Tag Archives: family

Initial Reaction to American Housewife

So in watching some of my other ABC shows I kept seeing ads for the new show American Housewife and it looked funny. The premise seems to be a stay at home mom dealing with all of the ups and downs of being a stay at home mom with three kids. The ads looked mildly interesting and a good half hour comedy can be nice to have in the back pocket for a quick show to watch.

Thus I decided to give the show a shot and after the first episode something just rubbed me the wrong way. At the same time I know that pilots can sometimes be a bit different so I decided to watch a second episode, and while there were still funny moments the show still just rubbed me the wrong way. I think I pinned it down a bit and it just seems a little overly negative for my taste. Now maybe over time it will get better, but after two episodes I don’t know if I want to give it more shots.

Us versus Them

One of the first things that I realized is that throughout the episodes there just ends up being this us versus them attitude. Now some of the moms are skinny and dress alike and are kind of cookie cutters of each other. They will make somewhat underhanded compliments sometimes, but it almost comes across as the main character thinks that people are talking about it without proof that they are. Instead she often sneers at seeing these moms and ignores people who are just trying to do their job and seems to constantly act put upon. It just ends up feeling a little bit like playing the victim because she lives in a town that she doesn’t quite fit in. Instead of owning that she doesn’t fit in and not caring, there is just a lot of repetitive negativity, which is just not what I want in a show.

Feeding Into and Breaking Stereotypes

Throughout the show there has been an interesting concept of simultaneously trying to break and feed into a variety of stereotypes. It is great to see a family that is normal and that breaks some of the typical stereotypes. There is still a little bit of the doofus husband, but it definitely feels more of an equal partnership. He even encourages her to go back to work if she wants, since she had graduated with a marketing degree and her old job offered her her job back. She decides that she prefers to be a stay at home mom, but I feel like it does not explore why you might go to work. Instead saying that her raising her kids is more important than her job, which implies that if she worked that she would not be raising her kids somehow. There are other examples of this where it is like two steps forward two steps back on some things.

Compared to Speechless

I think the other problem that I am having is the fact that Speechless is so good and so much more positive. In at lot of ways the family on Speechless is so dysfunctional, but they know who they are and accept that. They do not care what other people think of them or their family and the conflict is the mother who is overprotective of her children. There is never a feeling of an us versus them mentality, but just the journey of being who you are and working in the world. American Housewife on the other hand seems to be a lot about each of the kids are doing something wrong and the other moms are terrible people, etc. There are funny moments, but the other moments just bring the whole mood of the show down.

Conclusion

There are better 30 minute sitcoms out there that this just does not seem worth the time for me. Now maybe I am looking too much into this and if I was in the same situation as the mom I would find it more humorous. I don’t want to diminish the fact that it is okay for a stay at home mom to question what she is doing and to have insecurities, but it is a little difficult to watch a show that seems to focus on that. I just feel like there would be a better way to show an all American family.

Why I Love Tin Man

SyFy, at times, has released some of my favorite mini series. One of them – Tin Man – stars Zoey Deschanel, Alan Cumming, and Neal McDonough. Recently, I rewatched the whole mini series in a weekend and it just reminded me of how much I love this show.

Now some call it a re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz, but that is not entirely accurate. It is looking at a world that we know, but in a different time. The characters are fantastic and part of what I love about the story is it is not about finding love, not even inadvertently. It follows the original Wizard of Oz because it is about finding out what home means. (Spoilers for Tin Man after the jump.)

Not a Love Story

So something I appreciate so much about this story is that it is not a love story. I feel like so many times Hollywood decides that there has to be some sort of love interest in the story when there doesn’t have to be. This story never even hints at a love interest – there are too many other wonderful, mystical things happening. The focus is both on the family we have through blood and the family we create for ourselves. The connections that we show in stories do not have to be a romantic one.

Similar to the original Wizard of Oz, DG gets dropped into Oz and through a variety of events is eventually traveling around with the scarecrow (Glitch), the Tin Man, and the cowardly lion. They are an unlikely group of traveling companions, but they learn to trust each other without having to fall in love.

