Dear TV Writers: Your Fear of the Moonlighting Curse is Killing Your Show

What is the Moonlighting Curse, and why is it such a big deal to television writers? Read this in-depth look at the crippling phenomenon and find out!

Getting Rid of the Stigma: Mental Illness in Young Adult Fiction, by Megan Mann

In this piece, Megan brilliantly discusses the stigma of mental illness in literature and how some young adult novels are helping to change the landscape for this discussion.

In Appreciation of the Everyday Heroine

A mask does not a hero make. In this piece, I discuss why it's wrong to dismiss characters without costumes or masks as superheroes.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Game of Thrones 7x05 Recap: "Eastwatch" (Keeping It In the Family) [Contributor: Melanie]


"Eastwatch"
Original Airdate: August 13, 2017

Is my introduction to these posts even worth it any more? Even I just want to jump right into the HOLY COWness of all of this. In spite of another “filler” episode, laying down groundwork and setting up Game of Thrones’ infamous penultimate episode gambit this was a crazy ride. There were reunions in nearly every scene, first meetings for characters, and the return of a long-awaited fan favorite. Yes, that’s right, Gendry finally stopped rowing long enough to get back on camera.

There was also a HUGE revelation that proved a long-held fan theory about the nature of Jon Snow’s conception and birth. He was never a Snow to begin with.


IN THE REACH


Bronn pulls Jaime out of the Mariana’s Trench that somehow appeared in the Blackwater Rush last episode. They escape and make their way back to King’s Landing. Tyrion walks the battlefield, sullen, while Dany rounds up the survivors and tells them she plans to create a better kingdom for them than Cersei ever did, asking only that they bend the knee to her in return. Some do, but the Tarly men are noticeably stubborn. Dany and Tyrion both try to talk sense into them but they refuse to bow to a foreign invader. She has them executed by immolation a la Drogon and the rest of the Lannister hold-outs drop to their knees.

IN DRAGONSTONE


Dany returns and is greeted by Jon, who not only faces down Drogon but reaches out his hand and places it on the dragon’s snout. Drogon is calm and allows Jon to continue the interaction before Dany dismounts. She informs Jon her campaign was a success and she believes, in the long run, it was beneficial to the whole of the Seven Kingdoms under Cersei’s rule. Their discussion is interrupted when a group of Dothraki arrive with a visitor claiming to be a friend of Dany’s: Jorah Mormont. They have a happy reunion.

Tyrion is concerned by Dany’s behavior and attempts to rationalize it. Varys says he too once tried to rationalize Aerys’ actions until it was too late, but believes Daenerys is not her father or too far gone that Tyrion’s counsel won’t be able to calm her. He then reveals he received a raven from Sansa. Jon is distraught to find his entire family at Winterfell, vulnerable to the march of the White Walkers at Eastwatch. He asks Dany’s permission to return home but she is reluctant to let him leave to march to his death. Tyrion devises a plan where they capture a wight and bring it to Cersei to make a play for an alliance against the White Walkers with their combined forces.

Jorah volunteers to go and retrieve the corpse, much to Dany’s dismay. Jon also says he’ll go as the only person who has previously fought them. Later, Dany has a heartfelt goodbye with Jorah and a tension-filled one with Jon.

IN KING'S LANDING


Jaime returns horrified by the battle and tells Cersei it is a war impossible to win. She decides she’d rather die fighting than surrender to Daenerys. Later, Davos and Tyrion sneak into the city where Tyrion has arranged Bronn to bring Jaime to him. The two have a less than warm reunion and Tyrion informs him of the White Walkers and their plan to bring proof. Jaime relays this information to Cersei who knew Jaime went to meet with Tyrion and warns him not to betray her again. He reveals Olenna murdered Joffrey but Cersei reveals that she is pregnant, wiping away Jaime’s doubts. She decides an armistice with Dany is more beneficial, at the moment, than a prolonged war.

In Flea Bottom, Davos finds Gendry, the bastard son of King Robert, working at his old blacksmith shop. He recruits Gendry to their fight up North and, after a brief run in with Goldcloaks, he, Gendry, and Tyrion safely make it out of the city.

AT THE CITADEL


The maesters receive a raven calling for aid against the White Walkers because of Bran’s visions of their march. They laugh it off, angering Sam who begs them to do something about it because he’s seen the Walkers beyond the Wall. They agree to ascertain the truth of Bran’s visions before doing anything, and Sam storms out. Later he’s pouring over scrolls, looking for any clues to the defeat of the White Walkers while Gilly reads to him interesting facts and footnotes she finds in various scrolls. She asks him what an annulment means and reads a brief record of a Prince “Ragger” getting his marriage annulled in Dorne in order to marry another woman. Sam, frustrated, ignores her and decides it is time for them to leave in order to help Jon and the others more directly.

