Commemoration of the Fifteenth Anniversary of Aaliyah’s Death: Recap and Review of Her Final Public Television Interview on BET’s 106 & Park

This was Aaliyah’s final public interview.

On August 21, 2001, Aaliyah appeared on this show to give away the grand prize of her “Get Paid in the Escalade Contest.”  Every day for the past month, an audience member received a one thousand dollar cash prize, and was entered to win the grand prize of twenty thousand dollars in cash, and a black 2002 Cadillac Escalade SUV.

Aaliyah also announced that her next single would be “Rock the Boat” and that she would begin filming the video the next day.  A video for “More than a Woman,” which was originally intended to be her the second single from her self-titled album, had already been filmed, but she confirmed that it would be released after “Rock the Boat.”

We learn some personal information about Aaliyah.  She says that she has never owned a vehicle because living in New York means there is no point, since New York is not a car-friendly city, but she would like to have a truck if she did have her own automobile.  Her video for “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number” was shown as the episode’s “old school joint,” an older music video, and Aaliyah explained that this was the only video she did in Detroit, which was where she grew up (Aaliyah was born in New York City).  Several of her friends appeared in the video.  Other of her favorite videos that she did included “One in a Million” and “Are You That Somebody?” because the latter consisted entirely of one of her favorite things: dancing.

Aaliyah also got the chance to interview some of the finalists.  She asked one young woman what she would do if she won the car.  She said she would drive to beach.  When Aaliyah asked what she would do with the money, she said that she would help her family and then  go on a shopping spree.

Eventually, the winner was chosen: a young man named Julian Hawkins.

This was really nice.  Aaliyah showed how relatable she was, and how much she loved to give back.  Of course, in hindsight, it seems bittersweet, but we saw how in her final days, she was still doing what she loved and reaching out to others.

Commemoration of the Fifteenth Anniversary of Aaliyah’s Death: Recap and Review of Her Episode of MTV’s Stripped

MTV’s  Stripped was a series where celebrities were interviewed in a unique way.  Instead of a person asking them questions, they would pick their own questions to answer.  The questions would be split into various categories.  And the guest would pick up a piece of paper and talk about what is written.

The episode featuring Aaliyah is seemingly the most well-known episode, and has apparently gone viral in the years following her tragic death.  When you google  “MTV Stripped,” many of the search results are related to her episode.  On Tumblr, all of the search results are related to her episode.

The episode is nice because it shows who Aaliyah the person is.  She talks about lots of things, and she shows that she is just like any non-celebrity person.

For example, Aaliyah talks about what she does to chill.  She likes to take bubble baths, or alternately, she will read a book; she said that she was currently obsessed with Harry Potter and that she is on the second book.

Aaliyah talks about musicians she admires.  She praises a not so popular, but talented singer named Lewis Taylor.  She got starstruck when she attended a public MTV for Janet Jackson, and Stevie Wonder, a singer she is a huge fan of, asked to meet her.  And her “soul sister” Sade, who shares the same birthday, and whom she praises for never compromising who she is as an artist, even if she were to take a long hiatus.  She also expresses admiration for Britney Spears and NSYNC, especially Justin Timberlake.

Aaliyah talks about being a celebrity.  She says that she doesn’t talk about her relationships because although being a celebrity means you give up lots of privacy, she feels the need to keep at least one thing out of the public eye, and that thing is her love life.  Another thing she mentions is rumors.  Aaliyah found it funny that people claim that she has a glass eye, and that that is why she constantly wears sunglasses and covers her left eye with her hair.  But she seems annoyed when she recalled how one person asked her to her face if she has a glass eye.  The person could clearly see that she does not.

Aaliyah is not afraid be a little negative.  She expresses a fear of motorbikes.  And she refuses to talk about an embarrassing date.  She also confesses to having changed a grade on her report card from a C to an A.

Celebrity interviews can be very intersting, and it is especially nice to seem them lead the way, and to give them a chance tell us about them.  Aaliyah, because she was very relatbale made this very enjoyable.

 

TV Tropes Thursday: TV Tropes: Role Ending Misdemeanor

Happy Thursday.  I know that I missed talking about TV Tropes on Tuesday. I’m considering talking about a specific trope on both Tuesday and Thursday, since I have more free time during the summer.

Role Ending Misdemeanor is when a person loses  a job as an entertainer or other type of public figure due to making bad choices, or sometimes, choices that would hurt the reputation of the given production/project.

There are several noteworthy examples.  Two of them come from the world of Beauty Pageants.  Vanessa Williams made history as the first black Miss America in 1983.  But when Penthouse published nude photos of her that were taken one year earlier (she was led to believe that they would be destroyed), she was pressured to give up her crown (Sidenote: Playboy was offered the photos, but turned them down despite their interest because she didn’t give permission for them to see the light of day.).  However, Williams bounced back with successful music and acting careers, and fully recovered from the scandal.

A more recent example is the case of Carrie Prejean, the former Miss California USA 2009, caused a controversy when she revealed during the Miss USA pageant, that she is against marriage equality.  Later there was more scandal when sexually-charged photos of her were publicized, but she was still able to keep her crown and until being stripped of it due to breaching her contract; the breach has nothing to do with the earlier incidents.

Sometimes, however, offending “mores of sexuality” is not the reason for this trope to play out in real life.  Instead, it’s due to actual crimes like assault and drug use.  For example, Aaron Sorkin ended his involvement with The West Wing, due to a drug scandal.

Other times, it is due to cast conflicts,  Shannon Doherty was fired from Beverly Hills, 90210 and Charmed for that reason.  Isaiah Washington was not offered a new contract Grey’s Anatomy following homophobic remarks made againt T.R. Knight.  Nicollette Sheridan was written out of Desperate Housewives, according to the producers, due to unprofessional behavior such as feuding with co-stars, showing up late to the set, and failing to learn her lines; Sheridan, however, alleged in a lawsuit that she was fired because she complained after allegedly being slapped by the show’s creator, Marc Cherry.

 

Favorite Childhood Shows Friday: Favorite Childhood Shows: Sailor Moon

A favorite show of mine when I was a child was Sailor Moon.  I think most of you would be familiar with it.  It is a Japanese manga and anime series about a group of teen girls who fight evil under alter egos that are named after the Moon and the planets in the sky.

In Japan, the series was huge.  It was revolutionary for being the first manga/anime to center around magical girls  in a team fighting evil.  It was also one of the first anime series to become popular in America during the 1990s when anime started taking off in the Western World.

The series premiered in Japan in 1992 and ended after 200 episodes across 5 seasons in 1997.  It first premiered in America in 1995, but it was not until 1998, when it began airing as a part of Cartoon Network’s anime/action-block Toonami, that it became hugely popular in the west.

It aired until 2000.  The  fifth and final season never aired in any English-speaking country.  A couple of years later, the American rights expired, and the show was unavailable legally in America.

However, now in anticipation of a Sailor Moon reboot, the original is available on Hulu uncut, uncensored, and undubbed.  Not only that the entire series, including the fifth season, will be re-dubbed (The original dub is often considered subpar due to censorship and other changes to make the series more suitable for a Western audience.).

Thinking back, I enjoyed the show because of its well-drawn characters and action.  In the past 4-5 years, I began researching the show and watching some episodes on YouTube.  It was fun to relive those episodes.  Now, that the show is available on Hulu, in its original form, that gives even more inventive to enjoy this show all over again.

 

 

Gender and Sexuality as portrayed in the Glee Episode “Feud”

This written as part of my Gender and Sexuality class.  We viewed the Glee episode “Feud.” After that, we had to write about the show’s depiction of gender and sexuality.

 

Ellis Sutton

Critical Gender and Sexualities

04/21/2014

 

The show Glee has always had lots of focus on gender and sexuality issues, and the episode “Feud” was no exception.  Just about every storyline in the episode involved gender or sexuality.

The main conflict is between Will Schuester, the coach of the glee club, and former student Finn Hudson.  Will was engaged to marry school guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury, but things ended after Finn kissed Emma.

This conflict is about two men and a sort of “competition” over the sexuality of a woman.  However, while that may be the basic conflict, the issue becomes far more complex.  Will does not view Emma as his property, let alone Finn as violating or “stealing” her.  He is betrayed.  Finn joined the military after graduating high school.  However, after some problems, he was discharged, and didn’t know what to do with his life.  Will invited Finn to help him coach the glee club, and Finn even coached the club without Will when Will left to go to Washington, D.C. to prevent the U.S. government from cutting funding of arts programs (such as the glee club).  Throughout the series, Will was a father figure towards Finn, and was always looking out for him and encouraging him to be successful.  Then Finn repays Will by disrespecting his relationship with Emma.  Clearly, a seemingly primal male-male fight over a woman’s sexuality has for more nuance than one might assume.

Another issue is between Rachel Berry and her boyfriend Brody.  Rachel’s roommate Santana believes that Brody is cheating on Rachel.  Brody is working as a male escort.  This interesting because prostitution, whether it is on the street or in hotels, is often something that is done by women.  Santana finds about Brody’s work, and tries to get him to leave Rachel.  Rachel, however, refuses to believe Santana, and she along with, Kurt, demand that she leave the apartment they share.  After this, Santana calls Finn (Rachel’s ex-boyfriend), who by then has been banished, and tells him about Brody.  Finn responds by confronting Brody, and ordering him to leave Rachel, this leads to fight where Finn brutally beats Brody, all while Finn calls Rachel his fiancée even though they have not yet even reconciled.  This depicts how protective people can be of their former romantic partners.  It’s also another example in the episode of men competing over the sexuality of women.

Another conflict is that between Ryder Lynn and Unique Adams previously known as Wade Adams.  Unique is male-to-female transgender, and Ryder refuses to acknowledge that Unique identifies as female.  Ryder refers to Unique as a boy, and rejects Unique’s identity.  Later while, chatting with his online girlfriend, Katie, about the situation, she tells him that is Unique says she’s a girl, then that’s her truth, and he needs to respect that even if he doesn’t understand that.  Katie uses the analogy that he wouldn’t like it if people told him that their relationship isn’t real because they’ve never met in real life.  Ryder comes around, and he fully acknowledges Unique as a girl.  Gender and identity is something that is hard to understand, but Glee showed how people need to be open-minded and sometimes accept things because one person’s reality may not be the same as another person’s reality.  Everyone is different, but each difference is equally valid.

 

Favorite Childhood Shows Friday: Favorite Childhood Shows: Dexter’s Laboratory

One of my favorite shows from childhood, Dexter’s Laboratory is just great.  Focusing on a young super genius with a secret laboratory hidden in his bedroom, the show featured all sorts of mishaps and misadventures.

Thinking back on the show, there was so much to enjoy from it, from the humor, to the characters, to all of the things that went wrong with Dexter’s experiments.  Dexter could be maniacal, mean, and unappreciative of its but he still had a heart, and was usually well-intentioned.  He was frequently annoyed by his older Dee Dee who often entered the lab to play, often destroying his inventions in the process, but they still loved each other very much and occassionally helped each other out..

Over all, Dexter’s Laboratory was just wonderful, and one best shows on Cartoon Network.

TV Tropes Tuesday: TV Tropes: Credit Card Plot

This is a common stock plot.

Credit Card Plot is about people getting credit cards, buying lots of things, and then realizing that they are in debt because they bought things that they can’t afford.

Quite simple.

TV Tropes notes that this plot is not as relevant as it is in the past because, assuming that the person is not a child or teenager, most people are responsible with credit cards; they would not blindly fall into debt, generally.  Often when a minor (most often a teenager) makes a

Some examples (There may be spoilers):

In the Sister, Sister episode, “Mo’ Credit, Mo’ Problems,” Tia and Tamera get a credit card with a $500 dollar limit.  Tamera buys lots of clothes for herself and her friends.  Shortly afterward, the twins’ car breaks down in a bad neighborhood, and they don’t have the money to get their car towed due to the card being maxed out.

In The Proud Family episode “Don’t Leave Home Without It,” Penny’s parents give her a card which has a mind of its own and urges her to buy lots of clothes.  Of course, she goes crazy and then goes into debt.  She realizes that she can’t handle the responsibility of a credit card, and she returns every item she bought, and the cuts up the card.  The card comes back to life, finds Penny’s friend Dijonay, and the cycle begins again.

Brandy & Mr. Whiskers had “Payback” where after the concept of money is introduced to the jungle by Brandy, Mr. Whiskers becomes a shopaholic; he is given a credit card by villain Gaspar le Geck, and goes into debt.  Gaspar wants to eat Whiskers since he cannot pay his debt off; Brandy and her friends in the Amazon Rainforest, who have their own stores, give Gaspar all of their money to save him.  Whiskers, however, does not learn his lesson, and offers to buy them expensive gifts as a show of gratitude.

Finally, is an exampled that is twisted to be different.  In the Cow and Chicken episode “Free Inside,” Chicken gets a credit card as a prize in his cereal.  He goes to buy lots of weenies (hot dogs) from a weenie store, but the sales clerk cruelly bereates him because he only has 25 cents of credit.  After buying something he can afford (weenie bubblegum), he and Cow and pursued by a loan shark, who demands interest.

Favorite Childhood Shows Friday: Favorite Childhood Shows: Pokemon

My apologies for posting this a day late.  I did not decide on a topic until Friday evening, and after that, I spent the evening at my aunt’s home with my father and sister.  As always, I’m following the motto, “Better late than never.”

One of the things about growing up is that over time, you lose interest in the things that you once were interested in.

One of those things is Pokemon.

When the show first came on in America, my siblings and I, fell hard for it.  We watched the show all the time.  We got several Pokemon toys.  My brother and sister played the video games.

However, over time, things changed.  I gradually lost interest.  My brother and sister, however, have not, and they still play the video games and buy the new ones that come out.

What I liked about Pokemon was its large cast of characters and all of the adventures therein.  They went everywhere, and it was fun to see all the different Pokemon.  My favorite Pokemon were Pikachu because its sense of loyalty and camaraderie; Togepi for being cute and small; and most of all, Jigglypuff for being round and soft and for having a beautiful singing voice.

 

 

TV Tropes Tuesday: TV Tropes: Screwed by the Lawyers

This trope is about how legal issues can prevent creative works from seeing the light of day or that causes their suppression from release.

Many such works are in such a predicament because of disputes over who has the rights to release them.  For example, the 1960s Batman series was made by 20th Century Fox.  However, Batman is owned by DC Comics which since 1969, has been owned by Warner Bros. who has the rights now to make works involving DC Comics characters.

Marvel also has some legal issues.  When it was bought by Disney, the existing licensing deals with the various studios were most unaffected.  Disney would later buy back the rights to the Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America (These make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe.) from Paramount, but several other studios still have the film rights to other Marvel properties such as 20th Century Fox, who owns the rights to X-Men and The Fantastic Four, and Sony who owns the rights to Spider-Man.  As such, its unlikely that there could be a crossover movie with all X-Men and Spider-Man, for example, unless.  Another Marvel-related issue with this trope is that the Disney merger led to the end of the animated The Spectacular Spider-Man series; Sony at the time held the film and animation rights to Spider-Man, but returned the animation rights to Marvel in order to keep the film rights.  However, various factors prevented Marvel and Disney from continuing that series because Sony owned the rights to their specific version of Spider-Man, which would have forced Disney and Marvel to license it; it would seemingly defeat the purpose to regain the animation rights and license certain rights from Sony.  As a result, the show ended because no company could move forward with it.

A common reason for TV shows not being released on home media is music rights.  Often, when shows seek the rights to use music, they only get the rights to use it for TV showings.  To release the shows on DVD would requiring contacting the rights holders of the music and creating new agreements to use the music.  Very often, it is difficult and expensive to gain those rights, so the shows are either never released on home media, or they are released with the music changed or with the scenes featuring the music cut out.  MTV had a deal with record companies to use their music for free; this negatively affected shows such as Daria, for example, which was not released on DVD for many years and when it finally was released on DVD, the music was changed. Nowadays, some shows secure the rights to use the music for all forms of distribution.

Some works are legally screwed because they are based on other works.  The 1959 film adaptation of Porgy and Bess is one such work.  It was produced by Samuel Goldwyn who leased the rights for only 15 years.  After that, the rights reverted back to the Gershwin Estate who had control then on out over the film’s distribution.  They don’t like the film because it was not faithful enough to the original opera.   Ira Gerswhin felt that film disrespected his late brother George’s work; in fact, for years, he resisted offers to adapt it to film because he thought it would be “Hollywoodized.”  The music from the original opera was reorchestrated, and much was cut out so that the film would more closely resemble a musical than an opera..  It was pulled from distribution in 1974, and only rarely has it been legally seen public.

 

Favorite Childhood Shows Friday: Favorite Childhood Shows: Taina

This is another Nickelodeon show.

Taina premiered in Janaurary of 2001, and it focused on the titular character, 15-year-old Taina Morales, who longs to be an actress and singer.  She comes from a Puerto Rican family living in Queens, and she attends the Manhattan School of the Arts, to work towards her goals.

I began watching the show during the second season.  I found it absolutely hilarious, with all of the characters easily saying witty and funny things.  Another big part of the show was musical numbers.  Every so often, Taina would have a fantasy depicted as a music video performed by her.  This helped reinforce the theme of Taina wanting to be a star.  The show even spawned a soundtrack album.  However, it was not meant to last.  The show was cancelled after two seasons despite being popular.  The supposed reason was that it was not popular enough among boys, and Nickelodeon at the time was more interested in targeting boys.

Nonetheless, none of that diminishes the show in my eyes; it remains smart, funny, and hopeful.