What I Learned Watching 26 Episodes of Harley Quinn in 8 Days

On a whim, I decided to try watching Harley Quinn on HBO Max.  My only real experience with Harley Quinn up to this point had been Batman: The Animated Series, obviously, and DC’s recent Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn.  As I watched, I thought it’d be fun to write about the experience as I did last year, when I tried to binge-watch ninety-six episodes of Supergirl in the nineteen days I had left before the new season premiered.  Instead of doing any sort of analysis or deconstruction or anything like that, I just wrote my stream-of-consciousness thoughts as I watched.  Now I’ve discovered the DC Universe’s Harley Quinn show!  And, while I watched at a more leisurely pace (relatively speaking), I decided to write the same sort of piece.  Let’s see where this goes…

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How to Top Thanos Vol. 3 – War of the Realms

This is the third installment in my li’l series where I try to figure out where the Marvel Cinematic Universe should go after Thanos.  As I know Kevin Feige and co. are regular readers of the blog, I like to help them out when I can.  What can I say?  I’m a giver.  For ten years all the narratives across the MCU slowly converged, bringing all our heroes together to battle Thanos on his quest for the Infinity Stones.  While Covid has delayed the beginning of the MCU’s Phase Four, we’ve still got a new overarching story about to unfold.  So what has the gravitas to follow the MCU’s epic, medium-defining Infinity Saga?  My first two ideas were character-centric, considering which villain could be intimidating and powerful enough to follow the Mad Titan.  This time I’m focusing more on tonal issues.  What type of story would be a worthy successor to the Infinity Saga?  Turns out the best way to follow Thanos is with a Marvel Cinematic Universe rendition of the WAR OF THE REALMS.  Huzzah!

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Captain America and the Redemption of the America Dream

Four years ago I wrote a piece titled, “Captain America and the Defense of the American Dream.”  I posted it on Inauguration Day and it considered how we, as a nation, should respond to Trump’s election, using Captain America as the frame for analysis.  It examined Captain America as a character, his history, and what lessons he could offer when the world we thought we knew was turned so completely upside down.  Now, four years later, Joe Biden is about to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States alongside Kamala Harris – the first woman, first Woman of Color, first Indian America, and the first Asian American to hold the office of Vice President.  I find myself looking to Captain America once again, to the brilliant narrative Ta-Nehisi Coates’ has been telling in Captain America since July 2018, as I try to process the last four years and consider my roll in the future.

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Spider-Man and Betty Brant: Complicated Affairs of the Heart

In the seventh installment of my li’l series exploring the variety of romantic archetypes found in literature (illustrating the variety of romantic experiences we find in life) using only Spider-Man comics, I’m examining Peter Parker’s relationship with Betty Brant.  This relationship represents a lot for Peter.  She was his first date.  She was his first girlfriend.  She was his first crush-he-saw-as-love.  But as they grew up their relationship became complicated.  We love to invoke that relationship descriptor – It’s complicated – and Peter and Betty perfectly embody it.  We’ve all been there ourselves though, in one way or another, so in their relationship we find something that resonates and – maybe! – something that makes us feel a little bit better about our own complicated loves, too.

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My Personal Literary Canon – A Self-Portrait in Books

There is great debate about which texts deserve to sit in the canon of literature – debates shaped by people far more informed than I.  Sure, I’ll talk about canon in Marvel or Doctor Who or Star Wars but F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway?  Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle?  Et cetera and so on?  I’ve opinions but few are fully informed by academic scholarship.  Last summer I was reading one of my favorite blogs – I read that in a book – and I came across a post titled, “Personal book canon – a self-portrait in books.”  I loved the post and I loved the idea and I immediately began thinking of what would make up my own personal literary canon.  In the comment section of the piece, I talked of how I was eager to “steal” the idea and try it myself.  This was something I could speak to in an informed way!  I thought it a really fun idea, too, to look at the books which have most shaped my life.  So today, in my 400th post (!!!!), I’m going to do just that :D.

