The return of Peter and Wendy

It’s back it’s back it’s back!

The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy, I mean.

Around this time last year, I wrote about my excitement for the crowdfund for Season 3 of this modern adaptation of Peter Pan. Under the pens and brains of Shawn DeLoache and Kyle Walters, Peter Pan and the Darling children become twentysomethings trying to figure out how to do careers and relationships. They have quarter life crises, and they grow up.

The new season premiered today, and I am so excited for the resolution of the story.

If you’ve never watched the show before, here’s the playlist. Yes, Tinker Bell is an actual fairy, and no, we haven’t seen her yet.

And if you watched the last two seasons, here’s a Season 2 recap.

To recap that recap, Peter used to bully Jas Hook. They don’t like each other. Wendy broke up with Peter because he didn’t want to grow up, so she got a big city job with Jas and started dating him. Now Wendy and Jas are back in Neverland, Jas owns everything (and is super devious), and Peter is going undercover to try to win Wendy back.

Oh, and as for side romances: Michael is dating Lily, which still confuses me; and John Darling and John Smee were a thing, but now they’re not.

For me, the highlights of these two new episodes are Lily’s terrifying trash talk and John’s “societal collapsing word vomit.”

To Season 3!


Poe’s party of books and murder

In what would make a fantastic musical in the vein of Million Dollar Quartet, Edgar Allan Poe once threw a dinner party for Emily Dickinson, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Brontë, Oscar Wilde, George Eliot, Louisa May Alcott, Ernest Hemingway, HG Wells, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Agatha Christie as an excuse to flirt with Annabel Lee. If you don’t remember hearing about it in your history/literature classes, it’s probably because it was an Invite Only, For Friends Potluck. Also, someone died.*

Honestly, if anyone thought this particular group of writers could get together for a Murder Mystery party without someone actually dying, they were mistaken.

We knew this night was coming. Poe and Lenore sent invitations last year. They crowdfunded their party games six months ago (I bought my internet invite, because I’m classy). They showed us all the people who were not invited.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s FOMO was my favorite.

Now the ravens have been (semi-) trained, the soup cooked, and the place settings laid. Lenore the Lady Ghost can carry plates and vodka, so it’s time to party and make no jokes.

Lauren Lopez as George Eliot is my favorite part of this first episode. “The name’s Eliot. George Eliot. Likes: beer, sporting, talking about sporting,” she says as she carries what looks like a single rib for the potluck.**

Who killed Eddie? Was it a jealous Edgar Allan? Was it an uninvited writer? Was it the uncast, unmentioned Alexandre Dumas, angry because this banker guy shares a name with his character? Was it John Proctor? Was it the bass from the barbershop quartet? Was it Lenore???

Time will tell. And so will Mondays.

*Half these people are probably ghosts or in possession of time turners, since Poe definitely died decades before Hemingway and HG Wells were born. But whatever, we’re dealing with an alternate reality here. Or magic. 

**None of these people actually brought enough food to share. Or eat. They should not be invited back.

New favorite series: The Cate Morland Chronicles

Today I discovered a new webseries adaptation of my favorite Jane Austen novel. If you don’t know me very well, you might assume that I’m talking about a random new version of Pride and Prejudice, just because I’ve seen so many versions. Sorry, I’m actually talking about a funnier novel.

Northanger Abbey is a novel about a girl named Catherine Morland who believes that novels accurately depict reality. She goes from the country to a city, meets friends and flirtatious men, and basically learns what real life is. It sounds like a heartbreaking story about someone getting her dreams crushed, except that Catherine isn’t reading Nicholas Sparks or watching Disney. She’s reading Gothic romances, the trash novels of Austen’s day, which were known for being terrifying and sensationalist for the sake of being terrifying and sensationalist. The innocent maiden is being held by the villain in the haunted fortress, and only the dashing hero can save her.

Northanger Abbey is ultimately a reminder that real life is better than a stereotypical novel, and I love it.

Before I continue, I should say that another webseries adaptation of Northanger Abbey already existed before this week. Northbound already came and went. From what I could tell, it was well-loved in the Literary Webseries fandom. For me, I watched an episode and couldn’t get into it because I had imagined a different kind of adaptation.

Someone in Utah seems to love Northanger Abbey for the same reasons I do, because The Cate Morland Chronicles is like a better executed version of what exists as a “Hey this would be a cool webseries!” paragraph and folder on my Google Drive.

This adaptation speaks to me in the same way that Austenland and Classic Alice did, and I think it’s because Cate is so clearly a fangirl. I hadn’t realized it before, but in the book, Catherine is a rabid fangirl of these adventures that happened in dark castles. Here, Cate reads Harry Potter and writes about her favorite tv shows on her blog. She loves a good story, and she wants to write her own.

Lin-Manuel Miranda explains the “I Want” song in the footnotes of his book that’s dubbed #Hamiltome on Twitter (I honestly don’t know any other name for it). It’s the driving force and the realization that starts the Hero’s Journey in literature or another work of art. This first video is Cate’s I Want video. She wants an adventure, and she’s determined to make it happen.

I’ve only seen the first video, and this is already my dream Northanger Abbey webseries. I can’t wait to see the next episode.

Growing up with Peter and Wendy (the webseries)

Growing up and “adulting” has been an almost constant thought for the last year. I started this blog so I’d have writing samples for my portfolio (and also because it was my 2015 New Year’s Resolution). I’ve been applying and interviewing for full-time jobs. I’ve been working in a part-time retail job and learning how to build friendships from scratch.

There’s far more certainty in college than in “real life.” College has a timeline and a checklist of what you need to do in order to be successful. In real life, especially when you’re still waiting to start your career, you might have a checklist of what will make you qualified for certain types of jobs, but you don’t have a guarantee that it will pay off, and you definitely don’t have a timeline for how long it will take to get a “real job.” It’s bewildering. You’re like a chicken running around with its head cut off, except that you’re actually that Barbie doll in the Barbie Dream House that really needs its head glued back on. You don’t really know when that magical glue gun is going to come along, but at some point it will, and then you’ll look like all the other Barbies that visibly have it all together.

There’s my segway into why I like The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy. I remember reading the original story in 5th grade and enjoying the live-action movie. At the time, they were great, but now I have trouble relating to a children’s fantasy/adventure story about 12 year olds who don’t want to grow up. However, these webseries characters are my age, and they’re trying to figure out life at the same time as me.

In the first season, Wendy was 27 and trying to leave her hometown. She had big dreams and applied for job after job after job, but none of her efforts bore fruit. At the same time, she started dating Peter, the best friend who was content in Neverland and didn’t want to grow up. The first season was about this tension between making plans for the future, and enjoying the adventures and mistakes of youth and life right now.

In the second season, all of Wendy’s dreams came true. She had a great job, great friends, and a boyfriend with ambition equal to her own. She had everything she thought she wanted in Season One, and then she learned how fictional her dreams and reality were. Her relationships with her family were suffering, and her breakup with Peter was still messy and unresolved. Her perfect boyfriend might not be so perfect after all. This season was about fulfillment of wishes that are too good to be true.

The third season is currently crowdfunding for the last 1/3 of the story. Season Two ended with Peter presumably going undercover at Jas Hook’s company so he can (in the new season) rescue the Darlings from the pirate-y businessman. Season Three will have a rescue and a happy ending. Hopefully, Peter will grow up in this adaptation, because he is immature and childish in the other seasons. Even if he stays in Neverland forever, he’s going to need a way to pay the bills and move out from Michael’s room.$50,000 gets us a new season and a happy ending, and I want to see that happen for all the characters.

The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy is one of the few shows that I watch and think, “Wow, this is me.” It’s about dreams and confusion and making mistakes. It’s about characters that don’t have it all together. Sometimes I feel like the 20something characters on TV are too perfect. Sure, they’re making mistakes and learning, but they don’t spend months on end being rejected from jobs. Their money troubles are only useful for an episode or two, and then they magically find a new job that manages to fix everything.

I know this isn’t the most realistic show on the internet (I mean, it has an actual fairy for a camera-person), but it feels so relevant to me as a Millennial. It’s a show about how confusing it is to grow up. It’s a show about working hard for your dreams and your relationships. It’s a show for and about people who don’t know what they’re doing with their lives, and I love it.

Watch the show (that video embedded above is the entire playlist), and then contribute some amount of money on Indiegogo. This show is worth it.

Buying my way into Poe’s Party

Edgar Allan Poe is throwing a dinner party, if he can get enough funding, and I’m looking forward to watching it from afar. What, you may ask, is the #poeparty?

A Tell Tale Vlog is a creation from Sinead Persaud, Sean Persaud, and Yulin Kuang of Shipwrecked Comedy. It’s basically a short webseries of Edgar Allan Poe trying to write poe-ms (yes, that’s a joke in the first episode) while being haunted by a lady ghost. A lady ghost who talks like a valley girl.

It turns out that Edgar is a terrible roommate who literally has beating hearts in his floor and who sends ravens to the girl he likes. Lenore can’t deal, so she moves on to John Proctor in Salem.

We saw a little bit of Lenore and John in another Shipwrecked series, Kissing in the Rain.

And that’s it.

There was a video last year announcing the project, and the Kickstarter is now up and running.

Ed and Lenore have 16 days left to raise the remaining $18,214. Ron Weasley (that is, Joey Richter) himself is playing Ernest Hemingway. We also have Lauren Lopez (Draco Malfoy, of course) as George Eliot. There’s a bit of a Lizzie Bennet Diaries reunion with Ashley Clements playing Charlotte Brontë to Mary Kate Wiles’s Annabel Lee.

Is Edgar going to murder Eddie, a great guy? (I seem to remember seeing that threat somewhere.) Will the guests understand this very long dinner party/gala invitation? Will there be actual ravens?

For a mere $5, you can get your own invitation to the party. For more money, you can get things like posters and invitations to real life dinner parties.

I guess I’m not too good to buy my way into parties, because that’s the only way we’ll get to see the showdown between Edgar and Eddie. If they raise $18k, we’ll all get to (virtually) attend the party! Click here for the Kickstarter.

The moment of Classic Alice

Two things are clear about me and literary webseries:

  1. I’m bad at keeping up with updates of videos that honestly are not that long
  2. My heart is crushed when my favorite characters “decide” that it’s the end.

This is the last week of Classic Alice, and I am definitely not ready for this story to end. I keep thinking that if I don’t watch the final episodes, then technically it’s not over for me yet, but, as a fan, I can’t bear to not see the resolution.

On the bright side, there’s going to be an app (iOS only), so all the transmedia will be much easier to find and follow whenever I rewatch it.

In a Philosophy of Art class that I took last spring, we talked about the fullness of the haiku. It’s not just a style of poem with a 5-7-5 syllable scheme. From my *very questionable* understanding, there’s a moment in that second line when everything is aesthetically pleasing and full and complete – an ascent to the top of a mountain – and then it suddenly drops off. The surface tension on the water droplet suddenly breaks, and it falls. There is beauty in completion, then you breathe, and it ends.

This feeling is what last week’s episodes reminded me of. I think this week will be that final, quick descent after the moment.

Kate Hackett wrote this show beautifully. Alice Rackham starts her literature project as a guided tour to emotions. It’s an exploration of self in which books push her to try new things and make new friends. She loses focus for a while as she turns into a vampire and feasts on the emotions of her best friends, but she learns about the unpleasant aspects of herself. She learns that she can be cruel, a painful lesson, but one that’s ultimately necessary if she wants to understand everything that happens in her own heart.

She falls in love, makes mistakes, makes mistakes again, then learns how to be a better friend.

Last week, Alice finally admitted to herself that she still loved Andrew and still wanted to be friends with him (I still think she dropped the “friend” word so much because she thought he was dating someone else). Her goal of becoming a better writer? She is one, and this project has given her the confidence and the courage to face rejection from publishers. She understands herself better, and she feels complete and satisfied in her decisions. She no longer needs characters to make her decisions for her.

Tomorrow’s video will be the beginning of the resolution of the loose ends. Andrew will read the “I’m sorry, can we be friends?” letter and hopefully reignite the friendship. Hopefully the two of them will finally talk about what went wrong during North and South. Hopefully they’ll become better communicators and better friends to each other.

Sure, I ship Alice and Andrew. They’re one of my favorite fictional couples. But I think this story is finally complete on its own, even if they don’t get back together. In bringing us on her journey of self reflection, Alice taught us about friendship.

I went into this show expecting some shipping adventures and interesting interpretations of literature by fictional characters (let’s not forget that Alice was surprised at the crime in Crime and Punishment), but what I got out of it was a celebration of friendship.

So thank you, Kate, and thank you, Alice. I don’t want this to end, but you’ve already given us an ending that’s better than okay. Thanks for the laughs and the tears and the Tumblr rants. It’s been a great adventure.

To Mansfield with Love from Texas

This is a rewrite of something I wrote last week, then abandoned because it seemed so silly in the midst of worries about the safety of my Parisian friends and the impacts of the attacks. My original focus has changed from shipping characters to what it is now.

To my despair, From Mansfield with Love has finally ended. In September, I wrote about my feelings on my sudden and unwanted literary crush on the scoundrel.  Those were happier fandom days when I knew we would see more of Frankie Price’s dear heart.

Mansfield Park was my favorite Jane Austen novel when I was in high school. I assume that it was hipster Bethany wanting to love a less-known character combined with teenage angst and unrequited “love.” After all, in the end, the guy realizes that he’s always been in love with his childhood friend, who is a much better person than the girl he nearly marries. It’s like the 19th century “You Belong with Me.”

(If you want to know about how I felt in high school about this, here’s a fanvid of the Billie Piper adaptation and a song from the concept album for the musical Dracula. This became a favorite song of mine, as evidenced by my old Youtube comment.)

“Guy realizes he’s in love with his best friend who is literally * an angel” is the summary of several Taylor Swift songs and around a million chick flicks. Honestly, it’s even what Mansfield Park is about. We want to see the kind, honest, hard-working girl to get the guy. We want to see that goodness wins.
*figuratively speaking, as the kids actually mean these days

Of course, goodness does win in From Mansfield with Love, and Frankie is rewarded in the end, but this adaptation gives her a character growth that feels more real and hopeful to the modern viewer.

What I mean is this: we like when good things happen to good people, but it’s much harder to like the good person when we never see them struggle. We like attainable goodness. We like the selflessness of Fanny Price, but we worry that her family takes advantage of her dependability. We like Jane Bennet, but we want her to learn to differentiate between the Wickhams and the Bingleys and the Darcys of the world.

Over the course of From Mansfield With Love, Frankie slowly gained the confidence that I feel she lacked in one of my favorite books. She was shy and introverted, and only her brother knew how she truly felt. Ed started dating Mary, and he started disappearing. Because she was so lonely, it makes sense that she sought friendship with the Crawfords, who forced her out of her shell and encouraged her to consider leaving Mansfield. She considered moving to the Antigua hotel and enrolling at a university.

Thinking back on the series, I wonder if Frankie rejecting Henry was meant to foreshadow the later scenes when she rejected Ed. As in the book, she doubted that Henry was being sincere when he professed his love for her. We viewers watched him tell his sister that he wanted to break Frankie’s heart for her own good. Heartbreak is a pivotal part of a young woman’s existence, and it is his service to humanity to facilitate that personal growth. *cue eye rolls* Of course, he himself ended up being the one with the broken heart.

In the book, Fanny never rejected Edmund. Austen simply wrote that after some amount of time, he got over Mary Crawford and realized who he really loved.

I purposely abstain from dates on this occasion, that every one may be at liberty to fix their own, aware that the cure of unconquerable passions, and the transfer of unchanging attachments, must vary much as to time in different people. I only entreat everybody to believe that exactly at the time when it was quite natural that it should be so, and not a week earlier, Edmund did cease to care about Miss Crawford, and became as anxious to marry Fanny as Fanny herself could desire.

In the webseries, however, Ed tried to use Frankie as a rebound, and she rightfully rejected him. In the span of about two weeks, Tom was in a car accident, Mary complained about Ed caring more about his brother than her, Rhea’s affair with Henry went public, Mary blamed the affair on Frankie because she rejected Henry, Julia brought her kind-of boyfriend home (the one that her dad hates), and Ed broke up with Mary. Then he turned around and saw that Frankie was always there for him.

This was the moment when I realized how much I liked this adaptation. Both men who confessed their love to Frankie had questionable track records. Henry increased a rift between two sisters, one of whom was engaged, and he moved onto Frankie because there was no one else for him to flirt with. Ed abandoned his best friend for a girl who didn’t respect him publicly said as much on social media while his brother was in the hospital. Henry wanted a girl who would make him into a good person, and Ed wanted a girl who would make him feel better about his breakup. When rejected, Henry had an affair with a married woman and was the reason why  her marriage ended. When rejected, Ed took time to refocus and rebuild his friendships.

This is a post about Frankie’s character progression and the end of a webseries, but it’s also about what the model for a “good girl” seems to be in the 21st century. We expect Ed to realize that Frankie is the perfect girl for him. We expect his family to finally thank her for being a peacekeeper and for helping them communicate better with each other. We expect her to finally get the affirmation that she deserves. That’s what happens in any novel or romantic comedy.

What we don’t expect because we see it less often is for her to tell Ed to come back when he means it. We expect their love for each other to magically heal all wrongs from the past year. The “good girl” in a Lifetime movie knows that it’s the end of the movie, so obviously it’s True Love, never Rebound.

Frankie figured out that it was better to turn down the guy she loved because the timing was wrong. By the end of the series, she knew her worth and she knew that she didn’t have to settle for what Ed was offering her. Her growth gave him space to grow, too, so his second profession of love was indeed sincere.

In short, I appreciated that Frankie knew who she was. She showed us that the “good girl” doesn’t have to be a passive character. She can be kind, forgiving, and confident.

I still ship Frankie and pre-affair Henry, and I still want to see a parallel world where he’s a good person. I still want more videos of Frankie having adventures at Mansfield or at university. I want a spinoff series of  Julia and Yates traveling the world.

From Mansfield with Love ended, and I’m not happy about that, but at least we said goodbye after some satisfying character arcs.

Thanks for sharing your year with us, Frances Price. It was a pleasure.

From Texas with love,