Gemma: So what’s been on your watching plate lately?
Rasha: Well, I’ve been working on a lot of longer writing projects, as you know, and then just needing to clear a lot of other work, so TV’s been on in the background. I binge-watched Queen Sugar while revising my chapter. I recommend it.
G: Yes, so did my sister. It’s on my summer list. What makes you recommend it?
R: I would chat it with you. I love that the relationships among 3 siblings form the emotional core of the series, and it doesn’t hurt that the farm they inherited from their father is the central engine of plot. I am susceptible to farm stories. I love Cousin Tara, so I was always going to watch this show. I think you’d like that each character gets moments of triumph, and moments where their judgment is severely called into question.
G: Ooh, I do like those things. I am not susceptible to farm stories, but I am def susceptible to interfamilial shifts and tensions, and I love it when no one is righteous.
R: No one is perfectly righteous. They all get called out, and they are all glorious, you still cheer for them.
G: Awesome! Definitely on my summer list, then. In fact, it is my literal favorite thing when no one is righteous, now that I think about it. To the point where I think it’s kind of bleak that that has to be a favorite thing.
Gemma: I finally watched Insecure, which we can mostly save for a longer post if we want.
Rasha: Yes, especially since I haven’t seen most of it. Maybe… maybe the way I feel about it is the way other folks felt about Girls? How did people feel about Girls? Maybe I feel about Insecure the way that L. Lenny Dunham *thought* I should feel about Girls, which is to say: it feels like real life to me, and that makes me sometimes want to watch it a lot and sometimes makes me want to watch escapist other stuff.
G: See, it very interesting to me in that context that it felt like the heir apparent to Sex and the City, much more so than Girls ever did. Which hearkens back to our Female Friendship convos. It was portraying a settledness in adult life that didn’t make things any easier, in the end.
R: And here we are talking again about two shows (Girls and SATC) that I’ve never seen.
G: Sorry. I loved the depth and stakes of Issa and Molly’s friendship, and I loved how Molly’s romantic idiocy was written. What have you watched lately?
R: Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy…<whisper-coughs>the catch</whisper-coughs>, Elementary, and those mostly while doing other work, either at the computer or in the house. Shondaland is my NPR.
But Gina Torres is on The Catch now, and I feel torn.
G: Hey, nothing wrong with that, even The Catch. I think we should all watch more things with Peter Krause in them. And Gina Torres.
R: Yes. I was starting to make a list before our chat. As a techie, I notice haxxoring everywhere, IRL and in film/TV, and it often makes me grumpy because it’s being done SO BADLY. I’m curious how much it shows up on your grumpdar given that it’s not something you get paid to do.
G: It doesn’t show up on my grumpdar that much, tbh. The places where I note it most conspicuously have been Bones and Blindspot, wherein they represented the ultimate evil and the ultimate cartoon frenemy, respectively.
R: I could compare watching almost all portrayals of technology use on TV and in film to being in a classroom or conference presentation where the person at the front of the room can’t figure out how to get the projector to work but they have really grand ideas about what they want to do with technology.
R: From where we left off: love + power, and How hard is magick really?
G: There’s a lot to what you said last time about magic as metaphor for artistic creation, which in turn can be a metaphor for romance and/or sexuality, and you can turn them all around as metaphors in the other direction and it still works. So the love/power question is an interesting one there.
R: Unpack those connections a bit. Like, how do you see artistic creation and love/sexuality being connected (metaphorically or directly)? and, what does it look like to turn that metaphor around–what does that mean? Perhaps that will get us more to what you’re seeing as the connections between love and power. Which is, let’s be real, some heavy sh*t at the heart of the world. And do that all in the context of these fantasy movies/shows!
G: It’s building something you didn’t think you had the power/ability to build. It’s the joy of creation, the joy of bringing something new into the world, be it the work you’re creating or the connection between you and another person. It’s electric. And so often in these shows and books and movies, the “early signs” of magic are connected to out-of-control emotional reactions (see: Harry Potter and the boa at the zoo, Julia’s first encounters with the Hedge Witches, The Craft if I’m remembering it correctly).
So there’s the joy of being able to do something with that, which has a romantic element–of the depth of your emotion meaning something to another person, and what that creates.
R: Right on: internal feeling made material with consequence in the world.
Rasha: I have a few questions to start off: If we’re talking about metaphors for magick, then we should name the metaphors we see. So what is magick a metaphor for? Also, which shows do we want to name? I guess I just have a couple of questions for now.
Gemma: I started into this thinking about the relationship between The Magicians and Harry Potter, and how the idea of magic is wielded differently in each, and the impact that has on how we understand the characters’ worlds. “Why does Harry Potter take place in a capitalist universe” seems an eternal question for me even as the pragmatic answer in terms of how it targets its audience is obvious, and the moment with the “probability spell” on The Magicians stood out to me re: the limits of what magic can do and what that makes it, symbolically.