IN THE NORTH


The Northmen continue to have trouble trusting Jon’s judgement. Sansa does not disagree with them, but brushes aside their desire to place her on the Northern throne. Arya is irritated that her sister did not defend their brother but Sansa argues she cannot afford to lose their bannermen. Arya suggests dealing with them as criminals of treason, executing them, but Sansa refuses. They part on icy terms.

Later, Arya follows Littlefinger around the castle as he speaks discreetly with several individuals and places a letter under his bed. She sneaks into his room and removes it. It is the letter Sansa was once forced to write to Robb, asking him to surrender and swear fealty to Joffrey. From the shadows, Littlefinger watches with satisfaction at his planted information.

Bran has a vision of the army of the dead and the Night’s King heading to the Wall.

BEYOND THE WALL


Jon and company arrive at Eastwatch where they reunite with Tormund and find he has taken the Hound and his entourage prisoner. After some debate, they decide to work together, going beyond the Wall to face down the evil beyond.

UNPACKING IT ALL


Let’s knock the reunions out of the way first. When last Dany and Jorah saw each other, he was dying of Greyscale and she was queen in Meereen. She sent him to find a cure for his incurable illness (Targaryen genes allowed Dany to never be sick in her life so she doesn’t really understand the concept, forgive her). He did it and is now back on Dragonstone. Her welcome of him was warm, though not as heartfelt as some might have hoped. It was likely the productive of zero time for longing glances but it also seemed to be in place to create the ever present tension of Jorah being head over heels for a queen who sees him as her oldest and most trusted friend and nothing else.

We also saw the return of Gendry who finished his massive rowing expedition of season four to be recruited by Davos to fight beyond the Wall. He takes quickly to Jon for both their positions as bastards and the friendship their fathers shared long ago. Gendry is reunited with Thoros of Myr, whom he still holds a grudge against for giving him up to Melisandre.

Let’s begin with the massive reveal that fans have suspected for some time: Jon was not a bastard. There is a blink and you miss it reference to a prince once annulling his marriage to a Dornish woman. The prince in question was Rhaegar; the Dornish woman was his Martell wife, Ellia. This, in all likelihood, means he married Lyanna during their year in hiding, before she gave birth to their son Jon. This makes him not only a legitimate Targaryen, but with the best claim to the throne, if we follow the Targaryen bloodline. Why does this matter? Well, we’re not really sure yet. Jon has shown his distaste for crowns. But it does almost 100% lock in the chances of Jon and Dany marrying considering A) the Targaryen practices of incestuous marriages to ensure bloodlines, B) Dany’s need to ensure her claim stays strong by marrying it to Jon’s (literally), and C) the massive bedroom eyes going on between them all episode.

There is a second hint about Jon’s heritage earlier in the episode when Drogon allows him to reach out his ungloved hand and touch him. This is a highly symbolic moment. Targaryens hold an innate bond to dragons, only those of that bloodline have ever been able to get near a dragon. In A Dance With Dragons, a character with distant Targaryen ancestry attempts to touch one of Dany’s dragons, only to be roasted alive. Drogon, able to sense the connection in Jon’s heritage to him, has no qualms. If Dany took note of this, she really didn’t let on.

That connection will likely be put to use when Jon finds himself in a bad way beyond the Wall next week and Dany sends some dragons to rescue him...oh, and all those other people he went with, was there even other people there? She didn’t notice.

On a less political note, there is something sweet about the growing bond between Dany and Jon. He was raised a bastard, unwanted by the only mother figure he knew, and treated as a half-brother by his siblings. Dany grew up a slave to the only family she knew and a beggar on the streets. The powers that be in the world of Game of Thrones have plucked these two orphans from obscurity and unlucky lives, raised them up, and brought them together. And, after all, Maester Aemon (who was actually Dany and Jon’s uncle) said before dying, “A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing.” The last Targaryens are no longer alone. It might be the one sappy, nice thing this show will allow us to have.

