Welcome Lords, Ladies, empowered Faceless Assassins, inexplicably emotionless greenseers, aspiring Maesters, plague patients, and queens who didn’t come here just to make friends. Tonight is the 3rd Annual Primetime Carol Awards, celebrating the best in dramatically satisfying entertainment. And of course as we all know, there’s only one show that can offer it to us: Game of Thrones created by the masterful showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss.
This show, also the notable Primetime Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Drama Series in both 2015 and 2016, truly did become something worth celebrating by its fifth season, which is when the Carol Awards earned its humble beginnings. Last year the ante was upped even more with our Season 6 Golden Carols. But this year. Season 7. Just trying to put it into words, well…let’s just say, words stop meaning anything.
It is for that reason we’re sure today’s ceremony will be a show-stopper in itself.
There are over 40 Golden Carols to hand out, but we first must take a moment to remember our namesake: the good Queen Carol Lannister. Though her final form, Cheryl Lannister, is shockingly still relatable, it was Carol who taught us how to be strong in the real way, even in the face of very real danger and adversity. We want to take a moment of silence to honor that, as every day without her, the world is a little colder. Probably from Cheryl’s minty-fresh breath.
But now, without further ado, it is time for the ceremony!
In interest of this page actually loading this year, all category presentations and commentary is in one podcast episode, available for listen below. You can also subscribe/listen on iTunes (the newest episode is updated in the app, even if not on the site yet), subscribe to our RSS feed, search for “Unabashed Book Snobbery” in any podcast app, or download an MP3 of this episode here (go to ‘show all’). We encourage you to follow along this post as you listen, for the truly immersive Carol Awards experience.
The introductory music is the rockin’ overture to Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, with a jazzy cover of one of its songs serving as the outro, performed by Tommy Cecil & Bill Mays.
Onto the show.
Most Meta Line
- “Maybe it really is all cocks in the end.” —Bronn, to Larry
- “It’s difficult to explain.” —Bran, on being the Three Eyed Raven
- “I don’t know what that means.” —Sansa, on Bran being the Three Eyed Raven
- “Words stop meaning anything.” —Jon Snow
- “Lady Sansa, forgive me I’m a bit confused.” —Littlefinger at his trial
- “What happened to you, Arry?” —Hot Pie to Arya
- “And how should I be smarter? By listening to you?” —Jon Snow to Sansa
Most Emmy-worthy Line
- “Nope it’s pussy for me” —Tormund
- “I’m not here to murder, and all I want to destroy is the wheel that has rolled over rich and poor to the benefit of no one but the Cheryl Lannisters of the world. I offer you a choice: bend the knee and join me. Together, we will leave the world a better place than we found it. Or refuse and die.” —Daenerys
- “Daenerys is a queen. Only a king can convince her to help us.” —Jon Snow
- “Listen, if you have any advice at all, I would love to hear it. When we have an hour or two to speak as brothers. Does she like it gentle or rough? A finger in the bum? Shh, shh, shh, shh, not now. We’ll talk later.” —Euron to Larry, on sex with Cheryl
- “The Iron Bank appreciates how you cast off the yoke of superstition, freeing the crown from elements who sought to subvert the rule of law.” —Tycho to Cheryl
- “Safest place for me was right under the queen’s nose.” —Gendry to Davos
- “A dynasty for whom? Our children are dead. We’re the last of us.” / “A dynasty for us, then.” —Larry and Cheryl
- “What did father used to say? Everything before the word ‘but’ is horse shit.” —Jon Snow
- “I’ll tell you what doesn’t scare me: bald cocksuckers like you. You think you’re fooling anyone with that top knot? Bald cunt.” —Sandor to Thoros
- “Be a dragon” —Olenna to Dany
Finest Fanservice Award
- Lyanna Mormont’s feminist speech on not knitting socks
- Ed Sheeran’s cameo
- Davos cracking rowing jokes to Gendry
- Jon calling Dany “Dany”
- The Sand Snakes’ brutal deaths
- Bronn talking about Pod’s “magic cock”
- Bait-and-switch for Littlefinger’s death
- Tyrion joking about how well Jon broods
Best Trip Down Ned Stark Memory Lane
- Jon telling the Northern Lords that Ned believed “the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”
- “What did father used to say? Everything before the word ‘but’ is horse shit.” —Jon to Sansa
- Littlefinger telling Jon how cool it was that both he and Ned loved Catelyn
- Arya recalling the time Ned slow-clapped for her
- Arya recalling what Sansa wore as Ned was beheaded
- Gendry bonding with Jon over Ned and Robert being friends
- “Your father wanted to execute me.” —Jorah to Jon
- Jon telling Theon that Ned was more of a father to him than Balon
- Beric telling Jon that he doesn’t look like Ned and must favor his mother more
Best Trip Down Game of Thrones Memory Lane
- Tyrion/Jorah slavery’s bonding
- Nymeria (the direwolf) existing again
- Gendry/Davos’s reminiscence about rowing
- Sandor/Brienne’s reminiscence about their fight
- Littlefinger digging up the dagger used against Bran
- Littlefinger digging up the letter Sansa wrote while under duress
- Jon and Tyrion’s reminiscence about Tyrion peeing off The Wall
- Daenerys recalling Varys’s past alliances and attempted murder
Best Dressed Award
- Cheryl’s Queensguard’s space-Nazi uniforms
- Euron’s rockin’ leather jacket and guy-liner
- The Dothraki stuffing little bits of fur into their belts for the winter
- Daenerys’s shaved rabbit (or shaved Ghost?) coat
- Ellaria’s bathrobe of sex appeal
- Sansa’s dress with the belt that represents how she’s unapproachable
- Prince Ragger’s Viserys cosplay
- Cheryl’s battle cardigan (and tiara!)
