Subscribe to my TinyLetter for weekly updates on what I’m writing each week. Blog posts, articles, TV recaps, and links to my adventures in podcasting.
I’ll try to be better at blogging here too.
Subscribe to my TinyLetter for weekly updates on what I’m writing each week. Blog posts, articles, TV recaps, and links to my adventures in podcasting.
I’ll try to be better at blogging here too.
My latest Jane the Virgin review is up!
How is every single episode of Jane the Virgin a delight to watch, but also heartwrenchingly emotional? This week was no exception. As usual, it ran me through the gamut of emotions, from joy that Jane got into grad school, anger over everything related to Petra, relief that Rafael is telling the truth, confusion over being Team Rafael when Michael is also so wonderful, and the buckets of tears produced at Mateo’s baptism. Let’s swim through this sea of emotions together!
Click through for excellent section titles such as
The Emmys are this week! With that comes the speculation, the anticipation, and the inevitable consolation when your pick loses in their category (I expect to need lots of consolation). But I don’t want to talk about the nominees, I want to talk about Emmy herself.
Only recently have I ever wondered about the process of how awards are made. You’ve probably never seen an Emmy ® or an Oscar up close and in person (if you have, who are you and how did you find this tiny blog?), so it’s easy to dismiss where they come from. But they’re made somewhere, right? They don’t just appear from the sky into the winners hands, someone places an order, a company sculpts them, they’re shipped out to the award ceremony location, and stamped with the winners. So I decided to do a little research into how the award statuettes are made (and other random facts).
According to the Emmy website, he Emmy ® statuette was designed by television engineer Louis McManus, who used his wife as the model. There’s gotta be something to the Oscar being a guy and the Emmy being a woman… There is the simple fact that Oscar was already a guy, so why not make the second biggest award in the industry a woman (and clearly a woman admired by the designer)? However there are some subtle correlations between the lauded importance of film (especially back in the day) and the second-class treatment of television (until the recent Golden Age where movie stars want to do TV and not because their careers are in the crapper). But this isn’t the point of this post.
Concerning the look of the statuette: “The wings represent the muse of art; the atom the electron of science.” It’s really easy to forget that television (and film as well) were scientific endeavors when they first began. We take the mechanisms behind it for granted, but television’s debut at the 1939 World’s Fair was basically someone presenting their giant science project. The Emmy represents both the art of the acting/directing/writing, but the science of cinematography and sound and color awarded in the (two) ceremonies today. (Those Creative Arts Emmys seem to often represent the more science-y side, despite its name. Those awards are given out the week before and aren’t widely televised like the regular award ceremony.)
Harry Lubcke, a pioneer television engineer and the third Academy president, suggested “Immy,” a term commonly used for the early image orthicon camera (there goes the science part again). The name stuck and was later modified to Emmy, which members thought was more appropriate for a female symbol. (x)
Each year, the R.S. Owens company in Chicago (who also make the Oscar, seen below) is charged with manufacturing over 400 statuettes ordered for the Primetime Emmys, which are awarded at the Creative Arts ceremony and Primetime Emmy telecast. As we get more and more television and the Emmys make adjustments to categories (like splitting up the miniseries category), I’m sure this will mean more Emmys to produce. R.S. Owens has been manufacturing the Oscar and Emmy Award trophies since 1983, after taking over from C.W. Shumway & Sons. In addition, between two hundred fifty and three hundred statuettes are ordered annually for the Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards, honoring excellence in local broadcasting. I think other local awards are produced elsewhere.
Here is a photo of Emmys in various stages of completion:
The possibility of multiple winners is why the number of statuettes ordered varies each year. And don’t multiple writers on a show that wins best writing in a series get Emmys? (Otherwise, when the show is over, who keeps the Emmy? Writing duos wouldn’t just pass one back and forth every six months.) That would change how many people get a physical trophy as well, since some shows’ numbers differ. Surplus awards are saved for the following year’s ceremony.