This is part of the reason I’m not entirely sure Jon will ever find out about his heritage, at least not in the big bombastic reveal we’re all hoping for. No matter what his last name has been, Jon has been a Stark and a Northman through and through. He was raised as Ned Stark’s son, he was one of two of Ned’s children who actually “had the look” of the First Men as opposed to the classic Tully beauty (the other being Arya), he carries a sword with a wolf hilt and has a direwolf companion like his siblings. His allegiance and identity lie in Winterfell so I don’t see him jumping for joy and dropping everything to be king if he finds out what he really is. In fact, he might even abdicate his claim in favor of Daenerys because, as I’ve mentioned before, I believe the Prince and Azor Ahai to be two separate people given the description of one as a ruler and one as a warrior. Jon has lead the fight against the White Walkers so far and Daenerys has united half a million people from different cultural backgrounds into one, cohesive nomadic kingdom of her own. It doesn’t need to be reiterated by me for the millionth time that Jon and Dany are two sides of the same coin with almost identical pasts.

And there is still the conclusion of Cersei’s prophecy: that a younger queen will take away all she holds dear. I foresee the longheld theory that Dany will use Dragon’s fire to melt the throne, just as her ancestor Aegon used Balerion’s fire to forge it.

What we can all agree on is that Rhaegar was a massive, massive word I cannot say in this review for abandoning his wife for another woman because “prophecy told him so.” There are some dubious things about Rhaegar’s annulment and the legal and social implications that we can save for another day. Just know that he’s a massive turd.

I’d like to close out the recap for this week with yet another call-out of the gender double standard that has plagued Game of Thrones and its fandom for years. This time, I’m talking about Sansa. She’s gotten the brunt of the sexist and flat-out misogynistic comments over the years with (male) fans calling her “whiny” for her years spent enduring emotional and physical abuse at the hands of Joffrey and the Lannisters. You know, when she was a twelve-year old girl trapped, all alone, in the capital and her brother refused to trade any prisoners to free her because she was a girl and therefore not worth it.

The show did a fairly good job of coding her in a sympathetic light, but that didn’t stop the (male) fanbase from complaining about her storyline and even complaining about her rejection of the Hound’s affection for her because he rescued her from would-be rapists and apparently she owes him?? Now she is the eldest Stark in Winterfell and, with Bran giving up his claim to lordship of the castle, she is the rightful Lady Stark in her own right. But, the Jon fanboys aren’t seeing it that way (and, unfortunately, neither is Arya). In their eyes, Jon is, at best, a bastard, born in Dorne, who is a disgraced member of the Night’s Watch. At worst, he’s not a Stark at all, but the legitimate son of another House entirely who has now abandoned his post as King in the North. He has no claim to the title he holds, and they might very well go back on their election of him as their king. I’m not saying they should, but what I am saying is Sansa isn’t dealing in any sort of back alley betrayal. She’s the legitimate Lady Stark, Lord of Winterfell, and Warden of the North and I wouldn’t even have to explain this if she was a man.

But, anyway, there’s only two episodes left of the penultimate season of Game of Thrones!

Series: Summer Lovin’ -- Week 27

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It's hard to believe that summer is already winding down. Seriously, where did the time go? As many people are buying school supplies and prepping for a return to books and exams, we're celebrating a few more weeks of summer and all it has to offer us. Joining me this week to talk about what they're lovin' are:

Let's get started!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

3rd Annual Golden Trio Awards — SPECIAL CATEGORY NOMINEES

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So much good stuff happened across television this year that we always create an extra special category to celebrate performers and shows in! We hope you enjoy our selections and root for your favorites by voting them into our #Top3 winners next week!

Below, you'll find photo collages with the nominees and then the polls below the photos. You can vote multiple times and we encourage you to cheer on your favorites on social media with the hashtag #GoldenTrioAwards. Tweet, Tumble, and Facebook them into the spots they deserve!

And be sure to check out the COMEDY/VARIETY and DRAMA nominees when you're done, too!

HAPPY VOTING, Y'ALL.

3rd Annual Golden Trio Awards — DRAMA NOMINEES

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It's been a crazy year for drama series, hasn't it? Between the finale of Orphan Black, the rise of new series like The Handmaid's Tale, This Is Us, and more, plenty of actors and writers wow'd us with their tear-jerking and emotional work. And we want you to honor it by choosing the three best performers in each category to receive gold, silver, and bronze.

Below, you'll find photo collages with the nominees and then the polls below the photos. You can vote multiple times and we encourage you to cheer on your favorites on social media with the hashtag #GoldenTrioAwards. Tweet, Tumble, and Facebook them into the spots you think they deserve!

And be sure to check out the COMEDY/VARIETY and SPECIAL CATEGORY nominees when you're done, too!

HAPPY VOTING, Y'ALL.

3rd Annual Golden Trio Awards — COMEDY/VARIETY NOMINEES

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Enjoy our Comedy nominees by voting them into our #Top3 winners next week! This year, you'll see a lot of different comedies represented, including newbies like One Day At A Time, the tragically cancelled Sweet Vicious, and many more!

