K-Pop and K-Dramas: Happy Birthday Jung Hoseok!

Concept photo of J-Hope (Jung Hoseok) from the “BE” album. Copyright goes to Big Hit Entertainment and BTS.

Hey! Hallie here!

Jung Hoseok, or J-Hope, is turning a year older on February 18th! However, considering South Korea is quite a bit ahead of my time zone, that means he will be celebrating his birthday tomorrow. In the interest of getting this post out in time for this marvelous man’s birthday, I’m going to go ahead and say an early happy birthday to my bias! Hoseok will be turning 27, or 28 in Korea. Which is absolutely insane considering he was 19 years old when BTS debuted. Since BTS’s debut he’s released several amazing solo songs and an entire mixtape of his own. His songs are considered some of the best in the entire K-Pop industry, and it isn’t hard to see why. Between singing about his desire to make others happy, to confessing the struggles he faces as a figure meant to represent only positive thinking, Hoseok makes music that is easy to love and relate to. So for his birthday, I’ll be going through all of his released solo music to look at the powerful messages and fun songs he’s gifted to us over the years. Let’s get into this!

“1 Verse”:

This was J-Hope’s first solo release. It’s rap heavy and shows off his major skills, especially with flow. This track is directly addressing his haters. At the time BTS’s rappers were, and sometimes still are, attacked for “Idol” rapping. Many disregarded the praise BTS’s rap line were receiving because BTS is considered an Idol group, and therefore attempted to criticize the rap line for being sub-par compared to “real” rappers. The entire rap line has responded to these comments with diss tracks of their own, but this one is the one J-Hope released. This track directly challenges his haters by showing off just how powerful J-Hope’s rapping is. It criticizes them for only looking at him on the surface and shows them not only that they underestimate him, but that they aren’t even on his level. J-Hope mainly uses the track to tell his naysayers that their hate doesn’t effect him at all and that he’ll continue getting the praise and recognition he deserves. It insults the negative commenters and tells them that they aren’t worth his time all at once, and it’s incredibly satisfying to listen to.

“Intro: Boy Meets Evil”

This song was the introduction to the “Wings” album and it showed off just how dark Hoseok could go. In it, Hoseok talks about how his ambitions and success have made him greedy for more and are consuming his life. He talks about how he can’t escape his fame now that he has it, and while it’s terrifying, it’s also enticing. The entire song balances a bleak look at his fame with the sweetness he also sees in it. It’s an admirably blunt look at his career. It also showcases his amazing singing voice with some intensely captivating rapping. This is one of those songs that you NEED to look up the music video for. Hoseok choreographed a dance piece that is so insanely complicated and badass, you can’t help but admire his talent.


“MAMA” was a song written to thank Hoseok’s mother for being a major influence on him. It details what his life was like growing up with his mother and how much she supported his dreams. The lyrics talk about how she had to work hard to financially support him. Hoseok tops it all off by telling his mother how grateful he is for her support and how he feels he is finally able to support her back and make her proud. It’s a sweet song that focuses on Hoesok’s strong singing voice more than many of his other songs. He also admitted that it touched his mother so much, she cried when she first listened to it. And who wouldn’t?

“Hope World”

I could go into detail on every song of this album, but it would take a very long time. So I’m going to do an overview of it. The concept of the album is an idealistic world that fans can visit when they are sad or depressed. It provides upbeat melodies and hopeful vibes that very much reflect his stage name, J-Hope. In the title song he talks about how happy he is with his life and he invites fans to be happy along with him. In “P.O.P (Piece of Peace) Pt.1” he talks about how he knows what it’s like to struggle, but he encourages listeners to find happiness within themselves and to use his music to find strength. In “Daydream” he reminds his audience about the dual life he must live between his personal life and his public life. J-Hope wishes that he could always be himself without being judged by the public, but knows he also has to be a role model to his fans. “Base Line” is another track where J-Hope disregards his haters and conveys how hard he worked to be where he is now. “HANGSANG” reveals how grateful he is to be experiencing the incredible life he has with his seven best friends. Despite the fact that it’s his solo album, he’s heartwarmingly quick to mention how grateful he is for the members of BTS. “Airplane” is a song that was so appreciated by BTS, the group made a sequel to it. J-Hope uses the song to look back at how far he’s come and how grateful he is to be so successful. “Blue Side (Outro)” ends the album with both nostalgic desire for the innocence of his past and a wish that the listeners could stay in Hope World with him. The entire album shows the complexity of J-Hope while still attempting to share a positive outlook with the world.

“Trivia: Just Dance”

Hoseok uses this song to tell a love story through the frame of dancing, one of his biggest passions. He talks about sharing the same rhythm with someone and compares dancing together to falling in love. It’s a beautiful song that focuses a lot on his singing. It also has some impressive choreography that I highly recommend checking out.

“Chicken Noodle Soup”

This song is majorly influenced by the 2006 song of the same name. The original song, by Webstar and Young B, was something J-Hope listened to a lot when he was first learning to dance. He paid royalties in advance to pay tribute to it, and he eventually decided to bring Becky G into the project. The lyrics they wrote for the song are in their native languages and demonstrate both love for their heritage, and how hard they’ve worked to be recognized for their talent. It’s a fun song with some surprisingly impactful lyrics.

“Outro: Ego”

This track takes an even deeper look into what Hoseok struggled through to get where he is. It talks about self doubt and depression. But he ultimately shares how he learned to trust himself and is now more confident in the decisions he makes. Just like many of his other songs, Hoseok is up front about his struggles. He shares that he hasn’t been optimistic all the time, despite the hopefulness many expect of him. But he also encourages fans to be hopeful about their own futures and to pursue their dreams. This song is upbeat and fun to listen to, but you can’t help but appreciate it’s deeper meaning.

That’s all of Hoseok’s solo work so far. He also was the main writer for the song “Disease”, which talks about his relationship with work, especially during the pandemic. Hoseok is known for his happy and upbeat songs. But he’s also known for his very honest depictions of his life. While many people, including myself, find his optimism extremely inspiring, I sometimes find his honesty about his mental health even more inspiring. J-Hope’s smile lights up a room, his dancing makes you gasp in awe, and his laughter is contagious. His sound effects and loud screaming instantly make anyone within earshot happier. But his kindness and integrity are just as beautiful. I couldn’t have picked a better bias. Thank you for everything Jung Hoseok, and Happy Birthday!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


ATEEZ: Common Misconceptions About ATEEZ

Promotional image of (top left) Jeong Yunho, Choi Jongho, Jung Wooyoung, Song Mingi, (bottom left) Kang Yeosang, Choi San, Kim Hongjoong, and Park Seonghwa. Copyright of KQ Entertainment.

Hi! It’s Annie!

With every song I listen to of ATEEZ’s discography, they only seem to get better. Their songs are more and more addictive the more I listen to them. Of course, this also means that I actually had to look more into the band. Despite many people seeming to support them now and more people being able to identify their work, it still feels like a lot of people don’t really know about the amazing members. I honestly feel the same way about myself considering I barely knew them when I wrote my last post about them. So, now that I’ve officially become an ATiny who really wants to go to their concerts, I figured I would talk about common misconceptions about the members. Including misconceptions that I’ve made.

