Total Drama: The Ridonculous Review

Oh… what does one say about this little gem of Canadian programming?

Imagine pairing Jay and Silent Bob,
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Chris Farley and David Spade:
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Bill and Ted
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part of the cast of Police Academy:
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Your wise-cracking father and his tennis partner:
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and

The Stars of Beauty and the Bitch:
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into teams and having them race for a prize of one million dollars…

You’d have about as hilarious a show as you could come up with!

I watched Total Dram Island/Action, the show this was spun from, when it was released on the Cartoon network so many years ago. It was funny and good for a laugh… and then I decided to let my kids watch it because I was getting annoyed with the stuff they typically had on. (Seriously, there’s only so many times you can watch ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’ before it starts messing with your sanity!)

The plan backfired and my wife and I wound up watching it more than they did. Anyway, I had no idea that this show made it into a fourth or fifth season… let alone a spinoff.

Well we made it through the comical yet somewhat repetitive Total Drama series and then saw the Ridonculous Race. We’d really had enough and were ready to move on to something else, but decided to at least give the first episode a watch.

… It’s been a long time since I laughed that hard. Seriously, this is just one of those shows where once it starts, it just doesn’t stop! There is literally no relief of low point throughout the show. Whoever the writers were, they deserve a lot of credit. Creating a show that just constantly lands jokes over and over again until you’re laughing so hard that you can’t breathe… and then does it again with the next episode, cannot be easy.

Animation-wise, the show is stylized like its predecessor and somewhat basic, but I give that a pass as you can’t have it all. We weren’t going to get 3-D animation when clearly the show spent the majority of its money on writers, of which I have no complaints about.

Every team has their quirks, you wind up rooting for more then one (Unless its the skaters… did anyone really want to see them win?) and are saddened when they’re eliminated, but then there is always a team to replace them.

So honestly, if you are in need of a laugh, this show will GUARANTEED give you just what you need!!!

Here’s a little clip of one of my favorite episodes:

Enjoy and happy laughing!!!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

Ruining Fantasy?

I talk a lot about writing trends and would like to go into something that has been going on for a while now…

There has been a push in more recent media circles to make fantasy and fiction more like reality…

We’ve all seen this in some way, shape, or form. Be it people who let movies raise their children crying about Disney princesses and the whole ‘Love at first sight’ mentality, to all kinds of different elements being added into fantasy universes that are inappropriate, to say the least.

Fantasy isn’t constrained by real work physics, it’s not confined to our narrow view of reality, and it never should be. Is ‘Love At First Sight’ realistic? No. Does it happen sometimes? Eh… maybe? I’ve never seen it… but whatever. It’s a story trope. It’s something writers do, mostly in movie mediums, when they are constrained by a time limit and need to get the point across about their characters.

But Jim, it’s painting an unrealistic view of love and relationships for our children!

Of course it is… THATS WHY ITS CALLED FANTASY!!! It’s an unrealistic universe… or are you going to tell me that griffons, elves, dragons, dwarves, and goblins actually exist?
(Because I’d be very appreciative if you did!)
Look, its supposed to be harmless fun that was never meant to be taken seriously and can easily be put into context.

But I don’t want my kids to…

That’s YOUR problem, not mine, not anyone who writes stories or creates movies. If you aren’t adult enough to be able to parent your child and put stories like these into context for them, I’d say that you’ve got far bigger problems than a perceived movie narrative. I’m sorry to be harsh, but I have kids too and good parenting is always the best defense against any perceived notion of narrative.

I mean, which is a more appropriate, proportionate response?
1. Sitting down and explaining the reality of the stories they see and read to their children.

2. Writing angry letters to Disney, practically ordering them to change their ways to fit in with your mouth-breathing ideologies?

Well… it seems that most people chose option 2. How do I know? Let’s take a look at Disney’s highest grossing film in a long time… a film that I have grown to despise, because of it’s over-exposure, it’s predictable story, and… of all things… its egregious departure from the original story!

(Sorry, I’m a huge fan of Hans Christian Anderson’s work… to the point that I own a few 1st ediitons of his work)

 

Wow… Disney’s highest grossing film? YOU HATE IT!?

Yes. Go read The Snow Queen… and then watch ‘Let it Go’ 50 times in a row and you’ll understand why.
No, all kidding aside. When I took my son to see it, 10 minutes into the film when they were talking about true love thawing a frozen heart, I shook my head and thought to myself ‘Please tell me they’re not going to do a fake out, make it look like true love will save the day with via prince, only to suddenly reveal that it’s true love between the sisters…’
Yup… Disney decided to turn the movie into social commentary against their own movie tropes. While some considered this to be clever, I found it shallow and predictable…

Well maybe that’s just you!

