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  1. #16
    Custom Title jon-el87's Avatar
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    Was expecting something bad to happen, during their time at the beach house. It was a nice episode, where Blanca, Elektra, Angel and Lulu got to spend some time on the beach. Hopefully, the guy that Blanca met won't turn out to be a jerk in the end.

  2. #17
    Custom Title jon-el87's Avatar
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    Was worried that they were going to kill off Blanca. Hopefully, they'll let her live. I keep finding myself on the edge of my seat, worried that she won't have long left. This was May, 1991. HAART won't be introduced for another five years.

    I could see them go either way with Blanca. She either lives long enough to be put on it, or she'll die right before it's introduced (like how Paul Bäumer goes through all of WWI, then dies shortly before the end of it).

    I imagine that there will be another time jump, between this episode and season 3. I just hope that they won't jump over the wedding between Papi and Angel. Of course, people can be engaged for years, before getting married.
    Last edited by jon-el87; 09-13-2020 at 06:34 AM.

  3. #18
    Custom Title jon-el87's Avatar
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    https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/li...season-3-on-fx

    Season three will be the final season and consist of seven episodes. The show will jump to 1994. Hopefully, the season will stretch into 1996 and Blanca gets put on HAART. I really hope that they won't end the show with Blanca dead.

    Got mixed feelings on the show ending. On the one side, I'll be sad to see it go. On the other, if they have told the story that they wanted to tell, then it might be time to move on, rather than dragging it out. Make way for other stories to be told. After all, while this show has the highest ever trans cast, it's still limited in the scope of stories that it can tell. It's set in New York City and focuses on the ballroom culture (African American and Latin American), in the 1980s and 1990s. Don't think that they've had any transmen characters, nor Asian American or Native American (and so on) trans characters. (don't know if any of these three groups have any representation or presence in the ballroom scene). Even when it comes to African Americans and Latin Americans (within the LGBTQIA+ community), the ballroom scene doesn't cover all stories. Because not everyone within those two demographics is part of the ballroom scene. No non-binary or intersex characters. Being a period piece, it can't deal with the lives of transpeople in the 2020s.

    It's based in New York City. So it's essentially restricted to that one geographical location. Can't delve into stories set elsewhere, unless the main characters goes there. However, most of them would probably be unable to afford a flight to Seattle or Houston or some other place. The main characters would also just be visiting, keeping everything in Seattle on a surface level, rather than diving deep into things.

  4. #19
    Custom Title jon-el87's Avatar
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    RIP Cubby.

    Probably missed a line, but I wondered where those two kids, from the end of the season 2 finale, went. Shame that Angel's modeling career appears to have gotten stagnant. Of course, apparently, the average length of a modeling career is like five years or something. Glad to see Blanca deciding to go to nursing school. I just hope that she gets to live.
    Last edited by jon-el87; 07-26-2021 at 04:09 AM.

  5. #20
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    Good seeing Candy back. Even if it was just in flashbacks. Though, the bit with the hammer felt forced. Candy's back, so we MUST see her hammer (that we didn't see until the season one finale), for fan service. Nice seeing the backstory of Elektra and her house. Though, it felt like everyone was coming together real quick. Flashback Elektra seemed much nicer than she was at the start of season one.

    They got rid of the body finally (had sort-of forgotten about it), but I suspect that it might not be the last we hear about it. Though, with there only being four episodes left, they might not have room for exploring possible consequences further. I liked the 1978 sequence, where Elektra was kicked out by her mother. Though, I felt that the bit where Elektra gets up and puts on lipstick took me out of the scene. No doubt, an attempt to insert an empowering moment for Elektra, but it felt like an interruption of the events. Like the writers couldn't let Elektra be down in that moment.
    Last edited by jon-el87; 07-28-2021 at 10:08 AM.

  6. #21
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    Could've done without the bi-erasure in episode 4. Of course, this is a Ryan Murphy show (what else would one expect?).

