Elwood City is THE MOST Diverse Place in the ENTIRE World

Arthur PictureAs a kid growing up, there were few things I loved more than Iowa Public Television cartoons. From Redwall to Zoboomafoo and Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, IPTV had it all. My favorite show on IPTV was a show based on a series of children’s books created by Marc Brown called Arthur. In this show, our protagonist, Arthur the Aardvark experienced life as a 3rd grader and all the troubles that go along with it. Surrounded by an incredibly memorable group of friends, Arthur learned important life lessons in the span of about 11 minutes.

Now as I look back on the show as an example of diversity, I struggle to come up with a show that even comes close to the amount of diversity showcased in Arthur. Every single character has one or more unique aspects about them that sets them apart from those around them. The following is a list of some of the particularly diverse characters in Arthur:

  • Buster the Rabbit: Buster is Arthur’s best friend. He’s sometimes portrayed as the “odd one” as he obsesses over aliens and uniquely shaped foods. He lives in a small apartment complex, denoting that his family is not very wealthy. Perhaps most unique about Buster is that his parents are divorced and he lives with his mom.
  • Francine the Monkey: Francine is an especially unique character because, while she may be a girl, her talents are showcased in activities boys are typically good at. All of the sports the children play as a team include both boys and girls, and Francine is shown always dominating in these sports. Additionally, Francine is Jewish and occasionally finds herself in situations where she has to act differently from her friends because of her faith, specifically when there was an episode on Yom Kippur.    
  • Binky the Bulldog: Binky is portrayed as the “tough guy” in the show, often depicted bullying or forcefully getting his way. However, it is revealed that Binky was held back in school and feels the need to make up for his scholastic incompetence by showing off his physical domination. In fact, Binky is almost virtuosic on the clarinet and actually does have some bright moments. Additionally, Binky goes through a multi-episode story arc in which his family goes through the adoption process to adopt a baby from China.Arthur Pic II

Marc Brown and the writers of Arthur have created an environment that overflows with diversity. Every type of family is showcased and different races are always present. I believe that one of the purposes of the show is to demonstrate to children that diverse people live and work together every day and that while our diversity makes us different from one another, it doesn’t mean we can’t also love one another. 

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Heathers Rebooted

In 1988, the cult classic movie Heathers was released. Heathers was a film that was rare and daring as it was something very different than what we’re used to. The film gave a glance into the darker side of teen youth. If we were to watch it now we may find it not normal but not surprising, as teenage girls want power and white males carry guns to school, but in the 80’s it wasn’t something that was thought of much. Fast forward to this year. Paramount Network is creating a reboot of Heathers as a TV series, and has recently released the first trailer and the first episode. As a fan of the original movie I decided to take time to watch the first episode, and there is quite a lot going on.

Before going into the new reboot, just a little background information on the original movie. Veronica is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she disapproves of the other girls’ cruel behavior. When Veronica and her new boyfriend, J.D., confront clique leader Heather Chandler and accidentally poison her, then make it appear a suicide. Soon Veronica realizes that J.D. is intentionally killing students he does not like. She races to stop J.D. while also clashing with the clique’s new leader, Heather Duke.

The first thing I noticed from watching both the trailer and the first episode is that the cast is somewhat controversial.  Heather McNamara is now written as a black lesbian. Heather Duke identifies as a genderqueer and the leader, Heather Chandler, is portrayed by a plus sized actress. Paramount clearly wanted to represent diversity within the show but it has turned out to cause more of a problem than anything due to that the minorities are the Heathers. I personally do not see a problem with the way the clique is represented, however after looking into it, some think that it isn’t a good representation.

As mentioned, in the original movie the Heathers are a social clique who rule their small high school with control, all except Veronica. Veronica is unhappy with her friends and social life until J.D manipulates her and they begin to kill off the popular kids which is where the TV show will run into problems. Although only the first episode has been released, the series will be staying true to the movie, which means the minorities are going to be killed off or be sidelined, which is not a representation that minorities deserve. What makes it worse, is that J.D, a white male, believes that they deserve it.

Watching the diverse cast, one by one, get killed off is something that will not sit well with many of us who like to see the diversity represented. As the TV series continues to air in March, I will be interested to see the reactions of the media and audiences, and how they view the series.

Something to Binge On

Recently I have gotten really into the show Aquarius. It popped up on my Netflix recommended and had one of my favorite actors as one of the main characters. I knew I just had to check it out and I’m sure glad that I did.

The show was created by John McNamara and stars David Duchovny, Gray Damon, Gethin Anthony, and Emma Dumont as some of the main characters. David Duchovny had been in many television shows and is widely known as being Fox Mulder on the X-Files.

It is set in the late 1960’s and the story follows Charles Manson and his family. David Duchovny plays the main detective, Sam Hodiak, and gets called to help with a missing teenager case. As it turns out the missing teenager, Emma, gets taken in by Charles Manson. She heard of all his ideas and just really wanted to see what it was all about. The seasons then follow Charles, Emma, and the family up until Helter Skelter. Even though Emma goes back to Manson after Sam Hodiak takes her home Hodiak’s life still intertwines with Manson’s. But that’s just a quick flow through of the show. I would definitely check out the show.

But how does this deal with diversity?

Since it is set in the late 1960’s there are still a lot of issues between races. Many of the officers in the police station are older white men and often accuse black males of the crimes when it is found out in the show that many were by white males.

There is also an instance where Hodiak gets invited to his partners house to meet his wife. Everyone knew that his partner, Brian Shafe, was married, but no one has never met her and Shafe didn’t have photos of her on his desk. When Hodiak gets introduced to his wife he gets quite the surprised look on his face. Shafe’s wife was a black woman and they had a daughter together. Everyone in Shafe’s neighborhood knew that they were an interracial couple and that caused strife with both the black and white community, especially since Shafe was a cop. His wife worked with the Black Panther Party and they also weren’t happy that Shafe was married to a black woman.

Charles Manson was also not a huge fan of other races and the show made sure to pull that in. When Martin Luther King Jr. passed Manson was more than excited. And while Manson was planning his murder sprees he wanted to make sure that his family knew that they were setting it up as if white people hadn’t done it. Manson was often saying “don’t get any white finger prints anywhere” or “don’t leave our white things around at the scenes”.

All in all this is a super good show and shows a lot of diversity!

Asexuals on Television

i am asexual todd chavez

On September 8th, 2017 the hit animated TV series “BoJack Horseman” became the first ever television show to say the word asexual aloud.  At the same time, one of the leading characters, Todd, became the first ever confirmed asexual character on television.

Throughout the series, Todd seemed to struggle with his identity.  Several scenes showed Todd not picking up on sexualy or romantically suggestive situations, and in season four Todd is quoted as saying, “I’m not gay. I mean, I don’t think I am, but… I don’t think I’m straight, either. I don’t know what I am. I think I might be nothing.”

i don't know what I am Todd Chavez

This line resonated with a lot of people in the asexual community who admitted they felt similarly before realizing they were asexual.  A lack of representation hits the asexual community especially hard.  Few characters on television or in movies have ever shown asexual characteristics, making it hard for a-spec people to find themselves in popular media.  Some characters such as Sherlock Holmes, Sheldon Cooper, and Jughead have been accepted into the asexual community as a-spec characters, but up until Todd Chavez, none have been confirmed as such, much less said the word out loud.

In a heteronormative world with next to zero representation in the media, asexuals and aromantics have an extra hard time coming to terms with their identity.  For some people, Todd exclaiming that he’s asexual on television may have been the first time they had heard the word, period.  And in a sex-obsessed world, it’s no wonder so many a-spec people take so long to realize who they are.

Todd Chavez coming out on television is especially important because of who he is as a character.  First of all, he’s lovable.  He has a quirky, likeable personality, and he’s interesting; someone you’d want to be friends with.  Second, he has several close and loving relationships on the show, and he’s got feelings.  He’s not an unfeeling robot and his lack of sexual attraction doesn’t make him any less human than his companion characters.  This can’t be said for almost all headcannoned asexual characters.  Both Sherlock Holmes and Sheldon Cooper have very stiff, stuffy personalities.  They lack almost any sort of affection whether it be toward friends or romantic partners.  And for the most part, they’re emotionless shells, barely human.  But very few headcannoned asexuals are protagonists in movies or television shows.  Most are cold, unfeeling villains such as Voldemort from Harry Potter, Moriarty from Sherlock, or Dexter Morgan from Dexter.  And if they’re not villains, they’re mentally insane, or both.  This creates a toxic image of asexual people as being less than human.  Todd is one of the very few characters to portray asexuality in a positive light.  

Todd’s asexual announcement has made asexual history, and will hopefully pave the way for even more positive a-spec representation in all forms of entertainment.  Todd Chavez has become an asexual television idol for a-spec people to see themselves represented in.  I have no doubt that by actually hearing the word asexual on television will help many non-asexual people understand the orientation, and many a-spec people come to better realize who they are.

Asexual meet-up todd chavez

Did the film industry take a shower? Because its whitewashed.

Many of us know that tv shows and movies are often white washed. Angelina Jolie playing an African American woman. Emma Stone playing a half Chinese woman. John Bennet playing an Asian man. Honestly there is probably a list of hundreds of actors that have played someone not of their race.

In Doctor Who a major one is when John Bennet, an English actor, played an Asian man named Li H’sen Chang. Li H’sen Chang was supposed to be a stage magician. Also when watching the scenes with Li H’sen Chang there are many instances of racism. He is wearing quite a bit of grab and has a very awful and offensive “typical” Asian American accent. The episode as a whole has quite a few racist aspects to it. Is this because of the time or because of the director and writer?

There have been many instances here in America of white washing as well.

When Disney first came out saying they would be making a live action Mulan there was a lot of stir that they were trying to cast a white actor as the main male. This has now been confirmed as not true, but is this because of the backlash or was this the plan all along?

