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Erin Watches: Adventures with Tip and Oh season 3, part 2 March 5, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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Just finished the back half of season 3! And I think this was the first time we had a real multi-episode arc plot. I didn’t even realize it was happening until we got to the full-length finale, and it started following up on elements that were established in earlier episodes. Even the solution was foreshadowed. (Maybe a little too obviously, especially since it’s not on a week-to-week release schedule where viewers might forget a plot from three episodes ago. But props for trying.)

Movie continuity shoutouts: Episode 11a involves Tip and Oh re-enacting the “interrupting cow” scene. Using sock puppets. It’s adorable. Episode 12a has Tip replace her mom’s profile pic on a dating app — a cropped screencap of the movie — on the grounds that “it doesn’t even look like her!” And the finale involves what I assume is a reference to the IRL controversy where they designed a cover for the DVD with no sign of Tip on it. (Someone releases a comic about the story, with a giant Oh dominating the cover and a tiny stick-figure Tip on the side, telling the story of “Oh And Some Human.” Tip is…not pleased.)

Gender stuff: Episode 9b has Tip and Oh start a spacegoing pseudo-Girl-Scouts group, open to all. Oh starts listing off identities that are welcome, including genders, including “boy, girl, boyboy, boygirl, boyboygirlgirl…” That last one isn’t a canonical Boov gender. Does that mean…growing awareness of non-septenary Boov? Or nonbinary humans coming up with their own variations on Boov gender? Or both?

And episode 12b really doubles down on Oh being a canon boyboy, huh. “Tip will be so proud when I tell her that I am being a brave boyboy now.”

Miscellaneous notes:

A few more episodes with repetitive themes. Tip makes a new alien friend and Oh gets jealous! Encountering a new group of Boov who haven’t interacted with humans, and treat us like exotic/scary animals (complete with “safari” through Chicago), until they make friends! At least one of them paid off in the finale.

I did like the running gag of “hot dogs are full of try-not-to-think-about-it.”

Episode 10b starts with Oh drawing AU fanart of Tip’s diary. And ends with Tip inventing a terrifyingly dramatic story in order to scare Oh away from messing with her diary in the future. It involves Sharzod and a team of Boov having a dramatic mall battle against Tip and a team of DieAnne-and-biker-friends.

Episode 12a reveals that Tip is a fan of something called Volcano Biker Cops 12. (In which “true love” is revealed to be “two misfit cops overcoming their differences before riding their motorbikes over a volcano.”) I’m so happy that there are 12 of them.

At some point in episode 13 we have this fabulous exchange: “Sharzod’s house is a spaceship!” “How did this never come up??” “I has told you many times.” Cue a sequence of strategically-modified flashbacks to earlier episodes. Much as I enjoyed the bits of the finale that were thoughtfully foreshadowed, that was a great gag.

Final thoughts: [spoiler] and Kyuubey need to make friends. [Spoiler]: “I wasn’t hiding anything! I would have told you [evil plot] if you’d simply asked!” Tip: “Who asks that.”

…Now I have to remember to draw Puella Magi Tip some time.

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Erin Watches: Adventures with Tip & Oh, season 3 (part 1) January 31, 2018

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This has been out on Netflix for, like, months now, but I was holding off until I had the time to properly enjoy it.

I feel like we’re repeating a lot of the same themes and morals from earlier seasons. Tip hides something from her mother, and learns a valuable lesson about honesty! Oh takes some human concept to an extreme, and learns a valuable lesson about moderation! Tip gets wrapped up in social media, and learns a valuable lesson about online validation! Oh gets tempted by a prestigious role in Boov society, and learns a valuable lesson about how he’s happiest with his family! And so on.

Notes about episodes 1-7 (okay, mostly about Boov gender in episodes 1-7):

Episode 1b: DieAnne is back! And revealed to be a teenager of her species. (They’re called Roidians.) Tip and Oh show up at Roidian Prom, where it appears that adolescent female Roidians are about 1.5x as big as the males. And adult female Roidians, or at least DieAnne’s mother, are…giant flaming pit-monsters?