Finest Wig Award
- Sansa’s dyed Margaery wig
- Daenerys’s wind-proof dragon-riding wig
- Cheryl’s fashion-icon wig (mimicked by her maids!)
- Prince Ragger’s Viserys wig
Most Stylish Plot Armor
- Jon surviving his plunge into freezing waters while wearing furs
- Drogon not being targeted by the Night’s King
- Jaime getting knocked out of the way of dragon fire into a puddle/river, and ending up on the opposite side of the bank
- Tyrion spectating a battle for fun
- Grey Worm & the Unsullied remaining unharmed at Casterly Rock after Euron’s fleet shows up
The Award for Stunning Kingly Competence
- Jon giving castles to two children so as to not punish the sins of their fathers
- Jon not consulting with his advisors before publicly announcing important policy decisions
- Jon going to Dragonstone to micromanage mining dragonglass, but not bringing anyone to mine the dragonglass
- Jon micromanaging the wight hunt
- Jon sailing past the North twice and not stopping in
- Jon kneeling to Daenerys
- Jon telling Cheryl he kneeled to Daenerys
Most Anachronistic Moment
- Lyanna declaring that women will fight and not sew
- Cheryl abstaining from drinking wine because of her pregnancy
- Tycho praising Cheryl for seeing to the separation of church and state
- Ed Sheeran asking Arya if she’s old enough to drink
- The guards refusing to let Arya into Winterfell because they think she’s lowborn
“Where Am I?” Award
- King’s Landing where everyone’s okay with the Faith having blown up (and cheer for Lannister allies)
- North of the Wall, where water doesn’t refreeze
- Winterfell, where Starks threaten to cut off their sibling’s face and wear it
- Highgarden, which is easy to capture since the Tyrell’s sigil is a flower
- Casterly Rock, which is susceptible to forces coming by sea
- Dragonstone, where no one lives
- The Dragon Pit, on the outskirts of town, complete with stadium seating
Most Poetic Death
- Littlefinger being killed with his own dagger that he randomly gave to Bran
- Nymeria being strangled with her own whip
- Obara getting stabbed with her own spear
- Tyene being poisoned with lipstick
- Ellaria being chained up to watch Tyene die before her own (implied) death
- Benjen Coldhands sacrificing himself for…reasons
- Thoros, the fire priest, freezing to death
- The Dowager Sasstress drinking poisoned wine
- All of House Frey drinking poisoned wine
Most Empowering Moment
- Olenna telling Daenerys to “be a dragon”
- Lyanna refusing to provide provisions for the army
- Daenerys telling off Tyrion for his shitty plan to save Jon from his shitty plan
- Sansa ordering Arya to murder Littlefinger
- Arya dismissing the Frey women before murdering their “entire House”
- Cheryl kissing Tyene to death while Ellaria watches
- Sam embracing his father’s words and quitting the Citadel because he’s tired of reading about the accomplishments of better men
The ‘Why Can’t I Stop Laughing’ Award
- Arya gaining 6 inches of height as she cosplays Walder Filch
- Sandor dramatically retelling his HDTV-clear visions in the fire
- Bran and Sam info-dumping while the music swells
- Cheryl walking on her floor map, pointing towards her enemies
- The one wight figuring out the lake was re-frozen after Sandor threw rocks
- Tyrion being sad at Jon and Dany having sex instead of playing Scrabble with him
- Euron enjoying the adulation of the people of Cheryl’s Landing
Best #Boatsex Set-up
- When Jon and Daenerys talked in circles about kneeling
- When Jon and Daenerys talked in circles about kneeling again, but this time Jon was allowed to mine dragonglass
- When Davos implied that Jon liked Daenerys’s boobs
- When Missandei and Daenerys bonded over their feelings for hot guys
- When Jon showed Daenerys cave drawings
- When Daenerys tried to save Jon with her dragons
- When Daenerys and Jon held hands after he kneeled to her
- When Daenerys told Jon he was an idiot for telling Cheryl about his kneeling to her
- When Daenerys told Jon she respected him for telling Cheryl about his kneeling to her
- When Daenerys and Jon breathed the same air on a boat
Best Euron Personality
- Jack Sparrow
- Vicious fighter
- Six-year-old’s Birthday Party Magician
- Fake zombie-phobe
The Saint Tyrion Ultimate Fan Award
- Larry, who he convinces to go out on a limb with Cheryl
- Varys Marx, who knows that he’s the only thing standing between us a chaos
- Daenerys, who wouldn’t have “chosen a coward” as her Hand
- Jorah, who remembers their fun day as slaves
- Jon, who appreciates him not raping Sansa
- Sansa, who appreciated not being raped by him
Most Creative Use of Teleportation
- Euron’s armada sailing past Dragonstone to attack Yara’s fleet
