The show discusses topics that Star Trek didn’t venture far into before, such as religion and faith. Going back to the characters, the show develops character relationships with a strength that its predecessors lacked. I absolutely recommend this show. But I’m not done with my watch through of Star Trek content. While ‘Deep Space Nine’ might be my favorite piece of Star Trek media, there’s plenty I’ll address in later posts!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

BTS: ‘Permission to Dance’ LA Concert Tickets

Screenshot of (from left) Kim Taehyung (V), Min Yoongi (Suga), Kim Seokjin (Jin), Jeon Jungkook, Kim Namjoon (RM), Park Jimin, and Jung Hoseok (J-Hope) in the concert announcement video. Copyright goes to HYBE and BTS.

Hi! It’s Annie!

The last few days have been hectic and I highly doubt that we’ve seen the end of it. Congratulations to all of you who got tickets for the four days at the end of November and beginning of December to see BTS in LA. I am very happy to report that my sister and I will be there on the very last day of the concert! (AHHHHHH!!!!) But as happy as I am to get these tickets, this entire process was a mess. And as BTS fans, we all expect getting tickets for them to be a mess at this point. Due to their popularity growing exponentially over quarantine, we all knew it would be even more of a mess than usual. Especially because there’s only four days of the concert and it’s only in Los Angeles. But this took it to a completely new level. And we need to talk about why a lot of fans who didn’t get tickets for the concert should have and why Ticketmaster is completely to blame for this. Before I start this, I want to offer my sincere condolences to those ARMY who didn’t get tickets. Once they go on tour again, which will most likely be in 2022, everyone will have much better of a chance of seeing them!

MOT7 Presale:

The major thing to talk about here is the two days of presale that were offered to ARMY who had previously bought tickets for BTS’s ‘Map of the Soul 7’ concert. Every person who had bought a ticket for that tour was given a code to get into two days of presale for the LA concert that were especially for them. This announcement immediately resulted in some very understandable controversy. It was clear that this would be the only thing meant to try and fix things with the fans with previous tour tickets, and considering there’s only four concerts in LA, there will be many people who can’t attend the LA concert because of where they live. Travel still can be risky right now anyways. Many fans were hoping there would be a presale day for previous ticket holders for the next tour, which would more accurately cover all the fans who had tickets. And I wish this was what had happened as well. But instead they were only given codes for this specific concert. And then came the day of the presales, which were complete messes. The first day of presale felt incredibly difficult for everyone, but a few people were snagging good seats and many ARMY just wondered if this was how getting tickets for BTS would be now. This was quickly revealed to be not the case when the second presale day came around. Most fans didn’t get any tickets at all, and the ones who did were only able to get tickets at the top of the arena after hours of waiting and Ticketmaster crashing. Also there were no VIP tickets or soundcheck tickets available for the second presale day.

ARMY Membership Presale:

This was the presale that my sister and I were a part of. And anyone can tell you that it wasn’t nearly as difficult to get tickets this day as it was the previous two days. There were still fans who couldn’t get tickets on this day, but there were actually quite a lot who were able to. My sister and I both got into the presale on this day and so did one of our family members. In the end, only my sister’s got in at a decent time and we were able to get really good tickets after only fifteen minutes of the sale. But most of the people who received a code for the first two presale dates were not able to get into this presale. Most of them were put in the final presale that happened today. It was almost as if getting the code was more of a setback than a benefit. Most of the people with those previous ticket codes, especially the ones put in the second day of the presale, would have been much better off if they had gotten into the ARMY presale.

