6 Pairings That Romanticize Abuse

Abuse

Every time, I swear to God, every time I fall in love with a new TV show, some asshole comes along, sweeps up the main character, and brings down the entire show, causing me to stop watching in disgust. I’m not kidding, this has happened three times this year alone.

Abusive relationships being romanticized is one of the things that I absolutely hate with a burning passion. But gone are the days where the hero dudes go around smacking their girlfriends, because if that happened, everyone would be up in arms. No, TV and movies have found sneaky ways to paint abuse as “true love” and get away with it scot free. But luckily for you, my little raspberries, I’m here to expose their malpractices with the light of truth!

For this article, I’ve avoided obviously abusive pairings, like Joker/Harley Quinn and Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham, or pairings that have been beat to death by the mainstream like Bella/Edward (seen above) and Anastasia Steele/Christian Grey. I’m choosing to focus on those pairings who are the darlings of their fandoms, who can obviously do no wrong. Oh, but they can, my ducklings! They can. I’m about to rock your world.

**Warning: mild spoilers ahead for various media, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens and BBC Sherlock.**

1. The Phantom and Christine Daaé, The Phantom Of The Opera

Because every girl’s fantasy is to be stalked by a murderer in the shadows and be forced into marrying him or have to watch her childhood best friend be strangled to death. I don’t give a shit how many roses he leaves in her dressing room – that’s wrong.

Not to mention, Christine in 18. Eighteen! She’s barely legal as it is. She claims that the “Angel of Music” (the Phantom) has been tutoring her and watching over her since she first came to the opera house. She’s been living there since she was eight years old. And thanks to Madame Giry’s flashback, we know that Erik is only a few years younger than Madame Giry – so he’s 40, at least. This is a fully grown adult who’s been stalking a child and gaslighting her until she’s old enough to bang. That’s disgusting.

But, you know. Some free music lessons and a candlelit boat ride through a swamp make everything okay.

Gaslighting: a practice in which the abuser gains the trust of the victim and uses that trust to manipulate them into doing things against their will, all while maintaining the pretense of someone who has the victim’s best interest at heart.

2. Rey and Kylo Ren (Reylo), Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

It honestly shocked me that this was even a popular pairing – or a pairing at all. Not as popular as Kylux (Kylo Ren and Armitage Hux), but it’s up there.

There’s not much to go on here, as there’s really only a couple of scenes between them, but what is there, is pretty frightening. I’m going to put aside the fact that Kylo straight up murdered Rey’s friend and father figure. I’ll even waive all the physical abuse in the lightsaber battles because, hey, this is Star Wars, and it isn’t exactly Star Wars without lightsaber battles.

But there is the creepy torture scene (torture isn’t a very good premise for a romantic relationship, now is it?) where Kylo is trying to get information out of Rey and threatens her with a line about how he can force her to tell him what he wants to know, and J.J. Abrams himself admits that this is supposed to be a “rape” scene. Getting inside a person’s head and violating their thoughts is mind rape. Plus there’s the disgusted, fearful look Rey makes as Kylo reaches toward her face that tells us all that Rey is in distress. Rey is trapped in the room, tied down, and can’t escape this situation, where she’s under the threat of physical violence and having her mind raped by Kylo. And that is abuse.

3. Kara Danvers and Mon-El (Karamel), Supergirl

This is what I was talking about earlier when I said TV shows often get ruined by some asshole (Mon-El) swooping in and becoming the protagonist’s “true love”. I’ve stopped watching Supergirl because my once beloved show about a strong, kind lady hero has been hijacked by this entitled jar of mayonnaise.

Upon crashing down in National City, Mon-El has done nothing by lie to Kara (not telling her that he’s the prince of Daxam), insult Kara and everything she stands for (“You fly around, rescuing people, like you’re just pure of heart, but that is crap. Because you love that attention. You love people loving you. You are not selfless.”), and go against Kara’s wishes (“You have ignored what I need from moment one today”), and generally just be a piece of shit (“I never said I wanted to save the world.” “Oh my God. You are so selfish!”). When she doesn’t return his affections, he whines and guilts her into loving him. And somehow – he ends up with her! What kind of message is that sending young girls?

