We’re excited to announce our latest mini podcast series, Podcasters For Hire, hosted byMichi Trota (Uncanny Magazine) and Matt Peters (Since Last We Spoke, Digital Dumpster Diving), who you’ll remember from their earlier TLF mini-podcast, where they bravely sat through the entire season 1 of Marvel’s The Defenders.
This time, they’ll explore representation of Asian and Black characters within the geekverse, and what it means for our communities within fandom and beyond. Listen to the first episode, or read the transcript below:
“Podcasters For Hire” with Michi Trota and Matt Peters (Episode 1)
Podcast: Podcasters For Hire
File Name: PFH 1
File Length: 01:06:15
Transcription by Keffy
[00:00:00] [Theme music: Downbeat song with symbols and percussion]
Matt: [00:00:07] Hello everybody, and welcome to the first episode of Podcasters For Hire, presented by The Learned Fangirl. I’m Matt Peters and this is Michi Trota.
Michi: [00:00:16] Hi everyone.
Matt: [00:00:18] And since this is our first episode, we’d like to tell you a little bit of what we’re about.
Michi: [00:00:21] So, we are going to do a four-episode mini podcast series where we’re just going to be talking about particularly Asian and Black characters within the geekverse. The ones we’ve loved, the ones that we haven’t. We’re gonna talk a little bit about relationships among our communities in the geek world because there are things that are constantly happening. And the way that we talk about representation is important but we need to know how to talk about it and advocate for ourselves without talking over or jacking somebody else’s shine for something. These are things that we all need to do and it’s really great to be able to talk about it with someone who is as awesome as Matt.
Matt: [00:01:06] Aww. Well. You’re quite awesome, yourself, if I do say so. Along the way, speaking of awesome, we’ll have some great guests join us for these discussions. For instance, today’s episode we’re joined by Dolores Peters.
Dolores: [00:01:19] Hi.
Matt: [00:01:20] Hello.
Michi: [00:01:21] Hello.
Matt: [00:01:23] Yes, but Michi and I will be your primary sources of entertainment for this project.
Michi: [00:01:27] Mm-hmm.
Matt: [00:01:27] So, you guys may remember us from our last project with The Learned Fangirl where we did our Defenders recap.
Michi: [00:01:36] There was not enough booze in that recap.
Matt: [00:01:37] There were plenty of boos, but not booze. So, as Michi mentioned, we’re going to kind of give you an overview of what our show’s gonna be about here. So, I’m happy to say that Luke Cage Season 2 is going to give us another opportunity to resolve our favorite heroes for hire.
Michi: [00:02:00] I’m very, very disappointed that unfortunately, they’re saddling Luke Cage with more martial arts male. There will be feelings, I’m sure Matt and I will be able to sit down and talk about that in another mini-series. And this time, I will provide booze. I have been clued-in by the wonderful Mary Robinette Kowal about this delightful bourbon that is literally called Writer’s Tears.
Dolores: [00:02:27] Wow.
Michi: [00:02:27] It is delicious and there will be a bottle.
Dolores: [00:02:31] Yes.
Matt: [00:02:32] Well, hopefully we don’t have too many tears because I have faith in Cheo Hodari Coker and the rest of the team that runs Luke Cage. I’ve already seen a little bit of a preview for the next season coming up and for those of you, hopefully you don’t want to go in completely blind. It’s just a little anecdotal scene that they’ve shown so far where Luke is trying out for the NFL, and they’re just marveling at how incredibly gifted and talented he is.
Dolores: [00:02:58] Yes, yes.
Matt: [00:02:59] And this is a completely different Luke than we saw in the first season and even in Defenders because he’s not mopey and just kind of in his feelings about things. He’s having fun. And that’s one thing that I love about this depiction of Luke Cage. He’s having a good time. We need more black boy joy on TV, and so I hope that’s what we see this season. In the trailer for Season 2, there’s even someone yelling at him, he’s driving by. He throws up the deuces and they’re like, “Git that money, black man.” I want to see it.
Michi: [00:03:27] I just want to see him throw all the side-eye at Danny Bland. All the why are you here? No, really. Why are you here? Dude. It’s gonna be like those old Tom & Jerry cartoons when you had the big bulldog who’s walking around and you’ve got the little yappy dog, who’s like, “What are we gonna do? What are we gonna do, now?”
Dolores: [00:03:44] Right.
Michi: [00:03:45] And you’re like. Big dog’s like, really? Really? Because I am going to be forever bitter that we are not getting the opportunity for an awesome team friendship and relationship between Luke Cage and what should have been an Asian Danny Rand. I think that was such an enormous missed opportunity. Hence, Matt and I deciding to call this little mini-series Podcasters For Hire.
Matt: [00:04:11] There you go.
Michi: [00:04:14] Because if it’s not apparent, if people don’t know this. I am Asian-American. I am specifically Filipina-American and I actually have done cosplay of Iron Fist with fire, because at least in this universe, it is not Danny Bland.
Matt: [00:04:29] That’s right, that’s right. And I’m African-American, and I have done cosplay as Luke Cage. And we kind of did a team-up recently.
Michi: [00:04:40] Matt raised a crap-ton of money to help—so the group I perform with, Raks Geek, we have now started doing a thing where every show, we pick a local charity to donate a portion of our show proceeds to. And at this last show, we were actually donating to Afire Chicago, which is a Filipino-run and organized group that advocates for immigrant rights and provides resources for immigrants in the city. So, I was going to be doing Iron Fist and Matt was totally up for coming in and being a guest as Luke Cage, and last minute decided to bring the swear jar.
Matt: [00:05:17] Yes, the famous swear jar.
Michi: [00:05:19] So, we’re—it was—and it became a thing where people apparently were so into this that they were coming up to Matt and dropping F-bombs and money in the swear jar, and just from the swear jar alone, that was over $100 raised for Afire.
Dolores: [00:05:35] Mm-hmm
Matt: [00:05:35] Yeah. You know, and it was great. People were being so generous with their swearing and their money. I’m used to being sworn at on a daily basis at my day job, but nobody ever really drops money in the swear jar there.
Dolores: [00:05:49] Oh, no.
Matt: [00:05:49] Yeah, I’d be a very wealthy man at this point.
Michi: [00:05:52] See, this is a really—I thought was a really great example of actually being partners and being allies together for a good cause. And, again, bitter forever that it’s only apparently in our little universe that we have Luke Cage and an Asian Iron Fist.
Dolores: [00:06:08] Mm-hmm.
Matt: [00:06:09] That’s right. That’s right. But we’re gonna be the change that we want to see. Just to take advantage of those missed opportunities, you know. Speaking of missed opportunities, we’re gonna talk a little bit about Pacific Rim and Pacific Rim Uprising. Oh, I should also mention that in our podcast, we’re gonna do our best not to give spoilers away without prior notice.
Michi: [00:06:32] Yeah, we’ll give it a spoiler tag.
Matt: [00:06:33] Exactly, so, of course with the original Pacific Rim and Uprising, now, we’re gonna give you a few details about the plot that if you haven’t seen either, definitely go back and watch Pacific Rim. It’s a great giant robot movie by Guillermo del Toro, so.
Michi: [00:06:47] It was actually on the TV screen when I came in to Matt and Dee’s apartment this morning.
Matt: [00:06:50] That’s right. That’s right.
Dolores: [00:06:51] Yeah.
Matt: [00:06:51] You know, it’s like—I haven’t seen it in quite some time, and I gotta tell you the fights, the action really holds up. Just giant robots fighting monsters, you can’t go wrong.
Michi: [00:07:04] That’s really what I was looking for in the second one and that’s pretty much what I got aside from issues with the story that just made me make that face at the screen. Matt knows exactly what face I’m talking about. But, it was—we’ve actually had a pretty good year, I think, of great examples, and some not so great, of specific relationships between Black and Asian characters in geek media. Pacific Rim is one that immediately comes to mind. I love the interracial adoptive family vibe from the first Pacific Rim, because you have Stacker Pentecost and Mako Mori and they were just so wonderful together. I still for the life of me do not understand why they were not the heart and center of the first Pacific Rim instead of the Becket brothers. Because the Becket brothers I really honestly could have taken or left. Whatever. There was really no reason for them to be the center of the movie except for the fact that they’re white. Their whiteness. That’s really the only reason I can come up with for why the movie decided to center the two of them.
