Nerdcast#203

Badger Pod Nerd Cast 20: It’s Blowjobs, All the Way Down!

Brian Martinez
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Brian Martinez

Concierge, Student, Illustrator at Mercury Theater, Good Guy Comics
Part time student, part time concierge and full time illustrator all wrapped up in one creative package. Looking for opportunities to use my aptitudes, talents and competence to serve a worthy company, or start my own. Dude. Roots in Chicago. Thinker and go-getter.
Brian Martinez
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How social justice ruined the Legend of Korra

by Rachel Edwards

When I last spoke on this Nerdcast about Legend of Korra, I still had a great deal of praise for the show. Despite it’s many flaws I really believed in it, and I wanted the franchise to succeed. However, as with many franchises, world building simply isn’t enough.

When compared to it’s predecessor, the series is lackluster and unfocused. It managed to take everything that gave the franchise depth and intrigue, and flushed it all down the toilet.

So you might be wondering, how a show with a lot of promise goes wrong. Unlike the last airbender, the legend of Korra was meant to be a social justice driven political statement. It was clear early on, that they would emphasize strong female characters, which was completely pointless considering that the franchise already had strong complex female characters. So this time around every strong female character was turned up to 11 making them often unrealistic and unapproachable.

Instead of focusing on a single goal and focusing on weaving a tale of self-realization, the writing staff was over ambitious, having a new enemy every season. As a result the character development and pacing suffered for it. But then there is more at work here than mere politics. The legend of korra was a one season project stretched over four seasons and it shows.

Surely the last air bender was formulaic in nature, but it was a formula that worked. It’s finale was everything the fans were hoping for. Korra’s finale was in many ways contrived and lacking in impact. By the end of Korra there were more questions than answers and the feeling that writers were giving you a large middle finger.

The antagonist of Korra, in the final season, was far worse than fire lord Ozai. By the end of the last air bender you felt like justice had been served, but in Korra it was one big cop out. It was one big deus ex machina fuck you. But then the entire series threw around deus ex machina like parade candy and expected us not to be pissed off.

The culmination of what the fuck, arrived in the decision final season to hint that Korra would be entering into a same sex relationship with almost no lead up. To give you a clue as to how much they fucked up, you need only look at the sexual tension between Zuko and Katara in the first series. When you develop that level of tension in tweens and you can’t do the same with 18 year olds, you’ve fucked up royally.

In fact I could start listing platonic relationships in the series more developed than Korra and Asami. Yet this was what they chose to end on. It’s a subtley missing from every other romance in this series and it’s predecessor, leaving us all scratching our heads. They decided that the end needed to be a political statement that made no sense within it’s own characterization.

Utimately the show was destroyed by the inability of the writiers to balance their politics in with their storytelling. It’s a mess of a show that led people on for three years with little pay off. Despite it’s flaws, it had moments of magic which lead me to wonder what could have been. Certainly it deserved a better send off than it received. Leaving a vibrant franchise in ashes.

 

Torchwood

by Alison Tieman

Torchwood is a spin-off of the long running Doctor Who franchise. It stars Jack Harkness, a pan-sexual time agent and man of action.

During his time on Dr. Who Jack provided the second-in-command brute force foil to the doctor’s more measured approach to solving problems. In Torchwood he’s the immortal commander of a group of men-in-black type investigators who contain alien threats in the name of the Queen of England and are based in Cardiff.

After defeating a group of aliens who want to steal earth’s children to get high (no joke) at the cost of Jack’s lover Ianto, Jack and Gwen, the remaining members of Torchwood go to America to save the world from immortality.

The series is painfully bad at parts although it’s third season, Children of Earth, is fairly good light sci-fi with a very dark tone.

The fourth season has its moments aside from an extended and goofy sex scene that even had me, an avowed fan of homoeroticism, wincing at it’s pandering quality.

In terms of the homosexual relationships in the series, they are considerably better written than Legend of Korra—for the simple fact that they ARE written.