Two Powerful Sisters

I absolutely love that the emotional resonance of this story for me is the story of the two sisters, DG and Azkadellia. At first it seems that it is two sisters battling each other, where it is the good sister and the bad sister. As the story progresses we get to see that it is more complicated than that.

We soon learn that the older sister, Azkadellia actually ended up possessed by the original Wicked Witch of the West partly because DG got too scared and abandoned her. This leads to an interesting point where at first DG feels like she has to defeat the evil ruler, but then discovers that it is actually her sister, which initially complicates matter. Then she ultimately discovers that it was kind of her fault because she abandoned her sister in a moment of danger out of fear. It was a turning point that lead to the situation that they are in. Ultimately DG would risk everything to save her sister, which is a position that I think many siblings can connect with.

Everything I Want in Oz

The other piece that is just amazing is simply the new Oz that they build. We get to see Oz as we have never seen it before, which is sort of down and dirty. It is a darker side of Oz than we have necessarily seen. We get to see the city life, the fantastical creatures and locations. It is a darker side because under the rule of Azkadellia (under control of the witch) it is not a happy place. Places that were once beautiful have been destroyed, and part of the journey is DG discovering that she has the power to restore what was once destroyed. The graphics at time are not always the best, but the concepts definitely make up for some of what is lacking.


In the end the story stills follows some typical elements of the light versus the dark, but I still appreciate so much a fairly original storyline even in a place like Oz that I know. Yes, there is a need for new locations and new stories, but it is also so interesting to revisit a place that we love and make it magical again.

Verdict: Speechless

Another show that David and I have decided to give a try is Speechless. This show stars Micah Fowler playing JJ Dimeo, a kid with cerebral palsy, which is not too much of a stretch for Micah as he himself suffers from a milder form of the disease. As a kid he has been on shows such as Sesame Street, but this is an opportunity to do so much more.

Now while the main character does seem to be JJ it is not just about him, but about his whole family. What is great is while they do not try to downplay the fact that JJ is in a wheelchair, it is focusing on him trying to navigate being a teenager. The focus of the first episode is trying to find someone to be the voice of JJ since he cannot talk himself, and it starts out pretty badly. The short of it is that the family dynamic is part of what makes this show great. It is a family trying to navigate a lot of different issues – including living in a new place – and that is part of what makes it great.

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On Gaming and Cultural Literacy

If you are a parent or you plan to be one, you’re gonna need a gaming console unless you absolutely can’t afford it. Sooner than you think.

Gaming has been a pervasive part of the culture for so long, it’s not unheard-of to meet a 50-something gamer. Half of hardcore gamers or former gamers are women. So there’s a good chance that once your kid starts school, he or she will have at least one friend who’s not only REALLY into gaming, but has a parent or grandparent who actively encourages the interest and is willing to share tricks.

The old stereotype of the gamer as a disaffected white teenage boy using the games as an escape from society hasn’t held for at least 15 years, if there was ever any truth to it at all.

basement_cheetos

An old, old line by internet standards. The “serious intellectuals” were calling bloggers basement-dwelling cheeto-eaters when the blogosphere first became a thing.

Lots of successful, well-adjusted people of all backgrounds are gamers. It’s a legitimate, mainstream social activity.

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Comics Review – Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four and FF

Man, I don't even mention some of the great stuff with Galactus - like his origin story is in this run!

Man, I don’t even mention some of the great stuff with Galactus – like his origin story is in this run!

Last week I mentioned that I was reading Jonathan Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four and FF (Future Foundation), timed in relation to the Fantastic Four movie coming out. Well, it wasn’t really related to the movie… but it was a great run of comics, and I thought I’d lay out a few reasons why here.

I’ve been following Hickman since someone recommended the Manhattan Projects to us, and I realized he was the one writing New Avengers, which I was reading. That made me notice that he was writing Avengers, as well, and I read both of those up to the end of the Marvel Universe

I had not quite realized that he wrapped up on Fantastic Four and FF just a couple months before he got going on the Avengers titles, so he got the chance to set up his characters and foreshadow a lot by the end of the run, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, he also did a lot of things within these series that were just a lot of fun themselves. In short, these are a great read – Fantastic Four 570-588 & 600-611, and FF 1-23!

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