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A Very Doctor Who Christmas! – The Thirteenth Doctor Holiday Special

Weeks ago, listening to “What Christmas Means To Me” while decorating got me thinking about what Christmas means to me.  I decided to spend the month of December reflecting on it with a series of posts and I decided to use Doctor Who Christmas specials as the lens through which to do my reflecting…and now we’re here!  I feel like I blinked and I’m writing the fourth piece and Christmas is this week!  Ahhh!  Showrunner Chris Chibnall has shifted the Doctor Who special to New Year’s Day as opposed to Christmas but – as Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor has become my favorite Doctor – I didn’t want to leave the Doctor, Yaz, Ryan, and Graham out of the fun here.  Enter Titan Comics to the rescue!  Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), and Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist) took the fam on an amazing Christmas adventure last year in Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Holiday Special.  Yay!  So, What Does Christmas Mean To Me (Vol. 4)?  Well, let’s crack open a couple comics and figure it out.

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A Very Doctor Who Christmas! – The Return of Doctor Mysterio

Inspired by listening to the song a few weeks ago, I decided to spend the month of December reflecting on what Christmas means to me.  Then I decided it would be a fun to use Doctor Who Christmas specials as the sole lens through which to consider this question!  “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” written by Steven Moffat, was Doctor Who’s 2016 Christmas special.  It starred Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, Matt Lucas as the ­oh-so-amazing-yet-forever-underrate Nardole, Justin Chatwin as Grant Gordon/the Ghost, and Charity Wakefield as Lucy Fletcher.  Picking favorites out of the Doctor Who Christmas specials is all but impossible.  Still…this one has always stood out for me.  So, What Does Christmas Mean To Me (Vol. 3)?  Let’s follow the Doctor stateside to New York City and start breaking that very question down! 

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A Very Doctor Who Christmas! – A Christmas Carol

Listening to “What Christmas Means To Me” while I was decorating a few weeks ago got me thinking about, well, what Christmas means to me.  So I decided it would be fun to spend the month of December reflecting on that with a series of posts.  Then I thought it would be even more fun to use Doctor Who Christmas specials as the lens through which to do so!  This time I want to look at Doctor Who’s 2010 Christmas special, “A Christmas Carol,” the first written by Steven Moffat and starring Matt Smith as the Doctor along with Karen Gillan’s incomparable Amy Pond and Arthur Darvill’s Rory Williams.  So, What Does Christmas Mean To Me (Vol. 2)?  Well, it turns out “Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol” has a lot to say about that!

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A Very Doctor Who Christmas! – Voyage of the Damned

It’s officially December so that means it ‘tis the season.  As I was decorating a few days ago I was, naturally, rocking out to some Christmas carols.  When “What Christmas Means To Me” came on I danced and sang along as loud as I could.  I didn’t get much decorating done for those ten minutes (because who only listens to that tune one time??) but the break was festive and fun and totally worth it.  It’s always been a favorite Christmas song of mine and every time Steve Wonder’s classic is covered it makes me happy because it means I have even more chances to hear it randomly playing in a store or on the radio.  Anyway, as I was singing along it got me thinking about what Christmas means to me (my love!).  I thought it would be interesting to reflect on that with a series of posts through December.  And then I thought using Doctor Who’s Christmas specials as a frame for those reflections could be fun.  So, What Does Christmas Mean To Me (Vol. 1)?  Well, let’s turn to “Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned” and talk about it!

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“Fancy a Trip in the Box?” – Considering the TARDIS and Each Companion’s First Trip

One of my favorite things about Doctor Who is the first trip the Doctor makes with any new companion.  Now I’m not talking about their first adventure, where they meet the Doctor and get pulled into a much larger world than they knew existed the day before.  No, I’m talking about their first trip, the moment they decide they want to travel through time and space with the Doctor inside that little blue box.  I love it, in part, because these episodes always make me think how would you even begin to choose?!!?  If you had allllllllllll of time and space laid out before you, where would you even want to go first?  How could you pick?!?  Or, if you were in the Doctor’s place, how do you decide what first to show your new companion?  

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