Monday, March 20, 2017


The useless Water Cooler Set basks and wallows in its own uselessness.


That came across loud and clear.

Two shows occupied all their attention: IRON FIST (NETFLIX) and TRIAL &  ERROR (NBC).

And they couldn't even get those right.

The worst offender had to be the idiot Ben Child who wrote, for the British periodical THE GUARDIAN, "The origin story for Marvel’s high-kicking hero, reproduced faithfully here, features all the classic elements of the mighty whitey trope: Danny Rand (Finn Jones) is the blond, blue-eyed fellow who is taught all the mystical intrigues of kung fu and predictably becomes more skilled than any of the locals."

Apparently British television is so dull and boring that idiots like Ben Child have to write about American television.

Ben Childs (in an unoriginal criticism echoed by many other fools in The Water Cooler Set) is offended that the comic book hero onscreen is like the comic book hero as originally written.

Well, he's offended that the character is White.

As feminists with a long body of work here, we have called out White male aspects of many projects. We called out the lack of women anchoring network news and the lack of color in the same anchors.  We called out repeatedly developing one White-male led show after another on THE WB and now THE CW.  We've repeatedly pointed out that White-male is not the norm, just the default position of executives.

IRON FIST is a tight and complex action adventure series.  All 13 episodes are miles ahead of ABC's MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD (an intensely boring show which should be condemned for it's White male perspective that allows capons like Patton Oswalt and Clark Gregg to strut around like monuments to manhood), FOX's GOTHAM or any of THE CW's embarrassing programs.

Some reviews have wrongly stated that Rosario Dawson's past involvement in the MARVEL NETFLIX shows is not noted.  It's repeatedly noted -- even by Madam Gao (Wai Ching Ho, even stronger here than in DAREDEVIL).

Others whine that all the villains are people of color.


Who are the heroes?

Iron Fist is one.

But who else?

Jessica Stroup's Joy Meachum frequently does the right thing -- after first doing the wrong thing to her old friend Danny.  More to the point, she's supposed to get an award for feeling bad that she screws over children with cancer -- when her company caused the cancer?

How is she, Anglo-White, a good character?

And she's the 'nicest' of the Meachum clan -- Harold (David Wenham) and Ward (Tom Pelphrey) are flat out evil.

Carrie-Anne Moss returns to the NETFLIX Marvel franchise as Jeri Hogarth and Moss is great but her character is about the almighty dollar and not about compassion or caring.

Besides Danny (Iron Fist), the only good characters are Rosario's Claire, Sacha Dhawan's Davos and Jessica Henwick's Colleen Wing -- none of whom, by the way, are Anglo-White.

Some can't accept that Jessica Henwick's Colleen is a good character.  VOX's Alex Abad-Santos especially struggles with understanding the character:

Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing suffers from the same inconsistency syndrome. One minute she’s fully weighing the consequences of helping Rand. Later, we find out she’s been battling in underground cage matches while teaching teens the balance of restraint in martial arts. The next minute, she’s spouting off about the samurai way of life, and is really down with killing people. Iron Fist doesn’t really understand how to use Wing in a way that makes sense.

It's called complexities, layers.  It's not inconsistency.

Colleen lectures a student who is doing the cage fighting that you dishonor yourself when you fight for money.  Her business is going under and she finds herself forced to make money by entering the cage fights.  Once she does, she doesn't just win, she finds a satisfaction that troubles her.  Down with killing people?  When it's her or them -- this is out of the cage fights -- yes, she is 'down with it.'  But when it's not her or them, she's repeatedly the one arguing against killing.

They've picked their filter -- White man lead evil -- and they invent crap to back it up.

IRON FIST is a strong contribution and a great NETFLIX series.  It's also the only one we didn't need a break from.  We loved JESSICA JONES, DAREDEVIL and LUKE CAGE.  But we needed breaks with those shows.  With IRON FIST, the endings of each episode were like the best moments of the end of a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys chapter and we were grabbing the remote, not willing to wait even 12 seconds for the credits to finish and a new epsiode to start.

All these shows will lead in THE DEFENDERS later this year on NETFLIX.

That's an important point.

