Winter is here. (Spoiler alert!)

Officially one of the best episodes of Season 6, The Winds of Winter (“WOW“), attempts to neatly but unsurprisingly tie the last few loose strands of GOT as we have know it for the past five seasons. Although we, as book readers, have been in unchartered territory for most of Season 6, we are now at a stage where our knowledge of the books will no longer serve us in our perpetual quest to appear superior and pompous of our awareness of the vast GOT universe. However, we are not complaining as this season has surpassed our expectations of the depiction of our imagination of the GOT universe in the books, yet, it has also lessened the surprise/ wow factor. WOW while flawlessly executed followed a pattern of predictability ticking off each box of suspected fan theories. So yes, Jon Snow is Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark’s son, Cersei Lannister did use the wildfire (what an exquisite scene!) and Danerys Targaryen finally is on her way to Westeros. However, the little snippets of surprise by the writers such as emasculating plots related to crucial and interesting characters in the lead up to the final two seasons or the forecasted  12-15 episodes of GOT pale the otherwise sublime heights of WOW.

(Source of the above gif: http://www.melty.com/game-of-thrones-season-6-episode-10-recap-daenerys-sets-sail-a5882.html)

For starters, why kill Margaery Tyrell? One of the most cunning players with a game clearly up her sleeve, she was extinguished in the wildfire set ablaze by Cersei and Qyburn. In a clear sign of Cersei’s utter and blatant lack of emotional quotient and highlighting her ruthless visage to usurp the Iron Throne by any means, the Sept of Baelor collapses in a heap of rubble but not before taking Tommen Baratheon with it who jumps to his death upon seeing the sheer depravity with which Cersei had used the wildfire. To be fair, Cersei had probably made her peace with the fact that she would one day lose all her children (Maggy the Frog’s prediction) and since Joffrey Baratheon’s death had resigned to the fact that she would lose Myrcella Baratheon and Tommen Baratheon. Her unflinching acceptance of Tommen’s death, her stately walk to the Iron Throne and her muted interaction with her brother Jaime Lannister while at the throne proved that this woman would stop at nothing to seek vengeance for herself – her Walk of Shame, the sufferings she had faced after marrying Robert Baratheon who had never loved her and a father (Tywin Lannister) who had never believed her enough for her to ascend to the throne. Talk about self-destrucionist tendencies. While it appeared to the viewers a a Pyrrhic victory, to Cersei, it was the moment she had been waiting for and which Lena Headey exemplified through her superior acting and complete nonchalance of the many deaths surrounding her at King’s Landing.

(Source of the above gif: http://bloodraven.co.vu/post/146533233087/the-wildfire-was-cleansing-her-burning-away-all)

The other character which shocks you with her sociopathic tendencies is Daenereys Targaryen. I have always had a gripe against the HBO portrayal of Daenerys as it is in contradistinction to her otherwise boring and inferior presentation in the books. My least favourite character, I don’t understand what is the ho0-hah about a weak, selfish and ignorant woman who gets plain lucky by: (i) marrying the greatest Khal – Khal Drogo who for a Dothraki treats her so damn well; (ii) birthing dragons who just happen to hatch; (iii) screwing around with sorcery which works adversely against her enemies; (iv) having the right kind of support around her to cater to her many needs – “Oh, I want to abolish this century old practice of slavery.” “Oh, I need to fulfil my sexual desires.” “Oh, the Sons of the Harpy are behind my life!” – Body Count = Millions; and (v) having people humour her unfounded belief in her entitlement to the Iron Throne by blood and not by any other virtue. To further support my above arguments, take this – she feels nothing when leaving behind one of the few men who love her and she doesn’t think twice about Meereen and her children (so much for Mhysa!). Dany couldn’t even bother to think twice about the wave of death and destruction her dragons will wield upon Westeros because who cares about normal people?! I think Westeros is China or India because apparently there are too many in its population for the GOT to be parcelled along the many houses which are constantly fighting over it and to add to that we have the Mad King’s (Aerys II Targaryen) psychotic daughter – Daenerys and her dragons! Consider this, the North with its winter killed Stannis Baratheon and his men, Jon Snow (scratch that, Sansa Stark) with her meagre army killed Ramsay Bolton and Co, the Wall has too few men (Jon just hanged five of them), Wildlings (sorry guys) don’t count as part of Westeros (oh wait, I think they just made up for the population decline owing to the several deaths), Riverrun and Riverlands is teaming with people due to Walder Frey’s insatiable appetite to procreate but now that he has popped we can expect another steady decline as his successors weren’t exactly bright, King’s Landing has barely enough to count as a populace what with Cersei killing few more in the wildfire and the other places…are not exactly relevant. The Vale and a few others have just enough to die in the subsequent seasons of GOT. My point being with the population in Westeros being at an all-time low and with the onset of winter, I doubt if anybody at the Iron Throne would actually have anyone to rule over which brings me to an important aspect of GOT – the war over the Iron Throne versus the war against the Night King and his army of wights and the Others. It would be interesting to see how the writers manipulate the characters in the competing but parallel story lines. It would be plain disappointing if this turns into a Hum Saath Saath Hain with Westeros uniting and combating the Night King. I can’t imagine a scenario where Cersei and Daenerys are best friends. Both don’t deserve BFFs.