The characters interact in the context OF a relationship or at least interact consistent with forming some sort of emotional bond. Whereas in Korra, our only hint that Korra has any interest in Asami was her blushing when Asami complimented her hair.

By way of contrast, in Torchwood the homosexual relationships are visible—often painfully and gratuitously so, making you feel like the writers are akin to a smug little brat offering mean-spirited commentary about a fat people because she knows it makes others uncomfortable and she’s immune to being told off.

If only writers could find a happy medium between over-writing and UNDER-writing homosexual relationships.

Peter Coffin: Master Projector, Mediocre YouTuber

by Brian Martinez

YouTube. A massive ocean filled with messages in bottles. In fact, the ocean itself is made up of messages in bottles. I couldn’t tell you how much of what YouTube’s messages in bottles are complete and utter trash, except that it is a heap that is growing constantly and exponentially by the second. So there is a lot of shit there. However, it is through YouTube that we can also get content out to you, and many other great content creators. That’s the beauty of YouTube and the 5th estate! Everyone gets a voice and has the freedom to speak about almost any topic they wish.

Since we speak mostly about the issues surrounding gender and identity politics, and we are also nerds, we come across some interesting counter arguments. One such counter argument came in the form of a comedy (?) video made by one Peter Coffin.

The video was entitled “Video Game Commercial!”(very creative) and was made with the intent of…. criticizing Gamergate….I think. The degree to which he succeeded is questionable; his video is mainly composed of what appears to be Coffin’s idea of what the typical white male cis-het shitlord would look like… HIM, standing awkwardly and reacting exuberantly while listening to a disembodied narrator voice that is meant to represent the AAA developers, you know, those omnipresent overlords that are sending mind control rays right into our frontal cortex to force us to buy their products? These very same big evil AAA devs that buy all their reviews and stand in the way of true progress coming from the Indie developers would also use their customers, and Coffin is going to show us the (likely white, likely cis and likely hetero) man behind the curtain. It’s not Indie devs like the Literally Who’s we need worry about; it’s those damn capitalists AAA developers.

This might not have been the worst message, except he also kind of attacks his male straw-gamer character(from here on we will call him “You”) in his commercial with lines like “you’re smart and a snappy dresser” and “there’s something wrong with women then!” as a supportive statement to you, the gamer, not getting female attention. After that, our Big Brother voice assures you of his own ability to make decisions by saying things like “you always know what to buy and never make bad decisions” and “women like decisive men because they need decisions made for them! Those morons.” Well played Coffin, well played.

After that it goes into somewhat strange territory when the AAA voice makes a promise to give you blowjobs for buying the game. Because you’re… male? Because you deserve fellatio? According to Coffins video, you should be happy that AAA wants to suck you off, because women won’t ever do it, and as we all know, you aren’t a man unless a woman is sucking you off, right? Also apparently men like killing people and getting blowjobs, just in case you think being a man isn’t those things.

I’m not sure what Coffin is trying to say here. Men are bad for liking AAA titles? AAA titles are bad because they appeal to men? They blow each other figuratively and we are supposed to critically analyze that relationship, but an indie dev can blow 5 people literally and we are supposed to ignore that?

I was actually not thinking this video was worth criticizing on the nerdcast, but then Coffin made another video where he teams with Johnathan Mann, the song a day anti-GG guy who’s friends with She of the Plaid and Hoop Earrings Who Shall Not Be Named, to make a song called #BetaAsFuck where they sing about how they don’t measure their masculinity by how many women they’ve been with, while at the same time attempting to paint those filthy alpha males as domineering and only craving total power. They also take a jab at MRAs, (way to rebel against the system guys) by implying that MRAs think themselves the authority on what masculinity is, and they only measure maleness in terms of the Greek alphabet. This is more annoying than anything, because they don’t see the irony in attacking a group that cares more about self described beta males than the people they protect, and it would seem they, like many other people who are just looking through the tinted windows cannot distinguish the language used by MRAs, PUAs or MGTOW. Could this be a lack of wanting to understand men so much that you can’t even be bothered?

All in all, I actually pity Peter Coffin. He has decided he is beta as fuck, and happily embraces all that entails in his own mind. This makes him his own worst enemy. According to SJW logic, he is more screwed than anyone, and not in the way he would probably find validating.

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Brian Martinez

Part time student, part time concierge and full time illustrator all wrapped up in one creative package. Looking for opportunities to use my aptitudes, talents and competence to serve a worthy company, or start my own. Dude. Roots in Chicago. Thinker and go-getter.

  • Long Shanks

    What also incredibly annoying in Korra was the treatment of the male characters. Quite a few of them were bumbling, arrogant and with egos that far outweighed their abilities. It’s like they were all modeled on Soka from Airbender. I tried saying this on the AV Club forums – foolish me! That place is SJW central.

    • Jesse

      Minor nitpick: Soka may have been “bumbling, arrogant and with an ego that far outweighed his abilities” at the beginning of AtLA, but his character arc was brilliant and by the end of the show he was essentially a manly man in the most positive sense.

      • dragonus45

        Which is why the way they handled the male characters in LoK is so disappointing, we know they can do better.

      • Long Shanks

        Definitely. The episode where Soka trains under the sword master is one of my favourite in the entire series. But in Korra, it seems any male character who got considerable screen time outside of Tenzin, Mako and the villains were Soka part deux. Even poor Meelo.

      • you know what really grinds my

        yes, although I happened to like sokka. he’s a goof but he’s a boss goof. and at the end he becomes the churchhill of avatar world.
        if anything sokka and iroh and bolin (and characters such as goku naruto and even winston churchhill) taught me you can be a goofball and still be alpha as fuck. he’s a joker and a goof but gets the fucking job done. bolin was also bumbling and stupid at the beginning but becomes a successful, almost superhuman winner at the end. gaining lavabending, becoming a movie star with legions of fans. literally shoving a sock in zaheer’s mouth (another boss ass character) and surviving a fucking nuclear blast.
        varrick was boss as fuck, but they seemed to kick him around a lot in book 4. showing him to be nearly helpless without zhuli. even to the point of being unable to pilot a vehicle HE HIMSELF DESIGNED.
        mako. was mako. he was always a wet blanket. and what he did in season 2 was kind of not cool. and a lot of what he did in season 1 was pretty lame too. they had kind of a blah character nobody liked and decided let’s give the feminist pigeons something to crap on.
        I guess you could say it was very “everyone liked sokka so let’s make all the guys like him.” even though people liked the anti heroic zuko and the wise aang and the serene as fuck iroh
        another thing I knew was in the part in book one where lin jumps into a throng of angry equalists, and gets de-bended I knew the tumblrinas were going to scream misogyny. completely failing to take into account that lin is a police chief and it is her duty, she still had feelings for tenzin. ones that aren’t so selfish as to let him die fighting for her.(another thing feminists don’t understand), and that tenzin and his family were the last of their kind. if they died airbending dies too.
        the thing about korra was they wanted to appeal to boys, but since they already said the next avatar would be a female waterbender they didn’t think guys would be interested.
        and kuvira was kind of a blah villain. compare her to the red lotus. the
        red lotus were powerful threatening and cool and above all sympathetic.
        kuvira was hitler in a dress. book 4 was the exhibition round for
        fanservice.
        korra’s arc was the one we were supposed to be interested in. but it reeked of selfishness and stubbornness. she made no progress in airbending. she only unlocked it because er other elements were taken away. she goes on a very fun date with bolin and what does she do? she kisses mako. publicly. in front of his girlfriend. and bolin. just because she couldn’t be happy with what she was given. and the whole pro bending thing. it’s shown to be a massively unfair advantage even if she only is allowed one element.
        all in all it was a combination of nickelodeon treating them like shit, blatant fanservice filler and uncompelling characters that made season 4 not as good.
        to the beta as fuck guys: have fun feeding on my scraps. here’s a plate of chicken bones. they’re made with squid ink and wasabi because that’s how I like my chicken and I’m alpha and I decide how chickens are cooked. don’t like it? fuck you. become alpha then you can get the food of your choice.

