Persona 5 Player Diary: The First 15 Hours

I’ve been playing the Persona series for a while now, with not a few games under my belt, so when it became known that Persona 5 was finally coming out (and on PS3, no less, since I’m not buying a PS4 to play one game), I immediately pre-ordered it. In the three days I’ve had it, I’ve clocked around 17 hours, but I think at least a few of them are when I left the game on and ate dinner. Regardless, I always have a lot of feelings about this game, best to get them out now while they’re fresh. Major spoilers ahead.

You play as a shaggy-haired man (boy), per usual. By 2017 it would have really been nice to be able to play as a girl character. It looks like the “support” person is a girl, as freaking always, whatever. Anyway, your main character breaks up what appears to be an attempted rape, then gets sued by the guy who’s assaulting the woman, and you get probation. Since it’s Japan (or so the logic goes) you have to transfer schools and live in the attic of a cafe this random guy owns. Thanks mom and dad! At the school you’re immediately labeled as a delinquent because … people don’t want you breaking up their rapes? Then it becomes obvious that the volleyball coach, Kamoshida, is – wait for it – a rapist! Will these rapes I have to break up never end?! The answer is no. A student friend-of-a-friend is raped by Kamoshida and attempts suicide at the school. It’s the job of you and your plucky band of outsiders to stop this monster by infiltrating his heart!

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9 Reasons that The Shirley Temple Show’s Version of The Little Mermaid is a Good Adaptation

Shirley Temple The Little Mermaid

Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Little Mermaid” is a short story that I teach year after year, and in one class I show a number of adaptations of the story. The Shirley Temple Show version from 1961 is surprising, both because it takes place pre-Disney adaptation (and as such hasn’t been corrupted by the Disney machine) and because it updates the original story in some intriguing ways.

First of all, Temple’s made-for-TV version is absolutely kitsch through and through, the character actors in the episode are iconic in that time period, and the sea witch and her minions are camp to an extreme, not to mention how early 60’s the makeup and costumes are (I can’t with Temple’s wig, the bangs, I can’t). All of that needs to either be enjoyed or overlooked to understand the significance of the changes the show made to the original story. How ever “dated” the Temple version, I still strongly believe that some of the changes made to the story actually act to modernize it while retaining the integrity of Anderson’s original story. I started this as a long form article, but, as I worked on it, I decided that it needed to be a list, so I humbly submit to you 9 Reasons that The Shirley Temple Show’s Version of The Little Mermaid is a Good Adaptation.

#1 No Soul, No Problem

In Andersen’s 1837 version the core of the story is love, yes, but also the mermaid’s quest for an eternal soul. After she learns about it, the mermaid never mentions the prince without mentioning the soul. Why? Simply put: in Anderson’s world mermaids are animals, and, when they die, they cease to exist. This is something that is always left out of reinterpretations because of the colossal Christian controversy that would follow if it were left in. When the soul is taken out, you just have the love of a newly teen-aged girl to drive the plot forward, which is not enough to die over, but is enough to learn from. Even Anderson gave the mermaid a reprieve and had the Daughters of the Air rescue her and give her a chance to “earn” a soul. In Temple’s version, without any discussion of a soul, the mermaid is given a second chance at life as a mermaid by the god of a sea (note: not her father). I feel this is an appropriate change considering that the stakes have been lowered so much by removing the whole soul controversy.

#2 Sea Witch + Minions = Fun

In Anderson’s story the sea witch is not “evil” as one would expect, and neither is Temple’s (the mer-witch), though both are slightly malevolent. Anderson’s witch has a toad that eats sugar from her mouth and snakes that cuddle with her bosom (Flotsam and Jetsam anyone?), and these pets clearly influenced the introduction of minions. Andersen’s sea witch is slightly antagonistic to the mermaid, saying that even though the mermaid is foolish, the witch will help, but Temple’s minions (a lawyer stingray and a hateful octopus) allow the witch to become a more fully-realized character without fading into the background as Andersen’s character does. Andersen’s sea witch is mentioned at the end of the story, but never appears again, whereas the mer-witch gets more screen time and, while she doesn’t have any strong feelings about the mermaid, she does have an ethical compass that she follows. The mer-witch is also given a back story that involves the mermaid’s grandmother, which means more complex character motivations and a richer story. Continue reading

I Just Watched Season 8 of The Big Bang Theory and I’m Depressed

Big Bang Theory Season 8

Show of hands: Who though Season 8 was weak?

Season 9 of The Big Bang Theory is six weeks away and over the last week Boyfriend and I have been marathoning Season 8 to prepare. I only started watching the show last December and now I’ve watched every episode in fairly rapid succession. While Seasons 1 through 7 are lighthearted and hilarious with only a few hiccups, Season 8 was uniformly depressing. I’m not sure why, but the show seems to be taking a How I Met Your Mother approach to ruining a sitcom by making everyone have super sad “real life” stuff to worry about. Spoiler alert: if I wanted to worry about real life I would be worrying about my real life and not watching a sitcom. To put it another way: if I wanted a show about adult people being sad I’d watch a drama or listen to my neighbors fight through the walls. I wanted to grab Season 8 by the collar and shake it while yelling “Be a comedy!” at it’s stupid face.

One of the major issues is that this season centered around Howard’s mom dying. The actress who voiced her did die in real life and the show made the decision not to re-cast, unusual for a comedy. They even let you know that they could have re-cast her in the episode where Bernadette yells at Sheldon and Leonard off camera. Strangely, there was no fade-to-black-no-music-in-memory-of-credits which would have been much classier considering they got rid of her character. The death of a parent also happens in HIMYM and signals the big down turn in that show as well. The only successful comedy with dramatic character maturation that was still successful that comes to mind is Frasier.

Frasier is, in many ways, a similar show, chronicling the romantic plights of the misfit brothers Frasier and Niles Crane. Like BBT’s Raj, both brothers are mistaken for homosexuals frequently, with Frasier once accidentally dating a man (Patrick Stewart), and considering continuing to do so after he realizes what’s happening. Frasier and Niles are both lovable misfits, and both struggle, mature, and end up in love. Their foil is their father Marty (Martin), who experiences similar growth, and ends up with a significantly younger wife, Ronnie, the brother’s former babysitter. While all three of these characters go through conflict and change before finding true love, they are also all doing it at different points in the show. While Niles is going through his upheavals, Frasier and Marty are relatively stable. When Frasier undergoes his major crisis at the end of the series, Niles and Marty have both happily re-married and are in healthy relationships. This is, I believe, the secret to Frasier’s success, and the reason that Season 8 of Big Bang Theory is a failure: all of BBT’s characters are having major issues all at the same time.

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Project Runway Season 10: Elena’s Collection

For this season of Project Runway I’ve been good about not looking at the finale collections, since it really does sort of ruin the surprise, but as people leave the show I allow myself to check out their decoy collections. I wasn’t a huge fan of Elena at the beginning of the show – when she was being super crazy – but after the “I’m not normally a b***h” episode she really started to grow on me. She looks so happy in the photo above! Incidentally, I think it was nuts to send her home over Melissa last week, it smacks of producer tampering. Don’t get me wrong, I like Melissa and her work, but that baby outfit was indefensible.

I finally let myself look at Elena’s Fashion Week collection last night and I’m in love with it! I’d wear almost everything she made, so I had to post about it here. Remember when I used to blog about Proj all the time? The show has made me so mad I had to stop, but maybe I should start again for All Stars.

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