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Living Loz
This post is about Teen Wolf... 
12th-Jun-2012 12:04 am
Phineas and Ferb (Doof is adorable)

SO. I have managed to watch the entire first series and first two episodes of the second series, because this show is really entertaining, as it turns out. It's not brilliant, but it is exactly the combination of RIDICULOUS and cute and not-too-fluffy-not-too-angsty plus almost well-written enough (see also: Merlin) that I found myself wanting to watch more. It helped that I was sick in bed all of yesterday.

Things that I love:

1. Predictably: STILES IS THE MOST ADORABLE. Oh, man. I kind of love how imperfect he is, in every way. He is not always the most noble of characters. I mean, the 'Scott' bowl is just everything that needs to be said there. But it works, so well. And in his own way he is courageous and strong and smart and funny, and yes, marry me now, Stiles. I love his physical comedy and his deeper moments. I love his snarkiness. I am still not entirely seeing why everyone ships Stiles and Derek? Not totally? (I am the girl who ships friends before enemies, and needs to see a little more of the "I trust and respect you" scenes between characters before she will adore a dynamic. Meanwhile, in the most recent episode, we were heading that way. So.) I sorta want to ship them anyway.

2. Scott/Allison and Allison in general. Okay, there are moments when I am there going "this amount of mush is kind of sickening", but there is no denying that Scott and Allison are such a sweet couple, and I am sold on their love. Plus, Allison is all kinds of awesome. I think I'd be shipping Scott/Stiles if it wasn't for Allison, and I'd also probably OT3, if I was that fan. Basically, Allison is excellent enough that I don't want to ignore or discredit her, and a huge part of what makes Scott the lovable dork he is is his affection for her.

3. The plotting isn't nearly as terrible as I thought it would be. It's actually really quite good. It reminded me of Veronica Mars in its level of foregrounding. I appreciated the fact it seemed like the writers always knew what they were doing in the first series, and the second feels like it's shaping up to be the same.

4. I like how layered and real Jackson is, for an antagonist. He's given complex motivations and understandings, and I like that. He's not just a one-dimensional asshole. He's a multi-dimensional asshole. I also think the guy playing him is probably the best younger actor of the show. Similarly, Lydia has had many shining moments and I am curious to see what will happen with her.

5. Danny! Every time Danny is there on screen I am one giant splitting grin. I am not always entirely in love with how Danny is used in the show, though I think it's always pretty self-acknowledged, and he rolls with it well enough, but I love Danny. I love Danny as a character construction and as a person. I can't decide if I'd be happy with way, way more Danny, or whether he's perfect as is, because there can be too much of a good thing. But, yes. Danny!

6. I like Derek too, for the record. I like that I don't know if I should trust him. I like how handsy he is with everyone. I find I want more of Derek, a lot. I still can't decide if he's really, really hot or really unfortunate-looking, in the face.

7. The level of female gaze. What? I am shallow. Yeah, sometimes I think it's overdone, but, ech, I'm so used to the many and varied shows that have male gazes, including the 'feminist' Buffy, that I appreciate a good dose of man-candy. (ETA: The inverted commas here are not intended to imply sarcasm, more the fact that Buffy is widely regarded as feminist.)

Things that I think need a little work:

1. The guy who plays Scott could shout less. I think he's perfect casting apart from his whole "I WILL SHOUT TO CONVEY MY EMOTION" acting style. This is also my problem with early-Merlin Colin Morgan. But Morgan also has the micro-expressions and ability to tear your heart out with a look, whereas this guy does not. He's not a bad actor? He's just not a great actor, yet.

2. On Scott: I really appreciate the moments when he's smart and pro-active and not a total dunce. I'd like more of those. It's not that I don't want him to never make mistakes, it's more that I want him to have good reasons behind his mistakes --- more than 'he's a teenaged boy', because I am just that unforgiving.

3. I feel like the transitions from overarching plot to high school day plot are sometimes really badly handled. Like, one second it's all epic, dramatic music and DUN DUN DUN, WEREWOLFINESS AFOOT and then suddenly we're in a corridor, watching someone at their locker. It can be really jarring.

4. Which leads into the fact it's like literally only been two months that have gone by, in the narrative. I feel like this is either super excellent, or really dangerous. In stories, we expect a lot of development, and well-constructed development takes time. They could be cutting themselves off at the knees if everything keeps moving at such a slow pace.

5. There is no five. That's actually it. This show is nowhere near as bad as it could have been, which is crazily refreshing. Once again, it's not High Drama, but it's not trying to be.
11th-Jun-2012 03:02 pm (UTC)
I am so genuinely pleased you enjoyed it!

I should point out, btw, that in the other post where I said you'd get why people ship Derek/Stiles? I don't actually ship them myself (though I've had fun reading some of the fic) I just love their dynamic for the comedy value of it. Oh, and I also like the way Derek protected him in the prison show down - a sort of quiet acknowledgement that Stiles is effectively also part of the pack even without the wolfiness.

Jackson is amazing, right? When I got to the end of the second season and I realised that I really liked him I had no idea how they'd done it. It's so unusual to see an antagonist so well developed even when they're a massive dick.

This is sort of the same way I feel about Scott, sometimes. He should probably be the kind of main character I don't particularly like (a bit whiny and over-acty. Like Harry Potter) but there's moments where he's so endearing I just want to pet his little fluffy head. Also! The actor is amongst the few PoC leads on US TV (and on a teen show at that!) so I get dead annoyed when folk are mean about Scott for that reason too.

The timescale is hugely problematic for them, I think, because everything is happening to close together. How did True Blood beat this? But disappearing Sookie for two (or something) years Earth time. I somehow don't think that's an option in Teen Wolf. (It's only an option in True Blood because of faeries. I shit you not.)

In conclusion: Danny is the best secondary character in forever. I love all the stuff he's done in the first couple of eps this season, sitting behind Scott & Stiles in chem class and just shaking his head at them. And Danny as the audience, effectively, in the scene where Stiles uses Derek's smoking bod to get him to do something was hilarious.

(I love that scene for another reason, too: the way it subverts the 'you can totally check out my hot sister' trope that can be so common to shows with teen male leads. Well done you, Teen Wolf.)
11th-Jun-2012 03:54 pm (UTC)
As I said, it's just a really entertaining show. I haven't really been bored in it at all.

I was always one of those Harry Potter fans who actually totally loved Harry and tended to find many of his outbursts justifiable. And, yes, there's something inherently adorable about Scott. I also find many of his outbursts justifiable, I just think they could happen with less shouting.

I do find myself wanting more scenes where Stiles and Derek interact, by the way, so, yeah, I think I am with you on the comedic excellence. That scene in the station was the very one where I started to think I could find my way to shipping them, one day.

12th-Jun-2012 12:16 am (UTC)
Despite the weird HARDLY ANY TIME AT ALL HAS PASSED BUT WE'RE ALL ACTING LIKE IT HAS thing it's an incredibly pacy show. There's practically no time for boredom!

I mean. I like Harry a lot, actually, that makes it sound like I don't. I just never got over Book 5 Harry because even though I knew CAPSLOCK!Harry was believable for his age and the stuff that had happened it still really annoyed me. (Possibly this is because I never had a CAPSLOCK stage myself at that age? The way society tells me I should have? I've only really started fighting with my Dad as an adult - and that's mostly because of how we're both mentally broken.)


I just love everyone in the show so much. It is ridiculous. I'm so unused to <3-ing the whole cast. I even loved Kate, even after we found out how misguidedly evil she'd been. SPEAKING OF EVIL - I could not be more excited about Evil Grandad Colonel Tigh. That is an amazing casting choice! Perfect~ (I also like that Martouf Allison's Dad is a little more liberal with his werewolf views than the rest of the family. It's nice bit of nuance.)

12th-Jun-2012 07:12 am (UTC)
I have a couple of shows now where I adore the entire cast, and, yes, Teen Wolf is one of them. The characters are, far and away, its strength.
11th-Jun-2012 05:33 pm (UTC)
Ok, so Buffy is "feminist" rather than feminist because it's about the male gaze? And mancandy = female gaze.
Therefore a show about proactive women is less feminist than a show with a largely male cast?

I think we'll have to agree to disagree there.

(I was busy gazing at Giles, while cheering for the awesome women.)
11th-Jun-2012 09:51 pm (UTC)
Ah! The important thing here is that nowhere did I say that Teen Wolf is in any way feminist. In fact, I called it out on some glaringly annoying misogyny in my last post.

I used inverted commas because other people labelled Buffy as feminist, not myself, and there are definitely some things about the show that I think were more exploitative. Not just about the hot women aspect, I'll add. On the whole, I think Buffy had a lot more positive messages than negative. I should probably have used my words and said "including the widely regarded as feminist Buffy." The inverted commas do come across as more sarcastic than they were meant to.

But, no, Teen Wolf is certainly, in no way, shape or form a feminist show. Especially since it is, mostly, all dudes most of the time. It's just also exploitative in a way that appeals to me as a straight woman. It's also not all female gazey, and I never claimed that either.

Edited at 2012-06-11 09:54 pm (UTC)
11th-Jun-2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
OK, I thought you did say it was female gazey; I guess you just said you were exercising your female gaze? I hold the "Buffy might have its problems, but if it's not largely pro-feminist, I'm not sure what we have that is" position. But I once had a weird experience in an academic job interview where very early on, the department chair fired at me: "how can you say Buffy is feminist??!!!" (I have an article in one of the early academic collections on the show). It turned out she did not have a nuanced critique, which I could have engaged with; she had only watched a few episodes because one of her students wanted to write about it . . .so it set a weird tone for the interview. ;-)

My husband loves werewolves and we watched part of the first season of Teen Wolf when it first aired here on MTV, but it wasn't our thing. But my friend linaerys is posting about it at the same time you are, if you want to share the squee.
12th-Jun-2012 07:11 am (UTC)
I said there were levels of female gaze, yes. It is not just me. There's deliberate male objectification, so if that's what you consider female gaze, it is there. But, you know, I am under no illusions it's the main or most important selling point.

I am mostly with you on Buffy. I was being lazy. I don't even really know why I brought it up, except I guess this is the first creature show I've watched in a long while, since my heady Buffy/Angel days. I've never got into all the vampire stuff since. When I wrote that line, I had also forgotten the many lovely scenes of Angel being topless. (So. Really. This is just me being shallow. My point here was not a thoughtful critique, but instead TEEN WOLF HAS HOT BOYS AND OM NOM NOM. My days of thoughtful critique died a long, long time ago.)
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