A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to This Critique: A “Cloak & Dagger” Review

by T. Mack

Freeform

I have to start with this: I don’t trust the whole “Freeform” name change. To be fair, I’ve been through a lot of name changes with this channel already. From “The Family Channel” to “Fox Family” in the 90’s to “ABC Family” in the 00’s. I stuck by it. But now this “Freeform” business has me thrown. It feels random and ridiculous. I get that they want to appeal to younger audiences and I understand they want that audience to know that they have fresh, edgier content. So I get why they dropped the “family.” I don’t like it, but I get it. However, this new name doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t even make any sense! It’s just stupid and kind of arbitrary! Surely, there was a better choice than this. To be honest, I was basically determined to completely put down the network and all its programming over the whole thing. I mean, they flat-out told me I wasn’t their demographic, anyway. So why bother? Then they announced they were doing a Marvel show. (Because they’re owned by Disney, so of course they are!) Now, you all know how much I love, love, and LOVE me some Marvel. So naturally, I had to see what kind of disaster they made out of this new endeavor. (My expectation was basically a repeat of the Inhumans debacle on a teeny-bopper scale.) So I tuned in to watch the train wreck, snicker to myself, and go on about my business continuing to ignore the stupidly re-named network. But then a strange thing happened…

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Double Dose of Social Commentary: A Review of Dietland (the book & the show)

by T. Mack

Dietland-TV-14

AMC just finished airing the first season of its show, Dietland. The series is based on a book of the same name by Sarai Walker. Both the book and the series follow mostly the same plot and focus on the same basic themes: self-acceptance, facing inequality and rape culture in our society, and the notion that women have much more power than they give themselves credit for. While the show and book both have some tough parts to get through — TRIGGER WARNINGS for those who, like me, are sensitive to descriptions and depictions of rape in literature, television, and movies — they do provide what I believe to be a much-needed commentary on our current culture’s obsession with a particular standard of beauty and the double-standard of expectations for men and women.

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Comedy Gets Gut-Punched by Hannah Gadsby

by T. Mack

Hannah Gadsby, a well-known comedian from Tasmania, is quitting comedy. She has her reasons, and in her new Netflix comedy special, Nanette, she tells all about them. If a comedy special seems like a strange place to announce a retirement from comedy, you’re not wrong. Gadsby even admits as much. But the show is her platform and up until now, comedy has been the only voice she’s had to be heard. So Gadsby uses both the platform and her voice to give a few laughs, tell some stories, and educate viewers about some very serious matters.

Hannah-Gadsby-1

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Girl Fight: The Power of Female Friendships

by T. Mack

(Very slight spoiler regarding one scene of Avengers: Infinity War)

Hopefully, you’ve taken my advice from earlier in the week and seen the marvelous Marvel movie, Avengers: Infinity War. If you haven’t, I must assume you have your reasons, but I promise you’re missing out. If you have seen the film, you’ll recall the crazy cool girl fight deep in the third act between Black Widow, Okoye, Scarlet Witch, and Proxima Midnight of Thanos’ Black Order. At a certain point, Proxima Midnight stands over Scarlet Witch, who is nearly defeated, and tells her that she will die alone. From the side, we hear Black Widow’s voice correct Proxima Midnight by proclaiming clearly that, “She’s not alone.” From that point, we are treated to an incredible display of fighting as Black Widow and Okoye battle Promixa Midnight long enough for Scarlet Witch to recover herself and jump back into the fray.

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