- Euron’s armada sailing past Dragonstone to Casterly Rock to attack the Unsullied fleet
- Larry receiving a blowjob in King’s Landing, marching to Casterly Rock to gather troops, marching them to take Highgarden, and returning to King’s Landing in the span of two weeks
- Gendry making it back to Eastwatch in a few hours after having traveled for at least two days
- The raven flying all the way from Eastwatch to Dragonstone in one day
- Daenerys and her dragons flying all the way back (without Daenerys getting hurled off)
- The Unsullied arriving at King’s Landing after being trapped at Casterly Rock
Most Creative Use of Telepathy
- Tyrion knowing Larry, who had fire breathed directly onto him and was then knocked into the water in full armor, was alive
- Jon knowing Gendry, who he had just met, was the fastest runner
- Hot Pie knowing Cheryl blew up the sept
- Davos knowing Gendry was working in King’s Landing
- Euron knowing where Yara’s fleet was going to be
- Larry knowing Tyrion would take Casterly Rock
- Bronn being in communication with Tyrion to set up meetings
Best “I forgot I have amnesia” moment
- All the smallfolk of King’s Landing having forgotten Cheryl blew up the sept
- Jon forgetting Bran was alive the scene after he mentioned his two dead brothers
- Everyone forgetting Cheryl was guarded by a zombie and trying to convince her with a wight
- Euron forgetting it was Jorah, not Larry, rushing through the breach during the Greyjoy rebellion
- Randyll Tarly forgetting Targaryens are from Westeros
- Sam needing to see a map of Dragonstone to realize there was dragonglass there after having been told by Stannis already
- The Valyrian steel dagger from Season 1
- Ed Sheeran’s rabbit
- Cheryl’s floor map
- The wight-toting backpack
- The Dragonstone book of circled dragonglass
- The High Septon’s diary about Ragger
- The tiny dragon bone Jon held up for Daenerys
- Arya’s messenger bag of faces
Best Gumbo Ingredient
Most Plausible Impossibility
- One lone wight not belonging to the killed White Walker that was captured
- Gendry running all the way to Eastwatch in unfamiliar land
- The raven flying all the way to Dragonstone in one day
- Deadpan and her dragons flying all the way back (without Deadpan getting hurled off)
- The Lake of Plot Convenience remaining unfrozen for most of the night
- The Army of the Dead not noticing the Lake of Plot Convenience re-freezing
- Jonny surviving his plunge into icy water
- The Night’s King hitting Viserion and not Drogon
- The Army of the Dead wrapping chains around Viserion’s corpse and dragging him out
Best Course at Maester College
- Chamber pot cleaning
- Book stacking
- Soup slopping
- Cleaning up after autopsies
- Feeding plague patients in boxes
- Copying books as a punishment for healing people
The Award for OOC Excellence
- “Cersei Lannister”
- “Jaime Lannister”
- “Tyrion Lannister”
- “Arya Stark”
- “Bran Stark”
- “Sansa Stark”
- “Jon Snow”
- “Daenerys Targaryen”
- “Ellaria Sand”
- “Yara (Asha) Greyjoy”
Most Duplicitous Sansa Action
- When Sansa suggested not giving castles to the Karstark and Umber children so they could reward those who sided with them in the Battle of the Bastards
- When Sansa suggested not tearing down the old Umber and Karstark castles, per Royce’s suggestion
- When Sansa told Jon not to go to Dragonstone since he could easily get taken prisoner
- When Sansa took care of grain stores and armor-making
- When Sansa told Bran that he was the rightful Lord of Winterfell
- When Sansa looked slightly concerned after Bran confirmed Arya murdered people
- When Sansa had an expression on her face while watching Arya and Brienne duel
- When Sansa told the weather-vane Lords that she didn’t want to be their queen and they should wait for Jon
- When Sansa looked scared as her sister threatened to cut off her face
- When Sansa told Arya she was the bravest person she knew
Best Use of Canonical Minor Character
- Sandor becoming a fire-reader
- Melisandre going to Dragonstone to theory-craft and then leave
- Thoros dying of hypothermia
- Beric bonding with Jon over dying
- Gendry coming back to go on the wight hunt
- Bronn overcoming his greed to fight a dragon
- Jorah being forgiven by Jon for slaving and offered Longclaw
- Randyll and Dickon Tarly getting roasted alive
- Tycho complimenting Cheryl for her keen rulership
Best Use of Resources
- Nymeria showing no interest in Arya for one scene
- Cheryl’s map set-piece
- Casterly Rock
- Zombie polar bear
Most Vengeful Revenge
- Cheryl kissing Tyene to death while Ellaria watched
- Arya poisoning all of House Frey
- Sansa sentencing Littlefinger to death
- Sandor threatening his zombie brother
The “They Contributed So Much” Award