Matt: [00:08:14] For sure. It’s almost as if it started out as Sons of Anarchy fanfiction.
Michi: [00:08:19] Oh, God.
Matt: [00:08:19] You know?
Dolores: [00:08:20] Exactly. Exactly.
Matt: [00:08:22] And then they were like, oh, let’s make a movie about it.
Dolores: [00:08:22] Uh-huh. Yeah.
Michi: [00:08:25] We’ll just throw in giant robots and yeah. And kaiju. It’ll be fine.
Dolores: [00:08:30] They’ve got to have Ron Perlman in there, so, you know.
Michi: [00:08:32] Oh yeah, that’s right. I forgot about that.
Matt: [00:08:34] Ron Perlman is. He’s just—he’s interesting, man.
Michi: [00:08:39] He’s wonderful.
Matt: [00:08:40] He is wonderful.
Michi: [00:08:42] I want to put Ron Perlman and Clancy Brown in a cage match together to see who can come up with the most intimidating voice.
Matt: [00:08:47] Yeah. I’d watch that. I’d listen to that for sure. Yeah.
Michi: [00:08:52] Yes.
Dolores: [00:08:52] I’m ready for it. I’m already ready for it.
Matt: [00:08:54] I would definitely check that out. So, just kind of getting back on key here. So, the relationship between Mako Mori and Stacker Pentecost played by, of course—
Michi: [00:09:04] Idris Elba.
Dolores: [00:09:04] Idris Elba.
Matt: [00:09:04] Idris Elba. Why—
Michi: [00:09:08] See, Dee knows. Dee knows.
Matt: [00:09:08] He’s like, you should have seen the look.
Dolores: [00:09:10] Not gonna miss that opportunity.
Matt: [00:09:12] No. But just the look of just admiration. He’s just… Elba. That’s all right. I recognize. Game recognize game as they say. So.
Michi: [00:09:23] Nobody stop the apocs and say, “We are canceling the apocalypse” and actually mean it and get the rest of us to buy into that line like Idris Elba.
Dolores: [00:09:30] Right. It’s very true. Very true.
Matt: [00:09:31] Exactly. Exactly. And you know what? I’m glad that they let him use his natural accent in this film instead of having to put on the American accent as he did in… what movie was that? Alien? Uh.
Dolores: [00:09:42] Oh my gosh, there was a few of them. Yeah, Alien um.
Michi: [00:09:45] Prometheus? No—
Dolores: [00:09:45] Prometheus.
Matt: [00:09:45] Prometheus.
Michi: [00:09:46] It wasn’t even alien. It was just, whatever.
Matt: [00:09:50] It was Alien Presents: Prometheus.
Dolores: [00:09:54] Right.
Matt: [00:09:54] Yeah. Yeah. So, I’m glad that he got to be himself. But just seeing the relationship between him and Mako as a father and his adopted daughter in this case, because of course the apocalypse was upon them and he found this little girl just kind of on her own holding a shoe. And yeah. Just seeing how they related to each other. There’s one line that Mako says that really stuck out to me in the film and she says it pretty early on, where Charlie Hunnam is—he’s rebellious and he’s trying to say, “We can do things our way. You don’t need to do what he says.” And she goes, “It’s not that I’m following orders. It’s respect.”
Michi: [00:10:30] There you go.
Matt: [00:10:31] It’s like, yeah. This man has proved himself as just worthy of that respect throughout their lives.
Michi: [00:10:36] It is also very—so, coming from an Asian family. Like, different cultures, we’re not a monolith. I hate that I actually have to give that caveat, but that’s the way that it is. But it’s—that is very much a part of a lot of our cultures in the way that we relate to each other for family. It is giving the respect to your elders. It is not about blind loyalty. It is about the respect that is due to your elder. And, they’ve clearly built up that kind of relationship where it’s not about him wanting to control her by telling her that he doesn’t want her to be a Jaeger pilot. It is very clearly predicated on the fact that his experience with it has resulted in a loss of health. In putting himself at risk. And, he clearly—it’s not that he doubts her abilities. He just doesn’t want to risk her. And it’s a very fine line to play that off without making it come off as him being a controlling father. Which is the angle that Raleigh Becket is going at it because obviously there’s only one way to interpret that kind of protectiveness. But to me in that script there was never a moment where Stacker Pentecost did not respect Mako.
Dolores: [00:11:51] Right. Right.
Matt: [00:11:51] Right. Right.
Michi: [00:11:53] It felt very much I want to protect you. I don’t doubt your capabilities, but I cannot stand to lose you. And knowing what we know when we get into the second movie about the fact that he actually does have a son, and this is probably where we should start putting on a tag for stop here if you don’t want spoilers for Pacific Rim 2. I know it came out a couple months ago, but really we want to be respectful. If you don’t want spoilers, stop here.
Matt: [00:12:21] Very true. I’ll throw this out there. It’s out on DVD in June. Because I wanted to see it before [crosstalk].
Michi: [00:12:28] I will come over and watch it with you.
Matt: [00:12:30] Okay, Okay.
Dolores: [00:12:32] Yes. Mm-hmm. Please.
Michi: [00:12:32] Yes. But, we find out in Pacific Rim 2 that Jake Pentecost was also a Jaeger pilot. He wanted to become a Jaeger pilot to be like his dad and in trying to show off how good of a pilot he was, he done fucked up. Because this is what happens when you’re a young show-off pilot. And gets kicked out of the corp. So, knowing that, it adds a little more depth to why Stacker’s so protective of Mako. Because he has already lost one child. Not to death, but they’re estranged.
Dolores: [00:13:15] Mm-mm.
Michi: [00:13:15] So, seeing it through that lens of how he’s—why he’s even that more protective of their relationship, I think makes it very interesting. And, understanding that he was willing—he’s willing to give his life for not only the cause, for humanity, but specifically so that his daughter has a chance to fix everything. To close the rift, to prevent the rest of the invasion. It’s such a wonderful thing in that movie how the two of them still manage to be the emotional heart, even though the script itself is trying to make you see Raleigh and Mako as the emotional heart.
Dolores: [00:13:52] Right.
Michi: [00:13:52] To me, that’s a side-story to Mako and Stacker.
Dolores: [00:13:56] Mm-hmm
Matt: [00:13:57] So, I was just kind of like reading a little bit about it, and just seeing that Guillermo del Toro, he put a lot of thought into who he cast in these roles. And, one of the first people he cast was Idris Elba. He wanted the role of Stacker Pentecost not to go to a lantern jawed blonde Anglo super-hip marine, he said. He wanted somebody that could bring a lot of authority, but you could feel the weight of the world on his shoulders. And having seen Idris’s work in Luther—
Michi: [00:14:25] Oh, yeah.
Matt: [00:14:25] –he just decided, like, this is the man that I want to be Stacker Pentecost. He has that type of complexity. So, I think he made a great choice there.
Michi: [00:14:32] Yeah, and I think he made a really great choice with Rinko Kikuchi as Mako. Because she brought a great deal of vulnerability but without it being that sort of soft vulnerability. She was open as a person. She was very eager and enthusiastic and clearly capable.
Dolores: [00:14:57] And knowledgeable.
Michi: [00:14:58] And knowledgeable.
Dolores: [00:14:59] Really knowledgeable.
Michi: [00:15:00] It was—I love the two of them together. They were just absolutely fantastic. And, I am going to be bitter forever about how we were cheated out of seeing a flip of that relationship between Mako and Jake Pentecost in Pacific Rim 2. Because we get maybe a third of the film with the two of them together. And, we’re introduced to Jake, seeing Jake as kind of being the—getting by in this post-kaiju world as a sort of not really a smuggler, but it’s hard not to make a Lando Calrissian comparison.
Dolores: [00:15:38] Oh wow.
Michi: [00:15:39] It’s really hard not to. But one of the things I love about Boyega is that this dude’s comedic timing is just so, so God-damned good. Because he’s talking about all the little things you’re doing in order to make sure that you have your lucky charms, you have your supply of sriracha sauce, the things that you need in order to survive and be happy. Without having to be part of the system, because he’s basically making his living scrounging Jaeger parts and selling on the black market.
Dolores: [00:16:15] Gotcha.
Matt: [00:16:15] Yeah.
Michi: [00:16:16] And, of course, we get that. He gets caught. He gets roped back in, and of course his only option is to come back at the Academy to teach future Jaeger pilots or he goes to jail. And you’ve got Mako being, I’m the oldest child in my family and looking at the, oh, little brother. What am I gonna do with you. Like, I relate to Mako.
Dolores: [00:16:39] Right.
Michi: [00:16:40] Very very much in that scene. She clearly—she’s happy to see Jake. She clearly loves her little brother but she’s also very frustrated. Jake’s like you know, it’s really good to see you, so how are you gonna get me out of this shit.
Dolores: [00:16:53] Right, right, right, right.
Michi: [00:16:56] She’s like, dude this is all I got. By the way I’ll see you on the next transport out of there. And they’re just—they have such a good, easy relationship where you can tell that they meant a lot to each other growing up. I wish we’d gotten to see more of their backstory.
Dolores: [00:17:14] Yeah.
Michi: [00:17:14] Because they talk a little bit about it, and she references the fact that he was a really good pilot.
Dolores: [00:17:20] okay.
Michi: [00:17:20] And she’s clearly one of the best pilots that they’ve had. She’s now risen in the ranks to being a sort of official, and in order to get the plot going and realize that there’s something wrong, her character gets offed as part of this. Like, oh here’s where we start realizing that things are not okay, and the last thing she does before she gets offed is she manages to send a message with a bunch of data that they need in order to continue their look into the mystery of what the hell is going on. But I’m like, that was not necessary.
Matt: [00:17:54] No.
Michi: [00:17:55] That is—it wasn’t necessary because there’s a character who I will refer to as Whitey McBlandface Version 2.0 because that’s how I felt about Raleigh in the first one. I don’t even remember this guy’s name. Who is set up in Pacific Rim 2 as a Jake Pentecost sort of was probably his best friend at the academy before he washed out and is now a captain teaching the kids. And Jake is now gonna have to work with him again, they clearly have some kind of a history, and the whole point is for that character to be the responsible goad to Jake’s character. I’m like, but you already had Mako.
Dolores: [00:18:34] Right, right.
Michi: [00:18:34] There was no need for this dude.
Dolores: [00:18:36] Yeah.
Matt: [00:18:36] Right, right.
Michi: [00:18:37] Who we don’t care about. We could have had Mako working with Jake to help him through his whole I know you washed out and both of us miss our father. I had the chance to say good-bye and you didn’t. We didn’t get any of that, and it’s just such a huge missed opportunity, where you could have had that parallel connecting that emotional thread to the first movie and taking it and moving it further. Because Jake is still clearly the hero of this film, but because the film seemed so intent on shoe-horning in two major white characters. Yeah, Blandface dude and this young spunky white girl engineer who whatever.
Matt: [00:19:21] She’s there.
Michi: [00:19:22] She’s there. She’s there for a very specific narrative purpose in that a Jaeger that she has built cobbled together. We’ll call it a mini Jaeger which she has built together from a bunch of spare parts becomes a very important plot device to the end of the movie.
Dolores: [00:19:39] Okay.
Michi: [00:19:39] So, she’s there basically to bring that Jaeger into the—onto the screen. Onto the base.
Dolores: [00:19:47] Onto the screen. Yeah.
Michi: [00:19:48] Where that Jaeger could have easily been built by somebody else. It could have been built by the engineer mogul who is running this massive company that, I forgot her character’s name, but she is—she’s a major character. It could have been part of one of her decommissioned programs. There was no reason why you had to have that character in there. There are all these bloated things, and there were actually more characters of color in the background as some of the cadets.
Dolores: [00:20:17] Oh, okay.
Michi: [00:20:18] That, it would have been—I would have loved to have seen Mako and Jake, an Asian woman and a Black man working together to train a brand-new generation of Jaeger pilots who are mostly people of color. There were South Asians, Southeast Asians. There are East Asian characters, there were more Black characters. They could have all have been working together—
Dolores: [00:20:37] Right.
Michi: [00:20:37] –To actually be the new generation. And, I mean, if you wanted white characters, we still have Dr.
Gottlieb and the other guy. We still have the two doctors in there, but there’s even a parallel that you could have had between Jake and his deceased father and one of the cadets who is the son of the current commander who is in the rank that Stacker Pentecost was in. You could have had those parallels there where you have a relationship—Jake has a relationship with this cadet, helping him navigate the fact that his dad is in charge of everything, and he’s clearly trying to live up to his dad’s expectations. It’s like all of these things where you could have had people of color, particularly Asian and Black characters working in positive relationships, helping each other grow within a story about robots and kaiju fighting each other. And we didn’t get that.
Matt: [00:21:33] You’re right. You’re right.
Michi: [00:21:34] I’m really disappointed by that. I loved the explosions. I loved the giant monster fights. We had—we fulfilled the promise of the first movie where we had three Jaegers fighting kaiju and they took out two of the Jaegers right away, so we really only had—You know, we didn’t get the giant amounts of Jaegers fighting giant amounts of kaiju, we had that in Pacific Rim 2, which made me very very happy. It was a little Voltron kind of moment.
Dolores: [00:22:01] All right. Okay, okay, okay.
Michi: [00:22:03] There was a point where there was literally a statue of a Gundam that shows up.
Matt: [00:22:06] Oh wow. Oh wow.
Dolores: [00:22:07] Oh, that’s nice.
Michi: [00:22:08] On [crosstalk].
Matt: [00:22:09] So wait, that’s two Gundam appearances in 2018.
Dolores: [00:22:14] Yeah, it’s true.
Matt: [00:22:14] For movies.
Michi: [00:22:16] I mean, it’s right there as an Easter egg. If you don’t know what a Gundam is, you’ll see the statue and people won’t really care, but if you know.
Matt: [00:22:21] It’s like oh, yeah.
Michi: [00:22:22] Yes, you get those references. But, it could have been so much more.
Matt: [00:22:27] Okay.
Michi: [00:22:27] It really could have been, and I actually would—the reason I would watch it again, is to watch it with people who haven’t seen it, who we could have fun with it. Also, rip it to pieces.
Dolores: [00:22:38] Yes.
Matt: [00:22:39] We may be able to—we may have to work out—
Michi: [00:22:41] Yeah.
Dolores: [00:22:41] Yeah.
Michi: [00:22:41] That might actually have to be a—
Matt: [00:22:45] A live tweeting or something like that.
Michi: [00:22:46] Yeah, a live tweet or maybe experimenting with Twitch or something.
Matt: [00:22:51] Yeah. So, we got you on that. So, I mean, just kind of sticking with John Boyega, it’s—I love John
Boyega. I think he—well, first of all, he’s a huge geek, like us. Because he’s got a bigger than life-sized porg in his home made of Lego at this point. And he just—he’s always on social media just tweeting all kinda crazy stuff. And it’s funny because if there’s any doubt that he’s a big geek, like he’s got the Ikea glass display case like all geeks have, and in there he’s got all those S.H.Figuarts action figures and everything like that. He’s got one of Stan Lee sitting in a director’s chair. He’s never worked on a Stan Lee—
Dolores: [00:23:34] Project.
Matt: [00:23:33] –project at all, so—He’s a big nerd. And that’s one reason why I was so happy that he was cast in
the Star Wars Episode VII. The Star Wars episode—Star Wars Episode VII. I was happy to see that he’d been cast because he just seems like he’s so enthusiastic about everything that he works on, and just the amount of love that he got leading up to Star Wars Episode VII where he was in all the production material, all the advertising stuff. And you know, you get kids going yeah, okay, finally, we get some big representation in there and he’s not a smuggler, and he’s not you know all that and all this. And they show him with the lightsaber and everybody’s mind is blown. I mean, we know now obviously, spoilers, that he wasn’t The Jedi, but it was still kind of cool just to see him so involved in this movie. And he owns it. He loves it and he just reps it all the time. So, of course that brings us to The Last Jedi where Finn pretty much was just knocked out at the end of Episode VII. Yeah, he’s back for Last Jedi, but he tries to kind of like abandon his post, and then he’s caught by the one and only Rose Tico, played by Kelly Marie Tran. And just like John Boyega’s so loving being a part of this world, Kelly Marie Tran, I saw the most adorable article about her. Shortly after the movie came out where she’s sitting in a bar, and she overhears this family just talking about Rose Tico and how important the character was to them. And she’s just on Instagram just filming her reaction, and she’s tearing up and crying and stuff. She’s like oh my gosh, should I tell them that I’m her, or—and so she finally awkwardly goes over to introduce herself. And of course, they freak out like oh my God. But I thought that was just so cool, because it is representation is important of course, and just to know that the next generation, the current generation are just loving this amount of representation that we’re getting, while still demanding more, and demanding more quality representation. It’s a great time to be a fan. It really is. I love that.
Michi: [00:25:59] Yeah. And I love—I actually love how we got to see so much of Rose and Finn working together. I mean there were certain things that, I saw some critiques where they were positing the fact it felt a little weird that you had Rose being the one to introduce Finn to the fact that there is inequality that you have to look for. Which is kind of like, yeah. That felt weird. Just—
Dolores: [00:26:26] A little bit.
Michi: [00:26:27] And, I think a lot of it feels weird because we don’t see these kind of character pairings a lot.
Matt: [00:26:31] Yeah.
Dolores: [00:26:31] Mm-hmm.
Michi: [00:26:32] We don’t. And it just feels a little off for the Black character to have to have inequality explained to them.
Matt: [00:26:42] Yes. Even though—
Michi: [00:26:44] Even though, it’s like—okay, clearly Finn’s never been out of the First Order, so—
Matt: [00:26:49] Right.
Michi: [00:26:51] Yeah. The fact that he’s dazzled by a lot of the glitz and the glamor makes sense for his character, but it just feels like an off note.
Dolores: [00:26:57] Yeah.
Michi: [00:27:01] But the thing is that also it—the relationship the two of them had together was one that was—I don’t remember Finn ever questioning Rose’s capabilities—
Dolores: [00:27:10] Mm-mm.
Michi: [00:27:11] –or her decision-making.
Matt: [00:27:13] If anything, he was frightened by her capabilities because—
Michi: [00:27:16] Well, she did tase him the first time—
Matt: [00:27:19] She did…
Dolores: [00:27:20] There was that. She just made him jump on one those animals that were in the—
Michi: [00:27:27] Yeah, the kangaroo horses?
Dolores: [00:27:28] Yes. Yes.
Michi: [00:27:30] I’m like that’s what I’m pretty much calling them in my head. They’re kangaroo horses.
Dolores: [00:27:31] Kangaroo horses.
Matt: [00:27:32] Pretty much.
Michi: [00:27:36] But they got to work as a team, and with nit-picks and a couple of miss-steps aside, who’s introducing whom to the idea that inequality exists in the world. They were a really good pair.
Matt: [00:27:50] They were.
Dolores: [00:27:50] They were.
Michi: [00:27:50] They worked really really well together and I love how the two actors clearly had a lot of chemistry together. They got along. They were riffing off of each other’s cues very very well, and to me, Rose saving Finn at the very end, keeping him from sacrificing himself. That felt good to me. It was sort of a moment of, please, you don’t have to take this on. You should not have to take this on, where your life gets sacrificed for somebody else. You matter. For me, seeing an Asian character say that to a Black character means something.
Matt: [00:28:33] It does. It does.
Michi: [00:28:34] It resonates on a level where, when you understand that there is a lot of history with issues of anti-blackness within the Asian-American community, seeing that sort of moment on screen where you have an Asian character reaffirming the worth and the life of Finn.
Dolores: [00:28:55] Right.
Michi: [00:28:55] That means something. We’ll talk about that this and that particular aspect of our communities’ relationships in a future episode.
Matt: [00:29:03] There’s a lot to dig into there.
Dolores: [00:29:05] Yeah.
Michi: [00:29:05] There’s a lot to dig into there. But that, for me, was such a strong moment and also, I mean, just for me getting to see Rose as a person who was not pretty much a skinny, waify Asian girl, which is—that’s how a lot of our characters tend to get cast.
Dolores: [00:29:27] Yeah.
Michi: [00:29:27] But, they had her dressed in overalls. She was dressed as a mechanic would—you would expect to see a mechanic dressed.
Matt: [00:29:36] She wasn’t a martial artist or anything like that.
Michi: [00:29:37] Oh, thank God. No. No, she wasn’t a martial artist. Of the two of them, Finn is clearly the one who knows how to fight, and there were some—I don’t know if you’ve seen some of the cut scenes that they’ve released for The Last Jedi, where I don’t know why Johnson cut the scenes because they actually added a lot more character depth. There was more dialogue between Finn and Rose at the cantina about what that kind of inequality looked like and what her life was like. But also, there’s a scene where—there was a scene at the end where Finn is fighting Phasma and you can see that he was clearly a talented soldier.
Dolores: [00:30:23] Okay.
Michi: [00:30:24] Like, it’s not just, oh he ran away because he was scared. No, he was a really good soldier who could not take the hypocrisy and bloodshed and violence of what they were doing anymore.
Dolores: [00:30:35] okay.
Michi: [00:30:36] So, he actually calls out Phasma in front of the other stormtroopers for how she’s actually a coward. And basically reads her for who she actually is in front of the other stormtroopers to the fact where they actually end up lowering their weapons, like they’re gonna—Like we’re out of this. So Phasma shoots all of them before going after Finn.
Dolores: [00:30:59] Wow.
Matt: [00:30:59] Okay.
Michi: [00:31:00] It was such a better character moment for him than what we got in the film, which pretty much amounted to a couple of snappy one-liners.
Dolores: [00:31:08] Yes.
Matt: [00:31:08] Yeah. They—I can tell there was some concern over how much of Finn and Rose they were featuring in the movie, because it’s supposed to be focusing on Rey and her finding out that she’s a Jedi and training with Luke of course. And of course, Luke is Star Wars. Like, that’s the overarching thing. But, Star Wars since Luke has been the focus has become so much more. The Expanded Universe has so much love and I feel like if this story was treated just as the, hey, this is what the movie’s about, I think a lot of people wouldn’t have gotten their expectations so high and been just disappointed, self-inflicted or otherwise. But, yeah, I mean—I love the pairing and like Michi said, we’re going to get into that and more on a future episode.
[00:31:57] Just gonna touch on a few more pairings that stand out to us. One of which is Marvel’s Runaways which premiered fairly recently on Hulu. Of course, it’s not a bigger part of the MCU like I’d want it to be but that’s my own little complaint there. But Runaways even as a comic book, it was never really part of the main Marvel run. It was part of this brand called Tsunami. Tsunami was supposed to give different creators opportunities to tell stories that were focused on characters that either didn’t get that much exposure or brand-new tales. They had a Human Torch book, which was excellent. Skottie Young, that’s how he cut his teeth at Marvel. They had a book that was pretty much an homage or rip-off depending on how you feel to the Iron Giant called Sentinel.
Dolores: [00:32:46] Oh.
Michi: [00:32:46] Oh.
Matt: [00:32:47] The little boy finds a Sentinel and decides to repair it. I enjoyed it, I thought the artwork was great, story was pretty cool. But the real gem of the line was Runaways and it featured these kids who all of a sudden find out two things. One, that their parents are supervillains, and two, that they have amazing abilities. Most of them, anyway. The pairing in this project is Alex and Nico. Alex, he finds out that he is the son of the head of the Pride. Oh, I should also mention that the book was initially written by Joss Whedon.
Michi: [00:33:25] Yeah, and that’s actually what I read—probably the first four volumes of that comic when it originally came out, so I haven’t watched the show. But I’m familiar, at least, with the original iteration of those characters.
Dolores: [00:33:37] Right.
Matt: [00:33:38] Oh, I’m sorry, I miss-spoke. Brian K. Vaughn wrote the initial run, and then Joss Whedon took over after Vaughn. And I think Vaughn has dipped a toe back in every now and then. But, yeah, just for those two stellar names in the comic industry to take a stab at this, it shows how much people really cared about this book. So, the main crux of it, and you should give it a look. You should give it a try, give it a read. As they find out their parents are supervillains, they run away, as the title let’s you know.
Dolores: [00:34:12] They literally run away.
Matt: [00:34:12] And, they try to make sense of the world that they’re living in. But as they do it, of course, they’re teenagers, so all these interpersonal relationships kind of form with one another, and one of the relationships that forms is between Alex and Nico. Nico is a wiccan and she summons a staff by inflicting self-harm on herself. But one of the reasons why I like the show more than the initial storyline of the book is because Nico doesn’t summon the—they call it the Staff of One—she doesn’t summon it through self-harm now. The actress that plays Nico, Lyrica Okano, who’s excellent. She said that they tweaked it for good reason, as there would be a lot of teenagers watching the show. They didn’t want to promote anything like self-harm because that’s a little bit too serious for what they’re dealing with. So, I thought that was a nice little tweak to it. As I mentioned, they deal with a lot of interpersonal relationships. Alex and Nico end up becoming a couple, in the book they have these long-standing feelings for one-another, although in the series they’re still trying to find their way. And along the way, Nico explores different things like bisexuality and all the teens really just kind of just try to figure out who they are. So, I think it’s a neat project.
[00:35:27] One that I think it needs to be developed a little bit more as a series. Got some great actors in there. So, check that out, that’s on Hulu.
[00:35:35] One that I’m not familiar with that we want to talk about as well is The Expanse. I know Michi, you’re [crosstalk].
Michi: [00:35:39] Oh, I gotta get. Really, you guys gotta get in to this. It is—The Expanse is still—it is one of my favorite science fiction shows on television right now. It’s—if you liked Battlestar Galactica, if you like things Babylon 5 with a lot of the political issues and the character development. And I love how space is dirty in The Expanse. Like, this is not the gleaming utopia future of Star Trek. This is—it’s going to be messy out in space. It is going to be a lot of the classist systems that we live with here, how are they going to morph and translate when we move into outer space and we have—The three groups of humans we have are the Mars colonists, which are—has developed into a very militaristic type of culture. The dream is to turn Mars into a green place but there’s also a lot of tension between Mars and Earth for resources and also for dominance. So, you have the Earth government that’s still on the planet. Earth is not in the best shape. There are references to the oceans not being clean, there’s a lot of overpopulation and the masses are struggling with not enough employment and the lack of resources, and then you have the humans who live in the Belt. Who are born and raised in outer space. They are mining the minerals that keep both Mars and Earth going. So, you have this very unstable tripod of three very different groups with competing. And it’s usually Mars and Earth with the Belt getting caught in between sort of thing.
[00:37:29] So, all of these relationships are already tenuous, and then what happens when you throw in an unknown alien life form that just blows everything all to—
Dolores: [00:37:36] Right, right.
Michi: [00:37:37] All sides are looking at, so this could be a potential weapon, let’s see what we can do. Because of course the unspoken fourth angle here is the corporation that is looking to weaponize this thing and is like, who’s gonna give me money for it. And what does that mean when you have your intrepid group of misfits who band together because they’re thrown together by circumstance and now they have to figure out what the hell is going on amidst all of these political intrigues and military saber-rattling and the Belt advocating in different ways, political and otherwise for greater power and independence and a seat at the table on equal footing with Earth and Mars. But it’s one of the most diverse casts that I’ve seen in science fiction. I love the fact that—one of my favorite characters is a Mars pilot who’s played by—I forgot the name of the actor, but the character’s name is Alex. He’s South-East Asian. He speaks with a Texan accent. It’s fabulous.
Dolores: [00:38:43] Really.
Michi: [00:38:44] It’s great. I love all of it. That is not an expected thing, and it feels totally natural with the character. You actually do have a couple of very interesting pairings of Black characters and Asian characters who are working together. You have Fred Johnson, who is the—one of the major spokespersons for the OPA, which is a group of Belters who both Mars and Earth have classified them as terrorists, they’re like, we are advocating for actual seat at the table and being treated equally by Earth and Mars. So, Fred Johnson is a former Earth marine who is responsible for a terrible atrocity committed against Belters. Switched sides because he felt ostensibly very guilty about his role in this and has now become a voice for one of the factions of the OPA. And his second-in-command is a character named Drummer, and she’s Asian. She is very no-nonsense. Fred Johnson’s very much the statesman, he’s the one who speaks, and speaks very passionately and argues for the humanity of the Belters and tries not to—He doesn’t really have a taste for violent tactics, whereas his second-in-command, she’s very no-nonsense. She does not screw around. She’s usually a check on his impulses to try and be generous to other people, where she’s like, naw, really, you realize the second you do this, this other person’s gonna cut your throat, right? Right. I’m not gonna let you do this.
Dolores: [00:40:26] Yeah.
Michi: [00:40:27] Like, come on, you’re better than this.
Dolores: [00:40:28] She’s the voice of reason.
Michi: [00:40:29] It’s a really, really great dynamic. We’ve seen the two of them connect more of it, because she’s brought in in season two, so we get to see her. She also interacts with the character of Naomi Nagata, who’s one of the crew members of the Roci, which is our intrepid group of misfits who are from all angles being like, we have no idea how we got in the middle of this, and now we gotta figure our way out. Naomi is also from the Belt, and played by the awesome Dominique Tipper. She’s fabulous. It’s nice to see a Black woman being played with a lot of complexity. She’s not fitting into one specific mold, and they’ve now, in the middle of season two, they added a character called Dr. Prax Meng, who’s a biologist. Asian character, who’s now joined the Roci crew because he’s looking for his daughter. So, you’ve got these super really interesting angles of these different characters all relating to each other and having different priorities, and you get that whole found family dynamic, particularly among the Roci crew. Where they are trying to do the right thing, they’re not always with the same priorities. But, I just love how that’s just—it’s just a part of everything that goes on. It’s really really great. And the fact that they added a Samoan actress to play Gunnery Sergeant Bobbie Draper, who is a Martian marine and literally this woman is built like a brick house and it is fan-freaking tastic. The first thing we see her do is arm wrestle a robot and beat the fuck out of the robot.
Matt: [00:42:09] That’s great. That’s great.
Michi: [00:42:09] It’s great. And she’s like, so you have multiple Black characters, you have multiple Asian characters. You have characters of multiple ethnicities, and because there are more of them in the cast, you’re not expecting one of them to carry all of the expectations for one group of representation. And it’s a good story. It is, I think has a lot of relevant themes so I try to shove that at people, and respectfully if it’s not your thing, you don’t have to watch it. But, if you’re looking for that type of science fiction story. I highly recommend it. It is something that I love, and it’s sort of a—that’s if you want the serious stuff. For the fun stuff, we were all talking about The Good Place earlier.
Matt: [00:42:55] Now, The Good Place, it’s very difficult to discuss it without spoiling.
Michi: [00:43:01] I think we can spoil season one at this point, it’s been out for a year.
Matt: [00:43:02] Yeah. Yeah.
Michi: [00:43:03] We’ll just say. If you don’t wanna know. Stop right here. Fast forward. We’ll let you know when to fast-forward till.
Matt: [00:43:10] I mean, there’s a lot of podcasts out there that will say, stop here. Go watch this and come back. I gotta insist. You gotta watch The Good Place. It’s available on streaming for the first season is, anyway.
Michi: [00:43:22] Yeah, first season is on Netflix.
Matt: [00:43:24] Yeah, yeah. And it’s worth sticking with. They lay a lot of—there’s a lot of Easter eggs involved. A lot of great little seeds planted in there that come to fruition later on. It’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful show. So. I’m sorry. Please continue.
Michi: [00:43:39] No. It’s one of those, like, The Good Place is—it’s still ostensibly centered on a white character. On the character of Eleanor, and to a lesser extent Ted Danson’s character, Michael. Who is in charge of The Good Place. But, the cast is so strong that I think despite that centering, they are just as equally interesting if not more so. I’m gonna say, I very much relate to Eleanor’s whole, let me cover up my deep-seated insecurities by being snarky and sarcastic, and also eating all the shrimp.
Matt: [00:44:19] Yes.
Michi: [00:44:21] Eleanor’s love of unlimited shrimp is just going to a cocktail party and shoving all the shrimp cocktail down your dress so you have some for later. I deeply feel this.
Matt: [00:44:30] And it’s kind of great, too, for those who were fans of The Office, it’s created by one of the co-creators, Michael Schur who also played Mose on The Office.
Dolores: [00:44:42] Which is amazing. Amazing.
Matt: [00:44:43] Same guy.
Michi: [00:44:43] But you also have the characters of Chidi and Tahani, and Jason Jianyu, who are just. Since we can talk about spoilers, I just. Jason Mendoza is Filipino, which for the first year is like, they actually specifically call out. He calls out himself as Filipino. Like, everyone keeps telling me I’m Taiwanese, I’m Filipino. Heaven is racist. Why is heaven racist? Like? And he gets introduced as that silent monk who’s just like, oh he’s just so quiet because he’s full of wisdom. His mysterious eastern wisdom, and calm. He’s like. No, I don’t know what I’m doing here, dude. I’m an EDM, like, I make—hashtag, no parentheses, FAILED! Failed EDM DJ from Jacksonville, Florida. Like, the fact that he’s constantly, like, look, you realize everything can be solved with a Molotov cocktail.
Matt: [00:45:43] Right.
Dolores: [00:45:43] Right.
Michi: [00:45:44] Oh my God. It takes—because the first two episodes, I was like, really? We’re gonna have that Asian character here? What the fuck is this? What is this shit? Okay, I’m in it because Chidi’s fucking awesome. Chidi is the best Black nerd on TV since Alec Hardison. And they’re not even the same type of nerd, it’s great. The whole thing when they reveal that Jason is not actually an enlightened Buddhist monk named Jianyu, it just—the way that he could play—that character could easily become a farce, and a stereotype and all sorts of terrible, and somehow between the writing and the actor, you get a really fabulous character where we get to see an Asian dude who is… He is hot. He is [crosstalk]. There are times when he is like ripping off his sleeves or walking around with a tank top, and you’re like, “Yes.”
Dolores: [00:46:39] Yes.
Matt: [00:46:43] He gets the most play on the show, too.
Michi: [00:46:44] Yeah, he really kinda does. He does.
Dolores: [00:46:45] He does.
Michi: [00:46:49] And then you have Tahani, who is—I think she says she’s Pakistani.
Dolores: [00:46:53] Pakistani, mm-hmm.
Matt: [00:46:53] Right.
Michi: [00:46:54] And she is the like, on first glance, oh, yes, it’s the must do everything perfectly Asian who is like, I’m good at fundraising, cultured, speaks with a British accent, is gorgeous and has long legs and gorgeous dresses and all of this. And you realize that her problem is that even though she is amazing at everything that she does, she’s still considered not even worth seeing or paying attention to by her parents because her sister is the epitome of the unrealistic expectations that Asians of the diaspora, Asian-Americans are supposed to be fitting into because her sister is such a good artist people think she’s Banksy.
Dolores: [00:47:40] Yeah.
Michi: [00:47:40] Bidding $5 million just to have lunch with her. She’s written her own—she has her own books. She is an EGOT.
Dolores: [00:47:49] Yes, right.
Michi: [00:47:50] All, like, this is not realistic for one person, but that’s what Tahani has to be in order to actually be seen, and it’s like, I feel this.
Dolores: [00:47:58] Right.
Michi: [00:48:00] And it’s made her bitter and shallow and jealous and all sorts of insecurities. I’m like this speaks so much to my experience.
Matt: [00:48:11] It’s funny, too. Fun fact. Her name, her full name means Congratulations, Beautiful.
Michi: [00:48:16] Yeah.
Dolores: [00:48:16] Wow.
Michi: [00:48:18] I love the fact. Yeah, Tahani al—
Matt: [00:48:21] Al-Jamil
Michi: [00:48:21] Al-Jamil, yes. She plays it so well, where you’re looking at that character and it’s like, oh, this is the snotty, bitchy character who we’re all supposed to hate.
Dolores: [00:48:30] Yes.
Michi: [00:48:31] It’s like, no, actually, I understand where Tahani is coming from.
Dolores: [00:48:35] Right, right.
Michi: [00:48:36] And then you have poor Chidi who is sitting here and like, every time he has a moral conundrum, he has a stomach ache.
Matt: [00:48:40] Oh, Chidi.
Dolores: [00:48:40] Yes. He physically gets ill.
Matt: [00:48:43] Poor Chidi, yeah.
Dolores: [00:48:44] Just physically ill every single time.
Matt: [00:48:46] He was—he’s Nigerian, raised in Senegal. And because they’re in The Good Place, they can all understand each other, of course, so—
Michi: [00:48:53] He’s speaking French.
Dolores: [00:48:54] Right, yes, yes.
Matt: [00:48:56] And it’s interesting because even though I haven’t completed Season 2 myself, I know that they’re trying to reconnect the group a little bit there after a certain point, and yeah. It’s just interesting how that’s gonna play out. He’s a great actor because he just wears that nervousness so well.
Dolores: [00:49:14] Yeah, he does.
Michi: [00:49:14] It’s such a hard role to play because out of all of them, he’s kind of the straight man.
Dolores: [00:49:19] He is, yeah.
Michi: [00:49:21] Like, he’s the one who’s like, no, this is not a good idea because morals and ethics. And the fact that he manages to spout off all of these different systems of moral, philosophical thoughts behind morals and ethics and how you come to these decisions. It’s great. You get to see a Black character being an intellectual.
Matt: [00:49:38] Yeah.
Dolores: [00:49:38] Right. Exactly.
Matt: [00:49:39] Yeah, that is great. And it’s also—it’s funny because as they’re trying to make The Good Place work, just to make them kinda not figure out where they’re really at, they go through this whole shipping [crosstalk]—
Michi: [00:49:56] Like, Chidi is supposed to be Eleanor’s soul mate but then Tahani wonders if she might be his soul mate. And then of course, there’s another Eleanor that shows up and poor Chidi’s just like—the whole time he just looks like he wants to die.
Dolores: [00:50:09] Right.
Matt: [00:50:09] Right.
Michi: [00:50:10] He’s like, I’m in heaven and I have a stomach ache, which should be your first clue.
Dolores: [00:50:15] Right, exactly, that something’s wrong.
Matt: [00:50:17] There were so many clues.
Dolores: [00:50:18] Oh, man. Oh my gosh. Wow.
Matt: [00:50:21] Yeah, but the cast does a great job of just riffing off of each other. And even Chidi as the straight man comes off as comedic relief a lot. All right.
Michi: [00:50:29] There is a moment between Chidi and Tahani that I felt was like—actually I think it was probably an unintentional call-out of how sometimes Asian communities can react to the Black community where you have Tahani and Chidi are bonding over how much they love French art.
Dolores: [00:50:51] Yes.
Michi: [00:50:51] And they’re talking about the artists, and he’s like, oh have you been to the Louvre, and she’s like, oh yes. You know, French culture’s so wonderful. Isn’t it lovely? And he’s like, well, since they colonized my home country and you know participated in our enslavement, eeeh, not so much.
Dolores: [00:51:06] Right, right. Exactly.
Matt: [00:51:07] Not so much.
Michi: [00:51:08] And you can tell Tahani’s like, oooh. Yes. That. And here’s Tahani who is kind of the picture of British assimilation—
Dolores: [00:51:18] Yes.
Matt: [00:51:20] Yes.
Dolores: [00:51:20] Absolutely.
Michi: [00:51:20] She’s a Pakistani who’s grown up and been educated—she’s like grew up in Britain and was educated in France.
Dolores: [00:51:26] Yes, right.
Michi: [00:51:26] Like. That is a whole statement right there.
Dolores: [00:51:29] It is. It so is.
Michi: [00:51:31] I mean having the two of them, having Chidi make that little moment of, like, naw, I don’t think—I don’t really—like I can appreciate French art, not the French.
Dolores: [00:51:41] Right, right right.
Michi: [00:51:42] And here’s exactly why. Oh, yeah.
Dolores: [00:51:45] Yeah. Like—
Michi: [00:51:45] Just that beautiful little moment. Like, oh my gosh, it’s such a—smart thing. Where I feel like if they hadn’t had Chidi make that call-out, it would have—it would have not felt true to the character. Chidi is that character who—because he’s done a couple of times where Eleanor says something, and he’s like, eeeh, you know that’s kinda racist, right?
Dolores: [00:52:04] Right. Yeah. He does. He does. He doesn’t pull anything. He can acknowledge every little thing that she says that seems like, oh, it’s just a casual little observation that she’s making and be like, uh, no.
Michi: [00:52:19] Nooo…
Dolores: [00:52:20] No no no no no. That means you’re white and your perspective is totally flawed because of that.
Matt: [00:52:27] That privilege is on full display.
Michi: [00:52:29] Yeah. Well, like… I don’t want to spoil it for the two of you because it’s such a great moment. But
there is a point in season two where Chidi gets fed up with trying to teach everybody ethics. One character in particular, he gets fed up with. So, he gets up, and he leaves, and this character’s like—I don’t understand. What did I do wrong? And you have Eleanor actually going up to being like look. Dude. You realize what Chidi is putting himself through in order to try and teach you how to be a good person. You are not being sufficiently grateful for what this guy is trying to do for you. I’m like, that is actually not a bad example of how to use your privilege as a white ally.
Dolores: [00:53:13] Yes. Yes.
Matt: [00:53:13] Right.
Michi: [00:53:14] Because it’s Eleanor speaking to another white character and it’s the—it is for all intents and purposes, Chidi is still the Black character who’s doing all the emotional labor. Trying to teach everybody how to be a good person.
Dolores: [00:53:29] Right, right. So, he can get out of their situation.
Michi: [00:53:30] So they can get out of their situation, yeah.
Matt: [00:53:32] [crosstalk]
Michi: [00:53:33] The fact that it’s called out. It’s like, that—and there are times when Eleanor realizes, you know what? I am taking this for granted. I really need to, like—I should be more grateful and more respectful of what you are doing for me. Like, those are lovely little moments and it just makes—it makes that dynamic a little bit easier to swallow, where you’re actually seeing this is literally somebody learning how to be a good person, also by recognizing what she is asking. What she, as a white woman, is asking of a Black man to do for her. Because he’s supposed to belong in The Good Place, she is not.
Dolores: [00:54:15] Right.
Michi: [00:54:16] But she’s trying to earn her spot.
Dolores: [00:54:17] Exactly.
Matt: [00:54:17] Right.
Michi: [00:54:19] And it’s totally taking away from him having a good time in the Good Place.
Dolores: [00:54:22] Right, enjoying the Good Place.
Matt: [00:54:24] There’s a lot of things taking away from him having a good time in the Good Place.
Dolores: [00:54:26] Yeah.
Michi: [00:54:27] I feel like you put that in contrast to, we’ll finish this off with Into the Badlands, which.
Matt: [00:54:34] So that’s a thing that I’m not watching currently, but Dee, you’ve seen season one.
Dolores: [00:54:39] Yes.
Matt: [00:54:40] And Michi, you’re all caught up.
Michi: [00:54:41] Yeah. I have feelings. I have feelings because I loved how season one. We get a show that is starring a very attractive Asian man. Daniel Wu is really cool but also, I want that red leather duster outfit, clipper outfit of his because it would look amazing to spin fire in.
Dolores: [00:55:05] Yes, it so dope. So dope.
Michi: [00:55:08] You, at the first were introduced to Danny Wu’s character, Sunny. I’m like, okay. He does martial arts, but I don’t have a problem with this because everybody in this show does martial arts—
Dolores: [00:55:17] Yes, they do.
Michi: [00:55:17] In some way, shape, or form.
Dolores: [00:55:18] Yes.
Matt: [00:55:19] It’s a pre-requisite.
Dolores: [00:55:20] All across the board.
Michi: [00:55:20] It’s a pre-requisite. You have to know how to fight and they all have different styles. But, he is in a relationship with a Black woman, with Veil, who is a doctor. And of course, because complications, she’s pregnant. And this is a complication for the two of them because they’re not supposed to without permission of their barons. Because we have this sort of post-apocalyptic feudal system of society set up.
Dolores: [00:55:46] Right.
Michi: [00:55:47] And Sunny is basically the main enforcer of the baron in his territory. And as one of those enforcer, he’s not supposed to procreate.
Dolores: [00:55:58] Exactly.
Michi: [00:56:00] Because you need to have ultimate loyalty is supposed to be to your baron and if you have a family, it gets really blah blah blah.
Dolores: [00:56:07] Yeah, right.
Michi: [00:56:07] I mean, it’s already a shitty system, so. But having the two of them together and having it be, like, this was actually a pretty supportive relationship.
Dolores: [00:56:17] Yeah, it was.
Michi: [00:56:19] And having—it just was really nice to see that sort of relationship actually in a TV series. So, the fact that by the time we get into season two, they’re separated, and you’re putting poor Veil in this having to be the strong Black woman trope, with a baby. Where she’s basically in the clutches of Quinn who is not really in a good mental place by season two.
Dolores: [00:56:44] Oh, gosh.
Michi: [00:56:45] And Sunny is trying to get back to her, and then the very end, we have Veil is fridged. She kills herself in order to kill Quinn because Quinn’s holding a knife at her chest and clearly the knife is long enough that if she takes, it takes him out, too. Like, this is not even well written. This was written specifically to kill off Veil, because in the background you have Quinn’s ex-wife Lydia who is running around and really easily could have been written to come in and slit Quinn’s throat from behind.
Dolores: [00:57:13] Right. Right.
Michi: [00:57:14] And you wouldn’t have lost Veil.
Dolores: [00:57:15] Absolutely.
Michi: [00:57:15] But now we have fridged Veil, so Sunny is going to be a single parent, and I’m like, why? You don’t have a lot of Black women on this show to begin with and you did this to Veil.
Dolores: [00:57:25] I know.
Michi: [00:57:26] This is—it pissed off a lot of people. Rightfully so.
Matt: [00:57:31] Yeah.
Michi: [00:57:32] And it sucks because I’m like, we had some really good rep here with an interracial couple that had no white people involved—
Dolores: [00:57:39] Exactly.
Michi: [00:57:39] And it was an Asian man and a Black woman, why, why you gotta do this?
Dolores: [00:57:42] Right. Right. It was absolutely functional. It was beautiful. It’s rare to see. It’s rare to see on a show, on a TV show, too. You might see it every once in a while in a film, and it’s just like, okay, well.
Michi: [00:57:54] What was the film with Jet Li and Aaliyah?
Dolores: [00:57:57] Oh, um. Romeo Must Die.
Michi: [00:57:58] Okay, yeah.
Dolores: [00:57:59] Yep. That was it. That was it. And even that wasn’t even like. Didn’t even quite touch. It was almost there but it just didn’t quite completely lock in. It was more like, oh, I think you’re attractive. I think you’re attractive. But we have this thing that we have to work on together, and let’s just complete that and maybe we’ll be friends.
Matt: [00:58:18] Maybe. Maybe. And I’ll be honest. The thing I remember most about that movie is the Timbaland video. That’s pretty much it.
Dolores: [00:58:25] Oh, of course. Of course. Try Again. Yeah.
Matt: [00:58:27] It’s been a long time.
Michi: [00:58:28] It’s like for season three, which I still haven’t watched the beginning of season three, but I’ve been catching up on it. I know that they’ve added more Black actors to begin with to the full cast.
Dolores: [00:58:40] Okay.
Matt: [00:58:39] Do you feel like that’s a response to the fridging?
Michi: [00:58:43] I hope some of it in response and I think that the response by the writers is that they’re going to be more thoughtful with the way that they write these characters, because it’s not just adding more Black actors to the show. It’s how are those characters treated, what tropes are you throwing them into, because we see what they did with Veil, and even if the intention wasn’t there, the impact is still you did this to Veil’s character. It—Black women are not represented very strongly on this show to begin with—
Dolores: [00:59:13] Very true.
Michi: [00:59:14] And now you’ve done this. That is really shitty.
Dolores: [00:59:17] It is.
Michi: [00:59:18] So, I’m hoping that we see more of that. We see more representation and better representation.
Dolores: [00:59:25] Right.
Michi: [00:59:25] Because this is still [inaudible] it’s hard for me as an Asian-American to look at this and to see how that they failed and that respect because we don’t get a lot of action shows starring Asian-American actors who are also seen as sex symbols.
Dolores: [00:59:43] Very true.
Michi: [00:59:43] Who are doing martial arts but also get to be characters where they are not defined by the martial arts.
Dolores: [00:59:48] Right, right.
Michi: [00:59:49] You have others—you have other Asian characters in the show. You have the—one of the entire baronies is run by the Chaus. So, we saw Baroness Chau in season two. In season three, they’re bringing in Lewis Tan.
Dolores: [01:00:03] Ooh.
Michi: [01:00:04] Hah. To play Baroness Chau’s brother, so we are now going to have Lewis Tan and Danny Wu in the same show together and that just makes me incredibly happy. So, I want them to do better so I can be like, I want to fully support this show. I want you all to do well. I mean, the character who plays M.K., the kid who was sort of Sunny’s protégé is also South-east Asian. So, like, we have more characters. There was the monk who was sort of training M.K. for a little bit was a Trinidadian actor. I forgot what her name was, but I’ve seen her in Doctor Who, which was sort of like, I know who you are, this is great. But I don’t know if they’re gonna bring her back. I kinda hope they do because there’s a whole plotline with that that was sort of left hanging. But it is—it’s a show that could be doing great things and could be doing a lot of really great rep. I just hope that they make better decisions in season three.
Dolores: [01:01:01] Right.
Michi: [01:01:01] Because I want to be able to support this whole-heartedly. I want to be able—I want this to be a
show that opens more doors for characters of color and for there to be better representations of relationships among different communities of color.
Dolores: [01:01:16] Right.
Michi: [01:01:20] Because it’s important. We don’t see a lot of that rep.
Dolores: [01:01:21] Right. And it totally does happen in real life.
Michi: [01:01:24] I mean, we’re all sitting at this table.
Dolores: [01:01:25] Exactly.
Matt: [01:01:27] Here we are. Here we are.
Michi: [01:01:29] And it is important because, particularly between Black communities and Asian-American communities, there is a lot of fraught history. And in the dialogues that we have with each other and that we have about advocating for our own rep without shitting on somebody else’s shine, or trying to create false equivalencies in order to piggy back off of the work that Black communities have done for representation in media. I think it’s really important that these characters and the representation that we see reflect those positive aspects that are there and that are a way to encourage our—encourage us to have those dialogues about how to be better allies.
Matt: [01:02:14] So, we’re rooting for this to succeed, definitely. I see that season three actually has the highest episode count so far. It’s got 16, vs last season’s 10.
Michi: [01:02:24] Oh wow, so hopefully that will actually give them more time to flesh out story. Oh, that’s Chipo Chung. That’s who’s playing, who played the master.
Matt: [01:02:33] Oh, cool.
Michi: [01:02:33] She was in Doctor Who as the assistant to The Master before we figured out he was The Master when it was still Derek Jacobi.
Matt: [01:02:46] Right, so she had on the, what was it—the snakeskin makeup?
Michi: [01:02:51] Yeah, she had sort of snakeskin, insectoid sort of thing. Yes. Yes yes. Also, she was the fortuneteller who got Donna Noble into the alternate universe where she turned left.
Dolores: [01:03:03] Oh.
Matt: [01:03:03] Oh, neat. I love it.
Dolores: [01:03:05] Oh, okay.
Matt: [01:03:06] The Donna Noble era.
Michi: [01:03:07] I have a thing for recognizing actors everywhere. She has a very distinctive voice, a very distinctive presence.
Dolores: [01:03:13] Yeah.
Michi: [01:03:13] So, I was super happy to see her show up in Into the Badlands, so I hope she shows up more in season three.
Dolores: [01:03:19] I hope so, yeah. I really hope that she sticks around.
Matt: [01:03:20] That’s cool. And if season three is ongoing, that gives us all a chance to catch up on Into the Badlands, and all these wonderful other projects that we discussed today. I think this is a good spot to end it, right here. Michi, did you want to add anything before we sign off?
Michi: [01:03:34] Uh, no, so just follow us for episode two where I believe we will be talking a bit more about how Black and Asian communities have a bit of that fraught history and some of the things that recently we have been talking about, particularly with the success of Get Out and Black Panther, and how we can better argue for our own representation without drawing false equivalencies to those two very excellent films which have very specific contexts.
Dolores: [01:04:08] Right.
Matt: [01:04:08] Yeah.
Michi: [01:04:09] I know that we’ll talk a little bit about Crazy Rich Asians as that being a moment of rep that Asian-Americans are very excited about but also there are a lot of things to criticize about that film and that story as well. So, I think that’ll give us more than enough material for one episode. I know the future—the episodes three and four, we definitely want to be able to talk a little bit more about comics. About science fiction and fantasy both in terms of character representation, and also authors and creators. So, I think those are a lot of things that we have, and now that I’m thinking about it, four episodes sounds like it’s not nearly enough.
Matt: [01:04:49] No.
Michi: [01:04:50] That’s what we’re contracted for, so…
Matt: [01:04:53] Because I was—as you were speaking, I was reminded about Atlanta and how Hiro Murai has directed several episodes of the show.
Michi: [01:04:59] Oh, yeah.
Dolores: [01:05:01] He sure has.
Matt: [01:05:01] He and Donald Glover are a behind-the-scenes duo that definitely deserve to be talked about as well, because there’s been some crazy episodes of Atlanta. But we’re not gonna get into that right now.
Michi: [01:05:11] All right. So, we’ll say thank you for listening. We are Podcasters For Hire.
Matt: [01:05:16] That’s right. Quite literally as well, so.
Michi: [01:05:21] Thank you to The Learned Fangirl for giving us the opportunity to do this episode series. Thank you, Dee, for being here.
Matt: [01:05:29] Yeah.
Michi: [01:05:29] This is awesome. And sharing cake with us.
Matt: [01:05:31] Yes indeed. Yes indeed.
Dolores: [01:05:32] Yes, this was definitely fun and interesting. And it’s definitely making me put a hard set note in my brain, like, I need to start Expanse. I need to watch Expanse.
Matt: [01:05:42] As should we all.
Dolores: [01:05:43] Yes.
Matt: [01:05:47] Hashtag [TropeTrap?]
Michi: [01:05:48] Ah, yeah, woo.
Matt: [01:05:51] Thank you folks for joining us. Until next time, this has been Podcasters For Hire.
[01:05:56] Dramatic electronic rock outro music.