Probably, given how popular this movie is. Maybe I can spot these things more easily because of my love for fantasy and the fact that I’m a writer myself… maybe, but then I’d invite everyone to rewatch the movie from an analytical standpoint. Watch and see if you can find the same problem I did.

This is the problem I have with this. The movie, based off of one of HCA’s best books, was ruined because Disney was focused on social commentary and trying to appease the crowd of people (mostly feminists dealing with the princess stereotype, and absentee parents) whining that fantasy is unrealistic!

The ironic part of this whole thing is that if they compare the book to the movie, most feminists would STILL say that the movie falls horribly short of their agenda, because in the book, a girl saves a boy, not a girl saves a girl… So why even bother?

But you know what? I’m going off on a bit of a tangeant.

So what brought all this on, all of a sudden? Well let’s go back a year or two. My wife and I loved a show known as How I Met Your Mother

We watched season after season Ted be a doofus, Lilly be deplorable, Barney be a whoremonger, Marshall be a goon, and Robin be a maniac. It was a fun ride… too bad it was ruined at the end of the series with a finale that completely destroyed several seasons of character build up, and crashed and burned multiple plot threads that we had been waiting to see unfold.

The series creators’ justification for this? Sigh… it was more realistic…

Per Craig Thomas on twitter:

… Craig… here’s the problem… This show is NOT realistic. If it were:
Ted would have been living on the streets or back with his parents for the seasons that he was unemployed because, I’m sorry, no unemployment check is going to cover an apartment in NEW YORK CITY!!

Not to mention that he’d most likely be in jail for any number of indescretions he’d comitted during the show’s run.

Marshall would likely have not lived to adulthood given his family dynamic and the way he was with his brothers.

Lilly would either not have married Marshall or she’d be royally hated by his family… and most likely had other problems stemming from the way she treated people when she was younger.

Robin, at the least, would have been behind bars for assault and then deported.

Barney… would currently be a science experiment at some lab trying to find a cure for sexually transmitted diseases.

Yet somehow these characters are people who have quite a few friends, and have a pretty good life… if that’s not fantasy, then I don’t know what is. So then you’re going to take that show out of context, take the extremely unrealistic life events and lifestyles, and try to put them into a real-world context because… that’s how life works? Do you not see the problem here?


Writers, why do we feel the need to do this? If we’re writing an urban fantasy based around real life places or events, where the narrative has all along been about living by real world rules, then I can understand pushing the real-world context, but in almost any other fiction-fantasy world, this doesn’t make sense.

Because it paints an unrealistic view of the life that can be harmful.

How? Why do you think people like fantasy and fiction? Why do they continue to pick up  books and watch movies based around things that aren’t real? Because they get enough of that real world every day of their lives. Fantasy gives them a chance to get away to another place, it’s something that they enjoy.

Do you really think that people need that dose of reality? Seriously? What’s the harm in letting people enjoy their works without a sudden slap in the face to needlessly remind them of the blantantly obvious fact that what they’re reading ISN’T REAL!??

Okay… you know what… the sheer lunacy of this is driving me nuts. I’m going to go get a drink, everyone… just enjoy the Nostalgia Critic’s rendition of Let It Go…
CHEERS!




Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Lucifer: Best Show in a Long Time

So I seem to be unable to avoid things like social commentary, movies, and visual mediums in addition to writing. So with that in mind, I’m changing the format of my blog. Now, not only will I tackle writing, but pretty much anything geek-culture-related (Yay me!)

Oh no! Does this mean that you won’t be giving out writing advice?

Hell no! Getting emails from readers looking for help is one of the things that constantly draws me back here. I love getting them and I love to help, so no, writing advice will still be offered to those who need it. I’m just opening my blog up to other things so that it’s no longer me going off on a tangent. Trust me, I’ve got lots of questions to get through and I will get to all of them… EVEN IF IT KILLS ME!!!

Hopefully not…


Okay, on topic. Today I want to talk about a show that really caught my eye. I heard Lucifer was being turned into a TV show after being a comic. Initially I rolled my eyes. In context, this was coming out while Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, Jessica Jones, among other stinkers were at their height.

As time went on and I heard the premise of this show, I started to become more and more intrigued. Sure I’d recently become a fan of the Flash… even though it was slowly losing my interest by the end of Season 2, and DC Legends of Tomorrow… which I have to admit, has the most effort I’ve seen put into a show in a very long time. So my optimism was beginning to grow.

Then I see the first images… Oh God… this looks almost NOTHING like the comic…

Finally, the first episode came out and my wife and I watched. The Episode opened with a rather charming brit being pulled over by a police officer.

