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.

TV Tropes Tuesday: TV Tropes: McLeaned

There are many circumstances where a character on a TV show or movie series may leave.  The reason may have to do with the needs of the story.  Especially in TV shows, an actor is often cast for short time, and they are written out once their purposes are fulfilled.  Other times, a character leaves the show because of real-word circumstances, such as the actor’s death, most tragically, or because the actor does not want to be involved with the show anymore.  Sometimes, a character is written out of a show by being killed off; there are many reasons for killing off a show, but here, I’ll discuss two reasons:  the actor is more than likely never going to return to the show, and so he or she is killed off to provide some major drama to the plot; the other reason is that the relations between the actor and the network/producers are poor, and therefore, the actor is fired, and their character is killed off in order to make certain that the actor can never return.  This is known in the industry as being McLeaned.

This trope was named after the actor McLean Stevenson, who left M*A*S*H, which resulted in the death of his character Colonel Henry Blake.  He was killed off because he wanted to leave the show.

Other examples include:

Valerie Harper, best known for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moor Show and its spinoff Rhoda, starred in the 1980s sitcom Valerie.  She constantly battled the show’s production company, Lorimar, and network, NBC, over salary disputes, and supposedly over creative control as well. Harper was fired from the show and and her character was killed off.  The show then changed its title twicy, first was Valerie’s Family: The Hogans, and finally, The Hogan Family.

Another noteworthy example is Charlie Sheen in 2011.  After erratic behavior and major conflicts with producer Chuck Lorre, Two-and-a-Half Men ended its season early.  After more bad behavior, Sheen was fired from the show, killed off, and replaced by Ashton Kutcher.

Finally, is an example from one of my favorite shows, Desperate Housewives.  In season 5, Nicollette Sheridan who played the sultry Edie Britt, was written out of the show and her character was killed off.  The reason behind her dismissal was disputed by those involved.  Sheridan claimed in a lawsuit that the show’s creator, Marc Cherry, slapped her in the face when she asked him to clarify a line in the script, and that she was fired when she complained about to network, ABC.  Cherry countered that the alleged assault was a light tap to demonstrate her character’s actions in a specific scene, and that the decision to kill her character off was made months before the alleged assault, and was due to things such as unprofessional behavior on her part.



Favorite Childhood Shows Friday: Favorite Childhood Shows: Sister Sister

Happy Friday!

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.

I first got into the show in the fall of 2002 when the Disney Channel began airing reruns of it.  I was hooked on the humor.  The twins always got into crazy situations, but of course remained close and loving through it all..  The parents with their opposite personalities played very nicely off of each other.  It was exactly the type of show I like in that it was hilarious and heartwarming.


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.