Hongjoong is too carefree to be the leader : At first glance, Hongjoong seems to be one of the most carefree members. He has a killer style and his sense of humor is always apparent. He can generally be seen cracking jokes in many of their variety shows, so many people don’t necessarily think of him as the typical father-like leader that we see from many groups. Even though, Hongjoong is definitely this. And I’m not just saying this because he recently dressed up as a grandfather for one of their variety shows. The other members will often tease Hongjoong for nagging them and he’s known for keeping the rest of the members on track and for writing much of their music. He does keep spirits up, but he’s extremely hardworking and definitely the father of the group.

Seonghwa is probably really intimidating off-stage : I mentioned this a little bit in my last post, but Seonghwa is a master of duality. On stage he sometimes even appears to be a demon with his facial expressions and intensity. Off stage, Seonghwa is a giant sweetheart and softie. He is known for being the mother of the group, a role that he has acknowledged and seems to view with pride. In the episode where Hongjoong was dressed as a grandfather; Seonghwa was the grandmother. Sometimes when one of the members is frustrated at another for not sharing, one of them will go and get Seonghwa. While Hongjoong will nag the other members about the group itself in order to get them to work as a team, Seonghwa is often teased for nagging them about their health and cleanliness. But don’t think for a second that he is not aware of his duality. He has talked several times about how proud he is of his onstage persona. He is a sweetheart, but he totally knows that he’s doing this to us.

Yunho doesn’t have much duality : There is duality when it comes to every member of ATEEZ, but I feel like Yunho’s duality is some of the most impressive. He is one of the tallest members of ATEEZ and he’s often centered because of his vocals, making him extremely noticeable. Off the stage he is the biggest puppy dog you will ever see in your life, both literally and figuratively. He jokes around with the other members a lot and is also sweet with literally all of them. He kind of becomes the leaning post for many of them during interviews. I mean, they all lean on each other a lot, but Yunho will stand there and hug the other person most of the time. Despite this, his sense of humor is one of the most teasing of the group. This often results in him cracking jokes to ease the tension between members. There are so many sides to Yunho’s personality and his puppy attitude definitely comes off as more intimidating onstage.

Yeosang is really closed off : I see this one a lot and I kind of understand. If you watch some interviews he can definitely seem like that initially. I think the best way to realize that there’s more to him than meets the eye is to watch one of his fancams of ‘THANXX’. Specifically the one where they’re all wearing white and his hair is blonde. Right before the chorus on the second salute, Yeosang will often do his infamous pout and it’s the most adorable thing ever. Yeosang is known for being really cute in the group and also with fans. He often plays up his cuteness too. This can be difficult for new fans to see between his intimidatingly statue-like looks, his quietness in interviews, his very deep voice, and his tendency to hoard chicken. Yeosang really loves his chicken. Yeosang is an introvert who has talked about having symptoms of anxiety before, so all of this is completely relatable. But Yeosang is also the member most likely to lean on other members. (Side note: This is probably why you often see Yeosang leaning on Yunho.) If you look a little more into Yeosang, you’ll realize that he has just as much duality as everyone else.

San is extroverted and overly masculine : I also could have put there that a common misconception is that San is the main dancer. But that’s something I’ve already talked about a lot and really only takes a second to debunk. San didn’t even really dance before he started the group, which is insane to me. But it may surprise you to find out that San actually identifies as an introvert. Whenever he’s not putting time into training and getting fit, he’s generally at home playing games or sleeping. And while San might seem very masculine, he also has a cuter side too! San sleeps with many stuffed animals (he really likes one that Yunho gave him) and he took his stuffed animal, Shiber, with him to Universal Studios in Hollywood. He’s just as much of a softie as the other members of the group!

Mingi doesn’t take things seriously : I’ve seen this a lot from newer fans who come into interviews and see that Mingi is one of the ones who is joking around the most. A lot of people seem to say this also because he seems to have a very “cool” persona on stage. I don’t understand this. Though Hongjoong writes most of the music, Mingi is one of the only other members who has contributed to helping write their music. He can act like a kid sometimes, but he’s also one of the members quickest to sober up if need be. Recently, Mingi noticed that he was having issues with anxiety and decided to get help for it. That’s an incredibly admirable and mature thing to do. Mingi honestly deserves more recognition for how mature he can be.

Wooyoung is absent-minded : Wooyoung is the member of this group with the cutest persona and I often find that group members that have this persona will be accused of this. Wooyoung is one of the youngest of the group and teases many of the members. He’s known for teasing Seonghwa a lot. But I feel like this accusation comes mostly because of the entire controversy around Wooyoung and San being best friends even though Wooyoung was Yeosang’s best friend first. I don’t think we know everything about that situation and I don’t think we should be drawing conclusions when it’s really none of our business. The group seems to be on good terms with each other and that should be enough for us. Wooyoung, just like everyone in this group, is young and still learning. But he also has shown an incredible maturity in caring for the other members of the group on multiple occasions. Sometimes he’ll even play peace-maker. I think this goes for most people in this industry, but I definitely think that Wooyoung is mature for his age.

Jongho must be popular because he’s the main vocalist so there’s no need to support him : I have seen too many people think this and it’s just wrong. I think this mentality is also why Jongho seems to be one of the most underappreciated members. Firstly, no matter the popularity of a singular member of a group, they all need support. Secondly, Jongho’s voice is absolutely insane and out of this world, that’s even more reason to support him. Jongho has one of the best voices in the industry in my opinion. He’s also an adorable maknae who is weirdly strong and naturally hilarious. Jongho should be noticed for his personality just as much as he is noticed for his voice.

There you have it! Those are the most popular misconceptions I see about each individual member of ATEEZ! I hope some of these revelations will shock you or you’ll at least learn something that you didn’t know before. All of them are very endearing and this is another group where you can definitely feel that they are all very close. But, obviously, it’s really nice to get to know them all individually as well!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Book Adaptations: The Best Adaptations of Hades and Persephone

Art of Persephone and Hades from the WEBTOON “Lore Olympus”. All credit goes to the creator, Rachel Smythe.

Hey! Hallie here!

It’s pretty late in the day on Valentine’s Day, but I couldn’t leave you guys without a Valentine’s Day post. Today I’m going to be talking about my favorite fictional couple, Hades and Persephone. Calling this a book adaptations post is a bit of a stretch considering all of the texts that come together to give us the original mythos of Hades and Persephone. Regardless, their story is so incredibly interesting that many authors and artists have decided to try their hand at an adaptation. So in honor of this, and the fact that they’re one of the only couples in Greek mythology to have any sort of healthy relationship, I’m going to talk about my favorite adaptations of this couple!

