Nacho Rivera

Ignacio “Nacho” Rivera is from The Eccentrics.  Goofy and energetic, he’s proud of the fact that he’s unusual.  Nacho goes through life enjoying being himself and living outside the box.

Michelle and Marissa

Michelle Slojinski is a substitute teacher at SSCHS.  Shy and insecure, she is a talented artist, but a history of being ostracized and mental health problems stand in the way of reaching her dream of being an art teacher.  She tries to move forward with her life, but sometimes, she finds that her past will slow her down unless she can deal with it.

Marissa Nogales is from The Eccentrics.  A non-conformist and artist, she believes in eschewing conformity in every aspect of her life, from bizarre pieces of art in all forms, to sense of fashion.  For her, the only rule that matters is “Do what YOU like.”

Luna, Lucas, Lena, and Liam

Luna Santiago is the main character of Luna.  She is a kind-hearted girl, who though spoiled, is almost always nice to others and never means any harm.  Though she is rather accident prone

Lucas Aguilar is one of Luna’s friends.  A talented soccer player, he is sarcastic and always tells it like it.

Lena Johnson is from SSCHS, and is the princpal of the school.  Her struggle is leading the school in a fair manner, while dealing with her personal life, and her family.

Liam O’Guinness is Todd’s younger.  Arrogant and self-absorbed, he often falls into conflict with Todd, due to seemingly always having people on his side, no matter what.

Kelly Takahashi

Another character from Tweens, (cousin of Jack and Jace and sister of Jason, Jake) Kelly was one of the favorites that I had imagined.

She is a sweet girl who is kind to most people, though she’s not without flaws, in that she is ditzy and clumsy.  She often causes problem for her friends, but nonetheless is always tried her best to do the right thing.

Eventhough I lost interest in Tweens, I did use some elements of Kelly in other characters.  Riley Diamond is based on her personality, sweet ditzy, and engaging, but Riley is also far more weirder and has more quirks than Kelly does.  Also, I decided put some of Kelly’s clumsiness in the character of Luna Santiago, but on a far larger scale, making Kelly look graceful in comparison.

Jack, Jace, Jason, Jake, and Javier

Jack and Jace Takahashi are two characters from Tweens.  As twins, their personalities are as different as their appearances are as identical.  Jack is the mild-mannered, straight-laced twin.  Jace is the brash, somewhat rebellious twin.

Jason Takahashi, a first cousin of Jack and Jace.  He is the nerdy type who relies on intelligence rather than superficiality so to speak.

Jake, Jason younger brother.  A trickster, and obsessed with annoying children who are older than him, including siblings and cousins.

Javier Rodriguez is Adriana’s older brother.  A jock, he is rather arrogant, and takes that out on his siblings, though  like many siblings’ that’s how he shows he cares.

Isaac Aguilar

My apologies for posting this a day late.  I procrastinated and then forgot about it.

 

Issac Aguilar is one of Luna’s friends.  He is a nice guy who loves to have fun.  He is a “boy next door” type, and is loyal, above all.  He has a love-hate relationship with his older brother Lucas.  While they care deeply for each other, they struggle to get along, while playing on the same soccer team, often feeling the need to compete against each other.

Being a freshman on the junior varsity team, is hard for Isaac, as his teammates often don’t give him the respect he deserves and tend to be condescending to him.  This has made him feel isolated.  Luna does make attempts to help, though they, more often than not, make things worse.  Nonetheless, Issaac does try to live his life day to day, doing the best that he can do.

Hannah Harper

Hannah Harper is a supporting character from The Eccentrics.  She is Rod’s older sister.

Hannah is the type of person is always willing to lend a helping hand, even as she struggles with her own issues.  Hannah often acts as a “team mom” of sorts to Rod and his friends, but has difficulties in her own with relationships, which she tries to distract herself from by focusing on others.

