All posts by Arturo

Janis’ Song: The Racialicious Roundtable For FlashForward 1.18

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

janis1 After last week’s action-driven ep, FlashForward cooled its’ jets with the Janis-centric “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” which followed up on what had been the series’ most interesting plot-point: that the mother-to-be was actually – DUN DUN DUN – one of the bad guys. As it turned out, being a spy wasn’t exactly what Janis imagined; she doesn’t even like fish! But what’d the Roundtable make of her journey? Glad you asked …

Getting Janis’ backstory really made her a more interesting figure at this point: sure, the Evil! Janis smile was cool at the time, but now we see she’s trapped: by Vogel, by the pet store lady, and in a sense, by her wish to see her FF through. Odds are, though, she’s not going to succeed in her mission to kill Mark, as Charlie’s vision says it’s not “his time” yet. What do you think are her odds?
Diana: Personally, if I was writing for this show, I’d probably have Janis fake her own death and retire on the beach somewhere to have the baby. Maybe she can enlist Vogel or Simon Charlie Hobbit to help. But everyone has pretty much pushed her into a corner. Should be interesting how it all turns out.
Arturo: Something I just thought of, though: upon reflection, I realize that we never actually learn why she joined Dyson’s organization. She didn’t seem disgruntled talking to the “headhunter,” and the GBO seemed to legitimately affect her. Hopefully we’ll get some explanation soon.
Mahsino: Finally, we have a surprising, plausible turn of events. The only issue I have is that nobody has seemed to notice her weekly pet shop visits. Now I don’t own fish, but I doubt you need to go to a pet shop every week for food.
Andrea: Having had fishes for pets, Mahsino, I know the feed lasts for a while. :-) As for Janis, I was mad seeing Demetri hugging up on her in the flashback. I know it was before he met Zoey, but I also have the sinking feeling it was also a foreshadowing that he indeed impregnated Janis. ::Giving Demetri all sorts of side-eye:: At the same time, Arturo, Vogel said Shakespeare died. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? ::shrug:: Continue reading

Did Shakira’s World Cup Anthem Miss The Mark?

shakira1By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

You gotta love the World Cup. It’s a time when America’s forced to acknowledge not only that other countries exist, but that they might be better and more passionate at some things. The Olympics? Maybe once upon a time, but not when NBC frames the event as the feel-good story of (x) teenage athlete.

Anyway, this year’s selection for the official Cup theme song – a team-up between Shakira and South African group Freshlyground – has a rather curious history. The video below for “WAKA WAKA (This Time For Africa)” is SFW and is actually rather catchy.

While it might seem odd to see the Colombian Shakira fronting a song for a tournament held in South Africa, Guanabee notes that the song’s inspiration, “Zangalewa,” by a Cameroonian band of the same name, was actually popular in her country as well as several others in Africa. Guanabee also says, “The song, music historians say, is a criticism of black military officers who were in league with whites to oppress their own people. Or at least, some of it was. Some of it, as far was we can surmise, is gibberish.”

The “gibberish” thing is questionable, but the fact remains that some of the lyrics do use some uncomfortable imagery:

You’re a good soldier,
Choosing your battles
Pick yourself up,
And dust yourself off
And back in the saddle
You’re on the frontline
Everyone’s watching
You know it’s serious
We’re getting closer
This isn’t over

At a time when popular media likes to depict Africa as little more than a confluence of civil wars – O HAI 24 & FLASHFORWARD! – are those really the words FIFA wants welcoming viewers to South Africa’s moment in the spotlight?

A more fitting choice might actually have been the song Coca-Cola picked to serve as the jingle for its’ Cup ad campaign, K’naan’s “Waving Flag.” (Full disclosure: I posted this version because the “official” video has an unnecessary cameo by Spanish reality-show alum David Bisbal and several annoyingly cheery “Latino” dancers, not to mention subtle product placements.)

A Game Of Inches: The Racialicious Roundtable For Flashforward 1.17

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García


So, judging by last week’s responses, the future isn’t bright for this show, is it? Or was it something we said? Gang, what do you think?

jen*: That, or everyone was just thinking, “mmm. Cho.”
Diana: I was disappointed, but maybe this week will be better.
Mahsino: yeaaah. maybe it’s a proportional reflection of the decline in ratings?
Andrea: Mmmmmm. Cho.

