Archive for January, 2013

Something occurred to me today, while I was laughing away to the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory. Being a geek… has definitely become a lot cooler. When I was a kid, if you so much as mentioned something about ‘Comic Books’ or ‘Star Wars’ you were either immediately ostracised, forced to spend the day undergoing a make over (actually happened) or compulsory left to get picked last in P.E. class. It was never a positive experience. And so I found myself – especially because I am a girl – purposefully hiding the real me.

“Oh… what music do I like? Erm… Oh what’s that new song they were playing on Juice FM… yeah I listen to Juice.” When in reality I had a room with head to toe pictures of Jimi Hendrix and I liked listening to metal when I did my homework. I know this isn’t unusual – the whole hiding your true self, I mean – pretty much every teen in history has experienced this at some point in their lives. But there is definitely much more acceptance for someone with more geekier tendencies these days than there were, say ten years ago. Take this for instance…

Source: weknowmemes.com

^That, right there, pretty much summarises what I mean. People are actually buying glasses with no glass in them, to simulate the fact that they look slightly nerdy! Why? Do you think it makes you look smarter? …I’m pretty sure it achieves the opposite. Then you get the people on facebook who are actually pretending to like ‘so-called’ geeky stuff. Holding up x-box controllers, or writing statuses like – “Just watching Star Wars… wow I’m so geeky.” …Erm, I have news for you girly. Watching a sci-fi flick doesn’t automatically make you geeky. Being like me and owning a replica light saber, a life size R2-D2 and spending your nights questing on The Old Republic… yes, then you could possibly be a nerd. But you’re not doing those things to be geeky. You’re doing them because you God damn genuinely love them.

I honestly think The Big Bang Theory has kind of added to this trend. People who know absolutely nothing about half the things the guys of the show are into still watch the show. Which, I am not ridiculing. It’s a great show and I don’t care who watches it as long as they keep it on the air. But, my boyfriend is prime example of what is wrong with this. He is not a nerd. He hates Star Wars, comics, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, MMORPGs, Star Trek… etc. He despises it all. Yet he loves The Big Bang Theory. Again, nothing wrong with that, I love it too and we have it in common. The only problem I have with it – is this – He doesn’t get half the jokes. In the beginning, especially, The Big Bang Theory had more geeky references than comicon. Sheldon would say a joke about both Star Wars and Star Trek that would only make sense to you if you’d seen either of them. But still… my boyfriend laughs. I don’t get it… on what level is he watching the show on? Because there is no way he understood that joke.

THESE are geeks! And FYI, I hope sincerely that if you watch TBBT you can at least name all the characters/species they’re imitating! Too much to ask for? Damn. Source: TV Fanatic

So this is my point. People watch a hit show about geeky guys and now, suddenly, they think they’re geeky. It doesn’t work like that people. I mean, in a way, I applaud The Big Bang Theory, for making it mainstream and essentially okay to like Star Trek, and to go to comicon and dress up as a Hobbit. The ridiculing has definitely decreased. I once went to a screening of Star Wars episode I with a face painted like Darth Maul. I was 8. But still I was ostracised for it. I got called names at school. And it was then that I started hiding the real things that interested me. Just for an easier life.

Okay, so I can kind of see why I was bullied. This isn’t exactly normal. But it’s what I wanted to do, so I did it. And I don’t regret it. I just regret hiding my love of all things Star Wars all through my teens.

Things like that seem easier now. At least on the surface. Maybe if you pretend  to be a geek you are cool. It’s a strange phenomenon. I definitely like that you can seem to be more yourself now. That kid with the Star Trek lunch box isn’t going to end up eating its contents in a bath room stall, hiding from bullies. Or at least, he’s less likely to.

I think the true moral of the story it this. Be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something your not. This cuts both ways. Don’t hide what you truly like, and don’t pretend to be a nerd so you look cool. It’s a hell of a lot more admirable to be yourself, and be self confident and comfortable in your own skin. Because at the end of the day, no body wants to really end up lying to themselves. Life’s too short.

…And on that note, I’m off to go play with my lego star wars set. Because I’m an adult and I can damn well do what I please!

“Look sir… Droids!”

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Hello there – friends, enemies, cyborgs… The ‘You better abide by my TV guide’ series is back this week. And boy… have I got some quality TV picks for you. To get us going, I thought I would just start by saying a jolly old Happy New Year to you all – yes, I realise I am 10 whole days late, but it’s the thought that counts. I hope you had a good one, and that your Christmas was filled with family fun – because after all, that is what it’s all about.

Anyway, that’s enough jibber-jabber. Let’s kick 2013 off in style and get this show on the road.