    Elektra dealing with the mob is probably not going to end well... unless it's an attempt by the writers to give her and the others a sort of fairytale ending. Given that there are only two episodes left (with the last one needing to wrap everything up), it feels a bit sudden to have Papi discover that he's got a kid. Not a lot of time for the show or characters to digest this. Also not sure about the way that they introduced this kid. If the writers wanted Papi and Angel to become parents, they could've taken in one of the young LGBTQ+ kids of color, who lives on the streets (and could use a loving home). The way they went about it, one feels a bit like they might have reduced a ciswoman (whom I'm pretty sure we've never met) into just a baby factory (rather than an actual person, with her own agency). Then fridged said ciswoman, so that Angel (and Angel alone) could be the mother of Papi's son. Not having to split the kid, with another woman. The ciswoman in question only exists in the context of producing a biological child for Papi (to be a baby factory). With that done, she is discarded (i.e. killed off). She has served the only purpose that she has, and is no longer needed. The woman's sister shows up, but only to introduce and hand over Papi's son to him. After that, she is gone.

    TBH, I find myself starting to question what the show's attitude towards ciswomen might turn out to be, if one were to have a closer look at those characters. What would an analysis turn out? Looking quickly at some examples: Elektra's mother (featured in the episode, where flashbacks suddenly depicted Elektra as caring, protective and nurturing. Completely contradicting her season 1 characterization) was framed as a selfish woman, who wanted a son, who would basically be her caregiver forever.

    Kate Mara's character was a housewife, in a smaller role (no real plotline of her own). For most of season 1, she didn't exist outside of her house, until she discovered Stan's affair with Angel (and then all of her stuff centers around those two). There is a scene, where she gets herself tested for HIV. Then they skip to a scene, weeks later, where she tells Stan that she's (and by extension him) negative (where she's also revealed to have gone to teraphy, offscreen). We don't get to see her going around for weeks, fearing the results of her HIV test. We don't see her getting the result (and her reaction to it). When it comes to (cis)women and stories about HIV/AIDS, HIV+ women (specifically ciswomen) are often marginalized, if not outright erased (with the story presenting HIV as basically something that they can't get). Here, the ciswoman's HIV story is basically offscreen. Concluded with her announcing that she's negative (and, of course, she is. Otherwise Stan and Angel would've had to have it too, as that would've been her her only possible source of it. Turning her learning that she's HIV+ (a possible plotline of her own), into a shocking reveal for Angel, who previously didn't know that she was HIV+. Making the HIV+ diagnosis of Kate Mara's character, into a plot device for the further development of Angel) We last see the character, when she announces intent to go back to college and get a degree. We never see her again, leaving it unknown if she does. Her function on the show is to be a rival for Angel, in her relationship with Stan (without being a proactive figure, for most of the time). A threat to Angel's love story.

    Patti Lupone's character was an antagonist. A threat to the ambitions and dreams of Blanca. She was also a criminal.

    Sandra Bernhard's character is a nurse, caring for Blanca and Pray Tell. While a main cast member, she doesn't seem to ever have her own plotlines. She brings Pray Tell to his first ACT UP meeting. That's the most noteworthy act of hers, that I can think of, of the top of my head. An act, where she's a vehicle to advance the story of other main characters. She's ackowledged as a lesbian (setting her apart from the other ciswomen, I've talked about here), and has got a girlfriend... who only appears like twice (and I had to look on a wiki, just to know that she existed). There is no exploration of Bernhard's relationship with her girlfriend. Nor any exploration of her life as a nurse working with AIDS patients (how do people respond, upon learning what she does for a living? Does she suffer from any stigma or social discrimination, because of what her patients happen to have?). How does other lesbians feel about her hanging out with transpeople? Some lesbians aren't exactly fans of the trans community (to put it mildly). So, how does her friendships with several transwomen affect Bernard's character, in her interactions with the lesbian community?