Other Emmys Facts
ALSO KNOWN AS THAT TIME GRANT GUSTIN READ OUR MVPS.
First, he simply replied “thank you” to our MVP post on Twitter.
THEN, THE NEXT DAY, he quote tweeted it. As in more than 12 hours later. As in he kept it open, read it, and then decided to SHARE IT AGAIN. We’re all
freaking out totally calm. NBD. The ladies over on Just About Write are all lovely and we’re totally fine. Calm. Maxin’ and chillaxin’ all cool. WE’RE TOTALLY FREAKING OUT. What a wonderful Monday. Grant Gustin is a kind hearted, excellently read (;-)) , real life superhero.
done flailing. Here’s my bit on Grant/Nora below. Click through for more on Grant/Joe and Grant/Henry.
Connie’s MVP: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen (The Flash)
Why he’s the MVP: I’m gonna get personal for a second. My mother died when I was a baby. Too young, really, for me to even remember her. I’ve lived a perfectly lovely life with my grandmother and the other family members who made sure that I was loved and taken care of. But there’s always something in you that wonders what your life would be like if your parent was still around. Even if you think your life would be drastically different, there is always that what-if. Barry spends the episode grappling with the decision to make his what-if a reality.And while we all considered it ridiculous that he’d want to change things because we, as pop culture enthusiasts, know how time travel works (and how it goes wrong), we’re still devastated when Future Barry tells Our Barry not to help Nora and he watches her final moments. Grant handles this moment with all the care it deserves—not that there was little doubt. Everything about his moment in the past is precious. From his realization that he really did it and the moment of hesitation when his future self told him not to interfere to the way he hid in his room as Reverse Flash stabbed Nora in the heart and the moment he realizes this is his chance to say goodbye.
Grant floors me with his performance as he sits by Nora. He’s barely holding it together and he tries so hard to just be The Flash, but he’s never really been good at that. The Flash has always been Barry (compared to how, for the most part, The Arrow is not Oliver Queen). He takes off his hood and she knows before he even says anything: “You look just like my father.” The freedom he feels in this moment, even in his despair, is so apparent. He’s never been very secretive about his supposed secret identity, but to be able to tell his mother… that’s something he’s probably always wished she could know. That he was a something special.
“I got a second chance to come back here and… tell you that I’m okay.”
There’s this little thing Grant does, as Nora says goodbye, where he hardens his face, like he’s confidently letting her go. Then she exhales and he loses it once again, mourning both her life and the alternate timeline he doesn’t get to create. I love how The Flash showcases the emotional depth of superheroes without it being perceived as hokey (compare to the memes of Tobey Maguire crying as Spider-Man). That’s all Grant Gustin. I dare you to watch that scene without at least a prickle of a tear in your eye or some serious tugging at your heartstrings.
Read the rest here: Series – This Week’s TV MVPs: Week 14 ~ Just About Write. It’s Grant Gustin approved.
While I’ve been a bit behind, here are the recaps for the Castle season 7 finale and the last two episodes of Arrow Season 3!
Castle ends an imbalanced season with a decent episode that could have served as the series finale had the stars not signed their contracts and the network had decided to cancel the series.
This episode is a bit of a mess and introduces a ridiculous plot twist that doesn’t serve the rest of the story.
The Arrow season 3 finale finally gets us out of the Ra’s al Ghul arc that has been killing the shows cred with fans. Now that we’re moving on, hopefully season 4 will be better. That said, this episode splinters our main characters that could lead to interesting places come season 4. I’m also proud of an Aladdin joke and a Captain Planet joke that you should click-through to enjoy in its full glory.
The week before last was my birthday (ahh!) and I was working the final week of my time at the Tribeca Film Festival, so I had to spend last week catching up on writing recaps. I managed to do 3/4 (this week’s iZombie is coming soon-ish) and so here they are! Over hiatus, I’ll be working on having more original content for the blog, some binge watch TV thoughts (maybe some Daredevil), hopefully more consistent ConStar Clicks, and more adventures in speccing. Until then, recap city it is!
iZombie is slowing coming into it’s own. Liv eats her grossest brain yet and the show taps into a good murder weapon but a bit of a convoluted plot. But the characters are still great with strong, quippy dialogue. I love Ravi.
