TV

9 shows you should definitely be watching

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The Simpsons

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The Simpsons are an absolute classic.  Seriously, one of the best TV shows of all time, and excellent for binge-watching. Set in dysfunctional Springfield, the Simpsons are your average, wacky American family—except they’re not. Their personality traits get them into all sorts of trouble and adventures, whether it be Homer’s laziness or stupidity, Marge’s nagging, Lisa’s smarts or Bart’s bad-boy behaviour. Ay caramba!

Bob’s Burgers

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This show always makes me want to eat burgers.

Bob Belcher owns a burger shop with his wife Linda and three kids Gene, Tina, and Louise. This show is truly excellent with incredible comic relief, whether it be through Tina’s awkward butt obsession, Gene’s admiration of food and original music, or Louise—the youngest and seemingly cutest with pink bunny eats—with destruction. Bob has to control it all whilst trying to run a semi-functional diner. Bon appetite!

The Flash

Barry Allen is a forensic scientist by day and superhero by night— the fastest man alive. After a freak scientific accident hits his hometown of Central City and he—and many others—gain powers of unimaginable powers. Which would be fine if most of them didn’t turn out to be villains! Can Barry and his team at Star Labs defeat the meta humans? Will he find the meta human who violently murdered his mother all those years ago? Will Barry save the world, and the woman he loves?

Arrow

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Oliver Queen isn’t too bad on the eyes, either.

Oliver Queen was a playboy billionaire before his father’s boat crashed in a freak storm in the middle of the ocean. After spending five years in hell on a remote island conquering untold horrors, he returns from the dead. Once a soft, self-entitled lady’s man is now the best—and darkest—vigilante Starling City has ever seen. Oliver will do anything to protect the city and the ones he loves, but it doesn’t always work out so easy. Death follows this vigilante like a cloak, and his questionable past haunts him. Can he save his city?

Supergirl

Finally! A female superhero! Supergirl tells the story of Kara Zor-El, who was sent to Earth to protect her cousin, the great Man of Steel—but her pod was knocked off course, and by the time she arrived, Clarke Kent was already Superman. Kara must prove herself in the shadow of her cousin as she saves Earth from alien threats, all the while being the mistreated PA to media mogul Cat Grant. Talk about a double life! Well, she’s not Supergirl for nothing!

The 100

It’s 97 years after the Earth has been destroyed by nuclear Armageddon when a surviving colony of humans in space sends 100 juvenile prisoners to Earth to see if it’s still suitable for human life, in hopes of repopulating the Earth. They’re humanity’s last hope—but they soon discover that not all humanity was wiped out. There aren’t 100 of them for long!

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And The Big Gamble
Max’s souless stare is pretty much my life, TBH.

Max and Caroline have a dysfunctional roommate relationship—but somehow it, and everything else, seems to work out. Together, they own Max’s Homemade Cupcakes. Max’s dark humour combined with Caroline’s determination and optimism make for quite an interesting dynamic. They’re poor, they’ve got attitude, but most importantly, they have each other’s backs. Mostly.

America’s next top model

They’re ferocious. They’re gorgeous. They’re sassy. And they’re going to want to make you take some seriously banging selfies. Watch wannabe models fight for the title of America’s Top Model. There will be claws, there will be tears, but most of all, there will be some fantastic photos—and honestly,  some rather cringe-worthy ones! Bring it on!

Superstore

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Working in retail is hard—just ask any of the employees of the Cloud Nine superstore in Missouri, USA. Together, they face the daily grind of rude customers, boring training sessions and wacky encounters, all the while fostering valuable relationships.  Don’t let the name fool you—it’s super-funny! With a band of misfit employees, an airhead boss, and a non-nonsense assistant manager, this show will definitely tickle your funny bone.

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Orange is the New Black addressed something really important–and we need to talk about it.

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Tiffany Doggett. Image via Buzzfeed.

Why are we so afraid to call it rape?

Rape culture is very real and very dangerous—but Orange is the New Black isn’t afraid to tackle it. In the latest season of the hit Netflix series, we see conceptions of rape addressed—and reformed—through the characterisation of inmate Tiffany Doggett.

Doggett was raped last season by a commanding officer at Litchfield Penitentiary—a man who was supposed to be responsible for her safety. Instead, officer Charlie Coates took advantage of her and raped her: but it wasn’t how we usually see rape represented on screens. Doggett wasn’t screaming. She wasn’t frantically trying to beat him off. But we could see from her face that she desperately didn’t want to be there.  It doesn’t matter if she didn’t fight tooth and nail to stop him—or even if she didn’t tell him: it is still rape.

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Image via Cosmopolitan.

This season, Doggett confronts Coates, making sure he’s not raping anyone else. But here’s the kicker: he didn’t even know he’d raped her. “But I love you,” he insists. “It’s different.”

“But it didn’t feel any different,” Doggett responds.

It didn’t feel any different because it isn’t—rape is the unwanted penetration of oral, vaginal or anal cavities. So, why are we so afraid to call it that? We live in a society where we’re so focussed on blaming the victim: what did they do to provoke it? What were they wearing? Were they drinking? Had they slept together before? Were they in love? Where they in a relationship? Why didn’t they yell for help? People voice these questions as if any of these factors negate a heinous crime. Newsflash: it doesn’t.

One in six women and 1 in 33 men will be raped within their lifetimes. One in two transgender persons will be sexually assaulted, as well as 44% of lesbian women, 26% of gay men, and 61% of bisexual women and 37% of bisexual men. This is a major problem—yet instead of tackling these issues, we’re too focussed on blaming the victim.

As a woman, I’m afraid to walk home alone at night—even though my bus stop is only 500m away. As a woman, I am afraid when a group of men walk towards me. As a woman, I make sure I’m not too drunk to keep my wits about me. I make sure my dress isn’t too short. I make sure I don’t lead anyone on—and even then, I’m not safe.

Doggett was raped in a prison environment meant to protect her.

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Most rapes are not reported, and even if they are, they’re not likely to result in a conviction. This must change. Image via Waging Non-Violence.

Our actions do not give another person permission to so much as touch us. Even if I walked down the street naked, I’m still not “asking for it”—because my body is mine, and every human being deserves that right. But some people still don’t seem to get the concept of “no”.

Maybe you loved them. Maybe you knew they were horny, so you just let them do it. Maybe you did try to stop it, but gave in because it was easier than fighting. Maybe there were tears in your eyes, as you stare at the wall, wishing you were anywhere else. Maybe you cried when it was over and they were asleep or gone. Maybe they did love you. But then, maybe they didn’t. Maybe it was a cruel and vicious crime—and actions or intentions don’t change that.

As women, we’re so programmed to feel like we have to please our partners—even if we don’t want to. But love is not an excuse for rape: nothing is. And this line of thinking, this notion of “oh, you can’t call it rape after it happened” is absolute bullshit, and a massive cultural problem. Maybe you were too scared to speak up—maybe you’re too afraid to confront in your own mind what it was, and only realise what it was later. It is “not making it up” to get someone in trouble—because only one in six rapes are reported, and only 17% of rapes are actually convicted.

Rape affects every facet of your life. It restricts your sexuality.  It restricts your chance at future relationships. You lay awake, crying and reliving those moments. You flinch at every rape joke, or mention of sexual assault.  This is not okay.

But we live in a society that would rather blame the victim than prosecute the victim. But it is not the victim’s fault—it’s the rapist’s fault.

Rape is an unforgivable crime—and we need to stop sugar coating it.

Sydney Comic-Con: unleash your inner geek!

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Doctor Who’s sonic screwdriver (which doubles as a TV remote). Jon Snow’s sword from Game of Thrones. Katniss’s mockingjay pin from The Hunger Games. Dumbledore’s wand. Replicas of Dean’s beloved Impala from Supernatural. What do these things have in common? Well, they were all at Sydney’s Oz Comic-Con.

Comic-Con parades and celebrates television shows, comic books, movies and anime that have defined a generation. These are franchisees which have taught us right from wrong, to believe in ourselves, and to fight for what we love. They’ve shown us pain, they’ve shown us grief—but they’ve also shown us we are stronger than any adversary we face. To some, Comic-Con might simply seem like a bunch of nerds doing nerd-like things. Well, on behalf of “nerds”, I’d like to tell you: we’re super freaking awesome.

Gender swap Harley Quinn and the Joker from DC!

That being said, before last week, I was a Comic-Con virgin. And boy, Sydney did not disappoint. The normally lonely enormous Sydney Exhibition Centre was transformed into a glorious and magical wonderland of all things wacky and unique. There were hundreds—if not, thousands—of stalls with comic books, trinkets, figurines, intricate sculptures, jewellery, obscure clothing, original art works, fake weapons and things I’m not even sure how to describe. Comic-Con has everything you’re looking for, and everything you never dreamed you’d find.

Apparently, this Harley Quinn and Joker didn't even know each other: but that didn't stop her licking his face. Very Harley Quinn.
Apparently, this Harley Quinn and Joker didn’t even know each other: but that didn’t stop her licking his face. Very Harley Quinn.

Though there were a range of guest stats from much-beloved franchises, such as Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, Bobby from Supernatural, as well as various characters and voice characters from Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Scrubs, Charmed, Vikings, Soul Eater, Dragon Ball and Avatar: The Last Air Bender, it was the phenomenal cosplay which took centre stage.

There was a gender-swapped version of X-Men’s Magneto, Jane from Tarzan, the TARDIS from Dr Who, a brilliant Black Widow from The Avengers, Kakashi from Naturo, and one particularly awesome Juzo from Tokyo Ghoul, as well as a few hundred Harley Quinn—with the Joker, of course. Apparently, I’m not the only one who is super-duper excited for next year’s Suicide Squad movie! There was also a pretty cute little girl dressed as Darth Vader, but I didn’t get a picture, because that would have been creepy.

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The best cosplay for me, hands down, was a mind-blowing rendition of Mystique from X-Men. As part of a hands-on make-up stall, this particular woman was painted and primed for hours upon hours—but the end result was stunning.

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Sorry for the quality! I took it on my phone. But how cool is this?!

When I asked if I could have a picture, she replied enthusiastically and said she would channel her inner Mystique.

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Personally, I dressed up as a rather mediocre version of the Scarlet Witch from The Avengers: Age of Ultron—and subsequently, due to my laziness, had to keep avoiding better-dressed versions of myself. Next year, I’ll actually put in some effort—stay tuned, guys!

Characters from the anime Attack on Titan.

Comic-Con was wacky, intriguing and mind-blowing—and I can’t wait for next year.