Women at War Season 1 Review

It is a sad truth universally acknowledged that women are only allowed to step when their men are called away to war.

The first season of the French television series Woman at War was recently released on Netflix. As World War I rages on, four women step up to save their country. Marguerite (Audrey Fleurot) is running from her past. Agnes (Julie De Bona) is a Mother Superior whose convent has been turned into a military hospital. Suzanne (Camille Lou) has the law on her tail. Caroline (Sofia Essaïdi) has been tasked with running the family business while her husband is on the front lines.

Blending personal drama with the compounding effects of a military conflict made for one heck of a story. The writing was fantastic, the actors were pitch-perfect and I was thoroughly drawn into the narrative.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Women at War is available for streaming on Netflix with English subtitles.

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Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day

The Holocaust ended 78 years ago. Though it may seem like ancient history, the truth is that it happened in the lifetimes of our parents and grandparents.

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day and specifically, the liberation of the survivors of the Auschwitz death camp.

When I think of what has been happening in the past few years, I see scary signs of what could happen again. I think it goes without saying that we don’t want to make the alarm bells ring all of the time. But, given recent events (Kanye, for one), I can’t help but make connections to the recent past.

One of the things that I wish was more well-known was the persecution of the LGBTQ community. Before the war, Berlin was known for its openness to those who were not heteronormative. The ended in 1933. Thousands were murdered and many more were persecuted.

The problem is that many continue to turn a blind eye to this hatred, even those of my faith. Ben Shapiro (whom I dislike with every bone in my body), has been open about his association with the right and their hatred of everyone who is not them. What he conveniently forgets is that at the day, he is still Jewish. The antisemites would still slap a yellow star on his chest and send him to his death.

It has been said that we die twice. The first time is when shuffle off this mortal coil. The second is when we are forgotten. Many of those who were killed have died twice.

May the memories of the millions who were murdered always be a blessing. Z”l.

Flashback Friday: Making It (2018 to 2021)

I think that it’s pretty safe to say that reality television has spread its tentacles into every sort of competition.

Making It aired on NBC from 2018 to 2021. Hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, a group of craftspeople faces off in hopes of winning $100k and being named “Master Maker”. Each episode contains two challenges. As with every program within this sub-genre, one contestant is sent home every week until the winner is crowned.

Though it is a reality show, it is not as mind-numbing and brain cell-killing as other shows. Though I am sure it is not 100% “real”, the participants have a genuine talent and seem to love what they do.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Thoughts On the 25th anniversary of the Clinton/Lewinsky Affair

Every generation has its own political scandal that defines that era. It speaks to the values and beliefs of that time.

This month is the 25th anniversary of the revelation of the Clinton/Lewinsky affair and the eventual impeachment of the President. On last Sunday’s episode of Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd and his rotating group of panelists discussed the long-term effects of this particular news item.

Starts at 26:44

Once the details hit the presses, Lewinsky became a punchline. Clinton would eventually weather the storm and end his time in office with a mostly solid reputation.

One of the things that struck me was a comment made by one of the guests. If it had happened today, the #MeToo movement would have vindicated Lewinsky. Clinton would be in the same league as Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer.

If nothing else, this shows that change does happen. It just sometimes takes a quarter of a century for it to be accepted as the norm.

Benson and Stabler: Will They or Won’t They?

The best romances start off as friendships. Regardless of how long the relationship lasts, it is that core friendship that will hopefully ground it.

For more than twenty years, Law and Order: SVU fans have been asking one question: When will Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) get together? When the series started, Stabler was happily married to his late wife and Benson was single. Over the years, she had a number of boyfriends, but no one stuck around for very long.

When Meloni and Stabler left the show in 2011, both the fans and Benson were shocked and heartbroken. It took us a while, but we go used to the newer members of the squad. Then he came back in Law & Order: Organized Crime (2021) and the question became even more prevalent.

Over the past year or so, both Benson and Stabler have become aware of something more between them.

The trailer for the new episode (which will air on Thursday) promises to answer the question. To be truthful, I have mixed feelings. Obviously, both the actors and the characters have tremendous chemistry and know each other inside and out. The next step (if there is one) is to become more than friends.

The issue that I have a problem with is narratives in which a female is given a potential romantic partner simply because of her gender. It has no bearing on the tale. I am fully aware that the show’s creative team respects their female characters. However, I am still a little wary of this storyline.

If this kiss happens, it may be the longest-awaited kiss in television history. Regardless of what happens, I eagerly await the release of this episode.

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New episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit air on Thursday at 9PM on NBC.

Republican Fuckery Part VII: Losing GOP Candidate Shoots at Democrats, George Santos’s Continual Lies, and the Debt Ceiling

To say that the American government is in a state of chaos these days is an understatement. It is thanks to one party and one party only. While the Democrats are doing the job of the people, the other side is all about power and nothing more.

The latest fuckery is as follows:

In what only be described as the love child of Kari Lake‘s extended tantrum and January 6th, a GOP candidate who lost his election for the state house in New Mexico was accused of shooting at the homes of state and local Democrats. Beyond the obvious issue of gun control, what I find disturbing is that these people think that violence is the answer. What the voters want does not matter to them.

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Meanwhile, George Santos continues with his lies. While the questions continue to pile up, he acts as if he did nothing wrong. Adding insult to injury is the right has taken him into the fold. BTW, he was the subject of SNL‘s cold open last night. It was brilliant and Bowen Yang was hilarious. When someone is being parodied on the show, they have become a national figure.

And finally, the debt ceiling became a major headline last week. It is as follows:

The debt limit, which is set by Congress, represents the maximum amount the federal government is allowed to borrow to pay its debts. 

If the amount of government debt reaches that threshold and lawmakers fail to lift the borrowing limit, the U.S. would be unable to pay what it owes and could default. 

It goes without saying that decisions have to be made. The question is, what will be sacrificed? As usual, Kevin McCarthy is putting the country last. He would rather hold onto the gavel than prevent another recession. If I don’t pay my bills, my credit score will go down the toilet and I will eventually be evicted from my apartment. What makes the Republicans think that they can play with our financial future?

Just another day in the United States.

Sanditon Character Review: Lord Babington

The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the book and the television show Sanditon. 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 of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Love is a complicated thing. We can hope and pray that the one we love returns our affection. But that is not always the case. As painful as it is, the only choice is to walk away. But what if we can’t? In Sanditon, when Lord Babington (Mark Stanley) meets Esther Denham (Charlotte Spencer), he is immediately smitten. Esther, on the other hand, is not impressed.

Encouraged by her aunt, Lady Denham (Anne Reid), he continues his suit. But Esther keeps pushing him away. She only has eyes for her stepbrother, Sir Edward Denham (Jack Fox). A less determined man might walk away and put his hopes on another woman who is not continuously putting roadblocks in his way. But not Babington. It is Esther or no one.

Babbington finally gets his chance after Edward and Clara Brereton’s (Lily Sacofsky) plan to locate their aunt’s will is revealed. Declared to be persona non grata by Lady Denham, Esther is now her aunt’s heir. Seeing her stepbrother for what she is, Esther is able to look at Babington with new eyes. When proposes, she says yes. When we last see him, he is happily married and in the thrall of newlywed bliss.

From a modern feminist perspective, Babington could be seen as a problematic character. He does not seem to understand that Esther keeps saying no. Instead of heeding her words, he keeps coming back to her. But, from a romantic perspective, he is a man in love. A man in love will do crazy things to secure the person he wants the most.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Finding Me Book Review

No one gets through childhood without an emotional scar or two. What matters is how we respond to those scars.

Finding Me is Viola Davis‘s memoir/autobiography. To say that her childhood was far from idyllic is an understatement. The last to youngest of five children, she grew up with an alcoholic father and a mother who was forced to scrape the bottom of the economic barrel to get by. Living in Rhode Island, Davis was one of a handful of black children in the community and was bullied for her skin color.

As she got older and started on the path to becoming a successful performer, she was forced to reckon with her demons. It was only when she sat down and dealt with her past did she finally make peace with it.

In telling her story, Davis is raw, emotional, and unapologetically open. It is a tale of perseverance, strength, and the willingness to move beyond what is holding you back.

I loved it. This is not an award-winning actress talking. This is the real person underneath the Hollywood glam machine. I find her journey to be an inspiration. If Davis was able to heal her wounds, make her inner child smile, and have it all, then maybe the rest of us can.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Thoughts On The Mandalorian Season 3 Trailer

Warning: this post contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

A new season of a beloved television series always brings out feelings of excitement and questions about where the narrative will go.

The trailer for the 3rd season of The Mandalorian was released earlier this week. After breaking the #1 rule in Mandalore of removing his helmet, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) has to redeem himself. Traveling the galaxy with Grogu (otherwise known as Baby Yoda), politics mingles with meeting up with old associates and new foes.

As usual, the details are being kept close to the vest, which is perfectly fine with me. I would rather wait to know what happens rather than be spoiled.

Am I looking forward to it? Absolutely?

Season 3 of The Mandalorian premieres on DisneyPlus on 3/1/23.

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Throwback Thursday: Dr. Pimple Popper (2018 to Present)

We all know, that in spite of ourselves, we still judge a person based on outward appearances. The question is, what do we do when our looks do not match what is expected or normal?

Dr. Pimple Popper has been on TLC since 2018. In this reality show, Dr. Sandra Lee helps patients with extreme skin conditions. Once the procedure is done, the hope is that they will be free of the anxiety that kept them from living a full life.

I have mixed feelings about this show. It has a carnival-esque quality to it, almost a way of using the “freaks” as a form of entertainment. Which is exactly what reality television is. But at the same time, these people want to live a normal life and are willing to expose themselves to millions of viewers to do so.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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