Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Phoebe Buffay

I’ve been re-watching “Friends” lately and it’s cementing itself again as one of my favorite sitcoms. The highlight of nearly every episode (almost inevitably distracting me from whatever my wife and I are talking about) is Phoebe. She’s such a random and lovable character. It’s kind of impossible to not like her if you have any humanity. So in case you need reasons to love Phoebe, here are four of my favorites:

Phoebe has this wonderful undying optimism. Her life has sucked and yet she’s almost always happy. Her dad walked out on her family, her mom committed suicide, her step-dad went to prison, and the list goes on. I know she’s there for comic relief at times, but most characters with her past would be a dark humor instead of the ray of sunshine that we get for ten seasons.

I’m also not sure that there is a character on that has so many amazing one-liners. Maybe Fat Amy on “Pitch Perfect”, but throw in Phoebe’s silly songs and she easily trumps Fat Amy. Her naivety, yet having so much harsh life experience, makes her off-handed comments so much more enjoyable.

Fun little theory of mine, just to be silly, is that Phoebe also had some mad ninja assassin skills. Don’t ever get on her bad side. Remember that episode where she got replaced as the musician at Central Perk? Did we ever see Terry the Jerk again? I mean, he was mentioned again a year later, but we never saw him again. Did we ever again see Stephanie who knew all the chords? Nope. Never. Only explanation is that sweet little Phoebe offed both. Plain and simple. She used her street skills to assert herself.

Final reason to love Phoebe: Smelly Cat. Not even exaggerating, sometimes when I’m stressed I can just calm myself by singing Smelly Cat to myself. Remember that episode where she got to do the Smelly Cat video? Also that time that it got turned into a jingle? And then there were all the people she tried to teach it to, like Stephanie (before she offed her).

What are you favorite things about Phoebe? Any favorite one-liners or songs? 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Part 9

Runaways Season 1 is over, SHIELD is on its way into Season 5, and Black Panther is only a month away. Sounds like a perfect time to do some more Marvel (not that I need a reason). So this time it’s the first part of Agents of SHIELD Season 3 and our introduction to the sassy Jessica Jones.

Agents of SHIELD: Season 3 (Ep. 1-8)

The Terrigen-infested fish oil pills have made their rounds, resulting in random Inhumans throughout the world. SHIELD collects Joey Gutierrez. Coulson confronts the ATCU’s leader, Rosalind Price. Daisy/Skye try to recruit Lincoln, but they get attacked by Lash Deducing Simmons was transported through space, SHIELD recruits Randolph for help. SHIELD opens the monolith’s portal and Fitz retrieves Simmons. Hunter and May track Ward. Simmons struggles adjusting back to Earth. Coulson reaches out to Rosalind. Lash kills various Inhumans. Ward threatens Garner’s life if May and Hunter don't release him.

Simmons recalls the events on Maveth to Fitz. Six months previous, Simmons finds herself stranded on Maveth. After a month, Simmons is captured by Will. Avoiding a monster, Simmons and Will comfort each other. During a rare sunrise, Simmons sees Fitz’s flare, Will gets attacked, and Simmons gets rescued. In the present day, Fitz begins working on getting to Maveth.

Garner survives assassination. Rosalind takes Coulson to the ATCU and finds she has dozen of Inhumans. Von Strucker tells May that Garner turned into a monster. Simmons talk to Fitz about Maveth. May confronts and captures Garner. Ward teams up with Malick. Fitz and Simmons discover that Hydra sent Will to Maveth. Hunter and Bobbi discover ATCU has been creating Inhumans with the fish oil. Malick tells Ward about Hive.

The Inhuman attacking Inhumans
Random Trivia/Connections:
  • The events in New York (“The Avengers”), London (“The Dark World”), DC (“The Winter Soldier”), Sokovia (“Age of Ultron”), and San Francisco (“Ant-Man”) are mentioned in “Laws of Nature”.
  • The death of Wolfgang von Strucker, in “Age of Ultron”, is referenced in “Purpose in the Machine”.
  • Malick was previously on the World Security Council in “The Avengers”.

So after the release of the Terrigen at the end of Season 2, this was the logical direction to go. However, one thing I didn’t like about where SHIELD went from this point on is that every person with powers is now Inhuman. Before this, we had synthetic powers (Mike Peterson/Deathlok), natural powers (Chan Ho Yin/Scorch), and powers of unknown origin (Carl Creel/Absorbing Man). After the Inhuman outbreak, it’s assumed that anyone with powers is Inhuman. It kind of got dull for me in a way. Besides that, I liked it. I enjoyed the backstory to Hydra, dating further back than Red Skull.

Private Eye: Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones: Season 1 (Ep. 1-13)
Like I did with “Daredevil”, I’m going to provide a parent guide for “Jessica Jones”. Unlike “Daredevil” Season 1, there are three sex scenes in “Jessica Jones”. If you see anything you think needs to be in the parent guide, let me know so I can add it. Assume profanity, violence, and blood for all episodes.

