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SpoilerTV's Weekly Round Table: 25th Edition

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Hello guys and welcome to a new edition of SpoilerTv's Weekly Round Table. A lot of topics to discuss and this week I'm (MK) in the great company of only female contributors, joined by Samantha (SB), Laura (LS), Claire (SW), Lisa (LM), Abi (AB), Angela (AN) and Jessica (JW). I hope you enjoy the read and join the discussion in the comment section below.

1. Binge shaming!? Last week, Netflix released a very inappropriate tweet presumably intended as a joke. Did Netflix hurt viewer privileges or are we exaggerating?

SB: I honestly feel like this is a joke gone very, very wrong and dare I call it unprofessional? Whether the movie is your thing or not, everyone involved obviously worked hard on it and to shame people for enjoying something? It's just not right. And some of the articles that have come out in response to this have been particularly unsavory. I know Rose McIver from iZombie is in the film, and Eliza Taylor is in a similar type of Christmas film, so can we expect Netflix to shame people for watching that every day for 18 days? It's also pretty stupid considering it is a Netflix original movie, so whoever is running the Netflix account is basically shaming Netflix.

CS: It was a joke and I laughed out loud, but it still wasn’t nice. I guess we do live in a time where people seem extra sensitive and you have to be careful of what you say. But I think that is a good thing. It costs nothing to be nice. How about a tweet where Netflix thanked those particular viewers for watching and may be offered a prize for whoever watched The Christmas Prince the most?. Just a thought. Also a little too “big brother” for me, very creepy.

LM: It was a teasing joke, based on the premise that those watching schlocky romantic Christmas movies are lovelorn young women eating ice cream under a blanket. Far from binge-shaming, Netflix celebrates the practice. Too thin skinned people! Move on, nothing to see here.

MK: It really isn't shaming but I would've felt weird if it was something I watched on Netflix was in the name of the tweet. I agree with my fellow writers it probably wasn't malicious and intended just as a joke. But it makes me feeling itchy about someone going through the library of something I watched instead of it being just a statical point.

AB: When I saw that tweet I definitely took it as a joke as that's the kind of thing that I would say to my friends if they had done something like that and they would've done the same thing with me. I didn't realise people have considered it as Netflix 'binge shaming' people. I don't want to say that the people taking it that way are being sensitive, but I don't think Netflix meant it in a malicious way or that they were demeaning the hard work that everyone put into the film. It wouldn't make sense to diminish the effort that people put into one of their original works.

2. Baiting? Some factions of the Runaways audience are accusing the show of Straight baiting. Where are the lines between letting a character come to piece with their sexuality and baiting audience with a really hot ship?

SB: This is a really interesting question, and I'm gonna start off by saying that not for one minute do I think 'straight baiting' is a real thing. At first when people came out with it I laughed it off, but it's really offensive. And you could say that it's the fault of the Runaways writers, because they've written Chase & Karolina in a way that can be viewed as more than platonic. From the recent interviews that have said Chase does indeed have feelings for Karolina, you'd be very right on that. I expect no less from the showrunners. However, the Runaways show is based off of the Runaways comics, and that has been very clear on Karolina's sexual orientation for over a decade. 'But it's an adaption based off of the comics, that doesn't mean it has to follow its canon'. Again to an extent that is correct since some comic shows on air are only comic shows by name, as they've created their own canon for better but mostly worse. Then I'd point to the fact that in the first episode at the party, Karolina was intrigued by the two girls kissing. And in every scene that she shares with Nico, she is making heart eyes.

That's not something that can be denied, and both the actresses and creators have been very clear that Karolina on the show is a lesbian, just like she was in the comics. They've also been very clear that Karolina will tell Chase that the feelings are unrequited, though her reaction to him kissing her should've been enough of a guess. Deliberately choosing to ship a lesbian with a man just because you think they could be the hot couple, is a choice that a person is making. And it's a choice that people make a lot. There are many reasons why a person would do that, but considering TV shows/movies are full to the brim with hot straight couples to ship? Whereas it's extremely difficult to find good, non-problematic LGBT representation? Just stop.

LS: I don't go here yet, but there's no such thing as straight baiting. And if there were, Black Sails already has a monopoly on this dumb notion.

LM: I completely agree with Laura Markus - Another non-starter. Let's NOT make this a thing.

