fredag 9 april 2021

The Drama Element Triangle that makes me want to watch everything!

 Let's talk a bit about the tension of drama in series and books. I shamelessly named this the Drama Element Triangle, shortened to DET

In a previous blogpost about The Bridgerton, I mentioned the Drama Element Triangle, shortened to DET, that I had came up with. (And, yes, I’m shamelessly proud over it!) 

To be honest, it came to be when I was talking to Viktor one late evening about The Bridgerton and tried to explain why it made such a good series. And then, I relaized that it could be applied to so many other series so it became a thing.

Here, I will elaborate it a bit more!

I love watching dramas, especially historical ones and I love to dive into the intrigues, plottlines and the personal development that comes with it.
Nothing causes my blood to boil more than a really good drama and nothing can make my cry so much.

Perhaps it is my larperself that loves to dive into the intrigues or perhaps  I’m just a sucker for sitting on the sidelines and figuring out the plotts and cheering for my favorites. Add a bit of masochism in there for when I push myself to finish my 70+ episodes of Chinese dramas and you have me in a box.

So what makes a good drama for me?

Well, of course, the actors need to be good, the story is something that keeps me captured and also I need to feel that the character development are going somewhere. Last but not least, I need my dramas to have depth and surprises as well as being a joy to watch, aesthetics are so important!

But I also need my drama to have something more, a tension that creates a good balance and that put the characters' struggle and interactions on a structural level and not only an individual level.

So enter the Drama Element Triangle (DET). In short, it can be explained like this:

All good dramas in my world need to have a cirle around something... It can be a love story gone wrone, a mission impossible, a postapocalyptic work heading for doom, a family story with lots of intrigues...You name it.

We have astory but the drama usually create its structural tension by drawing from the following themes:

  • Gender roles/Sexism
  • Class/Hierarchy.

  • Racism

(In Fantasy setting, we also throw in the element of the battle between good and evil but when broken down,that battle usually can land in one of the tree above)

One of these elements in a drama is ok but I think that it usually becomes even better when we have two out of three from the DET to create a good drama. The more the merrier and the more heartpain I feel when watching.

This is not always the way of course, I have dramas that only pulls from one end on the DET and it works, mostly because of great actors and with pulling that element to a very extreme focus and also making it relatable to our present time.

So in short, take one or more of the DET and add that to a bigger theme (Religion, Environment crisis, rebellion, a love story or growing into adulthood etc) and the drama is there.

Ok, this is not rocket science so maybe I should not be that proud (I still am) but I’m having a blast in analysing my dramas and books with this one. It also helps me in choosing what dramas and books I want to read and watch. I have a very hard time with dramas that pull too hard from the racism element since it hurts a bit extra on me in the real world. Those dramas or books that have racism as one of it's main element really have to give me something extra if I want to sit and have my heart broken over that.

Cause the DET is of course pulling all the inspiration and angles from our real world and it all boils down is world building and how to make a series to keep people hooked on something.

I want my dramas with a bit of escapism but they also have to be relatable and with that, I need to look so they don’t become too close to home.
For some reason , I have a much easier time enjoying the element of sexism/gender roles in dramas than racism. But it also depends on how it is combined with the other elements. 

For example, my Chinese historical harem dramas pulls very much from Gender Roles/sexism in combination with Class/Hierarchy. The racism element is there but in a very tiny amount. That combination makes it very fun to put the characters' individual struggles to the DET and try to see what are their own mistakes/successes and what comes from outer factors.

It is all about balance and what combination that fits one self.

But I love the DET cause it gives me a lot of inspiration to larp characters, roleplaying worlds and how to build my own stories. And I love to look for the DET a bit extra in my historical dramas since it helps me analys my own world a bit better and to see what I can change in the short term and on the long term.
And most of all, to find out what it was in a drama or a book that just left me unengaged with the story.

I’m just a nerd in this way :)

söndag 21 mars 2021

Time to dive into The Bridgerton!

WARNING! The following post contains huge spoilers for the Netflix series The Bridgerton! If you have not seen the series and don't want to know what will happen - Please stop reading here!