Jessica Jones works as a private eye, a year after Kilgrave’s supposed death. Jessica gets hired to find Hope. Jessica meets Luke Cage and spends the night with him. Jessica finds Hope, who kills her parents at Kilgrave’s order. Jessica asks Hogarth to take Hope’s case. Jessica researches Kilgrave’s missing year. Luke and Jessica reveal their powers to each other.

Jessica remembers killing Reva. Jessica steals anesthesia to use on Kilgrave. Jessica saves Trish from being killed by controlled Simpson. Jessica and Simpson team up. Jessica interviews possible Kilgrave victims. Jessica learns that Malcolm has been Kilgrave’s photographer. Flashback eighteen months: Jessica saves Malcom and gets discovered by Kilgrave. In the present, Jessica, Trish, and Simpson put a plan together to capture Kilgrave. While enacting the plan, they get chased and Kilgrave is freed. Jessica makes a deal for Malcolm’s freedom.

Kilgrave buys Jessica’s childhood home. Luke asks for Jessica’s help. Hope aborts Kilgrave’s unborn child. Luke seeks the bus driver who killed his wife. Jessica tells Luke the truth about his wife’s death. Jessica threatens Hogarth’s wife into divorcing her. Kilgrave uses his powers to avoid having Jessica put in prison. Kilgrave takes Jessica to her home. Kilgrave gives Jessica information on his past. Jessica tries to teach Kilgrave to be a hero, but gives up. With Kilgrave captive, Jessica tries to get proof of his powers. Jessica finds Kilgrave’s parents. Kilgrave forces his mother to kill herself. Kilgrave escapes. Jessica learns she is immune.

Kilgrave goes to Hogarth's wife for treatment. Kilgrave’s father works on an antidote. Hogarth’s lover saves her. Kilgrave blackmails Jessica into getting his father. Flashback years ago: Jessica moves in with Trish and discovers her strength. Today, Jessica searches morgues for Kilgrave’s father. Simpson attacks Jessica and she’s saved by Trish. Kilgrave blows up Luke’s bar. After increasing his powers, Kilgrave orders Luke to kill Jessica. Claire Temple treats Luke at the hospital. Attempting to control her again, Kilgrave lets his guard down and Jessica kills him. With Kilgrave dead, Jessica supposes she could perhaps be a hero.

Jessica succeeds in killing Kilgrave. Or did she? Find out in March.
Parent Guide:
  • Episode 1: Sex scene between Luke and Jessica; immodestly dressed women; allusions to rape
  • Episode 3 -- Sex scene between Luke and Jessica; immodestly dressed women
  • Episode 5 -- Sexual innuendo in flashback; sex scene between Trish and Simpson
  • Episode 6 -- bedroom scene of Luke and Jessica; Hope mentions having an abortion; drug trafficking
  • Episode 9 -- sexual innuendo; references to rape
Random Trivia/Connections:
  • During her interview with Hope in “AKA It’s Called Whiskey”, Trish references the Battle of New York and the Avengers.
  • Jessica and her attacker further reference the events of “The Avengers” in “AKA 99 Friends”. The Hulk and Captain America are both alluded to specifically.
  • A child in a Captain America costume is seen in “AKA The Sandwich Saved Me”.
  • Brett Mahoney, who Jessica meets in “AKA Top Shelf Perverts”, appears on a recurring basis in “Daredevil”.
  • Claire Temple, originally appearing in “Daredevil”, appears in “AKA Smile”.
This has by far been my favorite Netflix series that Marvel has done. Perhaps it’s because of Jessica Jones’s sass and humor. Perhaps it’s a little celebrity crush. Regardless, I really liked this series. Also, it was really hard for me to watch this show with David Tennant as the villain. He’s been my favorite Doctor for five years now, so to see him as a villain (and an incredibly well done villain at that) was wonderful and horrible. Granted I've never dealt with PTSD, but in my opinion this show does a wonderful job addressing it, especially in the aftermath of rape.

The one thing I’d change from this show is the sex scenes. Bedroom scenes don’t add to the show for me. If we had a make-out with a bedroom door closing behind, we’d have the same result in my mind. Overall great series though. Can’t wait for season 2 this year.

What did you think of the Inhuman outbreak? Any thoughts on Jessica Jones? What do you hope to see in Season 2?

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Eighth Doctor

Another Doctor down. He only had one TV movie and a mini-episode. So as a result, I don’t have much for top or flop stories. So I’ll just review both stories. HOWEVER, the Eighth Doctor does have some spin-off media that held Doctor Who through the dark ages of 1996-2005. Anyways, here we go.

