While many romantic comedies are chided for their predictable plotlines, it was William Shakespeare who first created these well-know story arcs. So give chick flicks some cred, and check out how the ultimate wordsmith, the William Shakespeare, contributed to the genre through an analysis of four of his comedies.
I am a Shakespeare junkie for sure. When I backpacked through Europe, the highlight of my trip was seeing Much Ado About Nothing performed at the Globe. (My favorite play in my favorite place … I pinched myself at least seven times.) I also like romantic comedies (I searched for the bookstore from Notting Hill with earnest while abroad).
Apparently liking Shakespeare makes me intelligent and well-read, but liking romantic comedies makes me pithy and shallow. Woah now. I think one could draw a line connecting the dots between Shakespeare’s revered plotlines and the commonly mocked rom com stories.
Overall, Shakespeare’s comedies are predictable. The girl and the guy end up together and the whole story ends in a marriage. What makes the plays interesting is how this all comes together. (Sounds a little bit like why people love rom coms, does it not?)
This column will briefly analyze four of my favorite comedies Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night and their contributions to the genre.
Much Ado About Nothing:
In this crazy, mixed-up shenanigan of a play there are two couples Beatrice & Benedick and Hero & Claudio. Hero and Claudio are your classic couple. They fall in love at first sight, scandal rips them apart, but they are eventually reunited with little or no damage to their overall relationship. Beatrice and Benedick are the far more interesting pairing. The audience knows the two are made for each other by the way they spar for the first few scenes, but they are cunningly tricked into loving each other. In the end, both couples marry.
Story lines this has spawned: Lovers made for each other who are torn apart by scandal and misunderstanding before reuniting (Notting Hill?), and lovers who never expect to be tied down wind up together (The Ugly Truth? When Harry Met Sally?).
A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
Another four-some, Lysander & Hermia and Demetrius & Helena. Basically, the four run to the woods, because Hermia’s father wants her to marry Demetrius, but she loves Lysander so they run off together. Helena loves Demetrius, so she joins the gaggle soon after. Though both couples are enchanted (literally) in various ways, and they all seem to turn on each other as the story continues, Lysander ends up with Hermia and Demetrius with Helena. In essence, everybody wins.
Story lines this has spawned: Lovers made for each other are torn apart by scandal and enchantment before reuniting (Ella Enchanted?), one lover who seeks another finally earns a fantastic partner she didn’t expect (Legally Blonde?).
The Taming of the Shrew:
The two sisters, Bianca and Kat, are very different. While Bianca is demure, Kat is crass and bold. Petruchio courts and eventually claims Kat making her a domesticated housewife, and many suitors fight for Bianca with her disguised tutor Lucentio eventually winning out. Both end up in happy relationships (and yes, if you have not read the play, this is the plot of Ten Things I Hate About You).
Story lines this has spawned: The woman who can’t be tamed is won by the man (Pretty Woman?) and the woman that everyone loves is won over by the man who actually deserves her (Bridget Jones’ Diary?).
A shipwrecked Viola dresses as her brother Sebastian, whom she believes to be dead, and becomes a page for Duke Orsino who loves Olivia. Olivia has lost many family members, so the Duke woos her through Sebastian/Viola. Olivia falls for Viola as Viola falls for the Duke, and as an added twist, Sebastian isn’t really dead. In the end, Viola ends up with the Duke and Olivia winds up with Sebastian. (And again, yes, this is the plot of She’s the Man.)
Story lines this has spawned: The important person falls for the slave/lower status character (Hugh Grant plot in Love Actually?) and the page boy/lower status character woos the King with their smarts (Pretty Woman?).
Look I know these connections aren’t perfect and are kind of a stretch in some cases, but this analysis still manages to demonstrate that the story lines we now mock were created by the genius of men. So give rom coms some cred.
What connections did I miss? What is your favorite Shakespearian comedy? What is your favorite rom com?
The Catch killed off a fan favorite character in the most recent episode, and we think it may have been a better idea to not pull the trigger.
Warning: This post contains spoilers from The Catch season 1, episode 6.
