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Entries in dick cheney (166)

Thursday
Jun012017

In Which We Find Faith In Candace Cameron

Your Local Library

by DICK CHENEY

A Bundle of Trouble: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery
dir. Kevin Fair
Hallmark Channel

Candace Cameron Bure, 41, is a somewhat puzzling choice for a female sleuth. Because of her inner religious convictions (someone, perhaps an angel, told her she and she alone came out of God's love if I'm not mistaken), she does not do any onscreen nudity. "No problem," I thought as I curled up with my wife Lynne on what I believe is referred to as a settee. "Was I really expecting her to go topless like Alison Brie on basic cable? This isn't every single Anna Kendrick movie." I began to enter full-blown panic mode roughly the same time I realized that not only does Bure not become startlingly nude in A Bundle of Trouble, she never moves the romance beyond a chaste kiss on the lips.

When the boyfriend (Yannick Bison) of Aurora Teagarden (Candace Cameron Bure) stays over for the night, A Bundle of Trouble makes one thing very clear: this is a man who sleeps in the guest room. I had to close my eyes and pretend that in the middle of the night, Aurora tiptoes down to the tiny bed her man sleeps in and envelopes her guy, who is a former federal agent named Martin, in a foul embrace.

Aurora's previous boyfriend was a writer of murder mysteries. This seemed to suit her better, but he sort of subtly implied that no sex before marriage was a Puritan impulse and left the small Georgia town where Aurora makes her home. Aurora is the founder of the Real Murders Club, where each week one of the members presents the case of a famous killer. Even though this true crime group seems like a lot of fun to me, Aurora's mother (Marilu Henner) finds her daughter's impulse rather macabre.

Aurora often is at odds with the local police chief Lynn (Miranda Frigon) who feels that she meddles into the particular details of homicide investigations where it is inappropriate for a civilian to be involved. Aurora's best friend, a reporter named Sally (Lexa Doig), is also single and appears to be harboring a deep crush on her friend, but it never comes up, reportedly because Candace vetoed this storyline.

In A Bundle of Trouble, Aurora once again finds a body at her house. This time it is the husband of Martin's dear, sweet niece. Instead of feeling upset or concerned, Aurora has an emotional reaction that could charitably be described as the quiet ripples on a placid, sociopathic lake. When she is not amateur sleuthing, Aurora works at the local library, where she has a combative and eerily flirtatious relationship with the head librarian, a reserved woman named Lillian (Ellie Harvie). At first I was rather sad that none of these unconventional relationships could be consummated becaus of the lead actress' religious fervor, but then I realized it was at least opening the door for a shitload of fan fiction.

I fell in love with Nancy Drew because of the meaningful relationships she had with men. They supported her, especially that Ned fellow. She went all the way with Ned several times, but he never intruded on her well-deserved spotlight. After all, she was the daughter of a very rich man. Hold on for one second while I confirm that's all true. Aurora Teagarden prefers to hold her suitors at arm's length, making for a very frosty five TV-movie series.

Aurora finds herself investigating a private adoption/baby sale gone wrong. The amount of money involved to secure the child appears to be around $10,000, which results in this humorous, thoughtful image of the protagonist:

Aurora has to take care of the baby through much of A Bundle of Trouble, which has an important double meaning which reflects both the hard cash and the presence of the human child. She does not really like children and often forces the people around her to change the baby's diaper. Among Lynne's friends, this is the main characteristic of a mother.

This entire adoption storyline seems to set up a way that Candace Cameron Bure can reproduce without actually having sex, since her boyfriend sleeps in the guest room. Having a child will probably take away substantially from her crime-fighting, but then again a part-time librarian typically has a lot of hours in a day. I would not recommend the Aurora Teagarden series to anyone, since there is almost never a person of color involved, even in subplots, and Candace Cameron Bure's outfits look like they were purchased at the K-Mart in Sacramento.

Hallmark has other series which have white women detectives in a similar vein. One has Courtney Thorne-Smith playing an archaeologist, another has fellow Full House-alum Lori Loughlin as an amateur sleuth. It is apparently against Hallmark Channel directives to make any show about an actual police officer, since women can only solve crimes in their spare time. I resent this. ITV recently released Prime Suspect 1973, a period drama about Helen Mirren's hot youth. She got it on with almost everyone at the station, and when her sexist bosses asked her to make the coffee, she did it, but she did not like it. At least she was able to solve crimes as part of her actual job. You know things are rough when you find yourself agreeing with Jessica Chastain.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.


Tuesday
May232017

In Which We Have Chosen Another Dog

Pet Abuser

by DICK CHENEY

Downward Dog
creator Samm Hodges & Michael Killen
ABC

Every person has a certain frustration about the way the world operates. The tragedy is that each person can never be convinced that their special objection to these goings on is anything less than a predictable malady, akin to the common cold. Convinced her struggles are her own, Nan (Alison Lohman) decides to share her awful life with a dog, a mutt named Martin she rescued. (Martin is voiced by Downward Dog creator Samm Hodges.)

Amy Schumer once had a great sketch about people who constantly mentioned the dogs they rescue. Well, it wasn't so much a great sketch as a painfully obvious joke repeated several times, but it certainly was reflective of something in the culture. Downward Dog has missed out on that, whatever it was, and completely unironically presents the story of a woman who abuses her dog as if she is the hero.

Nan (is she named after bread?) never takes her dog on walks. She allows him to go on all her furniture, and she frequently punishes him by confined him to a small space and telling him that he is bad, even though he is just enacting behavior she has permitted. She allows him to sleep in her bed, which is completely disgusting. You see, dogs often roll around on the ground, where bacteria collects, and to drag those molecules into your sleeping quarters is just asking for various infections.

Obviously she never even read the internet to find out the first thing about what is involved in taking care of a dog. She leaves Martin in alone in the house, with no way of going to the bathroom, for upwards of ten to fifteen hours. This is completely unkind and also terribly unhealthy for the dog's long term health. Martin's on Downward Dog is not even marginally better than when he was at the animal shelter.

Things are even worse when it comes to the rest of Nan's life. In one scene in Downward Dog, she wears a Metallica t-shirt. I was unsure if this was ironically or not, but it came across as completely sincere. She never actually listens to any rock music. Maybe she did before she discovered she did not enjoy it, or before she met her boyfriend (Lucas Neff) who suspect that this woman is a total fake and leaves without saying anything. When he is around, at least he interacts with her dog, the only temporary reprieve of enjoyment or play Martin ever experiences.

Nan works in the marketing department of a clothing company called Crate + Bow, where she articulates her aim as wanting to "change the world." She never gets involved in politics, even though the actual real-life wife of Samm Hodges, much like every woman I know, spends every waking hour posting and e-mailing anti-Trump material. But to actually articulate the passion of real women in Downward Dog would be angering too much of ABC's prospective audience, so they don't do it. Artists should never be such complete cowards.

The Pittsburgh-set Downward Dog is quite an extensive guide for how to be an awful human being. Nan's boss at work is a guy named Kevin (Barry Rothbart). He is openly sexist, and Nan's friend Jenn (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) even references that she has complained about his behavior to HR. I guess nothing came from that. In one scene, the two invade their boss's private office, which is completely inappropriate, and find a white-board with his ideas. From this list Nan derives a diorama which does seem to feature a dress or maybe just a mannequin:

As bad as the diorama is, it is the only thing of any interest this awful person creates. After Martin tears up the diorama, Nan goes with her original idea. Her plan to advertise the various wares of the clothing company she works for is to put a big mirror in front of all their stores that reflects what the customers are currently wearing. The text on the mirror will say, "Look how beautiful you are." Her boss is furious at this, but some corporate overlord witnesses the presentation and is like, "This could work. It's just inauthentic enough to make absolutely no sense." Even that crazy woman who ran J. Crew would have told Nan she was straight garbage.

At first Nan thinks she is fired. Nan is so full of hate after her boss' reaction that she decides to take her considerable anger out on her pet. I loathe people who take their feelings out on others. She does this to Martin:

You know who can't handle their own feelings? Children, but their have an excuse for this behavior. Children want to seem cool by wearing a particular piece of clothing. Children think that a mirror is a good way to advertise a product. Children think every single person is beautiful because they simply haven't seen enough people to know what being beautiful actually means, or that it has meaning at all. A child, a cruel, evil child, might treat a dog this way. A human being never could.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

Tuesday
May162017

In Which We Frenetically Displace Elisabeth Moss

By Numbers

by DICK CHENEY

The Handmaid's Tale
creator Bruce Miller
Hulu

After Netflix thought it was a good idea to make a show glorifying the suicide of children, I can't really fault Hulu for doing the same with adultery. In the most recent episode of The Handmaid's Tale, Elisabeth Moss has sex outside of wedlock five times. For the most part she sticks to straight missionary, and she only enjoys sex one of every five times. (1/5=20%) Each sexual experience that she has is challenging, weird, and has the real chance of being illegal or against her will. Here are my reviews of the sex.

Sex with the chauffer

Max Minghella has a tiny body. Sex with him is like cradling a really smooth, hairless vase. Elisabeth Moss has to sort of bend her knees to appear shorter than him. This fuck was encouraged by Mrs. Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski), who stood on the other side of the room and averted her eyes. It was not immediately clear whether or not Minghella had even ejaculated until a follow-up scene where Moss shouted, "You don't feel pregnant right after the guy gives you his load, gosh!" and then immediately apologized. What this intercourse lacked in sensuality it made up for when Moss got a little bit into it despite herself and took a breath. C+

Sex by proxy

Moss stood outside a supermarket completely still. She told Alexis Bledel (Alexis Bledel) that she was sorry they removed her clitoris for being a lesbian. She touched Alexis Bledel's hand and they talked about getting together in early May. Even though they both had gloves on, the touch was substantial and erotic. Afterwards, Bledel drove a car over a guy's head (ouch!) and Moss had her first orgasm of the episode, although perhaps not the last. One benefit of those large red smocks is that you can touch yourself quite discreetly. Afterwards, Bledel was apprehended at gunpoint and driven to a secure location. C

Sex with the Commander

Joseph Fiennes has this weird crusty film at the corners of his lips. This is supposed to be what happens when men receive absolute power: they stop wiping their mouths. Unfortunately for Joseph, his wife has to hold Moss in her arms while he penetrates Elisabeth for the purpose of procreation. It still seems completely unrealistic to me that a man would struggle to keep an erection in such a situation. I mean he's a Commander; his title says it all.

The Handmaid's Tale is remarkably averse to showing a penis considering that American Gods shows about five per episode and even had one scene where a guy looked up and saw a framed picture of a dick. During this particular sexual assault, Fiennes started stroking Moss' thigh and grunting a smidge, which caused her to immediately launch into a prolonged voiceover. Later, she stormed into his office where they play Scrabble and pouted. He should have been like, "I'm already married." B+

Sex with a married African-American fellow

The flashbacks are the most painful, bourgeois part of The Handmaid's Tale, as we slowly realize how disturbed and evil American society was before it became a Puritan dystopia. Moss meets Luke (O.T. Fagbenle) waiting for hot dogs at a food truck. I was unclear on why hot dogs would require extensive preparation, but all the hot dogs I eat cost a dollar and are excavated from the hot water of some guy's creepy cart. Luke begins cheating on her wife during his lunch hour, where he has these prolonged, flirty meals with Moss before the following conversation occurs:

Moss: I want you to leave your wife.
Luke: OK.

The sex that occurs previous to this has the most prolonged, awkward foreplay imaginable. Compared to all the other sex on the show, it feels similarly inauthentic. Moss takes so long to disrobe, and she makes eye contact the entire time she is doing so. Is this really how she has sex IRL? Isn't the point to simply get naked?

My number one pet peeve during sex is laughing. If you are laughing during sex you are probably not enjoying it very much, or concerned about your own pleasure. That means you are paying too much attention to the other person. Sex is supposed to be an intimate, not communal act.

Moss appears to have no discernible orgasm during this intercourse, either. Mayhap she is categorically incapable, or she sensed it would probably become a gif. Luke informs Moss that he is in love with her, and then afterwards he marries her and gives her a child. So like, this is the message we are giving to adulterers now - it's going to work out. No wonder Trump is president and I'm writing TV recaps. A+

Sex with the chauffer II

After she is threatened by Mrs. Waterford, Moss is feeling particularly rebellious. She sneaks out of the house to embrace the teenagesque body of Max Minghella in his shed, one more time with feeling. He seems to really care about what happens to her and gives her hair a few strokes once she untucks it from her white bonnet. Her eye contact here is constant, and she throws out a lot more moans than she ever did with her husband, I guess to imply, wow, she is really psyched for this fourth time she has had sex in the past 48 hours. It is nice to have a healthy libido, but whenever I see two white people pressed against each other the only thing I can think of is Shia LaBoeuf. D

I realize The Handmaid's Tale is not really supposed to be primarily about how much the handmaid in question is enjoying sex, but I am really tired of watching fake sex on television. Not that they should do it for real like on The Americans, but can't they at least give us a sense of the frenetic displacement sex provides in ourselves and others? The Handmaid's Tale falls down when it begins to feel like staged melodrama. I guess all of this half-hearted sex will make sense if it turns out that Moss' character is a closeted lesbian, which they seemed to go to great pains to suggest during her lunch with Luke. If it is the case that she only enjoys women, what happened to pretending?

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is the former vice president of the United States.