“Lore Olympus”:

This one might be the most popular adaptation of Hades and Persephone right now. In it Persephone is a young college student with a very overbearing mother and Hades is a businessman in a toxic relationship with his secretary. They both attend one of Zeus’ parties where Aphrodite hears Hades remark that Persephone is more beautiful than Aphrodite. Which never ends well in any story Aphrodite is a part of. She arranges for her son to get Persephone drunk and promptly dump her in the back of Hades’ car, where she hopes Persephone will make a fool of herself and make Hades regret his words. However, both of them become immediately interested in one another. Throughout the series Persephone struggles with her feelings for Hades. Especially because her college scholarship was given to her by a group of virgin goddesses called The Goddesses of Eternal Maidenhood, who expect Persephone to eventually join them. Persephone also has a few dark secrets, one of which being that she lost control of her powers and killed a mortal after a group of mortals killed a few nymphs she grew up with. Hades, on the other hand, has to balance his feelings for Persephone over his attempts to be loyal to the nymph Minthe, despite her constant unkindness and gaslighting. Hades and Persephone are a very cute couple in this adaptation and there’s no kidnapping involved! They’re interested in each other the first time they meet, but it takes them a long time to admit their feelings for one another given how many other things they have to deal with. The web-comic is a nice slow burn and it’s free to read! I definitely recommend it!


If you’ve been on this blog recently, you’ve seen me talk about my love for ‘Hadestown’. To be honest, the adaptation of Hades and Persephone in the show is one of the reasons I was drawn to it in the first place. This adaptation isn’t a retelling of the original mythos, unlike “Lore Olympus”. Instead, it’s an exploration of what Hades and Persephone’s relationship might be like hundreds of years after they married. In the original mythos, Hades fears that Persephone will never come back if she leaves to help her mother bring Spring and Summer back to the world. So he has her eat pomegranate seeds to bind her to the Underworld. ‘Hadestown’ takes this action as a majorly informative part of Hades and Persephone’s relationship. Hades becomes so concerned that Persephone will refuse to return to him every time she leaves, that he keeps bringing her back to the Underworld earlier and earlier. As a result, the weather in the mortal realm becomes harsh and unpredictable. Many people starve without crops or freeze to death in the cold. Persephone becomes so upset with the turn of events, and feels so trapped in the Underworld, that she becomes an alcoholic. Meanwhile, Hades turns his attention to making the Underworld like the mortal realm so Persephone will be happier in the Underworld. He overworks and dehumanizes the souls he sets to work on these projects, however, which makes Persephone more upset. By the end of it, most of the characters rightfully blame Persephone’s alcoholism and Hades’ blinding fear of losing Persephone for much of their misfortune. And for most of the show Persephone and Hades can be seen arguing. But Orpheus and Euridice’s plight makes Persephone decide to sober up, and Orpheus’ song opens Hades eyes to the mistakes he’s been making. By the end of the musical they haven’t fully forgiven one another, but they promise to work on their relationship once it’s all over. This adaptation is one of the most creative and interesting versions of Hades and Persephone’s relationship and I can’t recommend this musical enough.

There are many more adaptations of Hades and Persephone, and many books retelling their story in various settings, but these two adaptations have stood out to me as especially exceptional. I see a lot of authors, especially Young Adult authors, portraying Persephone as helpless and naïve and Hades as a brooding bad boy. But I think those adaptations miss the point. Many times in mythology Persephone is presented as an intimidating and frightening queen of the Underworld. She’s considered Hades’ equal in the Underworld and sometimes she’s even mentioned more than him. Hades, on the other hand, is more lenient than many other Greek gods. Any adaptation that shows Persephone’s power and allows Hades to be more laid back than the insane villain most media has portrayed him as, has my immediate respect. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


Book Adaptations: The Best Cinderella Movies

Brandy as Cinderella in Rodger and Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella’ (1997). Copyright goes to the Walt Disney Company.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Recently, Roger and Hammerstein’s ‘Cinderella’ was finally put on Disney + for Valentine’s Day. Though this version of Cinderella was seemingly forgotten for a while, it is still known to be one of the best and most iconic depictions of the story. It has taken far too long for this version of the story to appear in a way that’s easily accessible. Especially for how good it is. But, obviously, there have been many many versions of Cinderella in several mediums over the years. In honor of this movie, I want to list my top five film adaptations of the story of Cinderella. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

5. Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted is actually based off of a book that took inspiration from many different fairytales, but mostly Cinderella. Hence the name, ‘Ella Enchanted’. This movie depicts a woman who lives with her evil stepmother and stepsisters and eventually meets and falls in love with a Prince; but that isn’t actually the full point. Ella was cursed as a child to be obedient, so she must do anything that is asked of her. Her main goal throughout the film is to break the curse and gain her freedom. Through her adventures she becomes friends with an elf who resents entertainment and wants to become the first elf lawyer and a sarcastic book. She also meets Prince Char, a cocky prince who is sure that everyone must be in love with him and is shocked when Ella isn’t. This movie stars Anne Hathaway and also features her singing a cover of a ‘Queen’ song. This is definitely not your conventional Cinderella movie, but that’s what makes it that much more fun. Also, if you’ve ever wanted to see Cary Elwes, Westley from ‘The Princess Bride’, play a mustache twirling evil villain, this movie has got you covered. He’s both evil and comedic. This is a very entertaining, different, and cute version of Cinderella.

4. Disney’s Cinderella

This is the classic adaptation of Cinderella that everyone’s seen. It’s also one of the movies that ensured the success of the Walt Disney company. It’s probably the most basic version of this story to exist in film. Here you have the basic story without the more gory bits, like the stepsisters cutting off parts of their feet or the birds pecking their eyes out. The only problem with this story is that this is the only adaptation of the story on this list where Cinderella has no agency. Everything happens to her rather than her going out and trying to do something. But this movie is still the classic story of a dreamer experiencing her dream coming true. Though the love at first sight isn’t really advisable, it is still a romantic and enjoyable movie. Maybe the story isn’t memorably changed, but it will probably remain the most classic and popular version of Cinderella to be made.

3. Cinderella (2015)

This is one of the only live action movies that Disney has made that I like. Partly because you can hardly call it a live action version of the animated film since it’s such a different version of Cinderella. This adaptation spends much of the movie actually focusing on the characters of Cinderella and Prince Kit. Yay, Prince Charming finally has an actual name! Or at least a nickname. I also definitely prefer the adaptations where Cinderella and the Prince have met and talked before the events of the Ball, so that they at least know something about each other. Cinderella and Kit are attracted to each other because of their kindness, not only towards each other but to everyone around them. Also, the quote “have courage and be kind” is one that everyone should hear. The story of Cinderella is first and foremost about a young woman getting through a difficult time with kindness and hope, and this movie is a perfect example of that. It’s also really nice to have an adaptation of Cinderella where Cinderella eventually stands up for herself against her stepmother. She also tells her stepmother that she forgives her at the end in a really powerful scene. Though this isn’t a very different version of Cinderella, it presents the classic story in a beautiful way.

