author: Eve, Personal Essay, pop culture, TV

The Pleasures and Pains of the Small Screen

by Eve Jones (V). Photograph by Sven Scheurmeier.

I’ve never really had on-screen romantic crushes, but I remember from a young age having this ache when watching my favourite actors on screen. Watching Rachel McAdams in The Time Traveller’s Wife, Rose Leslie as Ygritte in Game of Thrones, and most recently Kiernan Shipka, who plays the title character in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (CAOS).

As I hope to be bezzy mates with these people one day, it embarrasses me to say how much I wanted to be them at one point or another. The actors and their characters merge together in my mind to create this superhuman who is everything I long to be: brave, daring, hard working, funny, likeable, confident. In the past, this led me to send off (or thankfully just keep in drawers) gushing fan mail that I was convinced they would read and immediately want to befriend me. I hoped they would understand me as I thought I understood them.

My latest foray into this kind of mania is potentially my most embarrassing yet: I’m 20 years old and I am literally crying that I will never be Sabrina the teenage witch. I’m in a social policy lecture wishing I was Kiernan Shipka. I’m eating dinner with my boyfriend wishing I was Kiernan Shipka. I lay awake at night wishing I was Kiernan Shipka.

I am aware of the ridiculousness of the situation. I have a good, privileged life and normally I love escaping into TV shows, so I was confused as to why I felt so sad just thinking about CAOS (which is brilliant, by the way). So, rather than wallow in my painful obsession, stalk every cast member on Instagram and read their entire IMDB bio, I thought I would try to investigate. How had I come to feel like this? My first clue came from a university English course book: An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory (more thrilling than the title suggests). Talking about Emily Dickinson’s poetry, they wrote:

“It can feel oddly jarring, even painful to stop reading a poem like Dickinson’s. The world it creates – in the space of just 16 lines – can seem more charged and vital than the everyday reality to which we return on putting down the book.”

Isn’t it that vitality that we rewatch a film or return to a TV show season after season? How vacant our bedroom can feel in the silence after the credits roll. The further away a film or show takes us from our reality, the more banal it can seem to come back, absent of those characters and their purpose. And we love to take ourselves deeper, turning the lights off, binge-watching, youtubing cast bloopers, researching plots. It’s no wonder that a detailed, enchanting other world, whose characters are scripted to be special and lovable can have such an impact on us. They create something delicious and we devour it with relish.

But it wasn’t the show that I missed, it was the life that I was temporarily able to live (and knew I never fully could) that made me so melancholy. So I kept searching and eventually while watching a School of Life video on Youtube, I came across another potential answer. The narrator suggested the idea that the beautiful scenes in films sometimes make us more sad than morose:

“The loveliness is drawing our attention to some of the struggles we face, and to some of the things we really want, but are finding it so hard to get: reconciliation, forgiveness, tenderness, an end to the fighting, a chance to say sorry. We start to cry at a brief vision of a state of grace from which we’re exiled most of the time.”

Again, I’m aware that this idea of being exiled from a state of grace all sounds very dramatic, but feeling separate from those on-screen joys and experiences resonated with me. Instead of reconciliation, forgiveness or tenderness, what I so desired was the admirable traits of the characters and the chance the actors had to produce something worthwhile. Being positive, fierce and willful felt so unattainable as, having just started university, I moped about feeling like sleep-deprived, friendless potato.

It is easy, especially with social media, to become fascinated by the actors who get to make the art that you love and be closer to that world you so want to be a part of. I longed to be both Sabrina and Kiernan Shipka as they lived extra-ordinary lives: Sabrina playing with literal witchcraft, Shipka with the magic of magazine covers and TV sets. It was easy to concentrate on what I didn’t have in light of what they did, who I wanted to be in light of who they already were.

Now, I’m trying to let go of this desire. Instead of cringing at myself, I’m attempting to develop some of those characteristics that I admired in Sabrina, her friends and Shipka. Maybe I can’t be a courageous witch, but I can try to be a more confident, a better friend and make change that matters. I’m still eagerly awaiting the next season of CAOS, which will hopefully be equally abundant with teen rebellion, defiance of the devil’s patriarchal systems and diverse representation.

I just hope that next time I don’t get quite so entwined in the pain and can simply be grateful for the pleasure of some good TV.

Eve’s essay, “The New Female in Film” appears in Issue 04 of Boshemia Magazine.
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author: sarah q, long read, news, opinion, pop culture, Q's Queue, review

Me Too & Media // Thoughts on Arrested Development & Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Netflix has been bringing it with the comedy recently! Between John Mulaney’s hysterical stand-up, to Michelle Wolf’s new weekly show, it’s been a great time to spend in bed doing depression binges and putting off all your responsibilities!