- Grey Worm
- Maester Slughorn
- Beric Dondarrian
The “devil is in the details” Award
- The Iron Bank of Braavos didn’t want the slave trade disrupted
- The Golden Company is happy to fight for the Lannisters
- A girl replaced Walder Frey for two weeks and nobody noticed
- A siege on King’s Landing is more humane than a direct, targeted attack
- Daenerys needs a truce with Cheryl because otherwise she’d lose “gains” that never existed
- Daenerys is a “foreign invader” despite being born in Westeros and using her family’s name and history there to defend her claim
- Cheryl inviting Euron to King’s Landing knowing a marriage proposal was coming, only to reject said proposal
- Jon insisting on going to Dragonstone to mine dragonglass, but not bringing anyone to do it
- Tywin built Casterly Rock and there were no sewers before Tyrion
- The wight moot was fully arranged before the mission to capture it took place
- Ragger was able to annul his marriage and marry in secret despite having two legal heirs
Most Go-Go-Go Moment
- Daenerys taking five minutes to walk through the vacant Dragonstone
- The entire sequence of Arya being told she wasn’t allowed into Winterfell for no reason and then sneaking in anyway
- Arya and Brienne’s duel
- Davos trying to talk his way out of King’s Landing using fermented crab meat
- The 30 minutes of walking and talking in various combinations before capturing a wight
- The 30 minute long wight moot
- Hot Pie and Arya
- Sansa and Bran
- Sansa and Arya
- Jon and Theon
- Jon and Tyrion
- Arya and Nymeria
- Brienne and Sandor
- Arya and Brienne
- Tyrion and Jorah
- Dany and Jorah
- Gendry and Davos
- Gendry and the Brotherhood without Banners
- Tyrion and Larry
- Tyrion and Bronn
- Tyrion and Cheryl
- Sam and Bran
Most Skillful Penis Reference
- Sandor calling Thoros a “bald cocksucker” who is apparently not fooling anyone with his topknot
- Euron calling Theon a “cockless hound”
- Bronn giggling at Dickon Tarly’s name
- Tormund and Sandor discussing the etymology of various expressions for a penis
- Bronn pontificating on the Unsullied’s willingness and capability to fight, being eunuchs
- Bronn mentioning Pod’s “magic cock”
The Serendipity Award
- Dragonstone being completely empty and unlocked for Daenerys
- Sam stealing the one journal from the Restricted Section with the secrets of Jon’s parentage
- Sam stealing the one book from the Restricted Section that mentioned dragonglass on Dragonstone
- Sam finding a wiki-how to cure greyscale
- The one wight being left alive after the White Walker was cut down
- Bran not having looked into the past after figuring out Jon’s parentage last season until Sam prompted him in the finale
Most Classic Cheryl Moment
- Commissioning a giant map so she could walk around and disparage her enemies
- Killing Tyene while making Ellaria watch
- Giving Larry a blowjob right after killing Tyene
- Letting her maid see her and Larry in bed together
- Lying to Jon about helping him fight the army of the dead
Most Relatable Cheryl Moment
- When she tried not to process Tommen’s death
- When she refused Euron’s marriage proposal because he’s a kinslayer who can’t be trusted
- When she forgave Larry for a secret meeting because she found out she’s pregnant
- When she refused to agree to a plan where her enemies will decimate her in the end
- When she explained the definition of “conspiracy” to Larry
Most Compelling and Unproblematic Ship
- Deadboard (Jonerys)
- Maisie Williams/Ed Sheeran
Best Season 7 Fandom Name Award
- The Brotherhood with Vague Continuity
- Vincent Expendable (the gumbo ingredient that died)
- Branbot 1000
- The Wind-Vane Lords (Northern Lords)
- Cherry Bomb (Larry + Cheryl’s fetus)
- Eurovision (Euron)
- Prince Ragger (Rhaegar)
- Lady Liability (Lyanna)
- The Abandoned Isle of Sexual Tension (Dragonstone)
- The Plot Convenience Pond (the pond north of the Wall)
- Oldtown State (the Citadel)
The “creatively it made sense because we wanted it to happen” Award
- Daenerys facing no resistance (or people) when arriving at Dragonstone
- Tyrion splitting up all of Daenerys’s troops as his battle strategy
- Euron destroying Yara’s fleet
- Sam curing Jorah of greyscale
- The Unsullied taking Casterly Rock
- Larry having been to Casterly Rock already, leaving it with Lannister forces, and taking Highgarden off-screen
Euron’s fleet trapping the Unsullied at Casterly Rock
- The Lannister gold making it back to King’s Landing, but the Lannister forces still getting destroyed by Daenerys
- The wight capturing mission to convince Cheryl
- The wight moot
- The Wall coming down thanks to Zombie!Viseron
- Arya, Bran, and Sansa punking Littlefinger (and the audience!)
