Team Four Star’s Dragon Ball Z Abridged Has Become the Definitive DBZ Dub

Dragon-Ball-Z

Team Four Star has just finished wrapping up abridging the best season of Dragon Ball Z (The Cell Saga) and pretty much established the web series as the best way to really watch the Dragon Ball Z series for both newcomers and fans of the original dub.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m poo-poo-ing on Christopher Sabat or Sean Schemmel, who have done an awesome job bringing the characters to life for most of my childhood. However, now when I think of Goku’s voice, I don’t just think of Schemmel, but I also hear MasakoX/ Lawrence Simpson as well. They have both become my Goku, just as Lanipator/Nick Landis have been dueling with Sabat and it’s not because one is better, it’s because of the writing.

Team Four Star gets Dragon Ball in the ways only people who genuinely love the show, character, and universe can. Hearing Vegeta scream, “MY BABY BOY” when Trunks is killed by Cell is one of the most glorious things. The Krillin counter, the Piccolo/Gohan relationship, Mr. Popo being the evilest creature in the universe, and Cell just being so deliciously extra.

As someone who genuinely cries over Vegeta’s character journey in the series, it is often hard to get new people into DBZ because it is both notorious for being long, having filler and being so well known that people think they get all of it without having to watch the series.

What DBZ Abridged does is give you the best crash course into the franchise by having a very character driven narrative with a lot of jokes and a real Rick & Morty sense of talking about the universe. The humor is based around DBZ fandom thoughts and meta that have been circulating around the franchise for decades, so much of it is public domain information.

In this current season with Cell, it hits all the important moments of Gohan’s emotional journey, which I’ve talked about before, but also the subtle ways that Goku really cares about his son, despite his denseness being played up slightly more than canon. Slightly. It gets the universal and emotional stories that the original wants to tell and tells them. Plus, with the series being decades old at this point, they are able to really cut out filler in a way that only a fan could.

DBZA is a labor of love, and you see that with every joke, the voice acting, and the time taken to make each edit work seamlessly into the next. It is a triumph of storytelling and modernizes the series for viewers today.

If you want to get your friends into Dragon Ball Z, after the manga itself, this is the #1 way to go.

Let us know your favorite DB/DBZ/DBZA moments down below. We know we have quite a few.

(image: Funimation)

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Zoë Kravitz Will Star in Gender-Swapped Remake of High Fidelity and I’m Not Sure How to Feel

zoe kravitz high fidelity

It was announced today that Zoë Kravitz will star in a gender-flipped remake of High Fidelity, playing the role originated by John Cusack. Personally, my brain is perfectly split between a reaction of Yay! and Why?

On the one hand, Zoë Kravitz should be in everything. There’s also the added fun meta level of Kravitz’ mother Lisa Bonet having appeared in the original film as Marie DeSalle, the singer who gets fetishized and idealized by Cusack’s Rob. So this feels like some small karmic justice.

On the other hand, this seems like a strange choice for a gender-flip, since High Fidelity is basically an ode to toxic masculinity. The movie centers on Rob, an apathetic record-store owner who, in the midst of a breakup, recounts the five worst breakups of his life for the audience in a fourth-wall-busting style. Wondering why the women in his life always left him, he tracks down each of these exes in a quest for closure.

I grew up loving the film (and the Nick Hornsby novel it is based on), and it wasn’t until a rewatch just a couple of years ago that I fully realized how terrible Rob is. Sure, he admits that he’s “a fucking asshole” (before immediately attempting to justify his awful behavior), but the movie never commits to making him fully unlikeable. He’s possessive and selfish, dehumanizing the women in his life, turning them into fantasies and treating them terribly, and yet he’s still put forward as a relatable protagonist, and we’re meant to root for him and Laura to wind up together.

Watching High Fidelity now, almost 20 years after it came out, the character of Rob doesn’t fully hold up. Much like the ongoing debate over (500) Days of Summer, it’s not entirely clear whether we’re supposed to take the unreliable narrator’s depiction of events at face value or if he’s actually the one to blame for his failed relationship.

I would argue that while Summer’s Tom is clearly not meant to be a hero, the portrayal of Rob is murkier. Yes, both Rob and the audience are supposed to see how unfair and sometimes unkind he’s been to his girlfriends, but it seems like his realizations are supposed to equal atonement, and we’re meant to forgive Rob for his behavior. On rewatch though, I was struck by how unearned that forgiveness felt.

A gender-flipped remake has the opportunity to do some interesting things with these ideas and explore them in a more meaningful way than its predecessor did. This adaptation will be a television series, not a film, so it has the potential to dive deep if it so chooses. However, the series is being made for Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming platform. It’s been described as having a PG-13, family-friendly feel, so maybe we shouldn’t get our hopes up for full exploration of the Rob character’s narcissistic sociopathy.

Or maybe the show will only keep the bare bones outline of the film and not create a lead that requires that level of investigation. What do you all think of the idea of a gender-flipped High Fidelity and what do you hope to see from it?

(via The Wrap, image: Jared Siskin/Getty Images for YSL)

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Things We Saw Today: Suicide Squad Director Regrets Joker’s Damaged Tattoo … Well, That’s a Start

Jared Leto and Ike Barinholtz in Suicide Squad (2016)

I am still be haunted by 2016’s Suicide Squad, especially because I just recently had to watch the extended edition version where the Joker negs Harley so hardcore it was cringeworthy to watch. Margot Robbie, you deserved better.

The film’s director, David Ayer, who will not be back for any future Leto/Joker films (of which there seem to be two separate ones happening maybe?) took to Twitter and answered some questions about his film. One user asked if he regretted the “damaged” tattoo across the Joker’s head, a tattoo that was added, according to Ayer, because “it was meant for Batman after he smashed Joker’s teeth for killing Jason Todd, some people found it alienating. Originality and faithfulness to the canon are often at odds. Batman and Joker are my two favorite characters ever.”

Still, he admits it was a step too far. Well, I guess the first step is accepting there is a problem.

(via UPROXX, image: Warner Bros.)

  • Now that certified hottie Cary Fukunaga is going to be directing the 25th Bond movie, it’s a perfect time to revisit the man Bond directors and what impact they left on the franchise. (via Den of Geek)
  • Sci-fi queen Ursula K. LeGuin is gone but not forgotten, and the impact she left behind is best seen in quotes from the lady herself. (via The Portalist)
  • After getting dragged over the internet, Disney has restored both Princess Tiana and Pocahontas to their original skin-tones in Wreck-it Ralph 2 after people brought up how much lighter the character had become in the 3D form. (via Indie Wire)
  • My second favorite Trek captain is back and the man behind the leader shared a picture of him and the writers working on the show that is going to be every Trekkie’s obsession. (via TV Line)
  • The best show you aren’t watching, Hulu’s Harlots, has thankfully been renewed for the third season, so go watch it! (via THR)

We made through the Monday!

chadwick boseman

via marvel

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Let’s Examine This “Loki Is Alive” Infinity War Fan Theory That Kevin Smith Endorsed

Loki is alive fan theories

Fan theories that Loki survived the events of Avengers: Infinity War have been making the rounds for months now. Over the weekend the idea got quite the boost when director Kevin Smith tossed his two cents in.

Many of us were loath to see our favorite God of Mischief dispatched so quickly and brutally at the beginning of Infinity War. Since the Asgardian/Jotun antihero survived being “dead” twice before, however, it isn’t beyond the bounds of reason to suspect that he could give death the slip again. Loki fans have clung to that hope, even as Thanos pointedly declared “no more resurrections this time” as he strangled Loki.

Right after Infinity War‘s release, a fan theory gained some traction that Loki was not dead but had in fact shapeshifted into Bruce Banner and was sent to Earth in Bruce’s stead. This theory seemed to hinge upon the fact that Bruce couldn’t turn into the Hulk throughout the movie, and that Loki is, as a rule, sneaky and opportunistic and interested in self-preservation.

I didn’t give this one too much credence because there are too many plot holes therein: if Loki is masquerading as Bruce, where is Bruce? And if Loki can appear as any form, why not illusion himself to also look like the Hulk so as to avoid further suspicion? I feel pretty confident tossing this theory out, especially since the Russos have explained that Bruce and the Hulk have some complicated couples therapy to work through in order to figure out their issues, which were foreshadowed in Thor: Ragnarok.

But there is another fan theory that makes an incredibly crucial observation that does seem to throw open the doors to the idea that Loki is still alive. A user on Reddit pointed out that while we have always seen Loki fight with a dominant right hand, in Infinity War he uses his left hand in his attempt to stab Thanos. The Redditor claims that the only other time we’ve witnessed Loki fighting left-handed is when it is not Loki himself but a projected illusion—or when he is at least up to some seriously crafty magics.

Loki is right handed. If you look, in movies since the Thor 1 to Avengers 1 to Ragnarok, he wields with his right hand. He holds weapons with his right and the sceptor in Avengers with his right.

There are two occasions he uses his left hand (that I’ve found). One, when he fakes his own death in Dark World. You can find him holding the dagger with his left hand during the entire scene. Two, when he stabs Thanos.

So, Loki’s illusion uses his left hand because he’s a mirrored version? The Loki that was killed in the beginning of IW was an illusion and he’s still out there, maybe disguised or just in hiding.

The idea that the man we saw die was simply a “mirrored version” of Loki makes a lot of sense. Loki has the capacity to create both illusions and doubles that do his bidding, and he disappears for a while at the beginning of Infinity War before reemerging to challenge Thanos. There was both the time and the opportunity for Loki to substitute a magical replica in his place.

Many Loki-watchers felt like his abrupt move to stab the Mad Titan was extremely out-of-character: Loki is the only one on board The Statesman spaceship who knows who Thanos is and what he is capable of, yet he tries to attack a hugely powerful being who already wields some Infinity Stones with a tiny knife?

For a genius-level god and powerful sorcerer, it’s a pretty dumb move, even if he gets to give his final speech declaring himself a prince of Asgard and the rightful king of Jotunheim and an Odinson again in proper ultra-dramatic Loki fashion.

A much better plan, which explains this apparent folly, would be if Loki had sent a double in his place to give said dramatic speech and “die” in order to give the real Loki the chance to escape. He could have taken an escape pod that we know the ship had because Valkyrie and company got away, or used his arts to somehow survive in space. Thor did okay just kind of floating around until the Guardians found him, so it’s not inconceivable.

When the “mirrored version” Loki theory was suggested to Kevin Smith on his Fatman Beyond podcast, the director and avid comics fan thought it sounded plausible—especially because rewatching Infinity War had ignited his own suspicions about Loki’s death. According to Uproxx:

After being presented with the evidence, Smith responded, “You’ve got a point, because I’m sitting there watching, I re-watched Infinity War again last night and I was like, I can’t believe they killed f*cking Loki.” The Clerks director continued, “Last night when I was watching it, [there’s a] line I hung on, which is where he goes, ‘The sun will shine on us again brother,’ and then he gets killed and Thor should have been like, ‘I guess you were wrong, f*ck!’ But you know, he doesn’t and that made me think like maybe there is a play here and stuff.”

Smith hit upon another element of that scene that Loki fans have been debating for ages. Shortly before he dies, Loki says to Thor, “I assure you, brother, the sun will shine on us again,” which is just frankly kind of an incongruous thing for Loki to say and seems to lack any context whatsoever in the moment.

Is he promising to meet Thor someday in the afterlife? Why would you phrase it like that? Instead, Loki seems to be implying that the both of them will survive this thing, whether that’s a product of simple overconfidence or—and this is critical—because he already has a plan to escape Thanos by magical trickery. The more you look at the “sun will shine on us again” line, the weightier it seems. Loki only has a handful of lines in Infinity War, and in this one, he appears to be sending a direct, if mysterious, message to Thor and to the audience. Hence Smith’s assessment of that moment as “a play” in the greater scheme of things.

We know that Tom Hiddleston will likely be appearing as Loki in some capacity in Avengers 4. He was spotted on set in Avengersera costume alongside Chris Hemsworth, leading some to believe—if that appearance wasn’t a purposeful red herring—that the film would involve time travel and we’d get to see Loki in the past. But if he’s still alive, and able to rejoin his brother, that means that the current-day Loki could also be in on the remaining Avengers’ plans for the events of Avengers 4.

While we have no idea if the Loki TV show that seems bound for the Disney streaming service (and in which he should be pansexual) will take place after the events of Avengers 4 or in a different period of time, it’s clear that the MCU is not done with Loki. While we’re here, may I suggest that the Loki TV show be set between the events of Thor and The Avengers? Marvel, call me, I have many ideas and all of the scripts pre-written.

How do you think the sun will shine on Loki again in Avengers 4?

(via Uproxx, image: Marvel)

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Why Do Racist Halloween Costumes Still Get a Pass?

Samira Wiley in The Handmaid's Tale (2017)

Last week, I spent an inordinate amount of time yelling about Yandy’s sexy Handmaid’s Tale Halloween costumes and their decision to pull the outfit from their site.

At first, I considered that decision a victory, before being reminded of the fact that in all my raging against the machine that was those costumes, I had overlooked the fact that Yandy also sells incredibly racist costumes (ranging from “Indian Costumes” to “Voodoo Costumes”) as well, and there has not been a major push to have those taken down. We featured a tweet on this topic in Saturday’s Things We Saw, but this is something that merits a deeper discussion, because as Michael Che joked at the Emmys, oppression is only bad when it happens to white women.

Halloween is a season where a lot of people, namely white people, feel the need to dress up in incredibly offensive costumes, many of which are sold at popular Halloween retailers. And this isn’t just a handful of people; every year, articles on how to not engage with cultural appropriation are written because this is a problem that keeps on popping up without fail.

Teen Vogue did a stellar video on culturally appropriative costumes last year, and ends it with this powerful summary of what the women in the video speak about: “Most importantly, listen to their message. These costumes aren’t funny and harmless; cultural appropriation isn’t senseless outrage. It’s a painful, dehumanizing attack on their culture, their history, their very existence. And it should have no place in our society — at Halloween and beyond.”

And Yandy is a purveyor of costumes for those who wish to really dig into their privileged side. A quick pass through their website — something I admittedly should’ve done when I first wrote this piece — shows a variety of offensive costumes that definitely should not be sold, ranging from offensive “Tiger Lily” costumes to a wide array of geisha costumes (there’s also a sexy school girl section which isn’t appropriative but just plain gross).

But as plenty of people on Twitter have pointed out, now that the sexy Handmaid’s costume is taken down, no one cares about the rest of the site. The costume that is offensive to white women is now gone, so that’s all that matters; the culturally appropriative costumes can stay because they’re only making light of something that does not directly affect white feminists. The fact that we accept racially insensitive costumes as the norm is deeply troubling, and something we need to stop letting slide.

A quick Google search turned up a piece on sixteen offensive Halloween costumes from last year. The costumes range from the bad to the downright racist, and guess what? Yandy is the seller behind many of them. Why hasn’t this site been protested more? Why haven’t we seen more movements to get them to take down their offensive costumes? Is it because most of the costumes are just culturally appropriative, and therefore something that more people just accept at face value?

This is a problem. Let’s not be like Britta in season three of Community, saying that we can excuse racism but draw the line at animal cruelty (or in this case, sexy Handmaid’s Tale Halloween costumes). If we’re going to push back against a costume which is a really bad idea (because let’s be real, a sexy Offred is a terrible idea), we need to push back at costumes that are racist as well. We cannot just take one stand and then ignore other battles.

Consider this article to be two things. First, an apology for not including Yandy’s racism in my initial pieces on the subject; I should’ve done more research instead of just focusing on that one particular costume. Secondly, a reminder to my fellow white women that we need to stop just caring about issues that only affect us. The Handmaid’s Tale is a pretty great example of this because it’s mostly about white women being oppressed; plus, if we only care about how society’s ingrained prejudices affect us, then we’re no better than Serena Joy.

There’s been a #CancelYandy hashtag going around Twitter since the site gained notoriety for the sexy Handmaid costume. Go read the tag, and retweet women talking about the costumes. And for the love of all that is good, please consider your Halloween costume carefully, because if you protest the Handmaid’s costume and then dress up in something offensive, you are part of the problem too.

(Image: Hulu)

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Joseph Campbell Meets Superheroines at The Mary Sue’s Feminist Film Event, September 27th @ Videology

TMS Film Event 2 HD

Laurence Maslon, the author of Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture, once said in reference to comics books: “They’re our Greek myths. But the difference is, they’re no longer what the Greek myths were to the Greeks – they’re what they were to western civilization centuries later. We know them so well now. They have outlived the intent of the original.”

When I decided that our second Feminist Film Mashup event was going to be about the evolution (or lack thereof) of comic book heroines in film, I wanted it to be more than just a rundown of “we had a bunch of bad ones, but now we have good ones.” Instead, thinking about this quote from Maslon, I asked myself: “If comics are our new mythology and superheroes our new gods, what do our goddess represent? What do our heroines say about us? And how have they gone beyond their original intent?”

It is with that in mind that I framed this upcoming event. We will be going through some of comics heroines, anti-heroines, and villainesses to see what they say about our ideas of women, the way we visualize female strength, and what is often lost in the adaptation from text to screen.

I wanted to go beyond just DC and Marvel, so the movies Barbarella and Barb Wire will be getting some attention, as well as the cult favorite Tank Girl. I don’t cover everyone’s fave (sorry in advance) but I did attempt to cover a lot of characters, including and not limited to Sue Storm, Jean Grey, Wonder Woman, Elektra, and Supergirl. Our night will be fun, informative, and most of all, offer another lens with which to examine awesome female characters in a medium that I adore. I also read a lot of Joseph Campbell in preparation for this, so I have receipts!

I’m really excited to see you guys there and to give you another opportunity to argue with me in person. Our first Feminist Film Mashup was a sold-out exciting evening, and we can’t wait to see you again.

The event takes place this Thursday, September 27th. at Videology in Brooklyn, NY at 6:45pm and it’ll go until 8:15pm. Afterward, join The Mary Sue staff for drinks at the bar.

Since we sold out last time (thank you!) we took over the whole venue this time around, so there is plenty of room for latecomers. Thanks to our friends at Tor Books, we will be giving away free Tor/The Mary Sue Tote bags, with a paperback copy of Vicious by V.E. Schwab and special ARC for a title not coming out until February by a Nebula-winning author (!!!).

There is also a sticker for Schwab’s Vengeful and a 3-month premium subscription trial card. We will also be hosting a raffle giveaway of fabulously geeky toys and there will be a special video message from author V.E Schwab herself.

I look forward to seeing you all and talking about comic book movies with some food and mighty beverage!

You can buy your tickets here. [Link Fixed]

gal gadot

(image: DC)

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Things We Saw Today: The Joker/Harley Quinn Movie Is A Mix Of Bad Santa And This Is Us

harley quinn

Show of hands, who actually wants a Joker/Harley Quinn movie that isn’t about Harley killing him and then eloping with Poison Ivy?

Well, it looks like we’re getting that standalone any way, despite there also being a Joker origin film starring Joaquin Phoenix. Jared Leto and Margot Robbie will be reprising their Suicide Squad roles in a film written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who have described the film as a cross between Bad Santa and This Is Us, which are two properties I never really thought would be meshed together in any shape or form.

“It was sort of like, we wrote Bad Santa a couple of years ago, and it was that sensibility mixed with our This Is Us sensibility. We kind of meshed them together,” Ficarra told The Metro. “We were doing a relationship movie but with the sensibility of a Bad Santa.” The film reportedly opens with Harley kidnapping Dr. Phil because she and Joker need to work out the problems in their relationship (here’s a solution: dump that loser and date Poison Ivy, Harley!).

Well, it certainly sounds like some kind of movie. Hopefully it’ll be better than the This Is Us inspired Life Itself. But given the subject material, that might be asking for a bit much.

(via IndieWire; Image: DC/Warner Bros)

  • Carlton Cuse doesn’t want a LOST reboot, but he’s open to some kind of sequel. Hopefully they’ll treat their leading lady better this go around. (via IndieWire)
  • Chris Evans books his first post-Captain America television role in the limited series Defending Jacob (via Deadline)
  • Todd Phillips hypes up Zazie Beets’ role in the upcoming Joker standalone film. (via Deadline)
  • Guillermo Del Toro uses Twitter as a force for good and unpacks why Better Call Saul might be more of a tragedy than Breaking Bad (via Twitter)

We hope you had a fantastic weekend, Mary Suevians!

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Viral Tweet About Fandom Gatekeeping Proves We Still Have a Male Geek Problem

image: BBC Jodie Whittaker 13th Doctor Doctor Who BBC

Over the weekend, a tweet about a mother and daughter’s experience at a convention dealing with gatekeeping male fans has swept the Internet. It’s a sadly familiar story made even more sad by the fact the young woman in question is eleven years old, and was being harassed by a grown man who thought he had the right to make her feel like less of a fan because she’s a young girl.

The story, first shared on Tumblr before circulating Twitter, describes the magical day the family was having at a local con, where the daughter met her favorite actor and Doctor Peter Capaldi. Dressed in her finest Who attire, the family was eating when a man sitting nearby decided to quiz the daughter on her Whovian knowledge. The mother quickly shut him down and got him to leave, then had to reassure her daughter that no one should be allowed to force her to prove herself. You can read the full post below:

So yeah, this is unacceptable. It’s worse that an eleven year old had to deal with this, but it shouldn’t happen to women of any age or in any fandom. And while yes, things have been getting better, gatekeeping still is prevalent and is something that we need to address before it pushes more women and girls out of fandom spaces.

It’s something that is, personally, rage inducing because I can vividly remember two of my teachers, one male and one female, asking me which of the Avengers I was going to see The Avengers for. There was no question about whether or not I went because I was a Marvel fan. No, it was simply because I must have found a Chris attractive. I didn’t have words to express myself then, but I sure do now: it was unfair and, quite frankly, crossed a line with a female student who was just finding the confidence to express herself.

It was around the time that The Avengers came out that the concept of fake geek girls really hit the mainstream. An article published by Forbes author Daniel Nye Griffiths in 2012 talks about the myriad of articles that had popped up that year raging against “booth babes” and “fake geek girls.” Griffiths pulls from those pieces, and let me tell you, they’re not pretty. In fact, they’re borderline incel material.

“They’re poachers. They’re a pox on our culture. As a guy, I find it repugnant that, due to my interests in comic books, sci-fi, fantasy and role playing games, video games and toys, I am supposed to feel honored that a pretty girl is in my presence. It’s insulting,” wrote Joe Peacock in an article screaming about these women for CNN. Another article on Forbes read:

“Those that are deceitful about being a geek do it because deep down they want to feel that hunger to be so into something you can’t eat or sleep, but just haven’t found their thing yet. Don’t pretend to love something because you think it will get you attention. Don’t think that you can take a shortcut because there isn’t one. Dig deep, dig to the roots, dig until you know things that others you admire in the subject matter don’t know or can’t do. Then go ahead and proudly label yourself a geeky girl.”

Interestingly enough, the latter piece was written by a woman. Holy internalized misogyny, Batman.

The problem is is that women genuinely like things. They don’t just fake it for male attention. And let’s be clear, this isn’t also about just women. Fans of color are shut out of fandom; take white vlogger Grace Randolph saying that Black audiences don’t watch Star Wars. LGBT+ fans are shut out of fandom. If you’re not a cishet, white, able-bodied man, you’re probably going to face some sort of gatekeeping in a fandom at some point in your life, which is not acceptable in any way, shape, or form. We’re all a bunch of nerds who like to spend time thinking about fictional worlds and characters; to behave as if it’s some sort of special elite clique is just nonsense.

The Forbes article I cited above writes:

A woman may be dressed as Batgirl, and yet not able to tell you if she is Barbara Gordon, Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown. That might be because she genuinely doesn’t care, or because she has only just discovered Batgirl, and has nobody to get advice from.

And that might be because whenever she tries to talk about Batgirl, she gets the geekquisition on how deep her knowledge of the Batman mythos is, before being dismissed as insufficiently knowledgeable – a “fake geek girl” just looking for attention. Eventually, they will either learn to dress conservatively and keep quiet, or they will give up – either way, sales and brand equity are lost, for very little gain.

And therein lies the problem. Gatekeeping — and we’re just talking about it in terms of fandom, but it exists in every field from STEM to filmmaking to everything in between — will drive people away from things they love. Because they are told they have to prove themselves and that they don’t really like what they like, and that they’re just fakes. This is a toxic mentality that has cost us countless voices in countless spheres because they were told they were not wanted there. That is a true tragedy.

It’s time for all of us to take a stand to make spaces more inclusive for everyone, and that includes getting rid of gatekeepers. Let’s make geekdom less of a toxic wasteland of hate and more of a celebration of things we love; because, to paraphrase Rose Tico, that’s how we’re going to win in the end.

(Image: BBC)

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Happy Bisexual Visibility Day — Who’s Your Favorite Bisexual Fictional Character?

Happy Bisexuality Visibility Day, Mary Suevians! On this wonderful day, let’s celebrate our favorite bisexual characters in film and television. While we’ve still got a long way to go in terms of equal representation on screen, we’ve seen an upswing in amazing bisexual representation onscreen that manages to avoid the worst of the tropes and give us well rounded, complex characters who remain a beacon of hope for fans who want to see themselves reflected onscreen.

First off, let’s talk about Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) from Brooklyn 99. Rosa’s sexuality was revealed in the show’s fourth season. Beatriz herself is bisexual, and released this powerful statement on her character’s sexuality in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:

“Not to say that my story is the same as Rosa’s at all. It’s not. But there were things that we wanted and thought would be really important — like the word itself: bisexual. To me, that’s an important word in my coming out. I know that not all people are totally celebratory of that word because it’s from a time where it was like these two genders — that’s all there is. And now there’s a lot more flexibility and fluidity in sexuality, which is why sometimes I gravitate toward the word queer as well. For me, bisexuality includes people that are trans, it can include people who identify in different kind of ways. But for Rosa, there was a point for her where she heard that word somewhere along the line and she saw herself in that word, so for her, it was important for her to identify in that way. I suggested that that word was really important to Rosa and that it also would be really important to the bi community to have that word said aloud on TV.”

This is an incredibly powerful statement, as oftentimes bisexual is seen as a dirty word on television, with characters preferring to say they “go both ways” or some other turn of phrase. Beatriz is right, it’s important to have Rosa talk about her sexuality and use the term bisexual, because that moment of visibility matters to the community. It means that without a doubt, Rosa identifies as bisexual and that no one can take it away from the community. This is why Rosa matters so much; it also matters that Rosa is a bisexual woman of color who doesn’t fall into any stereotypes. She’s just Rosa, who fans adore, who also is bisexual.

Another excellent bisexual character on TV is Darryl (Pete Gardner) of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fame. Darryl started his arc as Rebecca’s weird boss, who’s in the middle of his divorce from his wife. When the second half of the first season rolled around, he found himself drawn to White Josh (David Hull), and eventually realizes he’s bisexual. At first, he loudly proclaims himself to be “both-sexual,” but that only lasts for an episode before he adopts the term bisexual. He even gets a peppy musical number called “Gettin’ Bi” where he talks about the myths surrounding bisexuality.

It’s important to note that series creators Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh-McKenna spoke to GLAAD about enduring stereotypes of bisexuality to make sure they didn’t fall into any pitfalls with either Darryl’s song or his story in general, as neither Bloom or McKenna identify as bisexual. This is an important moment of making sure they’re properly representing a community, rather than just assuming they know what’s best.

It’s worth noting, as we celebrate portrayals of bisexuality on TV, that by the middle of 2017, 62 lesbian and bisexual female characters had been killed off over the past two television seasons. LGBT+ identifying women are oftentimes killed off for shock value or to show that every can die, because hey, straight characters are more important.

We’ve still got a long way to go in terms of equal representation, but for today, let’s celebrate our favorite bisexual characters and what they mean to us. Let us know in the comments who your favorites are, be it canon or headcanon. And have a happy day to one and to all!

(Image: Fox)

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Ten Years After Twilight, Catherine Hardwicke Talks Female Directors

Love it, hate it, enjoy making fun of it… you couldn’t escape Twilight for a long time, from the days the books were published to the highly popular movie adaptations. With the ten year anniversary of the first film approaching, Pop Sugar took the time to speak with the director of the first film, Catherine Hardwicke, about the franchise. While Hardwicke directed the first film, and even saved the script from total disaster, she was not invited back to work on the subsequent installments, despite the film being the highest grossing live action film directed by a woman prior to Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman.

Initially, Hardwicke tossed the script for Twilight after she was given it as part of a bundle of scripts from Summit. However, something drew her back to the story, and she discovered that it was based on Stephenie Meyer’s book. Apparently, the original draft was so far removed from the source material that it included a scene where Bella escapes FBI agents while on a Jetski. Hardwicke pushed for the script to be re-written so that it was more in line with the original story.

Her dedication to the source material paid off, with a massive opening and huge box office turnout. However, Hardwicke told Pop Sugar that it was a gamble in the studio’s eyes, saying that people kept telling her that women would not go see this movie, and that it could maybe expect to make about $30 million in it’s opening weekend. For the record, it made $69 million domestically opening weekend, and made $192 million domestically alone. Again, this record wouldn’t come close to being broken by a live action film with a female director until nine years later.

However, Hardwicke views the success as a “mixed blessing,” since it might have shattered the myth about films for women doing well, but that all subsequent Twilight films were made by men, and other projects which saw the light of development following the success of Twilight, such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, also only had male directors. Hardwicke told Pop Sugar that “the person that launched this whole thing was a woman, and other women can do this too.”

While Hardwicke praised Jenkins and Wonder Woman, but also took the time to call out stories that are about women and by women that wind up being directed by men. “Statistically it has been shown that the more women sit behind the camera, the more women invest in front of the camera — composers, sound makers, and everything,” she said. “So, we’re starting to level the playing field a little bit, but we’ve got to get those chances. We’ve still got a long way to go, and I’m excited to be part of it, for sure.”

Hardwicke has a point. One of the reasons Wonder Woman worked is because a woman was behind the camera; there were no lingering butt shots or sexualized poses, just a female hero kicking some serious ass. We’ve only seen about a minute and a half of Captain Marvel, but it already presents Carol as a complex person, not just a sexy heroine. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched the first Twilight movie, but I can’t recall a scene in which Bella was unnecessarily sexualized; Hardwicke definitely shot the film with Bella as the center and focused on her emotions about her relationship with Edward.

This isn’t to say that we can go back and view Twilight as a revolutionary feminist masterpiece, because… well, no. But Hardwicke was given a huge opportunity and saw it through to box office success. Without her vision, the film would’ve likely gone straight to DVD or lingered in development hell forever, so fans of the franchise can thank her for giving them the films they wanted. It’s also a friendly reminder that we need to hire more women behind the scenes to tell stories about women, and that women can direct big name franchise projects. We’re seeing a change with Jenkins, Anna Boden of Captain Marvel fame, and others; also, as always, a shout out to Ava DuVernay, who can deliver genre fare and Oscar-worthy films and who is leading the way for positive change. We just need to continue this trend, so that more women can have room to tell their stories, be they personal dramas or space operas and epics.

(via PopSugar; Image: Little Brown and Company)

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