#DragonCon Wrap-Up

Hello! I swear I am still recovering from DragonCon. I came home and had a pretty nasty cold, so I’m still catching up on life and sleep and laundry, all while working a bajillion hours. It’s been great! I know I covered some of this stuff in the daily recaps we did, but I’m just gonna detail some of it again, probably. It’s my blog and I can do what I want. And bullet points are my friend. Notes in red (literal color commentary) are from Michelle.

  • I landed in the airport on Thursday, and my friends were already there. Apparently they were waiting for me with this sign, but we both missed each other. Too bad, because that shit is hilarious. (I also carried that sign around the entire time I was with Heidi, and I think she wanted me to go away.)
  • We arrived at our Airbnb, and it was a total fail in that they wouldn’t let us in. You can read more about that here, but let me just suggest to you that if this ever happens to you, call their customer service. I did not do that, and I should have. Luckily, my college bestie hooked us up. If she hadn’t, though, so many Earpers reached out and offered solutions and good vibes. In the midst of fuckery, this was welcome positivity.
  • The impromptu Fangirls Shirts meetup was super fun, and I don’t think I gave it its due in the original post. It was great to hang out with old friends and meet new ones, though there were a lot of people and it was a bit overwhelming. As you see, I had kind of a shit day, and a large group of people isn’t always my go-to happy place. But lovely people outweigh the anxiety eventually, and it was great. Beer helped. And so did this picture.
  • You can read about Friday here and the amazing adventure that was Almost Getting Run Over By Stan Lee. We thought we were special, and then as the weekend progressed, we saw more and more people tweeting that it happened to them. I think we need t-shirts. And a support group. Can someone make us a logo?
  • Friday was the day when part of our group passed another part in the skywalk and realized that it was maybe one of the circles of Hell. Seriously, all those people crammed into a tiny space? I wish I had thought to seek medication prior to the con. I had to stick to beer.
  • The most important thing that happened on Friday was probably meeting Docstache. I thought from her EarperView that she would be my jam, and meeting her in person only confirmed that. I was a little hesitant because she seemed to like VP, but I guess to each their own.
  • You can read more in-depth about Saturday here, but I’ll just say it was the day of our Yiska cult rejects cosplay and the day we stereotypically got caught in a parade.
  • One of my favorite things was naming the space between two platonic friends in a small bed The Ghost River Triangle. Don’t cross the line!
  • That con Marriott is basically the Hellmouth. Ugh.
  • Michelle and I drank some lukewarm Corona out of a can while we wrote up the blog because we are classy bitches. (How is there no picture of that?) Because neither of us like to have our picture taken?
  • Remember that time Emily Andras blocked me on Twitter? Me too. And now I’ll never forget because I printed out the notification and asked her to sign it.
  • We had a lovely breakfast on Sunday at The Corner Bakery, and I had a great blueberry hand pie. That’s your most important takeaway for Sunday.
  • Oh, and the evisceration of the patriarchy in two panels.
  • We also hit the Buffy panel, which was a lot less rage inducing. A highlight was when a fellow con-goer asked Charisma Carpenter if she had ever heard the Cordelia jingle from the Buffering the Vampire Slayer podcast, so Michelle provided the audio since it’s one of her alarms.
  • We had a bunch of photo ops that day, which you can read about here. They were all amazing, and I am so happy that we did them.
  • We did some pretty great Bauman poses. Next time, Jill!
  • At the Wynonna Earp panel, Heidi and I asked questions! I was so nervous, but luckily Docstache was behind me to calm me down and provide support. I asked the cast what their favorite Earp sisters moment was, a Known Question of Attack, and it was pretty great. My face got super red, though. Good thing I look amazing at all times, no matter what color my face is.
  • And Marcie asked the question that has divided the Earper community for months, thanks to the negativity of VP — mushrooms on pizza? Emily said yes, so I feel like the discussion is over, guys.
  • That night, we ate at the food court for approximately the 367th time, and Michelle got so angry that she threw her sandwich on the ground outside. Or, the ghost of Stan Lee’s scooter safety mechanism threw it on the ground because she wronged him. (I did a legit spittake in the general direction of my work laptop reading this.)
  • BUT I am a wonderful person and gave her half of my sandwich, but when the story gets told, she never remembers that; only that BP gave her some chicken tenders. And the saddest piece of “Texas toast” ever, because everything is bigger in Texas except for that toast.
