This Girl's Bookshelf - Book reviews and bookish thoughts

Community: Abed breaks the 4th Wall from his first appearance

(Yeah, this isn't about books. Indulge me.)

So my absolute favorite TV show these days is Community. It's been struggling with the ratings, but it's consistently the most clever, inventive show on TV today. It has restored my faith in the sitcom.

Searching around online for Community info, I came across Dan Harmon's original Pilot script. As I started reading, I came across something pretty amazing. Abed breaks the fourth wall from his very first line.

Community Pilot Script Abed's first appearance
Script fragment: ...[Jeff] is paced and orbited by ABED [20s, Arabic, "geek chic" Weezer fan clothes], who seems generally intrigued by everything all the time.

ABED: I'm only half Arabic, actually, my Dad is Palestinian, I mean, he's a U.S. [...]

When Abed first appears, he is described as "20s, Arabic, 'geek chic' Weezer fan clothes". And Abed's first line?
"I'm only half Arabic, actually, my Dad is Palestininan..."
Maybe I'm reading too much into this. Obviously, we're cutting in right in the middle of Jeff and Abed's first conversation. But, as a reader of the script, it's like Abed acknowledges his own character description and corrects it.

Planned or not, it's a fun bit of foreshadowing to Abed's future role as the character who's nearly aware his life is a TV show.

Tiana's great and all, but what about Kida?

Sure, I guess Tiana from Disney's The Princess and the Frog is the first African-American Disney princess... considering the fact that she and Pocahontas are the only ones who are American at all!

But Kida (Kidagakash) from Atlantis: The Lost Empire is a black princess, too - just not one that Disney likes to promote, for one reason or another. (Is it because of the resmblances to the anime Nadia the Secret of Blue Water?)

Personally, I consider Atlantis a highly underrated film. Then again, I do have a soft spot for steampunk, ensemble casts, Michael J. Fox, dorky linguists, conlangs and Mike Mignola. It's like a Disney animated version of Stargate, and for that I love it.
Atlantis the Lost Empire Sweet Audrey Vinny Mole group shot

But for all the good PR Disney received for having a black princess in Princess & the Frog, you would think they would want to play up the characters of color that they already have!

Granted, Disney have a very questionable past as far as race is concerned, from Peter Pan's 'What Makes the Red Man Red?' to Lady and the Tramp's cringe-inducing Siamese cats. But Atlantis has a surprisingly diverse cast, including several well-rounded and entertaining female characters. It's definitely a forgotten gem in the Disney canon, to my mind.

Mockingjay Hypocrisy - Reading 'The Hunger Games'... from the Capital

Mockingjay Hypocrisy Hunger Games merchandise Catching Fire quote

Yes, it's true... Hunger Games mania is in full roar. And it's all a bit silly.

Don't get me wrong - when I read The Hunger Games, I fell in love with it too. Suzanne Collins hit upon a winner with it. It's a real page-turner, a quick read and I'm all for getting teens into reading - especially reading books with a kick-ass female protagonist in a not-so-distant-future dystopian United States.

The film came out, and it was remarkably faithful, but with it comes all manner of the problems that occur whenever something blows up into the mainstream -- including merchandizing, screaming fangirls, and hundreds upon hundreds of 'TEAM PEETA' Facebook statuses.

I'm in the middle of Catching Fire at the moment, and when I ran across this passage I couldn't help but laugh. We are the Capital, and most of us don't even realize it.

K.A. Applegate answers questions on Reddit

So Sean at the Intergalactic Academy is still doing his cracking Animorphs re-read series, and I've been catching up from them. In one of his posts he mentions something that I can't believe I missed out on - last April, Applegate posted an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit - check it out. Ms. Applegate being something of a childhood hero of mine, this is an absolutely fascinating read.

KA Applegate Animorphs Remnants Everworld author young adult Reddit iama

It turns out Ms. Applegate's son is a Reddit user. The author answers many questions on a variety of topics relating to the Animorphs series, from pronouncing alien names ("Hork Buh-jeer") to the topic of ghostwriting (books 25-52 were all ghostwritten, but not the last two of the series nor any of the long 'Chronicles' companion books). There's also a flood of stories and thank-yous, from people my age just like me who became Readers (not just people who read, but people who love to read, 'Readers' with a capital 'R') because of the Animorphs. I have to say, reading these made me quite emotional, because I feel the exact same way. When I went into the bookstore and picked up the book with the funny cover because it looked cool, I had not the slightest idea what I was getting into, that I would be able to watch movies in my head with real, living characters, and soon enough I caught up with the series and dutifully went to the bookstore to pick up the new adventure each month, as if I were buying comic books.

It feels good to read that the influence that Katherine Applegate had on my life is similar to that of many other people, and it's also so nice to know that she treasures us, still to this day. I can remember when she would how Q&As on the Scholastic website while the series was still running, people would ask her about plot points and she would give answers -- 'What happens if a nothlit used the blue box a second time?' 'If you use the blue box a second time, you turn into Velveeta'. It's so lovely when an author is willing to interact with fans in that way.

Anyway, if you were ever into that series, or Applegate's other books (including Remnants and Everworld), the thread is well well worth a look.

The Knitting Architect - review

Over at Joyarna Knitblog, I've got a review of a knitwear design book - The Knitting Architect by Sion Elalouf. It's an educational book all about constructing knitted (or crocheted) sweaters from the ground up - without the need of pattern, in the traditional European way.

Animorphs Re-read - going down memory lane

Sean at the Intergalactic Academy is doing a fantastic series of posts on an Animorphs Re-read - that's right, he's reading all of the Animorphs series by KA Applegate, one by one, and posting synopses and reviews. If you're of the same generation we are, and of a nerdy inclination, chances are you used to read these books. In the eyes of an adolescent sci-fi fan, they were awesome. Do they stand up to the test of time? Maybe...

Oh, you didn't know they were released with new covers? How awful...