Fresh after regenerating
TV Movie: Doctor Who
So the first quarter/third of the movie was actually the Seventh Doctor. He gets shot while landing in San Francisco and regenerates into the Eighth Doctor. We had some unique moments with this Doctor. I found his youthful attitude to be a precursor to David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. He was also the first Doctor to have a romantic kiss with a companion. The Y2K story was actually pretty compelling, but there are definitely critiques I’d have.

Eighth Doctor's TARDIS team
This movie was meant to reboot the show after it got cancelled in 1989, but it didn’t set it up very well. It didn’t leave room for new Whovians. It assumed you knew about the Doctor beforehand. So in comparison to when the Ninth Doctor arrived, this story didn’t even have a chance. There’s also the whole inconsistency with the Master’s interaction with Chang Lee. In one scene the Master is threatening him into helping and in the next he’s pulling some sort of elder brother move.

So my final thoughts: It’s worth watching, but it’s definitely not a starting point for the series.

Regenerating again
Mini-Episode: The Night of the Doctor
It’s near the beginning of the Time War and the Doctor ends up crashing, trying to help Cass. Then the Sisterhood of Karn forces a regeneration to keep him alive. This story came out shortly before the 50th Anniversary Special in 2013. It was the perfect way to help close the gap of the Doctor’s regenerations. I absolutely loved this story when it came out and I could still watch it a lot. One thing that I wish would have come from this story would be more appearances by the Eighth Doctor. Even if it’s just for a team-up episode with the current Doctor. I had hoped that Paul McGann would have worked with the Twelfth Doctor. Since Paul McGann is still young enough to play the character, why not? Maybe I can still hold out for him to team up with the Thirteenth Doctor. I really loved this Doctor and he deserved a better shot.

Grace    TV Movie
Chang   TV Movie

More than a match for the Doctor
Favorite Companion: Both companions only appeared in the TV Movie, but I really enjoyed Grace. My understanding is that she could have appeared more if the Eighth Doctor’s reboot had been picked up. She appeared in some spin-off media. Even just the fact that her intellect rivaled the Doctor, it was great. She didn’t need the Doctor explaining why the TARDIS was bigger on the inside. It kind of reminds me of companions like Zoe and Nyssa, who weren’t just along for the ride, but also were able to match wits with the Doctor (while not being completely obnoxious like Adric). I would have really liked to see more of her.

The Master's companion turned Doctor's companion
Least Favorite Companion: Chang Lee was actually more like the Master’s companion, but he ended up being on the Doctor’s side in the end, so I’ll count him. Like I said before, Chang’s motivation to help the Master changed between scenes, so it really didn’t help him; one scene he’s being threatened into helping and the next he’s being bribed. The writing of that didn’t sit well with me. But he ended up being a good guy at heart (despite being a gangster) so I guess I liked him in the end. Maybe we could still see him again at some point? Doubtful, but it’d be cool.

What do you think of the Eighth Doctor? Have you read any of his books or listened to any of the audio dramas? Which ones can you recommend? I’d love to get into more of his canon.

Just before regenerating in to the War Doctor, he acknowledges several names including Charley and Molly. These were companions who traveled with him in the Big Finish audio dramas.

Check out our other Doctor Who features:

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Passing of a Guardian: A Mormon Geeks Tribute to President Monson

For two and a half years of my life I lived in the suburbs of Chicago. One of my favorite parts about living out there was the proximity to Nauvoo. I would frequently go out there to enjoy the historical sites and enjoy the spirit of that place.

On one of my last trips to Nauvoo in the summer of 2015, I happened to pass by a t-shirt shop fairly close to the temple, and saw the below shirt. Given my love of the First Presidency and Guardians of the Galaxy, I felt that it was a no-brainer to buy it 😀

And sadly, one of our beloved Guardians of the Galaxy has passed on. 

Within my 29 years of life, I've only clearly remembered the passing of President Hinckley 10 years ago this month. President Hinckley was the prophet of my youth. He called me to my mission in Brazil and signed my mission call. I remember finding out in my first area that he had passed away. I felt like I had lost a close friend and a hero.

It is with similar feelings that I woke up to the news of President Monson's passing this morning. When I think of true Christians who exemplify charity towards their fellow men, devotion to the Savior, and service to the Kingdom, Thomas Spencer Monson is at the top of the list. 

Even at his very weakest, he left us with two powerful sermons this past April in General Conference. May we heed his counsel to love one another and to read the Book of Mormon.

The Kingdom will roll ever on, Zion will continue to be established, but for today, and in gratitude for the past 54 years of service to the Kingdom as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, We Thank Thee Oh God for Thomas Spencer Monson

On behalf of the Mormon Geeks community, we express our deepest condolences to the Monson family and invite all of our readers to follow President Monson's example by serving those around you over the next seven days.

**Details of President Monson's funeral can be found here**