In some ways, it’s a pity, as this episode was an example of the writers giving us more of what we’ve been after – a clear-cut story focused on action and possible consequences.
jen*: Um, Yeah! Is it really too much to ask to get this on the regular? Are shows just focused on the season open and then a 4-ep build to the finale? Cuz if that’s the case, I can skip the midseason and take up a craft.
Diana: Jen, it’s not too much to ask. But if you do start crafting, may I suggest knitting. You can throw one of the needles at the tv if you need to and not miss a stitch.
jen*: You know, I always did wanna learn how to knit…
Mahsino: I make and elaborately decorate cupcakes, but I hear knitting is nice too. But yeah, I haven’t even been as into an episode as this one. Continue reading

Dear John: The Racialicious Roundtable For FlashForward 1.16

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

He smokes, he sings, he stares down paranoids … “Let No Man Put Asunder” was all about Demetri. Kind of odd, in that an ep named after something you hear at weddings focused nearly exclusively on the groom, but what the heck – the Roundtable didn’t mind him being the focal point of an episode. Mark who?

I guess we should’ve known something big was up when Demetri both talked down *and* shot up the Lone Gunman there all by his lonesome.
Andrea: Demetri is full of awesome sauce, full stop, with a caveat. (I’ll address this shortly.) And it’s about time the writers start realizing who the show’s emotional center is….and it isn’t Mark Shakespeare.
jen*: Dem is awesome – no doubt. I could definitely see him carrying the show from here on.
Diana: Dem’s the man.
Mahsino: I dunno, I hate reckless, illogical thought processes more than I love Dem. When he was doing that I could help but think, wouldn’t it be a bitch if he gets shot here and dies the next day? Continue reading

Pimp My Stereotype: The Racialicious Roundtable For Flashforward 1.15

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García


When did Tim Kring start working on this show?

Yes, Byron Balasco and Timothy J. Lea are listed as the writers for “Queen Sacrifice,” but the mind-numbing absurdity of Keiko’s subplot in the episode stank of Heroes-level caricature. Here’s the recap:

So, newly-arrived Keiko is looking for a job around L.A. when she happens upon an auto shop. As she ventures in, we see several people dancing to generic “hip-hop” like rejects from a Kid Frost video and cars randomly going all LowRider Magazine. That’s the opening image. From there, Keiko – who has never shown either professional or personal interest in cars – talks herself into a job at the shop. After speaking to my ex-mechanic flatmate, I’m thinking this is also wonky; her degree doesn’t exactly translate into this career path. Later, Customs raids the place and busts seemingly everybody for being undocumented workers. Well of course they do. Gang, anything I missed?

Mahsino: Don’t forget the “Ninja” comment. Continue reading

Dear Joss Whedon: We Found You A Wasp

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

As of press time, the majority of the geek world was bracing for a big fat win, in the form of confirmation that Buffy mastermind Joss Whedon would be directing Marvel’s Avengers film adaptation – the culmination of the company’s attempt to create a shared film universe. Both Deadline and Variety have said, basically, that it’s all over but the champagne at this point.

Samuel L. Jackson’s presence as Nick Fury is all but a lock in this film, since he’s been the guy pulling these disparate heroes – Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and perhaps The Hulk & The Black Widow – together. But given Whedon’s predilection for casting familiar faces, there’s potentially a great opportunity here to cast Dollhouse vet Dichen Lachman as Janet Van Dyne, aka The Wasp, long established in canon as one of the team’s founding members, and had one of the longest relationships in both Marvel Universes with Henry Pym.

