Feminist Frequency: The Straw Feminist

This is an old video from Feminist Frequency, but I just discovered it. It talks about ‘the straw feminist,’ a character in media that is actually meant to demonize and confuse real feminism. It’s about 10 minutes long and worth the time.

Here’s the description of the video:

The Straw Feminist trope is a deliberately created, exaggerated caricature of a feminist that is used to undermine and ridicule feminist movements. . . . The Straw Feminist trope has many more facets and MANY more examples but I hope I was able to provide a general overview.

Lately I’ve been reading the book Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV, which is why I found this video so compelling at this particular time. After reading this book, I could name dozens of examples of straw feminists meant to undermine women coming out of reality shows. Anita Sarkeesian didn’t get to reality TV in this video, but the book makes it clear that reality TV is one of the most effective backlash tools against women in the culture now.

Review: Hit & Miss

I confess when I first heard about Hit & Miss, a British series about a transgender woman who works as a contract killer starring Chloë Sevigny, I thought it sounded awful. Really, every horrible idea you can imagine. A cis female playing transgender – and she’s a killer. And that title: too cutesy. But a Twitterverse conversation with @Tristen1960 and @Doccubus_Nat about the series convinced me to give it a try. I’m glad I did.

Spoilers ahead.

Continue reading “Review: Hit & Miss”

One More Reason to Like Longmire: An Age Appropriate Relationship

I’m a dedicated Longmire fan. I’ve previously mentioned several reasons why.

  1. Filmed in beautiful New Mexico
  2. Katee Sackhoff is in it
  3. Native American culture is treated with respect
  4. Very interesting complicated characters

After watching season 4 of Longmire on Netflix, I have another reason for loving the show.

Let’s back up a bit. Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) is the sheriff of a mythical county in Wyoming where there is a new murder to investigate in almost every episode. In a long story arc starting in season 1 and stretching all the way into season 4 Walt is coming to terms with his wife’s murder. He tries to find her murderer. His best friend Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) is accused of killing the man who murdered Walt’s wife. It takes time to prove Henry innocent. They have to find the real killer. That someone was tied to people in his county. He tries to find who gave the orders. Who had his wife killed and who killed her murderer?

In season 4, episode 3 we finally get the answer to that question. It isn’t the answer anyone expected. At last, Walt gets the closure he’s needed. It’s a brilliant episode. Tense, beautifully shot, amazing acting. It reminded me of the scene in The Fall where Stella interrogates Paul Specter.

Walt, finally, is at a place where he can let go of his wife and his desire for revenge. He might be open to letting a woman into his life again.

Katee Sackhoff and Robert Taylor in Longmire

Deputy Vic Moretti (Sackhoff) has visions of it being Walt’s new woman. Walt is not of the same mind. She is his deputy. Full stop.

Ally Walker

That’s about the time Walt meets the gorgeous Dr. Donna Sue Monahan (Ally Walker). She’s an overworked psychiatrist who works with PTSD cases and victims of trauma.

Walt is smitten. She’s reluctant. She’s busy. He’s busy. It takes them a while to figure it out.

I’m very interested in the feminist issue of age appropriate relationships in the movies and on TV. Older men with younger women seems to be the norm. But not on Longmire. Robert Taylor and Ally Walker are both over 50. Katee Sackhoff is 35.

Reason number 5 to love Longmire: he picks the woman his own age to court. Go, Walt!

Walt and Donna are in each others arms in the last few seconds of episode 10 for the big season 4 cliffhanger, so I’m hoping Ally Walker will be back if there is a season 5. I enjoyed her character in season 4 and she would be good for the story. My fingers are crossed.

Here’s my review of season 5.

The Final Season

The 6th and final season begins on Netflix on November 17, 2017. Here’s my review of season 6.

Watch This: Premier Announcement of Marvel’s Jessica Jones

An arty and mysterious video for Marvel’s Jessica Jones was released by Netflix. It announces the premier date for the series: November 20, 2015. The first season contains 13 episodes.