Below, you'll find photo collages with the nominees and then the polls below the photos. You can vote multiple times and we encourage you to cheer on your favorites on social media with the hashtag #GoldenTrioAwards. Tweet, Tumble, and Facebook them into the spots you think they deserve!

And be sure to check out the DRAMA and SPECIAL CATEGORY nominees when you're done, too!

HAPPY VOTING, Y'ALL.

3rd Annual Golden Trio Awards — INTRODUCTION

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WELCOME to the 3rd Annual Just About Write Golden Trio Awards!

You're probably wondering exactly what these are, what this whole #Top3 business is, and why this is so important. To give you a bit of a background, Chelsea is going to explain the Twitter game (see: obsession) that she created a few years ago that has inspired these awards. We run through this every year, but if you're new around here or to the awards, here's a bit of a refresher course!:

So in July 2013 I started this little thing called #Top3 on my Twitter and personal blog as a small scheme to figure out somebody's favorite movie. It quickly escalated into a five day a week competition game with winners and wonderful bragging rights. I'd give people a random Film or TV category and they would respond with their #Top3 choices for the category. No more, no less, and you had to have #RUTHLESSNESS when making your picks. There were three winners because some things just do not compare.   
My Top 3 films (To Kill a Mockingbird, Beauty and the Beast, Lost in Translation), for instance, have nothing in common writing, editing, or directing wise other than the fact that they are films. Honoring multiple pieces shows just how rich we are in quality content. I did this game for about six months before I grew tired of it, but at least once a week since the game ended I've had at least one person ask if I would ever bring it back. It was a fun way to talk about pop culture and get people interested in things they may not have seen.   
I brought the idea of bringing back the game to Jenn a few weeks ago after the Emmy nominations and we brainstormed a way to bring it back in a more self-contained format. We asked all the lovely ladies of this site to fill out their top choices for each category, then Jenn and I compiled all the ballots before narrowing down each category to seven. The overlap in the ballots helped us narrow down and we ruthlessly managed to cut down the rest until we represented as many shows as we could. #Top3 for me was always about showcasing as much great content as possible with all the winners.   
I owe Jenn and the entire Just About Write team a big thank-you for helping me with this elaborate scheme and making me love the idea of #Top3 again. You ladies are amazing and I am proud to be working with you.   
Back to you, Jenn!

When Chels approached me with the idea to combine #Top3 and an awards ceremony a few years ago, I was automatically on board. This year, we compiled nomination ballots together, and -- after barely any difficult compromising -- Chelsea and I managed to narrow down the nominations in each category.

We're so excited to be doing this again and that you all have responded so positively to it over the past few years. In the posts that will follow, you'll be met with a few different ballots:






Comedy and Drama are pretty self-explanatory, but our Special Category ballots contain an awesome array of fandom-focused categories from OTP of the Year to Favorite Ensemble, and more!

The nominations open today and will be closed by 8 AM EST on Saturday, August 19. By mid-week, I'll round up the top 3 people/shows with the most votes in each category and those will be your third annual Golden Trio Award winners! (Gold will be awarded to the most votes, silver to the next, and bronze to the third highest.)

Did I mention that we're excited? Because we are! Take time and fill out your ballots. You can vote AS MANY TIMES as you would like. Share on social media! But most importantly, have half as much fun voting in these as we did creating them! :)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return 3x13 Recap: "Part 13: What Story Is That, Charlie?" (It’s Not Me, It’s “Just You”) [Contributor: Erin Allen]

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"Part 13: What Story Is That, Charlie?"
Original Airdate: August 6, 2017

Part 13 is a hodge-podge mix of stories. Some are major plot developments and others seem like just a simple glimpse into the lives of some of the Twin Peaks residents. Still, there’s a lot of information to sift through, including possible (most likely intentional) timeline tampering. “Is it future or is it past?”

Cooper is still out celebrating with the Mitchum Brothers which makes the short scene of him playing catch (or attempting to play) with Sonny Jim on Part 12 a source of confusion. The Mitchums go big when they celebrate. They buy Cooper/Dougie a car and a play set for his son. They buy Bushnell extravagant gifts, as well. Anthony panics when the party train arrives at Lucky 7, and Mr. Todd informs him that he has one day to kill Dougie.

Their arrival at the insurance firm is in full quirky Twin Peaks form. The jazzy music and dazed Cooper going along with the festivities is fun to watch. As is the whimsical play set that is put up in The Jones’ backyard. I’ve never seen a backyard play structure with a light up marquee arch in front of it. And why was there a movie premiere spotlight and dreamy carnival music playing? It was so surreal and cool.