My dearest reader. Time has come for me to dig my pen into the oh so scandalous and lovable serie that are on everyone's lips. The drama that has so much steam, passion and flirting that it turns heads in all directions.

Of course, dear reader, I’m talking about The Bridgerton!

Such a perfect drama! Such scandals! 

Well, I really could not resist to start this with a touch of Lady Whistledown!

Cause the truth is that I fell head over heels for this series. For representation, for dynamics, for plots and for the dresses.
It was a perfect series with both it’s high parts and its flaws and I will write about it with very loving eyes. There are subjects that I will dig deeper into in later blogposts but here, I will try to keep it light and just being a happy fangirl!

So let’s break it down, shall we?

Number 1 - The Plot!

The plot about love, pride and intrigues in the upper class in 1810 are in one way so simple but also so complex and wonderful. It is extremely sparkling, captivating with an amazing dynamics between the characters! The Bridgerton family is something so rare as a family with a great love for each other, but also with strong individuals with different motives, bounds and goals.
I love how the series manages to give all of them depth and a story.

To follow the siblings' lives as a red thread is great for the narrative. We see the struggles that the oldest son Anthony and the oldest daughter of the family, Daphne go through in overcoming gender roles and taking up their responsibilities. We get to follow how the series pushed on the unfairness of society in the young Eloise's struggle for education. We'll see a a glimpse of decadence in the second son, Benedict's dreams for art and freedom and also a speck of naive romance in the dreamer of Colin.

The siblings all reflect different sides of the society they live in and I loved to get a glimse into their lives and to witness their banters with each other.

The family that almost is too perfect. Luckily, all have their flaws!

Speaking of each other…

Number 2 - The Characters.

There are a wonderful character gallery in this series! I’ve already mentioned the Bridgerton siblings but I have to start this with my top 3 favorites!

  1. Lady Danbury. Holy fuck!  The moment I saw her on screen my first thought was  “Oh my god, I need to larp her!” and the second was “I want to be as cool as her when I’m old!” She is a fierce and scary lady with so much pondus and opinions and a remarkable way to sail through the world with dignity and a sharp tongue. I really love how she mentors Simon and also Daphne as a very snappy fairy godmother. She also shows what freedom married women could have in this world.
    I place her high up on my list of cool ladies together with Avasarala from The Expanse.

  2. Queen Charlotte. I squealed the moment I saw her. She is damn cool with the best resting bitch face in cinema history. Her presence during the series gives a great tone to all of the ongoing drama with her constant need for gossip paired with her own personal tragedy. This combination of traits make her so great!

  3. Violet Bridgerton. Oh, the mama of the series with such sharp eyes and also such a great will to protect her children. She is the perfect mix of confused and smart and I love how human she is. And how much she loves her family, her late husband and how that love drives her to keep going on. She is the heart of the series giving so much warmth.

Well, I’m a sucker and a huge fan of the older ladies of the series. Most of all because I think that older women are pretty amazing and I love seeing them take bigger place onscreen but also because there 3 are remarkable characters with different strenghts but also weaknesses. I would love to see more of them in the next season!

The unholy trinity of badass ladies! My goal for being old is set!

Adding up to these, I’m a huge fan of Eloise and her wish to focus on her studies escaping from the norm that she as a young lady needing to marry. She brings a fun and modern vibe to the series and I so like her nervous awkwardness.

So what about the love birds Simon and Daphne? Oh, I do love them a lot! They have an amazing chemistry in everything. Their romance and build up for it feels believable and makes me sit on the edge of my seat all the time waiting for what comes next.
Simon's speech about love and friendship is one of the most beautiful love declarations I've ever seen on television.

With that in mind, I also love them as individual characters. To get an insight into the struggles Simon went throught as a child and how his past relationship with his father inflicts his whole life is not an original story. But here it works because it gives him a depth and a siftness that shines through and make him very human.

I also really like how his lonely childhood is set up towards Daphne's loving family home, they are in one way oposites of eachother in background and experience while being each others match in whit and cleverness.

In regards to Daphne, I love her story and how she forms herself from a very limited gender role to a woman with control, insight and a huge heart. 