    Naturally, the show's focus was on (black) transwomen and not ciswomen (of any ethnicity). However, when a folkgroup is represented (including in the main cast) in a film or television series, one should reflect over how the writers handles them. And, when you take a quick overview of the show's most prolific ciswomen, it seems like they're just there to further the plot of other characters (be it the male characters like Damon, Pray Tell and Papi, or the transwomen in the main cast), be a threat/rival to the main transwomen or both. Being there just to impact or advance the story of other characters (rather than developing/going on their own character arc) is a common trope/cliché for ciswomen characters. They're not there to develop themselves, just affect someone else's story.

    Surprised that Pray Tell wasn't in the episode. For a moment I questioned if he had died (and they skipped his funeral), given the events of the previous episode, but he's in the trailer for the next episode.
    Last edited by jon-el87; 09-06-2021 at 11:58 PM.

  7. #22
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    Lulu breaks up with her boyfriend... whom I'm 99% certain we've never seen before. Glad to see Papi and Angel getting married. Of course, the wedding was a bit much. You know, statistically speaking, the more you spend on the wedding, the more likely you are to get divorced. I suppose that the writers wanted to give the characters a fantasy wedding. Though, I felt a bit disconnected, due to my lack of interest in material things. Weddings should be about love, not blowing away massive amounts of money for the profit of the wedding industry (to quote some very wise men "All You Need Is Love"). Seriously, I've watched a few episodes of Say Yes to the Dress... $10,000 just for a one-time dress? Of course, it's Elektra who is doing all of this. Elektra... the one who once called Vogue (a freaking fashion magazine) a "sacred text". If you're someone who regards a fashion magazine as a "sacred text", you are extremely shallow.

    Like that they keep finding ways to include Candy. Shame that Damon wasn't there, but the actor sadly left due to a family tragedy.

    Blanca gives Papi's kid a Power Rangers costume. Too bad that it wasn't a Spider-Man costume. Would've been fun, seeing as Mj Rodriguez is apparently a comic book geek, who got her stage name from Mary Jane "MJ" Watson. Though, I suppose that they wanted to go with a hero of color.

    Next week will be the series finale. Looking at the trailer, it looks like Pray Tell will die. Of course, I remember a trailer in season 1, where they made it seem like something like that would happen to Papi. Could be a fake out, and both Pray Tell and Blanca get put on HAART and lives. I hope that they both get to live, but I'm expecting Pray Tell to die.
    Last edited by jon-el87; 09-13-2021 at 10:39 PM.

  8. #23
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    Not sure if that protest at the Mayor's house was something that actually happened. I know that ACT UP scattered the ashes of AIDS victims, on the lawn of the White House twice (once in 1992 and once in 1996). If the New York mayor protest didn't happen, then they probably took inspiration from the Ashes Actions in Washington D.C.

    Glad that Blanca got to live (of course, it was unlikely that they would end the show by killing off Blanca). Sad to see Pray Tell go. Had forgotten that Ricky was HIV+. Figured that Pray would give Ricky his pills, once they reminded us that Ricky has it too.
    Last edited by jon-el87; 07-26-2021 at 04:11 AM.

  9. #24
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    Congradulations on the nomination, MJ.

    Rewatched the season 1 episode "Access" recently. Liked the tease of Lulu getting her own house. Though, during the rewatch, I wasn't sure what to make of Blanca's constant attempts to gain access to a gay bar. She gets thrown out, because she is trans. Being rejected for who and what you are is wrong. At the same time, she claims that this bar is her community. But, Blanca's community is ballroom culture. A community that isn't depicted (either on this show or in Paris is Burning) as being very inclusive either. In a later episode, a point is made that there are no white transwomen in ballroom. When one shows up, at a ball, as part of Elektra's new house, Candy outright says something about the new house like: "they're not welcome with Snow White there" (and we never see "Snow White" ever again. At the balls, nor at Elektra's place). So, Blanca's own community is depicted as excluding transwomen who are neither black or latin (and possibly not just white ones, but also Asians, Native Americans, Arabs and so on. As ballroom are for blacks and latin people). No idea if transmen are welcome in the ballroom community (tried looking it up, but found nothing), but no such characters ever seem to appear on the show* (nor does any appear to be in Paris is Burning), leaving me with the impression that they probably aren't included in the ballroom community.

