Daily Archives: July 18, 2019

Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Olivia Benson

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

I know that it is sounds cliche, but what does not kill you makes you stronger. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, this concept is personified by Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Conceived by rape, Benson was raised by an alcoholic single mother who abused her. As a police officer, she is sympathetic to the victims and hard as nails on the accused because of her past. She is also the yin to Elliot Stabler’s (Chris Meloni) yang, her first partner. Their good cop, bad cop chemistry was one of the keys to their success in catching the perpertrators.

But Benson has also had a few lumps along the way. William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber) is obsessed with her. He kidnaps her, tortures and nearly rapes her, but Benson is able to undo her bonds and defend herself. She also again nearly raped while undercover and was the unofficial foster mother of several children before adopting her son.

Like many women, Benson is delicately balancing motherhood and work. In her position as Lieutenant, she is often akin to a mother bear. She has to ensure that her squad does their jobs while occasionally dolling out tough love.

To sum it up: Olivia Benson has been through the ringer several times. While others might have crumbled under the emotional weight of the same experiences, Benson came out harder and stronger. Though she still bears the scars, she does not let them stop her.

As a character, Benson is an inspiration. In spite of what she has gone through, she continues to be strong for herself, her son and her squad. It is that strength had kept the SVU fanbase in raptures for twenty years and hopefully for many years to come.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

Shame on You, Rand Paul

When the volunteers and first responders ran toward the still smoldering rubble that was the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001, they were not thinking of the compensation they would later be receiving from the government or the diseases that they would be dying from. They only though of finding survivors and recovering the remains of those who did not survive.

This year is the 18th anniversary of the attack. Approximately 90,000 Americans put their lives on hold to help with the rescue and recovery effort. Nearly half of these people, numbering around 40,000 have been diagnosed with cancers that could have only come from the toxic air that was expelled from the remains of the towers.

It should, therefore be a no-brainer that these men and women (and their families by extension) are financially compensated, especially given the expensive medical bills that come with cancer.

But Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) believes otherwise. He and fellow Republican Mike Lee (R-Utah) voted against the funding. Senator Paul’s reasons for not voting for the compensation fund is as follows:

“It has long been my feeling that we need to address our massive debt in the country,” he said. “And therefore any new spending …  should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable. We need to, at the very least, have this debate.”

There is nothing to debate. More than our thanks or our verbal support, these men and women need our financial support. While they battle cancer, they should not be worrying about being able to pay their mortgage or put food on their tables. They should only be worrying about their health and their loved ones.

From my perspective, this is just another sign that the Republicans, as a party, have forgotten who hired them and who they are responsible to. I am not saying that the Democrats are perfect, but at least I know that they are doing the jobs that the average American voter hired them to do.

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Filed under History, New York City, Politics

Throwback Thursday-Chopped Junior (2016-Present)

When it comes to certain professions, it takes years of hard work, grit and mistakes before one can call themselves a master of their craft.

The adults who compete on Chopped have years of experience in the kitchen. The children who compete on Chopped Junior may not have same amount of years in the kitchen. But they have the same drive, passion and want to succeed.

The premise of Chopped Junior is the same as it’s adult predecessor. Also hosted by Ted Allen, four young chefs must make three distinct meals within a short amount of time. One by one, the contestants are eliminated until one is named the winner and earns $10,000.

What I like about Chopped Junior is that even though the pressure is the same as it is for the adults, the kids are willing to help their fellow contestant. It shows, at least from my opinion, not only how talented and driven these kids are, but how open helping one another succeed.

I recommend it.

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Filed under Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review