The Emmy nominations were announced today and like always there were a bunch of shows I don’t watch. Pretty much the only live action shows I watch that got nominated was Mad Men and Downton Abbey. I was hoping The Goldbergs would get recognized but no love once again.
The one live action nom I was excited about was Disney’s Girl Meets World. I have been meaning to blog about it but haven’t found the time. I love it! I loved Boy Meets World and I think it is one of the few reboots that has worked great. A wonderful mixture of nostalgia for us grown-ups and lots of good stuff for kids. It’s a show the entire family can watch together and enjoy.
Other than that I was interested in the animation categories (of course!) and for the most part I was pleased.
For Outstanding Animated Program we had:
Outstanding Animated Program – 2015
Over the Garden Wall
Of these 5 the one I am most excited for is Over the Garden Wall which I think is a true masterpiece. I would love to see it get some recognition and perhaps more people to see it. It is bold in its storytelling and the animation is stunning. You can read my review of Over the Garden Wall here.
The Simpsons I also think is worthy. I know people criticize it but they had an artistically ambitious season for 26 and the Treehouse of Horror that was nominated was brilliant with Simpsons 26 meeting Simpsons 1.
The rest of the nominees are too crass and vulgar for my taste but I see the appeal.
And for Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program we had:
Disney’s Mickey Mouse
Wander over Yonder
A few of these I haven’t heard of. I would have loved to see Gravity Falls nominated which is so clever. Robot Chicken I’ve heard of but never seen. Wander over Yonder, Steven Universe, and Regular Show are new to me. Have any of you seen them? Are they good?
Adventure Time is a lot of fun but I would have put Rick and Morty in its place (not sure if that is short format or not?).
I am very happy to see Disney’s Mickey Mouse get a nomination. It’s a vintage style 2D show in the spirit of the old Mickey Mouse animated shorts and I love it! If you haven’t seen it, it’s really quite brilliant. Artist Paul Rudish and his team capture the feel of old school Disney perfectly. I reviewed it on my channel.
What about you? What do you think of the nominations? I’d love to know your thoughts especially if you’ve seen some of these shows I haven’t. It’s just a silly awards show but it is nice when something like Over the Garden Wall gets nominated when it sorely deserves it.
Today I thought I would start a new series on the blog where I profile characters in television and movies that mean a lot to me.
There is nothing in television or movies that has consistently brought me more joy than The Simpsons. Yes, I realize its glory days are behind it but I still enjoy the show. It still makes me laugh and I’ve been watching it since it premiered in 1989. Think about that! The show has been on the air and part of my life for 25 years! Wow! It’s brilliant, funny, satirical, smart, beautiful, creative and full of heart.
The Simpsons has many great characters but my favorite is Lisa.
Lisa is a great character for so many reasons. I love her sincerity. She so wants the world to be a better place and unfailingly believes in other people. A great example is an episode called Lisa and the Old Man where she even believes that Mr Burns can change and become a good person.
Another great Lisa episode is called Make Room for Lisa where she gets a chance to go inside her father’s head and realizes how much he tries to do to make her happy. It’s sincere and funny and just everything I love about the character.
Lisa is really the moral compass of the show and there are many great moments of her standing up for what is right whether it be vegetarianism, environmentalism, feminism or just being honest. I love Lisa gets an A where Lisa gets distracted from her studies with a video game and cheats on a test. Her guilt at her unearned A eats at her and is a wonderful episode.
She is also by no means a perfect character. She is easily influenced by the desire to have friends and be accepted (who can’t relate to that?). Some of her best episodes are when she finally feels accepted like in The Summer of 4 ft 2. This is where the Simpsons go to the Flanders beach house and Lisa decides to put a new image to be accepted by the new kids. To her surprise they love her and Bart gets very jealous eventually exposing the real Lisa to the kids. It’s a great Lisa/Bart episode and one where she is in the end actually accepted.
In an episode from just last season Brick Like Me, she gleefully spends time with her Dad putting together Legos (she’s still a little girl on the show) until some friends come along and she drops him to go see the Hunger Games.
Other episodes I love for Lisa are Moaning Lisa where she finally finds someone who understands her (and her music). Who can’t relate to that desire to be understood by someone?
I love The Secret War of Lisa Simpson where Bart get’s sent to military school and Lisa sensing a better education decides to join him. At first marginalized because she is a girl Lisa is forced to overcome sexisim, loneliness and bond with her brother in a new way.
Lisa the Vegetarian is also a winner where Lisa realizes she doesn’t want to kill animals and eat them. At first she wants to bully people into seeing things her way and then she realizes she needs to let others make their own choices.
My Sister, the Sitter is another great one where Lisa tries so hard to be a good babysitter but Bart is insulted to have his younger sister babysitting him so he makes it difficult. If there is anything great about Lisa it’s that she tries so hard at everything.
Probably her most iconic episode is I Love Lisa in which Ralphie Wigham falls in love with her after she gives him a train valentine. Her temper (another great character attribute) gets her into trouble here.
Lisa can also be jealous, which is terrifically demonstrated in an episode called Lisa’s Rival in which a girl comes into town who is smarter, prettier and even plays the saxophone better than her.
Mostly I relate to Lisa because of her affection for people and the way she sincerely bonds with others, wanting the best for them. It’s a tribute to the show and Yeardley Smith’s great vocals that such a depth of feeling can be developed in such short period of a 22 minute episode. One example is Lisa’s Substitute where she gets a new teacher who inspires her and Homer almost ruins it. The ending is perfect and makes me tear up every time.