    * In fact, looking back, I don't think that the show ever even acknowledged the existence of transmen. The apparent erasure of transmen will probably be something that the show gets criticized for by people in the future, when talking about this show.

    So, on the one hand, one can feel that it is wrong of this bar to reject Blanca (and the episode wants us to be on her side). At the same time, it's difficult to get past the fact that Blanca already has her own space and community (ballroom). (It's not like she hasn't got a social gathering place of her own, and would be dependent on being allowed into this one gay bar... out of all the gay bars in NYC**) A community that isn't exactly depicted as being inclusive either, and would likely reject the patrons of this bar, if they tried to get in. In fact, there are bound to be other gay bars/clubs in NYC, where the patrons of the gay bar in the episode, would be rejected. Because those gay bars/clubs are for other groups of gay men (groups that are likely to themselves be rejected by both the ballroom community and the episode's gay bar. The gay bar, that is established to be for men under 30. So, a 40+ gay man wouldn't be welcome. The bar plays pop music. Leaving gay men who prefer (ex.) rock music excluded (sending a signal that this environment is not for them. If they go there, and request that they play just one rock song. They open themselves to possible rejection, from the other men at the gay bar. They open themselves to criticism, from the other patrons, that they are "not gay enough". They're told by society, that there's something wrong with them, for liking men. Now they go into a gay bar... and are made to feel that there is something wrong with them, for liking rock (hardrock, metal) and not pop music (the irony is that the former is where you find gay (ex. Rob Halford, Elton John), bisexual (ex. Freddie Mercury, Pete Townsend, Janis Joplin), lesbian (ex. Melissa Etheridge) and trans (ex. Mina Caputo, Laura Jane Grace) musicians. And then, of course, there's queercore (a subgenre of punk rock). A musical genre by LGBTQ+ musicians, for an LGBTQ+ audience. Meanwhile, the archetypical pop singer is a straight girl (or boy), singing about heterosexual romance and relationships). Left feeling that there is no place for them, in either the straight world or the gay world). The bar is a bar. Making it an environment that is not for gay men who don't drink (either because they're recovering alcoholics or hold beliefs/opinions that prohibits the drinking of alcohol). Things become a bit more complex, when you acknowledge intersectionality in the world). There isn't just one group of gay men in the world (though, the media sure does love to depict it as if there were).

    ** You know, part of the problem, with the whole thing, might be location. In New York City, there are so many different LGBTQ+ venues for a person to choose from. Not only could Blanca choose from hundreds of gay bars (why doesn't she just try another one?), but have her own venue with ballroom. Blanca has hundreds of options, because she lives in New York City. Had this taken place in a smaller region (a smaller city or town, in another state), things would've been different. Maybe there is only one LGBTQ+ venue in the entire county (maybe it's in another city, forcing Blanca to travel a greater distance, just to get there. And she can't go there, whenever she feels like it). One that everyone has to share, because there just isn't enough out LGBTQ+ people (in the region) to justify the cost of even a second venue. If Blanca (and the few other (out) transwomen around) was to be rejected from from a LGBTQ+ venue, in that type of environment, it would have a greater impact. Because she (and the... maybe 6-7 other (out) transwomen, in the county) literally has no other options for a social gathering place. They can't go to a venue for straight people, out of fear of being assaulted (perhaps killed). They can't gather at one of their residences, because some (if not all) are worried about being outed to family (maybe some even live with their parents, and are forced to keep this part of them secret) or neighbours, if a lot of transwomen are observed coming to the apartment or house (if they're clocked). Outside of this one LGBTQ+ venue, they have no alternative. Motivating them to fight, for their right to be at the county's only available LGBTQ+ venue. But, this show isn't set in that type of environment. It's set in New York City. A city of millions of people and hundreds of LGBTQ+ venues. Big City Blanca has got options and opportunities, that a more rural Blanca could only dream of (that most LGBTQ+ people could only dream of. Because most don't live in places like NYC. Many have maybe one venue option... or none). Big City Blanca and Rural Blanca. Same exact person, but born and residing in different areas of the same country. Resulting in vastly different lives.

