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1

What is the legacy of Skins?

Skins was a British teen soap opera which began in 2008 and ran for about seven seasons. This series was renowned for its controversial subject matter, as many of the characters did things like have sex, experiment with drugs, and struggle with serious mental health concerns. Several of the cast members–including Nicholas Hoult, Dev Patel, and Kaya Scodelario among others–went on to have illustrious film and television careers.

What if any influence has Skins had on the teen soap opera genre? How many modern teen soaps–which tend to feature fairly dark subject matter–were inspired by Skins, whether directly or indirectly? How do more recent television shows for teens compare to Skins in terms of characterization and structure?

    5

    Chomping on Apples

    In “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003), the apple that Captain Sparrow bites in front of Barbosa does not serve alimentary purposes. This is done to humiliate the pirate because he is not able to taste any food due to his curse. This apple is, in a way, wasted food after one bite because Barbosa throws it away. However, Barbosa carries an apple with him to eat once the malediction is over. The movie ends with the uneaten (wasted) apple falling from his dying hand, but it appears again in the next movie, “Dead Man’s Chest” (2006), when he finally chomps on it with arrogance. An apple is a cinematic device to show the audience that the eater in question is an overconfident villain, a maverick badass or an arrogant person. Examples of this are Draco Malfoy in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004), Jerry Dandrige in “Fright Night” (2011), or Ajax in “Deadpool” (2016). The trope of the bad guy eating an apple has been pointed out in movie analyses, but it would be more interesting to explore the idea of wasted food, apples being the favorite food characters bite only once and then throw them away. Lex Luthor does it in “Smallville” (S01E02), and also Professor Colan in “Transformers: The Revenge of the Fallen” (2009). Is there a consequential reason for this beyond the mere trope?

    • Hi T. Palomino--I think this is a super interesting topic that I had never considered before, thank you for bringing it up! The first two stories that come to mind for me with characters biting apples in stories are actually of the victim (supposedly) biting the apple rather than the villain: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and Snow White in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." In both of these cases, rather than the villain or the arrogant character biting into an apple, the story has the "innocent character" doing so. Also in these two stories, the apple itself is the poison, although both are delivered by a villain as well (the Evil Queen and Satan in the form of a snake). For Snow White, the apple literally poisons her, as offered by the Evil Queen in disguise and for Adam and Eve, biting the apple from the tree of All Knowledge of Good and Evil, gives them knowledge that causes a rift between them and God, and ultimately leads to their exile from the Garden of Eden. I wonder if moving beyond these stories where the apple itself was a device for evil led to the apple-biting phenomenon you brought up, where the apple is no longer evil but instead the person biting it. I hope this helps with your writing! – jamiiiiiiierose 2 weeks ago
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    • It could be intriguing to inquire as to why an apple was chosen above anything else, any other fruit... Is there any historical, philosophical, moral, or other justification for this? Or is it only a practical issue in relation to other fruits, such as bananas? Also, it may be a good idea to think about the stories behind the "Apple Inc." Logo (An apple with one bite taken out of it.) Is there anything in the designer or film directors' imagination background that they have in common? – Samer Darwich 2 weeks ago
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    1

    Flatterers in fiction

    The ancient philosopher Plutarch wrote a famous essay on how to tell the difference between a friend and a flatterer. In this essay, he lists several qualities associated with a flatterer, including:
    1. being inconsistent and willing to change into whatever seems most attractive to the victim;
    2. appealing to the worst angels of the victim’s nature and copying their vices rather than their virtues;
    3. seeking to please the victim in the moment, even if it will cause the victim greater problems later on;
    4. seeking to separate the victim from their real friends.

    With this definition in mind, what are some examples of flatterers from fiction, particularly modern fiction? What traits, if any, do they and their victims have in common? Are there any stereotypes associated with fictional flatterers, either in terms of physical features or psychological makeup?

      2

      Audience perceptions of characters in TV shows

      It seems as though, a lot of the time, the audience’s perception of a character in a story is colored less by things the character has actually said or done, and more by how another character (who is usually a main character or simply more popular) views them. For instance, in the original British Office, Tim, a salesman, spends most of his time bullying his fellow salesman, Gareth. However, because Tim is more popular and gets more screen time, audiences just assume that he is the "nice" one and Gareth "deserves" to be mistreated when there’s no real evidence of this. The same series also includes a corporate higher-up named Neil, who is made out to be "mean" simply because he doesn’t get along with David, the main face of the show. What are some other examples of this phenomenon from TV, or media in general? Are there any characters who seem to be especially unfairly judged? Do they (or the people judging them) share any particular traits in common?

        3

        The Love of Farming Games

        With most games filled with action and strong storylines, popular video games such as Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley have created a large fanbase for games highlighting slow living and farm life. What is the appeal to these types of games compared to action-packed games such as Grand Theft Auto? Is the audience different?

          0

          Female Warrior Archetype

          In no way is the female warrior a new archetype, but what is new is the increasing mainstream TV portrayals of faceted versions of such characters. With the changes occurring in the representation of women in TV we are seeing a great up take of new presentations of women in what have been predominantly male roles/positions.
          An examination of this progression and the emergence of new perspectives on the female warrior would be a timely discussion.

          Some examples you ask?
          Take ‘Wynonna Earp’ first. Westerns have traditionally focused on masculine frontier storytelling where women have two roles (chorus girl or wife – to put it politely) that are fundamentally centred on the men in the story. Wynonna is an alcoholic, damaged and has so much emotional baggage it fills the show. She is flawed, she is all the western cliches and she is still the biggest "bad ass" on the show.
          Consider ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ next. ST has actually been fairly forward with the presentation of women in roles of power and has often represented them in new and relevant versions…until the most recent films, when they were regressed back to wearing short dresses, go-go boots and being vulnerable. Michael (with a very traditionally masculine name) exemplifies the characteristics of a warrior, to the degree that the first season is framed by her act of violence.
          ‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ is literally a show about warrior witches. They are training and learning to be warriors. This is a show that fulfills many of the traditional tropes in masculine representations of war/combat style archetypes. Many of the subplots within the show follow traditional subplot paths of such genres, including characterisations of particular stereotypes such as the recruit, the cocky fighter, the drill sergeant, and so on.

          There are so many more that could be discussed and explored. It is interesting to see the changes to these representations that are able to balance traditional “feminine” characteristics of the characters with traditional representations of masculine warrior traits in a manner the begins to normalise a greater diversity in gender representations.

            1

            The continuation of the Berserk manga series, a blessing from the skies or a curse?

            Berserk is an incredibly influential series of manga in the dark fantasy genre of literature and has amassed an expansive following throughout the world. It has branched out into different anime, films, video-games and other forms of media, inspiring countless other artists. Unfortunately, its story could never be finished as Kentaro Miura, the original creator, had passed away about a year ago, leaving the series on a sour cliffhanger.

            As of 7th June 2022, the Japanese manga magazine Young Animal officially stated that it will continue the serialization of the famous Berserk manga series without the visionary Kentaro. Headed by Kentaro’s best friend Kouji Mori, the close friends and coworkers of Kentaro Miura promise to deliver an authentic end to the manga, stating that they know how it ends, since Kentaro would often discuss the narrative with everyone on the team before drafting the scenes, dialogue and aesthetic decisions.

            The question therefore lies within the nature of finalizing someone else’s work after their death. Though the continuation of the series seems to be in capable hands, should it still be continued? Is the authorship and authenticity of the work more important than its continued serialization and commercialization? Will this decision attract controversy from the fans, how so or why not? Will the original vision of the manga’s themes and aesthetic features differ, or become watered down? How can one describe the differentiation between auteurs in an artwork or franchise?

            • Many series, like Star Wars (which imo has gotten worse since George Lucas handed it over to Disney) continue on after their original creator has either abandoned it or passed away. I think the most important thing for authors/artist that decide to continue some one else's work, is that they respect the ideas that the original creator put forward. This is part of the reason (imo) Star Wars fans have reacted negatively towards modern Star Wars. But series like Devil May Cry and Doom are still popular long after their original creators left the series. I think if the people who take over Berserk, respect Miura's original vision, put in an effort to maintain his art style, don't use the popularity of his work to market their own/or their personal agenda (be it political/socially) most fans will probably be somewhat understanding, and hopefully be reasonable in their criticism of the series going forward. Their is no denying their are going to be people who are going to be negative about any creative decisions made post Miura's passing. But in situations like this its usually best to ignore the more unrealistic complaints, and simply address the more reasonable ones. – Blackcat130 3 weeks ago
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            0