From first look, she comes accross as a beautiful but kinda meek girl that lives for being married. But that quickly changes. It is clear that she wants to get married and she knows her responsibility as the eldest daugther. She also know that she is judged solely on her looks and that most men won't look any further. But she wants more, she dreams of a marriage like the one her parents had - one based on love, respect and understanding. Coming from a very privilegied position in life, her knowledge about things are limited but she quickly catches up for this with an open mind, a lot of empaty and by alos finding her own strenght.

And I love to see her grow and how she learns how to use her new power and knowledge under the soft surface. Read me right, Daphne is no Eloise that dreams of education and a better future for women. But she takes a very active role as a women withing this times limited gender role. And by doing that, she is changing her own destiny and also impacts other lifes around her to the better. I find that journey very beautiful cause not all rebillions as a young girl comes from kicking oall the rules out of the window. Sometimes, you need to work with the rules you are given to change the world.

Daphnes journey in discovering her own feelings and most of all, her sexuality is so great to see and I will dig into that further down.

I can't decide who is most beautiful (or most annoying)

But a storyline and character that really grabs me in a love-hate relationship is Marina's. She is such a complex character being a young unmarried, pregnant woman that is both desperate, proud, frank and kind.

She is the epiphany of all young women that finds themselves alone with a huge belly and with the knowledge that the only thing that awaits her is mockery from society and a ruined life. The unfairness Marina feels over this and how it transforms her from a young sweet girl to someone who is on par with Lady Fetherington in intrigue is tragic and fascinating at the same time.

And of course, we have Lady Whistledown herself but I will come back to her later...

Surrounding these characters, we have a beautiful world, filled with gossip, richness and flirtation that creates a story that just keeps me hooked.

But can we just all agree on the following here?

  • All ladies in this series need sex-education, and a good one!
  • All men in this series need therapy to learn how to handle their feelings and stupid sense of honor.
Dear god what it would have saved us troubles but then again, we would not have had this beautiful world.

Speaking of worlds…

Number 3 - Representation matters!

The Bridgerton are set in an alternative historical regency time and the big thing here is that this is a world where racism does not exist. We see a society where Person of Colour (PoC) are living on equal terms with white people. Where PoC are not discriminated against or mistreated because of their skincolor. It is a world with several black characters, including some of the main charcters (even thought the main family is white). A world where interracial romances are normal and not made a fuss about.

All scenes with the Queen blew me away!

And I love it so much.
I will most likely dwell into this subject into a later blogpost and there dig into it a bit deeper and with more analytic eyes.

But let me take it very short here!

All good dramas usually draw tension from one of the following themes: Gender roles/sexism, Class or Racism. (In fantasy settings, we also throw in the element of the battle between good and evil). Let’s call these themes the Drama Element Triangle (DET). And yes, I will most likely write more about this in a later blogpost!

We usually need to have two out of three from the DET to create a good drama, otherwise, there is no tension in the world and our characters have nothing to struggle against apart from their own personal ghosts.
(The DET are of course also very present in our real world but that is another story.)

In historical TV series set in Europe PoC are rarely visible. They did exist historically, but it seems to be hard to make them visible onscreen in series. And when it does, it is usually towards a very real and ugly background of the racism that existed during those eras (and still are present).

I love my historical dramas and I’ve also accepted the fact that PoC does not have a place in the series set in Europe. I still watch them and enjoy them a lot.

But with that, it is so refreshing to see a series like The Bridgertons where PoC are just there on the same terms, with high status witouth a big plot explaining the situation. It is briefly mentioned between Simon and Lady Danbury in one episode in five lines but that’s it.

We are here and no explanation needed. We do not justify ourselves.

The longer explanation is building on the theory that Queen Charlotte was of black ancestry but that is now explained since this is a series where we do not need to have our worldbuilding explained to us.

The world of Bridgerton is a world where we see a society built on strict gender roles and class but witouth the elements of racism. And this is remarkable to do in a series like this where PoC are such a big part of the cast.

A dream about how easy it would be IRL

Now, has The Bridgertons manage to find a good way to handle the burning questions of racism and interracial relationship by creating a world where there is no debate over these questions?

Both yes and no.

