I've been writing since fourth grade and blogging since 2014. I've been a nerd my whole life.

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Why Are There So Many Neurodivergent Super-Detectives?

The list of fictional characters with relatable representation of neurodivergence (ADHD, autism, OCD, et cetera) has a lot of detective characters on it. Examples include Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Benoit Blanc, Adrian Monk, Shawn Spencer, and Sonja Cross from The Bridge.
Some of these characters were created before the diagnoses became popular, and yet they match the symptoms remarkably well. Their special interests and hyper-focus help them notice details others might miss. At the same time, their unique way of seeing the world often separates them from society.
Analyze various fictional detectives and consider why so many of them are neurodivergent. Is there some reason neurodivergence would make someone a better detective, as opposed to some other career? Do these characters run the risk of making their diagnosis their entire personality and not being fully developed characters?


    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: Hard to Adapt?

    Douglas Adams’ foray into detective fiction, with his iconic twist of science fiction and extremely British absurdist comedy, was a novel called Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and its sequel, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. These books have been adapted into two TV shows, one on BBC4 and one on BBC America. The books and TV shows are all quite different from each other; even the character of Dirk Gently changes a bit between adaptations.
    Compare and contrast the book(s) with the TV shows. Why did the shows change so much? Is there something "unadaptable" about Adams’ original work?


      The Red Ten vs The Boys

      From 2011 to 2017, Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano created a ten-issue comic book series in which a parody of the Justice League were mysteriously murdered in a plot eerily similar to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. As in Christie’s novel, it was slowly revealed that the superheroes were being killed because they were guilty of dark secrets.
      This series bears a resemblance to The Boys, the comic series by Garth Ennis currently being adapted into a TV show. This series has its own parody of the Justice League, hiding their own dark secrets. The titular characters, the Boys, set out to test the heroes’ limits and, if necessary, deal out bloody justice.
      Compare and contrast these series, their characters, their themes, etc.


        "Gods" in the MCU: Are Any of Them Worthy?

        In Thor: Love and Thunder, Gorr the God Butcher wanted to destroy all the deities in the MCU. His motivation was he had found the god of his civilization quite disappointing, and he assumed all deities were just as selfish and uncaring. The movie hoped the audience would think Gorr was wrong because Thor, the god of Thunder, is not selfish. Unfortunately, we have not met many other "god" characters in the MCU with redeeming qualities.
        Analyze the MCU characters referred to as gods or god-like beings – not only the Asgardians but also Dormammu from Dr. Strange, Ego from Guardians of the Galaxy, Arishem from Eternals, the Egyptian gods from Moon Knight, and Zeus. How valid was Gorr’s anti-god position? Is there a deeper meaning in this repeated theme?
        Consider the fact that Odin said, "We are not gods," but other characters nonetheless refer to Asgardians as gods. Does a character need to be chosen by a mortal civilization to "count" as a god?


          Do Disabled Characters Need to be Played by Disabled Actors?

          Movies and TV shows often feature able-bodied actors/actresses playing disabled characters. Some audience members with disabilities are not content to see characters who are like them; some of them believe these characters must be played by people who actually have the disability they are portraying. Discuss the validity of this argument and the validity of the counterargument: representation doesn’t matter any less if it’s just acting.
          Examples for the discussion include Ben Affleck in The Accountant and Daredevil, Charlie Cox in Daredevil, Patrick Stewart in X-Men, Bryan Cranston in The Upside, Freddie Highmore in The Good Doctor, Danny Pudi in Community, and Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.