1) American Horror Story

Jessica Lange in one of her two roles – as Sister Jude. Source: Collider.com

Wow. How this one stayed so low on my radar for so long, I do not know? American Horror Story starts off as a show that follows the Harmon family as they move into an house that has one hell of a famous history. American Horror Story is as much horror as it is mystery, and the plot is surprising and intricate throughout. Every single character is layered – from the occasionally seen ghost to the outstandingly played Constance (Jessica Lange… you most certainly still have it). As season one progresses, the house itself is nurtured into a character all of its own, and by the climax, you can only really guarantee one thing – anything can happen. We travel through time each episode, and are treated to all the previous tenants of the aptly named ‘Murder House’, and at the core of it all, is the Harmon’s who are so desperately trying to regain some sort of control and normality where there is none. What makes American Horror Story so compelling though, is the writing. Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk stated from the beginning that each season would feature a new story and a new cast. The brilliance of this, is every season is like an outstanding well written and complex movie. There is no expectation to peak the series into having some sort of a cliff hanger… the whole show, after all is surprising enough in itself week in week out. Instead you expect this well crafted story to come to some conclusion, and then you – as a viewer, turn a page and eagerly await what new Hell the writers will dream up in the next season. It’s such an interesting way to do a show. And highlights to me that good writing is the backbone to any successful program. Season Two centres on ‘Briarcliff’ – an institute for the criminally insane run by nuns. Just the very premise of that is scary, especially, if like me, you’re Catholic. Thankfully, we have the amazing Jessica Lange back as Sister Jude – the care taker of the institute, and we are led through the complicated definition of ‘insanity’, not just through the patients, but through those tasked with housing them. Once again, I am surprised, week in week out, and with actors such as Joseph Fiennes and James Cromwell hopping on board, American Horror Story manages to not only maintain the successes of the first series – but perhaps even surpass them. But it doesn’t stop there, Evan Peters proves how utterly versatile he is, having taken two lead roles in both seasons, and Zachary Quinto reminds us all how easily he can play both the hero and the foe. A special mention also goes to Sarah Paulson, who plays journalist Lana – as it is essentially her journey we follow through the Mental system as she finds herself held at Briarcliff against her will when she gets too close for comfort.

Ahhh… the Rubber Man. Just one of MANY terrifying characters.

Essentially, American Horror Story can be shocking and repulsive – as most Horror’s often are – but when it isn’t being genuinely terrifying, it is wielding itself into a masterpiece of modern television. If you like your frights big and your drama raw – then I couldn’t recommend American Horror Story more. …And given it’s structure, there’s no need to watch the seasons in any sort of order. Enjoy!

You can catch American Horror Story on FX and Season 1 is on DVD now. Or if you’re naughty (hehe) check out TV Links. 

2) Chicago Fire

Beautiful peopleeeeee…. Beautiful peopleeee… Uh ohhhhhhhhhhh

Okay, so never have two shows been more different! Don’t ever accuse me of not giving you variety at Rather Be Mental…! Now to a show by NBC… meaning it could essentially get canned at any time so enjoy it while you can. I’m surprised a show like this took so long to get onto a major network, after the hugely successful E.R. and the totally underrated Third Watch, I thought for sure we’d have a totally focused fire department show. But it took a while for the idiots over at the network to catch up. Thankfully – they did.

Did I also mention I am in love with Taylor Kinney… Yeah, prettttyyy BIG factor! Source: Shayson (Tumblr)

Chicago Fire follows a Chicago fire department, meaning we get a lovely action packed insight into both muscly fire men and kick ass female Paramedic’s. A little slow getting off the ground at first, Chicago Fire is finding its feet half way through the season. The writers seemed to have realised that, like so many NBC shows before it, the characters are what is most important. Therefore, we are treated to many a layered soul, with many a complicated relationship. There is a chance occasionally that Chicago Fire falls into the ‘soapy’ trap from time to time, but when ever that seems to be happen, there’s a huge explosion or a plane crash to avert us back on course. While I am not raving over this show like I was American Horror Story, I can definitely see it has potential. What I would like to see more of is – a) more time on the street; and b) a little more of that smart humour that made shows like Third Watch so God damn good.

While it certainly ain’t perfect, I would say that Chicago Fire deserves a look if you are prone to a hospital/cop drama. Even if it’s not your thing, the whole show is full of beautiful people – who can act – which, makes a refreshing change. I am sure, as the season progresses, the show will just keep getting into its stride.

Like I said, Chicago Fire can be found on NBC or Sky Atlantic. Or online. Again. Hehe. 

3) Miranda

Oh look at that face… how could you dislike her?!

Ah… Miranda Hart. Every time I say her name I feel a rising urge to shout… “For Prime Minister!”. She encompasses everything I could ever want in a female British comedian. It’s hard to believe that I took so long to watch her sitcom, I just kept seeing her on TV wondering, “Who is that woman?” Then one day, my cousin told me that I absolutely must be watching Miranda as it was

“Move along…!” Miranda slightly illegally impersonating a police officer.

totally hilaire! (A word you’d understand if you saw the show). The reason I love Miranda so much, is she is basically every normal thirty something woman if you stripped away all their inhibitions and made them 12 again. I’m only 22, but how I longggg to be bold enough to ‘gallop’ down the street – because, after all it is such a more efficient form of transport!  Watching Miranda, I find myself thinking, “Oh dear… I’ve done that too.” Not exactly great when she’s constantly acting insane and humiliating herself. Because, as Miranda Hart so puts it in her book, ‘Is it just me?’, she always gets stuck at the little moments in life. The big ones – weddings, deaths, births etc. She can do fine. There is a mandatory guide book for how to behave for each and every one of those moments. But it’s the little moments – like accidentally losing your skirt at a job interview and passing it off as a deliberate move to show how smooth your legs are – that she gets so so wrong (genuinely happened to her… ). The sitcom can be ridiculously silly at times, but I think we all need that in our lives. Not afraid to use the odd catch phrase, and most certainly not afraid to let the world know her biggest, cringiest moments, Miranda is a breath of fresh air and a hark back to the silly comedy we would at times get from the likes of Morecambe and Wise. Except that, Miranda is a lot truer to life and definitely makes the odd ‘misfit’ like myself feel a lot better about themselves. Just for clarity Miranda… No, it isn’t just you. 

Watch Miranda on Tuesday nights on BBC1. I have no clue whatsoever if your treated to it in the USA (although it’s so British I’m not sure you’d get it…) but if not, again – ONLINE.

Special mention

Also, if you happen to be British, and are checking out Miranda, keep the tele on BBC1, as Mrs Brown’s Boys is an Irish sitcom that definitely gets a good few laughs.

That’s all from me now folks. Wow, definitely covered the spectrum of TV fiction. Give us a like on facebook to keep yourself well in the loop for any more of my recommended shows. Chow!