The first recurring character death on The Catch has been met with a lot of controversy. Felicity only lasted a few episodes on the series, but in the short time we knew her on the show, she became a fan favorite character, and a big factor in many fans’ decision to tune in to the show. This is largely, though not entirely, because she was a bisexual woman of color herself, and she brought the bisexuality of one of the lead characters to light. Unfortunately, she fell victim to the harmful, “Bury Your Gays” trope, and was killed off far too soon.
It is both horrible, and great, that this trope is currently being so widely discussed throughout many sectors of fandom. Horrible, because of the ubiquity of its use that has made the discussion so necessary. Great, because more knowledge imposes more responsibility on those in charge. The defense that so many showrunners claim when they receive backlash for falling into the trope is ignorance. Many assert that it is a trope they were not aware of, thus, they refrain from taking complete responsibility for their problematic decisions.
I must admit, I was ignorant of the trope myself until quite recently, but many people have been feeling marginalized by it for years. The fact that showrunners and television writers are now starting to acknowledge that the LGBTQ+ community both needs and deserves better representation in the media, even to the point of The Lexa Pledge being created, gives a sense of hope that things might be better in the future. Regrettably, progress didn’t come soon enough to save Felicity, and some other beloved characters.
Another part of the problem is the growing number of television deaths, in general. More and more series seem to be following the “nobody is safe” model that became common with shows like Game of Thrones. Character deaths are definitely an effective way of keeping stakes high and getting viewers’ attention, but there are many other compelling ways of telling stories, that don’t necessarily result in a shorter call sheet.
Now, back to the topic at hand: the lovely Felicity. Her death couldn’t really have fit better into the “Bury Your Gays” trope. She was unceremoniously shot by her male love interest, immediately after having sex with her female love interest.
Felicity was never afforded the chance to be a multifaceted character, or to have a real story line of her own. She was merely used as a plot device to serve the lead characters, to act as an entrance point for the benefactor, and to introduce us to Margot’s bisexuality (which we’ll hopefully still get to explore more of).
While she did have a significant impact on The Catch through her interactions with other characters, she could have been so much more, had she been given the chance. In The Catch season 1, episode 6, we finally got a real glimpse into who Felicity actually was, and what she could offer the show, but it was already too late.
The impacts of Felicity’s death were the following:
It illustrated the ruthlessness of Reese’s character. After he learned that Felicity, a woman whom he supposedly cared about, may not have been completely loyal to him, he shot her in cold blood. This left viewers with a sense of fear of what he might do to Ben and Margot if they get on his bad side, and also what he might do to Alice, now that he knows about her.
Felicity’s confession immediately preceeding her death put Ben and Alice in a more precarious position than ever. Things may have been complicated between them before, but now, their future together and their lives are in jeopardy.
Although we don’t know for sure yet, since we haven’t seen Margot’s reaction, Felicity’s death will definitely affect her deeply. She may have started sleeping with Felicity to distract her from the debt that was owed, but it clearly grew into something much more significant for both of them.
Given these impacts, Felicity’s death definitely left its mark on The Catch, but the truth is, all of these things could have been accomplished if she was left alive!
Reese’s psychopathy was made abundantly clear just minutes earlier in the episode, when he relentlessly tased someone and then shot them, completely unnecessarily. Yes, when he shot Felicity, it took it one step further to say that he would do exactly the same thing to someone he knew, but The Catch has already clued us in, many times, on the fact that the Bishops won’t let anyone come between them and what they want (which includes Ben, for Margot). Seeing how happy that taser made Reese was more than enough to make any reasonable viewer realize that he was not to be trusted by anybody.
Margot’s continued ignorance of Ben and Alice’s relationship has been a saving grace to them so far. Now that, with Felicity’s tip, Reese is close to finding out about them, that safety is seriously threatened. Admittedly, this does do a lot to propel The Catch forward, since Ben and Alice were starting to get way too comfortable in their strange little love affair.
That being said, this information could have come out in a myriad of other ways, that wouldn’t result in a bullet in Felicity’s chest. Margot and Reese are both insanely intelligent con artists. If they had simply looked, even a little bit, they would have caught Ben in the act! He’s not exactly being overly careful about his little trysts. If Margot didn’t trust him so much, she would certainly have caught him by now.