Also, telling someone you allegedly love that they’re your “Kryptonite” (weakness) is NOT romantic. Love is supposed to make you stronger. If your romantic partner makes you “weak”, that’s a bad sign. Believe me, I know.

4. John Watson and Mary Morstan, Sherlock

I’ve been a little harsh on men in this list. But women can be abusers too, and this is a prime example.

Thanks to poor writing from misogynistic, self-satisfied dipshits, Mary Morstan’s characterization has been all over the place. But two things is for sure: Mary is a psychopath and a pathological liar. It eventually was revealed that Mary wasn’t as sugary sweet as she initially tasted. She was actually a killer for hire before meeting John, which she kept from him for almost an entire year, even after they were married. And the lengths she goes to keep that secret from him are outrageous. Namely, attempting to murder John’s best friend – the very same friend who had been missing for two years, whom John had been grieving over, which Mary had to know would devastate John at losing Sherlock all over again. But does she have any regards for his feelings? No. She would rather kill her husband’s dearest friend then have to come clean.

John does eventually find out, and naturally, is a little pissed off by it. So much so that he leaves her. When John finally does agree to speak to Mary again, she immediately guilt trips him – for being rightfully angry about Mary lying to him and trying to murder Sherlock. But for some reason, John takes her back and all is forgiven and forgotten.

(By the way, she never actually says that she’s sorry for shooting Sherlock in the chest. Not until she herself is dying, but honestly, series 4 is such out-of-character, bizarre, melodramatic, sloppily written horseshit that I don’t take any of it seriously. But that’s an essay for another day.)

And beyond all that…she’s just not a nice person. She makes fun of everyone, treating them all like they’re so beneath her. At one point she implies that John is so stupid, a dog is superior to him in intelligence. She’s manipulative, critical, and conniving. And yet, even though there’s little to no affection shown between John and Mary, she’s supposedly the great love of his life. His saving grace. His angel with a sniper rifle. *noise of disgust* Whatever.

5. Emma Swan and Captain Hook, Once Upon A Time

God, where do I BEGIN with these two?

Captain Hook completely ruined Once Upon A Time. He’s been sucking the soul out of Emma Swan for four seasons, and now she’s pathetic, codependent, and completely unrecognizable from the amazing, badass female protagonist that rolled into Storybrooke in a beat up Volkswagen seven years ago.

Hook started off, appropriately, as a villain. He gets into a sword fight with Emma right off the bat and makes lewd, rapey comments towards her. Emma was sensibly repulsed.

Then in season three, Hook decides he’s going to become the guy everyone loves – especially Emma. “I will win your heart,” he growls in her face. Again, another line that’s supposed to sound romantic, but is actually really gross.

Eventually, Emma was hooked (get it?), and her character development was sacrificed for makeout scenes with this guyliner wearing piece of shit. Like Mon-El and Mary, he lies to her constantly, doesn’t respect her wishes, manipulates her, and verbally abuses her when his world isn’t going perfectly ducky. In season 5, Emma saved Hook’s life by using dark magic, turning him into a Dark One (long story). She erased his and everyone else’s memory, but he does inevitably find out, and boy, does he drop that sweet boyfriend act fast. He hits Emma right in the emotional chink in her armor – by saying that all she’ll ever be is an orphan. He knows Emma’s trigger and uses it against her in the most brutal fashion possible. But are there ever any repercussions? Nope. Because Hook is the love of Emma’s life, and he can do no wrong!

Luckily, Jennifer Morrison, who plays Emma Swan on OUAT, has announced her retirement from the show after the end of season six, and this godawful romance can die a festering death. Let’s just pray Colin O’Donoghue (Hook) gets fired and the show is left to be run by the only two likable characters left, Regina and Henry Mills.

And number six…

6. Severus Snape and Lily Evans, Harry Potter

I get it, Internet. You pity him. He never got the girl of his dreams. It’s the age old love story: boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy calls girl a racial slur – wait, what?!