Verified Fan Presale:

This wasn’t much of a presale. Ticketmaster already stated that after the several days of presales, there probably wouldn’t be any tickets left for general sale due to the high volume of demand for this concert. But what Ticketmaster didn’t say is that this practically went for today’s presale too. There were barely any tickets left for anything. There were days today that were only selling singular tickets. No tickets in groups. Today definitely didn’t feel like a presale, in fact it was barely a sale to begin with. And people who are hoping for general sale tickets definitely aren’t going to get them off of Ticketmaster. Speaking of which…

Ticketmaster Past Controversy:

Ticketmaster has been sued by fans and artists alike for under the table ticket sales. Specifically to third party sellers, who sell the tickets for three times the price. Ticketmaster usually gets a cut of those sales as well. And this is a practice they still haven’t changed despite the fact that they’ve been called out on it multiple times before. If you are looking at getting tickets from a third party seller, which I will not blame you for, just be careful who you’re buying it from. Generally it’s a better idea to go after resales from ARMY on Ticketmaster. Not all ARMY’s on Twitter are legitimately selling tickets. So be extremely careful when it comes to buying tickets now. I’m not saying not to do it, because I know that it would be in consideration for me if I hadn’t gotten tickets, but please be careful. Try to buy them from an ARMY you can trust and, if not, just know that you are going to be paying insane amounts for this concert if you get anything.

ARMY Blame:

I predicted this beforehand when I covered the first time news came out that the BTS tour from 2020 was officially cancelled. A lot of fans who had MOTS7 tickets are very understandably upset, especially after this giant mess. Many of them are turning their anger towards newer ARMYs who got tickets. And even some who are already blaming Ticketmaster are saying that ARMYs who didn’t have MOTS7 tickets shouldn’t have gotten into this concert. I think both of these ideas are extremely misled. It is completely fine to be angry. And yes, Ticketmaster deserves every bit of your anger. But the ARMYs who have been waiting to get into this concert too, don’t. We aren’t going to go around telling ARMY that they didn’t deserve to get tickets. In fact, any ARMY who was able to score tickets is a win for us because it means one more ticket that scalpers didn’t get their hands on. I’m still up in the air on my opinions on ARMYs who bought tickets for multiple days. That does feel unfair considering the people who only wanted to attend one day. That is kind of like a double edged sword, because on one hand it’s another ticket that scalpers couldn’t get their hands on but it also might be a ticket preventing as many ARMYs as possible from going. Either way, now is not the time to turn on each other or tell people that they don’t deserve something. That’s just a low blow anyways. Every ARMY deserves to go to this concert. I have the deepest sympathy for you if you didn’t get in. To be honest, I never expected to see BTS live never mind get into this concert. But I will not support guilt-tripping people who got into this concert who really really wanted it. Let’s try and focus our energy on calling out Ticketmaster.

I am still baffled that I got into this concert at all. I thought with the new onslaught of ARMY, and especially with this concert only being four days, I would never see BTS. Especially not in LA, because California is already a more difficult place to get concert tickets in general. But that’s where I live so that’s where I would have had to get tickets anyways. It still hasn’t hit me yet that I’m going to see them, but I know once it does I’m probably going to be a sobbing mess. Congratulations to all of you who also got tickets! I can’t wait to be with you all! And to those of you who didn’t get tickets, I’m once again going to say that I’m sorry. I hope you get in next time and your anger is completely valid. Just please don’t direct it at undeserving ARMY.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Marvel: ‘What If?’ Final Review

Screenshot of Gamora and T’Challa from Marvel’s ‘What If?’ on Disney+. Copyright goes to Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Studios.

Hey! Hallie here!

We’re finally to the last three episodes! An announcement for season two has already been made with the promise of following more characters, but I honestly haven’t decided if I’m going to review those yet. However, these episodes were much better than my opinions of the last few! The concepts explored here were fun and interesting, and we finally got to see all the episodes connect in the finale. So here’s your SPOILER warning for my last review for season one!