 

Recap and Review of the Sister Sister Episode “Gimme a Break”

One of my favorite shows from my childhood is Sister Sister. The show starred Tia and Tamera Mowry as Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell. They were identical twins who were separated at birth and adopted by different families: Tia, the studious and responsible twin was raised by her mother Lisa Landry, a wacky seamstress and clothing designer. Tamera was raised by Ray Campbell, a stern and low-key owner of a limousine service. The twins know nothing about each other until age 14 when they have a chance encounter in a clothing store. Knowing that they twins can’t very well be separated now, Ray invites the rather financially struggling Lisa and Tia to live with him and Tamera. Lots of things happen to this rather unconventional family, but most of all, there is love.

The main point of this blog post is about the episode Gimme a Break, which is my favorite of the series. There is just something about the plot and the humor that just is so irresistibly entertaining.

Tia and Tamera want a car, and they believe that they are mature and responsibly enough to have one.

Meanwhile Ray and Lisa are arguing as normal. Ray believes that children need to be given limits. Lisa feels that parents should give their children more freedom as long as they are sent on the right path.

The twins then come into the living and if they can buy a car. Lisa says yes. But Ray says no. However, after some nudging and guilt-tripping, he reluctantly agrees, but only on the condition that he and Lisa pick the car that they buy.

This leads to yet another argument between Ray and Lisa.  Ray is insisted upon a safe car, but Lisa feels that his proposals are unfashionable, and favors cars that are both stylish and safe.

The twins then come home with a car: a red 1993 Mazda Miata convertible.  Lisa likes the car, but Ray is not so sure.  Lisa offers to help them pay for the car, and Ray grudgingly agrees to split the cost with Lisa.  Once again, Ray reminds the girls that they need to be responsible if they want to keep the car.  Lisa, however, expresses complete faith in the girls, especially Tia, whom she calls the most responsible child in the world.

We cut to Tia driving somewhat erratically, very happy to have a car.  Tamera, who is normally the irresponsible twin,  is not happy with Tia’s uncharacteristic behavior.   She accuses her her of breaking the rules; Tia counters that Tamera breaks rules all the time, and Tamera claims that she merely bends rules, and she offers to show her how to do so.

Hours later, it is nighttime, and the twins are driving home from Canada.  Tia is shocked by what they did.  Tamera says that their parents never told them not leave the country.  Tia feels guilty, after everything they did.  But moments later, they find that there is fog blocking their view.  They see a light through the fog, and they assume it is the mall; they are relieved that they are apparently close to home, and therefore, not lost. The twins then hear a strange noise as they are driving.  They realize that they are on a dock on Lake Erie.  The twins get out of the car, then the dock breaks sinking the car.

Back at home, Ray is concerned that the twins aren’t home yet; it is almost time for their curfew.  Lisa is not impressed by his worries; she says “At the sound of the tone, shut up!”  He reminds her that Tamera has a poor track record of being responsible, but Lisa once again, reminds her that Tia would be sure to not steer her wrong (no pun intended).

The twins then enter the living room.  Tia is devastated over them sinking their car.  Tamera insists that they will simply tell the parents that there are no problems with the car.  Ray and Lisa enter the living room as well.  Lisa points out to Ray that they are on time for their curfew, “Check your Rolox!” Lisa sharply says to him.  When Ray asks where the car is, the twins struggle to come up with a lie.  They say it is in their friend Roger’s garage; Tamera gives the explanation is that it might rain, and there’s nothing worse then a wet car, which makes Tamera cringe in guilt.  Ray and Lisa ask them if something happened to car, but the girls insist that they broke no rules.  Ray and Lisa, still suspicious, leave the living room and tell the girls to have a good rest of their night.  The twins feel bad over their lies.

The next morning Ray and Lisa separately check Roger’s garage to see if the car is there.  Of course, it is not there.  Ray, and especially, Lisa are upset at them lying; Lisa says that nothing they could do to the car could justify lying, even if they were to…sink it int0 a lake, which Ray says as he’s watching the TV.  The local news reported that a red 1993 Mazda Miata convertible was found in Lake Erie, and it was exactly like the car the twins bought.  The anchor also says that nearby campers heard a girl shouting “Oh, gosh, Tia!  My dad’s gonna kill us!”  Ray is angry, but Lisa insists that before they punish the girls, they should give them another chance to tell the truth.

