Wednesday, July 13, 2016

In Which I Review Dead of Summer (1x3)

I went to summer camp when I was much younger and I don't remember all the kissing that this week's episode, "Mix Tape," had in it. Or maybe I was just never invited; or maybe the constant hooking up and sexual concerns present at Camp Stillwater were frowned upon while staying at Christian Bible Camp. At any rate, the mythology and surrounding mystery of Camp Stillwater took a bit of a break this week (until the end) and instead the show tried to sell me on numerous relationships. You might be able to tell that it was not a rousing success. It's a sign of the caliber of writing that the romantic entanglements are flat, uninteresting, and eye-roll worthy while the friendship between Blair and Cricket is far more rewarding and organic. I keep bringing up how cliche the show is and how it sticks to its tropes, lock stock and barrel; the gay boy and the overweight self-conscious girl are no exception but that doesn't mean that a trope can't be compelling or, at the very least, not as dull and rote as the never ending parade of love triangles/squares/whatever shape this show is making itself out to be. Grab a dear heart and avoid the lightening and let's go!

Cricket is a bit of an idiot, right? I say that as someone who identifies with the body and self-confidence issues that have manifested in Cricket and to which we were treated this week. Since she's the cliche overweight (in this shows eyes, at least), non-traditionally pretty character, of course she's got body issues and is attempting to rectify the problem by making others think she is something she's not. Cricket might be an idiot (and I'll get to that in a second) but there's a nice through line in her story this week about creating a myth around oneself. There are lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better and usually we hope like hell that others around us, those who don't know us all that well, will buy into the myth we spin. Tell the same story enough times and people will take it as gospel truth, believing in stories that have no basis in reality. For Cricket, it's about changing the reality of everyone around her: if people hear that she's a "slut" and believe the stories of her hookups, then they will see her as something she doesn't see in herself: desirable. It's perfectly normal to want others to see us as desirable and given Cricket's backstory of an overweight mother and cheating father, it's even more so. I have some issues with the end result of this story, however. Cricket realizes that she doesn't want to settle and that she deserves a mix tape type of romance (side note, but once again setting this story in 1989 and bringing up the concept of a mix tape isn't doing the show any favors given that most of the audience barely remembers CDs and life before downloads and shared playlists). This is all well and good except that her chance at said mix tape romance is currently....dead. Alex, our Russian who is fooling everyone into believing he's an all American good boy, just wants a hook up and another notch in his stolen belt, so Cricket is left to chirp alone. It's not that Cricket needs a reward for coming to her conclusion, but I think the show is drawing a rather stark dividing line. You know, there's nothing wrong, with just sex. The show felt a wee bit Puritan in this regard. Cricket may want a mix tape type of romance, but the two are not mutually exclusive. Having sex (because, shock, it feels good) doesn't mean that you won't get a mix tape someday, that sex can't lead to a mix tape, or that you have to forgo sex in order to have a more serious romance. Sometimes feeling good, no strings attached, is perfectly fine. Those weighty considerations aside, we're back to my beginning assessment about Cricket being an idiot. Not that any of her fellow camp counselors are any better, mind you, but in what reality do you get into a perfect stranger's car to go for a ride around the block? Yes, there's the myth that Cricket is spinning for herself about being reckless and adventurous but there's also common sense and Cricket had enough of it to know that Damon (cliche bad guy name for the demon worshiper!) is bad news. She turned him away twice before agreeing to get in to his car-of-love-and-death. Cricket still knows that she's spinning tall tales, she hasn't bought into her own false reality, but just because Jessie gave her some seriously bad advise, she goes off and takes a ride from Damon, a guy dressed head to toe in costuming bad mojo? Dumb, dumb, dumb. However, given that Amy is afraid of tether-ball (and got struck my lightening), Joel is trying to hook up with Deb (probably Queen of the Damned), and Blair can't tell that Drew isn't into him and only kissed him to shut up his never ending blabbing, maybe Cricket's actually ahead of the pack.

Miscellaneous Notes on Mix Tape

--Is Cricket having premonitions or is someone warning her from the other side?

--Yeah, Amy got struck by lightening while standing in the demon-lake. That'll end well.

--So, we did manage to get a bit more information on the Satanic cult. Apparently they sprung up in 1871 with their intention to commune with the dead and were led by the piano player.

--I'm worried that all the TVs around Camp Stillwater only play the same Satanic Documentary over and over again.

--Cricket may be an idiot, but Jessie is just the worst, ever.

--"Women like us, sometimes we have to settle." There are bad parents in every single Adam and Eddy show, aren't there?

No comments:

Post a Comment