MK: And while I agree with Laura and Lisa I have to say people are way into labeling things. It is an overall issue with viewers having less and less patience to let a story unfold and a character to be properly explored. Especially with teenager characters. The Runaways writers tried/are trying to explore Karolina as a character and the way she is coming out and instead of patience we get these type of labels.

AB: I don't watch The Runaways but I'm not entirely sure if 'straight baiting is a thing'. I have no idea what's happening between Chase and Karolina but I was under the impression that Karolina was a lesbian and into Nico, and that was how it was in comic canon? I also think for some audiences it's easier to see connections between men and women than it is between two women or two men which I'm not saying is happening here because obviously, I haven't watched the show, but if two characters spend time together it could definitely be misconstrued by some audiences. There may also be some viewers who haven't read the comics and therefore don't know about Karolina absolutely being a lesbian.

3. This week Brooklyn Nine Nine beautifully handled another LGBTQ+ story. What are in your opinion some of the best LGBTQ+ stories told this year on TV?

SB: I don't know if it's the shows I watch or TV, but Rosa's story is the best one I've watched this year. I'm actually trying to think really hard over what other characters have had coming out arcs on the shows I've watched this year, and I'm coming up empty. Which is pretty sad, but let's take nothing away from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It is, without doubt, the best comedy on the air, and the way they handled Rosa's coming out was absolutely beautiful and realistic. Yes, some scenes punched me in the gut, like Rosa's parents being happier at the thought of her being Jake's mistress than being bisexual. And having to bluntly tell her parents over game night that her sexuality wasn't a phase, but is very real was just superb and made me want to cry. It was honestly how a coming out storyline should be handled; no pre-episode buzz, just casually revealing it, taking a minute to soak it in before moving on, and not everyone living happily ever after. Which really bugs me when shows do this storyline. There are gonna be some members of the family who are accepting of sexuality, and there are gonna be some that need more time. It was great that Rosa understood that and just got on with things, and we're not gonna spend the next 5 episodes trying to change her mother's mind.

LS: Oh, this year has actually had some great ones. My top 5 moments of the year, at one point, were exclusively coming out scenes. Aside from Rosa's, which was easily the best of the bunch, very early on in the year we had Elena from One Day at a Time, who stole my heart. That entire show was genius but in the heart of it all lied such a beautifully done coming out storyline, which also managed to end those 'religious freedom' homophobes in about 10 seconds flat. (Rita Moreno is a literal treasure.) Next came Mac on Always Sunny, which was, spoiler alert, one of my top 5 moments of the year. We waited 12 YEARS for this, and they did us proud. Charlie Day went on record saying that they weren't gonna have him come out at all, but the potential for actual societal good was more important to them so they did it. And if that isn't sweet, I don't know what is. I was so proud of Mac and I only hope the next two seasons continue to build on this fantastic work. Then, we had Blake on Madam Secretary, another feature on my top scenes. Such stunning work from Erich Bergen as his story, like Rosa, came from a bisexual who just wanted to live their truth. He mentions his experiences with biphobia from straight people AND gay people alike, which is something I have NEVER seen portrayed on TV before and it's one of the most heartbreaking, true to real life facts about bisexuality. It was such a lovely, moving moment between Blake and Bess that I, a person who had never seen MSec before this, could feel their tight bond after this one scene. Also I decided to binge the show based on this scene alone. A well done coming out storyline really has that power for some people.

AB: Oooh boy this year has had so many wonderful characters coming out or having storyline involving their sexuality and Laura has covered a few of them. I watched One Day At A Time a few days ago on her recommendation and Elena's first coming out scene with her mom was really really sweet! But yes Mac on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, which honestly I was slightly worrying was never going to happen, did actually happen. They had him come out a season previously but he took it back (for a whole bunch of reasons, but mainly down to his religion) but this season they had him come out and stay out and it was so beautiful. Another one of the best LGBTQ+ story which wasn't a definitive coming out but was very much a story was Kat's journey with Adena on The Bold Type, which I'm so glad was renewed for a second (and third!) season. The questioning of sexuality is a trope that has been seen many times in media, but it's one that has affected literally every LGBQ+ person out there which is why it resonates with so many of us. I loved that it was a story they stuck with for the whole season and that I think will continue into season 2 and that it had depth and involved two wonderful, multi-dimensional women who had something very real together. We also had Cyrus on Andi Mack. They haven't really explored this much yet, but having a major character (one of the best friends of the show's lead) on a Disney Channel show having a crush on his male best friend and discussing it is a huge thing. I know people have since boycotted the show, which is really sad and I hate how small minded people still are, but I hope when the show returns in January, we get to see more of Cyrus dealing with his crush on Jonah. Also I can't believe Laura forgot this but Schitt's Creek had an entire arc where resident pansexual icon David was being flirted with by this cute guy called Patrick for half a season and he didn't realise until the finale but they went on a date and it was all very cute and it was Patrick's first date with a man and the season 4 trailer that dropped a few days ago confirmed that they're very happy in a relationship together so that whole relationship is definitely one of my LGBTQ+ moments of the year. I could give you a whole long list but it's probably best if I save that for Twitter.

4. Christmas is just around the corner. Which Xmas themed Tv episode or movie is your favorite and a certain rewatch in the upcoming week?

SB: I may rewatch Leverage's Christmas episode, but an absolute must on the movies front is Jack Frost, Toy Story trilogy, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York & Home Alone 3. They're my favorite movies to watch every year. A new movie I'll be taking in will be Polar Express and of course, I'll spend all of Christmas Day listening to Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everybody.

LS: "Chuck vs. Santa Claus" is always a safe bet for me during Christmas, but I must say I could really use a good Chanukkah episode? Where are they? I'm looking at you, B99, you've done Christmas really well in the past too but I want Jake and Amy to eat jelly doughnuts together and buy latkes for the squad and spin the dreidel a bit!

CS: I love Christmas episodes! My top 3 are The Twilight Zone, Night of the Meek. It’s a classic in black and white. A kind-hearted, drunkard Santa finds a magical sack and becomes the “real” Santa. The Odd Couple, Scrooge gets an Oscar. Jack Klugman’s Oscar Madison makes the perfect Scrooge. And after a spicy food-induced nightmare, (ala A Christmas Carol), Oscar finds the inspiration to play the lead in Felix’s (Tony Randall) play, for charity. The Middle, The Christmas Tree. Axl comes home from college to the usual hecked up Christmas. He wants to spend time with his friends, but Mike laments that he is growing up so quickly (he repeats the words to Harry Chapin’s Cats in the Cradle) and Axl is moved and spends Christmas Eve with his family. We rarely get to see the soft side of Mike. It ends with the family, sitting outside to admire their tree because Sue is allergic and can’t be near the tree. Honorable mention: MASH - Death Takes a Holiday. Hawkeye and BJ work during Christmas to keep a mortally wounded soldier alive so that he doesn’t die on Christmas Day.

LM: A Christmas Carol - in black and white with Alistar Simms. The ONLY other Christmas themed movie I can stand is Die Hard. For television, I have to say that A Very Supernatural Christmas will always have a soft spot in my heart....

MK: Kevin Alone is a classic, my favorite Xmas movies since I know about TV lol. And I can't wait for randomly see it on a channel and get swiped into the whole drama and laugh my but off in the process.

AB: The only one that's immediately springing to mind is Bones - The Santa In The Slush. Film wise it has got to be Love Actually because I'm a massive millennial cliché.

AN: 'll echo Claire Serowinski's mention of the "Twilight Zone" episode 'Night of the Meek'. A very touching episode. Other favorite Christmas episodes to watch include: 'Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz' and 'Perspectives on Christmas' from "Frasier" (their Christmas episodes, in general, are great, but those are a couple personal favorites/classics), the Stephen Colbert Christmas special, 'Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas' from "Community", and the Nicktoons Christmas episodes, most notably "Hey Arnold!"'s 'Arnold's Christmas'.

JW: I love Christmas movies and Christmas themed episodes. The Middle usually has amazing holiday episodes. Sabrina the Teenage Witch had some good holiday moments, and I remember I always looked forward to the ER's Christmas episodes. I also plan to rewatch the cheesy Christmas movies like "Holiday in Handcuffs" and "Mistletones" as well as the classics. Miracle on 34th Street is my all-time favorite.

That's the wrap guys! At least from us. Really excited to read your thoughts on the topics so feel free to join the discussion in the comment section down below. Until next week.

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