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Multifandom Recommendations, 5/23 May 23, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in Recommendations.
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  • Jeeves & Wooster | Jeeves/Bertie, Drones | M | Jeeves and the Dinner Party
    “I’m terribly sorry about that, Jeeves.” I said, and I did feel terribly sorry, after all, ejaculating on one’s valet’s shoes is hardly preux chevalier behavior. True, it’s not specifically outlined in the Code of Wooster’s, but I believe it was definitely present in the spirit of the thing. It likely hovers somewhere between thou shalt not kill and never wear gray in the country.
    series:jeeves & wooster,fic:one-shot,pairing:jeeves_wooster

  • Houseki no Kuni | Antarc/Phos, ensemble | G | Phosphophyllite
    A mute. An unfortunately brittle gem. A troublemaker. That’s what the others know them as and what they believe to be true. But Antarcticite knows better, having been there since they found them in winter. Phosphophyllite’s not as young as they think.
    pairing:phos_antarc,series:houseki no kuni,trope:timetravel,fic:one-shot

  • Fake News | Jon/”Stephen” | M | Of the Beholder
    From newskink_meme on LJ, for the prompt: It’s their wedding night and Stephen insists that he’s never had sex with a man. Ever understanding, Jon treats him like the blushing virgin he claims to be.
    series:fake news,fic:one-shot,trope:hurt-comfort,pairing:jon_’stephen’,amazing

  • Labyrinth | Sarah/Jareth, ensemble | T | Certain Powers
    Eight (almost nine!) years was a long time not to hear from somebody. A long time not to get a letter or a phone call, or even a postcard reading “Wish You Were Here (without the unpleasantness of misplacing a younger sibling).” Even longer when you considered that there was magic involved, and that really the only thing required was a snap of the fingers and a fervent wish for a Scrabble party.
    series:labyrinth,fic:one-shot,pairing:jareth_sarah

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Trashing our oceans, killing our power grids, burning down our buildings, and more May 22, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“In the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii, hundreds of miles from any major city, plastic bottles, children’s toys, broken electronics, abandoned fishing nets and millions more fragments of debris are floating in the water — at least 87,000 tons’ worth, researchers said Thursday.

“The river is fed by 51 tributaries, some of them overflowing with plastic waste from squatter settlements that cantilever precariously over creek banks. A tributary near Chinatown, where rickety shanties are wedged between modern buildings, is so choked with plastic debris you can walk across it, forgoing the footbridge.

“A new report from the Rhodium Group on Puerto Rico’s ongoing blackout has found that Hurricane Maria has spawned the second-largest power outage in the world on record.

Fundraising for a Dallas LGBT community center that was intentionally set on fire last year. They’ve gotten enough to do a lot of rebuilding, but they can always use more.

In 2012 a call center in India was busted for making 8 million calls in eight months to collect made-up bills. The Federal Trade Commission has since broken up at least 13 similar scams. In most cases, regulators weren’t able to identify the original perpetrators because the data files had been sold and repackaged so many times. Victims have essentially no recourse to do anything but take the abuse.”

“For those of you who work in social media, I need to share the story of my friend who died, and I didn’t know because algorithms.

“The impersonator trolls seethed. Some tried changing their user names to evade the bot (it didn’t work). Others simply reverted to their openly neo-Nazi personas. A few even tried to impersonate the bot, which was vastly preferable from our perspective and rather amusing. [..] The Nazis realized they couldn’t beat the bot, so they started mass-reporting it to Twitter for “harassment.”

