Be the Knope you want to see in the world

Have you read this terrific article about Liz Lemon, Leslie Knope, and the significance of their characters in the realm of TV and in the world in general? If you haven’t, go read it now.

I identify a lot with Leslie Knope, especially as I look at the earlier days of my professional career. I also identify with Liz Lemon in some respects, though Leslie’s loves-the-smaller-town, public-service-oriented, hyper-organized enthusiasm is definitely more like my own outlook on life.

One of the points that stood out to me in this article was this:

To be likeable as a woman, it seems, you have to ensure that you’re also non-threatening and slightly useless. You have to point loudly to your “flaws,” but not your, you know, actual flaws.

I have run into this over and over and over! In the past few years I’ve been striving to get better at accepting a compliment sincerely and at recognizing my own talents (FYI: just because you were too lazy to do actual work in math class in high school does not mean that you are not good at math. You might discover that you are actually really good at it when you look around and notice that a ton of the work you do every day requires significant math skills.) but I still find myself making dumb self-deprecating remarks on occasion.

So, ladies, I’m asking you: What are you awesome at? How do you inspire yourself? How do you do feminism?


writing and expectations

So the fall TV series are back on, which means that many shows have returned to Hulu+ (where we watch most of our current TV, as we don’t have cable). I’d been feeling some fatigue with some shows already, but a few that we’ve watched as the new season started have been Just Awful. Warning: spoilers, probably.

Castle, for instance, is a show I have quite enjoyed in the past and really want to like because it has a female main character and has Nathan Fillion, who is generally good and in good things. The first episode of this season picks up where the last one left off (spoilers, I guess): Castle is in peril on the way to marry Beckett. I have a problem with this already, because it feels like SUCH a cop-out when shows resort to putting their main characters in mortal danger. It’s not enough that they’re in the regular, every-day-for-a-crime-solver danger. They have to be attacked and kidnapped and who-knows-what-ed by The Bad Guys. So we’re starting off poorly already. Then we add in some seriously poorly written actions for our main characters. It appears to the completely oblivious eye that Castle has been hiding out to avoid getting married to Beckett, and in about no time at all, Beckett and the sidekicks from the police department have all shed any benefit of the doubt they ever possessed and are convinced that Castle has made terrible choices and is wronging everyone he ever loved. They treat him like he’s a horrible person and are pretty obvious about how much they’re hating him, despite the fact that he just got rescued, has obviously been traumatized, and has little memory of what happened to him. We’ve had how many years of them building up their relationships and they’re willing to give up on him in a matter of days? This is so inconsistent and not in character for basically ANY of them. The fact that Castle just takes all this abuse is pretty annoying, too. I won’t even get started on the long-running problem of Beckett running around with perfectly blown-out hair, getting into scrapes and tumbles without a hair out of place or even a fleeting thought of a hair-tie. COME ON.

Anyway! I’m going to give Castle another shot, but it should consider itself On Notice. A number of other shows have recently fallen off my will-watch list. I generally have a certain amount of loyalty for a show in which I’ve invested a season. But I was a bitter-ender for How I Met Your Mother and look where that got me! (NOWHERE. We actually watched the first half of the two-episode series finale, not realizing that there was a second one, and thought, well, that’s it! When we did realize there was a second part and watched it, I didn’t feel that it really added anything to what I had previously thought was the wrap-up.) Watching the returning episodes of a few comedies, I’ve realized that entire episodes will pass with not one laugh or even a chuckle, and I’m calling it quits. Modern Family, there are so few jokes in your episodes, and the ones that are there aren’t actually funny! Big Bang Theory, fat jokes still aren’t funny, and all of your characters being plain mean to each other isn’t funny, either. ESPECIALLY when you resort to all the mean girls crap that a show with three main female characters so utterly does not need. So I’m officially freeing myself of the compulsion to keep watching these. My thinking here was informed by the second episode of Bellwether Friends, which – if you haven’t checked out this podcast yet, do it now! It’s far more worth your time than any of these TV shows.