2. Ever After

This adaptation and the one that I put at number one are practically tied for me and it’s difficult to choose between one or the other. They are both some of my favorite movies of all time. The reason why I put this here is simply because this is definitely not an adaptation that stays particularly true to the original story. I would say it diverts from it even more than ‘Ella Enchanted’. Ever After depicts the life of Danielle de Barbarac played by Drew Barrymore, a woman who you are told was the inspiration for the Cinderella tale in this fictional universe. She is a poor woman who also is abused by her stepmother and stepsisters and has a very close relationship with the other servants in her household. When her stepmother sells one of the other servants into slavery, Danielle disguises herself as a noblewoman so that she can order his release. Through a series of events, this makes the Prince believe she is of noble birth and feels free to fall in love with her because of this. Eventually he discovers the truth and becomes angry, but it ends happily. This film includes a fictional depiction of Leonardo da Vinci and a scene where Danielle and the prince are surrounded by thieves and she is told that she can keep whatever she can carry, prompting her to pick up the Prince. Danielle is a complete badass, but this adaptation only keeps a few elements from the original tale. Even so, it’s a romantic and deeply complex version of the tale.

1. Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1997):

Everything about this movie is gorgeous; the cast, the set, the colors, the music, the singing. It is a classic version of the story that remains pretty true to the original, but tweaks the story in ways that are seemingly perfect. Firstly, we need to talk about the cast. Brandy carries this movie as Cinderella and her singing voice is beyond gorgeous. Then we have Paolo Montalban as the Prince who is definitely the most dreamy version of the character that I have ever seen in my life. This movie also has the likes of Whitney Houston, Bernadette Peters, and Whoopi Goldberg. Every member of the cast absolutely shines in their roles to the point that they all seem like standouts. It’s also really nice to see such a diverse cast because we have definitely seen enough predominantly white versions of this story. Cinderella herself is given more agency in the plot when the Fairy Godmother tells her that making her dreams come true is up to her. The notion of love at first sight is also questioned in this adaptation with a meeting between Cinderella and the Prince before the Ball and the questioning of “do I love you because you’re wonderful or are you wonderful because I love you?”. The acting is on point and it’s difficult to not find this version touching. It seems like every song has some of sort of relatability to it. Especially now when everyone is stuck inside and the main characters are singing about how they feel like they’re living the same days over and over again. That one really hits home.

Really, any tale of Cinderella would be a good choice to watch on Valentine’s Day. Or, as I should also call it for myself and a lot of other people out there, SAD (Singles Awareness Day). So don’t be sad on SAD! We all can daydream in our own little corners in our own little chairs until this all passes and we can get out there again! I hope this gave you some ideas of what to watch and I also hope that you’ll take care of your mental health and not be too sad! Happy Valentine’s Day! And remember to have courage and be kind now more than ever.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Marvel: ‘WandaVision’ Episode 6 Review

Screenshot of Elizabeth Olsen in Episode 6 of ‘WandaVision’. Copyright goes to Marvel Studios and Disney.

Hey! Hallie here!

Once again this episode was crazy. Every episode I feel like the tension can’t rise any further, and every episode I’m proven wrong. There’s so much to talk about, so I’m just going to jump right into it. SPOILERS ahead.

What I Liked:

Wanda: This episode explored Wanda’s character a little less than previous episodes have. She was really into her role as the 90’s mother and she didn’t seem entirely eager to break character. Even when she discovered Vision had lied to her about aiding the neighborhood watch for Halloween patrols. She was, however, extremely suspicious of Pietro. We saw her actually begin to question why Pietro didn’t look the way she remembered him. We saw her getting closer to him but still hesitating to tell him anything personal. And, eventually, we saw her lose her cool and send him flying after he made a bad joke about Vision’s death. Wanda did, however, tell Pietro that she had no idea how she had created Westview. This might imply that someone else helped her create Westview. Whether she knows this person or not, as well as whether or not this person has good or bad intentions, is yet to be seen. We do know that a few things in Westview have been beyond Wanda’s control, like Pietro’s appearance, and that does seem to imply that someone else is playing a role here. Wanda also demonstrated the ability to grow the area affected by her alternate reality. In growing the area to prevent Vision from dying, she also turned SWORD into a huge circus and swept Darcy along for the ride. Whether she’s fully in control or not, her powers only seem to be growing and there are very few people who can stop her now.

Vision: Vision wasn’t in the mood to play Wanda’s perfect husband right from the beginning of the episode. When Wanda thanked him for wearing his ridiculous Halloween costume, he was very blunt about the fact that it was the only thing in his closet. But immediately afterwards he was sweeter to her. His sweetness turned out to be a ploy so she would trust him enough to let him leave. After he lied to her about his plans for the evening, he decided to wander out to the edge of Westview. There he found people acting like nothing more than robots set to fill space. He also ran into Agnes who “took a wrong turn”. He disconnected her from Wanda’s spell, as he did before, and Agnes informed him that he was both an Avenger and dead, neither of which he remembers. Eventually he found the barrier to Wanda’s alternate reality. As many suspected, though, his attempts to leave Wanda’s alternate reality began to kill him, returning him to the state he was in before Wanda created everything. Wanda barely saved his life, but her distrust of him after his attempts to leave might turn their relationship even more hostile than it was before.

Pietro: Pietro was undoubtedly the strangest part of this episode. Pietro knows exactly what’s going on. He knows that he’s stuck in an alternate reality of Wanda’s creation. He’s able to reminisce with her about their parents and events that happened in the real world. And he was weirdly pushy about asking her questions. Especially about how she created the alternate reality. He was so pushy that even Wanda was suspicious, which is something that SWORD has avoided when sending people in to talk to Wanda in the past. Pietro seems like a plant, or in the very least he’s someone from an outside world attempting to gain information. While this could mean that Pietro is from an alternate universe and his memories are simply there because of the effects of Wanda’s spell, it could also mean that Pietro isn’t exactly who he appears to be. It’ll be interesting to see who Pietro really is.

SWORD: SWORD seems to get more villainous each episode. Especially Director Hayward. This episode we learned that SWORD has been keeping it’s eye on Vision, not Wanda. In other words, their main priority isn’t stopping Wanda. It’s regaining possession of Vision. Which confirms the theory that Vision was being held by SWORD to create something dangerous of his remnants. This also means it’s very likely that Wanda stole Vision’s corpse out of necessity, which many suspected after we were shown the tape of Wanda stealing Vision’s body. Hayward attempted to have Monica, Jimmy, and Darcy removed, but Monica and Jimmy proved how badass they are by taking out the agents escorting them off premises. Monica and Jimmy left Darcy in order to gain Monica’s “way back into the Hex”. Because of this they were able to escape being overtaken by Wanda’s alternate reality when the barrier grew. However, Hayward also managed to escape. What either of them are planning next is a mystery, but it’s clear they’re going to need a lot more help if they’re going to stop Wanda.

What I have Questions About:

Is Wanda Really Behind All of This?: Is this just a demonstration of how Wanda’s powers have grown beyond what she even believed possible? Or is her confusion actually a sign that she isn’t the only person behind the creation of Westview?