There was no fucking excuse for Snape to EVER call Lily a Mudblood. James was bullying him, Lily stepped in to defend Snape, Snape got his sensitive little male ego bruised and had been hanging out with a bunch of wizard white supremacists, and called Lily the worst word possible. She was his best and only friend, and he called her that. So no, I don’t feel bad for Snape at all. Especially since he carried his butthurtedness against her and James past their deaths and onto their orphaned child who had endured domestic abuse for the last ten years of his life. Snape gets no sympathy from me.

Okay. Rant over. Hopefully next post will be something more cheery. Thanks for reading. ~TRL

Movie Review: Doctor Strange

strange

Spoiler alert! Proceed with caution.

The other night, I saw Marvel’s Doctor Strange, starring Sherlock Holmes, Regina George, and Hannibal Lecter. I mean, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, and Mads Mikkelsen.

One of these days, I’m going to have to rank the movies in the MCU in order of preference, but this movie would defnitely make top ten – maybe even top five. I’m going to try not to kiss Ben C’s tight white ass this entire review, but it’s going to be very difficult, so bear with me.

First of all, gotta say, Kaecilius (Mikkelsen), of all the Marvel throwaway villains, is probably one of the least sucky. And his motivation kind of isn’t stupid? It’s new, I’ll give it that. His motivation stems from pain, which always makes me more accepting of villains, but his plan isn’t stupid complex and convenient like Zemo from CACW. Anyway, in the beginning when he chops that dude’s head off, I muttered to myself, “bon appetit” (’cause, you know, Hannibal), and the guy three seats down fucking choked.

Second thing I gotta talk about is Rachel McAdams. Wow, a female lead who wasn’t completely badly written! Yes, they follow the basic formula of “she’s in love with the main guy and she’s helpful for like one scene”, but it’s actually not so lame this time? That’s two points it has up on Civil War.

Third, Karl Mordo was really cool. He reminded me of Hank Henshaw/J’onn J’onnz from Supergirl. Wise, has that sharp sense of humor, charming but stern. And I think he has the potential to be considered an awesome villain, like Loki. (It’s really sad when there’s only one good villain in your franchise.) And Tilda Swinton was pretty good too.

Fourth: THE VISUALS EFFECTS. OH MY GOD. JUST…WOW. KICK ME IN THE DICK.

Okay, now onto Cumberbatch.

Just…yaaaaaaaaaas. Look, Internet, I know you all think BC gets too much praise, that we only love him for his beautiful lizard face, but the truth is, Benedict is a brilliant actor, plain and simple. It’s amazing to me how he can play roles as drastically different as Khan in Star Trek, Sherlock Holmes, and Alan Turing from The Imitation Game. Again, the man is a genius. I’m really curious as to how he’ll do as the Grinch. He’s one of those actors that has such a well-known face, but he plays every part with such nuance that he’s literally unrecognizable in every role. Why do you think he gets cast in everything? It’s just not because he’s marketable, fam.

Now, on my Tumblr (my new account, @salve-regina-mills, is doing rather well, thanks for asking), I made a post comparing DS to Sherlock…there’s a lot of similarity (at one point Strange literally pops up his collar…come on). But in no way would I say Ben was just recycling his Sherlock persona for Strange. The two are very different characters. Stephen Strange is truly and unapologetically an asshole, and he only gets worse when he loses the one thing that makes him special, but then he grows as a character (obviously) and becomes the awesome Sorcerer Supreme. Also, I think BC was really good in the action sequences. And yes, I realize it’s mostly special effects since this is a movie about magic, but I mean, acting wise, he could play a badass. Oh, and I never had one of those “Hey look, a fake American accent” moments with Ben. And I’m usually good at picking out those moments. And Strange’s humor in the movie is distinct from the other quippy Marvel heroes. Tony Stark is the king of arrogance, Peter Quill is more meta like Deadpool, and Scott Lang is very self-deprecating. The humor in Doctor Strange isn’t really in Stephen’s one liners; it’s in the reactions…or, lack thereof (Oh my God, Wong. “Try me, Beyoncé!”).

