I’ve got to get better about reposting my non-ConStar Writes posts here. The last two weeks over on Just About Write, I’ve chosen nerdy, PoC dudes as my TV MVP picks.
The 18th I chose Echo Kellum, who’s beginning his role as Mr Terrific and is, well, terrific. Click the photo for more TV MVPs.
This week, I chose Carlos Valdes, who brought the sweet, sensitive side to Cisco getting a little lovin’ from Lisa Snart. Click the photos to read more!
Over on Buzzfeed, 51 TV Writers Reveal Their Favorite Thing They’ve Ever Written, which is really cool. A few of my favorite shows and writers are on the list, including Mike Shur (Parks and Rec‘s Halloween Surprise is his pick, which I of course watched about 15 times the night it aired), Jennie Snyder Urman of Jane the Virgin, Bryan Fuller (whose choice was Pushing Daisies‘ “Pie-lette”—just the title makes it one of my favorite episodes as well), and Rob Thomas (who also chose a pilot, the one for Veronica Mars). Stephen Colbert‘s soon coming Late Show debut means there have been dozens upon dozens of articles written about him, his process, and his future on the show. Luckily for these magazines, I love Stephen Colbert. Here are a few of my fave articles written about him so far:
There is, however, a significant downside to always making television available all at once: the loss of the communal viewing experience. Say what you will about the Internet and social media, but one of the wonderful things about it is the access it has given all of us—to people who are interested in the same things we are. Live-tweeting a show or taking to the Internet afterward to read reviews, ask questions, or share thoughts means we no longer have to enjoy our favorite shows in the isolation of our own homes. That’s a beautiful thing.
As a person who makes most of her connections, both on- and offline, through mutual love of TV shows (and as someone who wants to write for television in order to spur those connections in other people), I definitely agree that bingeing TV shows takes away from the communal aspect of watching TV. Through social media, we’ve been able to make primetime viewing necessary with various Twitter community live tweets (see the Black Girl Nerds and Nerds of Color communities as prime examples), where you have to be watching a show live to engage with your online friends (or even go online, for fear of spoilers). TV’s power to connect people is lost when we can’t talk about our shows because half your friends haven’t watched them yet. With one episode, it’s easier to wait for them to catch up; if they’re a season behind, it’s harder. Hopefully a mixture of weekly and marathon series continues, so that we can have the best of both worlds. Snoopy says it all:
I fell in love with an extraordinary number of new characters this TV season. Looking back in the ones I loved or connected with the most, I decided I’d make a list of my favorite new characters from this TV season. Once I made my list, I realized that they were all people of color. This was not on purpose, but it delights me greatly.
Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) ⇒ The Flash
When Caitlin and Cisco guest starred in Arrow on season two, I didn’t care about them. I couldn’t really grasp who they were or connect with them at all. Once The Flash started, however, they quickly came into their own and Cisco proved to be one of the seasons funniest and savviest characters. I think what draws me to Cisco is the same thing that draws me to characters like Abed Nadir from Community or Kenneth the Page from 30 Rock. All of these characters are like me: pop culture savvy, people who make references to movies and TV on a daily if not hourly basis and are always looking for the hope and the humor in life. Cisco, by nature of his pop culture obsessed nature, is one of the meta characters on the show, the fact that he has recently been revealed to be a metahuman makes that even more meta. All things I love.
How do you not love him?
Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahul Kohli) ⇒ iZombie
iZombie’s Ravi is the most recent addition to this list, but definitely a character I want to protect at all costs. (Being that it’s a zombie show, all characters run the risk of dying, but don’t do it to Ravi!) I think what first struck me about Ravi was his loyalty. He meets Olivia Moore, this weird girl who used to be an ER doctor, and when he discovers her secret, he doesn’t tell anyone, not even her. He vows to keep her secret and help find a cure for zombieism with no personal gain. His immediate loyalty to both her and Major is extremely endearing. He’s also snarky, has fantastic hair, a great accent, and looks great in a suit. I hope season two provides for Ravi backstory and opportunities for Liv and Major (and Peyton?) to return the loyalty favor.
It’s hard to introduce a new character when your show is 11 seasons in, but Grey’s Anatomy manages to consistently add new characters and have fans come to love them. One of the first things I loved about Maggie was her hair. As a natural black girl myself, seeing curls like hers on TV is always a delight. I was hesitant about her character, as she was introduced so soon around Cristina Yang’s exit—I feared they would try to replace Cristina in Meredith’s life, especially once you find out she is her sister. And while Maggie is slowly plugging the hole that Cristina (and now Derek) left in Meredith’s life, she isn’t trying to replace her. She is her own character who interacts with Meredith in a different way, a way that Meredith needs now that she’s lost those who were previously so close to her. Maggie brings loyalty (have I mentioned I love loyalty in fictional characters? Because I do.), a willingness to be there no matter what the question (her offer to babysit Mer’s kids), and a somewhat normal family background. She’s also awkward, nerdy (she’s an expert crossword puzzle solver—a cruciverbalist), and she’s interested in helping other people. These are all wonderful qualities and I can’t wait to get to know Maggie more.
You’re too good for this hospital, Maggie. Save yourself!
Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) ⇒ Jane the Virgin
Ask anyone who’s seen Jane the Virgin and they will extol the wondrous and many virtues of Gina Rodriguez. You’ve probably seen the think pieces, her Golden Globes speech, and her (amazing) Emmy campaign poster by now, so you know that she and her character Jane are well loved across the TV fandom. Nearly everything about Jane makes me love her (even her faults, because they are things I relate to), but the things that I might love most include the fact that she’s a writer (who is still trying to figure out her writing path), she’s loving to her mother and grandmother, she’s funny, she shops at Target, and she fearless even in her insecurites. Even if Jane is unsure, she determines to find out the answer, to become sure. She does her research, but she also listens to her heart. She allows herself to cry and still know that she is strong. She’s a great model for young female characters. I am so glad we have Jane.