Tia and Tamera come downstairs and Tamera asks for a ride to school.  Ray and Lisa repond, “A ride?  You have a car?  Don’t you?”  Tia explains that the car is so new that she forgets.  Roger then shows up and asks if the twins can drive him to school.  Ray points out that the twins said that the car is in Roger’s garage.  Roger is confused, and the girls immediately leave with him.  Ray wants to punish the girls, but Lisa insists that she be the one to punish the twins.  Ray balks at her, saying that she is just a big softie.

But later on, Ray accuses her of being cruel with the punishments.  Lisa has been sending them on errands to buy heavy items.  She prefers a slow and rough punishment until the girls tell the truth.  The girls come home with 27 cans of cling peaches and heavy syrup; they surely would have had less trouble if they had a car.  Ray then decides to join in the on the fun, and tells the girls that they shouldn’t have sent them to get ingredients for peach cobbler; this is the weather for pumpkin pie!  Lisa tells them to bring home twenty pumpkins from a pumpkin patch.  Ray then tells them to take a neighbors rotweiler to the vet, to pick up the their new Steinway piano.  He warns them to be careful when they drive home with the piano attached to the car, otherwise, it will weigh them down, and they will fall into the lake.  This pushes the girls over the edge, and they finally tell the truth about the sinking their car.

After this confession,  Ray and Lisa reveal that they know everything.  Then the take the girls outside to reveal that they claimed the car and got it repaired.  The girls are punished by losing the car, but they have to continue paying for it, including the repair expenses.  The twins express that they deserve such a punishment for what they did to the car.  But Lisa and Ray point that they’re also being punished for what they did after they sank the car.  “Threw up?”  Tamera asks.  No,  they’re being punished because they lied about what they did and didn’t seek help.  Ray and Lisa tell them being a responsible adult includes asking for help when you’re in trouble.  Tia and Tamera feel guilty and ask if they will ever get a car?  Lisa tells them that they will in the future, but sometimes it takes a while to get one’s dream car.  Lisa then say “Lord knows I’ve waited long enough for mine!” And Lisa who has had severe car trouble in the past, including low-quality, unreliable cars, immediately claims the car for herself.

In the final scene, Lisa is having fun with her car driving all over the place.  But then she realizes that she is lost.  Lisa then sees a light, and thinks that’s the mall.  But seconds later she realizes that she is driving on a dock on Lake Erie.  The dock breaks and she goes down into the lake with the car.

This episode was funny, but also insightful.  It shows how parents can disagree with how to deal with kids, but how they can eventually come to terms with each other and work together.  I think another important element is responsibility  I know that I’ve tried to do things on my own as a young adult and not ask my parents for help, but I do struggle with knowing when to ask for help and when not to ask for help.  The important life lessons (which I think are gently delivered) and the humor (the car getting sunk and the consequences, most of all) are what make me wan to watch this episode again and again.

TV Tropes Tuesday: TV Tropes: Designated Heroes and Designated Villains

Today is TV Tropes Tuesday, and I will talk about two of my favorite tropes, which are the Designated Hero and the Designated Villain.  

Most stories have a hero and villain.  However, we’ve all seen or read or heard stories where the heroes are not very heroic, and the villains are not very villainous.  The heroes are meant to be sympathetic, but come across as unsympathetic, and possibly even actual villains; on the other hand, the villains might come across as sympathetic, and maybe even heroic, especially if they never do anything that is truly wrong.

In my attempts at developing stories, I have had trouble with this issue.  I’ve wanted to depict my characters doing bad things, but then I’m told that they sound too unlikable.  It’s hard to strike a balance, but I’ve always wanted to depict bad people doing bad things; I tend to find unlikable characters to be the most interesting.

