It was a piece that reminded me of why I love storytelling: I love sharing.
So in that spirit and the spirit of Noel, I have decided to do an AMA/ASK ME ANYTHING/Q&A VIDEO! (Thanks to a lovely reader for suggesting the idea in the first place 🙂 ) It will be just like a Reddit AMA… except it won’t be on Reddit… and it won’t be an AMA per se and it won’t be live. The ANYTHING part is true, though! My answers will also all be in video format! That is, like, so much better than most Reddit AMAs. Sort of.
SEND ALL QUESTIONS TO comments section BELOW or to LILGRIPES@GMAIL.COM
2ndBest Episode of All-Time: “Better Angels,” Season 2 Episode 12
WHAT WE LOVED ABOUT IT:
What a perfect illustration of how some are born to lead and others born to crack. The escalating tension between Rick and Shane, instead of coming to an impasse due to Dale’s devastating death, had finally shattered the last remaining fragments of their BFF status. Rick (still operating at this point under a democracy than a Ricktatorship) is more assured than ever in the humane choice to set Randall the prisoner free, as Dale would have had it, than to execute him, as Shane would. So, it begins…Shane’s plot to murder Rick in cold blood is revealed to the audience as it is to Rick, making the buildup and the faux goose chase Shane set up all the more tense and rife for Emmy-winning acting moments. (Seriously, did Shane think anyone would buy his story if he walked back onto that farm without Rick?)
It seemed that, as the episode progressed, so did the ferocious pace of Rick Grimes’ ascension to full Alpha status. While Shane was quickly slipping off the cliff of sanity, Rick was firmly holding onto all the hope he saw in front of him: a wife, son, unborn child, and friends both new and old. Andrew Lincoln’s glow-in-the-dark blue eyes, ever-fixated on Shane as the latter kept leading him further out into the woods, carried all of the burden in these dimly lit scenes, reflecting all the flashes of confusion, betrayal, and anger that Rick felt as he followed his former best friend knowingly toward his own execution, thinking, “Is this crazy mothaf***er REALLY going to try and kill me right here and now?”
LINE OF THE EPISODE:
“People are gonna die. I wish I had something more profound to say…but I’m tired, son. Please, take it.”
-Rick as he hands Carl a gun, the same one Carl later uses to dispatch Walker Shane
WHY THIS EPISODE WORKED:
Shane needed to goooooooo! If you can’t take direct orders from the group’s designated leader, then leave the goddamn group. A group of survivors in a Zombie Apocalypse is simply a microcosmic society and in any society, there must be some order. It was completely satisfying watching him fail to get the upper-hand on Rick, thereby proving Rick’s leadership-worthiness, and even more when Rick’s own son shot him after reanimation. I have watched Carl shoot Walker Shane, like, 100 times on repeat.
P.S. I did cry when Rick frustratingly blubbered over Shane’s dead body:
P.P.S. Rick, Carl, Daryl and Glenn witness firsthand the heavy realization that everyone will eventually become a walker.
P.P.P.S. I know she’s dead now, but can someone slap Lori for me? At an emotionally fragile time for all, post-Dale’s funeral, she went over to Shane to have an intimate chat about how her unborn child, whom she had previously declared was husband Rick’s “no matter what,” could just as easily be Shane’s. Given Lori’s knowledge that Shane is already predisposed to rage and possessiveness over her and Carl, that was just complete idiocy on her part. I would blame it on the baby hormones but I don’t want to be labeled a sexist by SJWs.
BEST EPISODE OF ALL-TIME:“This Sorrowful Life,” Season 3 Episode 15
WHAT WE LOVED ABOUT IT:
Merle, Merle, Merle. Never has a character, up to this point in the series, been so sophisticatedly dissected from start to finish in an episode. Even the always scene-stealing Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes paled in comparison to Michael Rooker’s Merle Dixon this time. Rooker enunciated each layer of Merle’s personality clearly and intensely.
We saw Merle the greedy user (“We got any whiskey?” “Just lookin’ for some crystal meth is all”), Merle the voice of reason (“You’re gonna let [the Governor torture Michonne] all just for a shot? You’re as cold as ice, Officer Friendly”), Merle the dutiful henchman (takes it upon himself to kidnap Michonne and deliver her on Rick’s behalf), and, most tragically, Merle the regretful (dare we say, sorrowful?) loner…The real reason we wound up so saddened by Merle’s departure from this world was that he had resigned to the fact that he didn’t belong anywhere… The Governor no longer wanted him, Rick and his group certainly never liked him, and his own brother, Daryl, now looked at him like a sick old dog whom he just couldn’t bring himself to put down. He had no one left in this world, if he ever had anyone truly… and it took somewhere along his drive with Michonne for him to realize this.
Merle made an ultimately self-sacrificial decision to free Michonne and try to eliminate as much of the threat to Rick’s group as possible. Was it a suicidal decision? Therein lies that beautiful complexity… After having all these layers of Merle Dixon peeled back, we still will never know what truly drove him to do what he did at any given time. Clearly, part of his motivation was the desire to protect Daryl but he chose deliberately to go alone on this killing spree when he could have easily enlisted help.
“I can’t go back. Don’t you get that? I just can’t go back.” That, and not his heroic self-sacrifice, was the real tear-jerking moment. Whether he survived his kamikaze-style attack on the Governor’s soldiers, Merle was always going out alone in this world. He knew it. We knew it. For a character who’s been only on a dozen episodes, Merle Dixon’s loss is still felt today as our group faces an entirely new (and bigger) threat in Negan and his Saviors.
LINE OF THE EPISODE:
“I don’t know why I do the things I do. Never did. I’m a damn mystery to me.”
-Merle to Rick
Oh, and don’t get us started on Daryl’s cry-face. When Norman Reedus cries, we cry, y’all:
Honorable Mentions for LINE OF THE EPISODE:
In addition to the emotional weight of the episode, Merle helped serve up a delicious platter of one-liners to offset the mood:
“Do you even possess a pair of balls, little brother? If so…they belong to you?”
“The inner circle… I’m honored.”
MICHONNE: “So is this your thing then? Taking out the trash?”
MERLE: “Aww, don’t be so hard on yourself, darling.”
“You’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt… and I’ve only got one.”
I HAD HOPED the first entry back from our summer hiatus would begin on a more positive note, but I can’t keep contained any longer the maelstrom of insecurities, self-hatred, and the general detriment to my mental health that I’ve been experiencing since attempting a YouTube career.
YouTube, as with blogging, is 100% marketplace distinction. What the hell do I have to offer that others don’t already? I am the girl who loooooves fashion, beauty and art as much as I love crude humor and sci-fi/fantasy/superhero films and TV shows. I bookmark WhoWhatWear.com as well as ComicBook.com.
My inaugural video should combine all of those things, I figured. I wore a floral Marc by Marc Jacobs bikini top along with a pair of high-waisted leather Topshop shorts as I enthused about my expectations for the then-upcoming blockbuster, “Captain America: Civil War.” It was all done with a wink, nod, and mischievous smile.
Not so surprisingly in hindsight, I couldn’t please them all.
There were many who watched and supported me and GOD, do I appreciate every single one of you (seriously, big smooches xx), but the whiners are always the most audible for some unholy reason. Many took to my comments section, my blog and my Twitter to complain repeatedly about how the sex appeal was too subtle, as if that was the entire point of my channel.
Just for argument’s sake, I’ll explain the point: Me + bikini was my idea of including me and all other women in on the joke that, in order to reach a male audience, you have to appease their appetite for sexuality. NO SHAME… On either side! Men are visual creatures and that’s totally fine. Women can embrace and empower themselves through their sexuality and that’s totally fine.
Le Sigh–I guess satire is world-famous for soaring over some’s heads.
When people are screaming in your face, “WTF? I came to see this girl in her bikini and not babble on about superheroes[despite that being the clearly stated M.O. of my channel]” and “your videos are better on mute,” you pause for a sobering self-evaluation of your vlogging capabilities. It’s funny how criticism has a way of registering way deeper than compliments do. I had prepared myself for the inevitable scrutiny projecting yourself out into the Youtube-sphere will bring but I lost more than just my confidence… Two full-time corporate gigs perfectly suited to my skill set sought me out because of my blog and I’m 99% sure they both cut me loose during the last stages of vetting due to my vlog.
I lost a step or two after that setback. I hadn’t been actively seeking any fulltime 9-to-5 jobs so it was like this great beam of hope shined on me without me even reaching for it and then it got snuffed out right between my fingers because of my stupid little channel.
On top of all the negative vibes flowing my way the past few months, it just so happens that summer is a notoriously huge lull in the superhero show/movie calendar and the well had seemingly dried of topics on that front.
Now, as I’ve cathartically purged this through my keyboard with my dog mid-snooze on my lap, I’ve realized it’s not all over. I can come back from this:
Summer is still Superhero Season. Tis the season for those passionate about it comme moi to weigh in on the casting news pouring in. Marvel’s Doctor Strange just confirmed Mads Mikkelsen‘s much-anticipated villainous role, Arrow on the CW cast two exciting new supporting characters and DC’s Justice League movies have been continuously adding interesting faces to its payroll. More on these in subsequent posts…
I’m a friggin’ amazing writer. I have defined myself by the title of “writer” since I was a wee tween listening to both Britney Spears and Jim Morrison religiously.
Rejection always makes me push harder. I don’t know the precise fate of my YouTube channel, but the more people tell me I can’t, the harder I always push back, like it just became my sole mission in life to prove them wrong.
…is the predominant thought running off-and-on through my head the past two weeks since I’ve posted my inaugural video on https://lilgripes.com/video/
YOU SEE, I never had aspirations for myself or Li’l Gripes to be the next PewDiePie or Jenna Marbles. Making it on YouTube, given the mounds of talent (and clutter) amongst which one can easily get lost, seems as much of a pipe dream as making it in Hollywood. At multiple friends’ and associates’ suggestions, however, my initial reservations about making my brand vulnerable to the indiscriminate scrutiny of a platform like YouTube mutated from “never gonna happen” to… “screw it, let’s give it the ol’ college try!”Li’l Gripes prides itself on its devotion to both geek culture and the power of aesthetics… It is difficult to make the case that it should not have a visual streaming component, as well.
WHY YOUTUBE IS HARD
So here we are, 1.1K-and-some-change views later, and YouTube has been… stressful… hella stressful.
There is a good reason why only a select few percolate to the top of the class on the ‘Tube. The recipe for YouTube success is a complicated, layered mixture of hard work, talent and luck…Just as it is in La La Land. That hard work entails a lot (like, buttloads of “a lot”) of time spent on writing, storyboarding, and editing your material outside of the time you simply spend shooting. Every channel attracts its viewers for unique reasons but one common denominator in retaining audiences is the craftsmanship behind each video. Originality and creativity can’t be faked or copied but it also requires dogged devotion and dedication for anyone to use natural-born talents to create cohesive storytelling in a single YouTube. I.e. that translates into hours of preparation (and perspiration insert sweat emoji) and post-production for minutes of finished footage.
“Making it on YouTube seems as much of a pipe dream as making it in Hollywood.”
MOMENTS OF DOUBT AND PANIC
Welp, this is all to say nothing of the internal struggles I’ve had over the past few weeks about the content I choose to release. Turning a camera lens on oneself and having the confidence-slash-hubris (is there a difference, really?) to post it with the expectation of an audience is… bold on anyone’s part.
In a way, one would have to be narcissistic and/or egomaniacal to have his or her own YouTube channel. Who am I to demand someone else’s time and attention span in such a way? What do I have to offer? How far do I have to go to make it worth everyone’s while? -WHY DOES MY HEAD HURT- Ain’t I a disappointment enough to my parents as it is? Ok, relaaaax… Wait, should I be twerking? Why am I not twerking in a bikini? Wouldn’t that only be fair? I’M HUNGRY AND I NEED INTERNS!!!
…On the plus side, I learned I do have a great/maniacal smile:
If you enjoy Lil and/or LilGripes.com, please subscribe and give us some calming encouragement! Our episodes will be more and more tightly edited as we continue doing what we do best: bringing sexy geekiness to your phone/tablet/computer screen.