Anyway, great movie, cogent plot, good pacing, witty dialogue, fantastic cast, spectacular visual effects. Again, probably in my top five in the MCU. Go watch it, it rocks. ~TRL

Review: “Captain America: Civil War”

***The following blog post is rated “S” for “Spoilers”.***

First thing I want to say is…

CIVIL WAR IS IN MY TOP TWO M.C.U. MOVIES AT THE MOMENT. IN FACT…

*looks around to check if the coast is clear*

…it might have been better than The Avengers.

*is burned at the stake for blasphemy*

Okay, crack time over. After Avengers: Age of Ultron, literally 90 minutes of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes sitting around eating schwarma would have appeased me (sorry, Joss, still love you!). But even if CACW had followed a GOOD movie, I still would’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fantastic!

I thought that including so many MCU characters would ruin the mix, but each was utilized like a master chef treating his spice array: chosen selectively, and measured out precisely to where there was just enough to add flavor, but not so much that it overpowered the dish. I even kind of enjoyed Spiderman, and for me, that’s saying something.

The dialogue was brilliant and witty, and the character arcs made sense. They actually made Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff willingly complying with the government work, which was something I initially had my doubts about. Even the Scarlet Witch/Vision scenes worked for me. The whole “we’re both uncontrollable destructive forces whose tendencies for good or evil have yet to be determined” thing was much more well played that Romanoff and Bruce Banner’s “we’re both monsters” angle from AAoU and didn’t imply that being unable to bear children makes a woman a monster. The only thing I have really have to complain about is the bullshit kiss between Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter. Like, I know there was some flirtation in Winter Soldier, but she was literally living a lie the whole time to spy on him for S.H.I.E.L.D., and it seems like the two hadn’t seen each other since that time. Let’s be real: it was only put in to dispel the theories that Steve and Bucky were a gay couple.

But speaking of that…STUCKYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! (Was anyone else singing “My Heart Will Go On” when Bucky goes in the cryogenics tank?)

And oh my God! T’Challa! I love him! I cannot wait for the Black Panther movie! And of course, my trash son, Everett Ross! Martin Freeman had about five minutes of screen time, but he managed to steal every one of them. I may or may not have been the first author on ArchiveOfOurOwn to write an Everett Ross/Stephen Strange fic. And Scott Lang, my darling! Gi-Ant-Man! And Sam Wilson! And Hawkeye! And…yeah, okay, fine, Spidey was good. He’s a total loser, as Peter Parker should be, but he had some great moments. His “that shield defies the laws of science!” and “Mr. Stark told me to aim for the legs” lines had me bawling with laughter. Because it’s fucking true. Cap’s shield gets lost all the time and then it magically reappears in Steve’s hand the next time he needs it, and he always, always manages to throw it at the perfect angle for it to bounce back to him, and when he’s using it to block enemy shots, no one shoots his fucking legs which he leaves totally exposed. And I’m constantly pointing that out. No, pointing out plot holes and making them into a joke doesn’t negate the fact that the holes are there, but it’s still funny as hell. It’s too bad Spidey’s a kid because now he’s too young for Wade Wilson. Sigh…

But seriously. Please put Everett Ross and Stephen Strange in a scene together. My Johnlock trash soul needs it. ~TRL

Movie Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy

Holy sh*t, you guys. I can’t even. I cannot even. I am unable to even. I have lost my ability to even. I am no longer able to even. I am incapable of evening.

In other words…this movie is f**king awesome.

First of all, would just like to point out that this cast is frickin’ stellar.  We got headliner Chris Pratt, Avatar and Star Trek‘s Zoe Saldana, Bautista from WWE (In another life, I was a pro-wrestling fan, okay?), Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper (surprisingly good as a CGI raccoon), and KAREN FREAKING GILLAN AKA AMY POND FROM DOCTOR WHO.

Just the cast alone makes this movie worth watching, but the special effects and the action scenes add so much zest to this flick. Not to mention cameos from “The Other” from The Avengers (you know, Loki’s boss?), the Collector, and plus, if you look close enough, you might catch a glimpse or two of Malekith (from Thor: Dark World) in the Collector’s gallery.

