Let’s Chit and Chat about pop culture according to my humble opinion.
Let’s start with the obvious: AMC’s Better Call Saul is not surprising anyone with its quick wit and dramatic plot. We saw and loved that writing in Breaking Bad. BCS surprised me in surpassing Breaking Bad with its intimate character insights and consistent sense of humor that doesn’t stunt or lighten the drama. Jimmy, the main character of BCS (Bob Odenkirk) is a less conflicted but not less interesting protagonist than Walter White was. I find BCS a refreshing experience because, god forbid, I actually like the main character. It’s a bit more classic of a show formula–an underdog working up in the world, but his moral compass combined with his tendency to wind up in the underworld is enough to keep the show more than interesting. Every episode of the first season was stand-alone satisfying even though the show taunts you with tantalizing cliff hangers in the last five minutes of almost every episode the way Breaking Bad used to. The show’s not yet airing on American Netflix (one of the only Netflixual perks of living in Britain, trust me). Although we see returning characters from Breaking Bad (notably the alternate story line in BCS, Mike Ehrmantraut’s), the show immediately takes on a pace of its own. It doesn’t rely on Breaking Bad the way I expected it to. I don’t hesitate to say that after the first season, in my book, Better Call Saul surpasses its predecessor.
As much as I appreciated Netflix’s original series Lilyhammer at first, the novelty of an American mobster moving to Norway wore off fast as stereotypes and formula took over the show. The third season only gets worse as the show fails to acknowledge Johnny’s (played by Steven Van Zandt) hypocrisy. His hypermasculinity in a Scandinavian country was also pretty funny in the first season but just becomes painful as he makes woman after woman into objects of his conquest for power of a Norwegian town. He intervenes with muscle when a Muslim man won’t shake a woman’s hand (he’s supposed to be the hero for feminism in this scenario, apparently) but the show fails to acknowledge his hypocrisy as the owner of a strip bar who hires his waitresses out as sex workers and overlooks their physical abuse by patrons. The show’s occasional chuckle isn’t worth my constant cringe. Is racism and sexism still where we are in comedy? What year is it? I would complain that the few women in the show have no character depth, but the men don’t either.
The ugliest thing happening in my sphere lately are people’s ridiculous reactions to Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency. How often are we going to talk about her husband? How much are we going to talk about the Lewinsky scandal? How many times am I going to hear what color she should dye her hair or what color suit looks better on her? Please, someone tell me this is just a short phase people are going through and that I won’t have to hear this kind of garbage for the next year and a half? Why am I hearing, “I know she’s a woman, but I actually disagree on her foreign policies.” Let me help y’all by correcting that sentence: “I actually disagree on her foreign policies.” It’s as simple as that! You don’t need to apologize for criticizing her and you don’t need to feel any specific way because she is a woman. The most feminist thing to do is treat Hillary Clinton consistently with the way you treat every other politician. Isn’t this obvious?? Again, someone enlighten me with the year. So, I guess if you insist on critiquing her fashion sense, please spend the same amount of time doing this to Scott Walker. Or better, spare us.