Monthly Archives: January 2013

Interview with @L7sville Star, @kyliesparks-Part 1!!!

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Howdy guys,

I hope that you enjoy this interview with Kylie Sparks, one of the stars of Squaresville, as much as I did. She’s a really, really funny woman. We’ve had many a chat on twitter and they were fantastic.

Courtesy of Kylie Sparks

Courtesy of Kylie Sparks

Getting to Know Kylie

For those of us who don’t know much about you, tell me a little bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Kylie Sparks and I play Esther on “Squaresville.” I was born and raised in Tulsa, OK, but have been living in Los Angeles since I was about 17 (I started coming out here part-time when I was 13) and steadily working as an actor ever since, including during college (I graduated from USC). I have two dogs, love fashion, writing, music (both singing and listening to it!), travelling, and just generally having a good time.

How did you get started in acting?

I always credit my second grade teacher, Susan Sullivan, because she cast me in my first play-a simple retelling of Snow White for the Second Grade Fairy Tale Tea Day and I played the Wicked Queen. It was love at first sight for me, and I began training in Tulsa at a performing arts studio, Theatre Arts, in musical theatre, dance, voice, and acting (on top of the 1200 other extracurriculars I participated in) as well as doing theatre around town. I was 13 when my mother and I decided to try auditioning in Los Angeles, and was in LA part-time while still going to school in Tulsa. I ultimately began homeschooling and tested out of High School when I was 16 and booked my first professional job, the IFC Films feature “Pizza.”

What are some of the shows and films that you were in?
Besides “Pizza,” where I was the female lead opposite Ethan Embry and a whole ensemble of incredible actors, I’ve recurred on ABC’s “Complete Savages” and “Desperate Housewives,” as well as guest starring on such shows as “Bones,” “Melissa & Joey,” “ER,” and “Greek,” among other shows and have worked in commercials, stage, and other new media series. I recently worked on my second feature, an indie college-football-slacker comedy called “Mr. Intangibles” that should be out in 2013.

What were some of your favorite projects and why?
I really can’t pick a favorite because I have been so spoiled in my career that every job has been absolutely incredible and I learn so much from each of them. If I HAD to choose, it’s a three-way tie between Complete Savages, ER, and Squaresville. I started watching ER from the VERY beginning at 7 years old (my mom was a huge fan of George Clooney, and I don’t blame her!), and 10 years later I was a guest lead on one of my favorite shows, so it was a dream come true and I got to work with some of the best actors on television that I had been watching for years. Squaresville has been our “little engine that could” that when we shoot the show, we are a family, and while we are shooting a ridiculous amount of work each day, I come home exhausted but happy and just excited about the whole thing even if there are times where I personally feel frustrated or anxious about how I did that day, I just know the next day I get to see my friends again. The same is for Complete Savages-it was my first television job, I had three lines in the pilot but they treated me like I was one of the stars of the show and when the series was picked up, they kept asking me back and every time I stepped onto the set, I felt like I was home. I had a whole family of people who just loved their job and fought for it tooth and nail and always had my back 100%.

If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing as a career?

Acting has been the only job I’ve ever known and I’m not sure what I would do as an alternate. I think I’d probably go back to school for journalism or producing to learn how to be a film producer or an agent or a music journalist, but I’m hoping that’s not the case (although at some point I do want to write and develop my own projects to produce down the road.)

Dream project and why?
There are so many people I want to work with that I admire and that I met that as long as I get to keep working, that’s my ultimate dream. I hope someday I get to be in a film adaptation of a book or two that I love (or the film adaptations of musicals I’m obsessed with since I started in musical theatre) just because it would be extra-special to me.

If you could work with any actor/actress living or dead, who would be and why?
Well, besides Bradley Cooper (who I LOOOOOOOVE. This is not new information, haha!) I want to work with Marion Cotillard. She is absolutely flawless and incredible in everything she does and she just seems like the nicest person on the planet who just does her job and doesn’t get sucked into all the hoopla. And I think if I could go back in time, I’d love to work with Danny Kaye, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Doris Day, and Rosemary Clooney. White Christmas is one of my favorite films ever, and I LOVE Doris Day in Pillow Talk. It’s such an adorable classic.

Tips for beginning actors?