On to Westeros!

(Source of the above gif: http://www.melty.com/game-of-thrones-season-6-episode-10-recap-daenerys-sets-sail-a5882.html)

Welcome, Daenerys, to the great game!

(Source of the above gif: http://www.bustle.com/articles/88355-how-to-become-a-white-walker-according-to-game-of-thrones)

We had just recovered from a FemiNazi episode 9 – ‘The Battle of Bastards‘ but to then have cries of the “King of the North” in WOW for the utterly useless and dull Jon Snow was a kick in the face. It should have ideally been Sansa Stark as the Queen of the North (Littlefinger vociferously nods with me) for obvious reasons: She deserves it. I believe that Targaryens are just plain lucky, like our Dany (see paragraph above) and Jon Snow who reincarnates from the dead. The only difference between the two is the addition of Stark blood which makes Jon saner, more honourable but also dull. I give credence to Jon in attempting to fight the Others but otherwise the man does not belong in the show. He should have been replaced by Lady Lyanna Mormont – the most positive and pathbreaking female character in GOT yet. Her quick wit, supreme confidence and superior negotiation skills at such a young age make her the most impressive GOT character. Lady Mormont for President and every other important post in the world! Move over, Cersei and Dany. GOT currently is exuding strong female energy and it would have furthered this feminist plot to make Sansa the Queen in the North to take on Cersei at King’s Landing. However, it increasingly appears that Jon intends to lead the Northerners to the Wall to fight the Night King leaving his politically astute sister – Sansa to fortify their position internally in Westeros. Just go back to the Wall, Jon. Die, maybe?

(Source of this gif: https://www.tumblr.com/search/lyanna%20mormont%20gif)

Dorne and the Iron Islands continue in their coy and cozy role as the step children of GOT who support their more important elder siblings in the fight for the Iron Throne. Highgarden too has now been relegated to that inferior position with Oleanna Tyrell (another brilliant characterisation by the writers!) attempting to align with Dorne and Daenerys to rebuff Cersei. “No more reaving, roving, raiding, and raping” for the Iron Islanders as Asha Greyjoy (Yara for the TV show viewers) commits to Daenerys to avoid getting killed by Euron Greyjoy and to establish a new world order in which it is perfectly reasonable to unleash dragon fire on innocents to claim the Iron Throne (Is my inherent prejudice against Daenerys obvious?). Wonder what the Drowned God would say to that!

(Source of the above gif: https://www.romper.com/p/daenerys-yaras-meeting-on-game-of-thrones-was-more-than-flirting-12831)

Nobody cares about Samwell Tarly and his Oldtown adventure but since he is now in possession of Heartsbane (Valyrian steel) it is evident that he will be sticking it out till the end in the war against the Night King. Oh also, there might be some correlation to the chandelier in the Oldtown library with the opening credits…yawn. Sorcery, anyone? Or time-travel like Varys rushing from Dorne to Meereen to set sail to Westeros in front row seats in Daenerys versus Cersei.

Sadly, Melisandre is sent away to the south but I doubt if this is the last we will see of her in GOT unless she is wiped out by the writers as another liability of the unending GOT universe. Ser Davos Seaworth needs to stop being an emotional mess over Stannis Baratheon and Shireen but here’s another character the writers need to polish off in the next season. Wasn’t he supposed to be locked up and then released by the Manderlys as per the books? Why is he even alive? I would trade a Ser Davos for Aegon Targaryen – son of Rhaegar Targaryen whom the TV show has completely given a miss. Here I thought it would be a return of the Targaryens with Jon, Daenerys and Aegon (full circle?).

Shame. Shame. Shame. Where is Aegon?!

shame nun animated GIF

(Source of the above gif: http://popkey.co/m/6GJWk-shame-nun-got)

Final thoughts:

  1. Is the Night King “chilling”? (Pun intended!)
  2. Isn’t Meera bored of Bran?
  3. Gendry is still rowing to God-knows-where (hell, he doesn’t even know to row – another convenient clean-up/ casualty?). In the broader picture of things, does a Robert Baratheon survivor matter considering Daenerys and her dragons? Although, technically, Gendry is the rightful successor to the Iron Throne.
  4. Welcome back, Arya Stark aka The Faceless Assassin. Stark family reunion, bitches!
  5. Award for the creepiest characters till date – the Little Birds who drove knifes into the Grand Maester Pycelle and into Lancel.
  6. Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne – yawn.
  7. Beric Dondarrion, Stoneheart and The Hound – Let’s kill all the Freys and then some wights.
  8. RIP Hodor – the most touching episode of Season 6 ‘The Door‘.
  9. RIP Wun Wun. How will we break the sieges now?
  10. How is the population of Westeros going to grow?

Till next time, folks!

(Source of the above gif: http://www.ranker.com/list/game-of-thrones-gifs/ranker-of-thrones?var=4&utm_expid=16418821-195.XDOrZZ5GR7qJhLcsEBsiSw.3&format=GRID&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ranker.com%2Flist%2Fgame-of-thrones-gifs%2Franker-of-thrones)

‘The Office’ (US) is about a bunch of homogeneous, dysfunctional and mildly lovable characters working at Dunder-Mifllin, a paper company, which also evolves over the nine seasons of the show, and their day-to-day lives. It is shot like a documentary (another Modern Family) in Scranton (insert: the Michael and Dwight rap on the “Electric City!”) with New York and Niagara thrown in for good measure and for the right reasons. I have to say this – you might not like it initially. In fact, it is like breaking into a pair of new shoes or going through the awkward first season of Friends where you are trying very hard to find a semblance of humour in all that bad acting and it might even slightly get to your nerves – Steve Carell does that consistently across seven seasons to the main protagonists so why should you be absolved but then you get comfortable and accustomed to the inanity and learn that this show is probably the best thing to have ever been made in the history of television. Unfortunately, it isn’t the stuff of legends – it is no Friends or That 70’s Show or Everybody Loves Raymond but it is the stuff that will stick with you for a long time and make you want to revisit a few scenes on YouTube.

Steve Carell (Michael Scott) – the unusual Boss of the office finds himself in the company of relatively sane people who miss no opportunity in not working each day which includes being personally and constantly involved in each other’s lives, battling their various eccentricities and dealing with a Boss who makes life painful yet pleasurable in his pursuit to waste every minute at the office being engaged in some ridiculous activity like defending his foot-in-the-mouth and patronising homosexuals. In this venture of his, he is forcibly assisted by the office receptionist – Jenna Fischer (Pamela Beesly) who is droll, dull and lifeless and occasionally lets her hair down by helping John  Krasinski (Jim Halpert) prank Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute). If there is one thing that The Office deserves to be remembered for at the very least are these pranks which range from the mundane (trapping Dwight’s stapler inside jello) to the elaborate (Dwight believing that he is being recruited by the CIA for a secret mission) and to the plain silly (imitation – my absolute favourite scene in the show!).

