Rooting for Root

Great thoughts by Cassandra on one of my favorite pop culture heroines! Thanks, Geeky Voyage!

Over the summer, I discovered a television series that blew my mind and changed my perception on modern television. Said series is Person of Interest.

Until I had subscribed to Netflix back in June, I hadn’t heard much about the series. I knew of the two main female characters, Root and Shaw (their portmanteau pairing name being the apposite “Shoot”) and that was as far as my knowledge on POI stretched. Sadly, the series receives next to no promotion in the UK so it is largely unknown to the majority of British audiences.

I had been fresh off an Angel binge at the time and I was dying for some more Amy Acker in my life. So when I saw an advertisement for POI on Netflix—its title card blown up in all of its deceptively subtle glory— I bit the bullet and loaded it up.

The first thing that I…

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Badass Women in Combat Gear: Valentine’s Day Edition, Or, Dorothy Parker Was Wrong

((For those of you who, like me, were not Math Majors in college, I apologize. But this particular blog post seems to need a ridiculous number of parentheses and a rather surprising number of braces {curly} and brackets [square]. Be warned.))

There is a fairly famous rhyming couplet by the 1920s Algonquin Round Table wit, Dorothy Parker, that has been widely anthologized (and it suddenly occurs to me that a whole slew [this is a technical literary term] of the editors anthologizing this were {white} men], which says, “Men don’t make passes/At girls who wear glasses.”

I have been thinking about this since Mike Allegra (heylookawriterfellow) asked me to add to my BWCG series some BWCGs who wear glasses. I thought of this most recently after viewing a teaser for this coming Tuesday’s Agent Carter, in which Agent Sousa (the delightful Enver Gokaj) says to (an injured and therefore unavailable-for-the-mission) Agent Peggy Carter (the even more delightful Hayley Atwell) that what they need for the coming mission is someone who can “blend in with the glamour and throw down in the gutter.” Damn, Spanky, I LOVE the writers on this show!

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Any Gentle Reader who has spent any time at all reading this blog will recognize that this is not only the dual nature of what I look for in my Female Leads of TV, Film, and Life, but also a micro-blueprint of who I would like to eventually be. I have to admit that the second part sounds much less painful to me than the first part, because as Agent Dana Scully admits in the most recent New X-Files episode, running/fighting in three-inch heels is no country for really anyone, but absolutely not Women, Older Men or Sane People of any Gender. Okay, she didn’t say that.

But as Jane Austen might have said, “It was nowhere said, but everywhere implied.” Come on. Amy Acker has said that at one point her only “stunt ability was running in heels” (Citation, as Wikipedia would point out, desperately needed. My guess? A ComiCon. San Diego? Maybe. Who knows?).

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My point here is simply that Dorothy Parker was wrong and Mike Allegra is right. (Full disclosure: I wear glasses. So sue me. {Twenty-odd years at MIT’s Writing Center (some of them more odd than others) has made me as blind as my cat Musashi, if not as a bat or a possum. [If M. were a little boy, he’d be wearing Coke bottle glasses and a bowtie]}.

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So in honor of a Sunday-facing Valentine’s Day (black Tuesday meets the Lord’s day), I offer you some of my favorite female actors (Nope, don’t call me a teacheress, professoress, editoress or martial artistess; I avoid calling them actresses for the same reason) in glasses.

 

I tried very hard to chase down the pics I have seen online of Lucy Lawless as herself, rather than Xena, wearing glasses, to no avail. Similarly, her soul-grandmother, Linda Carter (the always-and-everywhere Wonder Woman, despite DC’s brilliant work with Gal Gadot).

And because I believe it is important to look back and forward at the same time, I also give you Ingrid Bergman and Scarlet Johansson.

Also, the classic, brilliant, unimitatable Katherine Hepburn on a skateboard, because duh.

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To my pal, Mike Allegra, men and women who love women in glasses or, you know, on skateboards: YOU’RE WELCOME. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY. NOW WE WILL LET THE WEATHER BECOME WARM AGAIN.