Arrow suffers growing pains in it’s most recent two episodes. Thea’s resurrection episode left me conflicted, concerned with the plotting of the episode, but accepting what the writers intended for the story, even if I didn’t buy the execution. However…
Oliver’s first “evil” League of Assassins episode, while strong with potential and great character interactions, swerved into uncharted territory that leaves a sour taste in my mouth as we ramp towards the finale. But I think this is my favorite recap because I reference smart hoity-toity literary works, the Bible, and Aladdin.
Welcome to this week’s (slightly delayed) clicks! Let me know which articles you’ve been reading. And if you have any suggestions for links to share, leave a comment or shoot me a tweet! Let’s jump right in!
♥ This Huffington Post article goes through a few major landmarks in black television. From Amos and Andy‘s outrageous stereotypes to the present day where a black woman is a president on TV (for however long State of Affairs manages to sustain itself). That in and of itself is cool for those who didn’t know about these shows and their legacies, but this quote really stood out to me:
Such a torrid romance [re: Scandal’s Fitz/Olivia] marks a head-spinning change from 1968, when, during the taping of a duet for her NBC special, British pop singer Petula Clark clasped the arm of Harry Belafonte, the beloved calypso star and social activist. It was a gesture that spurred the sponsor, Chrysler, to demand this instance of “interracial touching” be edited out.
The emphasis is mine, because wow! I know that there were such strict rules on television back then (I mean, Lucy couldn’t even say she was pregnant with a baby she got by sleeping in the bed next to her husbands!), but for the sponsor to want an arm touch edited out…! Seems so silly. “Interracial touching.” Tch!
In a few cases, in the weeks following the incident, as at CBS, there were directives from on high to writers, producers, directors, and studio programing heads instructing them “to intensify immediately the portrayal and use and actual number of Negroes in entertainment programs.” [x]
Uhm, can we get CBS to have a similar “intensification?”
♥ I shared a piece by this author, Eric Haywood, last week about banning the word “aspiring” from your vocabulary as a writer. This time, I’ve found another bit of searing Haywood advice: “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.” The article is about having work ready to show someone always, at a moment’s notice. I am still working on having one thing finished, much less a constant flow of work-in-progresses, but it’s still important advice that I need to let marinate. Because as a writer, I should never be done writing. There are times when I am “finished” and something is ready to go off into the world (again, still working on that part), but then I should already be on the next thing. As it is, I do have a backlog of ideas for certain things, they’re just, unfortunately, not all TV shows, aka the medium I want to work in. “But that means you should already have a current piece of submission-ready material available at a moment’s notice.” As a chronic procrastinator who often needs deadlines to work, I need to work on “staying ready” more than “I can do it later if you tell me when it’s due.” Writer!Connie still has a lot of work to do.
Also this was great advice for all of us writers, no matter the field:
“In the age of smartphones and cloud computing, there is absolutely no reason for you to ever leave home without a PDF of your latest writing sample just a few thumb-clicks away. Not ever. Period. Let me repeat that being prepared is no automatic guarantee of success.”
♥ I was going to share this article on the end of TV shows we love, and I technically still am, but once I read this line, I immediately disliked it: “It can be argued that a show like Friends never jumped the shark, but I would argue that happened some time between when Ross and Rachel first broke up to when Monica and Chandler got together.” NOPE. The Monica/Chandler arc was the best thing to happen to Friends. You can’t jump the shark then UN-jump it, unless this author just thinks that everything that happened after season 2 was awful? Which is utterly ridiculous. Aside from overuse of the phrase “jumping the shark,” I do agree that shows end for a reason and sometimes it is before we want them to, but that’s just so they don’t end after we hate them. Ugh, that Friends blasphemy just riled me up! (Blasphemy, another word I think I should probably stop overusing…)
♥ This article, “What is a Universal Story Anyway,” is fantastic with regard to discussing what “universal” means and how it silences so many stories. I’ve plucked out some great quotes. Please check out the entire piece because I never thought about the term “universal” in such a way. My favorite quote, “It’s not our job to cater to the lowest common denominator. It’s our job to raise,” (from The West Wing) definitely fits in with the jist of this piece.