            Is it strategy or stupidity? Morbius and Sony

            Morbius is the superhero film released by Sony as part of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe. It grossed 73.4m in the US and Canada and 90m worldwide. At release it finished first at the box office, which is not unusually for any superhero film, but then experienced a drop of 74% to be the second-worst superhero movie behind only an obscure tentpole superhero movie from 1997 called Steel. The critical response to the movie has been overwhelmingly negative with 3.8/10 from Rotten Tomatoes and comments such as "critically bad" from Variety. The negative reception spread quickly across the internet creating an ironic meme, which somehow led to Sony deciding to re-release it to 1,000 theatres on June 3rd, during which it made $310,665.

            What is most confusing is the manner in which both the fans and Sony have responded to the release. The sour critical reception seems to have bolstered a collective "hate watch" that is generating revenue for Sony. The company, which seems unconcerned by the negative response appears to have taken the influx of internet attention as a positive and decided to re-release the film to cinema. So what happened?
            Is the Sony team so out of touch with its audience that it truly believed that the reception was positive, even though box office numbers clearly indicated otherwise? Was it an act of cashing in on internet popularity? Was it the belief that enough people would pay to "hate watch" it again?
            Was the movie that bad? The critics are critical, but aren’t they always? Is this so terrible that it deserves the derision it is receiving, or is this an example of the toxicity of the internet where everyone loves to do nothing more than hate together? Should this level of response be lauded or declaimed?
            An interesting case study to social responses to film.

            • This topic is very interesting. Maybe you can look into different posts from fans about reasons why they didn't like the movie, and then dive more into specific flaws from Morbius? – taliadmit 3 weeks ago
              1

            Film

            The Appeal of Wednesday Addams
            The Appeal of Wednesday Addams
            A Cinematic Journey Through Time
            Star Wars, Love, Loss & Redemption
            The Dark Side of Beauty Standards in Helter Skelter: A semiotic analysis

            TV

            The Book of Boba Fett Is A Failure That Hold Warnings and Lessons For Future Star Wars Projects
            The Book of Boba Fett Is A Failure That Hold Warnings and Lessons For Future Star Wars Projects
            Social Commentary in The Office
            MythQuest and the Challenges of Creating Entertaining Educational Children’s Programming
            Breaking Bad’s Jane: An Island in Albuquerque

            Animation

            Disney Heroines and Gaslighting
            Disney Heroines and Gaslighting
            Celebrating, Analyzing, and Resurrecting Fillmore!
            Nickelodeon, Disney, and the Story of Growing Up
            Ren & Stimpy’s History: 30 Years Later

            Anime

            The Legacies of the Atomic Bomb in Anime
            The Legacies of the Atomic Bomb in Anime
            Anime Versus Cancel Culture
            Perfect Blue: A Genre Study
            Your Name: Finding Love Across Possible Worlds?

            Manga

            Elfen Lied’s Eugenic Underpinnings
            Elfen Lied’s Eugenic Underpinnings
            The Horrifying Appeal of Junji Ito
            One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
            Manga: How to Travel Between Dimensions

            Comics

            Continuity and Connectivity in Comic Book Movies
            Continuity and Connectivity in Comic Book Movies
            Comics in Education: Benefits and attitudes
            How Gwenpool Knows the Unknowable (And Can We Do the Same?)
            Monstress: World-Building With a Feminist Twist

            Literature

            BookTok Influencers and Their Impact on the Publishing Industry
            BookTok Influencers and Their Impact on the Publishing Industry
            Star Wars Publishing Is Taking An Exciting Plunge Into The Unknown
            Harry Potter and the War on Terror
            Demystifying Franz Kafka

            Arts

            Are Immersive Exhibitions Ruining Art?
            Are Immersive Exhibitions Ruining Art?
            Apex and Abyss: A Thematic Analysis
            Issues of Consent, Representation, and Exploitation in Deepfake Pornography
            Autism in Media: Progressing, Yet Stuck

            Writing

            Writing in Isolation during a global pandemic
            Writing in Isolation during a global pandemic
            Fantasy Writing in the Age of Reason to Today
            Fantasy Writing and The Middle Ages to The Renaissance
            Men Written by Women: Dreamboats or Brutes?