Finally, we get to the Margot of it all. Her character was a clear highlight of The Catch, even before Felicity came along, but Felicity’s entrance gave us so much more insight into who she is. Instead of just being the cold and calculating leader of her little band of outlaws, Margot’s relationship with Felicity opened her up to being a softer and more caring character. Also, instead of watching Margot sit idly by while Ben’s off betraying her with Alice on a daily basis, we got to watch her find her own happiness with someone else.
Seriously, how much more interesting would it have been to see Margot have to actually deal with having feelings for Felicity. Now that she’s dead, at the very best, we’ll see a brief grieving period, but probably not. It’s possible that it might take a while for Margot to even realize what’s happened. Reese could want to cover it up, or he could traipse into her room immediately and brag about the cool thing he just did. It’s really 50/50 with him.
No, don’t count on Felicity’s death turning Margot into a grieving widow. Probably the death will affect her most in her relationship and her interactions with her brother, if and when she finds out. It would have been so much cooler to see Margot in a more vulnerable place, with someone she actually loves. I’m sure her and Ben do have a deep connection and love between them, but something has definitely faded in their marriage to the point where they are simply familiar partners, rather than lovers. Seeing her with Felicity was entirely different.
As complicated as Margot’s relationship with Reese will inevitably get now, it would have been way more tangled if Felicity was still hanging around. I mean, the fact that Felicity was sleeping with both of them would add at least a bit of intrigue into their dynamic, right? She could have been extremely valuable and it would have been amazing to see her playing double agent.
While this is all great, it still all hinges around how Felicity’s presence would serve to make the other characters far more interesting, which isn’t really solving the problem. We didn’t get to know much about Felicity in her abbreviated stay in Los Angeles, but the things we do know could all contribute to her having fascinating story lines of her own.
She is clearly well respected within Reese’s con syndicate, and there must be a reason for that. The skills that she showed in her brief stint as a double agent, and her experience as a collector, showcase the uniqueness of her character. Besides the interesting choices she would have to make while playing double agent between Reese and Margot, she could also be running her own, competing cons. Also, Margot is married to Ben, so why couldn’t Felicity pursue another relationship herself? All the infidelity!…?
In any and all of these ways, Felicity’s character could have made the world of The Catch a much fuller, more interesting, and more inclusive place. Alas, all of these possibilities were forfeited when that fateful bullet escaped the barrel. Now, we can finally get back to focusing on the sordid love story of Ben and Alice! *sigh* Felicity, you deserved better, and we will miss you, and all that you could have brought to The Catch.
What did you think about Felicity’s death on ‘The Catch’?
There are few things in this world I am more excited about than the Netflix adaption of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The casting so far is perfect. Neil Patrick Harris looks like a better Count Olaf than Jim Carrey did, and the kids selected to play Klaus and Violet look like they jumped right out of the book. Plus, Netflix is keeping Daniel Handler, the author, close at hand as a producer so they adapt the books accurately.
Impatient fans with nothing better to do, like myself, have to wonder, how will the books be broken up across a Netflix series? How do you transition 13 short children’s books into a format broken up by episodes and seasons?
The Game of Thrones option is out, because the ASOUE books are far too short to do a book a season. And also, 13 seasons just won’t happen. So what do you do? You do what the movie did and group them together. With that strategy in mind, here’s how I think A Series of Unfortunate Events will play out on Netflix, and what ground each season will cover:
Season 1: ‘The Bad Beginning,’ ‘The Reptile Room,’ ‘The Wide Window’
The Baudelaires have never experienced tragedy before. When they learn of their parents’ death in a fire that destroyed their home, they simply don’t react. They don’t know how to. Before they can process any of their grief, they’re dragged into the custody of Count Olaf, a character who earns the title of the series’ antagonist. Count Olaf is after the Baudelaire fortune, an immense sum of money the children’s parents left behind for them to inherit when Violet, the oldest, turns 18. Through the entire series, Count Olaf deceives, kidnaps, steals, and kills to get what he wants. Every time, the Baudelaires narrowly evade his grasp. During the first three books the orphans visit the Count’s sinister, disgusting home, a room filled with fascinating reptiles, and a house dangling over a lake infested with flesh-eating leeches. This is just the start of the orphan’s troubles.
Through the next three books, the Baudelaires come to expect Count Olaf everywhere they go, and they’re right to do so. While meeting even more unpleasant characters, they also meet some who come to be their closest friends. The Quagmire children still consider themselves triplets, even though one of them died in a fire. The Quagmire triplets also have a large fortune waiting for them when they turn 18. The other triplets are also exceedingly smart, just like the Baudelaires. Count Olaf kidnaps the Quagmires, but before he can do so, Duncan Quagmire gives the reader, and the Baudelaires, the first glimpse into the mystery behind these unfortunate events, “V.F.D!” The mystery only grows larger when the orphans find a secret passage from one of their new guardian’s homes, to their old mansion, which is now reduced to ashes.
Season 3: ‘The Vile Village,’ ‘The Hostile Hospital,’ ‘The Carnivorous Carnival’
The children no longer fall from guardian to guardian and are more or less on their own. They go to a village where they discover the Quagmire triplets are being held somewhere secret. By the time the Baudelaires figure out the location of the Quagmires, they are also running for their lives, as Count Olaf has managed to frame them for murder. The orphans are no longer safe anywhere. Meanwhile, the acronym V.F.D appears everywhere they go. The children come to find that V.F.D is a secret organization — an organization that their parents, Count Olaf, and many other characters they have met along the way are members of. This season will be fraught with violence, as it includes a harpooning, a surgery, and man-eating lions.
Season 4: ‘The Slippery Slope,’ ‘The Grim Grotto’
The orphans begin to discover more and more about this secret organization, its history, and what it had to do with their parents. Eventually, they find the headquarters of the organization, but of course, it’s burnt down. They learn about a mysterious sugar bowl, and something that was contained inside which that caused the falling out of the entire organization, the organization splitting into two sides with two very different goals. At this point in the series, mystery will now be dominating.
Season 5: ‘The Penultimate Peril,’ ‘The End’
In the last book, which I’m sure will take up most of the last season, we find the Baudelaire orphans on a remote island. One last time, Count Olaf finds them and has a final standoff with the children. The series comes together incredibly, with things from 10 books ago now once again coming into play, and mystery after mystery being solved. Ultimately, however, more questions are asked than answered. Thus the whole series heeds the advice of a submarine captain we met in book 11:
“Some things are better left unknown.”
All we know right now is that season 1 will be eight episodes long. Netflix is free to decide how many episodes each season will include, so the following seasons could potentially get longer as the story progresses.
These books are perfect for a TV series adaption. It was never meant to be a movie. In A Series of Unfortunate Events, characters die off constantly. Every book is filled with insane twists that will make House of Cards look like Sesame Street. Not only that, but the books are stuffed with colorful, imaginative locations, and addictive, outrageous characters begging to be brought to life in your web browser or on your Apple TV.
We still don’t have a release date, trailer, or anything really. All we can do
for now is watch this Very Fake Depiction of what a teaser trailer might look like:
How do you think Netflix will tell the Baudelaire Orphans’ story? Comment below!
Rumor no more! LeBron James and Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin are currently at work on a Space Jam sequel that will find the big (both literally and figuratively) basketball player in the leading role.
The Hollywood Reporter says that a Space Jam 2 script is currently being penned by Lin and writer Andrew Dodge. Very little else is known about the movie, but it’s safe to say it’s going to get a lot of attention as it makes its way through development. The original Space Jam starring Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, and the rest of the Looney Toons became an instant classic thanks to the basketball theme and the fact that the animated characters were interacting with real actors.
Adding to its quirkiness, WB has kept the original Space Jam website online over all these years. Visit it. It’s amazing.
Space Jam hit theaters in 1996 and co-starred Larry Bird, Bill Murray, Thom Barry, Charles Barkley, Wayne Knight, and Theresa Randle. And the Looney Toons, of course.
LeBron James appeared in last year’s Trainwreck opposite Amy Schumer. We’re sure he’ll invite a few of his basketball friends to make appearances in Space Jam 2 like Jordan did in the original. While LeBron James’ interest in a Space Jam sequel has long been rumored, today’s report is the first time we’re hearing that the film has found a director, and that the script is now being worked on.
Lin is also known for directing Fast & Furious, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6.
Are you ready for another ‘Space Jam’?
While we wait (it’s probably going to be a while), watch the original trailer for Space Jam below. Damn, we miss the ’90s.