The Carol Award for Most Egregious Nomination Oversight
- Category: Most Realistically Depicted Culture
- Meera in “They Contributed so much”
- Ragger/Lyanna in “Most Compelling and Unproblematic Ship”
- Chatting about Deadpan’s fertility problems in “Best #boatsex setup”
- ‘Robert’s Rebellion was built on a lie,’ in “Most Emmy-Worthy Line”
- Category: Most Nonsensical Bran Line
- Theon kicking a dude in the balls in “Most Empowering Moment”
- Category: Most Touching Declaration of Familial Love
- Brienne and Larry in “Best Reunion”
- Category: The Blackfish Award for Excellence in Disappearing and No Longer Being Relevant
- Jon and Benjen in “Best Reunion”
- Category: Best Resolution of Trauma
- R+L=J being brought up even though no one cares about succession anymore in “The Devil is in the Details”
Well, that is all, folks. Our table is now Golden Carol-less, and our winners are surely heading home with an extra spring in their steps. Thank you for participating and making the Carol Awards what they’ve been. We can’t wait to see you after Season 8, but until then, you can sport your love of dramatic satisfaction with some of our new merch:
Kylie and Julia will also be diving back into Season 7 to bring you even more retrospectives, as we’re sure that after this ceremony you’re champing at the bit to discuss the thematic significance we experienced. Stay tuned!
Images courtesy of HBO
Batwoman and She-Ra Are Why I’m Single: 7 Reasons Why
Hey folks, it’s me, Dan. The writer of the piece. Please don’t assume anything up there is my opinion, or the opinion of anyone at the Fandomentals. I just wanted to emulate the head space of someone who spends their time whining about children’s cartoons or comic book TV. It was not fun. If you agree with any arguments here…please go outside. Call your mom. Take a shower.
It’s difficult to be a straight white man in the world today. Half the men are gay, all the women are lesbians, and despite how low the white male representation in Congress has gotten (only 65%!) people still refuse to believe that white men are oppressed. And the SJWs continue to spread their lies with a reboot of She-Ra and an all new adaptation of Batwoman. Not only are these new shows doubling down on pandering to silly things like women or lesbians, they are also actively contributing to why I can’t get laid.
1. New She-Ra Isn’t As Hot As The Naked Barbarians Above My Bed, Which Are Very Cool
God, look how ugly she is. No low cut neckline, undefined thighs, no makeup. The new She-Ra is everything I hate about the SJW agenda. They want to take proud, sexy females and make them boys. If only she still looked like the tastefully nude girls in my Frazetta and Vallejo prints: buff, busty, and wrapped around a strong man’s legs. But because the SJWs have poisoned women my age, like my ex-girlfriend Lauren, they see these works of art as “exploitative” and “pornographic.” If only they didn’t fear their own bodies, they’d understand why I keep these posters up so I may “appreciate” them whenever I want.
2. Batwoman Is A Lesbian Like The Ones Who Keep Rejecting Me
The constant deluge of LGBT pandering has come to a head at The CW. It seems like every hot girl on the CW is a lesbian now, just like the ones I meet when I go out. Putting yet another “lesbian” on screen is just going to embolden all those women to keep lying to me when I try to buy them a drink. It doesn’t even teach them to be fun lesbians, the kind that have three ways with their best friend and boyfriend. That happens all the time, Lauren, you’re just a prude.
3. Noelle Stevenson, a 4/10 At Best, Is Spiting Me Like My Ex, Lauren
There’s only one possible explanation for why showrunner Noelle Stevenson would want to send her unsexy message to children: spite. Just like when my ex-girlfriend, Lauren, started hanging out with her work friends instead of coming home to watch Ben Shapiro videos with me, Noelle is hell bent on inflicting her vengeance on the world for seemingly slighting her. There’s nothing wrong with cartoons being sexy, Noelle, and there’s nothing wrong with missing date night for a DoTa tournament.
4. Batwoman Isn’t Hot Like The Lesbians In My Videos You Found, Lauren
Like any virile male, I have an appreciation for Sapphic love. It’s really the most delicate and sensual of the pornographic arts. And yes, I happen to have cultivated quite the collection of films featuring such delicate lady loving. It’s perfectly natural, Lauren. But Batwoman lacks the style and grace of your Mia Malkovas or Riley Reids. She has short, mannish hair (when not wearing that gross wig), unfeminine short fingernails, and she’s way too buff to be attractive.
