Fanfiction Fridays: It’s Not Always About the Romance

Every Valentine’s Day, we at Lady Geek Girl and Friends vote on and compile a huge list of our favorite pairings to share with our readers. (This is not that post. Check back around noon.) However, we also always do a post that takes some of the emphasis off romantic love, because we are strong proponents of the idea that while having a significant other is cool, it isn’t the be-all end-all of life or this day in particular. We’ve listed our favorite platonic duos and our favorite unattached anime characters over the past two years, but since V-Day conveniently falls on a Friday this year, we’re taking the opportunity to share five awesome fanfics where the focus is not on romance. Enjoy!

Warning: some fics involve spoilers for their respective series, specifically Shingeki no Kyojin (and, like, Harry Potter and The Avengers if you somehow haven’t read/seen those).

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Fanfiction Fridays: A Lopsided Symmetry of Sin and Virtue

I’ve been reading fanfic for a long time—like more than half of my actual life-span, yikes—and when you read anything for that long you develop preferences for your favorite kinds of stories. Quite possibly my absolute favorite trope in the whole wide world is the fake-married trope. This trope usually appears when a pair need to convince a third party that they’re married and totally in love, whether it’s a side-effect of going undercover or for other reasons. It generally involves two people who, in the story, already have romantic feelings for each other, but don’t realize they’re requited. They settle into the routine of pretend marriage far too easily, and the drama comes when they realize that they don’t want to stop pretending. I adore this plot in all its forms and fandoms, but it’s also refreshing to see someone put a new twist on an old trope.

That’s where A Lopsided Symmetry of Sin and Virtue, an Elementary fanfic, comes in.

Joan thinks she should be less surprised by his sudden, “Watson, we’re getting married!” and yet, here she is, cooking her egg and trying not to be astonished.

Despite my love for the trope, I was uncertain about it in this particular fandom. The platonic relationship between Joan and Sherlock is nearly sacrosanct to me—I cling to it as one of the very few male-female friendships on TV that has never dealt with a will-they-or-won’t-they buildup. But I gave it a chance on a whim, and I was glad I did.

In every picture I can find that includes both of them, they are judgmentally staring at something out of shot. Idk.

In every picture I can find that includes both of them, they are judgmentally staring at something out of shot. Idk.

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The Depiction of “Asia” in Pop Culture

So I was in Boston for a week on a business trip. While I was there, I stopped by the Boston Museum of Fine Art. To my surprise, upon leaving I was rather disappointed. I think that was largely due to the museum’s presentation of “Asia” as one solid unit as opposed to allowing for diversity of cultures by depicting it as a series of diverse countries. The sad thing is, this is frequently done by pop culture as well.

asia1First off, we have that Sherlock episode, “The Blind Banker”, where Sherlock and Watson track down some Chinese mafia bad guys working for Moriarty. At least I think they were Chinese. I’m not exactly sure because Moffat wasn’t straight-forward on that one. When I first saw this episode, I’m fairly certain I watched it with Luce and Saika, who spent the majority of the time yelling “This actress is Chinese but her name is Korean; the teapots are Japanese and so are the lucky cats! This makes no sense! Couldn’t anyone do their homework?!” at the TV. So needless to say, it was a very Asian episode, but there was no fact-checking. If something was considered stereotypically Asian, be it teapots, ninjas, acrobatic circuses, etc., chances are it was in this episode and just attributed to China for the sake of simplicity. That’s a no-no. Attributing every Asian thing to China is like making every South American thing Brazilian; it’s just not correct.

asia2Sherlock is the most obvious case of this happening in a plot that I know of, excluding every parody movie along the lines of Scary Movie and Not Another Teen Movie where everyone and everything gets stereotyped like it’s nobody’s business. It also happens frequently in more episodic TV series. In almost every crime show, at some point they have an “Asia” episode, where chances are the crime takes place in Chinatown, the Yakuza are involved, or something along those lines. Blue Bloods just did an episode like this a couple of months ago and it was a hot mess. That’s the opportunity to throw in every stereotype about Asia you can possibly can, almost like getting Asia out of the show’s system.

More frequently, however, this done through casting. How many shows exist in the world where it seems that the casting director said, “Okay, we have one Asian, that means we’re good on that score”? So many shows. Even looking at Elementary, which we practically tout as a gold standard for portrayal of racial diversity on broadcast television, only has one Asian character. To be fair, it’s Watson, who is one of the two protagonists, but even as minor characters go, there are very few other Asians in the show. There is more than one Asian in New York City, and Elementary is only portraying one. Granted, Watson’s ethnicity is never made an issue: she’s just a normal person that happens to be Chinese and happens to be a woman. And Watson has characteristics that show her relationship to her ethnicity, such as her preference for natural remedies and her “tiger” mom. But she is so much more than her race, and that’s what Elementary does so well: making characters more than the stereotypes that surround them. However, just doing a better job than everyone else doesn’t mean it is the end-all, be-all.

To be honest, I’d be interested to see Elementary try and tackle a Chinatown episode just to see how they treat it. It could make for really interesting TV viewing, namely because they are so good at creating characters who are more than stereotypes. Hopefully, other television shows can look at Elementary, see how they treat different groups, and apply that to their own writing. And take it further.

If There Are No Lesbians Then I Don’t Care

Orphan Black Lady Geek GirlI have noticed an upsetting trend recently. No one seems to care about queer ladies being represented in the media. Seems that any time a show announces that they will be including gay characters, or any time someone critiques a show for not having gay characters, more often than not those characters tend to be male. Gay men, despite also not having much representation on television, seem to at least currently hold the market on representation. Why is that? According to GlAAD’s most recent Where Are We On TV Report, there are fifty LGBTQ+ characters on broadcast TV. 61% of those characters are gay men, while only 20% are lesbians, though there are more bisexual women (14%) than bisexual men (4%) on broadcast TV. And of course only one of those characters is a transgender woman. Thank you, Elementary

I think the lack of queer female characters largely has to do with with how society has sexualized queer women. When I was younger, I remember hearing that queer men are less accepted in society because straight men are uncomfortable with queer men, but queer women are more accepted because straight men find them attractive. Yep, that’s right, there is this misconception that because queer women have been heterosexualized and fetishized, they are somehow more empowered than queer men. If that’s empowerment, then sorry, I don’t want it.

So you know the stats, but how many queer female characters are there in our geek wheelhouse? This is including both cable and broadcast TV shows.

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It’s Asian-American Heritage Month! So how’s it looking out there for Asians on TV?

Hi, I’m Luce (hi luce!) and I’m an Asian-American. May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in America, so it’s a great time to talk about Asians, stereotypes, and representation. Let’s take a look at where Asian characters stand in today’s mainstream television media after the jump.

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Five Reasons Why Elementary is the Greatest

I’ve talked about Elementary a few times before this, and if you read those two posts you know that I was slow to appreciate the show at first. So what made me go from lukewarm to squealing fangirl over the course of less than a season?

elementary

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Celebrating the “brotp”: Ten Awesome Platonic Friendships

Pretty much everyone who has read fanfiction has an OTP—a One True Pairing that they ship harder than anything else. But what about the couples that are just awesome buds, and who you like together as friends but not romantically? Well the recently coined term ‘brotp’ is there for you. And since Valentine’s Day puts and unnecessary emphasis on being in a romantic relationship, I figured I’d take this post to give a shout-out to some of the awesomest platonic friendships out there.

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Elementary: Consider me schooled.

PILOT

So a while ago I wrote about Elementary‘s pilot episode. I was pretty critical on a lot of levels, and had a hard time separating my criticism of the first episode from my feelings about the BBC’s Sherlock. I didn’t watch the second episode. But a lot of the peeps on tumblr were really complimentary of it, and I figured it wouldn’t be the worst possible thing to give it another chance. I went back and caught up on all the episodes I’d missed, and…

Guys, I take everything I said back.

Well, maybe I don’t take it back, but I do feel like this is definitely a show that merits a second look. And I wanted to go on record as eating my words. Continue reading

Thoughts on Elementary Episode One

I intended for this review to stand solely on its own and not compare Elementary to Sherlock. I failed entirely. That said, Elementary is a good show so far and I hope it got good ratings and that it will succeed on CBS.

(I will be referring to CBS and BBC Sherlocks as Millerlock and Cumberlock respectively.)

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