Friday, July 13, 2012

More on I Now Pronounce You Someone Else and also TV--Borgen and more.

I have a few more thoughts about I Now Pronounce You Someone Else that I want to discuss. I mentioned that the book didn't appeal to me at first because it was about teen marriage, but what I forgot to mention in my review is that I love how this book examines what might be at the root of the desire to get married at such a young age in a very thoughtful and sympathetic way. And the reason why I think this has some importance is the trend I see in teen fandoms now where shipping a couple basically means you want them to end up married with babies. And while I totally see this and its appeal, Happily Ever After and a baby is like the classic ending to all romances, I wonder at the idea that this is the apotheosis for all female characters--to find her man and have those babies.

So anyway, what I loved about I now Pronounce You Someone Else is that in an effort to address the appeal of this idea she didn't A) Pretend their love wasn't real B) Make the relationship destructive or unhealthy C) Make Bronwen a weak or unenlightened character. It's just a very fair handling of why a girl might think getting married at age 18 is a good idea and why she might realize it's not. And by the way it doesn't come across as an issue book at all, either, so don't misunderstand I'm just explaining part of what I appreciated about it. Argh, basically I just LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH and I hope you read it.


HGTV Design Star

Down the last three and they are all women! Throughout the competition I've really loved Danielle, but I do wonder if Britany is more consistent in turning out really stylish design. They made a point of highlighting Danielle's time management issues so I wonder if that will burn her next week. I like Hilari, but cringe through every single one of her camera challenges. I was sad to see Mikel go this week because he was just so adorable. But in any case, I think it's a good final three and I don't have strong feelings of hatred towards any of them, so yay!

Borgen (Spoilers all Season 2 Talk)

Ever since Fran told me she was watching I'm taking it as license to blog about the show, maybe more of you are watching that are lurkers!

I watched 2x5 and 2x6 this week and THEY WERE SO GOOD. When I talk about how everything has a purpose on this show, 2x5 was an excellent example of that. In 2x1, they showed how Amir was conflicted over the increased presence in Afghanistan, they even used his interview with the press saying "sometimes you have to do things you don't want to" as the backdrop for Birgitte signing her divorce papers. But that didn't just go float away somewhere, it came back big time in 2x5 when Birgitte decided she wanted a grand compromise instead of just passing her bill. In order to achieve this, she had to make major concessions in the area of the environment and the Green Party refused to sign.

So, thinking it's nothing she can't fix, she uses the press to put pressure on Amir. And I don't know I was really struck in that scene when he was telling her how terrible everything had been for him, that kids were using racial slurs against his children in school, and Birgitte just presses immediately into how they can fix it by getting him some good PR with signing the bill. And could just see how he was resigning himself to this, another compromise he had to make, it was like watching his spirit be crushed.

But this kind of behavior isn't without consequence. The Green Party decides to withdraw from government which puts Birgitte into a more precarious position than ever. On top of that, Amir resigns completely, because he's too sensitive for politics, and when Birgitte confesses she's the one who sent the press after him, he feels it affirms his decision, while also saying she's cut out for politics in a way he isn't.

Meanwhile, in Birgitte's personal life, her daughter Laura is suffering from major anxiety, and similar to the way she handled Amir, she doesn't really listen to Laura and what she's telling her. So she sends her off to camp and the result is that Laura suffers from a major panic attack. I found this story heartrending and an excellent companion to the political thread in the episode, because ultimately it's about how Birgitte has lost her center. And I loved the return of Sanne most of all!

But another thing I loved about the episode was Katrine's story. First of all, I'm jealous that she had like 4 job offers in one episode. But I thought the contrast of Katrine being unable to accept compromise of her ideals with Amir and Birgitte was interesting. At first she thought she could, and I have to admit the idea of her being a spin doctor to a political opponent of Birgitte's, thus butting heads with Kasper, was thrilling to me. But ultimately, and I think this is kind of emphasized in 2x6, that's not Katrine's role. It's not just that she didn't believe in Hesselboe as a PM, but she's not meant to spin things, create things, or influence events, but rather Katrine's role in the series is as a witness. She's the press, she reports on what happens. In 1x4, she was witness to that guy from the military's true story (sorry the details are a little hazy) so even while the story that came out was not what had really happened, she had been witness to it. She couldn't pretend with her "spinner" boyfriend that she took his job less seriously than her own, because she did. And she's been witness to Hanne's crumbling life and attempts to put it back together. And in 2x6, she voices this herself to Kasper when she says, "Don't you want a witness?" It's why they couldn't work before, Katrine cannot abide a false statement or anything less than the truth. And it creates such a fascinating dynamic between her and Kasper, since Kasper's role as spin doctor is to create a reality more pleasant and palatable and politically advantageous to the one that exists.

Oops that was a tangent, but anyway, I also loved that she stood her ground with her former boss and that he comes to her again at the end. Katrine being idealistic/representing truth/standing her ground works out for her. I like that, tbh. And I like that she insisted Hanne come along, too, although I'm worried that taking responsibility for keeping her sober is going to come back to bite her. Basically it all boils down to I ♥ Katrine.

Okay more on Katrine and Kasper from 2x6. Clearly this episode was mostly about Kasper. He was unraveling, that much was clear, from the pressure of his secret. He can't make it work with Lotte, and I felt so sorry for her, tbh, I wish he'd broken up with her before. But Kasper loves Katrine that much is indisputable and when I consider what they represent thematically on the show it almost gives me goosebumps. Anyway, I thought it was interesting that Katrine took Kasper's criticism to heart with her interview, I guess because it showed how much she still valued his input and what he thinks of her.

Anyway, I thought this episode was a perfect example of how well written this show is, how it's not a show that's JUST about politics, but rather a show about how politics affects the lives of the people involved in them. I mean in this episode you have "the political issue" which is Birgitte trying to keep her grasp on the government and the Freedom Party challenging it by wanting to lower the age of criminal responsibility. And this sends Kasper off the edge for reasons we don't find out until the end, but he hits his lowest point, he allows his personal life to interfere with his job, he loses Lotte because he can't stop cheating, he flies off the handle at Sven. He influences Birgitte and her formation of a new bill that gets passed and her own struggle with what do to about Laura. (again the political issue and her home life issue are companions to each other) And I loved that everything was framed in a us vs. them story line, the Freedom Party vs. the Moderates, Birgitte vs. Philip and Cecelie. Mostly though, I was just really touched by the end, and I hope that there are good things ahead for Kasper and Katrine. (but how can there be? lol)

Okay that's way more than I meant to write, but this I'm only scratching the surface of how much there is to talk about. It is just so good. (it's not flawless, but if I ever write my big Borgen essay, I'll mention the flaws in that)

The Closer

I thought this first episode back was a bit grim, and I am resenting the intrusion of Major Crimes set-up so much. What I like about this show is that it can be dramatic and suspenseful, but also quirky and light. So I don't know that I'm really looking forward to five more episodes of WATCH BRENDA'S DOWNFALL. Hopefully that seriousness won't last through the end of the series. I mean, it was an interesting episode, but there are now only five episodes left, you know what I mean?

I've given up on Falling Skies again, I thought Perception was just alright, and I'm hopeful Political Animals will keep me entertained. And The L.A. Complex comes back next week, yay! Also, I really tried with SYTYCD but...I think HGTV Design Star is my limit for reality shows. Plus the Olympics are coming up soon.

What are your weekend plans? What are you currently reading? I'm reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (♥) and a couple of other books. I no longer understand book monogamy.


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