  • That night was the Earper meetup, which was super cool. I got to meet some awesome people, but not as many as I should have because I am not great at talking to or approaching people. I wish I were better, and I’m sorry that I didn’t meet all of you because I’m bad at people-ing. I hope to be better by the next con. Probably ClexaCon?
  • But the people that I did meet were awesome, and I had an amazing time talking to them. It was so cool to meet all of you. I particularly loved the discussions about the different fandoms with Carol and Coral. So glad I got to meet you two awesome ladies. Can’t wait to hang out again!
  • Emily, Michael, Tim, and Shamier came to the meetup, too! I got a selfie with Michael, and he was so incredibly lovely. He kept turning to find the most flattering lighting so everyone got the best picture possible. Thank you, Michael. I was horribly sweaty, so, you know, it can only be so good. 
  • And everyone I talked to was OBSESSED with Shamier’s hat.
  • Bridget had been drinking a little and then was interacting with a service dog, so I assumed she was drunkenly not following the rules you should be with service animals, so I was like, “Bridget, you can’t pet service dogs!” But it was okay and I didn’t need to intervene. She insisted that she was sober, and though I’m not sure that was an accurate statement, it appeared that it was cool she was interacting with the dog. Moral of the story? Shut your damn mouth, Monica. B-train knows what’s up.
  • Even when she’s definitely drunk because IT WAS HER BIRTHDAY.
  • Monday morning, we had a kickass breakfast with BP at Waffle House. That may not be interesting to you, but we had a great time and it was amazing. I got mushrooms in my potatoes. Michelle had pickles with her waffle.
  • Monday was the last of the four cast panels. Everyone was so gracious and accommodating and so thoughtful in their answers, and they were all so generous with their time. This fan was very appreciative. Here are some high points:
    • Melanie Scrofano’s spirit animal is “a motherfucking sloth with a machine gun.”
    • Michael Ecklund thinks that Bobo just needs a friend. Gonna be mighty lonely in that well, sir.
    • Tim Rozon ships Doc and Wyatt.
    • Emily says Rosita has more in common with Wynonna than she realizes.
    • It was SO COOL that Shamier stopped in to say goodbye to everyone, and that he’s basically the biggest WayHaught shipper ever.
    • Someone used the phrase “Waverly cheated on Nicole” during a question, and my heart was warmed by how many people groaned.
    • “You can choose who you want to be versus who people tell you you are.” — Emily Andras
    • Kat’s dream guest star is Amy Acker. THAT’S MICHELLE’S DREAM GUEST STAR, TOO, KAT.
    • We have to wait until season 6 for a flashback to the chili cookoff.
    • And the most important lesson — per Emily, shave your legs with conditioner, not with shaving cream/gel/lotion/anything else.
  • Monday, I had dinner (tacos that were super tasty!) with BP, VP, Office, Lynn, Michelle, Heidi, and Docstache. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, it was probably one of the highlights of the trip. Coincidentally, I also had a giant beer, but I’m sure those are unrelated facts. Here are some highlights:
    • I made a Traveling Deb, which I totally forgot to bust out until then. Sorry, Deb! But you were in my backpack the whole time!
    • At one point, sitting in between VP and BP, I shouted, “I AM SURROUNDED BY INITIALS!?
    • Someone Earpsplained to Office, Docstache, and me that “Emtothea” is “Em to the A,” and not “Em Tothea,” which SOME PEOPLE ARE STILL LAUGHING ABOUT. Hey, I thought maybe Tothea was her maiden name!
    • I also picked up the nickname of Cathy, and it’s because someone told VP that they were disappointed they didn’t talk to Cathy and VP had no idea who they meant. When they said “lesbiyinzer,” she was like, “You mean…Monica?”
    • So now my name is Cathy. Cathy Tothea.
  • After dinner, at our hotel, we did the same thing that many of the Earpers did and hard-core voted for Melanie in the #GirlOnTop contest. And holy shit, if I never see another Captcha again, I’ll be happy. Most of them were roads and bridges and cars, but for some reason I had a special hell that included woodpeckers, cake stands, and storefronts. And I of course live-tweeted it because I am who I am, and someone told me to “stop complaining” about the ones I was getting. O…kay? Like…this is kind of my thing, the “making fun of stuff” part? I wouldn’t call it complaining. But…sure.
  • The worst part about Dragon Con? Leaving. I was happy to come home to my wife and my cat and my house and my larger bed and not walking between 439 hotels each day, but there’s a certain level of comfort that goes along with a con for me. in regular life, when I walk into a room, if I’m lucky, no one notices me. Usually, I get stared at, whether it be for how I’m dressed, what my hair looks like, that I’m holding hands with my wife, that I’m wearing some random nerd t-shirt, or that I just look different (AKA queer) in general. I never feel that way at a convention, and feeling like I belong isn’t something I feel very often. As soon as I hit the airport, I got stared at, and not because someone loved my shirt. Sigh. But only a few more months till ClexaCon, right?

There you have it, friends. Several days of insanity condensed into some words that is probably still Unnecessarily Long. As always, I thank you so much for reading.

I’m hoping to start back up on the recaps I missed this season and then maybe do some for season one. We’ll see what happens. But I definitely have some stuff planned for later this year and next year that I am so excited about, I can hardly contain myself.

Many thanks to Michelle for the literal color commentary and to Heidi for the notes. My life is better with the two of you in it. You keep me sane, organized, colorful, and grateful.

 What’s better than dynamite? Boobs. These boobs in particular.

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Purgatory in Sunnydale

Season 2 of Wynonna Earp has been the most Buffy-est show to hit my TV since, well, Buffy, and I know I’m not the only one who thinks so. So @micnic1291 and I thought it would be fun to unpack who our Purgatorian Scooby gang’s counterparts would be in Sunnydale. (Unfortunately, Michelle was “busy watching The Bold Type” when it was time to add in the pictures. What a coincidence.)

MAJOR, MAJOR SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED BUFFY!!! If you choose to read anyway, please don’t shout at either of us about being spoiled, because we warned you. And neither of us needs to be yelled at any more this week. 

Wynonna: She’s Buffy. She’s the big damn hero. She’s the reason we are all here. She saves us, and in some small way, we save her right back. She’s also Faith. Badass bitch in leather. “Fuck all of you” attitude. The spare heir/slayer, so to speak.

 

Waverly: Willow Rosenberg. Hella smart. Hella cute. Newly queer. This is an easy one. Just…try to avoid that ultimate evil part. You know…again. Continue reading

Wynonna Earp 2×01, AKA The One with the Valkyrie in Her Underwear

So, despite my nonexistent track record with recaps, I’m attempting to write about each episode of Wynonna Earp for this here blog. They’ll be unnecessarily detailed, chock-full of random pop-culture references, and replete with screenshots and snark. They’ll take me way too long to write, and I have no idea if anyone will find them entertaining but me. But I like them, so I’m writing them. Hope you enjoy!

Welcome to the first post in my new series, Monica’s Unnecessarily Long and Detailed TV Recaps! My promise to you by the end of the season is that they will get better.

Previously on Wynonna Earp, Emily Andras blew our minds, Melanie Scrofano made all of the faces and gave us all of the feels, Tim Rozon and Shamier Anderson made all of the queer ladies question their sexuality, and Kat Barrell and Dominique Provost-Chalkley made us realize that we do, in fact, like the ladies and created a couple that made us willing to trust a show again in the process.

WE is back with a vengeance, and yours truly was lucky enough to finagle an early shift to watch it and live-tweet its premiere. I’ve made the questionable decision to recap/review/shout about each episode after it airs. Grab your whiskey, procure your doughnut, and make a salt circle for protection, Earpers, because here we go.

Many thanks to the writers for only making us wait about 3.7 seconds to realize Waverly didn’t shoot Doc or her remaining sister. I mean, we’d all seen the season’s footage and an educated guess would tell you that you couldn’t shoot Doc freaking Holliday and then do a sexy cheerleader dance (complete with sexy-yet-dorky finger guns) for your GIRLFRIEND, but still, good to know it was a Random Creature and not Sweet Baby Waves taking a page from either of her sister’s books and turning the gun on her family.

Waves and Doc run, Wynonna shows up and saves the day, then uses Peacemaker to dispatch Random Creature.
TRIO
“Isn’t he gonna go poof?” “Mm, I guess these guys don’t.”

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Buffy Turns 20

So, I was at ClexaCon over the weekend and got back late Tuesday night. That meant that I went from working a 3-11pm ET shift to partying until 2am PT to waking up at 5:30am ET on Wednesday. I was basically a zombie and have been chasing sleep the entire week. I was too drained to write anything on the actual 20th anniversary — yesterday — but I figured, hey, I’m only a day late, right?

Sadly, my journey with Buffy did not begin 20 years ago yesterday. I was a latecomer to this show despite my brother’s attempts to get me to watch it. One night in my old apartment — which was either super cold or super hot, depending on the season — I was flipping through the channels and stumbled upon a rerun — Out of Mind, Out of Sight. Coincidentally, this was the only episode I had any interest in watching, as it starred my number-one celebrity crush at the time (and now, really), Clea Duvall. I watched it, probably huddled under a blanket 0r wearing a bikini, and thought, “Okay, that’ll do it.”

Fast-forward five years or so, and my friend M was going through a really bad breakup. Her longtime girlfriend had cheated on her with someone she met on the internet, and M had picked up and moved from their life together in less than two days. A mutual guy friend, D, suggested that we start watching Buffy together as a thing to do after work. They were both single, and I was in a long-distance relationship, so it worked for us. In the beginning, he dictated which episodes we watched and didn’t, as he was the expert and could tell us which ones to skip.

Let’s pause a moment to eye roll at the patriarchy. Fuck you, The Patriarchy!

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Tell That Devil

I’m up a little early on a Sunday morning (thanks to an early bedtime last night), I have my coffee and my Graham, and the wife is sleeping soundly downstairs. A lot of tasks await us today (most importantly, making a birthday cake), but for now, I’ve settled down to write this damn Wynonna Earp post I’ve been threatening to do for a week. Obviously, minor spoilers are ahead. So if you don’t want to know what happens without seeing it yourself, well, stop reading this and come back in a day after you’ve watched all 13 episodes. I can wait.

When I sat down to write this several days ago, I realized it was a much bigger story than I thought. I needed not one but two prelim posts about a movie and a show that moved me, and those were hard to write. I told Chris yesterday over delicious, delicious hot dogs at Franktuary that the Buffy post really brought up a lot of stuff I hadn’t thought about in a while (or ever). Who needs therapy when you have a blog, am I right?

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Sausages Wieners for life!

I had been wanting to watch Wynonna Earp ever since I saw it advertised on Lost Girl, another SyFy/Canadian show that happened to be about a bisexual succubus. You know, the usual. Its finale aired, and, much to my surprise, it didn’t fill me with angst, mostly because [spoiler alert!]…the ladies ended up together. That never happens. Like, ever. And they did. It’s obviously more complicated than that, what with the difference between human and fae lifespans, but I don’t need to tell you that, right? Right.

So, I had been meaning to watch Wynonna Earp for weeks, but I hadn’t had any free time. Work was busy, I was trying to stay active, etc. You know, life happened. So one day, a free hour on my hands, I decided to watch the first episode. And I was hooked.

I watched eight episodes in the next 24 hours. In addition to work and laundry and also probably Zumba, because I am a suburban soccer mom with no kids.

I hadn’t seen a show with so much of…everything since Buffy. The writing and the humor were on point, more than any show I have seen in years. (And trust me — I see a lot of shows. I watch TV for a living, after all.) The relationships between all of the characters were just…brilliant, especially between Wynonna and her younger sister, Waverly. It’s filled with strong women everywhere — heroes and villains. And the heroes are flawed and the villains are sometimes good. It’s wonderfully, richly, perfectly complex. Once again, a show set in a supernatural setting is more real than anything else on TV.

Then…I got a little more invested.

I’m no stranger to podcasts (I generally prefer listening to them over the radio in my car, at least when I’m alone). I listened to a Buffy rewatch one for years, then one about Lost Girl, then the Nerdist podcast because Chris Hardwick is all of us and it’s so great to hear him geek out. But this WE one is special. Bonnie and Kevin are clearly such HUGE fans and discuss things in intricate detail about the episodes, and they have interviews with all of the cast. The podcast got me even more hooked — I started rewatching the episodes, looking for the things they talked about.

Then…my 39-year-old self fell into the Twitter hole, which has been interesting. New social media are hard, guys. But I try. I think I’m pretty funny and sometimes insightful. And if you’re a fan of the show, you should follow me, because that’s mostly what I tweet about (sorry, everyone else, but not really). It’s honestly been so fun and amazing. I don’t think I’ve been this invested in watching a show in real time in, well, ever. This fandom is amazing, and the cast/crew is ridiculously interactive and generous with their time.

Once again, I found people onscreen (and online) that I wanted to surround myself with. And I couldn’t have picked a better bunch.

[Okay, the real, legit spoilers start now. Stop reading this part and come back to it if you don’t want to know stuff! Scroll down and pick this post back up after the picture of the Unicorn at Anthrocon.]