5. Bow Gave Women Like Lauren Impossible Expectations For Male Beauty
This is a problem I’ve had with She-Ra since I’d occasionally see it when my sister had the TV and I went to play with my He-Man figures. Men like Bow taught all the women my age that men had to be in shape, well groomed, and in a color coordinated outfit to be attractive. Despite all the inner beauty that some men have, the women they try to date cannot look past their preconceived biases. So yeah, maybe I don’t go to the gym as much as Bow probably does, but Bow doesn’t have over 6,000 Reddit karma, Lauren.
6. Glimmer Tells Girls It’s Ok To Be Fat And Ugly Like My Ex, Lauren
Glimmer used to be so hot. But now look what they’ve done to her. She’s lost all shape and become just another fat SJW icon like Rose Tico. Plus, she’s going to be be a role model for the girls watching this. They’ll grow up assuming that it’s somehow ok to have weird colored hair, to not take pride in their appearance, to dress like a frump. Women need to take care of themselves like Lauren did when we first met. She was so beautiful.
7. Lauren, If You’re Reading This, Please Call Me. I’m So Alone
I’ve been living out of boxes in Jack’s apartment since you kicked me out. I miss our bed and kitchen. I even miss your cats. Lauren please, I need to get back with you. I’m so empty. I keep calling and you don’t answer. I’ll stop watching children’s cartoons all the time, I’ll get a job, I’ll stay off Reddit. Please take me back.
Images via DC, Filmation, and Dreamworks Animation
Loving the devil
He’s handsome, intelligent, funny, drives a great car and has an accent, what’s not to love. Well there’s that tiny detail… he’s the devil
There aren’t many shows that catch my attention from the pilot. Lucifer was one of the few that did just that. Understandably I was really mad when the news of the show’s cancellation broke. I finally watched the season finale. Let me tell you, that ending left me wanting more, what with dozens of questions, that thankfully should be answered since the series has been picked up by Netflix.
Yet still, the question that all my friends and I ask ourselves remains: why was the show cancelled in the first place?
An unusual combination
Lucifer captures the viewer with a charming mix of comedy, crime, and supernatural. It’s not really a common combination, when you think about it. Plus, there are few shows that use humor as well as this one.
The producers were able to give us a show where solving crime doesn’t always have to be serious and dark. The funny one-liners, devil puns, and blunt comments break the seriousness and tension. That doesn’t mean the show lacks violence or a certain darkness in some of the story lines.
The whole supernatural aspect of the show isn’t overpowering within the rest of the plot. It’s used as a background or explanation of the characters actions. It’s also a metaphor for Lucifer’s journey of self discovery in a way.
The devil’s in the details
What made me appreciate the show was its attention to detail. I know all shows try to track the small pieces, but with Lucifer even the most minuscule could completely destroy a plot line. This was especially the case since there are so many supernatural elements in the show. If the writers didn’t keep track of them, there could easily have been a lot of plot holes.
Furthermore, the writers always had characters reference past situations, making it feel more like real life. Examples included how Lucifer’s birthday gift for Chloe was a necklace with the bullet that she shot him with. It makes us fans appreciate the show even more, since things build off of each other.
Connecting with characters
Every good story comes from well developed and relatable characters. Without these, even the best plots would be dull and boring. Having said that, Lucifer can pride itself in offering the fans a versatile group of characters that are easy to connect to, funny, inspiring, but also at the same time frustrating; they make mistakes and don’t always think about consequences. That unique blend of characters is one if the main sources of success of this particular series. Their characteristics allow viewers to identify with them, face challenges together, and see how they overcome them.
Offering such a big range of different characters is important, but what’s more important for me is how many strong women are portrayed in the show. The writers made an effort to show various types of women, which I greatly appreciate, even if I didn’t like all of them. (There was just something about Lucifer’s mother that I couldn’t stand or understand.)
What makes these characters so great is also the way they are portrayed by the actors that play them. Without their hard work even the best of characters would fall flat. The perfect example of spinning a character would be Charlotte Richards played by Tricia Helfer. I couldn’t stand the Goddess, but really enjoyed Charlotte’s journey.
Chemistry is the key
Since we talked about the characters, I should also mention that characters only get you so far alone. The real driving force of every series are their relationships and dynamics to one another. And let me tell Lucifer had a lot of them. The relationships in the show varied from family to friends to lovers to ex’s to partners. One could think that the writers tried to cover every possible combination and they did. Yet they did it tastefully and with a grace that showed a deep understanding of the characters and the dynamics between them. Every relationship was natural and organic, and the development of them was also shown in such a way.
The relationships were portrayed as something that just had to occur. Of course Chloe has to have a relationship with Dan….they raise a daughter together, and naturally Lucifer and Amenadiel will feel responsible for Charlotte since their mother used her body as a vessel.
What definitely helped was the natural chemistry between the actors. Nobody would have believed in the romantic feelings of Chloe and Lucifer, Dan and Charlotte, or Maze and Amenadiel if there wasn’t any chemistry. There were times relationships felt forced, but overall their developments were portrayed well.
Playing with emotions
Because the characters take risks and make mistakes, we get to see all these emotions—emotions that range from family fluff to anger or despair. The way the show handles them is admirable. One could think the writers don’t need the crime aspect of the series to give us hour after hour of television.
All of the characters were taken on emotional journey throughout the show. Lucifer is taken on a journey of self discovery and experiencing human emotion as he learns to accept his feelings for Chloe and mends his relationship with his brother. This is all the while forming a friendship with Linda and somehow destroying the one he had with Maze.
Amanadiel builds a relationship with Charlotte and Linda is frenemies with benefits with Maze, who accepts his place as Lucifer’s brother and the part he plays in his father’s plan. Maze goes on a roller-coaster ride of emotions almost sacrificing her friendship with Linda and making Lucifer go crazy.
And don’t even get me started on the Deckerstar relationship drama. The constant will they or won’t they, the love triangles, and Lucifer’s impulsive reactions leave you hating it and wanting more at the same time.
And then there was crime
To top all that off, Lucifer is a crime show. So all the emotional roller-coasters are accompanied by some kind of murder or crime mystery that our characters have to solve. The crimes often give us a context or a background to what the characters feel or go through. Sometimes it’s the crimes that allow the characters to grow as shown in the friendship between Lucifer and Father Frank, or even the professional relationship between Linda and Lucifer.
The supernatural element the crimes committed in the show aren’t the most important part even if sometimes they’re shown that way. There’s always something more underneath, a deeper meaning.
I can only hope that the continuation on Netflix keeps these aspects of Lucifer in mind. If nothing else, at least we get to see these characters some more.
Images courtesy of Fox
How to Tell if You’re Reading Erotica
I like sex as much as the next non-ace spectrum gal. I enjoy reading about it in my fiction, too, especially if it’s between two characters that I really, really want to bone each other. But I have a problem. See, I’m also very picky about my smut. Whether it’s word choice, tone, specificity (or lack thereof), there are a lot of things that can take me out of it when I’m reading scenes of an erotic nature. I don’t generally read a lot of erotica/erotic romance precisely for this reason; unless it’s recced to me from a reliable source who knows what I enjoy, I can’t muster up the energy to go sorting through thousands of options to find something I want. (Incidentally, it’s also why I don’t read a lot of fanfic.)
In fact, I’m so unfamiliar with the genre that I apparently don’t even know when I’m reading it. The other day, I picked up a book someone had recommended, and it wasn’t until about a quarter of the way through that I paused to ask myself, “Wait, is this erotica?” (The answer is yes, it was.) So, if, like me, you look for very specific things in sex scenes—to the point where you can’t always tell if you’re reading erotica because it doesn’t appeal to your specific sensibilities—I’ve created a handy (and a bit cheeky) guide.
As you can imagine, this is going to be NSFW.
If Your Protagonist Thinks about Sex a Lot
You might be reading erotica. To be fair, like much in life and art that has to do with sex, there’s a spectrum. Some books contain little to no reference to sex in a character’s internal monologue. Others do. Because sex is a normal part of the human experience for those interested in it, a protagonist thinking about sex shouldn’t surprise us, and a character thinking about sex doesn’t make a book erotica. Katniss thinks about sex in the Hunger Games series and that is a far cry from erotica (kind of the opposite, actually, if you hold to the Katniss is ace headcanon).
However, if the protagonist’s internal monologue contains frequent and consistent references to sex, that’s another story (heh). Put another way, if removing thoughts of sex would depopulate a good chunk of the protagonist’s thought life or weaken their characterization, it’s erotica. Similarly…
If Sex and Sexual Fantasies are a Primary Feature of How the Protagonist Relates to Another Character
You might be reading erotica. This can be the hardest one to pin down sometimes because characters relate to each other in many ways, one of which may be sexually charged. The relationship between Jaime and Cersei of A Song of Ice and Fire includes erotic elements. Jaime thinks about having sex with—or other men having sex with—Cersei quite a lot, but their plotline isn’t fundamentally or even primarily, erotic. Even having explicit sex scenes between two characters doesn’t automatically make the book erotica. These days, explicit sex scenes and erotic undertones exist even in other genres (which is where my next criteria comes in, so I’ll have to delay fulfilling that desire for now).
At the same time, if sexual acts or fantasies dominate how the protagonist relates to one of the secondary characters, there’s a good bet the book is erotica. Sex drives their interactions. When the protagonist thinks about the other character, sex almost always comes up. Thinking about that person makes the protagonist aroused, and such reactions happen repeatedly and consistently and drives their actions. Basically, if every time they think about that person, they think of having sex with them, it’s probably erotica. Though again, a lot depends on plot and prominence, but for that, you’ll have to wait just a bit longer.
I should also mention erotic romance here, a hybrid genre of erotica and romance. As the name implies, erotic romance enfolds explicit sex scenes/fantasies into a larger romantic arc with a happy ending. I mention this separately because the larger romance and happy ending come from the romance genre and not all erotica has these elements. Erotic romance is still erotica, though, just a specific kind. For erotic romance, think of erotica as the foreplay to a story that ends in a satisfying romantic climax.
