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REVIEW: CRAZY EX GIRLFRIEND

A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon a show on Netflix called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I decided to give it a go, and boy, I’m glad I did. Rachel bloom performs as Rebecca Bunch, a career orientated woman depressed and despairing at her empty life, when she stumbles upon her ex boyfriend, Josh Chan. On an impulse and obsessive decision, she decides to move to West Covina (which just so happens to be where Josh lives) in an attempt to regain some happiness in her life, and so, an ingenious show was born.

I didn’t realise upon watching that it was a musically inclined show, and the first song that appeared I was not prepare for and may put some viewers off but I promise, stick with the show and you will be rewarded. It is new, innovative and incredibly refreshing, but above all, realistic when dealing with events in life. It removes the romanticism that Hollywood often prescribes to everyday life, and instead takes dark matters and deep themes such as depression, mental health and sexuality, and presents them in a wonderfully light hearted and comedic style. Rebecca is all of us: slightly crazy, obsessive, kooky, weird and, in other words: not perfect. She is such an accurate representation of the modern woman that I couldn’t stop laughing and empathising with her. Rebecca’s character is one of the best female characters I’ve come across in the last year or so because not only is she empowering, but she’s also so relatable. You know those days where you look like shit, haven’t washed or put makeup on, just dashed out of the house to maybe stock up on tampons and chocolate? Or where you try and play things cool, when really you’ve been obsessing over it endlessly and you just brush it off when it’s brought up? Well, Rebecca Bunch, as the ‘everyday woman’, does these things too. She’s like an average role model, the one who celebrates her quirkiness and imperfections.

Some of my personal favourite songs (on YouTube if you fancy watching)
– The Sexy Getting Ready song (an accurate documentation of the process girls go through getting ready, and absolutely hilarious)
I’m the villain (A Disneyfied anti-hero narrative that’s incredibly catchy)
Sex with a stranger (for anyone who’s had terrible experiences on tinder)
I gave you a UTI ( A hilarious jaunty song which includes genius lyrics such as ‘My sweet love Injection caused a urinary tract infection’ and ‘If it hurts to take a leak
That’s just part of my technique’)
Greg’s Drinking Song (an old fashioned, Irish folkish song performed by Greg (the fantastic Santino Fontano) coming to terms with his alcoholism, yet in the most light-hearted way. Includes lyrics about him puking on his cat, having sex with a bush, and trying to fly for a plane). One of my personal favourites.

The best thing about the show is, in my opinion, it’s music. Ingenious lyrics, really- it’s incredibly clever  puns and play on words (Getting-Bi is a good example of a man discovering his sexuality, and just getting by with it, for example). And each song is different and unique- there’ll be rock styles, pop music, R & B songs, Country songs, good old power ballards, all of them). And the attention to detail in the show is magnificent, in Season 2 they compiled a song made up of different songs from season one- imagine! One big song made of different songs?! It’s awesome. The hilarity of the show is matched only by the skill of the vocals from every cast member- while Rebecca is indeed the protagonist, we are treated to individual songs from different characters with their own struggles and styles.

I could go on describing all the songs, but this post is becoming increasingly too long already, so just go and watch the show yourself. The characters are absolutely hilarious, including Greg, a sarcastic, alcoholic bartender with a pessimistic attitude, feeling trapped in his own life, his drinking and his poor taste in women, Valencia, a ‘Humble yoga instructor/ Kate Hudson / Princess / Bitch’, Heather, an intellectual goth-emo-scary chick who just so happens to be ‘Miss Douche’, and countless others.

The main content of the series is beautifully simple; Rebecca, on a pursuit of happiness, which we can see is an uphill struggle with lots of laughs on the way. Season two follows this idea, with Rebecca hanging onto the belief that if she ends up with Josh, she’ll finally be happy. (Spoiler for S2 in the next sentence)

The amazing finale shows a final epiphany for Rebecca as she is left at the altar, all her dreams crushed as she comes to the realisation happiness will not be found in Josh Chan, or the other men in her life that have left her (we see an amazing parallel of daddy issues shown between Rebecca and her new hot boss, Nathaniel)
By the grace of God, Season 3 has been confirmed and so I will eagerly await its release. The show delves into all kinds of issues: from having crushes on people, to making friends, meeting the parents, fucking everything up, being stuck in a love triangle, the hardships and weirdness of being a dad, the importance of female empowerment and feminism, homosexuality, racism- you name it, it’s got it. It’s and if nothing I’ve said has persuaded you to watch the show, check out some of the songs on Netflix or youtube at least, it’s worth listening to.