For example, we're really sick of the latest Levis commercial and its emphasis on the young female's ass.   But we're remembering the previous one that emphasized the (very flat ass) of the boy-man blond.  So we're grasping this isn't sexism so much as just using sex as a marketing tool -- regardless of gender.

By the same token, those having hissy fits that Iron Fist is White (like he was in the comics) might want to take note of THE DEFENDERS.

Those wanting Danny to be Asian might take comfort in the fact that Elektra Natchios (played by Elodie Yung) will be a member of THE DEFENDERS.  And, in the comic books, that super group had a member Valkyrie -- a blond Norse goddess who will be played by African-American Tessa Thompson in the next Thor movie.

Point being, MARVEL's done a great deal of casting that's gone beyond the obvious so you'd think they'd have built up enough good will that IRON FIST wouldn't be dealing with this non-issue currently.

Ben Child -- who, by the way, is a White-Anglo male (who also happens to be bald) -- seems to believe he's writing the world for Bruce Lee who didn't get the lead in KUNG FU, the ABC TV show that debuted in 1972.

The Water Cooler Set's main characteristic is its extreme stupdity.

Bruce Lee never stood a chance at the role.

He had starred in ABC's GREEN HORNET which was not a ratings winner and which did not win him any friends at the network.  NBC gave Jerry Van Dyke two shots as stardom in the sixties -- and that was because his brother was Dick Van Dyke.  After two flops, that was it -- and again, he was the brother of a TV star.

TV then wasn't like today.  Today, they'll settle for niche ratings.

Grasp that the lowest rated episode of Nell Carter's GIMMIE A BREAK still got at least 10 million more viewers than the highest episode of GIRLS.

The lowered expectations -- all around -- appear to have helped TRIAL & ERROR which got surprising praise throughout last week.

The single-cam sitcom stars a faltering John Lithgow.  When you have a theater-trained actor like Lithgow in the lead role, why the hell wouldn't you film in front of a studio audience?  Why wouldn't you gear the show to your lead's strength?

The Water Cooler Set couldn't stop inflating this so-so show.  Some compared it to the French mini-series SOUPCONS (THE STAIRCASE) -- most of whom couldn't even name the French title.  Others wanted to pretend it was MURDER ONE.

What is it really?

A rip off of COMEDY CENTRAL's THE KROLL SHOW.  That hilarious show starred Nick Kroll in numerous roles including Dr. Armond who eventually is being charged with killing his wife.  If you've seen those episodes, you've seen a funnier version of TRIAL & ERROR.  In fact, Nick Kroll should sue NBC for theft.

How The Water Cooler Set missed that?  Because they're so deeply stupid.

There's not much to praise here.  Sherri Shepherd is, in fact, the only aspect worthy of praise.  She triumphs over the material, in spite of the material.  This is the sixth sitcom she's triumphed in.  Exactly when are they going to build one around her.

And that's actually the criticism that should have been launched of both TRIAL & ERROR and IRON FIST.  The latter is a strong show.  But why is the fourth MARVEL series for NETFLIX also the third one starring a man?

And why are we the only ones pointing that out?

Exactly what purpose does The Water Cooler Set serve?

Again, IRON FIST is a great show.  And we're not saying the character should have been turned into a female.  We are saying it's past time that NETFLIX offered another female led action series.

And watching it, were we the only ones who noticed how great a Wonder Woman that Rosario Dawson would have made?  Or that, with the claw weapons she used in IRON FIST, maybe she needs to be starring in HELLCAT?  Maybe Claire needs to be the new Hellcat who, by the way, was also a member of THE DEFENDERS comic book.

It's funny how women make up 50% of the population but no one ever thinks they should have that same percentage of shows revolving around them.

It's not at all funny that AMAZON's doing yet another pilot season where the best show is the one with a female lead (THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL) but you just know that, yet again, AMAZON will ignore the women and pick yet another substandard piece of crap to greenlight.

Amy Sherman-Palladino's THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL stars Rachel Brosnahan and it's like nothing else TV has to offer.  But by all means, let's listen to a lot of boys who mistake their drool and cum stains for actual critiques.

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