There might be critique to say that it is wrong to erase the very real element of racism from history and how it has affected PoC. And yes, I wish for more historical series that put focus on real PoC. But I don’t feel that The Bridgerton strives to erase the history of racism. For me, they are showing a world where struggles are still real but also where PoC are finally able to shine without focus on the horrible and tragic history of racism. Here they can just exist on the same terms as anyone else and they can be individuals.

And we all know that in the real world, racism is a very real thing and it's super painful and hard to deal with for PoC. It is a lifelong struggle that never ends.

Same with interracial relationships. I have been in a few and there will always be questions, evil comments and also a feeling that I have to prove myself. It is a fucking hard world we live in.

So with this, The Bridgerton works for me and experincing a world without racism is remarkable to see. It is wonderful, uplifting and it gives me a space where I can actually dream a bit of a world where racism does not exist. It is like a larp I have never been to and that I want to see.

On the bigger picture, the element of racism can never be not talked about and never be hidden away. It is still a real thing today and one series does not change the world. But I for once want to feel that I don't need an explanation for my PoC in a series and that I don't have to get smacked by a racist world in my escapism.

And I hope that we can see more historical series set in alternative history or even historical series where PoC are made more visible.


Speaking about visible…

Number 4 - The clothes!

The clothes! Oh dear god! The clothes made my heart jump with joy! I’m not a fan of the fashion of 1800. In one way, I find it so romantic, sweet and I want to wear it but for someone with curves like me, it is hopeless. Clothes with such high waist and no shapes, I'd look like a sack of potatoes. Does not matter what kind or stays/corset I use. I need to have clother that clings to my figure.Simple as that, I'm not a fan of the regency clothes.

With that said, I really like the shimmering, the sheer garments and the lines of the dresses. The way they are mixing historical fashion and hairstyles with some haute couture and styles from earlier and later in history. It fits the style of an alternate historical world perfect.

Subtle and not so subtle pointers in the clothes.

And I love how the dresses show contrast between the highborn Bridgertons by their use pastel colors and the newly rich Fetheringtons wearing bright, almost neon colors.

There is already a big difference in how the Bridgertons and the Featheringtons are portrayed and put against eachother. Bridgertons are a family with history, old money, a good name, flawless children and with great love for eachother.

Clothes really make the family...
The Featheringtons are a family of new money, less flawless children and where the parents clearly have no love for eachother.
The Bridgertons already have a well-cemented place in society with titles and a flawless expectation while the Featheringtons are struggling to find a place.

By placing the Featheringtons in bright colors and also having Lady Featherington in a bit more haute coture fashion really draws a line between the two familys and also how they are viewing themselves.
One are a family of swans where the members do not need sharp colors to show their perfections and where they each are very interesting individuals that have had the chance to grow by love.The other are a family of parrots that needs to draw attentions to themselves with bright color to hide that there is not so much more there cause there has never been any love for them to grow individual traits.

Subtle but oh so effective in bringing a bigger dimension to the world!

Speaking of bigger….

Number 5 - The sex!

Dear god! I did not expect so much sex! The first episodes had some mild scenes but the focus was more on flirting, which all had to be very proper. The sex scenes in some episodes took me completely by surprise and I swear, I have never blushed so much. I do really like them for their rawness, passion and the amazing chemistry between Daphne and Simon.

But they also make me so annoyed sometimes that I want to scream!

The sex scenes between Simon and Daphne are supposed to be super-mind-blowing intercourses BUT none of them lasted for longer than 20 seconds?
For the love of god, can we just agree on:

  1. 20 seconds is not good sex.
  2. Where is the foreplay? Can we please have more than 10 seconds of foreplay?
  3. Sex that is “in-out-in-out” and with no other stimulation does not make women orgasm that quick in 9 times out of 10. It might happen sometimes, but it is not the standard case and it would have been great to not have that view pushed so hard here. Sex needs to be more that that.

On the plus side, I really like the variation in the sex with some tipping the velvet and not only the missionary.

