There are some cartoons that are so generation specific that it is becomes easily identifiable with that generation. Then there are other cartoons that keep coming back and entertaining multiple generations of fans.
Scooby Doo (1969-Present) is one of those cartoons that has multiple generations of fans. The premise of the show is as follows: four teenagers and a talking Great Dane solve cases that appear to be supernatural via unorthodox and comedic methods.
I am not a huge fan of Scooby Doo, however, I can see why it has entertained kids for fifty years. I think that it’s success comes down to the fact that it does not take itself too seriously or have illusions that it is a prime time police procedural.
It’s one thing to disagree with someone over a political or cultural issue. It’s another thing to completely disassociate yourself with anyone who does not see the world in the same way that you do.
The most recent kerfuffle is that talk show host/actress/comic Ellen DeGenereshung out with former President George W. Bush (R-Texas). Some have criticized the talk show host for choosing to spend her free time with the 43rd President.
Honestly, I don’t get what the big deal is. If Ellen wants to spend her free time with George Bush, that is her prerogative. Yes, she is a celebrity, but that does not mean that she must listen to the crowd when it comes to who her friends are.
And frankly, this friendship is a very good thing from my perspective. If a gay liberal performer and a straight conservative former President can kick back and relax together, why can’t the rest of the country do the same?
It’s obvious that our country is divided among several political and cultural fault lines. The problem is that we are unwilling to step over those lines and try to see the human being under the label of liberal and conservative. Until we do so, this country will remain as it is today.
Sometimes love and the right person is closer than we think.
Tessa Bailey’s new novel, Fix Her Up, is set in the small suburban community of Port Jefferson, New York. For most, if not all of her life, Georgie Castle has been looked down as the baby of her family. She has also nursed a crush on Travis Ford, her older brother’s best friend since junior high.
Georgie earns her living as a children’s entertainer and birthday clown. Travis was once the hottest thing in major league baseball since sliced bread, but a physical injury has put an end to his career. Post professional baseball, Travis’s life consists of alcohol, takeout and self pity. Then Georgie pushes her way in and forces Travis to get back on his feet.
They plan to pretend to date to shock her family and give some life back to his career. But this pretend dating turns into something more.
I can’t say that I loved this book. There are sections that, frankly added more to the narrative that was needed. However, the book also has moments that are funny, that are sexy and that are emotionally raw, elevating Travis and George above what is expected of lead characters in this genre.
Creating a villain for the sake of opposing the hero or heroine is easy. It’s harder to create a three dimensional character who is still a villain, but is just as human as the hero or heroine.
The new movie, Joker, is a standalone/maybe prequel in the world of Batman. Set somewhere in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s, Arthur Fleck/Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) lives in a Gotham City plagued by crime and poverty. Arthur earns his living as a clown for hire, though his professional goal is to be a stand up comedian.
He lives with his mother, Penny Fleck (Frances Controy) in a beaten down apartment. He dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), a Johnny Carson like late night talk show host. He also suffers from mental illness and has daydreams of dating his neighbor, Sophie (Zazie Beetz).
Over the course of the film, Arthur slowly transforms into the villain that we know of as the Joker.
I admire that director Todd Phillips and his co-screenwriter Scott Silver tried to tackle the very complicated ideas of mental health and economic disparity. However, I found the violence to be a little much for my taste. The film was also a little on the long side.
Since the release of the film last weekend, there have been some concern that the portrayal of Arthur’s mental illness might be a trigger for those who suffer in real life. While I can completely understand that concern, I am also concerned that some in the audience might come out of the theater with the general idea that everyone who suffers from mental illness has violent or criminal tendencies.
Outside of family, friends are the most important people in our lives.
On the world stage, friends come in handy, especially when fighting an enemy whose sole aim is one’s destruction.
In Syria, the Kurds have been America’s ally in the war against ISIS. A politician who is well versed in this relationship and respects it would not abandon the Syrian Kurdish community to the mercy (or lack thereof) of Turkey. But you know who has decided that in his infinite wisdom, that we don’t need their support.
This community didn’t have to help us. But they did and this is how we thank them? My concern is that if we let you know who continue on this path, America will be isolated from the rest of the world. Our only friends will be countries who leadership has a questionable friendship with the United States.