‘What if… Thor Were an Only Child?’:

This episode was one of the least serious episodes in this entire series. It was really written just to have fun with a singular concept. Thor having become so irresponsible that he enters Earth as that one college jock that lives for frat parties. Evidently they decided that the only thing that could turn Thor into this version of himself is a lack of Loki’s tendency to err on the side of caution. And a lack of Loki in general. However, I’d say this title is a bit misleading. Loki’s lack of connection to Thor doesn’t have any major impact on the story. And Loki is still present, just as a frost giant without much intelligence. Essentially, connecting the concept of Loki not being Thor’s brother to Thor throwing a giant party is a bit of a stretch. But it doesn’t hinder the story. It’s fun to see so many people, including various Guardians and the Grandmaster, get in on Thor’s party. Maria Hill’s reaction to Jane and Darcy getting wrapped up in the party despite the fact that they were the ones to alert SHIELD of danger, is priceless. And Darcy marrying Howard the Duck might just be the best part of the entire episode. But, of course, Thor’s messing up Earth with his huge party so Maria Hill calls in Captain Marvel. I can’t say Carol is acting very much like herself here. She’s simply stern and that’s about it. While Carol tries to beat up Thor multiple times, Jane is encouraged to go tell on Thor to his mom. It’s ultimately Frigga who ends the entire thing by announcing to Thor that she’s coming down to Earth to make sure he isn’t making trouble. Which, naturally, forces Thor to clean up before she arrives. Nothing majorly interesting happens in this episode, but I liked it anyway. With series like “What If…?”, not all scenarios have to be profound. Some can just be amusing.

‘What If… Ultron Won?’:

This episode is mostly setup for the finale. We’re introduced to the idea that Ultron was actually able to get his organic body, who turned into Vision in the MCU, and that victory was enough for him to wipe out the majority of the Avengers. This opening pretty strictly follows the “all or most of the Avengers have died” setup we’ve seen in a few episodes already, but it doesn’t ruin the concept. The only surviving Avengers are Natasha and Clint, who have spent quite a bit of time fighting though Ultron’s robot army in an attempt to find a way to stop him. Meanwhile, Ultron destroys nearly all of civilization, manages to run into Thanos, and makes everything worse by killing him and getting the rest of the Infinity Stones. I thought it was kind of hilarious that Ultron was able to kill Thanos by just cutting him in half with the mind stone. As if Vision could have done that in ‘Infinity War’ and saved everyone a lot of time. Anyways, the Infinity Stones elevate Ultron to a higher level of understanding and awareness. I was expecting the Watcher to get dragged into the story, but watching Ultron turn around and approach the Watcher was chilling. The Watcher retreats to check up on Natasha and Clint in the hopes of seeing them succeed in their efforts to get rid of Ultron. The scene that occurs after this proves two things. Clint’s defeatist attitude isn’t all that endearing and Natasha is SO MUCH better in ‘What If…?’. Natasha’s sarcasm is charming, but beyond this Natasha is capable and no longer overly sexualized. In this episode alone she kicks ass with Steve’s shield, makes all of the plans to destroy Ultron, and renews the Watcher’s faith in humanity after Clint nearly disappoints him. She’s truly the standout here. The end of the episode sees Natasha team up with Zola to try to infect Ultron with Zola’s computer program. It leads to Clint’s death, which isn’t all that sad considering how frustrating he was throughout the entire episode. As that happens, Ultron nearly kills the Watcher while challenging him to intervene. So he does. He contacts the only other person who’s become aware of his existence, Stephen Strange, and decides to get his hands dirty.

‘What If… The Watcher Broke His Oath?’:

This finale starts out pretty well, though I do have some gripes about Peggy’s introduction. It starts with the opening sequence from ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, which comes off as more cringe-worthy than fun. That said, I laughed when T’Challa was introduced by saving poor Peter Quill who works at a Dairy Queen, from his god-like father. We also finally get to see Gamora! This version of Gamora apparently teamed up with Tony and single-handedly killed Thanos. I really wish we could have had a whole episode about this, but it’s still a nice concept. Thor is taken by the Watcher literally kicking and screaming, and Killmonger is here too. For some reason. They’re all brought to Stephen Strange and the Watcher establishes them as the Guardians of the Multiverse. Their plan to defeat Ultron is to use a very convenient device Gamora has that destroys Infinity Stones. It seems a bit too convenient, but just wait! It is. After the group meets up with Natasha, they try to use the device on Ultron. It fails because it was made to destroy the Infinity Stones in Gamora’s universe only. The fight that they discover this in is, let’s be honest, mostly being done by Stephen Strange. Strange uses a really strong protection spell to make all of our heroes impervious to any and all damage, meanwhile he packs a punch with all of the different horrific beasts he consumed in his solo episode. It’s Natasha who ends it all, though, by vaulting herself up to Ultron while Stephen’s distracting him and infecting him with the virus she obtained last episode. And then Killmonger makes the unsurprising decision to just take the Infinity Stones for himself. Which lasts all of five seconds. Is it just me, or did the ‘What If…?’ series make Killmonger seem like an annoying nuisance? None of the interesting parts of his character seem to be intact. Stephen is the villain/anti-hero of interest here. Despite the horrible things he’s done, and his horrible episode, Stephen fights the darkness within him, literally, in every scene. And It’s Stephen who sacrifices himself and becomes a Watcher to end the scramble for the Infinity Stones. The episode ends with the Watcher promising to defend the multiverse. He’s definitely broken his oath now.