And here I come back to Daphne again. I love love LOVE that we get to take part in her sexual awakening here cause it's so rarely shown from a female perspective. I love that it is shown how she mastrubate (and that she does it for herself and not for a male gaze) and finding her own pleasure and also how open she is with her desires and need for sex. She is the virgin here but by making us part in her sexual awakening before she and Simon has sex, their first time is not about her being the prey or the shy virgin. It's the height of her finding pleasure and wanting more. Sex on equal levels? I'm very willing ot call it that.

We also see sex on decadent parties with lots of kisses and sex where both men and women participate. The women are however from lower class/married women/widows but that further put empasis on the freedom women in certain positions could have. I like that they are shown since it also brings in the element of homosexual love in a very nice way while it gives a darker undertone to the storyline.

I also like that the series showcase the huge difference in how knowledgeable young men and girls are when it comes to sex.
It is a very traditional view we are seeing here showing that men gain knowledge about sex from brothels and relationships with women of lower class while young girls of high class has NO CLUE of how sex works or how children are made.

Speaking about made….

Number 6- Lady Whistledown.

Oh boy, I really loved this one! The element of a bigger mystery in the series that I as a viewer had to figure out through the whole season was gold.
But also the impact on the series having Lady Whistledown as the gossip queen, spider-in-the-net who impacts our characters life so much making them dance after her tune.

It was exciting to watch and it brought a different perspective to the whole series while making it much more cohesive and streamlined.
Her papers were much like social media today but with a much more fun tone.
I spent a lot of time guessing who this misterious lady could be, or if she is even a lady! But with 3 episodes left, I had narrowed it down to one choice and to my great pleasure, I WAS RIGHT!

I was totally not the most proud cat around for guessing correct!

To know who was the secret lady behind everything puts so much in a new perspective. I actually had to re-watch the whole series to puzzle bringing her character in a new perspective.

Furthermore, the lady's silent eyes, her ability to grasp all around her and to be snappy and firm but not personal in her writting until she becomes hurt is remarkable. I held her in very high regards even before the end of the season as one of the most interesting characters having the most potential for development in the future!

I really look forward to seeing what the creators will do with the Lady Whistledown plot in the next season and how they will play on her now-revealed identity to us viewers.

That was all of my basic I views of The Bridgertons!

I already look forward to the next season where we will follow more of the characters and perhaps dig down into more mysteries. I know that there are around eight books but I will most likely try to wait with reading them until season 3 or 4. (Good luck with that Anna!)

In the next seasons, I want to see so much more of Benedict Bridgerton (I so ship him as bisexual!), of Eloise (since I think she will grow like a Fenix!) and of Penelope (for growth, gossip and broken hearts). I want to have much more of Queen Charlotte and I really want to see more of the class struggles in the next seasons. We did not get to see much of it here since the focus is on the upper class, (this is no Downton Abbey), but if we get a bit more of it… the series can grow really good in the sense of drama and tension! Lets see what the next season can bring!

onsdag 17 mars 2021

4 things you can do to stop racism against Asians.

So today, we woke up to the news that there had been a shooting in Atlanta in the US.

Eight persons were shot down at 3 different spa-, and massage parlours. All done by one killer. Six of the victims were women of Asian backgrounds and it’s hard to see this shooting as anything other than a racist hate crime against Asians and Asian women.
It is horrible and my heart breaks a bit each time when I'm hearing these things. Over people that will never get home.

We need to stop racism against Asian people. After Corona broke out, the hate speech and abuse against Asians, especially people from Southeast Asia, has increased a lot, not only in the US but also in Europe.

We need to take this seriously and we need to work to stop this.

  1. No more “funny jokes” about Asian people. Not a single one. And be that person that steps up when your friends pull those jokes and say “Hey, don’t say that.”
  2. We don’t say China-virus. Just stop normalizing racism and justifying hate crimes like that.
  3. Stop sexualising and objectifying Asian women. Not sexual fantasies for being short, dark, exotic and submissive. Just stop.

  4. Stop picking shards and bits of Asian peoples culture and appropriate it in a disrespectful way while at the same time, not making an effort to stop racism and also lift up Asian people. You can’t cherry-pick these things.

