ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK – A REVIEW.

Wow.

I could describe the entire series in just that one word but that would be very boring for you and very lazy of me.

I didn’t have high expectations for OITNB for three reasons:

  1. I had to get a Netflix account to watch it.
  2. I don’t like being told what to watch.
  3. I’m not a huge fan of prison dramas.

But I can honestly say that I’m glad I put these three things aside and watched it because… wow.

Because some of you are yet to watch it (and I envy those of you who are seeing it for the first time through fresh, hungry eyes) I won’t go into too much detail about what actually happens as I don’t want to ruin it for you so, if you haven’t seen it yet, you can read this review safe in the knowledge that there won’t be spoilers.

It’s not often that a series can make me laugh, cry and stay up until 2 in the morning watching it but OITNB did just that. I cried for both good and bad reasons and sometimes it crept up on me and sometimes I knew I would end up a blubbering mess.

You only have to look up OITNB gifs on Google to see how quotable the entire series is and see that there is humour in almost every minute of it. If you were looking for a hard, factual, gruesome prison drama look elsewhere.

I have never watched a series so avidly before, and I’ve definitely not given up hours of my precious sleep for it but OITNB is addictive and so fast paced that you won’t feel like you’ve lost half a day watching it. (I recommended it to a friend of mine and she got through the entire series (13 episodes) in less than a week.)

What I love most about it is the realness. Yes, it was based on a real book by a real woman about her real sentence at a prison in America but often these “reality” based programmes are dramatised and exaggerated. You see the back story to almost every key character and this helps to build an understanding of them and why they’re there which is what drove me to tears on many occasions: most of the women are good women who have made mistakes.

This series not only challenges perceptions of prison but also class, race, gender and sexuality amongst other themes such as age, position of power and drugs. Whatever your opinion on these topics, I think you’ll find it hard not to be moved by the stories that portray them.

I could write about OITNB all day (if you like this review and want me to write another where I look at the storylines closer and reveal spoilers then let me know!) but I’m going to leave you with one simple instruction: watch it. I don’t care if you have to get a Netflix account or borrow a friends’ laptop or watch it after a 12 hour shift. And, if you’ve watched it before, watch it again (although I’m sure you need no prompting to do that!).

Advertisements

POBOL Y CWM – A REVIEW.

What on earth is “Pobol Y Cwm?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s a Welsh soap that I first started watching when I holidayed in Wales when I was about 12.

One of the shows prominent characters is Gwyneth who is portrayed to be a lesbian.

She’s had a couple of long term relationships (including one with a man whom she had a child with, and a woman who she married but later separated from) and has been through a lot of tough stuff (she had cancer a few years ago – what is it about lesbians on tv getting cancer?)

I’ve always thought her storylines to be really raw, truthful and moving. Yes, it was a bit of a surprise when she hooked up with Gary but surprises happen and I don’t think it affected her character’s identity as a woman who likes women all that much.

Recently, she kissed a (female) friend who is going through a break up. Whilst it was an interesting twist it was a bit predictable and I wonder how much further it will go. The woman that she kissed said she hadn’t been kissed like that for a long time before leaving the village with her son.

Later, Gwyneth was at the café with her ex and it was hinted that Gwyneth knew more about why the woman left and that her departure may have been more than a bit upsetting for her.

It always baffles me in soaps how people carry on living alongside their exes in a tiny village with little or no consequences – it’s as if it never happened sometimes!

Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see what happens next with Gwyneth and this lass but in the mean time I’ll have to just stick to watching Skins (and reviewing Frankie’s character which will be up soon!).

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT – A REVIEW.

The kids might be, but the film isn’t…

I had high expectations for this film and quite rightly so. It has all the makings of a good film; good actors, and a unique selling point. Sadly these things just weren’t enough.

Essentially, this film is about two teenagers breaking free of their secure, naïve lives and finding their dad (their mum’s sperm donor). It should be a sensitive film about the different types of family and maturity and identity but, in reality, it’s little more than a cheap rom-com (apart from the fact that it’s not romantic and not comedy based).

The beginning is dubious and, minutes in, I question the lead roles characterisations and depth of portrayal of actual lesbians when the two women watch gay male porn… Hmmm, last time I checked lesbians like women, not men. And whilst this is (poorly) explained later, I can’t help but feel that it started the film off in a bad way.

To cut a long story short, the kids meet their dad, discover he’s a bit of a rebel and introduce him to their mums. It’s a shaky first introduction but the women grow fonder of him. One even grows so fond that she sleeps with him. Multiple times.

Yup. That happened.

This frustrated me so much. Why on earth did she sleep with him? From what I can see there is little, if any, motivation to cheat yet she does and with a man! No, things weren’t great in her relationship but is sleeping with a man going to help?

Of course, her wife finds out and is, understandably, angry. This leads to a whole lot of door slamming, shouting and crying in the house from everyone. But, without much reasoning and explanation, it all seems to boil down and return to normal. (A few things go on that allows this to happen but not a great deal…)

This film is disappointing and doesn’t show lesbian relationships and their families in a good light. Its characters are flimsy and under-researched and its storylines are unrealistic and actually quite insulting. Not a fan.

YOUTUBE LGBTQ COMMUNITY – A REVIEW (AGAIN).

So I reviewed the LGBTQ YouTube community nearly a year ago and I thought it was about time I had another look at it since a fair bit has changed since then.

If you haven’t had a peek at the last review you can read it here:  https://waggcomedy.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/youtube-lgbtq-community-a-review/

I’ll be focusing on channels that I didn’t talk about before but the channels that I mentioned before are still out there and are still awesome and I urge you to have a look at them!

Let’s get started!

The couples:

Bria and Chrissy (http://www.youtube.com/user/BriaAndChrissy/featured)

Not only are these women musically talented but they are politically active and have been on the news fighting for what they believe. With their most popular video racking up over a million views, it’s safe to say that they are well liked on YouTube. And how could you not like them? They’re sexy, eloquent and opinionated; three key qualities in a channel hosting couple.

Kaelyn and Lucy (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBApzcxOY4b2VZLJcKIqLeA)

Despite the fact that they live in different countries and don’t regularly see each other, they make this channel work. They offer advice on all aspects of long distance relationships from arguments, communication and how they plan visits.

Lez Be On Talk (http://www.youtube.com/user/LezBeOnTalk/featured)

Think of an LGBTQ topic. Got one? Chances are these two lovely ladies have covered it. They’ve interviewed their parents, talked about self-harm and have even braved the slightly more amusing topic of names for vaginas. The best thing about them is that they balance each other out and that makes for a well-rounded channel. With over 40,000 subscribers and 2 years’ experience they are well on their way to be a huge YouTube success.

Rose Ellen Dix (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo8OoseslReeef2JBdJdu7Q)                                 

So they may not offer advice and they may not be making consistently serious videos but I adore them. They’re witty and so clearly in love which is so refreshing. (Did I mention that they’re super hot? I don’t think I have. They’re super hot; just putting that out there!)

The obvious ones:

Tegan and Sara (http://www.youtube.com/user/teganandsaramusic/featured)

Who doesn’t love Tegan and Sara? Not only do they post their music videos but they also do little updates, Carpool Confessionals and behind the scenes videos. They’re adorable and their music is relatable and getting better all the time. They’ve worked hard to get where they are and it’s certainly not gone unnoticed as they’ve got an impressive 116,000 subscribers and over 6,000,000 views on their official “Closer” video.

Heather Peace (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsW-JKLcZaq9FO2WP_awqHA)

Heather has received a great reception to her recent music career and her channel charts exactly this. It shows her in her rawest form doing what she loves.

The internet series’:

Anyone but me (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEC0Z9cNoBuHR38J9bKn4wg)

Even though this has come to an end I know I can always come back and watch this and enjoy it every time. This series was hugely influential for me as the script is well written and the actors do it justice. It tackles sensitive issues about sexuality, family and long distance relationships as well as friends, education and cheating within a relationship. Even though it doesn’t explore these things explicitly, it’s obvious enough to be recognised.,

Easy Abby (Juicy planet) (http://www.youtube.com/user/juicyplanet/featured)

This series is feisty and fun and is different to any other web series that I’ve seen. It’s pleasantly short which means that it’s not too hard to catch up. The channel also features other lesbian related videos that are just as good.

The ones that don’t fit into a category:

Drew Tombs (http://www.youtube.com/user/Drew11189/featured)

Drew is undeniably cute and with a following of over 3000 people he is well known in the LGBTQ YouTube community. As well as making videos with his boyfriend he talks about a range of non-LGBTQ related topics which makes him a flexible YouTuber with a lot of potential and scope. Check him out!

Project toasty (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHx_9BxtSDJsCxNj6kcNLRg)

I can sum Project Toasty up in only one word: awesome. One of the regular presenters is Arrielle fromArrielleIsHamming ( http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEjK33MAsRdSNlNfCRHARvQ ) so I knew instantly that this channel would be good. It’s really interactive with its audience and that is a really bold but a really good move for this channel.

The Real Alex Bertie (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXX0iCrVQnlNvGW4gKEhHdA)

Alex is a female to male transguy. He not only talks about trans topics but covered a lot of other LGBTQ topics in some of his older videos which date back as far as 2 years ago. He’s been through a lot and he’s not afraid to show it. His bravery is so inspiring and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.

OUT IN THE ARMY – A REVIEW.

On this Toosday Revoosday, I am not a happy bunny. The programme I wanted to review has been taken off iPlayer and I can’t find it on YouTube. There goes that idea then! 😦

But, I have picked myself back up (literally, I knocked myself out yesterday…) and today I shall be reviewing “Out in the Army”; a book about being gay in the Army written by James Wharton.

I saw this book advertised in DIVA magazine (which I highly recommend) and was hesitant about whether I’d like it or not. But, soon I found myself on Amazon buying it.

I read the brief review on the back from Stephen Fry and felt slightly comforted that it had received such high praise.

I was not let down.

From the start, Wharton combines brutal honesty, humour and captivating image provoking language to set the scene of his early life in Wales and, later, his Army training and subsequent career.

There are some shocking parts, yes, but that makes his journey even more amazing; he strived even when he faced such personal hardships.

Personally, I would have liked to have heard more about his initial Army training but that’s just me.

The book is well paced, thoughtfully written and a truly unique insight into his life.

I could go on to lavishly describe this book in all of its glory but I want to leave a little to be discovered.

Buy it. But it now. Whether you’re gay or straight (or other), in the Army or a civilian, have no interest in the Army or are obsessed with it I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Great read by a great man.