The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 82 – The Punch-Jesus

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, our fortnightly pop culture news and reviews podcast!


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Big News

This week we chatted about the new Ghost in the Shell and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailers, Infinity War, further problems with The Batman, and Philip Pullman announcing a new companion trilogy to His Dark Materials.

 

No Screentime or main talking point again this week, but next time we’ll be talking about John Wick 2!

 

Now Playing – Reading/Watching/Playing

Adam – The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss/Legion on FOX/No Man’s Sky on PS4
Ian – The Cleric Quintet by R.A. Salvatore/Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix/The Last of Us/Dishonored 2 on PS4

 

Check out any of those through those Amazon links and we get a kick back! Or you can go through here.

 

You can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at thelostlighthouse@live.co.uk or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.Fancy supporting our site? Head on over to our Paypal donation page! It’s completely optional, set your own price! Even £1 helps us with hosting costs and we’d really appreciate it! Cheers!

London MCM Comic Con – Day 3: ‘Who Run The World? Girls!’ Panel

Adam headed off to the MCM Comic Con Expo in London this weekend. This is what he saw.

For the last day of London Comic Con this year I spent a large amount of the day admiring the great art in the Comics Village (and picked up a couple of indie comics that I’ll be reviewing over the next couple of weeks), saw some more excellent cosplay and headed over to a couple more panels.

Who Run the World? GIRLS!!! Panel

The final panel I went to, and the last thing I did at London Comic Con this year, was the ‘Who Run the World? GIRLS!!!’ panel (named after the Beyoncé song, which is terrible but has a decent sentiment). This was another Q&A with a large panel of female actors from various television shows, including Felicia Day (The Guild, Supernatural), Willa Holland (Arrow), Rila Fukushima (Arrow), Victoria Smurfitt (Once Upon A Time), Merrin Dungey (Once Upon A Time), Renee Felice Smith (NCIS:LA), Emily Wickersham (NCIS), Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries, The Last of US, 24) and Jadyn Wong (Scorpion), hosted by Yael Tygiel.

The assembled panel went through their various roles and the opportunities they have had to kick ass on TV, and the influences they’ve had such as Buffy, She-Ra and Anne of Green Gables (bit of an odd one). The main thrust of the panel was really towards the strides that have been made in recent years for more strong female characters in genre television and TV in general, no longer the just the “damsels in distress” any more and according to Day “not just dressed in leather kicking a man in the face” but genuinely strong, well rounded characters that could feasibly carry the show on their own, rather than just being in the background as the romantic interest or relation for the lead actor.

When asked about where they think this sea change has come from, it was attributed to there being more women behind the camera as well as in front, having people of the opposite gender actively participant in this change rather than obstructing it (Werching gave the example of Neil Druckmann and Naughty Dog actually having to fight the higher ups to have Ellie on the front cover of The Last of Us, which seems insane to me), and production companies realising that a huge proportion of their audience hasn’t been adequately represented, so if they want to actually keep making money they needed to start rectifying that or allowing writers and directors to rectify it for them. It was pointed out that the success of Frozen speaks to this, a film where the problem is solved without needing to turn to a man for help (I’m told, I haven’t actually seen it as it looks like there is a lot of singing and joy involved), that has become the most successful Disney film and one of the highest grossing films of all time.

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Next time I’m going to take an actual camera, because the photos off my phone (especially in the panels) have been shocking

 

They spoke about how in panels they often get asked about the men on their show, for example Willa Holland has to constantly tell people that it isn’t actually difficult working with Stephen Amell or playing the part of his sister. I imagine that must get very tedious, and it reminded me of the Avengers press junket stories where they had Mark Ruffalo answering the questions put to Scarlett Johansson, highlighting the ridiculousness of the disparity between the sort of questions asked towards women and men.

When asked about getting into acting by an audience member, Dungey (who plays Ursula in Once Upon A Time) said that you really need to get a thick skin, because “not everyone is going to like you, and it doesn’t matter”, relating some emails she was accidentally copied into where someone she had to keep working with insulted her, and commenting on the recent Sony email leaked emails from Amy Pascal. She and the rest of the panel also talked about how being a role model to female fans, and how showing off strong capable women can only be a good thing, while making sure those portrayals are nuanced and can have flaws rather than being unrealistic.  Her OUAT co-star Victoria Smurfitt (who plays Cruella), when asked about playing female villains and how it works compared with the male villains, stated “You only use your fists when your brain isn’t working love” (which explains why I keep breaking my computer at work) speaking to the more complex nature of her role.

The question about progress for queer and trans characters in television was also brought up, a fair but difficult subject, to which Dungey said that in her opinion it was “all happening, maybe not as fast as we would like” citing a character like a positive character like Laverne in Orange is the New Black as evidence that we are hopefully heading in the right direction. And I certainly agree with the sentiment, we would all like to already be in a situation where the actual make up of our society is accurately and fairly represented in our media, without the need for any extra attention being drawn to it because it is just the reality of things. And we are making progress, with a few speed bumps along the way, but hopefully we’ll get there sooner rather than later.

Finally, the panel was asked about how they deal with their frustrations with the job, be it wine, working out (Holland said punching her male stunt coordinator helped) or making sure they talked through their issues with any member of a production, and they were also asked what motivates them. Holland spoke about the opportunity to play strong roles, Wersching to act in a way that would make her mother proud and to “show up on time and know your shit”, and Dungey said it was for her kids, and to show them how proud she was going out, working hard and making a living at something she loves.