So, I am a fan of strong women (I did marry one, after all), but let me talk for a minute about the men in the main cast. Both are absolutely amazing as their characters, and (and I’m secure enough in my homosexuality to say this) both are incredibly sexy. In a video hangout after the penultimate episode, when they were talking about Doc’s (Tim Rozon) “sex swagger,” I may have mentioned that I’m a lesbian and his sex swagger affected me. No big deal. And Dolls’ interactions with Nicole and how he totally knows what’s going on before Wynonna (and almost everyone else) does — priceless. Perfect. Incredible. It’s totally my favorite thing his eyes do.

docdolls

Photo of these two handsome fellas courtesy of SyFy.

The supporting characters are so well-cast, too. They’re all three-dimensional, from mother-figure Gus to Sheriff Nedley (and his daughter) to all of the revenants. One of my favorite scenes features Chrissy Nedley, so proud of herself that she chloroformed Waverly to draw out Wynonna. That phone call is priceless and reminds me so much of vampire Harmony on Buffy. Also, where did she get chloroform? So many unanswered questions. And her character is also responsible for the “[Waverly] scissored a stripper” line.

I can even (grudgingly) appreciate Champ and what he represents. Tattooed arms so people think he’s a badass and one tiny tattoo where no one can see because he’s really probably secretly a wuss (a tattoo I have always referred to in my head as a Champ Stamp). He’s responsible for one of the most powerful scenes to me, too — where he calls Nicole and Waverly’s relationship disgusting. It hit me. Right in the feels. Because I’ve been there, and I know a lot of the fandom has, too. Hearing there’s something wrong with you, having it hit you in the face like an actual slap. Having to keep your cool and remain calm because you’re in public (which Nicole did) as opposed to losing it and feeling hot tears spill down your face at a restaurant (what I did).

Refusing to let it ruin your fancy party with your ladyfriend (Nicole) as opposed to having it ruin your Christmas Day (me).

Representation onscreen comes in many forms, and all of them are important. It means just as much to see a strong, powerful, sweet, (somewhat) butch ginger cop owning it and being true to herself as it does to see her reading the room and quietly dealing with some homophobic asshole. Well, trying to, until he threatens your lady and then you have to knock him down with one punch and cuff him, because you’re amazing. It gives me something to point to. “See? I’m not overreacting. People still think I’m disgusting, and that’s why, just because I can get married, the fight isn’t over. Stop trying to minimize me and my life. No one is trying to flaunt anything. We are just trying to live.”

Ahem.

And that brings me to the sweet, sweet pairing of Waverly Earp and Nicole Haught. A large part of my connection with this show. It’s a queer relationship that feels…real. On both of their sides. And one I can see myself in. I’ve been Waverly — approached and hit on by an intriguing woman, unsure what to do, how to react, what it made me feel; falling for this amazing lady but being afraid to show it; breaking down and making the first move because my heart will explode from my chest if I don’t. And I’ve been Nicole — confidently approaching this girl that I’ve been noticing and asking her out; sneaking glances at her and noticing her noticing you; being patient while she works out how she feels; looking super hot while doing it all. And their relationship is real to me, too — I’ve been the one hiding, and I’ve been the one hidden. Both are awful and exciting at the same time. And I’ve been them in the last episode — confident, out, happy, in love. Well, minus the possession, of course. So far.

wayhaughtPhoto courtesy of SyFy. Swoon.

One of my favorite things about these characters, though, is the fact that they don’t just exist for each other, especially Nicole. That was a pattern that Buffy fell into with Tara — at least until after she and Willow broke up. None of Willow’s friends knew her girlfriend (or wanted to, really). All they knew was that she liked Willow. Granted, that was enough for them, but as viewers, it really cheapened the character for us and made her less real. Well, not so much for Officer Haught. Her bonding and fighting with Wynonna while Waverly and her friends had girly “fun” time was so great and really added dimension to both characters. And her interactions with Doc and Dolls in the finale (and when she pulled Doc over for speeding) fleshed her character out even more.

It’s almost like a lesbian can exist on a TV show as a character in and of herself, not just to further a main character’s storyline. Like, maybe I am a fully functioning human with my own purpose and am not just on this earth to make the straight people’s lives more interesting. A novel concept.

Even though I connect so strongly with these two ladies, Wynonna Earp would be nothing without Wynonna herself. And Melanie Scrofano kills it. She’s so amazing. The entire cast is perfect, like I said, and and if you take one piece of this intricate structure away, it would all fall apart, but Wynonna is the cornerstone. She’s just so…real. Her reactions, her interactions, how she feels, what she does, who she starts as and who she becomes — all of it. And it’s so expertly played. She’s so flawed and also so perfect. She’s all of us. And Melanie makes us feel it all.

Let me just finish up with a few words about the creators of this masterpiece. Wynonna Earp is based on a comic book by Beau Smith, a fellow West Virginian. I haven’t read any of the comics yet, but the old ones (that the show is loosely based on) are on my wish list. And Friday, I came home to my wife greeting me at the door with “Hi. I got you a surprise,” and this was on the table.

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Best wife ever.

They didn’t have issue 1 (and she liked two of the covers for issue 3, so she bought them both), so I have to wait a few weeks for the first one to come in before I read them. Well, I should wait. I honestly can’t believe I haven’t torn through them yet.

And finally, the show runner, majestic unicorn Emily Andras. I was a fan of her work from Lost Girl, so I had high hopes. I could blather on and on and on about how awesome she seems, from (obviously) this amazing show she helped create to her interesting, engaging interviews to her weird obsession with cheese, but I won’t. I’ll only say this. The lesbians of the fandom got very, very nervous because we were worried that our precious queer characters were in danger of death because they were, well, queer.

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No reason.

Well, Emily took to AfterEllen to calm us the hell down and say that she had no plans of killing either of our beautiful non-unicorns this season. And we collectively breathed a gay sigh of relief and fell a little harder for this show. We’ve been burned before, Emily (see above), but you made us feel like we could commit without fear of it breaking our hearts. I packed up my metaphorical U-haul after I read that interview, and I haven’t looked back since.

And the finale aired, and it make our hearts soar! Love wins! This is amazing. And — oh, shit. WHAT HAPPENS NOW?!

Literal fandom train of thought.

unicorn

Unicorn, not a lesbian. Maybe. I don’t know their life.

[Okay, we are back to just mild spoilers now. Safe to pick it back up. Welcome back!]

So, thank you, Wynonna Earp, for all of the above. For being that show that the LGBTQ community didn’t know we wanted but now absolutely know that we needed; for so completely filling every 44 minutes with perfection; for giving us honest, true, flawed heroes and villains that captivate us. Thank you for giving us this show, these characters, these storylines. The writing. The jokes! And even stupid Carl.

On a personal level, thank you for stoking a wave of creativity I haven’t felt in years. I’m writing more than I have in ages (blogging, tweeting, interacting online, and everything else), and it’s so appreciated. It’s making the rest of my life better — making me better.

I hope that there’s a season 2 (and a season 3-10), but nothing will touch this special first season. From what it did for a fandom, a community, and for all of us individually, that’s lightning in a bottle that won’t ever be replicated. But I can’t wait to see how season 2 will make it better.

Slaying It

So, everyone knows how much I love TV. If you’re only a fan of my supreme writing skills and don’t know me, well, I’m pretty sure it has come through. If you do know me, you know that my profession for the last almost-15 years has been to watch TV all day. Well, technically, for the last several, I watch other people watch TV all day, because supervising. But still. And then, after a long day of work, sometimes I come home and…watch TV.

I don’t watch as much as I used to. Life with Chris is pretty busy. Since we only are on the same shift about half the time, when we do have the opportunity to see each other, we seldom want to be apart.

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Who can blame me? Heart eyes for days.*

Ahem. Where was I? Right. TV.

Some TV shows have really resonated with me over the years, and a movie or two has really hit home, as you might remember from earlier this week. Carrie Fisher made six-year-old Monica realize she might be gay. But I’m a Cheerleader made me admit that I was gay, and it started something else — the urge to see myself onscreen more.

The next show that made a big impact was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sadly, I did not watch it when it was first on — a friend introduced it to me after it finished airing. Three of us used to watch it together after work, staying up till 1:00 in the morning with the people from Sunnydale. Then the other two started dating each other, effectively shutting the door on our group hangs, so I started watching it by myself. It was better that way, anyway, because he dictated which episodes were “bad” and worth skipping. No time for that, mister. All of the episodes need to be watched! Even Beer Bad!

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A gift from those friends for doing a reading at their wedding. I guess it ended well for them.

[ Spoilers from BtVS are ahead. But it’s been off of the air for years, so, really, if you don’t want to be spoiled, watch the damn show already. ]

Once again, I saw myself onscreen, both in nerdy Willow and gay Tara. And also insecure Xander, demonic Anya, knowledgeable Giles, and even kickass Buffy. Probably not in Riley, though. Thank God. “This show is so real,” I remember saying, thinking how ridiculous it was to say that about a show that takes place on a Hellmouth. But it’s true — literally high school (and eventually college) as Hell.

