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SpoilerTV`s Weekly Round Table: 41st Edition

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Hello everyone and welcome to another WRT! Another week behind us and we still got enough juicy stories to discuss with you. This week I`m (MK) joined by SpoilerTV writers: Jamie (JC), Laura (LS), Yon (SJ), Beth (BW) & Joey (JH). As always feel free to join the discussion in the comment section down below

1. May Sweeps are ahead and many fates will be left up in the air. What is your take on the summer-long anticipation about someone´s fate, unnecessary, tedious or just right?

JC: If I'm being honest, for me the excitement fades after a few weeks. By July I've already forgotten all about it. So I could go either way. For bubble shows, I hate it, though. Because we have to wait to hear if it's going to get renewed first. There I would avoid any type of cliffhangers

SJ: I think it's dumb and May sweeps haven't really moved with the times. In years before now keeping fans on the hook, with the media joining the speculative guessing game of who survives, who's coming back etc worked. But nowadays things can be spoiling through filming pictures captured by members of the public, and if after promising for X amount of episodes that something will be resolved & it actually isn't? There are enough shows around now that fans will just move on (I've been guilty of this a number of times) We know by now to expect the things that are thrown at us during May sweeps & the summer hiatus, so it's honestly more surprising when show's wrap everything up & leave small little breadcrumbs. Stories resolved, but there's the question of where exactly the show can go now & I think that'd be a far more interesting round for the summer hiatus.

BW: I am actually getting really tired of this trope. When shows did it for the genuine purpose of the plot, I respect it. I feel like that has faded and now it is a cheap ploy to get people to come back. I also hate it because said character can't be in promotional photos, have to skirt around what their character arc will be and it the fans care that much, social media detectives go into hyperdrive.

JH: I'm gonna go with my signature "I don't know how to pick a side" response and say it depends on how it's done. If they try to pretend they're going to kill the MAIN CHARACTER off, that is absolutely unnecessary. We all know you aren't killing your star, so why are we even trying to pretend? If the lingering potential death comes about organically in the plot and it's an important character that you could really see no longer being on the show, I'm all for it. With all the TV options these days, the excitement from these types of cliffhangers, or really any cliffhangers in general, will fade by mid-Summer while we focus on our Summer shows, but the buzz for them builds back up in a week or two before the show returns. There is certainly still a place for these types of cliffhangers, but only if the show handles them correctly.

MK: I have no issues with lingering deaths and the summer wait, my issue is with them playing over the emotional response. Its like they`ve never been in that life or death predicament.

AO: I hate it, seeing that we are in 2018 and not 1999 sweeps are ridiculous. It’s fun for the networks, and with all these platforms there is a lot of money being made just from speculations. My concern is always for the talent, not every actor has projects lined up waiting, and some actors are left in limbo. It’s an ancient business model that only benefits the status quo in my opinion.

2. GLAAD Awards are behind us and there were some controversial and some well-deserved wins? Ur take on this year's award ceremony?

JC: There's a lot of shows in the nomination list that I don't know so I can't speak for those. But to me, the only one that seems odd is This Is Us winning. I feel like the award should go to a show where an LGBT character or storyline was more central.

LS: Let's start with the two big ones: Drama and Comedy. Anyone who knows me knows that the show they picked for comedy is my favorite and rarely ever does me wrong so I'm very much on board with that pick. There are so many shows in that category that I wouldn't have even nominated, so I really think they went with the right winner this time around. ODAAT was my second choice, but I wholeheartedly believe that show will win in the future. Don't get me wrong, it is doing AMAZING things right now, but it is still young. B99 is at its peak, its prime, rather, and it has been denied award after award for several years. So ODAAT still has a lot of time left. And hey, if this acclaim helps B99 get a bigger chance to be renewed? I wouldn't change it for the world. Stephanie Beatriz got on stage and quoted Holt's tearjerker of a line: "Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place.” Perfect. Just perfect.