In justifying his decision, he claimed that the decision was made because of the Kurds were not part of the Allies and did not participate in the Invasion of Normandy. That is the most ridiculous, nonsensical reason that I have ever heard from this man. Any voter with an ounce of sense would see this man as completely unfit for office and make dam sure that he is a one term President.
But there are fools in this country who continue to support him and will vote for him next fall. G-d help us all if he wins a second term, for we will need all of the help that we can get.
Life has a way of throwing us curve balls when we are least expecting or liking them.
Nina Hill is the titular character in the new Abbi Waxman novel, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. Nina Hill is content with her life. The daughter of a single mother, Nina lives with her cat, works at a local bookstore and spends her free time at book clubs and pub quiz tournaments.
Then she is thrown for two loops. The first loop is that the father she never met dies and wants to bring her into his large extended family. The second loop is her attraction to Tom, a member of a rival quiz team.
I loved this book. I loved that I totally understood Nina’s perspective and why she reacts to the changes in her life. I also love that Ms. Waxman approaches mental health in a way teaches without preaching or standing on a soap box.
The first step to conquering any issue or problem is to talk about it. The problem is that this first step is often the hardest.
Thursday was World Mental Health Day. It was a day to highlight the importance of mental health, regardless of whether one is mentally healthy or lives with mental illness.
I wish that we could talk about mental illness in the same manner that we talk about other illnesses. I wish that mental illness was treated by both the medical community and the general public as other illnesses are.
But they aren’t. Mental illness is often maligned and used as blame for events that in reality has little or nothing to do with that event. It’s an easy out instead of taking a hard look at what is the real cause of the event.
We need to openly talk about mental illness as we would talk about other illnesses. We need to respect those who suffer and understand that their illness is no different than any other illness.
Until then, the idea of mental health will continue to be maligned and misunderstood.
Earlier this week, like millions of Jews around the world, I fasted and prayed that on Yom Kippur, I would be written in the book of life for the coming year.
Yom Kippur is not easy physically, spiritually or mentally. It requires a strength and a will to push through the hunger and the wish that sundown would finally come.
As I fasted this year and finally chowed down, I began think about how much I appreciate the small things, especially food. Most days, I don’t think about where my next meal is coming from. But when I cannot eat during the 25 hours of Yom Kippur, it makes appreciate the easy access for food that I take for granted.
I live in New York City. It’s not hard to find a homeless person begging for spare change. Normally, as bad as it sounds, I pass by a homeless person without a second thought. But this year’s fast made me think. I have much to be grateful for. It’s time to be grateful for what I have.
Come the afternoon, there are a few choices for television. There is the local news, a rerun on cable or the afternoon talk show. For a talk show and a talk show host to succeed, he or she (in my opinion) must come off a personable, friendly and feel like this is someone who I want to have coffee with.
From 1996-2002, actress and comedienne Rosie O’Donnell hosted her own self titled talk show. The format was the same as any celebrity based talk show. There is an opening monologue, perhaps some back and forth with the audience, conversations with the guest hawking their latest projects and then the credits roll.
I remember that this show was afternoon appointment television for me. Unlike other talk show hosts, Rosie felt like an old friend. She was funny, she was entertaining and she spoke to the audience instead of speaking down to the audience.
*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.
Some jobs require everything from us. Nothing else matters, except work. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Declan Murphy (Donal Logue) is first introduced to the characters and the audience while undercover. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) is at the height of her gambling addiction and is unaware that Declan is undercover. After that case is closed, he is moved the SVU where he is temporarily assigned as the commanding officer.
During this time, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is caught up in her finale battle with William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber). By the time the battle is won, Declan has decided that his skills are best used in undercover and Benson rises to the commanding post of SVU.
To sum it up: In the annals of SVU, Declan Murphy is one of the most intense characters. Though fans have seen or heard of some part of the home life of most the characters, Murphy is a character whom we know only of by his work life. By that alone, his work ethic is respected, even if his methods are unorthodox. But even unorthodox methods cannot undo a work ethic the results in getting cases closed.