I hope we get more rapping Jane in Season 2.
Diane Johnson (Caila Marsai Martin) ⇒ blackish
Kids on TV are hard to cast. Sometimes they can be seen as annoying or too sweet or unrealistic. blackish’s Diane Johnson defies these challenges. She’s cute but she’s smart, she’s fierce but she’s relatable. She’s funny but not in an annoying way. I love that Diane speaks her mind. That she’s smart and knows it and doesn’t back down or apologize for it. I love that she realistically puts down her twin brother, but won’t let anyone else mess with him. I love that she scares Charlie. Also I love her dimples and her sass and her glasses and the way her hair is different in every episode and that once they even put her in a headscarf (because Lord knows she’d need to wear her headscarf in order to keep those barretts in place at night). Diane is shaping up to be a fantastic person and I am so excited to see her grow older.
Love how semi-neatly she’s making it rain.
Emery & Evan Huang (Forrest Wheeler & Ian Chen) ⇒ Fresh Off the Boat
I think Evan and Emery Huang come as a package deal for me. They’re both adorable and it would be easy for them to be written similarly (especially in their contrast to Eddie and especially due to their closeness in age), but the show gives them distinct personalities that still have an opportunity to shape and grow.
Emery gets all the girls and is clearly sweet to them and his family.
Evan uses his cuteness to get away with everything, including his sharp tongue, and he’s well aware that that’s what he’s doing.
Both boys are smart and funny, the actors have excellent comedic timing. I can’t wait to see who they become as characters because they’re so young that they can still change and grow depending on the writing.
Who were some of your favorite new characters this TV season?
ALSO KNOWN AS THAT TIME GRANT GUSTIN READ OUR MVPS.
First, he simply replied “thank you” to our MVP post on Twitter.
THEN, THE NEXT DAY, he quote tweeted it. As in more than 12 hours later. As in he kept it open, read it, and then decided to SHARE IT AGAIN. We’re all freaking out totally calm. NBD. The ladies over on Just About Write are all lovely and we’re totally fine. Calm. Maxin’ and chillaxin’ all cool. WE’RE TOTALLY FREAKING OUT. What a wonderful Monday. Grant Gustin is a kind hearted, excellently read (;-)) , real life superhero.
I’m done flailing. Here’s my bit on Grant/Nora below. Click through for more on Grant/Joe and Grant/Henry.
Connie’s MVP: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen (The Flash)
Why he’s the MVP: I’m gonna get personal for a second. My mother died when I was a baby. Too young, really, for me to even remember her. I’ve lived a perfectly lovely life with my grandmother and the other family members who made sure that I was loved and taken care of. But there’s always something in you that wonders what your life would be like if your parent was still around. Even if you think your life would be drastically different, there is always that what-if. Barry spends the episode grappling with the decision to make his what-if a reality.And while we all considered it ridiculous that he’d want to change things because we, as pop culture enthusiasts, know how time travel works (and how it goes wrong), we’re still devastated when Future Barry tells Our Barry not to help Nora and he watches her final moments. Grant handles this moment with all the care it deserves—not that there was little doubt. Everything about his moment in the past is precious. From his realization that he really did it and the moment of hesitation when his future self told him not to interfere to the way he hid in his room as Reverse Flash stabbed Nora in the heart and the moment he realizes this is his chance to say goodbye.
Grant floors me with his performance as he sits by Nora. He’s barely holding it together and he tries so hard to just be The Flash, but he’s never really been good at that. The Flash has always been Barry (compared to how, for the most part, The Arrow is not Oliver Queen). He takes off his hood and she knows before he even says anything: “You look just like my father.” The freedom he feels in this moment, even in his despair, is so apparent. He’s never been very secretive about his supposed secret identity, but to be able to tell his mother… that’s something he’s probably always wished she could know. That he was a something special.
“I got a second chance to come back here and… tell you that I’m okay.”
There’s this little thing Grant does, as Nora says goodbye, where he hardens his face, like he’s confidently letting her go. Then she exhales and he loses it once again, mourning both her life and the alternate timeline he doesn’t get to create. I love how The Flash showcases the emotional depth of superheroes without it being perceived as hokey (compare to the memes of Tobey Maguire crying as Spider-Man). That’s all Grant Gustin. I dare you to watch that scene without at least a prickle of a tear in your eye or some serious tugging at your heartstrings.
Then I wrote about the exciting news that Jimmy Olsen is now black! This gives the upcoming Supergirl series some serious blerd cred. I’m so glad they “thought outside the box” as the actor, Mehcad Brooks, stated on Twitter.
Finally, I did this week’s Arrow recap as well, where the remains of Team Flash act more like teenagers whose parents went out of town and had a big party where everything gets broken rather than adults who know when to quit. Thankfully, Mama Felicity saves the day. But she can’t save Laurel from the creepiest Weekend at Bernie’s stunt she’s pulled on Captain Lance since Sara died. Sara MUST be coming back since they’ve refused to tell him this long.
Thanks for playing!
Check out my Flash recap over on The Nerds of Color. The Iris story line about being a blogger hit many of us real close to home… lol
Iris’ little blogger heart falls for the streak a little bit more and continues to write about it online. Joe, continuing to want Iris to stay ignorant to Barry’s little secret, makes Barry tell her to quit it. But their argument over her stubbornness and his lack of support for her makes her all the more resolved to write. Her next blog post on the Flash features her name on the byline. She’s serious about this.
“Blogging about supernatural events doesn’t really pay well.” Having done episodic reviews of genre TV, I concur, Iris. #TheFlash
— Ryan McGee (@TVMcGee) November 12, 2014