Episode 2a: Krunkle’s back! And is referred to as “she” now, even though that was “misgendering” when Tip said it earlier. Probably the writers just forgot, but I’ll be over here working on headcanons about concept drift/universal translator inconsistency/Krunkle coming out as trans.

Episode 2b: Tip and Oh celebrate their Friendiversary, including flashbacks to their first meeting. They redrew scenes from the movie in the show’s style. Very cute.

Episode 3a: A one-off reference to an individual Boov as “they.” (“There’s another Boov I hang out with, and they do nice things for me, and I look out for their well-being…”) Guessing that’s a boygirl or a girlboy.

Episode 3b: The whole plot hinges on “Oh learning to tell lies,” which, uh, is harder to headcanon away. He knows what lies are! One of the first things he said to Tip was “I will shoot forth the lasers from my eyes”! And the show hasn’t been doing the Boov emotional color-changing to begin with, but it’s especially notable here, where suddenly Oh isn’t turning green and it’s not a thing.

Episode 4a features a Boov singer named Chercophanie…who I assumed was doing a Cher impression, but nope, she was actually voiced by Cher. Who even did a song for them. Nice get, Netflix.

Episode 5a: Sharzod manipulates Oh into a date (they remember the continuity of the number-one date that ends with a bell-ring, at least), and at one point comments “I like a boyboy with a sense of humor.” I totally thought Oh was confirmed as a boy, not a boyboy. (Of course, Sharzod is always referring to Tip as a boy, so maybe she’s just bad with gender.)

Tip in this episode refers to Sharzod as “heheshe”, which is definitely a first. Right? (Lucy called her a boyboygirl earlier, but everyone’s used “she” pronouns.)

Episode 7a gives us talking cat-aliens. I’m surprised it took them this long, frankly.

Oh, and: there’s a standalone Christmas special! Which is…a very thin plot full of mildly-entertaining songs. Including a Jewish character who raps about Hanukkah. I appreciate what they’re trying to do, but combined with the way it handled Christmas as a generic secular celebration of giving and togetherness, it did give off an odd vibe of “all religions and their winter holidays are basically the same, right?”

Not actively off-putting overall, just very skippable. Watch it if you’re a completist, but it’s no A Colbert Christmas, is what I’m saying.

Cool research: lead in your dandruff, dino-chicken mutants, reverse corporate espionage, and more June 7, 2017

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Lead came from his glassware, his tap water, the paint on the laboratory walls, the desks, the dust in the air, his skin, his clothes, his hair, even motes of wayward dandruff. If Patterson wanted to get accurate results, he had little choice but to become the world’s most obsessive neat freak.” The lifelong research that helped us get the Clean Air Act.

“García-Trabanino started a fellowship at the Rosales hospital as a young doctor in 1998, and what he encountered resembled a scene from a battlefield. He had expected to be treating heart disease, neurological patients, eye problems—the full gamut of medical conditions. Instead all he encountered were men dying—sometimes slowly, but usually quickly—from kidney failure.” Global warming has invented a new form of kidney disease.

“We didn’t set out trying to prove anything, but rather compile real data. We framed it as a census rather than a study. So we Googled our way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, we compiled the number of words spoken by male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever.

“After noticing that a client was treating him like crap while his email signature was accidentally set to my name, we came up with an experiment. We switched signatures for a week. Nothing changed, except that our clients read me as male and Marty as female. I had one of the easiest weeks of my professional life. He… didn’t.”

“For now Bhullar has no plans, or ethical approval, to hatch the snouted chickens. But he believes they would have been able to survive ‘just fine’.” We made dino-mutant embryos!

“We hear a lot about the spy-movie kind of corporate espionage. I’d love to read a study of reverse corporate espionage, where companies forget their own secrets and employees have to unofficially get them back. I’m convinced it happens more than you’d think.” Within a few decades, this petrochemical company lost the knowledge of how one of their plants worked. Whoops?

Erin Watches: Home, Season 2, the thrilling conclusion March 3, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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Wow, the back half of this season is loaded with gender stuff.