          • Scholars who have been developing important advancements in the field of Disability Studies over the last 30 years have established through their work that it is not necessary to use euphemisms to refer to disabled people because it creates confusion about the important distinction between “disability” and “impairment.” – T. Palomino 2 years ago
          • Hey, thanks for this! I'm disabled myself (cerebral palsy/Asperger's), and I can see both sides of this argument. For instance, if you want to show a severe case of CP, where the person experiences quadriplegia and the inability to speak, for instance, it might be difficult to find an actor who fits that profile. But at the same time, that leads back to the question of why the acting arena has been so "closed" to people with disabilities over the centuries, so that actors with disabilities can't make spaces for themselves. I personally have experience in theater, where I believe I was denied roles not necessarily because of ableism, but just because the concepts of inclusion and modification were not part of consciousness yet. So when I see actors and actresses like Ali Stoker (Stroker? Her last name escapes me), getting roles on Broadway, I feel like we're progressing. But then I see, for instance, able-bodied actors still being cast for roles like Crutchie in Newsies, and I'm like, just, why? When there are a ton of ambulatory actors out there who still use or have experiences with mobility aids? And, as noted with Rain Man, why are we giving Oscars to able-bodied actors for portraying disabled people, especially in a way that continues to feed inspiration porn? So all that to say...yeah, please write this. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
          • This is something I've pondered often. Some actors are able to play a good role and pull it off but those with the actual disabilities and have the knack for acting should be considered first for those roles. Granted, sometimes--and often--Hollywood doesn't try to be politically correct in its casting. This stems from various reasons, including household name. – Montayj79 2 years ago
          • This is a difficult one. If acting can be difficult and tiring for people without any disability imagine how strenuous it'll be for a person with a disability - the shooting and re-shooting, the long scripts, the long nights, the travel and moving from one location to another, etc. It would really be difficult – Laurika Nxumalo 2 years ago
          • I don't think so. Coming from a guy who has Autsim, I don't think an actor has to be disabled to play a disabled role. All that matters is can the person act? – JohnMcKinney 1 year ago

          The Power of Movie Musical Protagonists

          In the world of movie musicals and musical episodes of TV shows, characters process their emotions and make decisions through song-and-dance numbers. The protagonists of these stories often seem to have an uncanny ability to influence people around them and make them break into song and dance.

          In Encanto, Mirabelle’s gift seems to be making her family sing about their feelings, especially when they don’t want to talk about them: she makes Luisa admit she’s nervous about the Pressure, she gets the whole family to sing about Bruno, etc.
          In the High School Musical series, Troy Bolton turns a basketball practice into a song-and-dance number because he can’t stop thinking about musical theatre. Then he convinces all of his friends to work at a country club even though it’s hard.

          In The Greatest Showman, P.T. Barnum uses the power of song-and-dance to turn his group of social outcasts into the greatest show on Earth and to convince Zac Efron’s character to join his team.

          If the songs are diegetic (the characters are aware they are singing and dancing), they are conscious choices by the characters, so they can be considered part of the characters’ development. If the songs are non-diegetic (only the audience is aware of what’s happening), they are mainly plot devices.

          Other examples include Zooey’s Extraordinary Playlist, The Flash/Supergirl crossover "Duet," and The Magicians’ annual musical episodes.

          Analyze the narrative impact of these characters and their musical influence. Does this phenomenon work better as character development, a plot device, or a combination of both?

          • You could also discuss Orpheus in Hadestown, who is both a musician and musical protagonst (with Eurydices). Singing is part of his identity in the show. – Sean Gadus 2 years ago

          Mario, Link, and Scott Pilgrim: Relationships in Video Games

          Scott Pilgrim vs The World uses a video-game-like series of boss battles as a thinly veiled metaphor for relationship drama. It has been compared to Mario’s video game series, in which the hero fights giant gorillas and dragon turtles in order to win back his lady love. The Legend of Zelda is another famous example of this trope. What other video games and game-related movies portray relationships with this kind of drama? What are the pros and cons of the different portrayals? Are these relationships healthy? If not, is that made clear enough to dissuade people from following their example?

          • Examples include Legend of Zelda, Mario, Scott Pilgrim, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Edge of Tomorrow (Live Die Repeat). – noahspud 3 years ago
          • I'd recommend tackling Scott Pilgrims source material the graphic novels and what it has to say about video games and romance. Especially since the video game is based on the movie which is rushed and lacks a proper payoff that the comics have. – Roneish 3 years ago

          The Hulk's Character Development (or lack thereof)

          The Incredible Hulk is the movie most likely to be forgotten when thinking about the MCU. Arguably, its poor reception is the reason Mark Ruffalo has yet to get his own Hulk movie. Because Hulk/Bruce Banner doesn’t get solo movies like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, all of his character development has to happen in the Avengers movies and Thor: Ragnarok. Analyze what arc or Hero’s Journey he has, if any. Perhaps compare his arc to that of other Avengers.