That’s it! While I didn’t like everything these episodes did, I really liked them overall! Party Thor was a nice break from the more serious themes before we dove into the last two episodes. I loved the redemption arc they created for Stephen Strange as well as the friendship between Peggy and Natasha. And Natasha herself was so well done in every episode she was in. But Gamora’s concept, while good, was all but wasted and everything interesting about Killmonger didn’t seem to be present in these episodes. Just like the rest of the season, there were some high highs and low lows. But the point was to enjoy some random concepts that couldn’t be done in the MCU, and for the most part, I did.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

K-Pop: ATEEZ ‘Deja Vu’ vs. ‘Eternal Sunshine’

Promotional image of the ‘Deja Vu’ music video. (From left) Choi Jongho, Kang Yeosang, Jeong Yunho, Choi San, Kim Hongjoong, Jung Wooyoung, Song Mingi, and Park Seonghwa.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Before the release of ‘Fever Part. 3’ there was a huge battle on the internet, promoted by ATEEZ of course, that pitted the song teasers for “Deja Vu” and “Eternal Sunshine” against each other. This war between songs was said by KQ to be the deciding factor of which of the two songs would become the title track of ‘Fever Part 3’. We had everything from celebrity voting to fan voting, until we finally saw the result of all the polls, which was “Deja Vu”. Personally, “Deja Vu” is one of my favorite songs that they’ve ever done so I was rooting for that one. But we were asked to choose over only a couple clips. We only recently received the full amount of content for both songs; which includes both the song and the respective music video for each song. So did “Deja Vu” still win out for me in the end?

Song:

ATEEZ as a group is well acquainted with more lighthearted tracks, such as “Wave”, and more dance heavy tracks, such as “THANXX”. ATEEZ has brilliantly tackled many genres of music over their surprisingly short career so far. They seriously have the knowledge and experience of a group that has been in the game for far longer. When I first heard the clip for “Eternal Sunshine”, I was immediately sold. It sounded a bit like some of their other lighthearted music and I always love what they bring to the table with those. When I first heard “Deja Vu”, I was utterly shocked. The transition between the slower nature of the verses and the faster and hard hitting nature of the chorus was not something I had heard before. In fact, I don’t think many of us have heard anything like that song before. There was something about it that immediately packed a punch while also soothing you at the same time. In any other case it might sound like an odd combo. But ATEEZ are the Kings of trying something brand new and immediately mastering it. Now that both songs are out, was “Deja Vu” as shocking to me in its entirety? Yeah! In the initial snippet we got of “Deja Vu” (that I played so many times before the actual song came out that it’s not even funny), we get the quick raps delivered by Mingi and Hongjoong at the end of the song. In the actual song we saw a lot more rap than I was expecting. It added even more of an unexpected nature to it that I loved. “Eternal Sunshine” blew me away with vocals specifically. There were high notes hit that I wasn’t initially expecting from the song. But I was not able to get over the pleasantly shocking nature of “Deja Vu”, so my vote still has to go with the voted title track. This round goes to “Deja Vu”.

Music Videos:

The MV for “Deja Vu” came out quite a few weeks before the MV for “Eternal Sunshine” was released. In fact “Eternal Sunshine” came out a day ago compared to the three weeks that “Deja Vu” has already been out. So you know I had already been streaming that “Deja Vu” MV nonstop. And can you blame me? This one started out with all of them underground in black leather and then ended with them in the rain. Not to mention this choreography is some of the best, most intense, and smooth looking choreography that they’ve ever done. Each scene highlights them perfectly. Hongjoong looks like the perfect smooth Peter Pan with his orange hair leading the group, and everyone else is also showing off some of their best looks. It’s a MV that’s difficult to look away from. Then yesterday the MV for “Eternal Sunshine” was released, and this has to be one of the cutest MV’s I’ve ever seen for anything. In it we get pairings off of several members. Mingi and Jongho have a lot of fun in a sky blue area. Yunho and Yeosang ride the subway together. San and Wooyoung appear together on a court (and then fly together afterwards). Seonghwa and Hongjoong appear separately in their more solo shots, with Seonghwa in a car and Hongjoong being hilariously dragged across the floor of a subway. They all appear together often too, and they all just look so happy. The image of Yunho and Mingi hugging in the MV was one of the major things that went viral. (I seriously will never be able to express how glad I am to have Mingi back.) Between these two MV’s, I really don’t think I can choose one. They are both so different and amazing in their own ways. This round is a tie.

Aesthetic:

We have to talk about the aesthetics because neither of them are a stranger to ATEEZ. We see them tackle almost an equal amount of dark and light concepts. These were particularly noticeable though, especially because their aesthetics were part of what was used to pit the songs against each other. In general, I usually prefer dark concepts by a small margin. Very small. Because I always love the cuteness of the lighter concepts too! But I actually bought the blue “Fever Part. 3” album, which is the photo book that contains the dark concept pictures for “Deja Vu”. I also want to mention (in utter disbelief) that I pulled both Yunho photo cards. I never pull my bias for any other group but for some reason I always pull Yunho for ATEEZ. That aside, I love the pictures for the photo book and my heart has to go with these looks. The photoshoot in water worked so well for this aesthetic. But the looks for “Eternal Sunshine” are also amazing! I love the large hats and the brightly colored jackets. And that sky blue aesthetic is one that I always love. For me, I personally see ATEEZ as the masters of that darker and more hardcore aesthetic. So, I think I’m also going to have to give this round to “Deja Vu”.

TMA:

I would add performances into the mix too, but we haven’t seen a lot when it comes to performances for “Eternal Sunshine” yet. We’ve had a couple performances, but mostly we’ve gotten “Deja Vu”. Though now that the MV for “Eternal Sunshine” is out, we can expect a lot more of that coming up soon. Some people are theorizing that we may even see stages for “ROCKY” soon, which I would also love. But for now I’ve been binge watching their amazing performances and fan-cams from “Deja Vu” stages. And also, my attention has been completely stolen by their performance at TMA. Mostly because it hit me while I was watching the performance that this was the first time that we saw Mingi perform “I’m the One” and I completely lost it over that. After that though, they had an amazing performance of “Eternal Sunshine” that they performed all in black and still managed to perfectly pull off the lighthearted nature of that song. And then they did a seamless transition into “Deja Vu”. It feels impossible to connect those two songs, but they did it. I have to say, you don’t see many groups out there who feel the need to have a transition piece between songs, but now that’s what I want every group to do after seeing ATEEZ pull it off so well. This felt like one piece to me because of the transition, so once again this round is a tie. I can’t choose one. And they won an “Artist of the Year” award!

So “Deja Vu” did win this for me, but I think literally every song on this album is a win. ATEEZ couldn’t fail with what they prepared for this comeback. Between both their most recent projects, what we saw from ATEEZ on ‘Kingdom’ and now this, I am personally both excited and not ready for what they will inevitably release next. I’m never ready. They always find some way to completely surprise me and leave me with my jaw on the floor. And they only seem to get better and better. At this rate they’ll surpass everyone. And I will be there every step of the way.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie