Sit down, kid. It’s time we talked about Jane The Virgin

I watch Jane The Virgin. There, I said it! And I tell you what, the past few years have been absolutely exhausting living this lie, desperately attempting to hide my love for a show my partner labelled ‘absolute trash’. But perhaps out of sheer exasperation for its endless and erratic plot twists – partnered with the fact that I DON’T HAVE A SOUL TO DISCUSS THIS WITH – I feel it is my civic duty to persuade as many folks as possible to jump aboard the JTV train, like some kind of telenovela-hustling Jehovah’s Witness.

Do you have a moment to talk about our lord and saviour, Jane Villanueva?

me, to anyone that will listen

Firstly, I’d like to kick things off by stating that Jane The Virgin is currently rated at 7.8/10 on IMDb, and 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. So, cart me off to the colonies if you so wish – just know that there are other souls out there that devour this drama too, so much so they feel the need to rate it online.

Look, I’ll reason with you… I can’t remember why I pressed play in the first place. Maybe I was all Game of Thrones‘d out and was looking for something light-hearted? Regardless, I was hooked from the get-go.

I think, above all – minus the kitschy narration, and very cheesily animated figments of Jane’s imagination – JTV rather candidly depicts real life. Sure, not a lot of people are accidentally artificially inseminated by their boss, of whom is being investigated in connection to a huge criminal syndicate. But it’s not the major plot lines that I’m talking about! It’s the minor themes that are woven between that lend a pinch of gravity to the characteristic over-dramatisation of the telenovela genre.

Take Jane for instance: she’s a budding novelist, brought up under both the semi-strict catholic regime of her Abuela and the casual-rearing of her single, and mostly scantily-clad mother. All of her conceptions re: romance have been ripped from episodes of her favourite telenovela, The Passions of Santos. And I dunno, you may have guessed from the title, but she’s a virgin – shock horror!

Jane’s life is very hastily T-boned after she goes in for a standard smear and is accidentally artificially inseminated by her heartbroken/alcoholic/heavily distracted doctor… who just happens to be the sister of her traditionally handsome, resort tycoon of a boss. Cue a whole lot of awkward conversations, relationship turmoil and allegations of immaculate conception. It’s the perfect catalyst to kick off a show ironically taking on the telenovela trope.

Jane The Virgin
Image source: Daily Life

But far from being a mere source of light-hearted entertainment, JTV battles issues across all fronts. From delving into the obvious themes of religion (both in support, and against), sex and heartbreak; to exploring the reality of different child-rearing approaches, and dating as a single parent or grandparent. Through Jane herself, we explore the v real life pressure of trying to navigate your passion and balance a career. Ok, that last point might just explain my unprecedented passion for this series.

Perhaps the most blatant theme is the Villanueva family’s rich Venezuelan-Mexican culture. Jane’s Abuela, Alba, speaks almost exclusively in Spanish – which, side bar: has been mildly educational for this gal trying to learn Spanish on/off for the past five years. One of the most serious plots, though, is Alba’s fear of being caught undocumented in the US – which understandably became a pinnacle theme in light of America’s current political landscape.

Jane The Virgin also explores LGBT relationships – most admirably without any dramatic “coming out” scenes. Characters are portrayed realistically, and even if they’re not depicted in the best light (or in one that differs from our own beliefs) it’s done with class and empathy.

Well, I mean, there are some pretty heavy anti-Trump references in the fourth season – but I challenge you to name another show that hasn’t done the same in the past two years.

Whilst Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) is the star of the show, it’s pretty fucking hard to miss saucy Passions of Santos star Rogelio De La Vega (played by Jaime Camil). This guy is so damn extra, and so mind-numbingly imperceptive at times that you want to dress him head-to-toe in peach, but every tiny detail just lends to his dramatic essence. This exuberant character is so well-crafted, and I gotta admit – nine times outta ten it’s Rogelio’s lines that have me in stitches.

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I’m bloody bursting at the seams to write about this series in greater detail, but it wouldn’t be fun for first-time viewers without the plot twists and cliffhangers. Call it trash, even laugh at the OTT narration – but Jane The Virgin is well worth your time. And I’m sorry, but if there is anyone out there that can withstand Gina Rodriguez’s wit and charm then they’re simply inhuman and there is no pleasing them.

Undercover JTV fans please slide in my DMs, I desperately need to talk about the season 4 cliffhanger.

Featured image source: Tunefind
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Westworld S02E01: The blind leading the blind

In case you’ve somehow evaded social media for the past week, Westworld made it’s long-awaited return yesterday. As per usj, the cinematography was breathtaking, Evan Rachel Wood’s complexion was enviably dewy, and the episode left me with more questions than Bernard Black trying to do his taxes.

Alas, a sentient Delores, I am not; so I’ll leave the episode deciphering to the superfans without pickled dills for brains. Instead, I’m just going to quietly ruminate on a couple of choice quotes from the show I’ll soon be referring to as ‘West Mirror’.

‘Journey into Night’

The irony of S02E01’s title should have been abundantly clear from the get-go. Westworld is basically a metaphor for the blind leading the blind: we all know it, and the show runners sure as heck know it. Does anyone know where this show is leading? Probably not. But it’s fast becoming one of life’s biggest mysteries, and I’m just glad I’m tall enough to ride.

Westworld
Image source: Screen Rant

Host collector cards and the Bernard/Arnold conundrum

Okay, I lied. I gotta don my detective hat here. It’s impossible not to!

At the beginning of the episode, Bernard wakes up on a beach and is about to be interrogated by some intense S.W.A.T-looking agents who are under the assumption he is a host. My brain immediately kicked into hyperdrive, clutching at any and all obscure details in the hopes they’ll be revisited later down the track:

  1. Why – when we’ve already seen wafer-thin handheld devices used left, right and centre – is this security officer carrying around a deck of what looks like host collector cards?
  2. How are security able to obtain a printout of Bernard’s host status and the rest of the park technicians/employees are none-the-wiser?

Security must have realised Bernard’s low damage and traded his card though, because next minute they’re all hunky dory joy-riding through the park together… Let us flag the latter q’s for future ref.

Delos, droids and double helixes

‘Are we logging records of guests experiences and their DNA?’

If you didn’t erupt with earth-shattering chills when Bernard/Arnold uttered this question, then you’ve clearly been living under a rock for the past month and/or you’re a host living in plain sight. I’ve been following the Cambridge Analytica debacle/Facebook hearings like a buzzard, so admittedly my recent technological anxiety could just be a side effect of Zuckerberg’s shifty Lizard gaze… but doesn’t Bernard’s question stir a little real-life paranoia in you, too?

Sure, Facebook haven’t stolen our DNA just yet (only our contacts, phone records, every waking minute of our existence – chill) but you don’t have to be a hyper-sentient Maeve to see how this whole ‘online presence’ thing is going to pan out…

One minute we’re proffering our fingerprints over pass-codes, the next we’re volunteering facial maps for recognition software. What’s next, logging into our email with a blood sample? It’s only a matter of time before smartphones become equipped with a handy needle-prick dongle for ‘no muss, no fuss’ DNA-confirmation for all online purchases over $100. Spend less than $100 and use your VISA BioPay chip! (Surgically inserted into your wrist for convenience, or rectum for cosmetic purposes).

Back to Westworld, however, I’m still scratching my brain over the fact that Bernard was able to waltz on in to Charlotte Hale’s top secret, underground lair. The dude was visibly perturbed every time his DNA was presented for scanning… My question is, do the faceless droids register him as Bernard (park employee), or since he was modelled on Ford’s infamous partner does Bernard’s host body contain Arnold’s DNA? And if so, do the droids then register him as Arnold? HOW DOES HOST DNA WORK?

Revisiting the whole ‘stealing guests’ DNA samples off the hosts they screw/marry/kill’ operation, let us then ask – for what are these samples being used? Either a) it’s all an insanely elaborate blackmail scheme, and/or b) Delos are cloning the pubes off their guests.

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You can probably bet your bottom dollar though that Ford knew about this sinister lair. Not a lot got by old Bobby, so surely he had the foresight to ensure Bernard had access to all areas of the park. That, or Charlotte already knows he’s a host. Which would make sense in her grand scheme to track down Peter Abernathy (Delores’ dad, he’s carrying all her precious DNA data like some kind of human-sized Seagate) since Bernard and Delores were pretty tight.

William Is #WokeToo

‘The stakes are real in this place now, real consequences.’

I wonder, does a certain president watch Westworld? Probably a little above his IQ’s pay grade, and way too in-depth for a 140-character recap/rant… nevertheless, it’s an enlightening quote to live ones life by in this hair-triggered world.

I digress: William/The Man in Black copped a bit of a nasty boo-boo in the scuffle that closed out season one, and it’s reignited his thirst to find the deeper meaning of the park/ centre of the maze/ life. Or something? I don’t know? I thought he had already figured out the maze? I really gotta watch season one again.

Oh, but isn’t the irony exquisite? A little bullet wound and suddenly the violent ol’ codger realises that his actions inside the park have consequences. I guess raping Delores every time you visited the park over the past thirty odd years mustn’t have registered on your trusty consequence meter then, Willy?

MOOD/10, William. MOOD OUT OF FREAKING TEN.

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‘Folly of my kind, there’s always a yearning for more.’

For a petty son of a so-and-so, William sure dished up some philosophical truths in the first ep. If the above quote doesn’t sum up humankind in a pesticide-coated, steroid-injected nutshell then come back to me when this mind-maze of a show is over.

That juicy little nugget, plus Delores’ unshakeable determination to experience life outside of the park leads me to speculate that the Delos folk won’t learn their lesson, and try introduce sentient hosts outside of the park. BUT! This is Westworld after all, and you can be damn sure these violent delights will have violent ends in a completely unforeseen, and equally mind-boggling turn of events.

Featured image source: Refinery29

Cusack cures our Rick & Morty withdrawals with Ciggy Butt Brain-flavoured ‘Bushworld Adventures’

Alert the inter-dimensional authorities, Rick and Morty are back! In what appears to be an elaborate April Fools prank, Adult Swim have joined forces with Aussie animator Michael Cusack to bring thirsty Rickmo fans a slice of their fave animation… albeit, with the distinct flava-flav of stubbies and menthols.

Michael Cusack, the Aussie battler behind YouTube series Damo & Darren has teamed up with Adult Swim to produce a peak ‘Strayan sub for our favourite inter-dimensional duo. And, well, it’s everything you would expect from the confirmed Ciggy Butt Brain.

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All the key characters make an appearance as their respective bogan alter-egos. Picture Beth as your garden variety Shazza, and Summer as ‘Straya’s answer to Danielle Bregoli.

I couldn’t help but notice that the perpetual-butt-of-every-joke, Jerry, appears uncharacteristically very un-Jerry-like – adopting the much cooler alias of a bush wizard named Dougie (cough, represent). It’s an unexpected arc; and sure, his bush wizard methods debatably toe the universal Jerry threshold but it’s nice to see the guy not wallowing in grief for once. So sue me, I’m a Jerry-sympathiser.

Apparently Adult Swim are streaming Bushworld Adventures until midnight in the US. So, best get in quick and catch this ripper ep in its entirety before you hit the sack tonight for a little Morty sleep.

Image(s) source: Adult Swim

Donald Glover gets the last laugh, delivers hilarious Deadpool script slamming industry racism over series canning

Absolute wildcard of a human being, Donald Glover, has taken to Twitter to share his disappointment in the mid-production cancellation of his Deadpool animated series.

The animated series was yet another lucrative bag on the arm of the seriously talented rapper/ actor/ comedian/ director/ writer/ every-occupation-under-the-sun-you-name-it-Donald’s-probably-done-it. The highly anticipated series was kicked to the curb by Marvel Television, citing the ever-vague, and painfully curious, pretence (read: cop-out) of ‘creative differences’.

However, Glover felt he owed his fans a little more crumb – instead, taking to Twitter to upload a mock script for the canned series, titled ‘Finale’. And oh boy, it’s a doozy.

For the record: I wasn’t too busy to work on Deadpool.

-Donald Glover (@donaldglover)

At risk of renouncing all journalistic capabilities to the reader… I really don’t want to spoil the script. Really, you’ve gotta read this thing for yourself. The 12-page treatment follows the irreverent Deadpool on a trip to the African Savannah to act as a security detail to Sudan (the last remaining male white rhino, may he rest in peace).

The script vaguely ponders the cancellation of the Deadpool series, whilst in the same breath hurling somewhat veiled (but nevertheless, pointed) accusations of industry racism. You can also expect Glover to throw a hat into the ‘who bit Beyoncé?’ scandal, a slew of pop culture references, and a spicy quip aimed at a certain human-merkin residing in the White House.

It’s hilarious. It’s the epitome of pop culture. And it’s Deadpool to a god-damn tee. First of all, Marvel Television – what on earth were you thinking? And more importantly, is there anything Glover can’t do?

The original tweets have since gone walkabout, but I was fortunate to screenshot the puppies before their unfortunate interweb demise. Witness them in all their glory below:

What do you think of the script, would you have watched the Deadpool animated series? Do you think the ‘creative differences’ excuse is a tired cop-out? Strike up a chat, below.

Image source: Huffington Post