The Walking Dead – The Emotional Life of Carl Grimes

As the show opens, it’s clear to me that Carl is learning to emotionally detach himself, ready for the day when he’ll either have to live without his father (after losing his mother and his baby sister – maybe) or preparing for the day when he’ll have to be the first to say good-bye to his father – leaving Rick alone. It was clear long before he gave Rick the “drop dead” speech.  First Carl separates himself physically, walking ahead and leaving a weakened Rick to become a potential walker victim.  Then he separates himself emotionally (throwing Shane’s death in Rick’s face despite the fact that his father killed Shane in self-defense).

So much has been taken from Carl that it saddens me. He’s even loses the respect he has for his father only to regain it later.  It has become a vicious cycle for this kid.  Was Carl’s unexpected mention of Shane a clue of what’s to come, or just a random barb meant to figuratively twist the knife into his father?    Whenever these moments happen between the father and son I wonder just how far the writers are willing to stray from the graphic novels.  I have to wonder if Carl doesn’t become the new Shane and at some point try to take his father’s life.  He clearly sees Rick as a failed leader and failed father – but the only father he has and one he still needs.  What happens when the need is gone?  Will Rick eventually have to kill Carl, whose emotional fragility seems to be hidden behind a willingness to verbally eviscerate anyone who stands in the way his attempt to reclaim something that resembles a real life? How much longer before Carl’s verbal evisceration of others become physical?

You can see just how much Carl yearns for moments of normalcy and hasn’t accepted the new world,as he pretends.  Every moment of joy is so quickly replaced by realities of his new world order – his smile seeing computer games and a flat panel TV was quickly replaced with the realization that the TV cords were only useful for tying the door shut to keep the walkers out and the two of them safe , if only for one more night.  What would have once been a stroll down a beautiful tree-lined street became a trap for walkers and a fight for his survival.  Sitting on the rooftop, eating  a 120 oz can of pudding was tempered by him listening to the hissing of the walker behind him as it was reaching through a window at him, in what should have been a moment of solitude.  Carl, I’m guessing, is supposed to be imagining that home with its parents  inside and children and dog playing in the yard.  He was supposed to be imagining that street filled with children his age.  Tragic.

Those moments of vulnerability (such as Carl not being able to kill his father when he believes that Rick has turned – and the fact that he continues to come back to watch over him) give me hope that we will never see this father and son fall apart and make the ultimate choice to live, one without the other.  This is The Walking Dead, the TV series, so I’m never sure.

Michonne, who has been a rock from the moment we met her, was, this episode, a puddle of nerves, tears, and memories, and I thank the writers for that.  Thank you, producers, for finally bringing Michonne’s life to screen.  I thank Danai Gurira for always giving the audience a new reason to love Michonne.   She is incredibly multidimensional and it’s time for that to be stated openly instead of implied.  So the two awful men she turned into her first set of walkers were?  One her significant other, the other a friend.  I take it that the horrible thing they did was turn, and take the life of her beloved child?  I don’t need the gory details, the implications were sad enough.  I hope tonight’s scenes of her flipping and clearing a field full of walkers is an indication that she has a much larger role to play in the second half of this season.  Will Michionne become the leader that Rick cannot allow himself to become when needed (his refusal to track down and kill the Governor, for example, before the Governor had time to plan that first large attack prior to Andrea’s death)?

I’m glad the returning scene focused on Michonne, Rick, and Carl.  She needs and desperately wants the child she lost.  Carl desperately wants a mother. Both Michonne and Carl became vulnerable and Rick took a step back. Between the two of them, maybe they’ll save each other.  BRILLIANT!

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RHOA: The Brawl of Shame, Part II

Where to start?

Kenya and Brandon –  These two have shown far more compassion toward the housewives than any of the housewives have shown to either of them in this matter.  I am willing to admit that I’m completely #TeamBrandon and a bit biased, I’ll put that out there.  I don’t think it’s biased to cheer on a man who was a victim but cared more about the children of his attacker than seeking revenge/justice.  I’m sorry to learn that neither Phaedra nor Apollo called to talk things out or apologize.  Not surprising, just sad.

It feels, to me, as if Kenya and Brandon have grown up lives that some of the other women and ATL husbands don’t have (and no, I’m not treating Brandon as a househusband — but he is Kenya’s friend and business partner).  I think Kenya and Brandon were just different enough to be considered a “threat” to the ATL housewife order.  This ridiculous brawl allowed some of the HWs to  unload their own issues onto Kenya and Brandon.  Faulting them almost exclusively for this brawl is all the evidence I need that this group is busted and needs a bit of recasting — with adult women who express adult emotions.

As for the rest of the group?

Nene – Has Nene ever referred to Ryan Murphy or Andy Cohen (the men she relies on for employment) as “Queens”?  Would she ever DARE do such a thing?  Why is it ok for her to say such things about Brandon DeShazer?  For Nene to also blame Kenya and to tell her she was lucky to not have her “ass beat”?  Jeez.  I hope every Abuse Survivor organization she’s ever been affiliated with or hopes to  ever be affiliated with is watching.  I am done with Nene.  I don’t care to see her on this show another season. I also  don’t care to see her on any other show, film, play, soundtrack, straight-to-dvd project… you get the point.  I’m done.  I hope others beyond this show are done with her as well.

I’m sorry, did Kevin Hart and Regina Hall film a segment with future Oscar award winning Nene Leakes?  No?  K.

Kandi – “Cynthia won’t bust a grape”… so funny, because I was thinking of another fruit analogy — the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.  I applauded both Carmen and Kandi for admitting that fact.  I do understand the frustration Kandi must have been feeling that the constant attacks on her relationship with Todd by people who seems to have shadier histories than anything we’ve heard about Todd.  I hope that from now on, Kandi ignores them and never lets them drag her down to that level.

I wish Kandi success, away from this show, because RHOA appears to be in a downward spiral and I would not want to see her taken down with it.

Cynthia – the mocking of Kandi, even after she apologized, was inappropriate from where I stand.  For someone who tolerates a great deal of the garbage she tolerates, otherwise, I find it amazing that she did not graciously accept the apology from Kandi and leave it alone.

Phaedra.  I am disgusted. I have nothing more to say.

To have these women fighting, in the middle of a spa, where others are paying a fair amount of money to relax is embarrassing to me as viewer.  Is the season nearly over yet?

Christopher Williams?  Take my advice — HERE.

RHOBH: Kyle Richards, my new reality TV bad-ass housewife fave!

For me, the “Real Housewives of…” series has become an interesting study in the de-evolution of women who, at one time, must have considered themselves rich, powerful, or at least in control of their lives in some way.  Women who started out having conversations about their children, marriages, and power business moves in earlier seasons later behaved as if they were auditioning for positions with the World Wrestling Entertainment organization! Marvelous?  That is left to be decided by individual viewers.  I only know that I’m more fascinated by the transformation, than the hot mess that comes along with it.

Each episode I expect the housewives to stand just a little farther apart from one another, just in case a random slap, kick, or hair pull takes place.  If I lived with the RHOA, RHONJ, or RHOM crews, I’d walk around in a suit of armor (in the event that someone broke through my line of bodyguards).  These three franchises are, in my unscientific review of prior seasons, the three which are most likely to break out in a physical fight no matter what the location or seriousness of the event.  They put the “K’ in Klassy!  For RHONY and RHOC – I’d carry aspirin and earplugs – the screeching and verbal intimidation would be enough to push me over the edge.  Sure, they spell classy with a “c”, but my guess is that while they can spell it correctly they can’t define – pardon the few exceptions in each franchise. (I hope we get to a point where none of the RH of any franchise uses the word “class”. I am of the Anderson Cooper school of thought, if you’re using the word and not referring to your children in school – then you shouldn’t be using the word at all.)

RHOBH is a completely different animal.  Even with the introduction of Brandi Glanville, most of the RHOBH have maintained their dignity and not fallen too far over the Bravo cliff.  There have certainly been tense moments and raised voices in Beverly Hills, but the larger Beverly Hills game seems to be stealth set ups, angry aggressive glares and angry confessional interviews talk.  VIEWER.HEAVEN.!

Kyle Richards has become my new fave RHOBH housewife.  She is working on becoming my fave RH, across franchises!  Of sure, she is not living her life to make me or any other viewer happy, I get that, and it’s what makes her pure GOLD this season.  While some housewives are trapped by the cycle of drunken debauchery and permanent snark (fun within limits), Kyle opened the door to the life she seems to live outside of the show. While Carlton Gebbia dreams of Kyle (or has premonitions, intuition, and other psychic connections), Kyle is busy hosting a fundraiser with Jamie Lee Curtis.  Brandi Glanville is breaking her hand, Kyle Richards is turning that broken hand into psychological insights and emotional breakthroughs for Brandi.  Yolanda Foster is pruning lemon trees, Kyle is snarking Carlton’s bitter nasty attacks into comedic GOLD!

I honestly expected Kyle to let it all go when Kyle began ranting during Mauricio and Ken’s joint birthday party (Klassy move, Carton).  Kyle tried keeping the peace with Carlton all season.  Instead of expressing her displeasure with the constant “tits on an ant” attacks, she unloaded on Carlton during the confessional interviews.  The worm turned at the dinner party.  Kyle refused to allow Carlton to spew odd accusations that she’d been attacking her.  She did not save her displeasure for the confessional, well done.  It seems, to me, that rather than confront Carlton directly, the other housewives have turned away and ignored her actions for the sake of a false peace (Yolanda in the lemon grove with the women, painting lovely pictures for her daughter while Carlton ruined that moment with antagonistic talk).  I knew Carlton was in trouble then.  Yolanda tried to ignore her and the BFF/crush Brandi thought Carlton was a bit over the edge.

Given rumored fan frustration with Carlton, I am happy to hear more of the HWs speaking out about her actions (Brandi in particular).

Tonight, I’m preparing to watch the Brawl of Shame, Part II, as I’m watching, I’ll be thinking about the snarkfest coming my way with the RHOBH and it will dull the pain RHOA will surely bring, even if only just a little.