Monday, July 14, 2014

Review of HEMLOCK GROVE: or "Aptly named series, because it’s going to piss you off so badly you’ll have apoplexy and expire"


So I don’t usually write reviews of movies, or TV series, or even TV shows, but I think a review of Hemlock Grove needs to be written. Badly. For all of those of us who do those Netflix binges and wonder whether a series is going to be worth committing two full days (or longer) to watching, we desperately need reviews, because there is no real, Rotten Tomatoes-style reviews for those non-movie-theater, direct release shows.

Too busy/lazy to read the whole thing? Here’s the nut shell:

It’s a shit sandwich:
Pretty and white on the outside but stinky and gross, and festering with maggots, inside.
Skip it.

Okay. For the rest of us, those of us taking a break from grueling work, or from Candy Crush, here’s a bit more detail:

The good: The cast is amazing. The actors are top notch, and do a fabulous job of making me believe. The story itself goes beyond yawningly predictable in many ways, and that’s really tough for a werewolf/vampire show to do. 

The development of the unlikely friendship between the two main characters, Roman and Peter, both high-school-aged males, was well done.

But those don’t even begin to outweigh the bad. Here goes.

The bad: WTF? 

No -- what the ACTUAL %*^&?! Did the Hobby Lobby CEO write this show?!

These are not the 1950s, Netflix. No -- Really.

Ne’er-the-less, in Hemlock Grove, there exist women a’plenty, but nary-a-one is a decent character. Not one ANYONE would want to hang out with, frankly. They’re either weak as milk and soon DEAD (Letha), or jealous and mentally unstable and soon DEAD (Christina/Chrissy), or catty and shallow and soon DEAD (the Sworn twins), or competent, and super smart, but an alcoholic and perhaps sociopath who is soon DEAD (Dr. Chasseur), or a goddamned, nagging, ballbusting, deceitful, megacontrolling bitch who, when Roman FINALLY kills her, we’re supposed to cheer and sigh with relief for poor, oppressed Roman (Olivia).  There are two sort of “nice” women, but one is also a criminal and soon driven out of town (Lynda), and the other is so severely deformed she must hide her face, and she can’t talk, and she must, of course, ultimately sacrifice herself for Peter (Shelley).

Yep. Every single female character is one- or two-dimensional, stereotyped, and killed off or driven out. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

(To be fair, Letha’s mom is cheated on for twenty years, then abandoned, but she doesn’t die-die. She just gets left for another woman. She also, however, doesn’t get to speak more than a total of about twenty words during the entire first season. Maybe for women in HG if you speak over a certain number of words you have to die -- ?)

This, Hemlock Grove, is a boy’s world, where boys and men are the makers and shakers, and movers and groovers, the rulemakers and the takers, and women are nothing but arm candy, or nagging, drug-addicted, oppressive bitches, or bisexual whores, or jealous little snatches who do nothing but dress up and make fun of other people. Oh, and those who don’t fall into those categories are mentally unstable murderers. Or just mentally unstable. And they all die.

There are the two boys. The main characters. They're pretty hard to like. Well, Peter anyway, and for sure. He is a DICK. He’s a coward, and acts like a mean, name-calling asshole to Letha. And when he kills the cat, I’m like, “I hope you die next, asshole.” And I am sure I’m not the only one. You don’t kill animals in movies, you stupid assholes, unless you want everyone to stop caring about a character.

And I can only I hope he’s killed off soon. I won't be watching to find out.

But I digress. 

Now Roman, played by Bill Skarsgaard, is a far more sympathetic guy, overall. Oh, yeah -- except for that rape of his female classmate that he made her forget. And let’s make sure we fully comprehend that he raped her even though she was willing to have sex with him. And then he made her forget.

A boy’s dream, no? Well, he did tell ("make") her to “dream of something nice.” Well then! That makes up for it!

At one point, Dr. Chasseur unwittingly tells us what this series is really about:
“All girls experience a blood ritual that transforms them into adulthood,” she tells someone (not that it matters whom). “Whether they’re ready or not. That’s why cultures across time enact and fabricate rituals for boys to cross into manhood. And they always involve blood.”

So -- envy? ENVY is at the basis of manhood rituals?! 

Agree or not, this show tries its hardest to narrate that moment where two boys transition into adulthood, MANHOOD, and it certainly does use blood. A lot of blood, nearly all of it women’s, rather ironically. But it also uses a lot of sexism, and even misogyny, and a boatload of stupid stereotypes, and employs weak, cowardly, unethical characters who misuse those people over whom they exercise power. Is that how you see boyhood, and manhood, Hobby Lobby CEO/Netflix? Really? Apparently so, because ALL of the males in HG do bad things to women, from the boys to the men to the “mad scientist” at the Godfrey plant.(And some women do bad things, too, but pretty much only to other women. They only nag and seduce men.)