The series synopsis is “Ever since her short-lived stint as a Super Hero ended in tragedy, Jessica Jones has been rebuilding her personal life and career as a hot-tempered, sardonic private detective in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. Plagued by self-loathing, and a wicked case of PTSD, Jessica battles demons from within and without, using her extraordinary abilities as an unlikely champion for those in need… especially if they’re willing to cut her a check.”

Krysten Ritter will play Jessica Jones. In all 13 episodes with her will be David Tennant, Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor, Carrie-Anne Moss, Eka Darville, and Erin Moriarty.

See also: Marvel’s AKA Jessica Jones Set for Netflix.

Review: Mississippi Damned

Mississippi Damned is an examination of what keeps people trapped in a cycle of poverty and abuse, and how some of them manage to escape.

If you watched the excellent documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? you know that Nina Simone wanted to be a concert pianist. And you probably already knew that Nina Simone wrote the song “Mississippi Goddam” which inspired the title of this movie. The most accessible character in the film, the one we root for the most, is young Kari Peterson. She’s played as a young adult by Tessa Thompson and as a child by Kylee Russell. Like Nina Simone, Kari wants to go to college to develop her talent as a pianist and composer.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Mississippi Damned”

Watch This: Season 4 Preview and Sneak Peek for Longmire

Longmire was dropped by its old network after 3 seasons and was picked up amid a great fan outburst by Netflix. Season 4 will be starting on Netflix on September 10. In the meantime, you can watch all of the first 3 seasons on Netflix. To quote Longmire, “It’s not that you come back, it’s how you come back that matters.” This comeback was 100% fan driven.

I know Longmire isn’t the type of show I usually promote here. But it is filmed near me and I started watching to see if I could recognize any of the locations. It’s gorgeous scenery – supposedly set in Wyoming but actually filmed near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

And there is the fact that I like Katee Sackhoff, so I was watching to see her. However, it took almost no time before I was hooked on all the characters and their stories.

Katee Sackhoff plays Deputy Vic Moretti
Katee Sackhoff plays Deputy Vic Moretti

Robert Taylor is Sheriff Longmire. His deputies are played by Katee Sackhoff as Vic, Bailey Chase as Branch and Adam Bartley as The Ferg. Lou Diamond Phillips is Henry Standing Bear, one of many Native American characters in the show. If you’ve ever read anything by Tony Hillerman, you know how his books treated Native American culture. The mostly Cheyenne people and culture in Longmire are treated with the same kind of respect.

Other cast includes Cassidy Freeman, Louanne Stephens, Gerald McRaney and Ally Walker.

None of the characters are wholly pure, all have demons of their own, including the main characters in the sheriff’s department of this small town. It makes for great story arcs that go on for many episodes. Which is all the more reason to go back and catch up on seasons 1–3 before you start season 4.

One of the multi-episode stories involves the murder of Longmire’s wife, which is what I think the scene in the preview below relates to.

The following teaser is for season 4. You see glimpses of many characters and some of the beautiful Western scenery.

If you’ve never watched Longmire, give it a try. And if you are already a fan of this complex character-driven drama, come celebrate with me on September 10 when we can start watching the 10 new episodes of season 4.

Review: Catastrophe Season 1

Catastrophe is an Amazon original series. The first 6 episodes are available now on Amazon Prime.

Rob (Rob Delaney), an American, and Sharon (Sharon Horgan), an Irish teacher working in London, meet in a pub. They have sex as often as possible while Rob is in London. Then he goes home, only to be called back by a catastrophe – she’s pregnant.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Catastrophe Season 1”

A Closer Look at Mille Dinesen, Star of ‘Rita’

A very popular post on this blog is about the Danish show Rita, which is a hit on Netflix. Mille Dinesen is the star of Rita. I thought readers would appreciate learning more about her, seeing some photos and some video, and finding out how to keep track of her.

She was born in 1974, which makes her 41 years old. She’s only been acting for the last 10 years or so, if IMDB is reliable. (It generally is skimpy for European actors, but it’s all the info we’ve got.) Before she stepped in front of the camera, she was a production assistant. She completed her acting training at State Theatre School in 2004. Her first credit is for the Danish Bridget Jones, Nynne, which turned out to be a huge success and made her very well known in Denmark.

the poster for Nynne
Mille Dinesen started off with a starring role in Nynne.