I always had a soft spot for Willow — nerdy, awkward, adorable. Also, Alyson Hannigan. Then she went to college, got dumped, went a little crazy, and met Tara. And I was a goner.

There I was, on that screen again.

A friend burned me a copy of the Once More with Feeling soundtrack, and I listened to Under Your Spell on repeat. In my car. Getting off the phone with my GF so I could listen to it one more time. Sitting in the parking lot of somewhere (Burgh’s? Kings? I think the GF let me go for a rare night out — Chris must not have been going) listening to it one more time, feeling my heart swell as Tara sung her feelings to Willow, explaining that she was completely taken by her. Being sad that the relationship I was in wasn’t that; trying to come to terms that I would never have that and that’s okay. That’s just not the kind of person I was, and I wasn’t capable of those kinds of feelings. I was happy enough, GF was a good-enough person, and that was…enough.

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I was wrong. It wasn’t enough. I’m capable of more than I thought I was, and this is the result.*

The day I got the box set, I came home from work at 11:00pm and announced to GF that I would be staying up and watching Buffy. She just shook her head, probably. I don’t know. Maybe it spun the whole way around.

She went to bed, and I let Buffy, Willow, Tara, and the gang keep me company. My heart swelled, making me feel less alone with that sweet, sweet box set in my TV stand. Making me feel less alone than the woman sleeping in the next room did.

It’s amazing what we tell ourselves is acceptable in life, isn’t it?

We broke up, obviously. Some BS about her not being willing to put me through being with her. Some stupid, ridiculous crap where she tried to make herself out as a hero when all she wanted was out.

Best thing that ever happened to me. Not an exaggeration.

Buffy kept me company in those months after. When I needed a laugh, I’d turn on Doppelgangland, my favorite episode. When I needed a cry, The Body was the obvious choice. Wanting to be scared out of my mind? Hush. Reminded of the kind of love I wanted for myself? Seeing Red, stopping a couple of minutes before the end.

I could take this opportunity to drone on for thousands of words about the “Bury Your Gays” trope, about how a gay is brought on a show (often a lesbian), and then she’s killed for no purpose other than advancing someone else’s storyline. I could ramble about the horrible, horrible message this sends to the LGBTQ community — gays deserve to be killed, they only exist as characters to further the straight people’s journey, if you sleep with someone of the same sex, you deserve to die — but I won’t. It’s utter bullshit, and it’s rare to find a show that doesn’t do it. Not to jump ahead here, but SyFy (and the country of Canada) does it right, both with Lost Girl and (so far) Wynonna Earp.

But I won’t. Ahem.

The day after our first official date (because we really had been pre-dating for the entire week and a half beforehand — sorry if this is a surprise to the people we hung out with [Heather, Beth, Amy, Sansón]), we went for coffee with her friend/my acquaintance (now our friend) Michelle and hung out at Barnes and Noble. I somehow convinced her to come back to my place, and we sat on the couch and…watched Buffy. My rambling about how Doppelgangland is the most perfect episode is probably why she agreed to continue dating me.

Every time I watched that episode afterwards, I thought of our sweet, special date 1.5. It made me feel even less alone than before.

Chris agreed to watch the entire series while she was in California, just because it meant so much to me. I am under no delusion that it meant as much to her as it meant to me…but the fact that she did it because I meant to much to her — well, suddenly, I didn’t need to watch Doppelgangland as often, you know?

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And then she took me to the bridge from Under Your Spell because I married the perfect woman.

Up next in Monica’s Blogs About Media That Means A Lot To Her…Wynonna Earp. That’s what this was supposed to be, and then I started word vomiting about Buffy, and I couldn’t stop it. No fever, though, so at least I didn’t have to pull out the cowbell.

Until next time, friends, may your stakes be pointy, your pancakes funny-shaped, your candles extra flamey, and remember — the hardest thing in this world…is to live in it, love makes you do the wacky, and bunnies, bunnies, it must be bunnies.

*Photo credit to Laura Kathleen Photography

But I’m a Talent Agent

So, as anyone who follows me on Twitter knows, I’m currently obsessed with the TV show Wynonna Earp. Or if you’ve talked to me. Or texted me for a recipe, I probably mentioned it, too. (Also, if you’re not following me on Twitter, you should. I’m reasonably funny sometimes.)

I mean, not really obsessed. Like, my wife still takes priority, but she’s very understanding and lets me do things like watch the live broadcast a few hours before we have to be at the airport and live Tweet it and then maybe join the video hangout and participate a little and encourage me when I talk about it even though she doesn’t watch it. Because she’s nice like that.