If There are at Least Four Explicit Sex Scenes
You might be reading erotica. As I said, just having a sex scene or two does not erotica make. Not even if those scenes are explicit. More and more novels written for adult audiences feature explicit sex, even in genres like fantasy or scifi. But sometimes, quantity does matter. Because the more something features in a book, the more likely it is to be central to the storytelling. I picked four because in your average novel of 250 pages, four explicit sex scenes would take up a lot of space (as much as 10% or more of the page time). However, I could go as low as three if one occurs within the first quarter of the book.
I admit, these are arbitrary numbers. A lot of it has to do with placement and vibe. Do the scenes feel like they’re the ‘point’ of the book? Do they seem intended primarily to arouse the reader? If you took them out would it change anything about characterization or plot? How close to the beginning of the book they begin to appear?
But also, yeah, quantity matters. Four times in a year is one thing, but four times in a night means something different. (Also, good for you. Sounds like you’re enjoying yourself.)
If the Protagonists Masturbates Within the First Ten Pages
You might be reading erotica. I feel like this one goes without saying, especially if paired with several explicit sex scenes. If your protagonist is getting off by their onesies that soon into the book, you can bet there’s more to follow. (Full confession, I include this because it happened in the book I mentioned at the outset and…yeah, this should have been my first clue.)
If Uncomfortable or Awkward Metaphors for Sexual Positions or Pleasure are Used
You might be reading erotica. This is one of those things about erotica that people mock a lot, and it’s worth noting that this is changing. The Ten Things I Hate About You “quivering member” style of writing erotica isn’t as prevalent as it used to be. Still, I run into it. I recently reviewed a book that used the metaphor of someone’s balls turning inside out with pleasure. I may not have testicles, but that just sounds painful. To be fair, this wasn’t labeled as erotica, it was just a weirdly written explicit sex scene. But it’s not alone. I’ve seen descriptions of moving a male identified character’s cock ‘like a joystick’ (why?!) or a female identified characters’ breasts ‘heaving like ocean waves’ (NO. OW. THAT’S NOT ENJOYABLE).
This is one of those criteria that’s best coupled with other elements, because as I just noted, uncomfortable metaphors for sexual pleasure or body positions occur outside of erotica. Especially, though not exclusively, with young, inexperienced writers or older writers used to the older style of writing erotica. I’ve also found it more likely to occur when the author is writing about a character who is not of their own gender (women writing m/m, men writing a female character, etc).
If You See the Word ‘Sex’ as a Euphemism for Vagina
You might be reading erotica. Unfortunately for my reading pleasure, lots of euphemisms for body parts that I find unappealing make their way into erotica. Nub in particular makes me drier than the Sahara, but other offenders include: pussy, core, slit, rod, sword (and sheath), nether lips, bud (for nipples or clitoris), budding (for breasts, looking at you George R. R. Martin, breasts do not bud), button. I’m sure there are more but these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
Now, as with the previous criteria this is changing, especially as society becomes more comfortable with describing cis female pleasure. Most of the previous euphemisms referred to cis female body parts, and there’s a reason for that. (Hint: the word begins with s- and ends in -exism.) Historically, talking about vaginas and their pleasure experiences was taboo. Hence the multiplicity of—and at least to me unpleasant sounding—euphemisms.
Thankfully, it’s getting better. But, like a bad lover, such terms still turn up when we least want them to, even in works by female authors. Even works by queer female authors writing f/f erotica. And not just inexperienced authors or ones more used to writing in a more circumlocutory style. I see it everywhere, even in non-erotica, so as with some of the other criteria, this shouldn’t be used on its own.
To be perfectly honest, I’m probably not the best person to ask about word choice in erotica. It’s the single biggest offender for me going from totally into it to utterly unmoved. I’m very picky about word choice, and your mileage will likely vary. To each their own kink and their words to talk about them. (Just please, please, I’m begging you: never use the word nub again. I don’t have a nub, thank you very much.
If You Can’t Keep Track of Body Parts
You might be reading erotica. Yes, yes, books that aren’t erotica have this problem too. However, unlike the previous two, I do think losing track of body parts and what people are doing occurs more frequently in erotic literature. Why? Because of the explicit nature of the content. As readers tastes moves away from euphemisms and vague phrasing, more clarity and specificity means more opportunities to lose track of what people are doing. And unlike real life, you can’t see anything. And if you’re anything like me, I get anxious when I can’t tell what people’s bodies are doing.
Why is her arm there, wasn’t she just touching her leg? Wait, what is her hair doing again? And why does it sound like there are five legs when there should only be four? Arms don’t move like that do they? And wouldn’t that configuration be awkward since he’s less muscular?
If you, too, get confused and overwhelmed by the specificity of body placement and keeping track of what’s moving where, you are not alone! I don’t have any solutions other than watching erotica or only reading recs from friends, but at least you don’t have to suffer by yourself. And now, with my guide, you can be prepared for what’s coming.