It’s been solid for returning shows too! Well, it’s been fairly solid. Fan’s of Arrested Development may have been disappointed to learn that all the male stars are certified trash; in a recent New York Times roundtable, the subject of Jeffrey Tambor’s “difficult” (translation: abusive) on set behaviour came up, and the male cast wasted no time in defending him. Jessica Walter (Lucille Bluth a.k.a the shows MVP) recounted that Tambor had blown up at her whilst on set, and the male stars (especially trashcan Jason Bateman) immediately defended him, claiming that everyone is an asshole on set, and being an actor is just so weird and so high pressure. (Meanwhile, I’m rolling my eyes from the hospital while I’ve got five patients about to crash, but no, please tell me how hard it is to learn a few lines and get your blocking). Jessica Walter was eventually reduced to tears and Alia Shawkhat was the only person in the entire room defending her.

I mean the good news is the new season is shockingly average, so no one needs to feel any nostalgic obligation to watch it!

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Author: Eileen E., Author: Sarah L, author: sarah q, Collab, pop culture, Topical

Blue Monday Blues || How to Beat Them.

Today is Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day of the year. I mean you can see why: Christmas and New Year festivities are well and truly over; you’ve probably already broken your new year’s resolutions; you’re broke from aforementioned festivities and payday is still two weeks away; Summer seems like it might never come; and January weather is bleak AF up here in the Northern Hemisphere (sob sob). Here are our top suggestions of little things you can do to bring a ray of happiness and light into your Blue Monday.

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Author: Sarah L, author: sarah q, opinion, pop culture, review

Q & L Discuss || First Thoughts on Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life

WARNING, MAJOR MAJOR INTENSE SPOILERS AHEAD.

So, it’s been a week since Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life went live on Netflix. The internet has had a lot of opinions and emotions about it, and Boshemia babes Q and L are no different (E is still on Season 2, sweet summer child that she is. Oh the things you have to come!). We got together to discuss our fresh-off-the-box, knee-jerk response thoughts on the revival.

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author: sarah q, pop culture, Q's Queue, recommendation, review, Uncategorized

Q’s Queue: Parks & Recreation || Rewatching in the New Trump Era

As a pop culture junkie, I thought I may as well get some articles out of this crippling addiction. In Q’s Queue, we’ll be having a look at some of the hits, hidden gems and horrors found on my Streaming list, all through a feminist lens. Today’s venture: Parks and Recreation.

Are you upset with the state of politics right now? Brexit, Trump, Marine Le Pen. It just seems like the bad guys always win, and that everyone in politics is horrible. If you want to affirm that view, yeah you could go watch The Thick of It, or Veep, but today we’re going to be talking about one of the nicest shows of recent memory: Parks & Recreation.

On the day of the results I was having a pretty rubbish time; Trump had been elected, we had a really shit lecture, I was physically exhausted from election-related-anxiety. Everything about me that day screamed, “not having it.” At about midnight when I had worked myself up into a ball of anger and despair, I realised that I needed to chill, if only so that I could eventually get some sleep, so I immediately turned to Parks and Recreation.

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author: sarah q, opinion, pop culture, Q's Queue, reccomendation, review

Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23 || Hot Messes & Having It All

As a pop culture junkie, I thought I may as well get some articles out of this crippling addiction. In Q’s Queue, we’ll be having a look at some of the hits, hidden gems and horrors found on my Streaming list, all through a feminist lens. Today’s venture: Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23.

Apartment 23 recently dropped on UK Netflix and I could not be more stoked. I’ve long been a fan of Kyrsten Ritter, from her days as tragic junkie Jane on Breaking Bad, to her starring vehicle on Jessica Jones (both shows just happen to be available on Netflix. Catch up gang). Both shows highlight her dramatic chops, but in Apartment 23 she is straight up hilarious. Created by Nahnatchka Khan (Fresh Off The Boat, American Dad,) Apartment 23 tells the tale of June (Dreama Walker), a naïve Midwestern girl who moves to New York in the pursuit of a job opportunity. The job ends up being a bust, and she’s left homeless and penniless. Enter Chloe (Krysten Ritter) with a spare room and some seriously questionable morals. Along with BFF James Van Der Beek (James Van Der Beek in his best role), shenanigans ensue and gender stereotypes are broken. The show originally aired on ABC in 2012-2013, and for some reason, it never managed to find a devoted audience. After constant time-slot changes and episodes airing out of order, the show was mercilessly cancelled; now with Ritter’s increasing popularity, and the wonders of streaming, hopefully, it can find the audience it deserves.

MICHAEL BLAIKLOCK, RAY FORD, JAMES VAN DER BEEK, ERIC ANDRE, KRYSTEN RITTER, DREAMA WALKER

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Author: Eileen E., author: sarah q, opinion, pop culture, Q & A, review, Uncategorized

Stranger Things || Q & E

Since Stranger Things debuted on Netflix a few weeks ago, both Eileen and Sarah Q were obsessed. Instead of individual reviews, they decided to combine thoughts and discuss the show together, with an aim to cover more themes and create an open discourse on this wonderful show. If you’ve seen the show, feel free to join in on the discussion in the comments. Warning: here be spoilers.

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