I say “both” because in the (alternate) Marvel Ultimate U., Janet is of (vague) Asian descent, and a holder of two doctorates. And the Jackson version of Fury’s character also originated in the Ultimate ‘verse. Though Whedon’s issues with representing Asian culture are well-documented, Lachman’s ability to steal the show on Dollhouse and the relatively neutral nature of the Avengers setting – it’s a military-industrial complex, sure, but at least the decor isn’t refried Geisha – would seem to insulate the character against at least some questionable characterization. Here’s to hoping. And to starting an anti-cancellation petition, just in case.

image courtesy of Rich Lovatt


One more fandom note: I won’t put up any Doctor Who spoilers, since the show will barely start airing in the U.S. this coming weekend, but I will recommend you check out next week’s episode, “The Beast Below,” featuring Sophie Okonedo as Liz Ten. I mean, come on, she rocks a cloak and twin hand-cannons. And she instantly joins the ranks of Characters Who Need Their Own Series Right Now.

image courtesy of Bleeding Cool

Diamond In The Rough?: The Racialicious Roundtable For FlashForward 1.14

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García


Even excluding the episode’s surprisingly good ending, “Better Angels” shouldn’t have worked: an ad-hoc team journeys into Hollywood Somalia looking for a plot device? Forget Red Panda; this had Red Flag written all over it.

Case in point: Abdi, the unfriendly neighborhood warlord of the (fake) Somalian village where Dyson Frost/D. Gibbons and company beta-tested the GBO. All the signals were there for the character to become a caricature: blind religious faith; a flashforward that fed further delusions of grandeur; and seemingly the itchiest trigger-finger this side of Yosemite Sam.

Fortunately, writers Scott M. Gimple and Ian Goldberg took care to give Abdi not only a backstory, but a sense of hurt to balance out his more venomous traits, and even more fortunately, Owiso Odera was able to fashion a performance that actually generated some emotion. I actually felt sad when Vogel gunned him down. Let’s see what the Roundtable thought:

Andrea: *Sigh* I thought Odera did a good job in a bad role, namely playing a “Somali warlord.” Of course, “Somalia” is stereotyped as only a war-torn place full of superstitious people with delusions of grandeur. Whether it’s ruling with the gun or the olive branch, they will be great with the CIA’s help. Of course, the CIA will shoot that notion down–in Abdi’s case, literally.
Diana: Meh. I didn’t really like the whole black on black violence vibe.
jen*: Um … yeah. I was definitely sad to see him die. I wasn’t super-thrilled with Janis’ convenient savior moments, but the story moved along well enough that I didn’t have to dwell on it. Come to think of it, I was actually a little pissed that Abdi was killed like that.
Mahsino: They really took that to an unfortunate place. I dunno, I feel they could’ve gone someplace really great with that and just phoned it in once they realized how much work it would be to create a whole subplot around helping Abdi achieve his destiny. Continue reading

Race + Fandom Roundup: M. Night on Airbender, and Tales of Two Amandas

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

The Last Airbender director M. Night Shyamalan finally addressed the controversy over the white-washing of his film’s casting in a recent interview. Without further ado, here’s a few excerpts …

Here’s the thing. The great thing about anime is that it’s ambiguous. The features of the characters are an intentional mix of all features. It’s intended to be ambiguous. That is completely its point. So when we watch Katara, my oldest daughter is literally a photo double of Katara in the cartoon. So that means that Katara is Indian, correct? No that’s just in our house. And her friends who watch it, they see themselves in it. And that’s what’s so beautiful about anime …

I was without an agenda, and just letting it come to the table. Noah [Ringer, who plays Aang] is a photo double from the cartoon. He is spot on. I didn’t know their backgrounds, and to me Noah had a slightly mixed quality to him. So I cast the Airbenders as all mixed-race. So when you see the monks, they are all mixed. And it kind of goes with the nomadic culture and the idea that over the years, all nationalities came together.

On the casting of the Fire Nation, and Dev Patel as Zuko:

The Fire Nation was the most complicated. I kept switching who was playing Zuko. It was such a complicated and drawn out thing, about practical matters. But the first person that I was considering casting for Zuko was Ecuadorian. So I started thinking that way. Then when that person couldn’t do it, the next person who came in was much more Caucasian. And then we had to switch everything around …

… Dev ended up being my choice for Zuko, and I looked for an Uncle that could be in that realm, for a moment I thought about Ben Kingsley. But Shaun Toub, I just loved him in Iron Man. I thought this takes us into a Mediterranean kind of Arab and Indian world, and I can go as far as that, that will be the breadth of the Fire Nation, that kind of look.

Continue reading