And to end this post on a not-totally-disheartening note…”In short, in fighting neo-Nazis/alt-right/white-male discontent / We are the Globo-Corpo-Homo-Judeo establishment

Monday Works Roundup, 5/21/18 May 21, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in And Shine Heaven Now, But I'm A Cat Person, Works Roundup.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Retro Space Babes (wallpaper | Sparrow, Bianca, Patrick | worksafe)
Bedsheets and Memories (art | Cohen, Jessica, Patrick | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
Millennium Diamonds (art | Gem Rhódon, Sotetsu | worksafe)
Reaching out to you (art | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)
Shelter From The Storm (mix | Leif/Thorn, Eurovision | G)
Shelter From The Storm (art | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)
Fishy Engineering (art | Mata/Pato | worksafe)

Professor Layton
Beautiful Stranger (sketch | Layton/Flora | worksafe)

Steven Universe
Diamond Millionaire (comics | Steven, Amethyst, Pearl | G)

Vanitas no Carte
Vampire nerd heaven (sketch | Vanitas/Jeanne | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
Metallic texture (stock, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Had a giveaway in which everything was gone in two hours. Y’all move fast when you want to.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
There’s a fake historical hurricane flooding the stage, and a real magic plant flooding the pipes.

Anime stuff giveaway…and some things for sale. (Sailor Moon, Hellsing, Peach Girl, Witch Hunter Robin) May 21, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in Personal.
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One more round of pre-move giveaways!

Plus some DVDs and manga volumes that aren’t free, but it’s easier to share them here than set up eBay listings.

Unless otherwise stated, first person to claim a thing will get it. People who ask for a specific item will get priority over people who say “send me everything.” For the free stuff, all you have to do is pay the cost of shipping.

If I tell you you’ve claimed a thing, but you don’t send me a shipping address within 2 days, I’ll move on to the next claimant. Any items not spoken for by May 28 are getting donated.

Hellsing Merchandise – Free

Alexander Anderson 8″ figure (poseable, comes with extra hands)
Walter Dornez 4″ figure
Jan Valentine 4″ figure
Calendar, 2006
Set of 2 pins (manga Bondagecard, anime Seras)

Sailor Moon Merchandise – Free

Patterned sheet set (the fitted sheet is ripped and the fabric is awfully pilled, but you could definitely repurpose it for crafts)
Set of 2 pins (new in packaging)
Handmade f/f pins (Ami/Mako, Rei/Mina, Hotaru/Chibiusa)
Calendar, 2003
Chibiusa poster (same art as this manga volume)
Set of 5 inner senshi trading(?) cards
Miscellaneous packing material

Other Merchandise – Free

Victorian Romance Emma – harem-girl figure
Mahou Shoujo Creamy Mami – 30th anniversary poster

How to Draw Manga Books – Free

Someone claimed these when I first listed them…but never sent me an address. So I’m offering them one more time. From the (translated) Japanese series, with lots of good tips and reference poses.

Getting Started
Illustrating Battles
Colorful Costumes
Bishoujo Around The World
Couples
Dressing Your Characters in Casual Wear

From there, onward to the sales part…

Witch Hunter Robin DVDs for sale

Volumes: Arrival (1), Inquisition (3), Fugitive (4), Determination (5), and Vengeance (6).

That’s everything except volume 2, which is filler-y enough that I owned the series for years without realizing I was missing anything. Take them all for $25, including shipping.

Peach Girl Manga for sale

Peach Girl volumes 1-8 (the non-flipped reprint, in two decorative cases), Peach Girl: Change of Heart volumes 1-10, and Peach Girl: Sae’s Story volumes 1-3.

That’s the entire series, nothing missing. I’ll send you the lot for $60, including shipping.

Sailor Moon DVDs for sale

So, ah, these are worth…a lot. Everything else in the post is first-come first-serve, but on these I’m open to bids. If you’re interested, please comment on this post (don’t email or PM, I want to keep the details all in one place) with what you’re prepared to pay.

The linked eBay listings aren’t mine, they’re just a reference for the specific edition I’m offering, and the price it’s going for elsewhere.

Sailor Moon S (“Heart Collection”, volumes 1-5 of this edition)

Sailor Moon 3-movie boxset (“The Dream Set”, uncut special edition)

Sailor Moon SuperS boxset (“Pegasus Collection”, thin-packing boxset edition)

“She said no one had contacted her until news reporters began calling her Tuesday morning.” May 18, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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People killed by police in the US – over 400 so far this year, and the list-compiler is asking for donations so they can keep up the work.