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This care-free individual talks his way out of a ticket by bribing the officer and getting the officer to reveal his own naughty behavior… by virtue of his own version of a penitence stare…

imag0014(Tell me honestly, which would you be more likely to reveal your deepest darkest secrets to?)

Following that, Lucifer watches a girl he struck a deal with get blown away and… out of sheer boredom, becomes a consultant for the LAPD where she meets a former actress turned officer, Chloe Decker. Chloe seems more annoyed by Lucifer than anything, but he eventually wins her over and the two become friends and she comes to rely on him to help her through cases.

amenadiel.png(Wait… isn’t that the girl from Texas Chainsaw Massacre!?)

Though no one seems to believe him or dismiss him as a ‘method actor’ Lucifer makes no secret of who he really is, which in and of itself is hilarious.

Other characters join Chloe and Lucifer throughout the series… lets take a look at them…

Amenadiel:
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Another messenger of God and Lucifer’s brother. At first, he appears to be the moral compass of the show, trying to get Lucifer to return to Hell, but over time becomes more of a dose of reality to Lucifer as he deals with his own problems on Earth. He also causes a lot of the problems in Season 1, desperate to get Lucifer to return to Hell after having to do Lucifer’s job for a while.

I have to admit… he’s one of the more boring characters. When his scenes show up, I tend to kind of just wait for them to end. His story is a lot more gloomy and really tends to throw off the mood of the rest of the show.

Mazikeen:

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Appearance-wise, I have to say that she’s as close to the original source material as anyone has gotten. Personality… well that’s another story.
In the show, she’s a devious, promiscuous, sexy, painfully blunt, bad ass fighter who starts out as Lucifer’s protector. She was tasked with torturing evil souls in hell and follows Lucifer when he decides to leave, but becomes disillusioned with the job and starts doing her own thing. Though she seems stoic and uncaring, she has a soft spot for Chloe’s daughter who quickly becomes her only friend.

IMAG0014.jpg(I mean who wouldn’t want their child cuddling up with a demon!)

Still… Chloe refers to her as a very deranged person… and then they wind up living together… kay…

Aside from Lucifer, I’d say that she is the most interesting character in the entire show. She’s dark, but has a… barely detectable side of compassion. I was thrilled to find out that she would be connecting more with detective Decker as that’s where she’s the most interesting.

Dan Espinoza:
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(AKA Detective Douche)

Chloe’s ex and fellow officer. He seems protective of Chloe, but has his own dark side. He has his ups and downs in the series, but basically serves as Lucifer’s local cock-block. I could go into more detail, but to be honest, I don’t find him that interesting. He’s sort of a comic foil, but other than that he scenes seem to be getting fewer and fewer as time goes on. I don’t see him surviving the series.

Dr. Linda Martin:
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Lucifer’s therapist and more recently part of Chloe’s girl crew. Maze also seems to be warming up to her. Though extremely intelligent and able to keep up with… what she refers to as Lucifer’s metaphors, she seems somewhat ditsy.

She’s a tad annoying, but I like her enough to hope that she sticks around.

Ella Lopez:

Rachael Harris as Kim Martin.

A member of the LAPD’s forensics dept. She’s young and very peppy. What’s more she really seems to like Lucifer. I’m not sure if she’s charmed by him or simply amused by his antics, but she definitely seems to be getting more and more friendly. However, to Lucifer’s annoyance, she is convinced that he is a method actor and nothing he says or does looks like it will be changing her mind any time soon.

In more recent episodes, we see her character develop and get a lot more air time, which I am happy about because I very much like her character.


I have to say, I’d chalk this show up as a dramatic comedy more than anything. It is absolutely hilarious ride through everyday LA. As the audience, we are treated to what the devil would be doing if he were on vacation or ‘retired’ from his old job. As with his legend, he does make deals with people, but doesn’t require their souls for payment. He seems to be more of a benevolent character who simply got a bad reputation because of his job of having to punish the wicked. Most of the characters are very enjoyable and the episodes are very light-hearted. It deviates from the comic book rather blatantly, but that’s not a bad thing here. I highly recommend this series to anyone. Comic fan or otherwise!

My two favorite Episodes are:
Season 1, Episode 9, ‘A Priest Walks Into A Bar.’
Here, we see Lucifer befriend… of all things, a priest. He get’s to experience friendship and then having to lose said friend. This provides us a whole new look into Lucifer’s character and how dynamic and complex his psyche is.

Season 2, Episode 4. Lady Parts.
(No, not because of the name!) It’s honestly just a funny episode where Chloe and Mazikeen’s relationship is forged.

Overall rating: 4/5 Stars. I love this show!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim