give Mike Newton a chance one time

Love Triangles: When the Best Choice is None

by sarahenni on December 23, 2011

A few weeks ago the hilarious and whip-smart Erin and I were having a (lengthy, very entertaining) email exchange on the subject of love triangles in fiction. Her insights were so spot-on, I wanted to fist bump my computer screen. But instead of threatening the integrity of my technology, I asked Erin to summarize her points in a guest post, which I’m so excited to share with you today!

Note: This post contains like, mega-spoilers. Be warned.

So you’re reading a book/watching a TV show/Netflixing a movie. There is a love triangle, and you’re eating up every second. Who will she choose? you think each time you flip a page, as though the answer tantalizes you just from the end of the next paragraph. The feeling is total intoxication – it brings you back to every unrequited crush you’ve ever had, revives the often-lost feeling of being pursued, makes every loaded exchange feel worthy of a good, old-fashioned Victorian swoon.

And then, the character chooses… unwisely.

Thus commences a series of actions: kicking all the sheets off the bed, yelling expletives at the book/TV, and silently fuming into the early morning hours. You feel betrayed. You feel as though YOU just let The One slip through your fingers. You have, at this point, only a tenuous grasp on the difference between your life and fiction.

This is you. You, the Gale-shipper. You, in your Team Jacob jersey. You, who also thought the name ‘Blaine’ sounded like a major appliance. You, who threw your cosmopolitan at the movie screen when Carrie married Big anyway.

So I’m here to make a bold statement:

Maybe more of our female protagonists should end up *gasp!* alone.

The main pitfall for women in storytelling is that she chooses the ONE grand gesture over the HUNDREDS of consistent little gestures of the better man. (*LOUD THROAT CLEAR* Carrie, I’m looking at YOU. And Aidan. And wishing you’d made it work.) She thinks with her heart and not her head. She is, simply, impetuous and foolish, making irrational decisions on the fly and letting herself be swept away in romantic gestures that don’t signal themselves for longevity. The female protagonist claims to want consistency but then makes decisions inconsistent with that. Of course, even I, the Grande Dame of Insensitivity, don’t read these moments like that – I swoon momentarily like everyone else. But I think some characters are written to be better than that. (See also: Season 3 of The Office, wherein Pam calls off her wedding and doesn’t end up with Jim or Roy. Commendable, Office scribes!) Plus, wouldn’t it have been nice to see if Bella could’ve taken just a few steps on her own instead of fumbling into the arms of either Jacob or Edward? (Sidenote: Speaking of solid guy characters, are any of us completely clear as to why Bella never gave poor Mike Newton a fighting chance?! Jussayin’…)

 

Some characters I wouldn’t have minded to see hit the singles’ scene:

Katniss Everdeen

She is an alpha female (read: the anti-Bella Swan) (read: She’s a total BAMF), and who – let’s be honest here – didn’t really need a man. She kills instead of being killed; she can provide sustenance by her own hand for herself and those she loves. And by the end of Mockingjay, both Gale and Peeta are so thoroughly unlikable that it would’ve been entirely understandable if Katniss would’ve chartered a hot-air balloon with the words ‘THANKS, BUT NO THANKS’ spray-painted in block letters on the side and peaced out to District 12. Dare I say, it would have even made sense. We as readers wanted a resolution, but she is a strong enough character to warrant a satisfying lone-wolf ending.

Hell, I might’ve even saluted such a conclusion.

Carrie Bradshaw

To me, Carrie should’ve been the poster child for ending up with none of them: not Big, not Aidan, not Petrovsky. Particularly after that Downtown-Macy’s-window-at-Christmas display of douchebaggery in the movie when Big left her at the altar. The framework for her being in that echelon of liberated woman was in place: She was self-sustaining, successful, and with a great support system of friends. She could’ve flipped Paris the bird, hijacked a 747, and completed a solo flight right into LaGuardia International, and we wouldn’t have pitied her a bit. The men in her life were not as powerful as the relationship she had with herself. (Cue after-school special music.)

I don’t find this a pitfall of the way some female protags are written and portrayed – in fact, I find their strength laudable, until those last, and sometimes unfortunate, seconds before they go down an inadvisable path to romance. So what say you? Can you think of other romantic scenarios where the protagonist should have just walked away? Do you find a character’s choice of a flawed individual some kind of weakness? Discuss!

 

Erin Ladd is a writer and editor living in the Bay Area. She managed to write this whole blog post without thinking of the name ‘Renesmee’ even once. She thinks that Theodore Roosevelt just might have been America’s finest president, and that Peeta can frost her cupcake anytime.

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Looking Forward to Breaking Dawn

by sarahenni on November 18, 2011

Today is the day, my friends. Breaking Dawn, the penultimate chapter of Le Saga Vampîre, is upon us. Twi-hards rejoice, casual fans giggle, and haters, well.

By now we are all familiar with the story, but it has yet to be seen how Summit and Bill Condon will handle the WTF-ery that is the plot of Breaking Dawn. Throwing an extra curveball into the whole formula is the fact that the book is being broken into two parts. Which cliffhanger will they go with to end BD1? The birth, the imprinting, the vampire transformation? And, tantalizingly, what is the extra scene Peter Faccinelli is talking about??

I was talking with Bestie Danielle, who will be accompanying me to see this glorious landmark of 21st century film, and we decided to outline the things that we are eagerly awaiting/desperately afraid of from Breaking Dawn.

The Wedding

 Me:  so apparently the wedding is ONE FULL HOUR.

Danielle:  SNOOZE

Lycanthrope, please. My own (REAL LIFE) wedding lasted like 20 minutes. At my wedding everyone was waiting for the open bar. At this wedding, I think you know what we’re all waiting for, and it isn’t a glimpse of that fugly ring.

Sparkle motion, people.

That, and perhaps an explanation of how someone whose abs were so gratuitously airbrushed just a year ago can have such a legitimately muscular back? Is this a STUNT DOUBLE? Or did Kellan Lutz actually mean it when he said he’d get RPatz off the couch for this one?

Speaking of people working out. I’ve also heard that Jacob’s washboard abs get flashed within the first five minutes, which is a good idea considering how long we’re going to have to suffer through these interminable nuptials. That leads us into the other thing that Danielle and I spent a good amount of time discussing…

That Whole ‘Imprinting’ Thing

I’m going to quote Danielle directly from our gchat conversation, because I was falling all over my desk laughing so hard.

Hold on to your bonnets ladies, and get ready to swoon! And by “ladies” I mean “babies.” And by “bonnets” well, I really do mean bonnets. We all know that Jacob has a type, and we think they heart him right back. But you know. It’s hard to know for sure. Since his type is babies.

The thing I’m looking forward to the most, friends? Can I be honest? Is the moment—the exact screen shot—when Taylor Lautner (God love him) has to give a hard stare right into the camera and convince us, the audience…

That he is falling madly in love with A BABY.

That .gif, my friends? Once the internet provides it to me? That .gif might as well be in my email signature block. I am going to have it as a moving background on my phone. It’s going to be EVERYWHERE.

Because seriously, WHAT? How can you ask anyone to do that? To make that convincing? Can you imagine what was going through that poor boy’s head while shooting that scene? “What’s my motivation? THE BABY?”

The Answer to the Question: What DID Edward Google??

Just saw preview for Breaking Dawn that featured Edward, like, Googling "Vampire Fetuses." I WILL NEVER SURVIVE THIS MOVIE. #BreakingRachel
@LadyHawkins
LadyHawkins

Like, Jacob is all, "VAMPIRE BB WTF??" and Edward goes, "I've been researching legends." Cut to him on his computer. Me: *is dead of laughs*
@LadyHawkins
LadyHawkins

The hilarious Rachel Hawkins was the first to note this ridiculousness, and it spawned the crazy funny (and not entirely SFW) hashtag #WhatEdwardGoogled. I mean, Bella did use Google to discover what Edward was in the first movie, so maybe they’re going for consistency?

But I know that when I see this happen on the big screen, I’m going to be drowning my chuckles in spiked Dr Pepper because that one made the drinking game like, instantly.

The Obligatory Shot of Charlie Drinking Rainier

 Me:  You know what I’m looking forward to?
 Danielle:  Rainier beer?

Guys, this is seriously one of my favorite things about the entire movie series. And Charlie doesn’t joke around with Rainier, either. He’ll take it in a can, and he wants a tall boy.

What about you?? What are you looking forward to? What are you dreading like a Cullen dreads Volturi? When are you going to see it??

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Eclipse

by sarahenni on November 15, 2011

We’re here, people. Breaking Dawn Part I, a film of gratuitous vamp-boning, sparkling, and supernatural procreation, IS ALMOST HERE. I have my ticket and Jacob can’t even keep his shirt on he’s so excited.

So in the build-up to the WEDDING OF THE CENTURY OMG I thought I’d repost my thoughts (edited by current me) on the most recent in Le Saga Vampîre*, ECLIPSE.

So! I went to go see Eclipse yesterday with pretty high hopes, especially based on Myra McEntire’s enthusiastic vlog review. But I’m not so sure the movie lived up to it for me (sad face). I went to see it in downtown D.C. and the audience was made up of exclusively other adult women that had come straight from work. I totally loved that, but it did mean that there were bouts of giggles during scenes where the intent was for us to swoon.

(I’m seeing Breaking Dawn at a theater that’s within half a mile of a 1,700-student high school, so the experience should be more “authentic.” And awesome.)

First, the Cons.

Chemistry. Say what you will about the original film or New Moon, but I thought both of those movies did a great job showcasing chemistry between Kristin Stewart and her dudes. This movie kind of took it for granted and moved right into the action. (And the opening meadow scene didn’t count as building chemistry, did it? Because it was strange, right? … No? Just me?)

Here is my list of people in the film that had more compelling chemistry than KStew + RPatz, or KStew + Taylor Lautner (do we not have an annoying but awesome nickname for him yet? Tautner? TLaut?):

  1. Kristin Stewart and Billy Bud as Charlie.
  2. Jessica and Mike. Seriously.
  3. Emily and Bella.
  4. Jacob and Seth Clearwater (OMG who was that kid he was ADORABLE)
  5. Edward and Jacob, in the tent. *fanfic explosion*

Wardrobe. Okay, this makes me a weird nerd. But I thought Tish Monaghan did a stellar job in New Moon. Edward’s suit was divine, Jacob wasn’t wearing anything, and I even loved the funky wool mittens Bella had. In this movie, the wardrobe made people seriously disappear.

Sorry, what was that? I was busy staring into the middle distance.

How could someone do that to R Patz? While I was watching this scene, I could seriously only think, “please take off that ill-fitting v-neck sweater immediately.” (And not just because I am always thinking about R Patz taking off his shirt. I swear.)

"I just can't get enough of you in plaid."

The Bella and Edward “will they or won’t they” scene might have been hot, but the professional adult women in my theater audience were giggling like fifth graders throughout (myself included). Again, suspending judgment until I see the movie a second time.

The Flashbacks. Did we need them all? I submit, no. No we did not.

Also, I really missed Rachelle Lefevre. Bryce Dallas Howard wasn’t bad, but Rachel gave Victoria this badass attitude, even when she didn’t speak a word. She made Victoria compelling somehow, in a way that I thought was missing in ECLIPSE. It bums me out that she was deprived of the movie where Victoria actually, you know, does stuff.

Pros!

  • Bella punching Jacob’s face and breaking (or spraining) her hand. Perfection.
  • Jacob and Bella’s second kiss.
  • Dakota Fanning. Always, always, even with her unfortunate unmatching eyebrows.
  • Billy Bud, always. (And he was drinking Rainier again, YES. SCORE FOR THE NORTHWEST.)
  • The script nods to the audience. (Jacob to Edward: “I’m hotter than you.” Edward: “It isn’t all about me?”)

Myra was right– Alice’s overall appearance was much improved. And I liked getting to hear/see Jasper more, but good Lord almighty, I can’t tell if he is a poor actor of they are just trying REALLY HARD to make him be awkward all the time. He is even FROM THE SOUTH, but with this and True Blood it’s becoming clear that southern accents and vampires don’t mix very well.

The fight scene was pretty spectacular. And Victoria’s killing? AMAZING.

Also, all the “third wife” stuff was way better in the movie than in the book.

WHAT ELSE, guys? Any other impressions from watching the movie more than once? And what are you eagerly anticipating in BREAKING DAWN?!

*Okay, I embellished a bit. There's no circumflex over the i in the French word for vampire, (which is just plain 'ol vampire). Just tryin' to fancy the 'ol blog up a bit!

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