Now onto the drama section, this one is hugely problematic. Let's start with the fact that This Is Us did not even have a regular LGBTQ+ character in their cast from 2017-2018? Let alone the fact that, of the recurring characters they did have, William and Jessie, one of them was dying of cancer the entire time he was on the show. They literally shoved his death down our throats and showed it to us in grand detail, right up in our faces. Yeah, you can argue that it was refreshing to see a bisexual character is shown to be as such later on in their life, but it was LITERALLY right before his agonizing death. None of that is okay in my eyes. Or maybe they gave this show the award because Lena Waithe was in it for approximately two seconds? I don't know. This award was stupid, and some of the nominations even stupider. Of the shows nominated I would've given it to Billions or Doubt, but obviously, GLAAD thinks they know best.

Ah, speaking of Lena Waithe, Master of None received an award for her episode, "Thanksgiving". Yes, it's a great episode, Emmy winning and now GLAAD award-winning. But take a look at the rules for this episode to win - "Best episode in a show that does not have a regular LGBTQ+ character". So, what, does Denise not count as a series regular? Is this a f.cking joke? What the actual was this nonsense? Look, I love Lena, I was really happy to see her win because it means a whole lot, and I probably would've picked that individual episode over any of the other ones (especially Legion). But Denise is a regular goddamn character on the show, and this is GLAAD's own rules, after all. So they literally broke them in two awards. That's not good.

I'm happy Andi Mack won, though the other nominations were also great. Kid's Programming is finally starting to reach even a modicum of excellence, which is even better considering these programs are wonderful in my eyes as an adult too. I don't like how GLAAD didn't invite Shadi Petosky and the Danger & Eggs writers to be at the event, as a trans showrunner and for a show with tons of LGBTQ+ pride, they should've been asked to be there and celebrate their outstanding achievements.

And some of the awards haven't even been given out yet. We all know Call Me By Your Name has their award in the bag, but I was also happy to see A Fantastic Woman win, even happier to see that they could fill up the two movie awards with five movies apiece. Compare that to last year's two nominees for a mainstream movie - Star Trek Beyond and Moonlight, and it's already a vast improvement. We still have a ton of work to do, but it's hopefully starting to shift in our favor slowly.

SJ: I don't really pay that much attention to GLAAD, but I think in some places the winners are being selected more because of the hype that goes with selecting them than because they're actually worthy winners. Certainly This Is Us should not be winning Best Drama, in fact it shouldn't even be nominated. Shadowhunters & Wynonna Earp would've been far more worthy winners considering the LGBT relationships are actually a major storyline in those shows. Brookyln Nine-Nine I can have no complaints with considering they have two prominent characters in the show who are LGBT. Why 'Outstanding Individual Episode for a show without an LGBT regular character' even exists I have no idea but it's extremely insulting. There are plenty of Awards that showcase shows/movies that don't have LGBT characters, why can't something for LGBT actually be all about LGBT. For what Andi Mack has done I think it's an extremely worthy winner for Kids & Family programming. Thelma should've absolutely won for limited film & the fact it didn't?!

The only other category that stands out to me (and excuse a bit of fangirling here) is Spanish Language programming and Las Chicas Del Cables winning. I've somewhat dipped my toes into the Spanish TV scene & Las Chicas Del Cables is a show very much on my watchlist due to my faves, so I'm really happy it's getting that International recognition. Having said that though, I really don't think it should've won. The way in which they revealed a character was transgender wasn't good at all, then there's the polygamous relationship which is just ugly and ripping off parts of the f/f storyline from Seis Hermanas's couple Celia/Aurora. Ingobernable would've been a far more worthy winner.

JH: I'm terrible when it comes to seeing movies, so I'm only able to speak to the TV categories for these awards. I'm super pumped that B99 got some attention. It's one of the rare, consistently funny shows on the networks these days, so hopefully, this award will strengthen its renewal chances this season. That being said, I would have been cool with pretty much any show from that category winning. Now, as for the drama series...I love This is Us more than probably anything else on TV right now because of the honesty and heart in the show, however, it doesn't deserve a GLAAD award for this season. Maybe for some reason, the award is for the first season? But I certainly don't understand why it would win based on the second season. That being said, of the other nominees, I've only seen the first seasons of Sense8 and Nashville (I don't have enough time to watch everything I want to), so I can't really speak to what show should win, but I'm positive there's at least one show that's more LGBTQ-related than This is Us season 2. Sidenote: I really like that the In a Heartbeat short got a Special Recognition Award. I was worried it would slip into obscurity after its initial buzz, but this will certainly keep it around for a while.