Tenacity. Keep going. It’s hard, but to survive, you have to keep going and work hard every day. It gets tough (believe me, I know and still experience it), but the pay off is so worth it. At the same time, do not take this whole game seriously. That will kill your spirit (and your career) in the long run, because you have to have something else you love that will distract you during the hard times.

Tips for people who want to create their own web series?
I’m very new to the web space, but what I’ve learned is that if you have an idea and a camera, just do it. Write it out. Shoot it, whether you have a point-and-shoot camera (or even an iPhone) and a few friends or a professional camera with a boom and grips and a crew of a bajillion, as long as you just do it and you do the best job you can, there’s room for everyone.

Tips for surviving auditions?
Don’t let the mind games win. Just go in, be prepared, but have fun and be nice to everyone. Learning HOW to audition is also necessary, so be in class to learn how to audition so you can get the job.

Quick fire questions
Coke or Pepsi?
Diet both (I have a serious addiction to diet soda!)

Cats or dogs?
DOGS.

Summer or winter?
Winter!

Hugs or kisses?
Both 😉

Fame or fortune?
Fortune.

Which is worse: speaking in front of a crowd or writing a paper?

This is gonna sound so weird coming from me, but speaking in front of a crowd. NERVEWRACKING.

Time travel to: the past or the future?

probably the future.

Celebrity magazine or newspaper?

celebrity mag (you can always get the news online!)

Fave food?

pancakes.

Fave book?

oh MAN this question hurts me…tie between “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, Tina Fey’s “Bossypants,” anything by Nick Hornby, Joe Meno’s “Hairstyles of the Damned,” and one of the most haunting memoirs I’ve ever read, “Wasted” by Marya Hornbacher.

Fave color?
Blue, Black, and Silver.

Stay Tuned

Next week, we have the final part to Kylie’s interview and then we have the final two interviews with the other star, Mary Kate Wiles.

TTFN,
Nerd

New Video!!!

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Howdy guys,

I posted a new video yesterday in which I preform some poetry and promote some things that I love. Watch below:

Stay tuned for the started of my interview with Kylie Sparks tomorrow and for my video review of the first episode of season 2 of Squaresville on Friday.

TTFN,
Nerd

Interview with @L7sville Creator, @mrmattenlow-Part 2!!!

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Howdy guys,

Here is the second part of my interview with Matt. Here you will get his insight into the show.

Matt Talks About his “Baby”

What is Squaresville?
The story of two best friends best-friend-ing.

Who is in your cast?
Mary Kate Wiles, Kylie Sparks, Austin Rogers, Tiffany Ariany, David Ryan Speer, and Christine Weatherup round out our regular cast.

What was your inspiration for the series?
Growing up bored in the suburbs, I never felt like any TV or movie got it right. There was always too much to do in those shows. The drama of my life came from trying to decide if I should walk the extra long way home with my friends, or only the kind of long way home so that I made it home in time for the first re-run of the Simpsons or Seinfeld. (Answer, watch the Simpsons at Greg’s (but remember to call your Mom to let her know once you got there) then wait for the first few minutes of Seinfeld to see if you’ve already seen it or not so that you can decide whether or not to book it and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation at home or not).

What were your reasons for wanting to make the series?
There wasn’t anything that really represented my feelings as a young person out there. It was all high-gloss drama, which is great on its own terms (ideally) but didn’t speak to a decidedly un-glossy, un-dramatic kid like me. I wanted to make a show I would have loved at that age.

So you Kickstarted to fund season 1, but shot the series before you had secured all the funds. What was that like and why did you do that?
That was the scariest thing I’d ever done. We had to shoot before Kickstarter had ended because there were circumstances that would incapacitate the production for at least six months, otherwise. Trust me, I would have much preferred waiting, as Kickstarter is a full time job. It was do or die, so I went for it. Also, to be clear, if we hadn’t made our Kickstarter goal, I would have been sunk. This was not a situation where I could have afforded to bank roll the show on my own. If we hadn’t made that money back, I would have basically been ruined. So hooray! We made it! It worked! Don’t do what I did!

Tell me about the casting process.
The casting process is a long, long, long one. We all have day jobs, so casting was something that occurred on weekends. We put up a break down, weed through headshots and resumes, call people in, call them back, mix them up with our cast, and see what sticks. We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary (other than do all the work ourselves) but you just have to be patient, and trust that you’ll find the right person.