For example, with my character Luna, I’ve intended for her to be an anti-hero trying to get through life while living in a town where she is completely and utterly despised by almost everyone; to distinguish from the designated hero, my intention is that she is still the hero of her story has at least generally good intentions, although she does some morally questionable things, but I’ve realized that some of the things I’ve imagined her doing go too far and would likely make her unlikable and unsympathetic.

I’ve thought of several ways to fix that issue.

I could tone down her bad behavior and try to make her more funny and sympathetic, instead of just an insufferable brat.

I could also depict her as receiving disproportionately unfair punishments; to expand on that I have created story lines where Luna received unfair punishments for lots of things.  For example, her story begins after she has spent the summer in Juvie after the cheer leading squad jumped her.  Even though, she was defending herself, she was charged and sentenced.  I also have Luna regularly being a victim of bullying and harassment, and the school staff does nothing about it, as they hate her.  Yet another story line focuses on Luna getting her first car, and then is arrested for driving ONE mile over the speed limit. Luna is selfish and spoiled, and she doesn’t always do right by her family and friends, but that does not justify being treated unfairly by the justice system or being ignored by her school when she is bullied and harassed.

This is my attempt to avoid making Luna into a designated hero.

Interestingly, I have also considered doing other things, like making Luna so unsympathetic, that the audience is rooting against her and is happy when she is justly punished at the end; this would make her a Villain Protagonist.

I’ve also imagined Luna being unfairly treated by someone, and her antagonist is portrayed as being in the right.  This is interesting because in a way Luna is a Villain Protagonist, and her opponent is a Hero Antagonist; however, the way in which I imagined would make them Designated Villain Protagonist and Designated Hero Antagonist  One story line involves Luna being reunited with someone whom she accidentally outed as gay to the entire school, leading to them dropping out to avoid being bullied.  This person decides to get revenge against Luna by framing her for saying derogatory things about the LGBT community.  When Luna proves her innocence, the person is called out harshly for their actions, but then Luna loses her support, when the others out what she did to the person. The message is that if someone outs you, you have the right to do whatever you want to destroy their life.  Not a good message.  An audience might not like that story, so I will try to make Luna more sympathetic, rather than expecting the audience to root against her.

Moving on, my show about teachers, I have imagined several major story lines where they do lots of bad things, like sabotaging each other, the principal public shaming her bad-behaving daughter, a teacher accidentally injuring a student and covering it up, two teachers destroying each others’ house, and all sorts of things.  Now, I’ve tried to make things not so harsh, and to include humor, but many of the characters could be regarded as designated heroes, and I’ve gotta do work to make them more sympathetic.  I’ve at least made a mean character nice to certain people and supportive of mental health issues and the LGBT community.

The next paragraph has spoilers.

To end this blog post, I will talk about an example of a designated hero that I have seen.  I enjoyed the Hulu original series East Los High, a teen drama which focuses on the students of a high school in the predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood of East Los Angeles.  One of the characters, Jessie, is dating a jock named Jacob.  When Jacob becomes close to Jessie’s cousin, Maya, Jessie becomes jealous and sleeps with her dance teacher (who seems to be about the same age as her), Cristian after spending lots of time alone with him.  Jessie shortly afterwards has sex with Jacob to avoid losing him to Maya.  Jessie had unprotected sex with Cristian (he failed at using the withdrawal method, which anyone who took comprehensive sex ed should and would know is an unreliable birth control method, and that many boys and men often can’t and don’t know exactly when they will reach orgasm and ejaculate, and may not withdraw in time, but I digress.), but Jacob used a condom when she had sex with him.  Jessie finds out that she is pregnant, and tells Jacob that he is the father, when Christian is actually the father.  This leads to Jacob foregoing a scholarship to play football for a college in Indiana, and at her mother’s insistence, he asks Jessie to marry him.  Leading up to the wedding, Jessie never expresses any guilt over lying to Jacob and causing him to give up his future to be a young father and husband.  Eventually as they are about to exchange vows, Jessie feels guilty, refuses to go through with the wedding, and pulls Jacob aside to tell him the truth.

What I noticed on the comments of the episodes is an expression of contempt for Jessie for her dishonesty, infidelity, and for causing Jacob to give up his future.  Yet, through it all, she does not express guilt until the last minute, and the show depicts her sympathetically.  While I personally don’t hate Jessie as a character, I can understand all the negative comments about her.  Perhaps, the show’s writers should have and could have depicted Jessie struggles with her guilt; it would have made her more sympathetic.

My Hypothetical Reality Show

This assignment for my reality show class involved creating a hypothetical reality show.  We had to then pitch it to the class and write a paper where we analyzed our pitch.  Here is my paper.  The class found mine funny.  Maybe it could be a good satire/parody of Reality TV.

 

The name of my (hypothetical) reality show will be called Englewood.  It is set in one of the most notorious and violent neighborhoods of Chicago.  The goal of the show is depict the “real” stories of the residents of Englewood, seen through the ideas of several young adults.  The cast will be followed as they live their daily lives, to show what it “truly” means to live in the ghetto, while dealing with issues such as crime, faulty relationships, poverty, and so on.

Several characters and archetypes are depicted in Englewood.  One young lady is short in height, but big in attitude.  She likes to wear short dresses, high heels, gigantic hoop earrings, and wears hair extensions that go down to her lower back.  She also had a huge appetite…for men and has had sex with multiple guys, most of whom she picks at clubs, or rather, they pick her up at clubs.

Another character is a wannabe rapper.  He acts in a very cocky manner.  He thinks he’s a pimp, a player, a stud, and the type of man that women adore.  Not only that, he likes to wear clothes with lots of swag, including long chains and sagging pants.  He also has numerous tattoos, and in all, he embodies the gangster appearance.

Next is a young woman who has no drive to do anything other than to live on welfare.  She is lazy and irresponsible.  She has four children all by different fathers.  She spends most of her child support and welfare money.

Next is a young man who is a gender-flipped version of the previous character.  He considers himself a player and as such has 30 children with 12 different women.  He has only a minimum wage job and the mothers of his children often get far less child support than they are owed.  He does make an honest attempt to be in hid kids’ lives, but it’s hard when he has so many kids.

I would include these characters because they represent what people think of people from the ghetto.  We see these archetypes in hip-hop.  We hear about them on the news.  These character types truly represent negative stereotypes; I would expect to see them in a reality show that focuses on black people, unfortunately.  If such a show were to exist, it may as well be a modern day minstrel show, only with actual black people.

The intended audience of the show is young adults, particularly those in the African-American community who live the hip-hop culture.  The show is also intended to speak to people who live in low-income neighborhoods.  The show does depict certain aspects of black culture, even if they are not necessarily positive.

The characters on the show would be seen wearing clothing and accessories from various urban and hip-hop clothing lines such as Sean John and Roca Wear.  Also, the characters would regularly indulge in alcoholic beverages such as Patron and Courvoisier.

Again, my choices for products are inspired by hip-hop culture.  The clothing lines were created by hip-hop artists, and the alcohol mentioned seems popular to talk about in hip-hop songs.   This is playing into stereotypes, of course.

The types of commercials I would recommend would be fore clothing brands, entertainment, and the like that appeals to “urban” American young adults.  I would also recommend commercials for general needs such as food, hygiene products, and so on, that all young adults would need.

Once again, the running theme is this show is about people in the ghetto and lots of them are interested in hip-hop music and the entire culture that goes along with that.  The commercials, therefore, have to fit with what the characters are like, and what the people watching would want to buy.

In conclusion, this is my pitch and the analysis thereof.  I have explained the premise, characters, intended audience, product tie-ins, and recommended commercial.  I have also explained why I chose the elements I did.  Reality TV could be positive, but sadly, people don’t want to watch things like that.  Therefore, I have made sure that I created something with all of the aspects that people love to watch in reality shows: drama, broad personalities, and stereotypes.