    • Mr. LHD6

      I have to say, Meelo is one of the worst characters I have ever seen.

    • Mr0303

      The females weren’t much better. Korra was an absolute idiot. Lin Bei Fong and Asami in the second season were on stupid pills and Tenzin’s sister was an annoying entitled hipster.

  • The Devil’s Advocate

    If any of you are interested in some Anime containing romance, here’s a few i enjoyed a lot:
    “Sukitte Ii na Yo” – Hetero, girly, great characters
    “Sakura Trick” – Female/female, quite upbeat and lovable
    “Kokoro Connect” – Hetero, extremely dramatic
    “Hourou Musuko” – Hetero (iirc), mostly about cross dressing & gender (given your usual topics you may want to watch that in any case :D)
    “Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!” – Hetero, “kawaii”
    “Candy Boy” – Female/female, very cute and “innocent”
    “Aoi Hana” – Female/female, dramatic, Anime is incomplete but great on its own nonetheless (read Manga for more)
    “Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai” – Hetero, moar drama
    “Strawberry Panic” – Female/female, kind of a classic in its genre, lots of different personalities and relationships
    “Inu x Boku Secret Service” – Hetero, romance not primary focus i think, quite cute
    “Ao Haru Ride” – Hetero, girly

    That’s all i personally rated 9/10 & 10/10 so far. By girly i mean that the series is intended for girls and it shows in the style, i personally don’t care who stuff is “intended for” as long as i enjoy it (brohoofs anyone?). Most of female/female ones are targeted at men, while most of the male/male ones are targeted at women (unlike the hetero ones targeted at females i usually cannot stand these at all, so my list contains none).

  • Mr. LHD6

    I was actually thinking about writing an article (different site) about the Gay romance reception. What frustrates me is that the people that write those articles are focusing on one scene that occurred at the very last second. Look, I get it, gay romances are an anomaly, but I am not going to rave and jerk off to it like the other idiots in the media.

  • Mr. LHD6

    To be honest, I loved the Legend of Korra, but not for the SJW bullshit. I like Korra as a character. What I appreciated was that the team attempted to make a more politically and socio-economically complex world (in the show’s world itself of course)… Unfortunately, they decided to focus on the smaller things (like pro-bending, I HATE pro-bending, it took too much time that could have been used to show more instances in which benders oppress non-benders), instead of the bigger plot and you know… Actually making the villains justifiable/morally grey. Season 3 was the best of the series and Season 4 was decent, even though they pretty much used the Star Wars by-the-numbers template. The of that season was 1) Meelo and 2) that they made Kuvira so evil without justification. Kuvira at the start of the season was doing some questionable things, but they weren’t outright evil for the sake of being evil. She was at her worst (development wise) starting after Zaofu. Legend of Korra was a show of ambitious intentions and missed opportunities. I love the show enough to make my own fanfiction, because I feel that I can do something better. I am fairly confident that I am able to make an epilogue that would succeed where LoK failed.

    One thing is for certain though: Varrick is my favorite character of both series. Everything he says is pure gold.

    • Long Shanks

      The villains were amazing in Korra. As was the combat. Overall I did like the show despite the SJW dogma that infected it.

      • Mr. LHD6

        Yes, I do agree that they were great… Besides Unalaq.

  • Long Shanks

    Seeing as The Devil’s Advocate is recommending excellent anime with heroines I would recommend “The 12 Kingdoms”. It has in my opinion one of the best female protagonists of all time.

  • http://capricornicis.tumblr.com/ Elizabeth B

    Korra is a very frustating show, the entire time it feels like the writers tried to hard to be darker and edgier. The characters, relationships, plots, concepts, social views, and politics are poorly developed within the show.