When I got the London Comic Con schedule through this panel jumped out as the part of the weekend I considered unmissable, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. It was great to see the line up of great women, some of whose work I am more familiar with than others, and see it celebrated on this scale with a huge audience, asking interesting questions and getting impassioned, empowered responses. People spoke about the ‘Golden Age of Television’ and maybe that is true. It looks to me like one aspect that could certainly make it that would be this far better representation of women in our media we are starting to see, and a panel like this that celebrates that can only extend that.

 

Adam

People Are Making Apocalypse Jokes Like There’s No Tomorrow

Alex watches too much TV and then thinks about it for longer than is healthy.

Picture the scene: A man kneels in the rubble of a broken future, surrounded by the shattered remains of once towering monuments to progress. Crumpled wrecks of hover-cars litter the streets of this sprawling metropolis. The guttural roar of hordes of re-animated, radioactive, cannibal corpses can be heard echoing in the distance. The man is dishevelled and wearing the tattered remnants of a futuristic jumpsuit, he clutches a bloodied child’s cap with an antenna on top to his chest and repeatedly whispers “His boy Elroy… His boy Elroy…” to himself whilst rocking back and forth.

This would be the opening scene of The Jetsons if it were rebooted today, as our thirst for all things post-apocalyptic is seemingly as unquenchable as a zombie’s hunger for delicious brains. This is by no means a complaint; I love a good post-apocalyptic setting in any entertainment format and this version of the Jetsons would be way better than the disturbingly pristine and non-multicultural future shown in the original. It is interesting though that the list of titles set in one wasteland/ post-apocalyptic world or other is an exceptionally long one at the moment, so the question is: Why are we so keen to see all that we know in ruins?

Visions of the future are a cornerstone of science fiction and have always been a reflection of how we see ourselves in the present, so with all this apocalypsing going on clearly we don’t think a whole lot of ourselves at the moment. Over the course of a century due to the effects of countless wars both hot and cold and an ever expanding and increasingly downbeat media culture our view of the future has changed radically; going from the outlandish and exotic visions of the Victorian age, through the utopian, swiftly into the dystopian and finally into our despondent apocalyptic certainty. Even a dystopian future dictatorship is too much to hope for today, as being constantly hammered by news coverage of the worst humanity has to offer and the burgeoning wealth of evidence that we have pretty much ruined the planet has drained us of what little hope we had.  Scary stories of the evil that men do sell papers and get precious mouse clicks but they leave us fairly certain that this whole sorry business will come crashing down within the hour leaving us scrabbling in the dirt wishing we’d paid more attention to Ray Mears. The future is no longer bright because we no longer feel we deserve it, perhaps we don’t and should hurry up and invent some sexy Cylons to destroy us.

apocalypse1

The second element to the popularity of the apocalypse is pure escapism. Our lives for the most part are mundane, easy and fairly rigidly structured; we work, we get drunk and moan about work, we wish we had done something more significant with our lives. Rinse and repeat. It is therefore unsurprising that a world without the structures that dominate our existence, in which there would be no need to read job adverts that dress mindless drone work up as something equating to Secretary-General of the U.N. or to reply with the soul destroyingly up-beat set of lies we call a CV ever again, is immensely attractive. A post-apocalyptic CV would be a good read though “I hunter-gather well as part of a group, I bring a can-do attitude to the murder and pillage of rival groups and I have a great deal of experience in the manufacture of homemade weaponry/ jewellery inc. ears on strings. Thank you for considering me for a role within your proto-society.”

A return to nature stripped of all our creature comforts and annoying bureaucracy has always been an appealing fantasy but fails to account for poor physical condition and complete lack of wilderness skills, let’s be honest a management consultant from Slough is not going to turn into some badass Chuck Norris-esque survivalist hero overnight. Suddenly becoming a brilliant woodsman is not the full extent of the fantasy though, both before and after an apocalyptic event humanity as a whole may act like a bunch of jerks but we still have some faith in the decency of the individual. The brilliant Walking Dead and astonishing The Last of Us are excellent examples of this key element of our apocalypse fetish, whilst the whole world might go to hell we are inherently good people and would manage to hold on to at least shreds of our humanity in the grey moral quagmire of a world without structure. The post-apocalyptic hero is the embodiment of our schizophrenic view of humanity, in broad terms humanity is a blight on the world and should probably be gotten rid of but on an individual level people are generally pretty decent and deserve to survive (except those who leave passive-aggressive notes). We hope that when faced with great adversity we would be brave and compassionate. However I doubt that we behave as paradigms of humanity in our daily lives, so it is perhaps depressing that it would take the end of the world to bring out the good person we hope resides in us somewhere.

Guilt perhaps also plays a part in our world ending desires. Our grandparents and great-grandparents faced war on a scale that is hard for us to imagine, our parents lived through the cold war and its constant nuclear paranoia, many people in the world at the moment face hardship we will never experience even a smidgeon of, the most devastating thing that will happen to most of us today is the internet not working briefly and we’ll still get irrationally angry about it. The wasteland would provide us not only with an escape from every day boredom and people who leave notes but also the chance to prove our worth as humans or at the very least to find out what we’re really made of.

We may continually envision the destruction of our future world in cathartic penance for the wrongs of our present one, or wish it would all end because life is monotonous, but our apocalyptic visions are not entirely without hope. In fact the very essence of every post-apocalyptic story is hope; after whatever monumentally stupid human action or act of nature destroys our world, where nothing should survive, there will somehow against all the odds still be humans left to continue being jerks to one-another. If that’s not hope for the future I don’t know what is. So get your pip-boys ready, keep your ears peeled for super mutants and pack your moral compass as it doesn’t look like we’re done working out our issues in the wasteland just yet.

 

Wasteland Essentials:

Film: A Boy and His Dog (1975)

Game: Fallout 3

Book: World War Z (Max Brooks)

TV: The Walking Dead (2010-)

 

Alex