    I'm also left uncertain why Blanca is obsessed with drinking at this one gay bar (that, for the record, doesn't appear to admit ciswomen either). It is a gay bar. That means that the establishment is a space for gay men (or, rather (as I noted above), one specific group of gay men). Anyone in this space is likely to be perceived as a gay man, which Blanca is not. Blanca is a transwoman. She identifies as female, and wants to be seen as a woman. Yet, she's hell bent on being in an establishment, whose very nature is making it likely that she will be perceived as not being what she is, but as something that she is not, while she's there.*** Personally, if I was Blanca, I would be a bit hesitant about being in that type of environment, for that very reason. Finally, the episode doesn't present us with a large group of transwomen who expresses a desire to have a drink at said gay bar (nor are we shown transwomen be thrown out of multiple gay bars, to visually establish that this is a wide-spread problem, and not just something specific to this one bar). Outside of Blanca, no one in the trans community (in the episode) seems to care very much. Blanca going on this crusade on her own (rather than as part of a larger group, or inspiring a large group, of transwomen) makes it come across, like she's the only transwoman who is really interested in drinking at this gay bar. Like she's fighting a pointless battle, as very few in the group affected cares. They have no interest in hanging out there. Lesbian transwomen (another group that the show seemingly erases, as all onscreen transwomen are depicted as being into men) would more likely want to be at lesbian bars, not bars for gay men. No insight is given into how lesbian transwomen are treated at lesbian bars. Are they let in (and accepted)? Or are they rejected by transphobic lesbians?

    *** And she is. The owner makes it clear that he thinks Blanca is a drag queen (no doubt, no one has ever explained the difference between a drag queen and a tranwoman to him. Nor is he given an opportunity to learn). Which can be an issue, because not everyone loves drag queens. The vast majority of drag queens are cismen, who present a caricature of women, for comedic effect. There are plenty of people in the world (both women and men), who views drag as sexist or misogynistic. As a mockery of women by men. In fact, drag has got a problematic history. Came out of black face minstrel shows in the 19th century. Black face performers began dressing as women, and went from mocking black men to mocking black women. So, the origins of the activity isn't exactly an innocent one. But, the narrative of the episode doesn't allow for complexity. If the plot allowed for complexity, the bar owner's dislike of Blanca (whom he mistakes for a drag queen) could then have been due to him holding deep feminist beliefs, and takes an issue with anyone who he feels engages in a mysogynistic mockery of women (which is what he views drag as). Though, complexity would require a conversation into the difference between transwomen and drag queens. And a conversation into those concepts in general. Bring in some folks with different opinions (some against ex. drag, some for it). Not demonize anyone (nor present gay men who opposes/takes issue with the practice of drag as simply experiencing "internalized homophobia". Never understood that argument. Why would voicing concerns over someone caricaturing women (or any other folkgroup), for laughs, be a sign of self-hatred?), but allow each group (not just cispeople. No doubt, there probably are transpeople who have different views on drag. I remember once seeing a transwoman be openly hostile to a cross-dresser (mind you, that was more her trying to force her own gender identity upon the cross-dresser in question (trying to make that person identify as a transwoman), than her taking an issue with the person's actual activity. She simply couldn't accept that someone, who was assigned male at birth, but likes to wear dresses and make-up, could identify as anything other than female). Speaking of cross-dressers, they would also have to be present in the conversation) to express their views on the matters at hand. Highlight the difference between a drag queen, a cross-dresser and a transwoman (thus educating the viewers, who might not know the difference). Give the viewers something to think about.
    Last edited by jon-el87; 09-10-2021 at 11:27 PM.

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