          • I'm not certain why Mark Ruffalo never got a solo Movie as the Hulk. But, the reason Edward Norton was let go of was, due to problematic interactions with the rest of the cast. I think this topic is interesting as many fans complained about Ruffalo's and Johanson having no romantic chemistry in the films. I would say his arc is more about gaining control over his darker nature (something we see at the happen in Avenger End Game.) – Blackcat130 3 years ago
          • I think this is a good topic. Mark Ruffalo was a major star even before his casting as the Hulk, so for him to not have his own solo film is definitely a question mark on the studio's part. I think it's also interesting to look at his relationships with the other characters and Avengers as a whole. Why is he now paired with Thor? Why did his relationship with Black Widow not grab audiences attention? Also of note is that Ruffalo has worked with multiple directors in his turn as the Hulk, including Joss Whedon, the Russo Brothers, and Taika Waititi. It might be interesting to analyze which of these directors, if any, have captured the strongest essence of who the Hulk should be. – Sarah 3 years ago
          • To clarify something. The main reason the Hulk has only appeared in team-up movies and hasn't been given the solo treatment is that the film rights to a Hulk solo film are still with Universal studios, rendering Marvel's ability to produce a solo Hulk film themselves impossible. If you go back to look at the 2008 Edward Norton Hulk film, it is produced by Marvel Studios but distributed by Universal. Seen as how big Marvel, also Disney, is right now, it is unlikely they would want to have another studio distribute the film and get all the revenue. This is also different from the deal Marvel and Sony made for Spiderman, since the box office revenue and production cost are shared between Marvel and Sony if I remember correctly. – askthepen 2 years ago
          • All these comments render the topic's premises inaccurate. It's not always about character development or arcs only. – T. Palomino 2 years ago

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          Latest Comments

          Oh yeah. Throwing acid on his employees as opposed to just not providing dental insurance. Rewriting reality so no one knows things used to be different as opposed to just changing the way things are going forward. Rumpel raises the stakes.

          Villains of the Shrek Universe: From Nursery Rhymes to the Grim Reaper

          He takes his job a little more seriously than necessary in special cases. Is that evil? It’s just vague enough to be interesting, which is one of the things that makes him a great villain.

          Villains of the Shrek Universe: From Nursery Rhymes to the Grim Reaper

          See also Dimension 20 Neverafter, in which the Big Bad Wolf is the manifest representation of Endings. Like, the words “The End” grew legs and sharp teeth. Arguably worse than death in a world where everyone acknowledges the fact that they’re fictional characters.

          Villains of the Shrek Universe: From Nursery Rhymes to the Grim Reaper

          Not much did change. That’s the point. Wakanda promised to share their world-changing resources with the world, but then a lot of things happened… Wakanda doesn’t trust the world, and the world keeps proving them right. The MCU keeps giving Wakanda excuses to maintain the status quo.

          Why Don't Superheroes Change the World?

          Those who learn from the mistakes of their ancestors are doomed to watch in horror as other idiots repeat them.

          "Darkest Dungeon": The weight of legacy

          Yup. That’s called “raising the stakes.” Lots of stories do that – Star Wars, the Matrix, and the Hunger Games all start with the bad guys already in control, putting the heroes at a disadvantage. This makes it even cooler when the heroes win.

          Villains of the Shrek Universe: From Nursery Rhymes to the Grim Reaper

          How about Fender’s Dance Battle in Robots? In the world of a comedy movie, especially an animated one, anything unexpected and funny becomes super-powerful.

          Exploring the Sensual Power of Dance in Cinema

          True. She still values one person’s happiness above the well-being of everyone else – it just happens to be her son instead of herself.

          Villains of the Shrek Universe: From Nursery Rhymes to the Grim Reaper