VICE News sought records on officer-involved shootings from the country’s 50 largest local police departments; 47 responded with data sufficient for analysis. Many fought hard to keep the information secret, and some responded to our requests only under threat of legal action. One department sent a CD-ROM containing a single spreadsheet file through the mail.”

I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High and she kept yelling at me. Then the guy came downstairs and he grabbed the gun. I saw it and started to run. And that’s when I heard the gunshot.” This poor kid. I’m so glad he made it out of that alive.

“One of the suspects, A’Donte Washington, 16, of Montgomery, who was armed with a revolver, allegedly pointed a gun at the officer, body cam footage showed. The officer fired at the teenager, killing him. [A different, unarmed teenager] was charged with Washington’s death despite not firing the shots […] A grand jury cleared the officer who fired the shots.” What even.

“Melissa Yatsko said she was stunned on Tuesday when she learned for the first time that her 21-year-old son was shot and killed Saturday by an off-duty police officer working security at the Corner Alley bowling alley and bar in University Circle. She said no one had contacted her until news reporters began calling her Tuesday morning.” Justice for Thomas Yatsko.

“Clements’ truck was immobilized and surrounded by at least seven officers. A K-9 unit was on the scene. The officer in charge even informed the other police officers on the scene to use rubber bullets first, and then a Taser. Instead, they shot her in the head.” Justice for Decynthia Clements.

“Black Lives Matters and other various groups again protested the shooting of the 22-year-old, who was shot to death by police in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18. Clark was clutching only a cellphone when two Sacramento police officers, who were wearing body cameras, fired a fusillade of 20 shots.” Justice for Stephon Clark.

“Investigators and prosecutors in Kansas and California, and with the federal government are trying to untangle the strands of a swatting case that ended with a police officer fatally shooting a 28-year-old father of two standing in his front door.” Justice for Andrew Thomas Finch. (Who isn’t black, but you’ll notice the lack of All Lives Matter rallies on his behalf.)

The Onion: “To any law enforcement officer unsure about the object a civilian is holding, we recommend looking at the firearm in your own hand and looking back for parallels between its physical qualities and those of the object in a suspect’s hands.

Monday Works Roundup, 5/14/18 May 14, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in But I'm A Cat Person, Leif & Thorn, Works Roundup.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Trees and Tombstones (art | Miranda, Poe, Patrick | worksafe)
Whiskey and Bubbly (art | Cybele, Bennett, Cohen | worksafe)
Silent Bear (comic | Cub, Park, grandkid | G)

Leif & Thorn
Royal Opera Stage (art | scenery | worksafe)
Tender header (art | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)

Fake News
Pro-Tek-tor (art | Tek/not!Jon | worksafe)

Hellsing(/Various)
Shine Profiles – Free Agents (art | Helena, Laura, Anthy, Chuchu, OCs, Franken Fran, Sixth Doctor, Vampire Hunter D | worksafe)
Shine Profiles – Team Humanity (art | Scooby gang, Marimite students, Wild Geese, fangirls, Bertie, Hakim, Setsuna, Calvin, Hobbes, Susie | worksafe)

Princess Knight
Dance with the Devil’s Daughter (art | Sapphire/Hekate | worksafe)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Break Open The Skies (art | Madokami/Homura | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
Webcomic Woes 16 – Seems legit. (comic, G)
Chibi Alabaster (Patreon reward, worksafe)
Webcomic Woes 17 – Stuff I drew on my lunch break (comic, G)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Look, you got a cool two-page spread last week, that ought to hold you for a few more days.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
On-stage, Leachtric draws her legendary heartsword…and immediately wishes she hadn’t.

It’s the [Democrats being better for the] economy, stupid May 7, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in Uncategorized.
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Sometimes, though, one party really is doing a better job than the other. To refuse to admit it is to miss the story.” The Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility. Full stop.