And get this: the show's“big” experiment, and the  mad scientist's“big” secret? Creating a baby without a womb. Yes: An artificial baby.

And this made me laugh. Do you know why? Women have been making babies for millions of years. Do men really envy us babymaking that much? Really?! 

So maybe this show is entirely about envying women after all.

Oh, grow up, Hobby-flix. You don’t need men to be women to be fulfilled (nor vice versa, BTW), and women don’t need to die in droves during boys' efforts to become men. How about kicking Hobby Lobby off the writing team and instead look into something a little more neutral, or even --- gasp! --- empowering for women AND men!

Speaking of which, I’ve got a series of books that might just work . . .

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Good Read

So if you're one of those secret erotica readers, and many of us are!, I've found a book I'd like to recommend. Well written, with good character development and a meaningful plot, and none of the junior high-esque language, dead plot, and utterly poor writing too often found in this genre, please allow me to recommend the book below for your reading pleasure. And it's only $1.49 - -  less than a cup of coffee at Circle K!

Be advised: this is not a sweet romance, altho a hint of romance wafts through its pages. It is solidly an erotic horror, but a non-gory one. If you read it, let me know what you think. And -- as always! -- if you like the book, leave her a nice review on smashwords and amazon. Even a "wow! loved it!" is a grade-A review, so please take those sixty seconds to thank her for her hard work. (I loved it!)

Oh - and it's only about 10,200 words long, so it's a comfortable afternoon's or evening's read. Sneak it onto your phone or tablet, and let your coworkers or your SO wonder WTH you're gasping about on breaks or in the bathroom. :-p


Back cover copy:

What happens when you stir together a sultry Mexican setting, ten college students, Mayan ruins, and a sex-crazed, mythological monster pack? An eruption of bloodshed and tears, and screams and moans that never stop, that’s what. So lick your lips and bend your hips, because this deliciously sexy creature feature is about to redefine "whorer" forever.

Warning: Smokin' Hot, Adult Content!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Things My Life Has Taught Me

Things my life has taught me: 

  • don't put off the things you love. 
  • don't suffer in your work for your whole life for things yet to come. 
  • if you love someone, tell them, or better yet, show them. 
  • so much of what bothers us really doesn't matter at all, so let it go. 
  • stand up for the weak and the small and the oppressed. 
  • do what you love. 
  • if you're unhappy, or you seek happiness, help someone ELSE. 
  • tell yourself the truth in all things, good and bad. 
  • animals are sentient, and should not be harmed by humans. 
  • cats are loyal - more loyal than most people.
  • life is suffering, and we must learn to overcome it, and we must also help others who suffer to overcome theirs.
  • tell the truth. 
  • be honorable and ethical in all things. 
  • love really is the answer. 
  • a loyal and steadfast person is a treasure beyond price.
  • don't ever take shit from bullies. 
  • don't ever let someone hit you, or call you names.
  • don't ever hit others, or call others names.
  • internalize your locus of control. 
  • understand that all conclusions are tentative. always demand proof, even from yourself. 
  • understand that all conclusions are subject to new facts. continue to seek evidence, and embrace even that which challenges your own dearly-held beliefs. make sure it's peer-reviewed and objective, though.
  • it's okay to be a warrior, but be a profoundly just one. 
  • being nice should never equal being weak.
  • learn to say "no," and mean it.
  • if you're going through hell, keep going. 
  • don't hate people who disagree with you. 
  • let go of people who don't love you, who don't love you enough, or who aren't ethical. 
  • if they do it once, they'll do it again. 
  • cheaters have a profound failing at the core of who they are.
  • watch how people treat others without power - food servers who mess up an order and animals when they do something wrong - because that's a glimpse of their truest selves. 
  • don't ride the extremes; be human, and let others be human, too. 
  • it's okay to cry, but don't do it all the time. 
  • don't make excuses. 
  • being fat is fabulous. so is being thin. be healthy, and be kind.
  • money is important, but it should never matter more than justice, or compassion.
  • don't strive to be rich; strive to help others.
  • only assholes live in mansions.
  • worry is a misuse of the imagination, and it won't help anything anyway.
  • if you're obsessing, go to the doctor.
  • speak up, even if your voice shakes. 
  • there is nothing more precious, or valuable, than compassion. 
  • we are stronger when we work together, but sometimes no one comes; don't give up, because even one person can move a mountain.