Who is Pietro?: Is Pietro a plant sent by a different organization to gain information? Is Pietro a villain sent to push Wanda to her limits? Or is Pietro simply a Quicksilver from an alternate universe, likely tying in to Fox’s X-Men, trying to make sense of the new situation he’s in?

Who is Agnes?: Is Agnes actually Agatha Harkness? A large group of fans, including myself, thought that Agnes was absolutely Agatha Harkness. She seemed to know more about what was going on with Westview and she didn’t seem very surprised about Wanda’s display of powers. However, when Vision disconnected her from Wanda’s spell, she seemed like a normal person. Was she playing dumb while she was talking to Vision? Or is she really an innocent in all this?

Why Did Wanda Steal Vision’s Body from SWORD?: Did Wanda know what SWORD was doing with Vision? Did she always plan to bring Vision back or were there other motives to breaking him out of the SWORD facility?

What Happened to Darcy?: I hope Darcy is okay! Hopefully she’ll reunite with Jimmy and Monica soon!

Those are my thoughts on this week’s episode! I’m way too excited to see the next episode but, unfortunately, we’ll all have to wait until next week to see what happens next. We only have three episodes left and the story is already promising an exciting ending. I know I’ll miss this show when it’s all over.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


Superheroes: Female Representation and Masculinity

Screenshot of Brie Larson as Captain Marvel in ‘Avengers: Endgame’. Copyright goes to Marvel Entertainment and Disney.

Hi! It’s Annie!

The topic of female characters in superhero films has always been a rough one; but one of the most difficult topics to cover is the expected masculinity in women in major action roles. For years it’s seemed like in order for a woman to kick ass she also has to act more manly. How many times have we seen the badass character in a movie be overly tomboyish? A female character being tomboyish is in no way inherently wrong, but it becomes an issue if writers begin to restrict femininity in roles because they don’t think it’s strong. Because femininity is not and never has been weak. The severe lack of characters that have femininity as a trait in these movies shows that we still have much more work to do when it comes to depicting women in the media. Women can kick ass and be girly too and it’s something that we hardly ever see. So, I’m going to address some more recent female characters in action films that have been accused of being stripped of their femininity in order to seem more powerful. Let’s go!

Captain Marvel:

You could probably already tell by the photo above that she was going to be on here. More than any character I’ve ever seen, she has been accused the most of being written like a man. And, no, it’s not because of her new short hair or her deeper voice. A type of male character that is generally pretty popular in action films is the “strong but silent” type. They’re tough and “manly” and they generally never show emotions. This in itself is not a healthy depiction of anyone; man, woman, or nonbinary. Where Captain Marvel comes in here, is that is exactly the way she is accused of being depicted. She doesn’t really show any emotion and her main character trait is to be strong. By the end of the movie it feels a bit difficult to discern what exactly her personality is. Captain Marvel was written with a male trope in mind. And this is where we have our issue. Captain Marvel is not supposed to be a male superhero, she’s supposed to be a badass female one. She shouldn’t be written with any tropes in mind, male or female. Masculinity and femininity are just constructs and they always have been, but by trying to restrict one and make the character palatable to male audiences by using the other, Captain Marvel ended up being a blank slate of nothingness. We are told that she faces much of the sexism that women face in real life, but we never see her face much of what women face every day. Some of the scenes where she does were ultimately cut from the film. She is never criticized for being too feminine or not feminine enough as many women are. She is never questioned when she is “being too emotional”, despite the fact that when men in movies (and in real life) get angry they are seen as strong and when women get angry they are seen as hysterical. Captain Marvel never gets too angry or too emotional, she is never even a full character. The writers tiptoe around any criticism of her femininity by making it nonexistent. So what exactly is there to relate to here? Another male trope that shouldn’t even be used for male characters stuffed into a female character? Captain Marvel absolutely reeks of a female character being watered down and shoved into a recognizable box in order to make her more palatable to male audiences. We are not looking for female superheroes that are like male superheroes.

Claire “Jurassic World”:

Claire in Jurassic World was simply accused of being too masculine because of her job position and her seeming lack of caring towards her nephews. But neither of these things are in any way masculine. A woman being the equivalent to the CEO of a company is not a masculine thing; women are intelligent and should also have those jobs. Women are also allowed to not like kids or not have a instinct for taking care of children. Where Claire succeeds here is that she’s allowed to have feminine characteristics without being labeled as weak, and she’s also not stuffed with masculine stereotypes in order to be seen as strong. Growing up as a woman you are constantly asked by everyone whether you are girly or tomboyish; but no one is exactly one or the other. Claire realistically displays both masculine and feminine traits. Claire does not mind getting her hands dirty when it counts but she’s also not going to stand there and not show any emotion. Claire gets angry several times throughout the film and in no way are we told that she’s any lesser for it by the narrative. I do have to admit here that seeing her run in heels away from a dinosaur is a bit ridiculous, but in the end it doesn’t have much to do with her overall character. She is smarter than everyone else in the room and she is not shoved full of gendered tropes. And that’s partly to do with Bryce Dallas Howard. She was actually the one that forced the writers of ‘The Mandalorian’ to let Cara Dune be an actual woman rather than a stereotype (and hopefully any future female characters will benefit from that now that Cara Dune has been rightly taken off the show). Claire succeeds because she’s strong without being demure or sexless.

Again, talking about masculinity and femininity in movies is tough because they are both constructs that are being redefined every day as society continues to move forward. But, as I said, everyone is a mash of both. Men have been stripped of any and all feminine traits for decades now, and now that women are being given the spotlight we are seeing the same thing with them. Feminine traits are not something that should be stripped off of any character. They are not inherently weak traits. Being feminine is just as strong as being masculine and we need our media to reflect this. Saying that a woman is strong now because you’ve made her a giant masculine stereotype is absolutely ridiculous. And in most cases, stripping a character (of any gender identity) of femininity leaves them without a well-rounded personality. Showing emotion is, for some odd reason, seen as a feminine trait and any character that doesn’t show emotion is not relatable. It’s plain and simple.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Theatre: Why ‘Hadestown’ Is So Good

Eva Noblezada and Reeve Carney as Eurydice and Orpheus in ‘Hadestown’. Copyright goes to Hadestown, The Musical.

Hey! Hallie here!

Up until now I haven’t talked about Theatre at all. Which is actually weird for me because I have a college degree in Theatre. Musicals have always captured my interest more than straight plays. They can convey deep emotions and have a spectacle to them that plays hardly ever have. However, over the years a lot of musicals have followed a very old-fashioned way of thinking. Predominantly white casts are common, women sing songs that ask them to hit near-impossible notes, and men are still writing the majority of shows that make it to Broadway. Then ‘Hadestown’ came along. ‘Hadestown’ captures attention with their New Orleans-style set, jazzy folk songs, and interesting characters. It’s absolutely my favorite musical of all time and It’s worth exploring why this musical stands out amongst all the others that were brought to the Broadway stage. Let’s start with some background on the story.