The results of [raising taxes in Minnesota] continue to surprise and delight: unemployment is down to 3.7%, private sector earnings are up 1.5% to $891/week, 47,000 new jobs were added to the economy in the past year, and the state just declared a $1.8B budget surplus, even as Forbes ranked it 9th in its table of best states for business. But this is all the more remarkable when compared the fate of the Republican-run, austerity-fuelled neighboring states […] They are running deficits, the people there are earning less than their Minnesotan cousins, they’re adding fewer (and worse) jobs, and posting less growth.”

If you’re a part-time employee at Walmart, and all of a sudden you can get $15 an hour, work full time, and earn full benefits by working for the federal government — wouldn’t you? And, knowing that, wouldn’t Walmart try to increase wages to keep you?”

Study Confirms What Your Grandmother Already Taught You: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. “Want a healthier population? Spend less on health care and more on social services.”

Canceling all the government-owned student debt would be good for the economy. I’ve said it before, but this time I’m saying it with all my own debt paid off.

Periodic reminder that SNAP is one of the most effective economic stimuli we have, where every dollar spent gets back $1.79.

Republicans Behaving Badly (voter fraud, identity theft, and more) May 5, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“[Kris Kobach] said it was necessary to root out tens of thousands of undocumented aliens who were voting as well as tens of thousands more who he claimed were voting in two states. Two years later, Kobach has produced exactly nine convictions. Most of them were not illegal immigrants but rather older registered Republicans.

“[Clarence Thomas’s] worldview, with its consistent objectification of women, is the one that’s shaping the contours of what’s possible for women in America today, more than that of just about any man alive, save for his fellow justices. And given the evidence that’s come out in the years since, it’s also time to raise the possibility of impeachment.

Jeff Sessions ad-libbed “The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement.

Volitich boasted about bringing her white nationalist beliefs into the classroom and hiding her ideology from administrators.” This is a middle-school teacher.

“While their cases were in various stages of immigration proceedings, seven people had their identities stolen by the chief counsel for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Seattle.” Because of course.

Book Giveaway, Part 2 April 29, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in Personal.
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It’s another round of “multiple people are moving and need to downsize in a hurry” book giveaways! All you have to do is cover the cost of shipping. (They ship from within the US, so bear that in mind if you’re not.)

Comment to claim the title(s) you want, and you can send me a shipping address by email or PM.

Giveaway will close on May 6, at which point I’ll donate whatever’s left.

Fiction

The Grace of Kings – Ken Liu (autographed!)
The Snow Queen – Joan D. Vinge
The Pains – John Damien Sundman
Mindscape – Andrea Hairston
Misery – Stephen King (well-loved)
Venus, Inc. – Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth (ditto) (hardcover)
Off Limits: Tails of Alien Sex – anthology (hardcover)
Four Ways to Forgiveness – Ursula K. LeGuin (hardcover)

Children’s Fiction

The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish – Neil Gaiman
The Wolves in the Walls – Neil Gaiman
Crazy Hair – Neil Gaiman

Nonfiction

All The Fishes Come Home To Roost – Rachel Manija Brown
We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Introducing Psychology: A Graphic Guide
Standing Alone In Mecca – Asra Q. Nomani

Comics

Art and Artists: New Yorker Cartoons from the Melvin R. Seiden Collection
The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, volumes 1-3

How to Draw Manga

From the (translated) Japanese series. Lots of good tips and reference poses.

Getting Started
Illustrating Battles
Colorful Costumes
Bishoujo Around The World
Couples
Dressing Your Characters in Casual Wear

Erin Watches: Scandal, the final season, through the finale April 24, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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So…that happened.

I didn’t binge-watch the back half of the season, just kept up every week or two, so no liveblogging this time. Instead you get a long stream of final thoughts.

Plus, a rec for The West Wing Weekly. It’s a WW recap podcast with Joshua Malina (Will Graham in TWW, David Rosen here in Scandal) as co-host, and tons of high-profile guests (like, up to “sitting US senator” level) and in-depth conversations. Episode 4.18 dovetails with the Scandal finale, and features some sweet behind-the-scenes stories.

I really miss the days when Olivia Pope and Associates were actually taking cases.