The characters in the show are well thought-out in the overall context of the show (for instance, you have the standard wacky, geeky, African American, drunk etc.) and you grow to love them each for their  brilliant execution even the mildly irritating Steve Carell whose final episode in the seventh season leaves you with a lump in your throat. The seventh and eighth season will also be remembered for other wrong reasons, that is, the addition of Will Ferrell (Deangelo Vickers) and James Spader (Robert California) and for granting more screen time to Ed Helms (Andy Bernard) which considerably dulls the sheen of an otherwise vibrant show. James Spader in particular brings a certain dark humour and some extremely distasteful and not warranted action to a show which had so far relied on its clean humour and wit to survive till season seven. No, not all of The Office is serious – it is goofy with a compelling, strong and fast story line which you can pick up mid-season too. I would however advice against mid-season watching just for one reason. The Pam-Jim romance! Touted as the perfect couple and soul mates, the gradual evolution of their relationship from close friends to a couple with the white picket fence, it has it all. Of course, one can always argue about how a relationship of such two similar people was a bore and that it was saccharine sweet, however, I believe that it is just the cynic in us who is unable to appreciate a healthy relationship which undergoes its fair share of strain in seasons eight and nine (thankfully!).

Coming to Ed Helms. The reason I am dedicating a separate paragraph to write about him is his character in the show – Andy Bernard or the ‘Nard Dog as he calls himself on multiple occasions that you literally want to wrench every single strand of hair from your head. Probably an exaggeration but I absolutely hated the ‘Nard Dog not only because I found him to be one of the most useless and ill-etched character on the show but also because by seasons eight and nine, you are at your wit’s end on having to see the character make a complete ass of himself. Stop with the singing man! This is where The Office lost me and I couldn’t wait for Andy’s scenes to end just so we could probably watch somebody else, even the minor characters like dull Phyllis Smith (Phyllis Vance) or the annoying Ellie Kemper (Erin Hannon), the latter of which managed to have three full blown romances in two and a half seasons, one with Andy himself.

The other striking thing about The Office is that there is actually no concept of a minor character. Each character gets his or her adequate screen time to not make it a one-man show but eventually you do get around to having your favourites. No, actually, I like all the characters except for Deangelo, Robert and Andy. I like them all. Yes, you read me right. No actually, I didn’t like Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor) and BJ Novak (Ryan Howard) who have also coincidentally produced the show. Point being all of them are likeable in their own way (this does not include Andy) but you do come to a point when you have a softer spot for a few compared to the others. My soft spot would definitely belong to Dwight Schrute for playing an extremely difficult and dangerous yet humane, multi-talented, determined, tenacious, geeky, empathetic and lovable individual. This Amish guy owns a beet farm and would be that one person whom you would love to pick on (see Jim’s pranks in this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfGN7bfohms) but as the show evolves you don’t see Dwight as the enemy, rather, you see him as that friend you would love to have in your life. I loved the show’s trajectory on his on and off romance with the irritable cat-lover Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin) eventually leading to an unlikely happily ever after.

The Office to me is the one show which emotionally tugged at my heartstrings and overwhelmed me in its finale. Somewhere a part of me wishes that I still had a few more seasons to watch and that probably the binge-watch was not worth it but like all good things (just like Friends) it had to come to an end. It is a class apart and maybe you will not watch it on repeat but it will stay with you, trust me. Thankfully, the last episode which had the characters talking about their experience on having been documented for the show for nine years did not end being preachy but left you with a sense of “what if?”. What if your life was being documented right now? What would you come across as? Would you see your mistakes and learn from them? Would you enjoy seeing yourself being a total idiot? Would you want to go back in time and change a few things? The Office is an experience and if nothing else stays with you, you will at least remember how to prank your co-worker by gift wrapping his cardboard desk or paying everyone in office just to mispronounce their name. As for me, I am in the hunt for some good quality jello.

p.s – This is fresh out of writer’s block, excuse the errors, if any.

http://wifflegif.com/gifs/407460-bears-beets-battlestar-galactica-gif

bears beets battlestar galactica gif

I am pleased to share that the winter I was whole-heartedly denouncing appears to be fleeting and I hope this is the last I will be seeing of it (at least till next year).