Grr. Arrgh. More Writer’s Block

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, when the wizard Saruman, wears robes “woven of all colors” because he has fallen from the path of the wise, Gandalf (the Grey) says, “I liked white better.” This is Saruman’s reply:

“White!” he sneered. “It serves as a beginning. White cloth may be dyed. The white page can be overwritten; and the white light can be broken.”

Now here’s the thing for me a writer. Saruman is clearly evil here, because he is saying the white page can be overwritten like it’s a bad thing.

For me as a writer, constantly trying to produce, this is definitely not a bad thing. So this past week struggling to come up with blog posts, I have tried a variety of things, but today I actually just broke down and turned to Google Images to find pictures to express how I feel: tired, afraid, studious, interrupted. Clearly Person of Interest (and a little bit of Angel) are helping me out here.

 

Then I went and found pictures about how I want to feel: badass.

 

Well, it must have worked, because what we have here, children, is a blog post.

Weird Coincidence Number 37

So lately as I have been waiting impatiently for CBS to bring Person of Interest Season 5 back, or at the very least tell us when it is coming back—March? May? Honestly, CBS, you produce a kickass show and then you make the fans crazy by not giving it to us. They have all but cancelled it, making a short season and keeping it in somebody’s vault somewhere. So, to encourage them to bring it back, I have been heroically binge-watching Seasons 2-4 on Netflix, and just a few days ago, watched the episode where Finch (Michael Emerson) very precisely orders a complicated sandwich from a deli in Chinatown, which seems odd, because why would you order a pastrami sandwich (with two kinds of mustard and “enough pepperoncini to create digestion issues in even the strongest constitution” but with no mayonnaise because “if there’s even a trace, it will render the sandwich useless and we’ll have to start the whole process over again and I’m sure neither one of us want that”) from a Chinese deli?

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And how do you render a sandwich useless? That is actually easier to answer, as it is meant to be a peace offering for a friendly former government assassin, Sameen Shaw (Sarah Shahi) whom the gang was forced to drug and handcuff to the bench to keep her from going off to help the gang after her cover has been blown and the Evil Artificial Intelligence could kill her if they find her. And nothing renders a peace offering useless like mayonnaise. Duh. Even I know that.

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The thing about all this is that, as Wikia explains, “Finch refers to the sandwich he brings to Shaw as a ‘Beatrice Lillie.’ Beatrice Lillie was a comic actress. Her final role was in the 1967 film Thoroughly Modern Millie, where she played the house mother at a women’s rooming house who is actually the leader of a white slavery ring based in New York’s Chinatown, thus the name of the sandwich.” This isn’t a very good explanation, but that isn’t my point.

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My point is that, not knowing this connection, I just watched Thoroughly Modern Millie last night and have the damn theme song stuck in my head, because of course anything Julie Andrews sings is going to be stuck in my head for life, especially if she sings it while dressed like a 1920s flapper.

Thoroughly Modern Millie

There are those
I suppose think we’re mad
Heaven knows the world is gone
To wrack and to ruin

What we think is chic, unique, and quite adorable
They think is odd and “Sodom and Gomorrable”
But the fact is everything today is thoroughly modern

Check your personality,
Everything today makes yesterday slow
Better face reality- it’s not insanity, says Vanity Fair
In fact, it’s stylish to raise your skirt and bob your hair

In the rumble seat, the world is so cozy- if the boy is kissable!
And that tango dance they wouldn’t allow?
Now is quite permissable!

Good-bye, good-goody girl, I’m changing and how?
So beat the drums cuz here comes thoroughly modern Millie now!

Everything today is thoroughly modern
Bands are gettin’ jazzier, everything today is starting to go
Cars are gettin’ snazzier
Men say it’s criminal what women’ll do
What they’re forgetting is, this is 1922!

Have you seen the way they kiss in the movies?
Isn’t it delectable?
Painting lips and pencil lining your brow
Now is quite respectable!

Good-bye, good-goody girl, I’m changing and how!
So beat the drums ‘cuz here comes
Thoroughly modern Millie now!

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Someone on Facebook recently pointed out that the 20s are coming back and we should bring back the clothes and music. Well, maybe the music anyway. But watching this ridiculously (and casually) racist and sexist comedy, I think there are a whole bunch of things we will happily leave behind.