And the obvious thing: Racism is something extremely bad and most people agree with that. However, most white people don’t know how to act around standing up against racism other than saying that “Racism is bad” and “I’m not a racist”.

But that is not enough. You need to stand up for your fellow Person of Color (PoC). You need to freaking do it every day.
Cause racism does not take a break in being exhausting, soul-crushing, painful and dangerous for PoC. It is there every single day.

This time, it targeted Asian women and people. Other times, it goes for black people, Hispanics, Muslims and so many others.
When a hate crime happens, it is the top of a big mountain and it is up to you all, white people, to step up and do something. 

And for us other PoC? We are already working as hard as we can and we are also trying to survive.

So with that, let's work hard to make racism end. It is already too much.

More blog posts about this:

måndag 8 mars 2021

Vem orkar vara perfekt för en halv lön?

Notera: När jag talar om kvinnor menar jag alla som identifierar sig som kvinnor.

Och så blev det 8:e Mars igen. Det blev en till  Internationell Kvinnodag och det blir fortfarande inget grattis. Herregud vad det inte ska bli något grattis. För det är fortfarande så mycket som vi behöver kämpa för.

Jag vill idag prata om lite krav som ställs på kvinnor idag. Krav om att vi ska vara så perfekta om vi ska lyckas i arbetslivet och i privatlivet.

  • Vi ska vara trevliga och käcka på jobbet och vi måste le. (För ingen gillar en bitter surkärring som inte ler, oavsett hur grym hon är på sitt jobb)
  • Vi måste alltid vara på topp och leverera, oavsett tidpunkt. (Särskilt gällande deadlines och projekt men något tack, det får vi inte. För så länge vi inte gör fel, varför skulle vi få beröm?)
  • Vi måste klara att av balansera privatliv och jobb. (För har vi inget jobb saknar vi ambition och drivkraft och vem vill dejta något sådan. Men har vi inget privatliv utanför jobbet så är vi tragiska och vem vill dejta någon sådan. Och ligger vi runt utan mål att hitta någon stadig partner så är vi arbetsfixerade frigida slampor och vem vill dejta någon sådan.)
  • Vi måste vara samlade och coola på jobbet. (Men inte för mycket för då är vi för läskiga och kalla och en sådan kvinna är ett hot mot män)
  • Vi måste vara engagerade och visa arbetsvilja och framförallt positivitet. (Men i lagom dos för ingen vill hantera emotionella kvinnor)
  • Vi måste ha tid att gymma och ha ett eget fritidsintresse. (För inget visar bättre att vi tar hand om vår kropp och älskar oss själva mer än lite hederlig kroppshets.)
  • Vi måste älska barn och visa att vi vill ha dem, helst tre stycken! (Men samtidigt inte vara för öppna med det för ingen vill anställa/befordra någon som ska bli gravid. Och Gud förbjude om vi inte vill ha barn, vad är vi för kvinnor!)

Och jag orkar inte räkna upp mer vi måste också nöja oss med en lön som alltid är lägre än våra manliga kollegor, att vara den som bli befordrade sist och att ofta få den där förstulna frågan om familjebildning och fasa för hur den ska inverka på lönesamtal.

Vi kvinnor är förebilder. Vi kvinnor är människor. Foto: Iduna Pertoft Sundarp

Jag är så så trött på alla måttstockar vi kvinnor måste nå upp till och jag vill ofta vråla och banka saker i en vägg över hur omöjligt det ibland känns att förändra detta.

Med det sagt så vill jag säga följande: 
Kämpa för att kvinnor ska få ha rätt att vila, få lov vara sig själva och att inte gå sönder under tusen krav i hemmet och på jobbet.
Låt det vara okej att kvinnor väljer hemmet och låt det vara okej att kvinnor väljer arbetet.

Sist men inte minst: Tänk på vad för krav ni ställer på kvinnor i er omgivning. Se allt det osynliga arbetet de gör som projektledare för hemmet, som underbetalda medarbetare och som individer. 

Och ge inga hurrarop och rosor. 

Kvinnor är förebilder men vi är också människor. Ge oss rättigheter och kämpa för att vi inte ska gå sönder och för att vi alla få en mer jämställd värld.

Mer läsning på temat: