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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.

17 Comments

  1. Adam Riggio
    April 22, 2015 @ 12:10 am

    Even when I originally watched this episode, long before I was trope literate at all, I still thought this was a waste of a character that had a lot of potential. This sort of thing was a tired trope in the 90s, and the general popular disgust with refrigerators thanks to Internet fan culture has only made them a complete no-go. Audience contempt for narrative devices that are not only offensive, but also just plain old and tired, spurs creativity.

    I find it fitting that this entry arrives in the wake of Phil Sandifer's epic takedown of the Puppies yesterday. Leaving aside all the horrific racism in their reactionary attitudes, the Sad and Rabid Puppies, and the art they push, show precisely why we need progressive-minded critics and bloggers like you using their rage and contempt to push creators to innovate in their narratives.

    Puppy sanctioned art isn't just bad because it's so conservative. There can be good art with culturally conservative themes. It's bad because they see no need to push art into new territory, to abandon tired and overused ideas and plot devices and try something different. To stimulate and awe an audience instead of merely soothing them.

    Art that pushes boundaries is art that's worth the effort.

    Reply

    • бесплатные эротические фотографии
      July 30, 2019 @ 2:48 am

      Likewise, you can integrate gooseneck sign lights into iron sign brackets to enlighten hanging signs.
      You probably know of some popular companies like Prudential or Met Life.

      Every time throughout the day and night you show your deesire for our Lorrd
      Jesus Christ.

      Reply

    • прочитайте, что он сказал
      September 11, 2019 @ 4:31 pm

      Конечно же, мы не могли обделить вниманием очень
      интересную тематику, а именно анал фото.
      Ведь очень многие люди получают
      особое удовольствие от данного секса.

      Озадачившись вопросом: почему же именно анальный секс?!
      Я пришел к выводу, что многие получают удовольствие
      именно от достижения запретных целей, и
      секс в попку полностью соответствует этому: https://trello.com/add-card?&name=Porno%20foto&desc=https://ero-devki.info/post/grudastaya-devushka-v-belykh-chulkakh-foto Так как до сих пор, у многих мужчин и женщин, есть навязанные стереотипны, что это грязный секс, хотя на самом деле это не так.

      Reply

    • нажмите это здесь и сейчас
      September 15, 2019 @ 10:39 pm

      She awaiting lazy men’s load of roses within you, nevertheless,
      you presents three tulips. You just need to obtain the proper ingredients, and handle them cafefully with patience.

      Completely rid yourself of the past, judge him for his actions and makje the
      fun within your interactions.

      Reply

    • Самое странное порн он-лайн поджидает.
      December 10, 2020 @ 3:59 pm

      Выкажите компаньону, какой-никакие именно ласки вам милы.
      Такая забава очень возбуждает, особенно парней, кроме такого,
      самая чувственно совсем сближает пару.
      Какой-никаким бы ни существовал недалёким и родным человек – любой из нас неповторим и
      имеет свои эрогенные зоны и точки побуждения.
      Никак не стыдитесь выказать, будто вам
      славно – у вас совсем благодарный зритель.

      Теперь о медли. Ежели в течение
      нескольких лет существовать в однообразном графике, в
      каком месте нет места спонтанности и новым открытиям, сексапильное хотение имеет возможность
      начать слабнуть само собой. Этак что пытайся освобождаться от
      привычки и сыщи часик на интимное времяпровождение с мужем утром, во время обеденного интервала, а также
      не довольствуйся одним половым документом, ежели вы оба хотите продолжения.

      Никак не стесняйся говорить о сексе и обсуждать с мужем интимные факторы –
      так появляется доп степень доверия, а
      ему наверняка придутся сообразно
      душе твои выдумки.
      Важно! Удостоверься, будто вы находитесь одни и
      никто никак не прервет вас «на самом интересном селе», а также
      заблаговременно позаботься о гигиене.

      «Половой акт – это самая лишь
      малая часть сексапильных взаимоотношений.
      Эротические использованные материалы и
      девайсы также приветствуются, если учитывается согласие двух
      партнёров. Высококачественные эротические и
      даже порнографические использованные материалы способствуют продолжению абстрактного и чувственного опыта человека,
      только они разные для всякого возраста»,
      – что психотерапевт.
      Сексуальные игры
      На данном местечке большая часть
      женщин традиционно думает:
      наверное буквально никак не
      для нас/ его это самая никак не введёт/ мы станем чувствовать себя
      неудобно/ как это самая вообщем (необходимое подчеркнуть).
      Ежели ты подумала, как изготовить супругу милое в любовном плане, стремимся развеять твои колебания: ролевые забавы — самая никак не только халатик медсестрички или какая-или другая униформа (но
      и эти варианты располагают место быть!).
      Попробуйте совместно с мужем
      закрутить какой-никакой-или сценарий, в котором вы пара будете чувствовать себя особенно, только в то ведь время
      довольно твердо.
      http://www.yeashow.com.tw/forum/index.php?action=profile

      Reply

    • superfotos.org
      December 10, 2020 @ 8:00 pm

      Явите компаньону, какие
      конкретно ласки вам милы. Такая игра совсем возбуждает, в
      особенности парней, кроме того, наверное чувственно совсем сводит пару.
      Каким бы ни был близким
      и родным человек – любой из нас неповторим
      и владеет собственные эрогенные зоны
      и крапинки побуждения. Не стесняйтесь
      явить, что вам славно – у вас совсем
      признательный зритель.
      Сейчас о времени. Если в течение нескольких
      лет существовать в монотонном графике,
      где отсутствует местечки спонтанности и новым изобретениям, сексуальное хотение имеет возможность приступить
      угасать само собой. Этак будто пытайся избавляться от привычки
      и находи часик на интимное времяпрепровождение с супругом утром, во время обеденного интервала, а еще не ограничивайся одним половым актом, если вы пара хотите расширения.

      Не стесняйся говорить о сексе и дискуссировать с мужем
      любовные факторы – так появляется дополнительный
      степень доверия, а ему наверное придутся по душе твои фантазии.

      Важно! Убедись, что вы находитесь одни и никто не прервет вас «на самый-самом интересном
      пространстве», а также заблаговременно похлопочи
      о гигиене.
      «Половой документ – наверное лишь
      небольшая лагерь сексуальных взаимоотношений.
      Эротические использованные материалы и девайсы еще приветствуются, ежели учитывается единодушие двух партнёров.
      Качественные эротические и даже
      безнравственные использованные материалы
      содействуют продолжению теоретического и эмоционального опыта
      человека, но они различные для всякого
      возраста», – что психотерапевт.

      Сексуальные игры
      На данном селе большинство дам традиционно думает:
      это самая точно никак не для нас/ его самая никак не заведет/ мы
      будем чувствовать себя неловко/ как наверное вообщем (необходимое выделить).
      Если ты подумала, как изготовить мужу приятное в
      любовном плане, устремляемся развеять твои сомнения:
      ролевые игры — это самая никак
      не только халат медсестрички или
      какая-либо другая униформа (однако и
      эти варианты имеют пространство быть!).
      Попробуйте вместе с мужем закрутить какой-или сценарий, в котором вы пара будете чувствовать себя особенно, но в то же время
      достаточно уверенно.
      http://f1immigration.com/fa/forums/users/lolaborowski28/

      Reply

  2. David Faggiani
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:12 am

    I'm just playing Devil's Advocate here (or Devil's Due) but I have a bit of a disagreement with this whole concept of the condemnation of 'fridging'.

    I know you feel very passionately about it Josh, and I get the dismissive implications for female extension-of-protagonist characters (particularly in certain genres) but I'm just trying to understand. Isn't Hamlet's father 'fridged' to start the plot of Hamlet? Does this diminish Hamlet as a work? Or, to stay Shakespearean, and bring the murder of female characters into it, Desdemona?

    Now, I'm not claiming 'Reunion' is any good, or of Shakespearean quality, but I suppose I'm asking, without intention to 'troll' or anything, do you just plain not like characters being murdered in drama? Or dying, and in doing so affecting characters' motivation? That's fine, of course, as a stance. Just trying to understand!

    You see, I see brutal, sometimes random or pointless character deaths as being often quite artistically useful/compelling in drama, mirroring as they do the human experience of coping without awful, sometimes random or pointless loss. My problem, is when there's little-to-no follow-up, but I can hardly blame a 90s episodic TV drama for that. I know your thoughts on Tasha Yar, so I'm treading carefully here, no offense meant.

    Reply

    • Frank
      October 9, 2019 @ 8:57 pm

      It seems that you misunderstand the concept of fridging.

      It is not about killing a character, it is about the pervasive trend of this lazy plot device where you (often horribly) kill a female character as a way to motivate their (almost always male) partner.

      And well, a simple google search for “women in fridges” will give you lots of info about that.

      Reply

  3. David Faggiani
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:27 am

    To add maybe a more specific justification to K'Ehleyr's death, in a narrative sense, aren't 'Klingon episodes' of TNG basically episodes where the crew "steps outside the Utopia", so to speak? Into a violent, traditional, hierarchical, misogynistic society of literal 'honour killings'? So, isn't it kind of appropriate to portray the fact that such systems create victims, and isn't K'Ehleyr being that victim justifiable? Especially given that she lives half in Klingon (non-Utopian) and half in Federation (at least somewhat Utopian) society, as an ambassador, and is thus torn between those systems?

    Also interesting to note that this is ultimately (at the end of DS9) what Worf ends up doing, at Martok's request.

    Reply

  4. Ross
    April 22, 2015 @ 5:37 am

    I think the biggest part of the issue is that in nearly every instance where a character is killed off in order to motivate the characters, it's an underimplemented female character being killed off to motivate male characters, and especially to motivate a romantic partner.

    Reply

  5. Adam Riggio
    April 22, 2015 @ 6:31 am

    It's about taking a character that hasn't been developed much, a character that is a woman often enough that refrigeration becomes a sexist trope, and turning her into a pure plot device. It's the denial of a female character's potential for her own stories and development for the sake of angsty, usually testosterone-heavy revenge narratives of a male lead. A female character is reduced to a plot device for a male character.

    It originally comes from an example in a Green Lantern comic, where Green Lantern comes home (still in costume, which makes the scene all the stranger) to find that one of his recurring supervillains has killed his wife and stuffer her in their fridge.

    Reply

  6. David Faggiani
    April 23, 2015 @ 4:52 am

    Yes, I've seen a picture of that Green Lantern panel. It was certainly gross. I suppose I don't want there to be a hyperbolic consensus critical reaction to the point where female characters are unable to die in fiction, and male characters are unable to react to those deaths. But I'm sure that's not what anyone here or elsewhere is suggesting, just over-reliance on tropes. I just think it's important to remember that tropes themselves are not bad, they're just memes (if you like) to be used, evolved, modulated and re-combined infinitely (IDIC!). Maybe that's me being small-c conservative critically speaking! Quite happy to accept that.

    But I definitely don't think Alexander's existence is 'slut-shaming'. That's just silly. That would mean that literally any plot involving the surprise reveal of a child, and two parents negotiating his care (and their responsibilities would be somehow misogynistic. It's akin to saying that women getting pregnant is innately sexist as a narrative.

    Reply

  7. Ross
    April 23, 2015 @ 4:57 am

    I think your argument may be in danger of straying a bit close to #NotAllDeadWomen

    Reply

  8. David Faggiani
    April 24, 2015 @ 2:16 am

    I'll have to look that one up, not au fait with all hashtags, or the politics surrounding them! But I think I get your gist, that I'm being too reductive, or gender-issues blind? Perhaps.

    Reply

  9. K. Jones
    April 24, 2015 @ 1:45 pm

    So here's the thing about Reunion. I can't give it a redemptive reading. I hate the plot. But I think the actors act the heck out of it, and from a connective-tissue/world-building sense as somewhat of an important "Klingon Saga Episode" I always counted it in the "like" category.

    But I can't upon critical analysis deny that it's cliched hackwork, and utterly wasteful. In a series that's absolutely loaded with "what might have been?" style missed opportunities, eliminating any Suzie Plakson is one of my biggest ones. Mostly because she's a more interesting personality than half of our core cast whether in Klingon or Vulcan makeup.

    And so it goes. Worf does everything wrong, does everything the "Not Enterprise Crew" way. He'll at least have some redemption when his next parmach drama allows him to behave and react in a way befitting Season 1 Worf, "Next generation of Starfleet idealist" first, "klingon warrior" second.

    Duras gets an ignominious defeat. We get saddled with a kid who makes little sense for a long time in the scheme of "Worf's story". And this episode of course marks the debut of Gowron, who I can't not like as a recurring character just because of Bob O'Reilly's crazy-eyed stare and over-the-top camp.

    The worst part I think is that this hackwork plot is carried out with care and attention to quality – the opening bits are pretty exceptional actually, the ratcheting tension as covert meetings are engaged and K'mpec reveals he's been poisoned and that Jean-Luc has to sort out who killed him, and K'Ehleyr plays a logical role since she's a Federation/Klingon ambassador.

    Irredeemably bad storytelling decisions are often couched in quality, actually.

    Reply

  10. Daru
    May 4, 2015 @ 9:31 pm

    I am so with you on all of these points Adam, as yes I am sure we can have good art that does come from conservative themes, it just has to do what all good art does and break boundaries.

    We need writers and cultural commentators around like Josh, Phil, Jack (and you too Adam).

    Reply

  11. Daru
    May 4, 2015 @ 9:44 pm

    "With no agency of her own, she's treated as a disposable satellite of a male character's dour, angst-ridden narrative existence."

    As K.Jones mentioned above, I missed the Season 1 Worf here, the Klingon who was not apparently controlled by his culture. I will sort of repeat myself with my comments from the last essay, but I really do find Worf's man-pain to be utterly dull storytelling and it would have been great to see it undercut somehow – say by having him believe that K'Ehleyr dies (and she doesn't), to then discover via skill and intelligence that she survives. Dunno… but just anything to get the story away from an unnecessary female character's death (Suzie Plakson was brilliant and irredeemably underused) and a two dimensional representation of the potentially interesting Klingons would be so much better.

    Reply

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