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Why Full House’s Kimmy Gibbler Was NOT the Wacky Next Door Neighbor

26 Feb

Author’s note: This piece was originally written for the now-defunct comedy site Slacktory (RIP) but with the recent release of Netflix’s Fuller House, I thought it was a good time to share it again. 

You weren’t allowed to have a sitcom in the 90’s unless a wacky neighbor was involved. Family Matters had Steve Urkel, Home Improvement had Wilson and Full House had Kimmy Gibbler. However, unlike her contemporaries, Kimmy never used a shrink ray on the Tanner family or obscured half of her face whenever she went into public. She was just kind of a dumpy weirdo who got shit on all the time by the people next door.

But here’s the thing—in what bizzarro universe is Kimmy the wacky, eccentric next door neighbor when you consider the shenanigans happening at the Tanner house? How is it that we’re tricked into thinking that Kimmy is the weirdo when she doesn’t live in a house with her dad, two sisters, her uncle’s entire family and her dad’s unmarried college buddy?

Those earrings tho

source: bustle.com

To everybody else in the neighborhood, the Tanners must seem like some creepy cult polygamist family of serial killers. First of all, every single adult in the household is a quasi-celebrity. Danny and Becky host a local morning talk show,  Joey is a stand-up comedian and ventriloquist who hosts his own children’s show and Jesse is apparently a popular enough singer to warrant impromptu jam sessions with the Beach Boys, which only continues to add to the Manson-esque mystique of the Tanner clan.

The point is, these are people who really could and should be living on their own by now but are somehow compelled to live in basements and attics, like college students who just returned home to mom and dad’s place. And at the heart of it all is Danny—a broken man who fell to pieces after his wife died and is now obsessed with keeping the house clean and “full” of people.

This is what Kimmy Gibbler lives next door to and the Tanners have the audacity to give her shit about having smelly feet?

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7 Reasons Why Power Rangers is a Positive Superhero Franchise for Girls

24 Feb

I absolutely freaked out when I heard that BOOM! Studios was going to be publishing Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Pink a comic book miniseries that focused around Kimberly, the original Pink Ranger.

For starters, I was excited that we were getting a spin-off from the phenomenal Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers comic series and that it wasn’t starring Tommy. But I was even more excited that they were choosing a female character to focus on for their first foray into a solo Power Rangers story.  And the more that I thought about it, the more it made sense—because the Pink Ranger is a powerful brand unto herself.

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Pink #1

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: Pink #1 Source: nerdist.com

It’s something I actually noticed last Halloween. I always get geeked out when I see little kids dressed up like Power Rangers and I realized that I was seeing more little girls dressed like the Pink Ranger than little boys dressed like any of the male Power Rangers.  That’s probably due to the fact that little boys have a wider variety of male superhero costumes available to them while little girls have fewer options. Fortunately, Power Rangers has always been one of those options for little girls who have an interest in superheroes.

In a time when parents are searching for positive female superheroes for their children, I think many fail to realize that Power Rangers has been pumping out these kinds of characters for over 20 years.  It may be a show targeted to a young male audience, but Power Rangers has always been about empowering females and promoting gender diversity whenever possible, for the benefit of both male and female viewers.

Here are just a few examples of why Power Rangers is the perfect franchise for young girls looking for positive female superheroes.

Power Rangers are non-sexualized

It’s no big secret that female superheroes are designed with the male gaze in mind. That makes it kind of hard for parents to find positive female superheroes that aren’t sticking their scantily clad asses in the air like porn stars all the time.

The female Power Rangers never have to deal with that crap. They basically wear the same thing that the male superheroes are wearing—with the occasional addition of a skirt. Which, admittedly, might seem weirdly sexist, but from what I hear the skirt actually serves to hide male stuntmen’s bulges when they portray female Power Rangers. So it’s more functional than fashionable.

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Top 10 Actresses Who Should Play Rita Repulsa in the New Power Rangers Movie

14 Jan

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—I love me some Rita Repulsa.

So when I heard that Saban and Lionsgate were teaming up to bring a live-action Power Rangers movie to the big screen, my first thought was for my beloved empress of evil.  Like everybody else waiting for this movie, I started to think of what my dream cast would be – but then I kind of got stuck on Rita.

We already know which actors are going to be playing the Rangers themselves, so I wanted to share with you my top picks for Rita Repulsa—including the number one actress who I think should take on the role.

I wanted to note that I personally believe the role of Rita should be played by an Asian actress, however when compiling this speculative list I opened up the possibilities to all actresses. Rita is kind of a strange case because she was originally a character directly taken from the original Japanese footage and dubbed over. They eventually cast a new actress when they ran out of footage, but kept the dubbed over voice.

All of the actresses who have played Rita have been Asian and I feel that the producers of this movie should respect that in their casting decisions. However, I’m able to accept another actress as Rita, since the character herself is not technically Asian in origin—she’s a space alien whose brother is a skeleton and father is some kind of demon creature. As such, I cast a wider net when searching for the perfect Rita.

The many faces of Rita Repulsa

The many faces of Rita Repulsa

What to look for in a good Rita Repulsa

I don’t think I’m being melodramatic when I say that the right treatment of Rita could literally make or break this movie. As the movie’s villain she has to be threatening enough to create tension but also close enough to the source material to be familiar.

In the original TV show, Rita was sinister, irritable, flamboyant and funny. She openly reveled in being bad and causing pain with devilish glee. There are plenty of great character qualities for the producers of this movie to work with here.

So when casting my Rita, I kept things in perspective. I wanted an actress who could do the character justice, but update her for movie audiences. In fan casting Rita, I wanted someone audiences could believe as a threat worth imprisoning for ten thousand years, yet could still have a bit of fun with the role.

These ten actresses have the right combination of fierce, funny and frightening to pull off the character of Rita Repulsa.

10. Ming-Na Wen

Ming Na Wen

Photo Source: movieweb.com

Ming-Na Wen has plenty of experience playing heroes like Chun-Li and Mulan, but it’s her role as Agent Melinda May in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD that puts her in the running for Rita.  Agent May might be a hero, but Ming-Na plays her with such an icy coolness that you never know whose side she’s on. She’s perfected the art of freezing an entire room of people dead in their tracks with just a look—she could definitely play a would-be world conqueror like Rita Repulsa.

The only thing keeping Ming-Na Wen from being higher up on the list is that she works better with a dry sense of humor; we haven’t really seen her go completely nuts yet. She’d be a great choice for a serious Rita, but that’s not what we’re going for.

9. Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P Henson

Photo Source: eonline.com

You might be thinking that I only added Taraji P. Henson to this list based on her role as Cookie Lyons on the TV show Empire—and you’d basically be right. It’s not that I’m hopping on the Taraji P. bandwagon (okay, I am a little) but it’s because everything about the character of Cookie just screams Rita Repulsa to me. I mean, the scene in the first episode where she hits her son with a broom is exactly that kind of energy that would work for Rita. As Cookie, Henson is able to perfectly walk the line between fiery and vulnerable—her anger comes from years of imprisonment, which is something that would definitely translate to Rita.

But Taraji P. Henson’s connection with the character Cookie would also work against her as it’d be hard for audiences to forget about that role when she’s playing a character with a lot of similar personality traits. I also get the feeling that the actress is going to want to go after meatier roles now that she’s got the star power from Empire. She’s already been nominated for an Oscar before; I’m thinking she’s going to want to try for one again. And there’s no way Rita Repulsa is going to be the character to do that for her.

8. Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho

Photo Source: Sprint2thetable.com

 

I feel like Margaret Cho would have an absolute riot with this role. She’s a hilarious stand-up comedian with a lot of energy and a big ol’ mouth. I can easily imagine her screaming about her reoccurring headaches and beating her subjects with her magic wand. Margaret Cho would provide a great opportunity for this movie to have elements of camp and comedy, which just might be what it needs to be successful.

But the problem with Cho is that she doesn’t really work well as a global threat to humanity. I could easily see her playing a villain, don’t get me wrong, but I think if audience see a stand-up comedian coming out of a space dumpster they’re going to have a hard time taking anything that comes next seriously.

7. Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter

Photo Source: misscablackburn.blogspot.com/

 

Helena Bonham Carter is a total weirdo—and I mean that in the most loving way imaginable.  She’s got a thing for taking on twisted, dark, crazy characters like the infamous Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter movies.  She can be terrifying, unhinged and comical all at the same time, she’s the perfect triple threat to take on Rita Repulsa.

The only problem with Helena Bonham Carter, other than the fact that she’s not Asian, is that audiences seem to be getting a little fatigued by her whole dark and moody schtickt. It doesn’t help that she shows up in every movie her husband Tim Burton makes with Johnny Depp, and there haven’t been a lot of winners in that list lately.

6. Michelle Yeoh

Michelle Yeoh

Photo Source: renaud corlouer

Michelle Yeoh has international acclaim and an acting pedigree that includes hit movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha and Sunshine. She even holds the distinction of being a Bond Girl. She’s the type of actress you’d call if you want Rita to have some depth to her. She could make Rita seem powerful, intimidating and sympathetic all in one go.

So the biggest question is—where has she been lately? We haven’t seen much of her lately, although she is starring in the upcoming Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Sword of Destiny for Netflix which will bring her back into the spotlight. And even if you ignore the fact that she may not have box office draw, she’s not really known for her loud, brash, funny characters. She’d be a no-nonsense Rita and I feel like Rita has to have at least some nonsense.

5. Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara

Photo Source: machetekillsmovie.tumblr.com/

Meanwhile, Sofia Vergara is pretty much all nonsense.  Mostly known for her role on the sitcom Modern Family, Vergara is a loud, expressive, animated comic actress—but she’s no stranger to kicking butt either. Her role in Machete Kills as the leader of a group of assassin prostitutes shows she has what it takes to play Rita—weird metallic bra and all.

But like Margaret Cho, Sofia Vergara might be a little too funny to pull off a serious Rita Repulsa. If the producers of this movie want to crank up the camp factor, then she’s a perfect choice, but it’ll take a lot for audiences to forget her comedic past.

4. Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett

Photo Source: Tumblr

Angela Bassett is a goddess—she could play this role in a heartbeat. You might think I’m basing this decision entirely on her role as voodoo queen Marie Laveau in American Horror Story: Coven—and I won’t lie, that role factors in heavily here. But she has an amazing body of work that proves she’s got the right stuff. I mean, her role as Amanda Waller was the best part of that shitty Green Lantern movie.

There’s almost nothing holding Angela Basset back from being the perfect Rita—she can be commanding, wild, scary and funny all at the same time. The only problem is that her humor tends to be a little more biting that we’re used to with Rita. Don’t get me wrong, Rita’s got attitude in spades, but Angela Basset could cut you with words while Rita would just call you an idiot and smack you with her wand.

3. Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton

Photo Source: femaledoctorwho.tumblr.com

Tilda Swinton is the shit you guys. I absolutely love her in everything and she’s great at disappearing into a role. She’d have a riot playing Rita Repulsa, I mean just check out her performance as the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe if you want to get an idea of what she’d do with a role like this.  Not only that, but she’s played a lot of great goofy characters in the past in movies like Snowpiercer and The Grand Budapest Hotel.  I just really want to see what she’d do with a character like this.

But there’s no way in hell she should be Rita—not after the whole recent debacle when she was cast as the Ancient One in Marvel’s Dr. Strange movie. The Ancient One is typically depicted as an Asian man and a lot of people were upset that a role was taken away from a POC actor to be given to a white woman. I don’t think she’d want to go through something like that again and she’s probably too wrapped up in Dr. Strange to even be a serious contender anyway.

2. Constance Wu

Constance Wu

Photo Source: deadline.com

I have to admit, I can’t take all the credit for this pick. I saw someone on Reddit name her as their ideal Rita and I just had to steal it. Sorry person who I’m totally stealing this pick from, but you were so right about how Constance Wu has the right sense of humor to portray Rita. If you haven’t seen her on Fresh off the Boat yet, you need to stop and go watch it right now, it’s on Hulu damn it!  She can be playfully icy in such a way that would make for an excellent Rita.

The only thing keeping Constance Wu out of the number one spot is the fact that she’s just a little too adorable to be menacing. There’s a great scene in the Halloween episode of Fresh off the Boat where her character is confronting some teen hoodlums in the middle of the street. She’s hilariously furious and it’s one of the funniest scenes on the show so far, but it makes me feel like her portrayal of Rita would be just a hair shy of actually intimidating.

1. Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu

Photo Source: xavierpop.com

Look, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy researching the perfect Rita Repulsa and Lucy Liu is the best pick. She has all the criteria and then some.  She can be campy, badass, funny, icy, commanding, threatening and all at the same time.  If you don’t believe me, just take a look at her credentials. Her iconic role as O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill is a perfect example of her ability to be kind of campy and badass all at once. Charlie’s Angels is another film where she’s been able to flex both her humor muscles and her action muscles at the same time.

I think she’d have a lot of fun in this role and she’d bring a little star power boost to the cast, who so far are all young actors and unknowns. I could see her menacing a bunch of teenagers, I really could, in a way that would be fun but also have some high stakes tension and drama.

So there you have it. I’m interested to see who they’ll actually pick to play Rita in the upcoming Power Rangers movie.  If it’s anybody off of this list I’m going to personally take credit.

Who do you think should play Rita? Leave a comment below with your top picks!

 

In Defense of Scrappy-Doo

16 Apr Scrappy-Doo
Scrappy-Doo

Image: AdultSwim.com

Has there ever been a cartoon character as universally hated as Scrappy-Doo?

Ever since this pint-sized puppy started hanging around his Uncle Scooby and the Mystery Inc gang, he’s been reviled as nothing more than a desperate gimmick to attract younger viewers. Although the kiddies loved him when he first broke out onto the scene back in the late 70s, those kids have since grown up into Scooby-Doo fans of more refined tastes. These fans have demonized Scrappy as an annoying sidekick that ruined the integrity of a show about an anthropomorphized stoner dog that solves mysteries.

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