What is a day on set like?
It’s the most exhausting, fun thing ever. As I’ve said, I know the majority of the crew very, very well. They’re old college buddies for the most part. We start pretty early, and while the crew sets up, I feel out how everyone is on their lines and character. I try to talk with the actors, maybe even rehearse, and then we’re off to the races. We shoot about 10-14 pages everyday (a movie shoots 2), we pack up, and do it all over again.

Which character do you relate the most to and why?
The main three (Zelda, Percy, Esther) are each a slice of my personality, but I think that Percy is the most clearly me. Though, I have Zelda’s stubbornness at my worst, and Esther’s Snark at my crankiest. Percy’s stories are the easiest for me, plot-wise, because he moves through the world so naively, which is very similar to me, even now.

If you haven’t seen the series, three reasons to watch.
Squaresville has: Laughs, smooches, and sarcasm in equal parts. 

Any words you would like to say?
Excelsior, true believers.

Stay Tuned!

The next two weeks, we will be hearing from Kylie Sparks one of the stars of the show. I have a feeling that you guys will become a big fan of hers like I have.

TTFN,Nerd

Interview with @L7sville Creator, @mrmattenlow-Part 1!!!

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Howdy guys,

I’m really excited about this series of interviews with the creator and stars of a new favorite web series, Squaresville. You’ll want to watch the series after these interviews. It’s up on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

I will be posting in two parts as usual and I will be posting one part a week. But, now it’s time for the interview with the creator of the series Matt Enlow.

Getting to Know Matt

For those of us who don’t know much about you, tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’ve been doing web series for about 6 years now, as a writer director. My wife and I started with a series called “Engaged” that I’m still proud of, but that really shows the growth in technology available to people like me in just a few years.

How did you get started in film making?
As a kid I always dreamed of doing special effects for ILM. I grew up in Sacramento, so the bay area and Lucas Film was very close, and very real for me. Later I grew to be interested in the independent film movement. I guess you could say that a DIY mentality, and a love for tactile film making combined to make Squaresville.

What were some of your favorite projects and why?
Squaresville is my baby, so that’ll always have a special place in my heart. My two other series, Mountain Man and Engaged will always be dear to me as well, as I’ve been lucky enough to make shows with basically the same group of friends for the last five years.

If you weren’t making films, what would you be doing as a career?
I’m still very interested in teaching. I think a lot of the themes we’re working through on Squaresville come from a desire to inform and improve young people’s lives, so it seems like an obvious jump.

Dream project and why?
A comic book movie – maybe Superman or Animal Man. I love the idea of working in a storied universe that people love and are familiar with.  OR, more recently, guesting on an episode of Dr. Who. That would be amazing.

If you could work with any actor/actress living or dead, who would be and why?
Weird Al Yankovich. NO DUH.

Tips for beginning filmmakers?
It’s the most common, and it’s the best: just go do it. Waiting is for suckers, and it has literally never been easier to produce your own media. What are you waiting for?

Tips for people who want to create their own web series?
Have a simple idea that you can explain in a single sentence. “A group of online gamer friends are forced to meet in real life” (The Guild), “A regular guy gets sucked into the Legend of Zelda” (The Legend of Neil), “A couple gets married after a wild night in vegas and decides to give it a shot” (Husbands). This is great for two reasons; one, in a short format like web, you need to be able to dig into your story as soon as possible, and having a simple notion of what your show is will help that, and two, when you’re at family gatherings or parties, you want to be able to explain what your show is succinictly so that you have as MUCH time as possible to explain to your aunt what a web series is (phrases like “No, it’s not on TV, it’s on the computer” or “we get money through the little ads at the bottom, but no, it’s not very much, and yes, I still have my day job” will be handy also). [editor’s note: Go and watch all of the series he mentioned. They are some awesome series.]

Quick fire questions
Coke or Pepsi?

Coke if had to choose.

Cats or dogs?
Dogs.

Summer or winter?
Summer no duhz.

Hugs or kisses?
Smooches.

Fame or fortune?
Fortune. Are you kidding me?

Which is worse: speaking in front of a crowd or writing a paper?
They’re worse for different reasons, but my home field advantage is always writing.