She’s been consistently busy since that beginning. She’s done a TV series on Nynne, several movies and was in a few episodes of a favorite of mine, Borgen, as Birgitte Nyborg’s ex husband’s new girlfriend.

You can find her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram. On Twitter she’s @milledin.

Here are a couple of photos from her Instagram account. Remember when her Rita co-star Lise Baastrup dressed up like Rita in one episode? Here’s a photo of that look-alike situation.

Ikke alt er som det plejer i aftenens afsnit af RITA 👊 @ritatv2 #tv2play #tv2danmark #netflix #ritaseason3

A photo posted by Mille Dinesen (@milledin) on

I don’t know about you, but I simply loved Rita’s closet with its endless supply of plaid shirts. I want that closet for my own.

Tøjkrise…ALDRIG! …på med RITAuniformen 👊 @ritatv2 @tv2danmark #netflix #ritaseason3 A photo posted by Mille Dinesen (@milledin) on

The translations of Danish articles by Google from Danish to English are almost unintelligible, so it’s a bit hard to tell much about her personal life. I managed to figure out that she’s interested in her health and in eating right. For a time, she was not very well, and she strives to maintain good health now.

She lives in Copenhagen, near where she was born and near her family. She was married, but is now single. She told one interviewer, “I could not have made ‘Rita’ if I had had so much as a hamster to take care of.” She commented that she’d been on Nynne for so long she was typecast as that. She’s very happy that her character on Rita is so different. In this interview, she described Rita as being politically incorrect with a masculine energy.

I’m hoping for a 4th season of Rita, but I’m also hoping that whatever Mille Dinesen does next will be brought to American audiences.

See also: My interview with Christian Torpe, the creator of Rita.

Mustachioed Korean Woman Does Jurassic World

How about something just for laughs today?

A very talented young Korean woman who goes by Hozzah2 on YouTube recently did a wonderful fan parody of Jurassic World which I thought you would enjoy.

I’m predisposed to like a parody of Jurassic World, since I think it’s pretty silly, but this video takes it to new heights. Presumably by  helicopter.

Hozza, I do love that mouthful of teeth.

Exclusive: Interview with Christian Torpe, Creator of the Danish Hit Series Rita

Christian Torpe is the creator and writer for the Danish series Rita, which is available in the U.S. on Netflix. In this exclusive interview, Torpe answered some questions about Rita and his work.

Torpe was nominated for “International Producer of the year” and “European producer of the year” at the Monte Carlo Television Festival for the breakthrough hit Rita, which began airing in Denmark in 2012. Before Rita, he wrote for the Danish shows Park Road and Maj & Charlie. He wrote the movies Får and Almost Perfect. The series Rita now has a mini-series spin off called Hjørdis.

The lead actress in Rita was nominated for and won best actress awards for her work in the series.

OAD: Congratulations on Rita. It’s a big hit on Netflix here in the US. I think the main thing on everyone’s mind is will there be a season 4 of Rita? The ending of season 3 could be either a cliffhanger or a finale. I’m hoping it’s a cliffhanger!

CT: What I like about the last episode of season 3 is that it can be both – unlike season 1 and 2 that felt less like an actual ending. When I wrote it, I had no idea if we would do a season 4 (and I still don’t), so I wanted to at least convey the feeling that while it may not be an ending it’s at least the end of a chapter in Rita’s life. If Netflix wants more, then I’m happy to open a new chapter!

OAD: Rita is a fabulous character. Did she come from someone you know in real life or did you simply dream her up? She has so many flaws, but she’s absolutely lovable. How do you see Rita?

CT: There’s a lot of anger in her. Anger is a drug, it prevents you from feeling anything else, which can be handy if you carry a lot of pain, like Rita does. She’s deeply flawed, especially as a parent, but she does the best she can, and that’s really all you can ask of a human being. I guess there’s a lot of myself in her. Hiding behind sarcasm is something I relate to a little too well and she basically says all the things I’m afraid to say out loud.