Only one guy showed up at the office asking for help this season. And his problem turned out to be that he was being framed by Olivia, to take the heat off herself and/or Mellie. Quinn and the others did absolutely nothing to help — their only advice at the end was “even though you did literally nothing wrong, all you can do is flee the country and start a new life. Somewhere without extradition.”

And that was basically the whole season. Our core cast arranging itself into shifting alliances and going after each other, helping no one, leaving a lot of innocent people as collateral damage along the way.

The show always had a theme of characters making Dramatic Speeches that weren’t backed up by the rest of the writing. Sometimes they were working on bad information; other times they had obvious reasons to lie; other times they had a motive and were running with whatever line of BS backed it up.

That last one came up during the How To Get Away With Murder crossover event, where Olivia made some stuff up to cover for whatever illegal thing she was in on. Never followed HTGAWM, so I don’t know how much eyerolling that protagonist deserves, but it was a relief when she actually managed to catch it and call Olivia out.

(My favorite example is that election-season episode when a bomb went off, and one of Still President Fitz’s primary opponents was on-site pulling people out of the rubble. Which of course is terrible publicity for your opponent to get…so Olivia was on the phone with TV stations, yelling things like “Your President is making a speech! That should be your top priority!” It’s the perfect combination of self-serving BS, protagonist-centered morality, and total lack of compassion for innocent victims.)

Anyway, I bring this all up because as of this season, they’ve overplayed the trick so hard that it’s lost all its power.

“He was my friend!” yells Dad Pope in anguish, over a guy he long-conned, manipulated, and just murdered. “Tell the truth — the truth will be your armor,” declares Olivia to Mellie with total conviction, before they discuss how she definitely can’t tell the truth about the election they all conspired to steal. It’s absurdist. It’s nonsense. All you can do is groan and roll your eyes and wait for them to get on with it, already.

As we roll into the last few episodes, the setup on the chessboard looks like this:

–Olivia, during her stint as Command of extra-evil-secret-CIA B-613, had a visiting head-of-state assassinated (on plausibly-deniable non-orders from President Mellie). She’s been covering it up ever since.

–Vice President Cyrus staged a cyber-hijacking of Air Force Two, which got him lots of attention and let him make a heroic “let us go to our deaths with bravery” speech that got filmed by the press on-board. He’s following that up by trying to frame Mellie for the hijacking and get her impeached.

–The firm-formerly-known-as-OPA ducklings are trying to expose Olivia. No, wait, they’re friends with Olivia again, they’re trying to expose Cyrus. All without exposing the fact that most of them have B-613 murders on their hands themselves.

–Dad Pope is officially retired from Command, but (as mentioned) still murdering people on his own time. Also, complaining a lot about white people.

–Jake has been shuffled around a variety of high-ranking positions based on whatever’s most convenient for keeping him in White House proximity. I think he’s officially Command now? And he’s siding with VP Cyrus in terms of who he’s murdering these days.

–Also, remember Jake’s wife, and how he seriously considered choking her to death in her sleep last season? Yeah, she’s dead now. Didn’t even get some kind of “intrepid investigator on the verge of exposing all his other crimes” storyline leading up to it. I feel like he just got tired of not murdering her.

We should also note that, at this point, B-613…does not appear to have any actual agents left. Frankly, I’m not sure they ever had more than 6 at a time in the first place.

Which you would think would kinda hamper their job as a super-competent ominous secret death squad.

So with all those pieces in place, Congress is holding special pre-impeachment hearings, trying to figure out exactly who to prosecute on what charges. (Everyone for everything? Wouldn’t be too far off.)

And…they actually get correct information! While investigating Mellie for the fake hijacking, they come across the real assassination, so that’s when Olivia decides to take full responsibility and out the existence of B-613 to the world. The rest of the ducklings follow along and testify about their own roles.

The person in charge of the actual prosecuting is Attorney General Josh Malina. So there’s this dramatic overnight when nobody knows what the committee is going to recommend to him, but the smart money is on:

–Throw out VP Cyrus for staged terrorism
–Put Olivia, Huck, Quinn, Quinn’s baby-daddy, and Jake in jail for the B-613-related subset of their crimes
–Nothing for Mellie, she’s cool.

This is when Cyrus calls the Attorney General and claims he wants to make a deal. So, naturally, the AG goes to his house and has a drink alone with him.

I cannot tell who in this situation is more wall-bangingly stupid — the AG, who thought this was safe, or Cyrus, who apparently thought “if the guy whose job is to prosecute me abruptly dies in my house with no witnesses, that won’t be at all suspicious!”

Except that…somehow…it…works??

Like…one of the last scenes is Olivia handing Cyrus a letter of resignation and saying “even though you’re not being prosecuted, you’re going to sign this now.” Why not?? He very obviously just murdered the AG on top of everything else! The Deputy AG could be dumb as a box of rocks and still get a conviction! I would put Cyrus away for life on that evidence even if the prosecutor was literally a box of rocks!

Also: Dad Pope makes a surprise last-minute appearance in front of the committee. Confirms the existence of B-613. Makes a grand speech about how it controlled who got the presidency, it set the value of the dollar, it secretly had all the real power in the US government. All handled by this cabal of as many as six (6) assassins at one time. Sure, Jan.

But…for some reason…that means…no jail time for anyone at all???

Dad Pope confesses to running the operation, and therefore none of the operatives are accountable for anything? Dad Pope was retired when Olivia committed her war crimes, but his presence means nobody’s mad about that anymore either??

How.

It’s not even…I mean, it’s the last episode. They know it’s the last episode. There’s no need to force the characters back to the status quo in preparation for next season! They could do a flash-forward, slip in a bit of exposition about how everyone’s served their time for crimes committed, and end on a reunion! A few hugs, a few tears, a profound sense of relief that they’ve finally taken responsibility for all their bad deeds and can start fresh, pan out on a nice sunny DC landscape, curtain.

And instead, absolutely everything fizzles.

Don’t get me wrong, Quinn finally getting a wedding (with Huck officiating! and her baby-daddy finally revealing his non-alias name!) was cute. But it didn’t make up for the otherwise-total dramatic kerflop.

During the time this season was running, I found out that Grey’s Anatomy was on Netflix, and managed to binge the entire back catalog. Didn’t actually realize it was a Shonda Rhimes show until a few seasons in.

You can see a bit of shared DNA — the same style of Dramatic Important Speeches, the engaging high-stakes drama, the mostly-underwhelming romances, the occasional physically-abusive man who’s supposed to be a sad woobie. But I would not have guessed they were connected without prompting, because most of the Grey’s characters…are decent human beings. They’re kind. Honorable. Genuinely trying to do good in the world.

Some of them are ridiculous, too. And I’m not deeply invested in most of the characters as people (except Christina — I would’ve been so mad if they killed off Christina — and Bailey — listen, writers, y’all better not do wrong by Bailey). But you know what, it is enjoyable and fulfilling to watch.

(Also: lesbian and bi characters! Who are described in those words! And have long-term romantic dramas like anyone else! And who are mostly still alive!)

Anyway, the point of this detour is that the later episodes of Scandal started coming with ads for her new show, Station 19. Which, as far as I’m concerned, was not a compelling advertising strategy.

But then someone on FFA said it was in the same mode as Grey’s, i.e. “noble melodramatic people” rather than “aggressively terrible people”, so I gave it a try. Turns out it’s straight-up a shared universe with Grey’s, crossover characters and everything.

(Also: gay man on the team! Who’s been comfortably out of the closet since long before the pilot episode, and nobody thinks twice about the fact that he had a husband!)

So, yeah. Scandal was a mess, but if you admire Shonda’s talent and would like to experience it in a less soul-crushing format, I recommend both of the above.

…and she’s also debuting a new legal drama, so if anyone wants to tip me off about whether We The People is written by Scandal!Shonda or Grey’s!Shonda, it’ll be much appreciated.