A Media Representation Review of 2015

Remember when I used to use this thing?

Here’s a review of some stuff that happened onscreen and on the page this year. A lot of it’s good. Some of it is not. Of the stuff I talked about last year, I’m only going to mention things again if my opinion has shifted.

When I started making this list I was convinced I watched, like, two new things this year. I was WRONG. This list is long, so I’m gonna try to keep it short even though I’m the most long-winded person on the planet.

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Other Space: Five humans, an alien, an AI, a robot, and an evil coffee maker.

NEW:

Couple-ish: This webseries, starring some of Carmilla’s cast, is about Dee, who’s nonbinary, and who has to fake-date their roommate so she doesn’t get deported. 3/4 main cast are queer, one is a POC, and one is nonbinary (and acted and written by someone nonbinary). Enjoyable so far.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: I’m sure you’ve heard more than enough about Star Wars already, but I love it and it’s so much fun and the characters are wonderful and wonderfully diverse. The second time I saw it, I narrowly avoided bursting into tears about Rey at the very end of the movie. Hopefully they’ll truly bring the franchise into the present by establishing actual queer characters in the next installment.

Hamilton: You’ve probably heard enough about Hamilton already too, but if you haven’t, look into it, dude. Angelica Schuyler and Eliza Hamilton are AMAZING characters. Do it for them.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: You’ve probably heard the theme song – this is the one about the redhead who gets rescued from a cult in a bunker. I watched it on a whim. Titus Andromedon, a black gay character, is incredible, but I didn’t have a TON of patience for the rest of the show. You may have heard that Tina Fey was recently awful in how she handled people rightfully calling a major plotline of the show racist. I don’t know if I’ll watch more of it.

Master of None: I mean, don’t believe people when they say that Aziz Ansari’s Netflix comedy is perfect because it still makes some pretty terrible jokes? In particular, I remember some fatphobia and jokes about mental illness. There’s some really good commentary in there though and some really touching, well-acclaimed stuff about immigrant parents and old people. Also, my favorite character is Denise, a black lesbian. I will probably watch more.

Other Space: I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH but it’s probably not coming back. This is a super low-budget scifi show produced on Yahoo’s television streaming service that you’ve probably never heard of. It’s very tropey, and it’s set in a world where everyone’s queer,  but in an understated way. There’s only eight episodes that focus on two siblings who fight for the captaincy of their small ship as they try to figure out how to get back home after they slip through a wormhole or something. If you love me you’ll watch the trailer at least.

Scream: I mean, this show, based on the movie, is pretty terrible, but also fun. One of the main characters, Audrey, is a grungy, sarcastic queer girl who I keep thinking might make out with either the sweet-but-tough final girl or the not-so-icy rich snob, but I’m probably hoping for too much. She’s still a great character. They only killed off one of the three terrible straight white boys this season, but we can hope they kill off more next time. I lean more towards recommending than not for this one.

Teen Beach 2: Great for the first hour or so, terrible for the last half an hour. The writers are not aware that the two main girls are in love. But they are. Just pretend the movie ends with them making out, and this one would be better than the first one, which I love unironically.

Agent Carter: Awesome women. Too white. Probably queerbaiting us. We’ll see. I’m excited for the next season. Hayley Atwell is wonderful.

Jupiter Ascending: Do you love yourself? Do you want to have a fun two hours? Watch this terrible, terribly enjoyable movie.

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Marcie even got a new intro. I love when shows change the intro for special episodes.

ONGOING:

Faking It: I used to recap this show, but now I don’t, because it was exhausting and stressful, but I do still watch it. They’re doing a good job with writing one character as intersex, but the rest of the show is still a mess. They recently put out a casting call for main and background trans actors, which is good except for the part where I don’t trust the writers with trans characters.

How to Get Away with Murder: Annelise is bisexual now!

Pretty Little Liars: You might have heard about how A was revealed to be a trans woman. There are lots of perspectives on this and I’m not gonna go into it right now. I’m tired and the show hasn’t been very good in the last few seasons but I am still here.

Adventure Time: UH. Stakes, the Marceline-focused miniseries, was INCREDIBLE. I recently rewatched/caught up with this show, and the last couple of seasons have not been great, but Stakes was so, so, so good and made me excited about the show again. The show still hasn’t actually made Marceline/Bubblegum canon, and I feel like they keep changing their minds about the specifics of the relationship, but looking at what else the network is doing right now, I think it could eventually truly happen.

Gravity Falls: Uh, listen, I just can’t let go of an opportunity to cry about how I’m going to miss this show so much. Bye.

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Listen. Steven Universe is perfect.

NEW TO ME:

Orange is the New Black: This show is really complicated. There’s a ton of good and a ton of bad. For the first two seasons, I’d say, you know, just watch it. You can dig through the bad stuff because the characters are worth it. Lots of women of color, queer women, and obviously Laverne Cox being wonderful. But season three was Not Good. All of its problems got worse. I barely got through it and I’m only going to watch season four because of the potential of Soso and Poussey getting together.

Steven Universe: Basically the love of my life. This cartoon is so genuine and good-hearted, and it’s revolutionary in its representation of queer women written for kids. There’s even briefly a nonbinary character. I could talk about this show for a million years.

Empire: This show is basically a soap opera about the family that runs the hip-hop industry. One of the sons is gay and one is bipolar, and there are certainly problems in how those things are handled, but the show does something pretty rare in exploring how being black complicates those other identities.

Check, Please!: A very sweet webcomic that handles heavy issues like mental illness and queerness. The main character is a baker and ex-figure skater who joins the college hockey team for scholarship purposes and also maybe he’s very gay for the stoic captain of the team.

The Way He Looks: This is a full-length movie version of a short Brazilian film that got very popular a couple of years ago. It’s the very sweet coming-of-age of a blind gay teenage boy and his friends.

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Practical Magic: Just ladies hanging out having a good time.

CLASSICS:

Charlie’s Angels: Last year I said I wanted to rewatch these and I finally did two nights ago. Uh. They’re very racist. Like. VERY racist.

Harry Potter: I reread and rewatched all of them this summer. Have I ever mentioned how much of an outrage it is that Remus Lupin isn’t textually queer? Or that ANYONE EVER isn’t textually queer? In other news, I’m glad Hermione is being played by a black woman in the play, but JKR gets no credit for it. She needs to stop talking.

Gilmore Girls: Wow. This show is so very homophobic and ableist! And white!

Holly Black’s Tithe series: I adored this series when I was in middle school and I reread it every couple of years. I think it was the first work of media for young people I consumed that included queer characters – major queer characters represented positively. And I think it was the first one I consumed on my own, rather than seeing it in passing. Now, I know that this series is pretty much the ideal for me – urban YA fantasy with major queer characters. It’s not the best-written series, if we’re being honest. I’d love suggestions for similar books, though.

Practical Magic and The Craft and Charmed:  Oh my god. I don’t know why I got into witch stuff this year? I watched The Craft first and was super disappointed when they fought each other instead of, you know, maintaining the girl power sisterhood thing. And so Practical Magic, which I watched two days ago, gave me what I wanted! I loved it so much. So I decided to start watching Charmed? I don’t know, it’s pretty slow so far and I find two of the three sisters really annoying. I would love suggestions here as well – other witchy stuff or other sisterhood-type stuff. Should I just rewatch Buffy? Be honest.

EXES:

Shameless: Listen, I don’t want to talk about it, but season five was so awful that I convinced myself that the show ACTUALLY ended, at one point this summer. That’s how much I don’t want to think about it ever again.

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Harold, they’re lesbians.

PROSPECTIVE:

Xena: I should watch Xena, right? I love camp. And tough fighting ladies.

Jane the Virgin: I’ve heard such good things and Gina Rodriguez is so charming. Women of color! Queer women of color!

Carol: I’ve heard that Carol is like the best movie in the universe, so I’ll be watching it at some point.

So. Do you disagree with my assessment of anything and want to fight me? Do you have suggestions for things I should check out in 2016? I can tell you without hesitation that if you look into anything on this list, it should be Steven Universe.

Here’s hoping for an inclusive 2016.

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2 thoughts on “A Media Representation Review of 2015

  1. YOOOOO Jane the Virgin is sooo goood!!!!! Gina Rodriguez is so phenomenal, and it’s bilingual, and the narrator is excellent. Only critique I have so far: it’s a predominately Hispanic cast, but all very light-skinned Hispanic…..typical Hollywood but still. Also the two queer characters have disappeared for huge chunks of season 1 thus far…..BUT you should still watch it because it’s great.

    Like

  2. Pingback: A Media Representation Review of 2016 | media inclusivity

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