Time travel to: the past or the future?
FUTURE

Celebrity magazine or newspaper?
Newspaper.

Fave food?
Coffee.

Fave book?
Can I say “understanding comics”? I really love that book.

Fave color?
Black.

Note from Matt: Looking at my answers makes me seem way angstier than I am, you guys. Can I just add, that I really love like, the teenage pop stylings of Allison Weiss or something? I’m coming off like such a cliche.

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned for more from Matt. I think you’ll enjoy what he has to say about his show.

TTFN,
Nerd

My Response to Jason’s Review!!!

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Howdy guys,

I thought I would give you my thoughts on the major points of Jason’s review. For the most part I agree, but then I got to thinking. His major gripe is that Lauren just gives up. That she chooses not to be “Stub” that she is known for. Here’s why I think that it is was such an amazing choice for Lauren’s character:

This is the only life she knows

You find out very early on that she comes from a long line of soldiers. She even marries a solider. I think that part of her motivation for the decision is that very fact. She grew up around the military and feels a duty to keep up the long line of soldiers.

This is her career

I suppose that I could have lumped this with the first point, but it is sort of its own point. In the first episode, we find out that Lauren has a young daughter. I think another part of the motivation is that she has to take care of her daughter and this is the life that she has chosen for a career. I think that she feels as though this is all that she can do.

When given the choice to continue fighting, she has a revelation

When Masters gives Lauren the choice to take her case to the press, she chooses not to continue fighting. This a major turning point for her as a character. We aren’t sure how old she is, but I can’t imagine her being much older than 30. Probably in her mid 20’s.  I believe that she realizes that not everything is worth being stubborn about. This wasn’t the place or the time.

Final Thoughts

I suppose you’re wondering what I would do if I was in her shoes now that I said that she her choice was a moment of growth. I think that I’m very much like Lauren. I, like her, am very stubborn. Almost to a fault. That being said, I think that I would have taken my case to the press and jepordizing my career. I would keep fighting until the men who raped me were brought to justice. Then again, personal experience may be coloring my decision.

Anyhoo, I’d like to thank Jason for sharing his feeling on the show and making me think more about the series.

TTFN,
Nerd

 

Another @WIGS’ Lauren Review!!!

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Howdy guys,

I thought that I would post a review done by a guest. Jason saw my review of Lauren (here) and we started a dialogue. I challenged him to write a review of the show. So here it is.

Jason’s Review

I first discovered Lauren, and the subject of military rape, back in October. I was just browsing Troian Bellisario’s Wikipedia page and discovered a short film on her filmography called Lauren, in which Troian played a soldier. Wow, that sounds awesome! And it was available to watch on Youtube, so I went and checked it out. Boy, was I not ready for it! While it wasn’t beyond my comprehension that rape can happen in the military, what did shock me was the lengths that the military goes to cover it up, including making the victims out the be the bad guys. After watching all three episodes, I felt like a part of me had died on the inside. I tried hard not to come back, but I just couldn’t ignore it.

Lauren tells the fictional story of SSG Lauren Weil (Troian Bellisario), a young soldier trying to report to her CO, Mjr. Jo Stone (Jennifer Beals), that she was gang raped by three of her own men. Stone seems concerned, but tries to discourage Lauren from getting justice (for her own safety).

Part 1

The Report is by far my favorite episode. The episode starts with Stone reading over Lauren’s report, somewhat indifferently, and referring to Lauren’s plight as “the incident”. It isn’t really until Lauren brings up the word “rape” that we really understand how serious things are. Since this is a short story (~10 min.), the story depends on emotion and subtle performances to be memorable. And it succeeds. Stone continues trying to discourage Lauren (you start to realize that she does in fact care) even by laying out the facts that most rape cases never see the light of day, and for many, the results are unsatisfying, but Lauren persists, much to Stone’s annoyance. Troian’s performance is brilliant, it’s so emotional. You can’t help but feel for her, and maybe wonder why Stone is refusing to help. The one misstep of this episode, is when Stone uses Lauren’s 5-year-old daughter as an excuse not to go thru with her charge. “Think of what happens to her in all this. You have her livelihood to consider. You have responsibilities.” How dare she! If anything, that should be a reason to get the charge going. Think about Lauren going home and having to hide that burden from her daughter. Stone, how dare you! The highlight of the episode comes from Lauren’s speech. After Stone orders Lauren to get out and think about what she’s doing (also she reminds me of a whiny 12-year-old as she turns her back on Lauren and waits for her to leave), Lauren brings up her family’s military history and says that she wants her daughter to be proud of her when she goes home. “Baby, I did right!” She then says some kind and inspiring words that melt Stone’s heart and make her want to help. She dismisses Lauren and then rereads her report. To bookend the episode, when Stone first read the report, it was “just an accusation”, now as she rereads it, it’s Lauren getting in Stone’s face and saying “Look what these men did to me!” Lauren’s report is so detailed that that she can actually see the rape. We get to see glimpse of the rape and it’s actually quite an emotional scene. You feel so terrible for Lauren as she’s beaten, raped and humiliated by three @#$% who look like they’re having a ball. They disgust me! We come back to Stone’s office, where Stone starts to cry as she realizes what she’s trying to overlook (for some reason, Jennifer Beals does good crying scenes). The episode ends with Stone nervously reaching for her office phone to have this reported, but she still has her doubts that it’ll be taken seriously.

Part 2

The Third Man opens with Lauren at the base’s shooting range practicing her grouping. It’s one of the few times in the series she gets to look bad ass. After that, she goes to meet with Masters (Navi Rawat) (rank unclear), an army legal rep. to start compiling evidence for her case. I hate Masters with every fiber of my being. Instead of getting Lauren’s side of the story, or asking useful questions, she asks inappropriate questions like, ‘Are you sexually active on base?’, ‘What did you do to lead the men on?, and ‘Why didn’t you think to have your weapon with you the night of the assault?’ Again, how dare she?! Isn’t she supposed to be helping her? And I know, true to life, but still…

It’s really hard to judge Navi’s performance. I know she’s playing a character and actually does a pretty good job, all things considered, but given how much I hate this character, it’s really hard to separate the character from the actress. I really don’t get what she represents either. Is she helping Lauren (as she was ordered) by getting her fighting mad, or is she making Lauren believe that the rape was her fault (“Don’t come @#$%ing to me that you had sex and changed your mind!”) The scene ends with Masters turning Lauren from a frightened but honorable young soldier into a bloodthirsty, she-devil, hell-bent on revenge. I don’t approve. Lauren leaves Masters’ office, refusing to salute her.

In the next scene, Stone meets with her CO, Col. Harold (Sam Hennings), and has confidence that Lauren will at least get to face her accusers in a court martial. Harold, however, informs her that Gen. Prince has ordered the case to be terminated. What? Why? (Also, when did he find out? A minute ago he was just discussing the case with Stone, and suddenly, he just found out the case of terminated. Did his invisible messenger just leave him a memo?) The details are classified. Stone is furious, but quickly figures out that Lauren’s third attacker, the one she didn’t know, was Lt. Prince, the general’s grandson. Col Harold isn’t as infuriating as Masters, but he’s still a chauvinist pig. “I abhor what happened to this girl, but her plight does not take precedence over our mission.” You can just tell he doesn’t care. ‘I abhor what happened to her, but not enough to do anything.’ Also, the Taliban don’t seem to be attacking at the moment (and I know that could change really quick), but Harold is just making it clear that no one cares. Also, I’ve actually seen this before, in the documentary “Roger and Me”, Michael Moore attempts to confront business mogul, Roger Smith, about the collapse of the small town of Flint, MI because he closed their GM plant. Like Harold, Smith feigns sympathy but has no reason to care. That’s what welfare is for. So I already don’t approve of his logic. When Stone complains, Harold reminds her of her place, and reminds her that if she persists, she could lose opportunities for advancement. Also, the responsibility of giving the bad news to Lauren falls to Stone. Stone states that she’s strong enough, and she’ll take care of it. Col. Harold, I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Part 3

The Suck more than lives up to its name. Stone meets with Lauren, and as sympathetically as possible, breaks the news to Lauren that not only has her case been terminated, but her file has been buried and the evidence (the rape video) destroyed (all to protect her identity, of course). Lauren takes it about as well as you’d expect. What follows is a screaming match of epic proportions, with Lauren revealing how stubborn she can be, and Stone trying to hide behind her rank. Also, I feel like this story is written specifically to break down Lauren. They list off all of the crappy events in her life, being punished for something her brother did to her, her dead husband, her inconvenient daughter (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating that one a little), and now she being denied justice for something that should be punished. It sucks. Finally, Stone gives Lauren the worst advice I’ve ever heard; “Embrace the suck.” Lauren leaves infuriated.

Outside, Lauren meets up with Masters, who has suddenly decided that she cares about Lauren…for some reason. I love how Lauren tries to ignore her at first. I would too. She tells her about two other female soldiers who were raped and denied justice, with painful consequences. She has a proposition for Lauren; take the rape video she still has and send it to the Huffington Post and get the word out about military rape. She would be getting justice for not only herself, but so many women who’ve been denied justice. And given how stubborn Lauren is, she’d be the perfect soldier to lead the charge. Lauren seems interested, but says that would mean having to choose between with she loves (the army) and what’s right. “What’s the alternative?” asks Masters. Lauren sighs and then bitterly replies, “I embrace the suck!” (There it is, I just felt something die inside of me.) Lauren salutes a shocked Masters, and walks off to an uncertain fate.

So that was Lauren. How was it?

Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First of all, I know this story was meant to be upsetting, so I can’t judge it on how it makes me feel (Infuriated, by the way). However, I did think there were some problems.

The biggest problem, and I think most of my problems can be covered by this, is time. At three ten-minute episodes, this story is way too short. Because of this, we don’t get to see much of the characters of our two heroines, and important details are just crammed into the story and/or glanced over. As I said before, part one is the only episode that seems properly paced.

Second, this story is about the rape and nothing else. I know the point of this story was to draw attention to the subject of military rape and how it’s rarely dealt with, but show us something else. What does Lauren do in the military? How long has she served? What motivated her to serve? What has she accomplished? What’s her family life like? All good questions that are never answered, because we need to focus on the rape. While not their intention, what Lesli Linka Glatter and her cast and crew have made is a message to all women to get out and/or stay out of the military, not because they’re no good as soldiers, mind you, but because it’s not safe for them. (No joke, a friend of mine told me that the daughter of a friend of hers was thinking about joining the service, but when her mom told her what happens to women in the military, she immediately changed her mind.) I’m not saying that women don’t belong in the military (quite the opposite, I think any woman serving should be considered heroic, especially after this), but based on this story, there’s nothing for women in the military but pain, abuse and humiliation.

Finally, my last problem, I feel like they had to change the heroes’ personalities for the sake of a dramatic ending. In episode one, Stone refuses to take Lauren’s case, because it will just end badly. It’s almost safer not to report rape crimes in the service. But in the end, she’s moved by Lauren’s courage and sense of honor, she moved by what Lauren thinks of her, she appalled by what Lauren’s rapists did to her, that she thinks that this case might be worth fighting for. The case is terminated, as you’d expect, and Stone just gives up. I know the army holds all the cards, but given how much this case meant to Mjr. Stone, she would’ve tried to fight a little bit harder, or at least, she wouldn’t have left Lauren to fend for herself. As for Lauren, part 3 seems to turn her into a rage-driven monster. And I know she’s angry, but she’s still a far cry from the honorable soldier she was in part 1. I partly blame Masters for that. She rants that this fight isn’t over, but when Masters approaches her with a solution, she turns it down. It’s not worth giving up her job.

Lauren’s choice

This just killed everything! To the cast and crew of Lauren, if you’re expecting praise for this scene, you might want to bring a sleeping bag.

First, “I embrace the suck” is just the worst line in film history. There’s nothing heroic about this line; it doesn’t make Lauren look brave, it’s her official surrender. Her rapists have won, she’s given up the last bit of her dignity, because it’s not worth defending. I hate this line! I never want to hear anyone, let alone Troian, say this line again. Thanks for killing my hero.

Second, what happened to Stub? A minute ago, Lauren wouldn’t shut up about how she wasn’t done with this issue. Then when Masters offers her help, she turns it down. That doesn’t make any sense. Not only because she said she’d keep fighting, but she has so many reasons to get out anyway; she could get away from her rapists, she can go home to her daughter who doesn’t need to lose another parent to the war, and she can fight this great injustice from the outside, like so many women before her. But no, Lauren can’t give up the thing she loves.

