Less Glamourisation, and Much More Awareness Please!

As someone who has suffered with my own mental health issues for many years now, I am all for, and always will fight for more awareness of mental health problems. It’s vital that people can open up and talk about their issues openly without facing a stigma, and it’s vital that people open their minds more to understand what those who suffer are going through. One of the best ways to raise such awareness is through the media, and in recent years mental health has become a more common issue explored within TV and movies.

Recently, ‘13 Reasons Why’, a show which focused on a teenager’s suicide, streamed on Netflix, and coming soon is ‘To the Bone’, a show focusing on eating disorders. Both shows have received very mixed reviews and extensive media coverage, leading to the question, when is it raising awareness of mental health? And when it is simply glorifying and glamourising it?

First, let’s focus on ‘To the Bone’, which focuses on a teenage girl who suffers with an ED, and eventually leaves home to receive treatment. At first glance, it looks to be a good effort to raise awareness and break the stigma, but there’s a lot of problems with the show. The biggest no-no for me is the unnecessary inclusion of a romantic storyline, fuelling the idea for many that eating disorders and mental health problems in general bring romance, and make you more desirable to others.

I can tell you from experience, depression is not romantic, worrying about your eating is not romantic, and struggling with your existence is not romantic. Another problem is that the big stereotype of eating disorders and anorexia is that the person suffering is underweight, small, and fragile. The truth is that anyone can suffer with it at any weight, and most of the time it’s overweight people that are struggling more often. To the Bone is about a young, white, underweight girl, which only leads to others that don’t fit ‘that role’ feeling they don’t matter.

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Friends Episodes – Worst to Best!

Using a very official spreadsheet, with very official categories, here is my ranking of Friends episodes – from worst to best!!

Doubles count as one!  & (S..,E..) denotes the season and episode number.

225. The One with the Stain (S8, E7)
224. The One with the Cat (S4, E2)
223. The One where Ross Moves In (S5, E7)
222. The One with the Apothecary Table (S6, E11)
221. The One with the Male Nanny (S9, E6)
220. The One with the Donor (S9, E22)
219. The One with Rachel’s Crush (S4, E13)
218. The One with the Ballroom Dancing (S4, E4)
217. The One with the Yeti (S5, E6)
216. The One with the Girl who hits Joey (S5, E15)
215. The One with all the Candy (S7, E9)
214. The One where Ross hugs Rachel (S6, E2)
213. The One where Joey tells Rachel (S8, E16)
212. The One where the Monkey Gets Away (S1, E19)
211. The One with the Home Study (S10, E7)
210. The One with Phoebe’s Rats (S9, E12)
209. The One with All the Wedding Dresses (S4, E20)
208. The One with the Birth Mother (S10, E9)
207. The One with the Fake Monica (S1, E21)
206. The One with the Pediatrician (S9, E3)
205. The One with the Engagement Picture (S7, E5)
204. The One with the Monkey (S1, E10)
203. The One with Rachel’s New Dress (S4, E18)
202. The One with Joey’s Award (S7, E18)
201. The One with Phoebe’s Cookies (S7, E3)
200. The One with the Joke (S6, E12)

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‘Remain’ and Labour – Wake Up!

“Do the panel here watch the internet?” the man in the Question Time audience piped up. “If you watch the internet… half of them immigrants they don’t want the water, they don’t want the food, they want money and they want to get to Britain”. Now at the time, me, and the couple of million others watching Question Time would have laughed at the clear and utter ignorance of the gentleman. But we shouldn’t. Firstly, obviously, it’s clear xenophobia, hence the use of the word ‘immigrant’. Now this isn’t to say of course he’s a racist or a xenophobe; I do not know the guy. It may be a clear case of pure ignorance, but that ignorance is the main issue at hand. And for both ‘Remain’ in the EU debate, and Labour, in-fact the whole of the left, this is a huge worry.

One of the big issues surrounding the EU debate is immigration, and this has especially been a big issue for the past few years for many of the electorate; with Ian Warren’s article highlighting how 60% of the public view immigration as a top three issues facing this country. One of the main reasons for this has been because of the majority of the right wing media, plus right wing ideologies like UKIP/Republican party scaremongering the public. They paint these refugees, fleeing a war torn country for a better life as ‘money grabbing criminals, possibly terrorists’. They tell the public that these people are dangerous invaders, who are simply after our money. Hence the views of the gentleman on Question Time last Thursday. This scaremongering and dispersion of fear across the public is what has led to rise of UKIP, Farage, and even worse personalities like Trump and Cruz across the pond in America.

Now why is this such a problem for ‘Remain’? Because of the EU’s ‘Open Door Policy’, which is being used as one of the main arguments by Brexit. The problem is that the media are merging this with the refugee crisis, to not only inflate the numbers in statistics but create more fear. People like the gentleman above forget about their own free movements, and all the other brilliant assets that come from being part of the EU e.g. access to the single market, security, global power. Now I won’t ramble on to much about the EU and the referendum, I’ll do that in a future post closer to June. But I will highlight the lack of knowledge Brits have about the EU, highlighted in this article. ‘Remain’ needs to begin to educate the voters on the EU, and the brilliant things it brings to us, and just how better it could be under reform. Otherwise, we could be leaving the EU.

Now, for the left, and Labour. I know I blether on about Labour’s issues a lot, but this is a big one. Immigration is an area where the electorate do not have faith in Labour. As Frank Podmore highlights most of the electorate who stopped voting for Labour in 2010 were ‘social conservatives’, and one of the reasons was because they believed we let too many ‘immigrants’ into the country. In 2015 Ed was able to win back much of the left, but he couldn’t shake off the perceptions of Blair/Brown etc, and wasn’t able to win back the Social Conservatives. Even though migration into the UK is higher under the Tories, and the Conservatives are nowhere near meeting targets, the electorate still see their ‘tougher stance’ as electable. This is another area where Corbyn and current Labour is very unelectable, and I can’t see that changing for a long time, especially when Corbyn, McDonnell and co call for more open borders.

Many of that audience had very ignorant, bigoted views and the lack of humanity was astounding. However, this is the electorate that Labour and ‘Remain’ need to try and win over somehow, and that will be an incredibly tough task indeed.

Sherlock – The Abominable Bride Review

2016 TV started with a bang last night. And some head scratching. Because the long awaited new episode of Sherlock was out, The Abominable Bride, and it didn’t disappoint the fans who had waited so very long for the next 90 minutes of Holmes, Watson and Co.

Obviously we knew this episode would be vastly different. It was set in 1895, it would feature Sherlock and John meeting again, and would not yet answer the Moriarty questions from the previous finale. Or at least that’s what we thought…

The story only briefly showed the meeting of Sherlock + John, and then jumped to around the same time-frame after meeting as it was in the current series. John had his Mary, all the characters were established and Sherlock had just learnt of the supposed ‘back from the dead’ Moriarty. But there was yet another case to be solved in ‘1895’, a ghostly women who was killing men around London, bearing a significant resemblance to the death of Moriarty, for a reason of course.

It turned out that the 1895 part of the story was all fake, in a way, and we were really watching Sherlock in his modern mind palace, still in the plane a mere 5 minutes after last series’ finale. He was using the unsolved case from 1895 to try and work out whether Moriarty could be alive, and if he was then how he had managed to pull it off. The next 30 minutes of the episode took us on a magic ride between modern day and Victorian mind palace as Sherlock was able to work out the mystery, kind of at least…

It turned out that Sherlock worked out that Moriarty simply could not have survived, but that he was still plotting from his grave. And that is where the episode left us; simply hoping we might get the next chapter in the next 18 months.

The episode was full of huge positives; the settings were beautiful, the lighting fantastic and the costumes tremendous; but it was still all outshone by the main casts tremendous performances. Cumberbatch’s and Watson’s duo fantastic once more, Una Stubbs and Mark Gatiss providing comic relief. But once again the highlights of the episode quite arguably came from Andrew Scott, his take on Moriarty as chilling and eery as ever.

Obviously there were some things I didn’t quite like. The waterfall scene for me one step too far in the silly direction, the flirting a bit too much for 1895 realism, and I think it’s fair to say Moffat’s views on feminism will come into question on social media. But overall it was the best start 2016 telly could have hoped for. 9/10

Hell Bent *Spoilers*

Moffat, a man I love to hate, or just hate, is probably the king of disappointments. Many of these disappointments tend to be in his finales. He always builds up the series well but lacks the finale instinct. This weeks finale was the same.

I didn’t completely hate the episode. In my opinion there have been worse; the series 6 finale springing to mind immediately. Series 7 finale as well come to think of it. But this was another disappointment in what is just becoming a vicious cycle for Doctor Who and Moffat.

The story started with the Doctor stumbling into the diner from the Impossible Astronaut where Clara was now working, and we were led to believe that Clara had forgotten the Doctor. Although of course we found out later that it was the other way around, and the Doctor was simply trying to find ‘his Clara’. But more on that later.

Back to Gallifrey, possibly the biggest disappointment in the episode. The Doctor had been searching for his home planet for so long, he had gone the long way round and he was going to wreak havoc. Except that he didn’t. And he didn’t even stay long and didn’t do much there and the return of the most fearsome planet in the universe was well pointless. For a race that’s meant to be so corrupt, so evil, they really were shown to have no power in the episode. Rassilon was weak and Timothy Dalton played him so much better back in 2010; the decent general was shot down and regenerated, and the high council were exiled with no fight. And the biggest Moffat clanger… He didn’t even bother to explain how the planet had unfroze!

Right. Now my biggest issue.

Clara. Oh Clara. Possibly the character I’ve hated the most. I was over the moon when she finally croaked it the other week but of course this is Moffat. And he loves Clara. She lives (well not quite but basically so). The Doctor was able to use a time lord extraction chamber to reach into her time stream before she died and pull her out. Yes she will have to go back and die eventually, but don’t we all. She is now free for as long as she wants. She could technically never go back until the end of the universe. Spin off show alert, oh dear. Oh and together they also stole a brand new Tardis, flew away together and met up with Ashildir (Me). Of course…

The Doctor couldn’t cope with the fact that he couldn’t completely save her so he decided to wipe her memory to keep her safe (stealing the Donna idea). But Clara didn’t want that, she wanted to go back and die. We agreed on something. So she reversed the polarity and the Doctor lost all his memories about Clara. And so we’re back in the diner and Clara flies off in her diner Tardis with Ashildir leaving the Doctor back with his Tardis. Happy endings all round. Apart from mine. So now basically Clara and Ashildir get to fly around in their own Tardis forever, not a fan of that.

Some other quick points – both positive and negative. What was the point of the sisterhood of Karn? What was the point of Ashildir? The sliders were a bit silly, Moffat always has to stick a Dalek in, Capaldi was excellent again, Jenna Coleman was good, and brilliant to see an original Tardis! 6/10 

P.S. How crap does the Christmas special look!

Heaven Sent *Spoilers*

From the trailer I didn’t really know what to expect from the first part of the finale; and I think I was more interested in how this episode was going to take us to Gallifrey, which we all knew was the setting for the final episode. In short this episode didn’t disappoint, in fact it very much exceeded my expectations. Huge credit should be given to both director Rachel Talalay and Peter Capaldi, both excelled themselves this week.

The story started off with someone pulling a lever just before dying so that the Doctor was able to arrive at the building. Back to this problem later…

Most of the first half of the episode was the Doctor exploring the place, finding some clues and dodging the monster following him around. I very much enjoyed the monster, thought it was a good idea and from early on it was obvious the Timelords were behind this place, this trap. The idea of having to confess to the creature also worked well, obviously the Timelords wanted to know where this ‘hybrid’ was. Capaldi’s monologues, self chatter throughout the episode was well wrote and well voiced, kudos to Moffat for this episode. Some of the middle parts of the episode were rather forgettable, and it wasn’t til the Doctor realised how long he had been here that the episode really got going.

Yes it turns out the man who died at the beginning… was the Doctor. And he was in a loop of arriving, trying to break through a wall of substance harder than diamond to get to the Tardis, or what we thought was the Tardis…

After roughly 2 billion years of going through this loop, the Doctor managed to break through the wall and it turns out he was inside his confession dial all along, and he was now back on Gallifrey to confront the Timelords, and it turns out that he was the hybrid all along (not so sure though). I did have a few tiny problems with the episode, most notably the bootstrap paradox because the first time round the Doctor wouldn’t have been there to burn himself so that the next Doctor could arrive…

But overall I think this episode was brilliant and will be looked back at in the future as a classic! One character, one villain in one building shouldn’t work, but it worked perfectly and next week’s finale looks incredible! 9/10

 

Face the Raven *Spoilers*

Well, well, well. Absolutely brilliant! I honestly was a bit worried about this episode, the idea of a raven being a villain seemed silly and knowing that Clara was leaving I thought everything might end up being too rushed. Luckily I was wrong.

The episode was fast paced from the start and it didn’t stop until the end. I enjoyed Rigsy being back, and the Doctor being around his baby was a sweet little moment to remind the viewers of how kind he can be before his angry turn later on. The concept of the hidden streets was interesting and worked well, although it’s kind of surprising that the Doctor would have never found one before. Seeing the range of past aliens was good fun for long term Whovians and I liked how all of them get on in peace. I had mixed feelings on seeing Ashildir again, I think the character overall has been poorly written and is already becoming quite boring.

Back to the story, for some reason Ashildir had to frame Rigsy for murder to get the Doctor to her rather than ask him, but the idea of him being summoned (clearly to the Time Lords – spoiler for the finale) was a good move, especially because of Clara’s exit. Right to Clara’s exit, I really enjoyed it. Clara’s arrogance was in the end what killed her, and the exit was very emotional. Murray Gold’s music was brilliant again and Capaldi nailed it once again, the scary ‘Malcom Tucker’ style Doctor sent chills down my spine.

Onto next week, the finale, and I wonder if that’s the Hybrid after him… We know its the Shade that wanted him but we also know the final episode is set on Gallifrey… so plenty of answers still needed. 9/10