Original Story:

‘Hadestown’ is a retelling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice from Greek mythology. In the original story, Orpheus is the son of the god Apollo and the muse Calliope. Because of his heritage, the music he created was so beautiful that no one could resist it. He falls in love with, and marries, a beautiful woman named Eurydice. However, after being married for some time, she gets bitten by a snake and dies. Orpheus uses his music to make his sorrow known to the gods, and with the protection of the gods he manages to journey down to the Underworld without dying. His skills with his lyre win over every creature of the underworld. So much so that when he presents himself in front of Hades and Persephone, Hades agrees to give him a chance to escape the underworld with Eurydice. Hades tells Orpheus that Eurydice must follow him out of the underworld, with the catch that Orpheus can’t turn around to look at her until they have escaped. Of course, Orpheus begins to believe Hades tricked him and turns around, trapping Eurydice in the underworld. This story has been brought to the stage before, but none of the retellings have done as many important things with the story as ‘Hadestown’ has.


Orpheus: Orpheus isn’t an amazing musician with heroic characteristics and very few flaws in ‘Hadestown’. Orpheus is a young boy who doesn’t know much about the world. He’s a talented musician and his genuine hopefulness in dark situations draw others to him. But he’s really awkward and often needs Hermes to look after him. Initially he comes off too strong when talking to Eurydice and he falls in love with her very quickly. When they finally decide to start a relationship, he ignores her when she’s suffering in favor of the song he’s working on. His love for her is genuine, though. He completely understands why she chose to go with Hades to the underworld and even feels guilty for ignoring her. He decides to go after her without hesitation, and unlike the original story, he doesn’t have the divine protection of the gods. He also doesn’t instantly win over Hades. Orpheus has to rally the other souls in the underworld against Hades and complete a song to repair the relationship between Hades and Persephone, in order to earn the chance to free Eurydice. And he still fails. All the work he had to do to free Eurydice makes him distrust Hades, and the once naïve boy becomes so skeptical of the people around him, and so worried about Eurydice, that he turns around.

Eurydice: As you can tell from the story above, Eurydice isn’t a very active character in the original mythology. Her main role is to be pretty, die, and make the tragedy of the story more potent. ‘Hadestown’ introduces an entirely new character with Eurydice. She’s only known poverty for most of her life and is initially skeptical of Orpheus’ life, apparently free of hard work. Eventually she is won over by his idealistic view of the world, but when he spends a harsh winter working on a song that won’t ultimately provide warmth or food for either of them, she becomes frustrated. When Hades offers to take her to a place where she won’t have to worry about poverty, she finds it difficult to turn down. She isn’t happy to accept. She knows she’s leaving Orpheus behind. But ultimately her fear of an unstable life and likely a miserable death causes her to choose to follow Hades. Eurydice is active in this story by choosing to go to the underworld herself. She does regret the decision after realizing what working under Hades is really like, but she stands by her reasoning. She doesn’t hate Orpheus for turning around, either. At the end of the story she has already accepted the fate she chose for herself.

Hades: Hades is much harsher in ‘Hadestown’ than he is in the original tale. From the beginning of the musical characters speak about longer, harsher, winters as a result of Hades’ reluctance to let Persephone leave the underworld for the warmer seasons. He’s also a tyrant who overworks all the souls in the underworld in order to build factories that will bring himself and Persephone more wealth and comfort. However, he doesn’t do these things because he’s cruel. He doesn’t want to part with Persephone for half the year because he fears that her time away has caused her to love him less. The wealth and comfort he wants are meant to be gifts for Persephone to prove his love. He simply doesn’t understand that these things are harming other people and causing Persephone to distance herself from him. He becomes angry at Persephone for ignoring him, brings Eurydice to the underworld in an effort to make Persephone jealous, and feels threatened when Orpheus begins rallying the souls of the underworld, including Persephone, to his cause. It isn’t until Orpheus completes a song reminding Hades that he’s been ignoring Persephone in his efforts to please her, that Hades realizes that he’s been wrong. He allows Orpheus and Eurydice to leave, but with the same task that Orpheus is given in the original mythology. In the musical Hades openly admits that if he and Persephone were to switch places with Orpheus and Eurydice, Hades himself would turn around. However, he has to balance his compassion with the reality that the rest of the souls shouldn’t be able to easily leave the underworld.

Persephone: Persephone, once again a very small presence in the original story, is probably the most entertaining character in ‘Hadestown’. She spends most of the musical drunk as a way of escaping how miserable her life has become. She enjoys coming to the living world to deliver Spring, but she hates how stifling and boring the underworld is. She also hates how harshly her husband has been treating the souls of the underworld, and the way he disregards the suffering of living humans when he keeps her in the underworld for too long. She argues with Hades frequently and even opens a speakeasy for the souls of the underworld, offering them sensations from the living world that they have missed since their death. Persephone becomes even more vocal about her opinions once Orpheus arrives in the underworld. She’s instantly angry at Hades for not letting Orpheus and Eurydice leave immediately after they arrived and openly admonishes him for being self-centered. She doesn’t hate Hades, though. She’s obviously very depressed about the strain in their marriage and becomes emotional when Hades decides to make amends. Persephone doesn’t completely forgive Hades, but she does appreciate the opportunity to put down the alcohol and work with him to create a healthier relationship.

Hermes: Hermes is a character brought into the musical to be a narrator. And he’s a very fun narrator. His only role in the story is to watch over Orpheus and to tell him how to get to the underworld. However, he sets the stage for many of the scenes throughout the musical. He also helps drive home the theme of the musical. Despite it’s sad ending, Hermes always praises Orpheus’ idealistic and hopeful nature. He points out that the reason the story is worth telling every time, despite it’s tragic end, is the hope that it will have a better ending next time. Despite the ways things are, there’s a hope that it can all be changed. Hermes presents himself to the audience as a teacher and a friend. And with all the dramatic flair he brings to the stage, you couldn’t ask for a better narrator.

What ‘Hadestown’ Did Differently:

Aside from boasting a diverse cast, it also brought a female writer-director team to the front of Broadway. Anais Mitchell wrote the music, and it’s very obvious the music was written by a woman. In shows like ‘Wicked’ the music written for women is ridiculously high. So high that many Elphaba’s have talked about vocal issues caused by the show. ‘Hadestown’ has beautiful music written for women that sits at a comfortable spot for both of it’s female leads. Meanwhile, Rachel Chavkin has used her strong influence on ‘Hadestown’ to demand that more women and POC get to take their directed pieces to Broadway as well. Between the strong female characters these two built from initially miniscule appearances, to the inclusion of POC leads, dancers, and musicians, the show they’ve created tells a very clear message. The world as it is can be dark, but we all have the imaginations to envision the world as it could be and take steps to make it better.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


Twins in Media (Round 2): Dipper and Mabel vs. Thing 1 and Thing 2

Art of Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss’s ‘The Cat in the Hat’. Copyright goes to the Seuss estate.

Hi! It’s Annie!

And we continue the second round of twins in media! This time, if you’ve read some of my past posts, you’ll know that the winner for this pairing is probably really obvious. To be completely honest, I would say the exact same thing about them. But I’m at the beginning of writing this, so you never know what happens! Though I’m not sure a whole lot will change. Both of these portrayals of twins exist in mediums made for kids for the most part, so both of these can potentially affect views of twins from a young age. With all that on their shoulders, let’s see who did the best job!

Audience Perspective:

Dipper and Mabel: Dipper and Mabel spend plenty of the plot both together and separated; but they are the main characters so they do get a lot of plot. That’s really good because we follow them both in what are essentially growing up plotlines. We see them develop crushes and figure out more about themselves and their friends as they solve mysteries together. Those plotlines are not always together and are actually pretty often explored apart from each other. In that way they have become separate main characters that are equally explored. Dipper and Mabel are seen by audiences as individuals just as much, if not more, than they are seen as twins or siblings. The fact that they are twins comes secondarily to the fact that they are individuals, and this effects the way the audience perceives them too. If I were to say that Mabel was my favorite character from ‘Gravity Falls’, people would not automatically assume that I relate to her or favor her because she is a twin and I am also a twin. It’s not an automatic jump that would happen as much as other portrayals. And that’s actually a good thing! The only thing I have to mention here is that there is a small portion of the audience that, for some weird reason, decided to ship Dipper and Mabel together. That’s disgusting and please reevaluate. I know a lot of people say that they are fictional characters so people can do what they want. I am not of this mindset. They are fictional characters based off of the author and his twin sister; and even if they weren’t, I don’t think that any form of incest is ever ok to normalize in any way.

Thing 1 and Thing 2: Thing 1 and Thing 2 have possibly been one of the portrayals of twins that have effected audience perspectives of twins in real life the most. I know I’ve said this before, but you really can’t get through life without being compared to these two if you are a twin. I do find the question “So are you Thing 1 or Thing 2?” a little absurd considering the two are interchangeable. Because they are. It’s almost questionable whether or not they were actually written to be twins. My personal opinion is that they weren’t and they ended up this way because of audience perspective. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are two weird creatures that appear to wreak havoc and then disappear. They don’t have separate storylines and they are always doing the exact same thing with each other. They don’t appear for much of the story and often, they don’t have dialogue. They are more plot devices than characters. Yet, still, for some reason people insist on comparing twins to these two all the time. I still can’t quite figure out what the connection is between these two and twins. But I’m definitely taking points off for being compared to them so much throughout my life. It does get annoying eventually.

Winner: Dipper and Mabel by far take this. I think it’s definitely a win for twin portrayals that a pair of twins actually written by a twin received the amount of popularity that they did. Because of this they are written as completely different characters and are seen by audiences as completely different characters. Dipper and Mabel are one of the only portrayals of twins in media that are seen individually by audiences. That’s both sad and an absolutely amazing step forwards.

Twin Perspective:

Dipper and Mabel: Like I said above, these two were characters I was really happy to see. Even if I wasn’t too much into ‘Gravity Falls’. They don’t really fall too much into tropes, if they even do at all, and they are treated individually by everyone in the show and the fandom. They have different friends, some of the same friends, different interests, some of the same interests, and different relationships with everyone in the show. They are portrayed like actual siblings. They are not complete opposites or exactly the same, because most people aren’t. They also have a super healthy sibling relationship where they are always there for each other. A lot of times in media siblings are pitted against each other, and it’s refreshing to not see that here. Most of my problems with them come from the fandoms shipping, but that is not the fault of the character writing or the show at all. I do have to point out here that it is and always has been easier to get good representation of twins of opposite genders rather than twins of the same gender. If we could get more twin representation like this for twins of the same gender too, that would be great. But obviously, if some people in the fandom are any indication, there are still plenty of people out there who will fetishize twins no matter their gender.

Thing 1 and Thing 2: Other than being a bit annoyed about how much I’ve been compared to them, there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. I only say that because, like I said before, there’s really no proof that they are twins or even human beings at all. They’re called “things” so I’m not sure calling them humans would be accurate. They are fun characters who pop up and then disappear. They don’t have a plot. They are an example of the mischievous twins trope if you want to look at them as twins at all. They play pranks all the time, and that’s something we better described in other posts if you want to check out Fred and George or Hikaru and Kaoru. They are painted as being a bit villainous, but they aren’t pitted against each other so there’s no evil twin plot here. Sometimes they feel more like pets than anything else. I don’t really know what they are. The biggest issue here is, again, the audience deciding to compare these two to twins for some reason. Part of this was probably marketing as the Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts became more popular. The comparison just feels wrong.

Winner: Dipper and Mabel again. They are individuals, actual humans, and twins. Dipper and Mabel are what I want most other portrayals of twins to end up looking like. I would especially like this for twin portrayals of the same gender because those are the ones that end up feeling like alien races rather than human beings and are massively fetishized. But again, if you ship Dipper and Mabel please notice that you are fetishizing twins and stop. Please.

Winner: It’s pretty obvious; Dipper and Mabel are definitely the winners here. It isn’t flattering to compare twins or really anyone to characters that are called “things”. Especially when they weren’t even really written to be twins in the first place. Dipper and Mabel show audiences that twins are individuals first and foremost. We do not speak at the same time or share a hive mind. We are very different people who naturally have some similar interests because we grew up in the same household and watched the same things. Dipper and Mabel are best friends and very supportive of each other; but that doesn’t overtake everything else about their characters. All twins should be written this way.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

K-Pop and K-Dramas: Rolling Quartz

Promotional photo for the single “Blaze”. (From left to right) Areum, Iree, Yeongeun, Jayoung, and Hyunjung. Copyright goes to Rolling Star Entertainment.

Hey! Hallie here!

For the past few weeks we’ve been exploring different Korean music groups that have stolen our attention. All of the groups we’ve explored have fit easily into the K-Pop genre and have been established for more than a year. However, at the end of last month Rolling Quarts released their debut single, and they’ve been growing in popularity since. This group doesn’t really fit into the K-Pop genre, they can be identified as K-Indie or K-Rock, but they’re already being noticed by K-Pop and Rock fans alike, especially those who have been supporting groups like Dreamcatcher. This post will be a bit shorter considering they only have one song officially released so far. They also haven’t released much official information about the members. However, they are definitely a group worth keeping an eye on.


Iree- Lead Guitarist. She’s a proud cat owner and can speak three languages. She’s also a fan of ‘Overwatch’ and ‘Pokemon’. My sister’s bias.

Areum- Bassist. She has several tattoos she proudly shows off, which is something we don’t see nearly enough in girl groups. She also enjoys ‘Mario Kart’. My bias.

Jayoung- Main Vocalist. She’s a vocal trainer and sometimes takes over the keyboard during performances. She enjoys drawing, often in the style of a favorite franchise of hers, ‘Sailor Moon’, and also owns a dog.

Yeongeun- Drummer. She’s studied drums throughout high school and college. She’s one of the most trained members of the group.

Hyunjung- Lead Guitarist and Maknae. She’s also open about her tattoos!