In line with my new year resolution to blog about meaningful and useful subjects, rather than to rant-and-rave, and, also to capture my long withheld thoughts on these tv shows, I am going to write them down here before I scoot down for another evening of binge-watching and binge-eating.

You’re the Worst (YTW)

I found You’re the Worst at a time when I had completed watching Full House and was almost through the first season of Frasier which I found amusing but dry. It didn’t possess the Everybody Loves Raymond brand of humour which had its fair share of episodes which you just wish would end and neither was it adorable like Full House which again went through its own intolerable phase of excruciating cuteness. So, the idea of a young commitment-phobic couple sounded just about right after meandering through Frasier.

I think like life (to hell with it, I am going to get philosophical – it’s my blog!) every tv show has its ebbs and flows, just like every song (albeit the preponderance is greater in pop) has this crescendo that it builds up to leading to this slow tone (totally kills your work-out!) which goes on for about 30 seconds followed by the chorus (yay! let’s go faster on the elliptical). Case in point being Enrique Iglesias.  YTW had one horrendous episode – Sunday Funday and a few stupid scenes dealing with the side characters frugally distributed through seasons 1 and 2 implying that it is good tv. I was skeptical of the show because its central male character – an English pseudo-intellectual arsehole with his many weird references was a total let-down but as the character evolved I grew to love him. I love the central female lead because she is as real as it gets but to be sure she has her own flaws. I like the fact that she ate whatever she wanted and was nonchalant about her sexual needs, almost casual but classy.

YTW sets up this perfect storyline about two people who abhor commitment and you believe it till it becomes so utterly predictable that they end up in a committed relationship. It’s a modern take on every romantic comedy ever made yet it stops just short of being a cheesy RomCom. So there isn’t any woo-er and woo-ee, it’s not your candies and flowers but neither is it without the fuss. So, there are times when the protagonists are chilling with cigarettes after sex and trading their respective stories and also times when they are non-stop texting each other without it being cheeseball-worthy. The side-characters – a bunch of dysfunctional (Note: Everybody in the show is dysfunctional at some level.) weirdos are fun without being overwhelming save for the few times when you just can’t take any more of them but they beautifully in their own way balance the show and season 2 adds dashes of brilliance to their otherwise drab stories.

Season 1 was mediocre at best but season 2 takes the show to a whole  different level and by the end of it you are knocked out completely. Spoiler alert! Season 2 addresses the female protagonist’s clinical depression and you would half expect the guy to flee but he stays and as cliched RomComs end they express they say the predicable three words. The ending leaves you with a warm fuzzy but surprised feeling but there again you have the same boy-chase-girl-to-protect-and-fix-her routine and diminishes the fierce sense of self-worth of the female character.

Then again, isn’t that how relationships work sometimes? While the entertainment industry – Hollywood and Bollywood churn out fiercely independent and sometimes rigidly feminist characters, ultimately, each such character is a sucker for the romance and fuzz of a boy chasing her and somehow fixing her, be it placating her insecurities or fixing her emotionally from the abuses of her past. I will desist from turning this into an argument on feminism and the independence of a modern-day woman but RomComs are generally built on the premise of a helpless yet strong female. All in all, YTW is worth a watch, you might get irked with the English accent but you learn to live with it. Just steer clear of judging the side characters early on.

Married

One episode down and I just couldn’t deal with the useless good-for-nothing-sex-crazy husband. Yes, the show is about the life a married couple with three children. The husband as described above is utterly sex deprived because his hard-working wife who does practically everything around the house is too tired to fulfill his crazy sexual needs. What can I say, I don’t like weak male characters. It was nice to see Judy Greer back in action (remember, The Wedding Planner?!)

Quantico

I now love Priyanka Chopra and have this new-found respect for her because the woman is into everything practically – acting and music and a few more things (I think). She is actually a watered down female version of Farhan Akhtar who is so freaking multi-talented and gifted. I love her hectic work schedule and how she posts these airplane photographs on Instagram (yes, I stalk her occasionally) and how at 33 the woman is fit with a waist size of 26 and how she can talk business but the show…I stopped watching it after episode 4 or 5. It’s another thing that I couldn’t stream it but I just lost interest because it was so teen-girlish.