So many references to specific Boov characters being not-male-or-female! Sharzod being a boyboygirl keeps getting referenced. A giant greenish-teal Boov we’ve seen a couple times, Traffic Cone Larry, is identified as a boyboyboyboy. Krunkle’s gender still isn’t specified, but when they reappear in 10B, Tip congratulates them with “You go, girl!” — and then remembers, and self-corrects: “Or whatever gender you are.”

Episode 9A is Sharzod-centric. Pronouns (in Boov-to-English translation) confirmed as “himhimher.” (When the writers remember, at least. In 10A, Kyle use both “heheshe” and “she” two minutes apart.)

…btw, Larry thinks Tip’s pronouns are “it.” Although that was a Boov-only conversation, meaning he could’ve been using a Boov pronoun for Things Without Genders. I bet there are a lot of traditional Boov who think only magnificent genders “count.”

The Seven Magnificent Boov Genders appear to be a septinary system, so I dither about how to frame all this in human terms. Trans readers, what would you go with? All these are technically canon nonbinary characters, but not necessarily trans characters, because it’s easy for Boov to be nonbinary-cis.

Still! Just going by what’s confirmed so far, it’s cool.

And Krunkle’s ambiguity leaves the door open for them to be non-septinary trans, which, uh, might be my new headcanon. (Oh did say Krunkle’s gender is “the rarest”….)

Sidebar: Sharzod has been gendering Tip as a boy (did we know this already?), not like an insult or anything, but like a sincere belief. The joke plays as Wacky Misunderstanding via Clashing Cultural Gender Norms…until Sharzod makes a statue of Tip (for important plot reasons) and the statue is not “Tip’s normal appearance, which Sharzod perceives as male.” It’s “Rule 63 Tip.” It was sculpted with masculine-by-human-standards features that the actual Tip does not have.

The Doylist explanation is that the writers were poking fun at Tip not performing her gender to Earth-US-human standards, and didn’t consider that this makes no sense coming from a septinary-gendered alien. I…may have to write a fixit for that.

And finally: episode 8A opens with a game, where Oh is playing a human woman (we know “human” because of the balloons stuffed in his dress) and Tip is playing as a Boov gender (“I bet you say that to all the boyboygirls”).

It’s not something the show is likely to go anywhere with, but I could get kinda attached to a nonbinary!Tip headcanon. I’ve talked before about wanting fic that explores how the human trans community interacts with the seven magnificent Boov genders…wasn’t thinking of Tip specifically coming to identify with one of them, but now? Bring on the boyboygirl!Tip.

In non-gender observations….

There’s a “we bought a pet without reading the fine print, and it turned into Little Shop of Horrors” storyline in 8B. It’s executed really well for something so tropey…but one of the tropes it invokes is a Mysterious Old Blind Chinese Salesman stereotype. No, show! Bad! They’re aliens, you don’t have to racialize them at all, and you definitely don’t have to do it for things like this.

Two separate incidents of humans crashing their cars, nearly injuring Boov, because they were watching cat videos on their phones. Is that a thing now?

Along with the episodes that focus on Sharzod and Krunkle, there’s a Kyle-centric film-noir parody, and a Smek-centric quest for friendship in which he gets a whole song. Solid material for fans of everyone in the beta cast.

Episode 13A reveals that the Boov have invented hammerspace. Tip runs around stuffing random things into Oh’s “cloud storage,” starting with the junk in her room and escalating all the way to a shuttered building.

It’s all very Homura. (Until she breaks hammmerspace, anyway.) Who wants to write me that crossover?

Disappointed in 13B. The theme is one we’ve seen before — Oh going through some alien life change (meeting “the one”, getting the flu, etc) that threatens to displace his friendship with Tip — so obviously at the end of the episode it turns out nothing changed. Not that you can’t repeat themes, and a fresh twist on this one would’ve been a worthy season finale…but instead Oh is going through “booverty,” and they blow the whole thing on icky puberty jokes.

Overall: happy with season 2! Would mostly rewatch. Especially the one with DieAnne.