As you can see, aside from a few random facts we know very little about this group. We know Yongeun and Jayoung are Dreamcatcher fans if the covers they’ve done on their separate YouTube channels are any indication. We also know those two went to school together. Initially Jayoung, Yongeun, and Hyunjung were a trio called Rose Quartz. Iree and Areum were part of a band called Rolling Girls. Putting the two names together gave them their current name: Rolling Quartz.


So far “Blaze” and the instrumental for the song are the only songs they’ve released. The single was released December 30th, so they’re pretty new to releasing official music. However, there are several covers on the Rolling Quartz official YouTube channel. Their most popular is their rock cover of BTS’s “Dynamite”, but I would also recommend their cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”. They went with the Halsey arrangement of the song, which is another rock group that covered the song, and the arrangement suits the group very well. There are other original songs on YouTube that the group have released as Demos. These songs are “Delight” and “Rock and Roll Paradise”. They’re both really good and I highly recommend checking these songs out as well. They have shot music videos for “Blaze”, “Delight”, and their cover of “Misery Business” by Paramore. There are also several concerts on their channel that are free to watch. Another concert is planned for Sunday as a thank you to their fans, adorably named Diadems.

I wish we had more information on this group, but we don’t as of now. It is absolutely significant to see women taking on the rock genre in Korea. Dreamcatcher is already considered gutsy to turn away from the most popular themes for girl groups in K-Pop to go for a darker theme that better fits their rock sound. Now we have a full rock band with talented women taking over all the instruments. And they’re being noticed for it. Rolling Quartz has already performed on M Countdown, one of the biggest music shows in Korea. With just one song they’re making waves and I’m excited to see what comes next.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


Disney: ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ is Underrated

Screenshot from ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’. Copyright of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Hi! It’s Annie!

“You threw off my groove!” ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’ has been around for a while now and is definitely one of my favorite Disney films. It’s not every day that you see Disney dip it’s toes into a buddy film style comedy, which is exactly what happened with this brilliant movie. It’s definitely something that’s been gaining more and more recognition and now has a pretty big cult following, but unfortunately it is still one of the least known and least watched Disney films. That’s really unfortunate because I am absolutely sure that this film, which was an accident, would be one of the most popular Disney films if more people knew about it. Could you imagine a water ride based off of Yzma’s lair at Disneyland? That would be amazing. But for those of you who still haven’t checked out this movie, and even for those of you who have, these are some amazing facts along with some of the bright points of this movie that will hopefully sell you on it, or sell you on it even more.


This movie was, at first, taken extremely seriously. It was, as it still is, based off of Incan culture and mythology and was originally going to be called ‘Kingdom of the Sun’. The movie was supposed to star David Spade (yes, he’s still here) as a spoiled prince and Owen Wilson as a peasant. Originally, the plot was that the prince’s life was in danger so he would have to switch lives with the peasant until they could find out who was trying to kill him. Though the animators were very excited about this idea, it quickly became too complicated too fast with not enough plot to connect the story points. One of the lead animators was on a plane explaining the movie to the woman next to him and by the time it took him to explain the plot, the plane had already landed. That’s when he knew the plot just wouldn’t work. The team was divided in order to come up with another plot within just a few months so that they could save the movie, and one of the teams decided to drop the seriousness of the movie on a whim.


Kuzco is my favorite character and he basically carries this movie. David Spade’s witty dialogue keeps the movie both funny and flowing. I couldn’t imagine this character any other way, but I was really surprised when I learned that David Spade was always going to play this role. Even when the movie wasn’t a comedy. The writers never had any other person in mind for the spoiled prince and now I can better see why. Kuzco is one of the only things about the movie that didn’t change from the original concept. In a way, he was always supposed to be like this. But really, I couldn’t imagine him in any other type of movie. Much of his funny dialogue comes from the other characters also being funny and Kuzco really needed a more serious character to even him out. We wouldn’t have gotten that as well with another character. But I’m not sure we would have gotten lines like; “Llama face!” or “It’s my birthday gift to me! I’m so happy!” if this movie hadn’t been changed to a comedy. And, of course, who could forget; “Let me guess, you have a great personality.”?


As I said before, Pacha was originally supposed to be played by Owen Wilson. Weird, right? Well, the dynamic was supposed to be very different. But when the animators started going in the more comedic route they realized that the Pacha they created would no longer work in the story. One of the animators realized that this new version of Pacha needed to be almost a father figure for Kuzco. After this realization, there was no one else in mind for the role other than John Goodman. Pacha is definitely not the most interesting character in the movie, but he really needs to be there because Kuzco, Yzma, and Kronk are so insane and ridiculous. One of the best parts of his character is his heartwarming nature. And who could forget about his amazing family? His wife and kids are badasses who easily outsmart Yzma and Kronk. Even if the mechanics of that door to the closet don’t really make any sense. But it’s made of a nice carved mahogany, so I can forgive it.


Originally a more evil character, Yzma was supposed to raise an army of the dead and spread darkness in the world because she wanted youth and beauty. One of the falling points of the original plot was this. Because those things don’t necessarily make sense or connect together. Why would bringing darkness help her achieve youth and beauty? Does she want to spread darkness or does she want to be be beautiful again? Eartha Kitt was also one of the actors on board very early on, even though the animators originally wanted Barbara Streisand. She had an amazing song called ‘Snuff Out the Light’ that you can hear if you look it up on Youtube. But when they told Eartha Kitt that they were going to make a comedy instead, she was delighted rather than disappointed. Yzma’s character was changed to have a ridiculous secret lab as well as lines such as “Hah! You really should have though of that before you became peasants!”. Yzma is one of the best parts of the movie. Especially as a cat. That also speaks to the ridiculousness of the movie. One day in the writer’s room they were pondering the final battle and trying to figure out how Yzma would rejoin it after she falls. One of the animators suddenly pitched that a trampoline should be accidentally delivered and she would fly back up using that trampoline. They were already creating a movie that was comedic and ridiculous, so why not?


Kronk wasn’t originally going to be in the movie. Just like Kuzco needed Pacha, one of the animators was convinced that Yzma also needed a foil character by her side. Nobody was convinced and eventually they held a meeting where they told him to save this new bodyguard character he had created. This was where the spinach puffs and Kronk’s love of cooking was pitched, and that was what saved the character. Much like many of the others, there was only one person considered for this role. The absolute sweetheart with a deep voice, Patrick Warburton. While many of the animators just wanted and expected Kronk to be dumb, Patrick Warburton developed a sense of empathy for Kronk. He also improvised Kronk’s theme music that he sings while trying to get rid of Kuzco and created Kronk’s sweeter side. Patrick Warburton really breathed life into his character. I quote Kronk all the time and even themed a look after him for Dapper Day at Disneyland. You can’t help but love him and his spinach puffs.

This movie is so quotable and so loveable I’m genuinely surprised it’s taken this long for people to notice it. It’s a favorite movie for my family, so we really do watch it all the time. Hopefully, if you haven’t, this has inspired you to watch this movie as well! If you have watched it, you can always watch it again! This is another Disney film that’s a comfort movie for me, so it won’t be long before I watch it again myself.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie