SpoilerTV`s Weekly Round Table: Most Relevant Shows On Air / Special Edition By Marko Pekic (July 17, 2018, 5:13 am) Brooklyn Nine-Nine, You're the Worst, Shadowhunters, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, One Day at a Time, The Handmaid's Tale, BoJack Horseman, The Good Fight, The Bold Type, Grown-ish, Dietland



Summer is hitting us hard. With the lack of TV news circulating this year, we thought to spice it up a bit and talk about different stuff. This week we are talking the Most Relevant shows on air. Talking about which big currently relevant topics they are tackling and how well they are doing it. Get ready for some really inspirational stuff. Today I`m (MK) joined Claire (CS), Yon (YN), Beth (BW), Jamie (JC), Jules (JK), Lisa (LM), Laura (LS), Joey (JH), Ami (AG) and Jaz (JZ). So sit back, enjoy the read and share your thoughts and your thoughts on our thoughts in the comments section below.

GROWN-ISH

Nomi faces biphobia while also being prejudice herself
JZ:Grownish takes a no holds barred approach to bisexual representation talking about monosexism and the prejudice against bisexual men amongst the LGBTQ community. Nomi faces discrimination by a lesbian who claims that she doesn’t have time for girls who are “experimenting” or “afraid to come out as gay.” This is an unspoken aggression that bisexuals face by one gendered sexuals, highlighting the issue that this sort discrimination can happen even within the community to invalidate one another I liked how Nomi stood her ground, highlighting that bisexuality is under the rainbow flag and to “RESPECT THE LETTER BITCH.” She’s the strong unapologetic bisexual icon we need in 2018.
But like all people, Nomi is not perfect, when, dating a man who claims to also be bisexual, Nomi is faced with her own prejudice and double standard. She does not think bisexual men are attractive when kissing other men, but a bisexual woman kissing another woman is. This viewpoint is also shared by her heterosexual friends who also are uncomfortable with her boyfriend’s bisexual pride.

This storyline highlighted another untold story about the unique stigmas bisexual men face. The idea that mlm is not something that can be considered masculine or “sexy”. Both men and women can share this internalized phobia, even women (Like Nomi) who are also attracted to the same gender.

The show hasn’t really offered a solution to the issue, but I think it opened the door to future discussions of sexual fluidity in season 2. For now, I think that it’s exciting to see bisexual-centric storylines on television that isn’t told through a monosexual lens.


College Life
MK: The authenticity this show delivered throughout its freshman year run was truly captivating. It is very obvious they did a great research and were very careful with all the topics they covered. Sexuality, Dating, Studying, succeeding and failing all wrapped in a bow and served with deliciously hilarious moments. Excited with what they will come up in season two.

DIETLAND

Plum Kettle trying to navigate a ‘thin world’ as a ‘big’ woman. Fat shaming and fatphobia
CS: At the beginning of season 1, Plum longs to be thin and places all of her hopes on weight loss surgery. It is only after much therapy with Calliope House and the New Baptist Plan that she slowly begins to accept herself. But watching the pain and bigotry she endures from strangers and friends is heart-breaking but SO real; fat phobia. IMHO the mistreatment of people with weight issues is the final bigotry that is still ‘acceptable’ in our world. “Oh, I’m so worried about your health, etc...’. Blah, blah, blah...Maybe someday it will be okay to be fat, but we’re not quite there yet.

LM: Women are so busy trying to force their bodies to conform to a norm set by the media that they rarely have time or energy to fight the system. Plum is talented and much nicer than most of the other women in the show, yet she will never get ahead because society doesn't see past judging the way she looks. Until Jennifer - the rogue group that starts targeting men who target women. One of the major problems women face is also that women who do manage to achieve any kind of seeming power do it by throwing other women under the bus rather than helping each other.

CABLE GIRLS

Miguel enters into a polyamorous relationship with Carlota and Sara.
YN:Cable Girls turned the age-old love triangle trope on its head. It may be a period drama, but its storytelling can be extremely modern and none more so than here. Carlota begins the series in a relationship with Miguel, but can't help feeling drawn to Sara. Whilst Miguel starts out a little bit jealous of their connection and Carlota feeling torn between them, it eventually turned into a polyamorous relationship where they all equally loved each other & it was quite lovely to watch. Miguel getting Sara out of jail despite having no real reason to & the way that they both went to Carlota's house to try and free her from her parents goes to show that the relationship isn't just about them both being able to be with Carlota. They do all have affection & trust for each other on a level, and they would all do whatever it takes to protect & support each other.

THE BOLD TYPE

Kat getting to grips with her sexuality.
YN:It is a storyline that the show is getting a lot of heat for, and all we've had so far is her 'cheating' by kissing a girl at a club, but I do completely understand what the show is trying to do even if its storytelling isn't perfect. From the moment Kat first met Adena and had an attraction to her, she has been confused. She's a pretty open-minded person usually, but having to find an answer for whether she's straight, bisexual or Adena-sexual so to speak isn't easy. She's had her mind opened up to a whole new world of possibilities & I think her trying to find the ground is realistic and different to how other shows have handled this type of storyline. It would've been really easy once she broke things off with Adena initially to just dismiss her feelings and that relationship as a phase, and go straight back into being with guys but she couldn't do that. Sure, the kiss at the club played into some old age tropes over bisexuals being unfaithful, but I think it's important to remember at this stage that she hasn't labeled herself. She's trying to work out what all of her feelings mean & Adena instead of being furious as she did have a right to be, was instead understanding in the matter which was also a bit different.

Jacqueline reveals she has been a victim of sexual assault.
YN:That scene in the finale where Jacqueline stepped up brought tears to my eyes, and I like that the show has followed up on that storyline this year. We are living in the era of #MeToo where so many people are being able to have the courage to speak up about assaults, and it is wonderful. But we do also have to remember the many people who suffer in silence for fear of being rebuked. Jacqueline is now, of course, an extremely powerful person at Scarlett, but back in her early days, she wasn't. She didn't speak up because she was afraid of how it would affect her career (a dilemma many victims struggle with, unfortunately) & convinced herself it was only her. As we have now learned she wasn't, and whilst the other victim was at first annoyed with Jacqueline, she was able to put that aside so that they can come together to make a difference and I think that's beautiful. It was also rather touching how Jane didn't want to write her follow-up article until she'd talked it through with Jacqueline, and even then still edited it.

White Privelege
MK: Episode 5 of The Bold Type`s second season took a surprisingly serious turn when Kat and Jane clashed over a seemingly innocent remark. The writers decided to take this opportunity to show us how careful you should be with the words you use and how you may insult someone unknowingly. It felt very honest that they didn`t make Jane just skip out of her skin and started to apologize like most of the characters do. They took enough time and put the girls once more face to face and let them dissect the issue, eliminate the pride and be honest. Create a safe space and withhold the judgment and talk it out first.

SPEECHLESS

Maya fighting for JJ to be able to enjoy the same school experiences as everyone else.
YN:This is sort of an ongoing storyline with the show, but I will never stop loving it. Maya is a fierce lioness who will always do whatever it takes to make sure JJ is happy and able to enjoy the same things as others do. Be it getting Kenneth on board to act as his aid so he can socialize with his peers & communicate better with his family, forcing the school's hand to make the place more accessible for students like JJ and always getting her battle gear on to fight the good fight. Speechless is one of my favorite comedies for the fact it goes to places that other shows wouldn't, and is also careful to do proper research and make sure what they're portraying is accurate. It would've been extremely easy to cast an abled actor as JJ, but instead, they went with Micah and always have disabled actors playing disabled characters because they know how important it is to & I wish other shows would follow the same suit.

Disabled actors cast in disabled roles
MK: People who don`t watch Speechless are majorly missing out. The amount of pride and respect they put into each of their stories is amazing. Last week a lot of buzz surfaced after Scarlet Johanson was cast in a transgender role, Speechless won`t have that issue as they approach their casting as honest as possible with real disabled actors putting in the hard work, and delivering majorly. The 2nd season feautered a bunch of disabled actors playing great parts of the season and getting character development and providing development for others.

YOU`RE THE WORST

The Two sides of Depression
BW:Depression is scary, you can have everything going just right like Gretchen and all of a sudden or gradually you are deeply sad and numb for reasons that you cannot explain. This is the part of depression that a lot of people who have never experienced it are unaware of and that is the position Jimmy, her boyfriend was in. Gretchen could not get out of bed, she could not do the things that they were used to and Jimmy could not figure out what was going on and thought he could fix it with showing her things that used to make her 'happy'. She finally broke and told him she felt nothing at all, nothing made her feel like she was when they met and he deserved to be free of her because it was not fair. Now the show didn't make Jimmy into some white knight and have him do a speech about the fact that he'd never leave, in fact, he almost did with another woman, to which Gretchen understood. In the end, he got down on the floor with her and just laid there while she slept and when she woke he was still there. The next season saw Gretchen go to therapy and begin to feel again while struggling with the decision to medicate herself as well, and it was the most honest portrayal of depression I have ever seen on a show. Most of the time, something extremely traumatic happens to a character and don't get me wrong, that can be a trigger but Gretchen was doing great and still succumbed to the brutal clutches of a deep depression and Jimmy, her partner had no clue how to be there for her. That is what made it so relevant to me.

IMPUSLE

Sexual Assult
JC:While this show has supernatural elements, the main focus is how Henry deals with her sexual assault. The actress who plays Henry really did a phenomenal job. I really love how the show handled it and how Henry's fear was tied to her power.
JH: While it was incredibly powerful and emotional to see Henry's ways of coping and handling what happened to her, I think it was also fairly powerful to see the boy's recollection of what happened. There are tons of guys out there that still think "no" means "yes, but you gotta fight for it first". This guy legitimately pictured that he didn't do anything wrong and thought it was all part of some "we shouldn't" type of game. While he isn't a great human and is also clearly awful at fully grasping the mood of a situation, he's not this guy that makes a habit of taking advantage of girls and assaulting them. Henry had a very visceral and traumatic experience, but his recollection of the incident was playful in nature, and the show did a fantastic job of showing this while having virtually the same dialogue in both depictions of the incident. In his recollection, though, we as viewers can still pick up on the sense that she isn't fully into the experience but he just was not getting it. It's a very strong message about how clear a man needs to be about consent, which really shouldn't be an issue, but, you know, here we are. I wish/hope this show finds its way to a larger audience solely so men can get a better look at just how severely they can change a woman's life by misinterpreting a very serious "no". You don't have to be a monster to sexually assault someone, and, as we see here, you don't even need to knowingly assault someone for it to be assault. Always. Be. Sure.

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE

Bisexuality
JC:This storyline is so important because very rarely do we see any bisexual representation on screen and even more rarely is the word actually said out loud. And like any storyline on this show, it was handled perfectly. Her parents may not have understood but her family at the precinct gave her the support she needs. It was a very heartwarming moment.
LS: Though talked about by many, and many more shows are doing it, these, for my money, are the shows that are doing it the most accurately and with the most respect and love. I couldn't be happier about the bisexual revolution we are seemingly bearing witness to. Whether it's the refusal to succumb to many a trope, or the repeated exposure to the word "bisexual" itself, it's important to understand the examples that are thriving from the ones that are not. Be sure to support these shows and their characters because they need to understand how amazing they are.
(inclu. Madam Secretary, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)

Stop-and-frisk policing, racial profiling, police brutality
LS: In the episode, "Moo Moo", and subtly in a few other episodes, Sergeant Terry Jeffords is profiled by a white policeman to be a threat while he's literally just strolling by his house at night looking for his daughter's toy. What elevates this episode beyond either being a straight up PSA or not taking it seriously enough is the knowledge that Dan Goor, showrunner, went straight to the actors involved and the writer (all black people who would have more experience with this than him) to tackle most of the character work and dialogue of the episode. Andre Braugher ended up being instrumental for how this whole thing went down. Terry tries to take the officer to dinner and let him know that he needs to not do it again, but he's so convinced he did nothing wrong. This is obviously a problem, the show does not relent even for a minute to see what possible side Maldack or any other racist cop could have. Terry realizes he has a resource in Holt, a black man in a position of authority who has suffered similar injustices (and more, due to him also being gay) and could offer some insight on what to do. Holt's viewpoint being so insistent on Terry letting it go, to use this anger and wrongdoing to rise up the ranks to make a greater scale change, is so perfectly in character and Andre's slight of hand here is masterfully done. Terry doesn't accept this -- as Maldack is out there, right now, believing that what he is doing is fine and he WILL do it again if some action is not taken. So he files a complaint against Maldack, doesn't get a promotion he wanted, and he chalks it up to the complaint. It's important that the episode does not end on a completely cheerful note as some sort of cure to racism. It's a wholeheartedly somber ending, but one that is necessary and beautiful in its own way. Holt sees Terry's point of view, accepts that he filed the complaint, and they share a drink in the office and hope that this was the right decision all along. Even more, Jake and Amy are spending the episode babysitting Terry's kids and explaining to them what is going on. It's never once sugarcoated to them about it and they make it clear that Maldack is in the wrong and their dad is being very brave. It's an episode I would recommend to EVERYONE, even if you've never seen the show before.

ALEXA & KATIE

Cancer
Sure, there are plenty of cancer storylines these days but very rarely have I seen it in young characters on a show directed at young people. This show really took care to show the different aspects of cancer but in a light and often humorous way.

ONE DAY AT A TIME

Elena comes out as a lesbian
JK: There is a myriad amount of current issues such as PTSD and racism One Day at a Time tackles and shines light upon. Another one of these significant matters the show discusses is homosexuality. In the series, Elena, the teenager daughter of the main character, comes out as a lesbian. As a member of a staunchly Catholic Cuban-American family, she is reluctant to tell her loved ones. Once she does, though, she encounters acceptance and love from her mother who is secretly struggling with the news at first. However, she does her best to hide it as to make Elena feel as accepted and supported as possible. Elena’s father has a completely different reaction and immediately rejects his daughter. He is supposed to dance with her at her Quinces but disappears and leaves her standing on the dance floor all by herself. Her mother and grandmother though – who both had difficulties digesting the news at first – make her feel so loved and supported that Elena blossoms and proudly faces life as Latinx (=gender neutral term for Latino/Latina) lesbian.

The side effects of going off of anti-depressants
LS: In the episode, "Hello Penelope", it is revealed that matriarch Penelope is in a great place in her life. She's thriving at school, her kids are all doing wonderfully, she has never felt closer to her mother, and she has a hot boyfriend who is nothing but kind to her. It couldn't be better. Naturally, she takes all of this to mean that it's a good time to not only stop going to her group therapy, but also go off of her meds, which she did a few weeks before the events of the episode. In another case of refusing to sugarcoat the reality of the actions done here, we get to see what happens when someone with depression abruptly ceases the actions that were aiding them to get to such a happy point -- they crash. Penelope crashes, hard. She is slated to meet Max's parents for dinner, she buys an expensive and pretty dress for the evening, but after sleepless nights and refusing to leave her bed and missing work she decides she's not going and expresses her regrets for her purchase. This episode offers something truly unique to what I've ever seen in the media regarding mental illness - not only do we see things from Penelope's POV, but we also find out how Lydia is grappling with all of this. She's noticeably devastated, unable to understand why Penelope is feeling like this as everything in her life is perfect. Lydia ends up going to confession and it's there where she receives her catharsis. Just because she cannot see what Penelope is dealing with - her illness is not physical but mental - doesn't mean she is not suffering. Due to things like her heritage and her badassery, Lydia, understandably, assumes Penelope could handle it all. But she can't. Penelope ends up recording her late-night thoughts and plays them back with Schneider. It's f*cking heartbreaking to hear her at her absolute rock bottom. But it's the catharsis she needs to hear at this time too, coming from an unexpected place, Schneider, that snaps her right back into it. She needs to stay on her medication to function. Now, not every depression is equal. Some people may not need to be on pills for the rest of their lives. But for Penelope, she does. It's a hard truth to realize, but she does. And everyone in her life embraces her, understands this about her, and accepts her as she is. It's by far the best portrayal of depression and one of the best things that have dealt with mental illness out there. A lot of research and even simply personal experiences went into this offering and I appreciated every second of it. Justina Machado won 10 Emmys for this episode alone in my heart.

Sobriety
AG: A lot of these answers that talk about ODAAT mention all the great stuff, but something that hasn’t been touched on is the dealing of addiction, specifically Schenider’s struggles. I know he seems to be just a throwaway character for humor effects, but his portrayal of his addiction struggles feels really real, and how he has his weak moments but also keeps himself strong by surrounding himself with good people. I also like the added touch of trying to substitute his addictions for something else like spinning or snow globe collection, as well as him talking to at-risk teens; this show is brilliant because nothing is sugar-coated, and the fact that everyone is suffering in some way, even Schneider, really hits you in the gut, but in an entertaining way. Just to add to this, it’s also nice to see the contracts and extremities of different people struggling with their addictions, from Schneider’s success (when he talked about how much Lydia helped him in the episode ‘Not Yet’, I balled!!) to Victor’s constant downfall and struggles. The reality of it all is something almost refreshing for modern day tv, which is why I love this show so much!

THE GOOD FIGHT

Portrayal of the Trump Presidency
Season 2 of “The Good Fight” intermingles real life and fiction. It starts with the inauguration of Trump and shows how insane the world is becoming under his presidency. The lawyers of Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart face fake news, threats and unqualified, clueless judges that were appointed by Trump. Hate crimes are on the rise and so is police brutality and corruption. The genius writers of The Good Fight even brought up Trump’s golden shower tape (aka pee-pee tape) which alone is already reason enough to give the show a try. If someone still needs to be convinced there are five words that should do the trick: there are serious impeachment efforts. The Good Fight has a spot-on portrayal of current political happenings, deals with tough topics and still manages to create several laugh-out-loud moments for the audience.

THE HANDMAID`S TALE

An allegory and a cautionary tale about the lack of women's agency and the danger of indoctrinated fascism.
LM:Serena helps to create a world in which women have no agency with the sole goal being to have a baby of her own. June's story shows how easy it is for women to be stripped of their agency - to hold property, to have a job, to even control their own bodies. With the craziness happening in the US right now and the threat to women's reproductive rights with the possibility of Roe v Wade being overturned, this show is frighteningly close to reality.

MADAM SECRETARY

How government should run
LM: With the current US government seemingly operating in Bizarro land, the ratings on this show have really suffered - I suspect due to burnout from watching the news. This show still highlights how diplomacy should work. It doesn't shy away from global conflicts or issues, but it also consistently shows a more humane approach to solving those problems than currently demonstrated by Washington.

BOJACK HORSEMAN

Wide Spectrum
LS: This show is truly a gift. It covers everything mentioned here and more, I guarantee it. Mental illness? Check. Specifically, depression and anxiety? Check. Body image? Check. Abortion? Check. Feminism? Check. A portrait of what fame can really do to people? Check. Sexual assault? Check. Sexuality, or lack thereof? Check. CHECK, CHECK, CHECK. You name it, BoJack has covered it in one way or another. An animated Netflix cartoon starring anthropomorphic characters is tackling intersectional issues with more gravitas than practically every other show out there. That doesn't seem right. It shouldn't work nearly as well as it does, especially considering the show has a slightly rough start. But, once you grow into it, it's everything. It has everything, it does everything. Please, please watch this show if you haven't already. I promise there is something in it for everyone.


CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND

The notion of "crazy", seeking a diagnosis, being mentally ill
LS: From the get-go this show takes a hard stance on the title of its own thing - it's a sexist term. It's so often associated with such negativity that it's a slur and is directly associated with mental illness and severe misogyny. While the show can sometimes forget, it's mostly a very feminist dramedy that is respectful to those who are seen as 'abnormal'. In season three, Rebecca is filled with glee at the thought of receiving a new diagnosis, since her whole life, she's been given 'depression, anxiety, PTSD' and all of the seemingly common ones.
This is also the season that sees her hit her absolute lowest point (I guess it's a theme among my shows) where she attempts to take her own life close to the halfway point. It's a beacon of hope for her, this diagnosis, and it takes the show into new directions and heights that are so rarely seen on television or any medium in general. It's hard to have such a polarizing protagonist also be one with a mental illness. Many shows wouldn't know what to do with them and would probably resort to vilifying them at every possible opportunity, using the c-word and any other, colorful slur. CEG beautifully refuses to do so. Rebecca is, rightly so, called as an anti-heroine, because she most certainly is. But it is NOT because of her illness. It's just because of Rebecca. BPD is an interesting one. It makes you see life as an all or nothing - nothing in the grey area - and normally anti-heroes thrive in that grey moral code. But, with Rebecca, it's different. She feels emotions, she feels them so strongly that they're almost always her undoing. She loves so fiercely and does not apologize for who she is. This diagnosis is just a facet, a trait, of who she is, it's not her whole story. Threatened with a prison sentence in the season finale, Rebecca decides to take the high ground. She pleads guilty - to everything - but she refuses to plead with insanity. I mean, she may be "crazy" (by her own judgment), but she did everything that people never asked for knowingly. It wasn't her BPD, or any other outside force that caused her to do this. That would be an excuse, and she's not about that life. I have extremely mixed thoughts about the show thus far, and about this season, but this storyline has been done with immense reverence, and as someone who also got a shiny BPD diagnosis, it's really important to me to see Rebecca's storyline be done with such sympathy as it has so far. Nervous, and excited, for season four, I am!

SHADOWHUNTERS

Jewish prayers/First time relationships/Racial prejudice
SH covered a lot of themes you wouldn’t normally see on modern day tv, at least so bluntly. Simon is Jewish, and the audience is shown that very nicely through prayers, discussions with Clary about his family (the episode ‘Those of Demon Blood’ is some of Alberto’s best work!), etc. Also, the whole premise of the episode ‘Those of Demon Blood’ handles racial prejudice between the downworlders and Shadowhunters very nicely, as the evil acts of one Seelie inspires the idea of tracking each and every single Downworlder’s whereabouts, and throwing those who disagree or do not cooperate in jail (Maia relates this act to being stopped on the streets ‘for nothing else other than being black’ and I loved every second of her badassery in that scene!). Something else to mention, generally, is the portrayal of a first timer dater, so to speak - Alec has never dated anyone before and is a virgin, and this is dealt with slowly but progressively over the seasons with the ‘Malec’ relationship. Alec takes his time exploring what he wants and Magnus never pressures him or rushes him, and while that may not be as a serious ‘real world’ issue so to speak, it is very rare to see this kind of arc/theme on tv!

MARLON

Marlon’s son becomes a model for a “Funky Monkey” t-shirt
JZ: Marlon is typically a fun, family show with harmless comedy, however this season, the show took a big swing and tackled the H&M scandal with a clothing controversy of their own. I think the episode did a good job of showing why these controversies happen (all white boardrooms) and the reaching effects it can have on the community it offends without it feeling preachy or political. Another thing I appreciated was the fact that the episode used Marlon’s son as the vehicle for introspection about the issue. A naïve, innocent character which allowed the show to creatively explain the issue from a blank canvas. In a family show, I think that was a very important way to explain the issue, even kids who had no idea why it’s a problem could be educated without feeling out of place. Even though the show didn’t end in the way you expected, it taught its viewers that sometimes you can’t change the system but having the moral courage to stand on your principles and walking away can be a good start.

YOUNGER

The first non-binary character Tam.
There really is no storyline regarding Lauren’s intern Tam and that’s why I LOVED this storyline! The show didn’t make a huge issue about Tam being gender queer, it didn’t make Tam be the spokesmodel for gender fluidity, they’re just there living and being!
Tam was not personally confronted with the main casts confusions and the show made the characters educate themselves on their ignorance which I really appreciated. Another thing that stood out to me was the fact that Tam was played by non-binary actor Jesse James Keitel, the shows second genderfluid actor.

This was a long long piece guys! I hope you enojoyed it. Jump by the comment section down below and share whats on your mind. Till next week. . .