“It’s hard to tell your own story to a broad audience, when you have been deemed “other” from birth.”
“[T]his new shift offers a glimpse into what media might look like if it had always been this way, if “universal” were defined in someone else’s favor.”
“The definition of “universal” is owned by those whose stories have already been told—and told with complexity. Writers who lie outside of this boundary are pressured to adopt the same stories, the same language, used and approved by others. Readers who have never seen themselves reflected back are expected to continue not existing. Using “universal” to enforce only makes our stories narrower, but using it as an opportunity to explore the lives of others, so unlike our own, takes back the term and gives it the meaning it’s meant to have.”
♥ As January passes us by, February into spring means the peak of pilot season! Shows are being picked up for pilots, names are being attached to projects, and soon enough, production will begin on the slate of offerings for the 2015-2016 season (already!?!). Between the midseason premieres, summer limited series, and the onslaught of Netflix/Hulu/Amazon shows we’re expecting, this is a list of a few nerd-friendly TV shows that are coming this year so far.
What are you looking forward to watching?
I wasn’t going to do one of these posts — I’m bad at putting retrospectives into words, writing about feelings, forgetting to include something, and all of that — but other blogs I follow are and I should probably acknowledge that 2014 was certainly better than 2013 in many ways (despite my feelings about how the end of this year is going). So here’s a super last minute look back at 2014.
In January of this year, I started interning at the Gotham Writers Workshop. I took TV writing and Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writing classes, a one day workshop on Children’s Book Writing, and surrounded myself with writers as a way to constantly inspire myself to write. It’s somewhat worked, lol, but the lack of discipline is still there. To more writing in 2015! Also early in the year, my work with TVOvermind gave me the opportunity to interview Penny Johnson Jerald, Seamus Dever, and Juliana Dever of the show Castle. I was, of course, very nervous, but I had a lot of fun breaking out of my comfort zone.
Around spring, I got to go to a dear friends wedding, got hired by a temp agency into my current long-term assignment, and got approved for my NYCC Press Pass for Black Girl Nerds! In September, I went to the Paley Fest Previews and got to watch 10 fall pilots before they aired. It was a great way to bring new content to this blog and I got to recommend (or warn away from) new shows for my friends and whoever reads this blog. It was a good year for lots of diverse faces on television. Let’s hope this year’s successes bring even more stories from people of color to both the small and bog screens.
Comic-Con was in October, which was amazing. The week before, I’d gone to the Black Girl Nerds NYC Live Podcast event, where I met a few other black girl nerds like myself. We had a great time and I made some new friends. This helped the following week, during NYCC, when I got to hang out with at least one of them while online for a panel. I saw some panels, bought some art from black artists, and took lots of cosplay photos. My live reporting skills have some ways to go, but I am ready for more learning experiences like that one.
Stemming from one of my purchases at Comic-Con, I was asked by Jamie of BGN to co-host a podcast with her and graphic novel author Eric Dean Seaton, because I’d bought his book trilogy at NYCC, I was nervous for my first podcast, but I also really enjoyed getting to do something new like that. I’d never thought about podcasting before and hadn’t listened to too many, but it was a great opportunity that I am glad I did. It’s already leading to more opportunities — be on the look out for at least two additional podcasts co-hosted by me in January!
Also in November, Keith from The Nerds of Color emailed me and asked me to join their website. I was ecstatic! Someone cold-called me and read my stuff and wanted me to write for them! It felt really good and the people over at The Nerds of Color and cool and nerdy and a lot of us are on the same wavelength. It also gave me a place to get out all of my Arrow and The Flash feels — outside of the comment section of fellow my fellow blogger over at Just About Write. I wrote a lot of Flash and Arrow stuff and even participated in a video podcast after the Flash/Arrow crossover.
In the fall, I also rebranded my blog. Formerly titled ConStar Studies TV, I decided I wanted to sound more active about what I want to do on this blog — and that’s write. I want to write for and about TV, so I changed the name and bought a URL: constarwrites.tv. I paid extra for the .tv but I kind of love it. I hope to do more writing in 2015. Smarter (more efficiently written) episode reviews, I gotta work on those pilot ideas I have, I need a new show to spec (my Parks spec is unfinished and no longer useable, Scandal’s pace is too fast for me right now, every time I get a good idea, it’s done in some alternative fashion on the show. =/). But I’m feeling good about 2015 writing wise. I think it will be a good year for learning and growing and getting better at this writing thing. Feeling less self-conscious, doing new things, experimenting, finishing something?, sending something out?, it’s a whole new world of possibility for growth and change and discovery. I’m excited for 2015.
To complete my look back at 2014, here are some of my favorite posts on this blog this year:
If you have ideas on how to make this blog better, want to
yell at me gently inspire me to write more, or just want to chat TV or diversity, tweet me!
Happy new year!
I now write Flash and Arrow recaps for thenerdsofcolor.org. I’ll repost bits here, then link to the full thing, like I do with my Castle posts! Yay!
Arrow just keeps knowing it out of the park this season! This is the second Oliver-light episode of the season and it hits just as strong as a typical Ollie-centric episode does. Everyone’s been waiting for more information on everyone’s favorite (and I mean everyone) IT girl and we got loads of it tonight. From the appearance of Mama Smoak to Goth Felicity in the flashbacks (and a tease into her imagination — Dominique Ansel apparently didn’t think of cronuts first), we learned more about Felicity in this episode of Arrow than we have in the past three seasons.
How cute is Diggle with the baby Sara Diglette? How petty was Oliver for dipping on Thea and leaving her door swinging open? How awesome was Oliver’s smooth save of that women from the car accident?
More thoughts and recappage here: NOC Recaps Arrow: The Five Year Hacktivist Reunion | thenerdsofcolor.
When you’re done with the recap, check out Just About Write’s Felicity-centric take on the episode, because we have a lot of fun talking about the characters in the comments: Arrow 3×05 “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak” (You Are A Light In The Darkness)
When Jane was 15, she had the perfect quinceanera, until her mother danced to Milkshake and embarrassed her in front of her “superfly” date. But Jane is determined to not let things affect her plan, and this baby won’t either. I’m sorry, I meant “milkshake.”
Jane doesn’t initially want to file a lawsuit, but by the end she accepts that things are really going to change in her life and that she should charge back at the things she can control. Jane didn’t think to look up Rafael and Petra before committing to her decision, so she Googles Raf and learns about his party boy past. She can see that he’s changed now, but as I said in my last review, he’s going to continue to deal with the consequences of his former lifestyle. But he and Jane begin to spark their chemistry, unknowingly in front of the watching eyes of Detective fiancé Michael. She and Raf share a moment in the OB-GYN examination room as well as at the hotel, being open and honest with each other in ways that their actual significant others don’t seem to get. Continue reading
Now that the Fall 2014 TV season is approaching, I’m looking to do more with my blog and my tv writing career in general. I decided one way to foster that was to change the domain name here, so Constarstudiestv.wordpress.com is now ConStarWrites.TV!
I’m excited for the domain change because it describes both aspects of what I want this blog–and my life–to be: writing for and writing about television. I hope to continue to post links to articles and write episode reviews and discuss issues of diversity both in front of and behind the camera–and who knows what else! I’m keeping my mind open for ways to expand my online writing presence.
So enjoy the quicker URL and come chat with me about TV. Either leave a comment here, or say hi over on Twitter.