There are so many episodes I could list where I love Lisa. She is a wonderful creation and is perhaps taken for granted a little bit by even Simpsons fans who tend to focus on Homer and Bart. Without her the show would have lasted a couple seasons. She is the heart and soul of the show, and I just love her. Tip of the hat to Yeardley Smith for brilliant vocal work creating a character I love so much.
What are your favorite Lisa moments?
And for some reason people are always surprised to hear I love The Simpsons. Yep, this Mormon girl loves The Simpsons!
This is another post where my thoughts are all jumbled up but I will do my best to form them into a coherent argument.
Lately watching all these movies I’ve been wondering about the effect of media on children. I come from a strict conservative Mormon background and we try very carefully to avoid anything that is not uplifting and will lead us to sinful behaviors. Most people in my faith have a ‘no R rated movie’ rule but with my lack of faith in the MPAA I have a ‘research and know what I’m getting into rule’. I summed it up here:
But for kids most of us have higher standards than adult content and appropriately so. Little kids have impressionable minds and I’ve told you several experiences I had at the movies which were not positive in terms of content- watching Rescuers and Return to Oz. My parents were very careful with what we were allowed to watch and for long stretches we didn’t have TV at all. It wasn’t always out of objectionable content but if it didn’t do anything for our imaginations or creativity than my Mom wouldn’t allow it. For example, we were not allowed to watch Saved by the Bell because my Mom thought it was stupid.
However, sometimes I think we can worry too much and think kids are too impressionable and fragile.
For example, some claim Ariel is a bad example and don’t want their daughters to be influenced by her selfish attitude. The first time I heard this I was shocked. It had honestly never occurred to me that Ariel was anything but admirable and there is no girl who sang Part of Your World more than I did. I saw her positive traits- her steadfastness, her boldness, her courage. I saw she was willing to go against her father and strike out on her own, make her own path. I don’t see how any of these traits or qualities taught me a bad lesson and while I was certainly a brat, like any kid, never could it have been blamed on Ariel’s negative influence. Kids are smarter than that. They aren’t just robots who immediately mimic every positive and negative attribute they see.
Plus, with good parenting (and this is key) those positive traits can be emphasized so just like with me the negative one’s aren’t really noticed or focused on.
In my experience most Mormons do not watch The Simpsons. For some reason it has a particular stain on it that other equally off-color shows do not but my parents were ok with it. Why? Because my brother and I had and have nothing in common (although oddly both of our favorite movies is Up!). Especially back then but we both liked The Simpsons. As parents you have to pick your battles and The Simpsons is well written, it’s smart (most of the great movies I was introduced to through homages on The Simpsons, same with a lot of philosophy and political ideas) and in the end it is about a family who does love each other.
Take a look at this scene. A kid could learn a ton about elections, candidates, the press, voting, voter apathy, campaign promises, advertising etc. Plus, it makes me laugh, which is usually the best way to learn.
So just like I never learned to be selfish from Ariel, I never learned to be rude or slovenly from the Simpsons.
So, how do you know when something is a good influence or bad?
I’m not a parent so I would love to hear the opinions of my readers who are, but I have a hunch. You watch your kids!!! Try your best to prevent obviously damaging material and allow them to make some choices based on information you provide to them. Then watch them. If scary movies are causing nightmares than put a stop to it. If a girl is becoming a primadonna from princess movies than take a break.
But if there is a movie like Harry Potter and it is teaching good things than maybe the witchcraft and sorcery isn’t a big deal? Maybe false feminism in Frozen isn’t going to hurt your daughter singing Let It Go around the house?
My friend was just telling me her daughter loves Pocahontas and watches it over and over again. While that is no doubt annoying for any movie especially one I’m not crazy for, her girl is going to be fine. Maybe she likes it for the bright colors? Maybe for the music? Maybe for the animals and nature? There are a ton of perfectly valid and good reasons to watch Pocahontas (again I really don’t care for the film) and the negative one’s can be discussed and dealt with. The kids will usually be alright if we try our hardest to raise good people.
Study after study has shown no link between violence and video games. Does that make violence ok for children? No but it should also reassure parents that content is not the end all factor in determining behavior of your kids. It’s just not that simple.
Some people I know in the blogosphere are worried Frozen has a ‘gay agenda’ and that Let It Go is a gay anthem. Unless they happen to be gay or have gay parents I guarantee you 99% of girls are not thinking about homosexuality when enjoying that movie. They are thinking about whatever in their life is frustrating them. And if it does start them wondering than you have a conversation and you discuss the issue from your perspective. I’ve read the blogs making these claims on Frozen and find them to be quite silly. If you start with a thesis ‘Frozen is a gay agenda film’ or ‘Frozen is anti-feminist’ or ‘Frozen is pro-feminist’ than you will probably find ‘evidence’ to back it up, that doesn’t make it true. It’s a story and just like a good story it can be interpreted any number of ways by the viewer. Our kids will have their own interpretation and that’s a good thing.
Calm down and be a parent and let your kids be kids. Let them have their own choices and tastes. See what inspires them creatively and then monitor negative behaviors appropriately. Your job as a parent is not to mold your children into perfect Mormons or Christians or feminists or whatever. Your job is to present your kids with options and explanations and see where life takes them.
At least that’s what this single girl in Utah thinks! 😉
Oh and what bothers me about the instant love trope is not that it is going to teach false messages about womanhood or relationships but how it hurts the stories and gives me nothing I can relate too. To me it is frustrating when I see film after film with stale, boring female characters. When you have a movie like The Jungle Book, with only one female character (2 including the elephant) and she is used only as a love robot I don’t have any characters I can relate too so I disengage a little bit from the story. It’s a story problem more than a message problem. I saw The Jungle Book many times growing up and it did not taint me with it’s simplistic view on women. It just could have been better so it got an A instead of an A+.