AO: GLAAD's description of how shows are nominated is. Criteria: "Fair, Accurate and Inclusive Representations" of the LGBT community, "Boldness and Originality" of the project, significant "Cultural Impact" on mainstream culture, and "Overall Quality" of the project.
Keeping that in mind, I see why “Thanksgiving” episode got picked, I am sure majority of the voters were going by that description, however, If GLAAD is going to have rules then they should abide by their rules. I love Lena Waithe, but in this case, the episode they submitted didn’t qualify based on the stated rules of that category. Doesn’t Master of None have a regular LGBTQ character?

For the drama section, my choice would have been Wynonna Earp or Doubt. The main reason William was on This Is Us was to give us a little bit of background on Randall’s story. I hated that they decided to kill him and not explore further his relationship with Jesse because the two actors had great chemistry and there was an excellent opportunity for that story. It was great that there was a little bit of Williams’s bisexuality addressed in the show but it didn’t necessarily fit into the larger narrative of his giving up Randall which was why he was on in the first place.

3. A lot of buzz got the recent documentary "The Problem with Apu", which talked about a lot of stereotypical and racist character traits the well-known Simpson character shows during his run in the show. Where is the line between portraying a race properly and exploiting the cultural preestablished traits for laughs?

JC: I'm white so I don't feel like I have the right to judge where the line is but I think if I were writing for a show I would always consult a test audience (with people of that specific culture) and take their opinion into account. If they say it's racist, it needs to change.

JH: I haven't seen the documentary, and I don't regularly watch The Simpsons, but I feel I'm familiar enough with the show to have a thought on the subject. I'm actually the whitest thing you could ever imagine so don't have a lot of cultural pull here, but I don't think the problem is Apu, I think the problem is our society. Yes, Apu is an overly stereotyped representation of the culture, but what isn't overly stereotyped in that show? It's a cartoon in which comedy is derived from exaggeration. While reading about the documentary, I read that kids were being made fun of by other kids and being compared to Apu because he was their only exposure to that particular race. That is not the show's fault. Children are extremely impressionable, and if you, as a parent, make the decision to allow your child to watch The Simpsons, it becomes your duty to explain that what they see isn't how the world works. Don't blame the show. I also read a lot about Apu being the only/largest representation of Indian culture in mainstream media. While true, this, again, is not the show's fault. Why hasn't Hollywood worked harder to bring the Indian culture to the big/small screens? You can't yell at a show that exaggerates everything for exaggerating a culture that Hollywood hasn't tired hard enough accurately represent. While he has caused much friction being on such a world-famous show, Apu was in the show before it was world-famous. They could never have predicted the popularity of The Simpsons when Apu was created, and they had no worldwide clout to worry about. The show was made at a different time (yes I know that's a scapegoat claim), but what would you have them do with Apu now? Kill him? Ignore the fact that he ever existed? Completely change the character all of a sudden? I've always viewed crafting television as art, and any of these options would be asking an artist to inorganically change their art because you don't like it. Is there a problem with an Apu? Absolutely. But that is not a thing The Simpsons can change at this point. The damage has been done. This is in society. We need to be better informed and aware when things are exaggerated, and we need to not only demand that the culture be better represented by other shows and movies but show up and support them when they come about.

MK: Changes are really overdue. I understand you can`t change a character from the ground and make everyone except it, but the show is on for so many years that it should`ve changed by now. The other issue is that writers need to find a balance in respecting the culture of an ethnicity and show their traits while still be aware of the fact that those people live in a modern time. It is always about balance.

AO: To others who might not fit into the world of “Apu” or those he represents, this is harmless entertainment that means nothing. The truth is it has caused a lot of pain for those that feel Apu has been used as a stereotypical character for many years. When something has occurred for so long, it becomes/feels “normal” even when it’s not right. Listening to the community that is calling this out is important. I will urge our readers to find the April National Geographic Magazine “The Race Issue” and read the piece by the editor in chief Susan Goldberg titled “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It”. I am not saying the Simpson’s is racist, but the depiction of Apu has been problematic. It is time for the Simpson’s showrunners and Fox to acknowledge this it is necessary and long overdue.

Hope you've enjoyed this edition and join the discussion in the comment section. Till next week. . .

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