While we’re on the subject, this story has a theme of choosing between what you love and what’s right. And personally, I think it’s stupid. It’s a stupid attempt to make the story deep and it’s implying that if you keep your mouth shut, there are benefits. And there aren’t, the abuse and harassment doesn’t stop, you still have to live with the painful memory of what happened, and at worst, it will probably happen again. The only “benefit” is that the higher-ups don’t punish you for coming forward. Doing what’s right seems smarter no matter how you look at it. I understand that most victims don’t come forward because their afraid of reprisal, but making it seem like it’s a choice with benefits makes the whole thing sound stupid. I’m sure no victims are thinking about this when faced with the choice. All they’re thinking is that they want justice.

And finally, I could have accepted Lauren’s decision to stay, but only if it was done right. “I embrace the suck,” was NOT the way to go. As I’ve said above, this story implies that Lauren still wants to stay in the military without giving us much explanation as to why. We don’t know what Lauren does in the service, we don’t know what drives her, we don’t even know how her rapists have are doing since the incident. If she’d ended by saying, “I’ll take my chances,” or “I won’t let them think they’ve beaten me,” or “I’ve accomplished so much,” or even “I want my family and daughter to be proud of me,” I would have no issues with her decision to stay. But no, why would Lauren Weil want to leave and organization where she can be raped by her own men, and harassed and humiliated for trying to fight back?

Future episodes

I’ve heard rumors about further episodes of Lauren. I would love that so much. First off, Lauren has to come back. I’m worried that if they make another military story, I would be a spin-off about Mjr. Stone or Masters, or a new story about a completely different character. And while I wouldn’t mind that, I want to see Lauren, I want to know she’s okay, and I want to see her in a more heroic role, not just more about her failed rape case. Also, I’d love to hear about what she does exactly in the army, (medic? MP? Mechanic? Driver? Artillery? Engineer? What?!) Also, I’d love to hear about her family (both her parents and her husband and daughter). WIGS, puh-leease think about this!!!

Final Thoughts

All things considered, I give Lauren a final score of 8/10.

Yeah, as much as I hate the end results and what happens to our heroine, I don’t hate this series. I can’t. The acting is top-notch, I have a huge new appreciation for Troian Bellisario, Jennifer Beals, and Lesli Linka Glatter, and the story has woke me up to the issue of military rape. Seriously, before this, I didn’t know the military covers up rape crimes. After this, I wanna help, any way I can, even if it’s just showing people this series. I’ve also started researching everything I can find on the military, particularly the roles women have. After watching this, female soldiers are some of the most heroic people I can think of.

Up until the end, Lauren is my hero. She’s brave, strong, honorable and heroic. She actually makes me wonder if I should have thought about joining the army. Eh, I have a condition, and I probably wouldn’t  have made it past boot camp, but it’s interesting to wonder.

I like the character of Mjr. Stone, but felt she was underused. She basically seems like the middle man, telling Lauren what she knows from experience and what the higher-ups would have her tell her. I feel like she and Lauren are the same character, except that Stone is twenty years older and more cynical. I wish they’d done more with her, (especially more scenes with Lauren) and feel like she actually drew strength from Lauren (another reason why the ending was so disappointing). Also, wait, she’s a CO, so even if she can’t get Lauren a court martial, there has to be something she can do. After all, these men still answer to her. Dang, I wish Stone was more developed, but I still loved her.

However the story still has its problems, it’s way too short and it shows too much rape victim and not enough Lioness. Don’t get me wrong, Lauren is still my hero, I just wanted to see more of her.

I would recommend this series to everyone, but only if you can handle it. The story is so heavy and painful that I almost thought I was going to be sick when I first watched it. I still recommend that everyone see this series at least once to see what our troops have to deal with besides enemy fire. If you come back for more, watch episode one; it’s the best paced, and Lauren seems truly heroic here. If you’re a fan of hardcore drama, or if you’ve served, I would definitely recommend this series.

Lastly, I’d like to give a shout-out to our brave men and women serving in our military. And to the victims of MST, just know that someone really does care.

My Thoughts

I’ll give them to you tomorrow. While I agree with him on some points, I disagree heavily with him on others.

TTFN,
Nerd