(I really wish Malekith and Nebula could have had a scene together, just for a moment. Just have Nine and Amy in the same room for one little second. Sorry, I’m a Whovian…if you haven’t already noticed.)

One of my favorite things about this movie is that the heroes don’t really have powers (except for Groot). Star-Lord is really just a Han Solo type, a smooth operator with some cool gadgets. Gamora is basically just green Black Widow. Drax the Destroyer is just super strong, and Rocket’s a tactician/weapons guy. They’re just five badass misfits, protecting the galaxy from tricks like Ronan and Thanos. And they’re damn good at it, too. Plus, they somehow work together better than the Avengers do. And I like that they’re not all dramatic and hung up on their personal baggage like some heroes (cough, cough, Batman). It’s like Rocket says: everyone’s got “dead people”, or whatever. They’re down to Earth (or Zandar) for the most part.

But what I wanna know is: who is Star-Lord’s dad? I know I could just go look it up in the comics or on Wikipedia, but I want to wait. I have some theories, though (probably half-cocked).

One last note: don’t bother staying for the end credits. It’s just stupid and not at all plot related.

Kay, thanks! Bye!

My Favorite Childhood Cartoons

Lately, I’ve been having a splash of nostalgia, so I decided to write about the cartoons I grew up watching. (I’m a 90’s baby. It was pretty much the height of children’s television.)

The Powerpuff Girls was probably my first favorite TV show, except for Blues’ Clues (but that’s not exactly a cartoon), and it was definitely my introduction to superheroes. Without Bubbles, Buttercup, and especially Blossom, I would have never realized how kickass women can be. Unfortunately, it would set an unrealistic idea for me that superheroes were actually a real thing, and that as a kindergarten age girl, I could be one.

Blossom was my role model growing up. I mean, sure, I liked Bubbles because she was sweet and blonde like I was (no more), and I thought Buttercup was a bad ass bitch, but I wanted to be like Blossom most of all. Smart, a leader, and plus I loved that red bow. (Incidentally, it was probably Blossom who originally caused me to aspire to gingership.)

The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy was an object of fascination for me when I got a little older, and I’m not sure why. Obviously, my favorite character was Mandy (Remember the episode Grim and Billy finally got her to smile and it triggered a Big Bang?), but I loved Nergal and Eris too.

Dexter’s Laboratory is another show I remember with fondness. What I want to know is, how the f**k did that little brainiac come from such dumbasses as his parents? Frankly though, DeeDee was smarter than anyone ever gave her credit for. Think about it. All those measures of security, and she still broke into Dexter’s lab every stinking episode.

Duck Dodgers might have been the precursor to my love for Doctor Who, what with all the space travel (yet somehow I’m not a Trekkie). I was never a huge fan of Looney Tunes, but I freaking loved this show. Daffy Duck as an “action hero” was hilarious.

I remember watching a lot of classic Spongebob, beause it came on right after Nick Jr. I still maintain that the new episodes will never beat the ones I watched.

It was really sad for me when House Of Mouse left the air, because I loved watching all those old Mickey Mouse cartoons, plus the idea of all my favorite Disney characters going to one place and just hanging was really awesome to me.

Catdog. I hardly need to explain why this one was on the list. One question though…

HOW THE F**K DID THEY POOP?

Justice League was my OTHER superhero show, after TPG retired to Boomerang. I freaking loved this show. My favorites were the Flash, Hawkgirl, and Green Lantern (even though as superheroes go, I’m a huge fan of Superman). I remember Martian Manhunter used to freak me out. (Incidentally, the Flash was voiced by Michael Rosenbaum, who would go on to portray Lex Luthor in what would be my favorite TV show as a preteen, Smallville, also a show based on DC Comics.)

And finally, Liberty’s Kids on PBS was my favorite show to watch on Sunday morning while my dad made pancakes. I loved the character of Sarah, because she was pretty and British and refined, but also didn’t take any sh*t from James or anyone. Plus, it interested me in American history. (Too bad that didn’t carry over into adolescence.)

Anyway, that’s all I got to say for now. Smell you all later! 😀