In the movie Drive Carey Mulligan played a character that was originally written for a Latina woman. The director felt that Mulligan was perfect for the part… even though she wasn’t Latina I guess… In the movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Christopher Abbott and Alfred Molina were both cast as Afghan characters. Last time I checked they were both white actors, but I guess they fit the role better than an Afghan actor.

Johnny Depp played as a Native American in the movie The Lone Ranger. He said that he has some Native American heritage, but honestly it isn’t enough for me. Johnny is still too white of an actor to be playing a Native American in a movie.

Honestly this list could go on and on. I found a ton when I was looking online to even spark this topic. This is something that has been happening for years. Looking at the past we could say that they have an excuse. It honestly was pretty racist back in the day and it was “better” for the companies to hire white actors and actresses. But now? We don’t have anything to say to explain this. Times are changing, but not fast enough in the film industry.

Speedster Who?

Jay, a speedster from Earth 2 once said, “There are consequences to time travel.” These consequences can be seen in most shows or movies about time travel. This theme of consequence is seen in the movie Back to the Future when Marty changes the past. Not only does this quote apply to the famous movie but it applies to The Flash and Doctor Who. In both shows, at least one episode shows that one major change to the past causes chaos and there are different worlds in the universe.

Consequences of time travel is one of the main components that relates a superhero drama to a science fiction drama. In The Flash, speedster Barry Allen goes back in time to save his mother from an evil speedster from the future. Since his mother lived, his father did not go to jail and he never goes to live with Iris and Joe. This changes his present day life majorly. A few episodes later, Barry gets to the point where he cannot handle his new life and ends up going back in time again to stop himself from saving his mother.

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Then in Doctor Who, Rose decides to save her father from getting hit by a car. From there things go drastically wrong. First, Jackie sees Rose with her father and believes he is cheating again which leads to a fight between the two. Then time raves show up and start to make people disappear. Of course, the Doctor tries to save the day by getting everyone into a church. In the end, Rose’s dad decides to let a car hit him to save the day. That is one of the biggest consequences of all because now people believe he committed suicide instead of being killed in a hit and run.

Not only do consequences of changing the past relate the two television shows but the idea of different worlds does too. For starters, when Barry runs fast enough he can travel to a different world. The first world he ever travels to is Earth 2 where everyone has a doppelgänger. Barry is not the Flash, Caitlin and Cisco are evil meta-humans, and Star Labs is still up and running. The second world Barry travels to is Gorilla City where all the inhabitants are giant gorillas. Secondly, the Doctor and Rose travel to another world where everyone has a doppelgänger. Mickey is Rickey, Rose does not exist as a human, and there are cybermen. That is the only world, that I know of, that the Doctor travels to.

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Now take a minute to think about the consequences if we could actually time travel, and play around with the possibility of there being different worlds/Earths. After you’ve done that ask yourself what would you if you could go back and change the past? And would you want to travel to a different world if it was possible?

 

Quote found here: http://www.buddytv.com/articles/the-flash/best-flash-quotes-from-paradox-61629.aspx

 

The Doctor and PTSD

The Doctor has PTSD? As if!!

Actually, there are many telltale signs that the Doctor could possibly have PTSD. He has gone through a major war. Anyone heard of the Time War? And all the time that he’s lived? He has sure gone through some sh- well let’s say things. Let’s not even begin to think about how many companions that he has lost and the damage and hurt that losing them has caused him.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is defined by anxiety and flash backs that are triggered by a traumatic event. The Time War could definitely be called a traumatic event. Losing all of one’s kind does not bode well for one’s mental state. The Doctor often avoids talking about the Time War, I mean honestly who could blame a guy. Avoiding talking about one’s traumatic events is often a common sign. Thinking or talking about the traumatic situation makes them anxious so they try to avoid it at all costs.

The Doctor also seems to have quite a few flashbacks about the Time War. Having the flashbacks probably gives him some pretty bad anxiety. More common signs that point towards the Doctor having PTSD. What also doesn’t help is that the Doctor himself killed his people giving him plenty of grief. Perhaps this is why he is always looking towards the times of distress. Maybe if he saves just one more person the guilt would get off his chest, this doesn’t seem to happen has the show has gone on for so long.

A Time War? His whole kind dying? Plus adding that the Doctor killed them all himself. The multiple companions that he has lost over the years? Seeing others die all the time? None of this could help the Doctor’s mental state.

Post-traumatic stress disorder could happen after any sort of traumatic event. Most times we think about it for soldiers coming back from a war, but there are many other ways. PTSD also doesn’t just affect a certain age group or sex. It could happen to anyone at any time. If you have been physically abused or assaulted you could get PTSD. Being sexually assaulted could give someone the symptoms of PTSD as well. But PTSD doesn’t always happen because a person got harmed. If someone close to them has gotten harmed they could have PTSD thinking about that event.

Many fans of Doctor Who have wondered about this phenomenon. Do we have everything to back it up?