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REIGN REVIEW

After scouring Netflix for another show to watch, I stumbed across ‘Reign’. It looked quite like popular show ‘The Tudors’, something that I’ve always wanted to watch but never have. I loved period dramas and historical films, so I thought I’d give it a go. By the first episode, I was so in love with it that I knew I’d have to write about it. Firstly, the plot begins and ges straight into the action- a poisoning at the convent in which Mary, Queen of scots, is staying at for her protection. She then travels to France where she re-meets her betrothed, the handsome Francis, exchanging some eye-sex with him after seeing his also handsome brother, ‘Bash’- an illegitamet son of the king. The season shows the development of her romance with the two brothers as she is forced continuously to choose between duty and love. The themes of nationality, identity and royalty come across strongly in this brilliant series.

First of all, the cinematography of the show amazed me. The camera work is smooth and graceful, and the picture is perfect. We are graced with a kaleidoscope of colours from the Eden-esque settings of France and the incredibly detailed costume designs. The costumes are absolutely fantastic in this show- each dress had been carefully constructed with the character in mind, the dresses are stunning and elegant, accompanied with gorgeous accessories. My only complaint, however, is that some are so far out of the period-era that it’s quite shocking- normally, I would mind, however to see someone wearing a thigh high dress was crudely out of place. The prince also wears a knitted jumper at some point that looks like it came straight out of Primark.  The costumes fit perfectly with the youthful, beautiful cast that portray the characters in the series. Almost every single character in this is beautiful- Mary and her ladies, the king and queen have an older, more seasoned beauty to them, and their sons- Sebastian (Bash) and Francis, are gorgeous too. Makes me wonder if shows such as Reign, True Blood, Vampire diaries, lost etc would be half as popular with a standard- average looking cast?

Mary shows courage in her character, is pleasant and fairly strong- not breaking down into tears though I would like a bit of character development where she is perhaps vulnerable every now and then, to make her seem more human, though I love how strong her character is. She is polite, says the right things- except her flabberghasted mutterings to Francis  in the first episode which, to be fair, most woman can understand, we’ve all been faced with a dreamboat and have said equally confusing and embarrassing things.

Mostly historically accurate with some obvious exaggeration to make the plot fast moving and interesting, however, the winner for me was the soundtrack. With songs from the Lumineers, band of skulls, crystal fighters and other popular modern music, it gave an interesting twist on this show. The soundtrack is absolutely fabulous and gives an interesting juxtaposition with the historical events.

I’d highly recommend this show due to the interesting, fast moving plot that makes you want to keep watching, with interesting twists from ‘The Plague’ to a ‘whodunnit’ of sorts, along side the use of stunning costumes and location of the set and the characters if you like a historical or period series with a modern twist to make it watchable. Comparable to both ‘Merlin’ and ‘The Tudors’.

The Walking Dead- Sexist or Ignorant?