Anthony acquires the means to poison Cooper/Dougie, revealing that some of the local detectives are in cahoots with Mr. Todd. Luckily Cooper’s weird ways cause Anthony to abandon his plan and confess. This is a nice scene that involves coffee and cherry pie... and dandruff? Odd as it is, it plays really well. Kyle MacLachlan has been very consistent with this bewildered version of Cooper. The slow blink gets me every time. Tom Sizemore is also impressive as Anthony. The guilty unraveling of this guy has been intriguing since his introduction way back on Part 5.

Big things are happening with Mr. C. He’s made it to The Farm, looking for Ray. He finds him, and the only thing standing between him and killing the man that betrayed him is an arm-wrestling match with Mr. Clean. This scene is entirely nerve-racking and entertaining. I was curious to see if Mr. C still had his evil powers after BOB supposedly left his body. The bout with Enzo (the Mr. Clean looking dude) proves that Mr. C is still a force to be reckoned with. He coolly taunts him before winning the match and punching a fist-sized dent into his face, killing him.

His victory leads to an interesting interaction with Ray, which the rest of The Farm guys watch on a big screen from another room. Ray and Mr. C’s conversation is fascinating. It mentions Phillip Jeffries and Major Briggs, and the owl cave ring makes an ominous appearance. Ray was told to put the ring on Mr. C after he killed him. Ray doesn’t get that chance. After giving Mr. C the coordinates and telling him about a place called The Dutchman’s, Mr. C shoots Ray. The ring that Mr. C instructed Ray to put on his left hand, ring finger fades away and falls onto the floor of the Black Lodge. There is a shot of Ray lying dead on the Black Lodge floor, and then a push in on the ring sitting atop the marble table.

About halfway through this interaction, Richard showed up at The Farm and watched the screen, mesmerized. Does he recognize Mr. C?

So Shelly and Bobby aren’t together anymore. I can accept that... sort of. But, why you gotta break up Norma and Big Ed? Why? Ed’s still pining. 25 years later. If that’s not the saddest thing, I don’t know what is. Oh, wait, it’s the credits rolling over Ed sitting alone in silence at his gas station eating soup out of a Double R to-go container.

I’m glad Peggy Lipton got a more meaty scene in this episode. Norma’s been an observer every time we’ve seen her. Her interaction with this guy Walter exudes that sweetness we know Norma has in spades, interjected with these tense glances at Ed. I want to know more about what happened with these lovebirds! And I want Walter to take his market research and get out of Twin Peaks. For good.

Speaking of heartbreak, whatever is going on with Audrey is super heartbreaking. “I feel like I’m somewhere else, and like I’m somebody else. I’m not sure who I am, but I’m not me.” She freaks out and has a meltdown, not sure if she wants to go looking for Billy at The Roadhouse after all. All the while, Charlie is infuriatingly calm and patronizing. “Are you going to stop playing games or do I have to end your story, too?” That sounds like a threat. And it scares Audrey. “What story is that, Charlie? Is that the story of the little girl who lived down the lane?” WHAT IN THE WORLD?! She says, “It’s like Ghostwood here,” and breaks down in tears. Oh Audrey. My heart hurts.

But the pain continues in a scene that makes my eyes and ears hurt. James Hurley performs “Just You” at The Roadhouse. I never in a million years would’ve imagined this. His cringe-worthy falsetto voice and the two brunette singers doing the Donna and Maddie vocals is totally insane. Renee, the girl who James made eyes at on Part 2, gets emotional. I hope she knows that he wrote that song for someone else. All of this is ludicrous, and James is a ridiculous character, but at the same time, I LOVE IT. Lynch takes trolling the fandom to the max with this exhibition. James is a “love to hate” character for a lot of fans, so even if you were rolling your eyes, you were still in total awe that Lynch did that. He. Did. That.

Stray Observations:
  • This conversation about Mormons between Chantal and Hutch though. 
  • When Becky calls Shelly and tells her that she’s worried about Steven who hasn’t been home in two days has me wondering about the timeline again. Is this before she went and shot up Gersten’s door?
  • Nadine fangirling over Dr. Jacoby is superb. Also, their little moment at the end — I ship it. 
  • The Sarah scene is fantastic and so spooky. The soundtrack of the boxing match with the static noise on a loop was like “some haunting melody.”
  • The reflection of Ed is not in sync with him during part of that end scene. Is it intentional? Is it more of this time looping phenomenon? And what was that piece of paper he burned?