    Torchwood is a disappointment…

  • http://capricornicis.tumblr.com/ Elizabeth B

    To comment on views of Korra’s ending, its actually a pattern for all of the seasons to have terrible endings. Last season’s ending was disgusting violence towards villains who’s back stories we don’t even hear about. The good guys don’t have any loses what so ever when there should have been, given the level of violence towards the villains. The second season was lack luster given Korra was forced to kill her uncle. That should have been an emotional lost to Korra, not her losing her past connections. And the first season ended in a suicide/homicide of the only two villains that had depth to them and a forced happy ending for Korra.

  • http://capricornicis.tumblr.com/ Elizabeth B

    Probably last comment on here for me is to say the best relationship I ever seen on television was on the kid’s cartoon Gargoyles between the two leads, Goliath and Elisa. Next to that was Leia and Han from Star Wars.

    • http://www.genderratic.com/ Alison Tieman

      Yes, they were both excellent examples of relationships. Mostly because the men weren’t subordinate to the women.

  • Ben

    Korra was beautiful and gorrgous work of art that was written by confused and discombulated individuals. That all that needs to be said about korra.

  • Michael Anderson

    I found it annoying that meelo in season 4 started being this constant weak ass suggestion of silly wimpy gender based arrogance and misogyny in young boys. I actually liked meelo in the other seasons being consistent comic relief, but now he is just fodder for unfunny gender based nonsense comic relief. I’m only up to season 4 episode 4. so I hope that changes as the season progresses. One of the things I like about things like ATLA and Star wars were that they are in universes that don’t seem to have a petty battle of the sexes like humans do on earth. The characters and themes are taking on deeper more important things than that. It doesn’t take spiritual journeys to understand that all people should be equal. I think the avatar world should be based more on spirituality and characters personal journeys, rather than making political and social justice statements. One of the things so appealing about avatar is the way that all the characters had flaws that led to them being who they are and their own flaws(the man in the mirror) limit them, not just society. See what I mean? spiritual looking inward. Korra does have this at times too but it just felt like it fell out of balance. The avatar world should be all about spirituality and personal growth instead of pointing fingers and getting on the socio-political stuff. I think legend of korra is also focusing too much on the the spirit world and not enough on actual spirituality. so far at least. The last airbender was filled with subtle messages about eastern spirituality and korra not so much. It feels like spirituality-lite written for children so they don’t have to understand the deeper spiritual aspects. “the spirit world is part of the physical world now.” for example

  • Mr0303

    I hate Korra as a show with passion. It is one of the very few ones that I actually despise.

    The first season was OK. Sure, Korra was annoying, but there were some potentially interesting characters like Lin Bei Fong. Korra goes through the entire journey of defeating the villain (with a nice deus ex machina) and learning about people and relationships and what happens in the second season? Nothing. She is dumber, more brash, more aggressive in her relationships than in the first season. She chooses to trust her obviously evil uncle (who is a ripoff of Darth Sideous) instead of her own family and friends. Her personality was magically fixed after the visions and her with her Avatar training and thousands of years of experience from previous Avatars still manages to lose so that fake drama is created and she subsequently wins with another deus ex machina. And what does she do in the end? Realizes the villain’s plan because she is too lazy to keep the balance between the spirit and the material world.

    Not to mention every other character was made an idiot I guess so that Korra can look better. Lin trusting the incompetent corrupt cops, Mako and Asami trusting Shady (FFS!) Shin, everyone trusting Verek and Uncle Palpatine. I simply couldn’t stand any more of this writing and stopped watching the show.

    In an earlier podcast you made an argument that she is a flawed character which is good. I would agree if she ever overcame these flaws and they weren’t magically fixed by writer power. Her character is so inconsistent I wouldn’t even call her a character. If we were watching a tragedy of how Korra fucked up the Avatar legacy then it is fine, but don’t call it the Legend of Korra, because there is nothing legendary about her other than her incompetence.