Christian Torpe with Rita star Mille Dinesen
Christian Torpe with Rita star Mille Dinesen

OAD: Mille Dinesen is so perfect in the role of Rita. How did you pick her for the part?

CT: I wish I could take credit for that, but that’s all on our director, Lars Kaalund – and on Mille of course. We had so many Danish actresses read and Lars kept suggesting Mille. I was reluctant to see her – I knew she was a brilliant actress, but she had just played the Danish Bridget Jones, and I just couldn’t imagine her making the shift from sweet and clumsy to angry and self destructive. Finally she came in and read – and as Lars had known the entire time, she was perfect.

OAD: The other characters on Rita are also wonderful in their parts. Do you have any particular characters you found especially important or really liked? I thought Ellen Hillingsø as Helle was especially compelling.

CT: Ellen is such a great actress and I love writing her character, Helle. Helle is annoying even when she is right – which she often is – and that energy brings out the best/worst in Rita. I have a soft spot for Jeppe as well. I am gay and always wanted to write a gay character where his sexuality was not a problem or a concern or something that made him a victim, but just a backdrop to do a coming of age story.

OAD: I enjoyed Jeppe’s story very much! He was well played by Nikolaj Groth. The character Hjørdis got a spin off mini-series of her own. It will continue with Lise Baastrup as Hjørdis, but no Mille Dinesen as Rita. Tell us about this mini-series called Hjørdis.

CT: It’s a 4 episode special focusing on Hjordis and a group of students who are all misfits in some way, kinda like Hjordis herself. The show is like the Hjordis character: warmer, cuter and more kid-friendly than Rita, something you could watch from age 7 or 8. For me it was such a big challenge doing something without sarcasm, something that was just fun and uplifting, but I love the result and Lise is wonderful in it.

OAD: I know Netflix supported you for season 3 of Rita. Is there anything we Americans can do to encourage Netflix to support a 4th season of Rita? Do you know yet if Hjørdis will be on American Netflix? [Note: Hjordis is now available on Netflix.]

CT: You can write them and tell them you want more! If you succeed, beer is on me. Hjørdis will be on Netflix at some point, not sure when though.

OAD: Both these series are set in a Danish school. Do you have a particular interest in schools as a source of stories? Were you trying to say something about Danish schools with the series Rita, or were you more interested in the characters? Some of the themes you included brought up issues about homosexuals, immigrants, family relationships, women’s health, politics, drugs and more. With Rita as the perpetual iconoclast in the school, you made many important points through her.

CT: For me, it started with the character. As I developed Rita, I fell in love with the idea of a grown woman who was basically still a child. Once I had her, I started looking for an arena where the themes that are present in her – childhood, upbringing, authority, identity – would resonate, and the school was a perfect fit. Then I started looking for school stories and themes I wanted to explore through that arena, but it started with the character.

OAD: You’ve been writing for Danish TV since 2002. With Rita and Hjørdis, you’ve been executive producer as well as writer. Writing is your first love. Are you looking to expand your options in the future? I saw in one of your tweets that acting is definitely out for you.

CT: I’m a firm believer that it takes about 10 years of hard work to master any craft and I have too much respect for the craft that goes into acting or directing to venture into that. Also, acting is up there with flying and sharks and flying sharks when it comes to my biggest fears. Writing is what I love, but when it comes to that, I am curious by nature and want to try out different genres and formats. I did a movie last year with Bille August in a totally different genre and loved it, and I am currently writing a couple of pilots for some US cable networks, which is a lot of fun.

OAD: Ah, best of luck with that. It would be wonderful to see you work directly for the American audience. Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. Is there anything else you’d like to mention about Rita?

CT: Thanks for watching! And hmm. No, nothing except that I am thrilled that Rita resonates with audiences in the US as well! When we did the first season we were sure it was a distinctly local show, from the Danish school system to Rita’s sense of humor, her sarcasm, her sexuality, her sometimes offensive nature – all things we thought we handled in a very Danish way. It’s been so much fun to see that what we thought was Danish was in fact universal.

See also: the Old Ain’t Dead review of Rita.

Featured image of Christian Torpe via BT.