So, you have Alex Parrish – the genius and the invincible FBI agent accused of a terrorist attack who can do no wrong and then you have the blubbering and foolish FBI who can’t nab her. I would seriously love to be in Alex’s shoes because every single character in the show gives her such a huge ego boost and constantly keep telling her things like “you’re the best”. With such a fan following who wouldn’t believe themselves to be the best. And the rest clearly are dunces and fools with some sordid pasts and fallacies like being unable to do push-ups like Alex or being unable to shoot or not being as perceptive as her. I remember this test where the FBI trainees had to figure out the identity of a possible terrorist; while the rest literally jumped to conclusions, Alex has an ah-ha moment and comes up with this brilliant diagnosis that it all depended on who gave them the clues and how it limited their investigation and la-la-la. Everybody is astounded at her brilliance and laud her for being the first FBI agent to have cracked the test. Wait, what? You all can’t be idiots! But, yes, they are!

Besides the background score which I absolutely loved, the new find Johanna Braddy (the woman’s a stick!) and my admiration of Piggy Chops’ work ethic, Quantico failed to impress and interest me. Well, I will google to find out what happens eventually like I did with Scandal but I don’t think I can bear watching the show anymore.

Homeland

Let me begin my saying just how much I wish I had a mentor like Saul and I wish I was as brilliant as Cary. I loved Homeland! At least until Brody goes to Brazil or someplace, after which, I put my hands up and called it quits. Homeland is about a CIA agent – Cary and her ambition to capture all the terrorists in the world and thwart any attack on American soil having failed to stop 9/11. The words ‘American Soil’ have been used countless number of times through the show and you can’t help but wish it would end at some point.

Not all 45-50 minutes of each episode are great and most of the times you’d rather fast-forward to get to the real action than silently bear through the entire episode. The first few episodes had me thrilled and excited as you sit at the edge of your seat like Cary to figure out Brody and then he just disappoints you. I mean, what is with the Brazil bit?! Brody’s wife -Jessica Brody is the epitome of this perfect wife who is having an affair with Brody’s best friend because Brody was away having been tortured and imprisoned for 8 years. Brody’s kids are screwed up in their own way. Period. Cary thinks Brody is a terrorist and surprise surprise he is! Then he is not because Cary fixes him. Can I again say that I hate weak men?

 

To be Continued…

Brace Yourself! Winter is here.

Winters are supposed to be harsh. They are supposed to make you cold and bitter, right down to your very toes. They are supposed to make you want to curl up under your blanket and shut the world out in every sense of the term. They are supposed to make you resist waking up in the mornings and going about your routine business. They are supposed to make you do a lot many things, but, most importantly, they are supposed to calm things down. Winters are supposed to halt the bullshit and inanity of everyday life; they are supposed to herald the holidays and simpler times where responsibilities, work, cleaning, obligations and what have you vapourise into thin air and leave you with vast amounts of time to do absolutely nothing.

However, the above does not apply to you if you are a lawyer with a boss who is about to take his break and decides that he would like to wrap up a month’s work in a week. This also does not apply to you if you are stressed beyond reason for practically everything in life. This also does not apply to you if you live by yourself and are facing a mountain of housework and fruits to cut for the next day.

All this and more would clearly lead to you becoming a stressed-out, on the edge, over-eating, cortisol producing maniac who eliminates a month of consistent work outs and careful diet. Side-effects include: crazy desire to splurge, binge-eat yoghurt and to lie horizontal in bed all day watching Unreal as if the show’s going to be pulled off from the Internet the very next second.

In addition to you becoming a lazy and fat ass who cannot stop spending/ eating and watching drama, you also become increasingly annoyed and depressed with this strong urge to kick people for being who they are while deeply wishing that it were summer again.

It’s a beautiful day
Sky falls, you feel like
It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away – Beautiful Day, U2

For those profoundly hopeful and busy days.