Erin Tatum

Kickass Women of Color on TV: ‘Sleepy Hollow’ Edition

Sleepy Hollow title card.

There are precious few characters of color and particularly women of color on screen. Characters of color usually serve the primary function of helping white characters through dilemmas. If they are given their own plots, expect their storylines to be zany comic relief while the white characters deal with the serious business. …It’s 2013, so I say it’s about time that we allow women of color to shine in their own right without tacking on white ladies as a wink to ratings or as an apology, wouldn’t you agree?

How Love Triangles Perpetuate Misogyny


Romance, lust, and dramatic intrigue are the antidote to our anxiety that we are just boringly adequate enough to make it through everyday life. The best part is that we can deny any accusations of shallowness or narcissism because at the end of the day, we don’t have to take responsibility for the actions of fictional characters. It’s a win-win!

‘i hate myself :)’ is Self-Indulgence for the Sake of It

i hate myself :) title card.

There is one thing that Arnow has in common with James – she really fucking hates the mainstream. Throughout the film, she references not wanting to conform to societal norms and complains that everyone’s disapproval stems from a collective brainwashing scheme to make her like everybody else. She echoed a similar contempt for coming-of-age narratives in the Q&A, saying that she didn’t find it realistic to have a protagonist grow up and have their lives together by learning a clichéd life lesson in the end. I totally agree with that. I think coming-of-age stories are incredibly boring and send the wrong message about what adulthood and maturity is supposed to be. However, there is a fine line between subverting pre-established scripts and just meandering aimlessly with zero narrative.

It’s ‘About Time’ for a Strong Family Narrative


Everyone loves a feel-good story about an awkward ginger falling in love and bonding with his family! About Time follows the life of Tim (Domhnall Gleeson), a young lawyer whose father (Bill Nighy) informs him on his 21st birthday that he has the ability to time travel. Specifically, that all the men in his family have the ability to time travel. I was a little bit perplexed that the women are kept in the dark about the family secret, but I guess it’s a metaphor for paternal bonding or whatever. Tim immediately endeavors to use his newfound gift to find a girlfriend, which feels slightly immature for a guy who’s out of school and in a steady career. Nevertheless, Gleeson keeps the tone light and heartwarming. Tim soon meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) and makes frequent use of his time travel to ensure that every aspect of their relationship development is perfect.

Dear Writers, I Will Not Allow You to Quietly Bury Your Queers


However, for some reason, the siren song of shock value makes writers unable to let sleeping dogs lie. Happiness (or let’s be real, any positivity) just isn’t authentic enough. Queer characters have a bull’s-eye on their backs because their suffering is interpreted as a commentary on the cruelty of the human condition, even if their death has nothing to do with their identity. It’s symbolic! The potential pathos payoff of a queer martyr is too tempting to worry about silly junk like the importance of representation or overcoming adversity. Queer kids, you can totally have a meaningful future, until your death is required for timely social commentary or for the sake of artistic profundity! But you still kind of sort of existed when it was relevant to other people, so isn’t that enough? Ah yes, you can always depend on that token queer waiting in the slaughterhouse when you’ve run out of ideas and/or creative integrity.

Why You Should Be Watching ‘Masters of Sex’

The Masters cast.

Masters of Sex is the most compelling period drama I’ve seen in quite some time, and trust me, I watch a lot of period pieces. I will admit that sometimes the stiffness of the dialogue and the character interaction can get a bit dry – the audience understands that social conventions were different in the past, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone was robotic round-the-clock. I feel the writers have a tendency to use era authenticity as a cop-out for lack of emotional depth or creativity. Though it’s only been four episodes, Masters of Sex boldly rips the buttons off of the post-World War II stereotype of prudishness and conservatism. Below are just a few of the reasons why you should give the show a try, if you haven’t already.

‘Me and Zooey D.’ Puts a Quirky Spin on Celebrity Obsession

Me and Zooey D. logo

Berkowitz does a great job of consciously channeling the look and mannerisms of Zooey’s persona as a means of illustrating that Alex and Zooey are birds of a feather, but not in the aloof Manic Pixie Dream Girl way that might be alienating. Alex is endearing by sheer force of her naïveté and conviction. You really do root for her to find Zooey, even if her behavior may sometimes teeter on prompting a restraining order. The series’ charm stems from its full-fledged embrace of its own zaniness. One description on the official website declares that Me and Zooey D. “is about believing in your dreams and pursuing them like a stalker.”
Ari was kind enough to do a little Q&A about the show and even teased us with some possibilities for season two.

‘Runner Runner’ Runs on Empty

Runner Runner promotional poster.

In terms of plot and character, Runner Runner leaves a lot to be desired. Justin Timberlake plays Richie Furst (Rich First, come on), an online gambler who has to risk it all to earn enough tuition to complete his master’s degree at Princeton. After realizing the scam behind a suspicious loss, he finds himself sucked into the seedy poker underbelly of Costa Rica and under the thumb of his ruthless American boss, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck). They get territorial over shared one-dimensional love interest Rebecca (Gemma Arterton) to add some manliness. An FBI agent (Anthony Mackle) tries to blackmail Richie with exile in order to take out Block. Eighty percent of the movie is Justin Timberlake looking confused or angry while other people monologue at him. We are supposed to really care about whether or not Richie makes it out of there before the house of cards comes crashing down, despite the fact that he has little to no character depth. Block really likes alligators. Conclusion: Internet poker is even more of a snooze fest than I originally thought.

‘Don Jon’: Manhood in the Digital Age


Barbara retains her mystique as long as she continues to refuse to sleep with Jon, meaning that he actually has to put effort into courting her. Upon discovering her fascination with romantic comedies, Jon playfully gripes in the voiceover about how she’s delusional and those things never happen in real life. From that point onward, like any good self-deprecating genre film, the same swelling music plays any time Jon and Barbara share a romantic moment. Additionally, the same thumping club music pops up whenever Jon sizes up a new conquest. Jon and Barbara both use media as a crutch to validate fantasies about relationships, yet are comically incapable of recognizing their shared escapism because they insist that the other’s pastime is a bastardization of social dynamics, which neither of them actually understand. Oh, you two!

Why ‘The Legend of Korra’ is (Still) a Feminist’s Headache


The Legend of Korra Book 2 promotional poster. Written by Erin Tatum. Let me start by saying that I love Avatar: The Last Airbender. I’ve watched it since its original run in 2005 and I continue to re-watch it. The themes are relatable and they always will be. Yes, it’s a kids’ show, but it has […]

She’s Too Old: Sexuality and the Threat of Aging in ‘Adore’

Adore film poster. Written by Erin Tatum. The original title of Adore was Two Mothers, which should give some indication of its Freudian undertones. Best friends since childhood, Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) remain close throughout their lives. They have sons the same age: Roz has Tom (James Frecheville) and Lil has Ian (Xavier […]

Queer Infatuation in ‘Farewell, My Queen’

Farewell, My Queen Written by Erin Tatum. Farewell, My Queen has been on my to-watch list for a while. I’m a sucker for the opulence and pretty costumes of period pieces. Really, you could assemble the worst cast imaginable and I’d probably still watch to drool over the outfits. The narrative chronicles events in Versailles […]