With my uni work piling up next to me, I bravely tackled through with a stack of pizzas and energy drinks as I started to binge watch ‘The Walking Dead’. I absolutely love it- zombies man, cool. I haven’t been particularly invested in many programmes since Sherlock and Lost and finally, I have found one I adore. Although, I have to mention, I do have some slight problems with it. May contain spoilers guys. So Rick is our protagonist- a honest do-gooder with a family protect automatically taking the leadership role from experience as a cop. He is our hero. Introduction Shane, who acts as a surrogate hero for Rick, he also has led a group to survival. Although best friends, the two have many issues, including the fact Shane is banging Rick’s wife, Lori.
Now, as events transpire and Lori passes away, Rick begins to go a bit off the rails. He starts becoming absent and distant and it’s clear he can’t lead anyone. Thus, as of course a democracy wouldn’t work here, a leader needs to step up (Don’t get me started on this idea). Glenn is considered, as suddenly he has grow a moustache and got a girlfriend! But deep down, he’s still the little technological kid that we know and love and for one reason or another, can’t lead. Hershel is an old man, with a missing leg and acts as a Dumbledore/Gandalf figure (old man offering wisdom to young protagonist). Shanes dead now, so he can’t be a leader and Daryl has gone off so he can’t. Even Carl, the little boy of about 9/10?? is considered, but obviously he’s a little too young and growing a bit brutal! I watched with anticipation with each episode, before realising, is not any of these episodes is a woman considered for a leadership role. The women have some interesting traits between them- Carols transformation and motherly comforting contrasted with Michonne’s steely, fierce nature. Maggie’s gone from farmer girl to strong independent woman in just a couple of episodes! Andrea, is by far my favourite in the show. Growing stronger after the death of her sister, she decided to start learning how to use a gun and is pretty fucking badass with it. However, after she started dating the governor who is revealed to be the bad guy, she seems more annoying as she doesn’t pick a side and is clearly being blindsided by her ‘love’. However, she would make a pretty good leader. She’s kind, she knows how to talk to people and calm them down, she’s organised and has good ideas, is savvy and clever and strong. Anyway, before I go off on one, I just want to address why these woman are never considered for the leadership role for the group. Sure, they are confident, strong women but not once does any suggest that Maggie or Andrea lead. Now, I’m not saying that the Walking Dead are completely sexist and I’ll never watch the show again. But, I do hope that they will introduce a few headstrong, courageous woman. Examples include Kahlan from Legend of the Seeker, Kate from Lost, pretty much any cast member of Orange is the new black, Morgana from Merlin, Cersei and Dany (Kahleesi) from Game of thrones. If you guys have ideas on why this is, or what you think, feel free to comment below.

Why I love Cersei

The most common reaction I get when I mention the fact that I love the character Cersei Lannister from popular novel and tv show ‘Game of thrones’ is probably shock and a little bit of confusion. I will try and to explain why I love such an unlikeable character. Ever since I was little, I loved shows such as Xena, Buffy, legend of the seeker and Merlin. My main reason for this is because of the strong female characters presented. And Cersei is no different. A little context if you don’t know about this character- Cersei is the eldest child of Tywin Lannister. Her mother died when she was 8 due to the birth of Tyrion, leading to a hatred of her younger brother. Her twin (and lover) is Jamie Lannister. As children they were extremely close and Cersei has strong beliefs that they belong together, something like two sides of the same coin.  Infatuated with Prince Rhaegar as a child, he refused her fathers offer for Cerseis hand, and she later married King Robert, becoming Queen (every girls little dream). However, on their wedding night, he called her Lyanna (a woman that he is in love with and still mourning for). Cersei bore three children to Jaime- Joffrey (the evil little shit that everyone hates) Myrcella and Tommen. She takes action into helping the King to his death, and then denounces Eddard Stark, leading to his death too. he is need Queen Regent and take charge of Joffreys small council. She uses her power wisely but can get blinded by emotion. For me, Cersei is a beacon of strength and courage. Sure, she’s an incestuous bitch that has caused a lot of trouble. But I think she’s got more balls than a lot of the male figures in the show and book. She’s wise, loves her children and does everything to protect her family and herself, even murder or crippling a ten year old child- though technically, she didn’t agree with as it was Jaime, which she ‘had a go’ at him for. But there are so many layers to her character. She’s a queen. She’s a mother. She’s desperately in love with someone who she can’t be with. She was trapped in a marriage with a man who was in love with a dead woman, to the point of saying her name while they slept together on her wedding night. Being brought up by Tywin Lannister must’ve been hard, but she gained a lot of cunning and wisdom. She uses her weakness and makes herself stronger, realising that strength and power is everything that she needs. She Demonstrates to Littlefinger that ‘Power is power’ unleashing the sassy ‘I-can-do-what-I-want’ attitude that everyone’s so fond of. ‘The more people you love, the weaker you are’ She tells Sansa stark to love fewer people, speaking from experience. She’s not a complete ice queen. We’ve seen her break down, cry and scream. And it’s this emotion which makes me love her so much. She’s not a complete coldblooded killer or twisted maniac. She accepts the fact she has a woman’s body and hates that it makes her weak. She despises the fact that she is not taken as seriously as her brothers, but she does have weapons (her tears and ‘what’s between her thighs’ as she claims) and she uses them successfully. I suppose the modern day equivalent of Cersei would be a strong business woman, completely career driven not afraid to take what she wants. Not to mention she loves wine as much as I do. And Lena Headey is pretty much a goddess. That’s pretty much it for my ramblings on fictional characters for today.   “When you play the Game of Throne, you win or you die. There is no middle ground”