Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Little Pony

Yes, I know. If ever there was a title to make other people run screaming it's that one. Nevertheless, I'm going to talk about "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic," the most recent incarnation of My Little Pony.

'Cause it's really quite good.

A couple of years ago I made the mistake of watching some old episodes of "Transformers." Actually, I should say I attempted to watch *an* episode of "Transformers." I couldn't force myself to sit through an entire 22 minutes of that incoherent, illogical excuse for entertainment. (Really explained a lot about the movies, though.) Since then I've shied away from re-watching any other childhood favorites for fear of spoiling my pleasant memories.

My daughter loves TV (or youtube, since that's really how we watch things) and one of the things she's gotten into is My Little Pony. At first I wasn't all that keen on her watching them. Honestly, I'm still not all that keen on her watching them overmuch; but as TV goes, I'm fairly happy with her watching My Little Pony. The plots are coherent and diverse--there's a good mix between interpersonal relationship plots, bad guy plots, and self-discovery plots. The characters have distinct, consistent voices and personalities. I don't actually watch the show often--mostly I turn it on and let my daughter watch it while I do something else like clean. But I listen frequently and even without the voice acting the characters have distinct voices. I'm definitely impressed by the quality of the writing.

The only aspect of the show I think keeps it from being appropriate for older kids/adults is the fact that the villains have simple, superficial motivations. As an adult I roll my eyes, but for a kid that's probably developmentally exactly right. Makes me feel ever so slightly better about letting her watch brain-rotting TV.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


A few nights ago I watched the movie, "Premonition," with Sandra Bullock and the guy who was the demon husband in "Charmed." It's a story about a woman who wakes up one morning and is told her husband died the previous day. The next morning she wakes up and he's still alive. The next morning he's dead again and she's going to the funeral; then he's alive and they're one day close to the day he dies in a car accident.

It's not the happiest of movies. It's also not the most consistent of movies. Things that have happened don't always show up when they should chronologically. The most glaring is that the daughter runs through a window (a rather amazing feat in and of itself) and the mom doesn't 'remember' because it hasn't happened yet, but nobody else remembers either even though supposedly time is moving normally for them. I suppose the implication could be that what the Sandra Bullock character chooses in her past days makes a difference in the future days, but mostly it comes across as inconsistent.

Anyway, the thing that really bugs me about the movie isn't even the plot; it's Sandra Bullock's character. They show her as a hard-working, more or less on top of things stay at home mom. She obviously takes her job seriously and she does a good job. Except when she doesn't, like when she, in the future, puts up stickers on the windows and then, because she's already done it in the future she forgets to do it in the past, leading to her daughter's accidental through the window incident. Which her husband then blames her for. Now, perhaps I should again be generous to the writers and assume they're showing how dysfunctional the relationship is between the husband and wife, but it still didn't sit right with me.

And then there's the seduction scene. Bullock's character, realizing she wants to fight for her marriage ('cause is there any other choice to make in Hollywood?) seduces her husband. By kneeling in front of him and taking off his shoes. It's all very traditional, very submissive, almost biblical in its imagery.

Not to spoil the ending here, but I'm going to. Bullock decision to fight for her family causes the accident that kills her husband. If she'd trusted him (which it turns out was warranted), if she'd just let things happen, if she'd somehow just been less feminine and less hysterical he would have gone on his trip, driven safely past mile marker 220, and he wouldn't have died. But don't worry, she got pregnant from that last night with hubby so she does at least have one last kid to remember her husband with.

How sweet.

As a stay at home mom I wasn't overly offended by the portrayal of Bullock as a really reasonably effective family manager. The only place she falls down is getting her kids to school on time, which I'd find completely understandable. The eldest daughter's chastising her mother for being late is a little unrealistic and does kinda show where the mom is in the family pecking order, though.

The rest of it, though, is annoying. Bullock does the typical movie "I'm not going to talk to my husband even though I should" thing. She's treated as hysterical by everyone around her. She IS hysterical much of the time, and it's frustrating--they have her doing some really smart things to try and figure out what's going on, but they don't allow her to be smart enough or emotionally detached/stable enough to really figure things out. I wanted her to be smart enough to figure it out, but they just didn't make her that smart. Or perhaps allow her to be that smart.

So, not quite an anti-female movie, but really not a movie that left a good taste in my mouth.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Journey to the other side of the Earth

We have completed our journey through the center of the Earth and emerged on the other side in the hamlet of Adelaide, Australia. I will not bore you with the details of our travails across boiling rivers of molten lava, through underground seas filled with the most fantastic of beasts, and through enormous caverns filled with beautiful crystals twice the height of a man; suffice it to say, we have arrived safe and whole.

True to astral predictions, it is summer here, and a very pleasant one at that. Other predictions (namely, that the citizens on the other side of the world walk on their hands) have proven fortunately false. I am glad I will not have to re-learn to type with my toes as this will speed my return to writing and corresponding with those of you we have left behind in our beloved homeland.

With much affection,

Mrs. H-------