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Also, super hot.

But you’ll watch it soon, right, honey?

Anyway, back to topic.

I’ve been a big TV fan for ages — for as long as I can remember, really. This is not an exaggeration. I was born in 1977 (representing 39, bitches!), and I remember watching Days of Our Lives with my beloved grandmother in 1980. Like, Marlena and Roman and the Salem Strangler. It even got a shout-out in her eulogy I somehow managed not to cry through.

The thing is, I never saw…myself on TV. Everyone was pretty, worldly, thin, confident, and, well…straight. Especially in Salem.

Because Jennifer Horton Deveraux.

Growing up, I remember latching on to people who seemed…familiar. Similar, maybe, even though I wasn’t honest with myself about why. I bought a Rolling Stone with Melissa Etheridge on the cover (and promptly purchased all of her CDs after Yes I Am came out — pardon the pun), read the parts about her over and over. I kept it in my closet (ha!), the nearness somehow making me feel not as alone. For every step forward, though, one backwards. I won tickets to see her in concert…and took a guy with me so “no one thought I was gay.” (I wasn’t the only one worried about that, though, because I remember running into two ladies that my brother graduated with, one of them telling me, “If I see any women making out, I’m going to be sick.” The other looked at me and shrugged. Now, almost 20 years later, all three of us are in long-term same-sex relationships. Hopefully she doesn’t throw up a lot.) I bought a concert t-shirt but was always too afraid to wear it. It’s still in a plastic bin in my basement, never worn.

That was a different Monica, you know?

Onscreen portrayals of lesbians were few and far between, and even the ones that existed weren’t anything like me. I’m no Carol and Susan from Friends. I remember saying (jokingly) that I “identified with the black lesbian” in Boys on the Side, though only half of that was (secretly) true. That Ellen puppy episode was in 1997, Roseanne kissed Sandra Bernhardt before that, and Rosie came out in 2002, after I was totally, completely, fully out.

In 1999, something changed.

I had graduated from college, was comfortably mumbling “I don’t know; I might be gay” to some select people (and had been for four years), and had finally been talked into seeing a therapist. After I told her about my nervousness about lesbians, she half-smiled, raised her hand, and said, “I’m a lesbian.”

Clearly, my gaydar was not fully functioning at this point, because she was as granola as granola gets.

Anyway, she recommended I see a movie — a movie called “But I’m a Cheerleader.”

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Swoon.

I don’t know if you’ve seen this movie, but here’s a brief synopsis (if you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading). Super-girly cheerleader Megan (a pre-OITNB Natasha Lyonne) is shipped off to gay-deprogramming camp (where she finally realizes she’s gay), where she meets some other gays, most notably Graham (an ever-perfect Clea Duvall), with whom she falls in love and probably lives happily ever after, maybe. They ride off into the sunset in the back of a pickup, so…

It is not an exaggeration to say this movie changed my life.

I sat in the theater surrounded by two friends an an intern (sounds like a rom-com), nervous but excited to see this movie my therapist thought would do me some good.

There’s a scene in which Megan is insisting the things she feels and does (checking out other women, pictures of girls in her locker, etc.) are normal and everyone does them. She slowly starts to realize that it’s not as normal as she thinks, ending with the exclamation, “I’m a homosexual!”

“Holy crap,” I thought to myself. “I’m a homosexual.”

And that was it — my “aha!” moment, where I finally accepted what I had suspected since I was six and known, deep down, since high school. I’m gay.

I went to my next therapy appointment, telling my therapist (named Chris, of course) that I was a giant lesbian. “So, you giant lesbian, what’s next?” she asked.

What’s next was, a few months later when that movie came out on VHS (!), I rented it once a week for several weeks. Watched it multiple times. I think this coincided with my brief period of unemployment, so I watched it a lot. Made other people watch it, including that girl who was also a friend who I had a raging crush on (because there was always one of those). “I don’t get it,” she said about Clea Duvall. I shook my head. I ran outside to do something while they kept watching — I think I had a flat tire or something — and when I came back in, after they had watched the scene in the dance club where my beloved Clea looked like how every even-a-little-butch girl wanted to look and kissed the super-hot girl, she looked at me and said, “I get it now.”

Every time I watched that movie, my heart swelled a little bit. I got nervous in anticipation of watching it. I rewound my favorite parts and watched them over and over (literally rewound — remember it was a VHS tape). I was sad when I didn’t have it; inexplicably happy when I did. It was like that magazine in my closet — keeping me company, reminding me I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only one. I wasn’t wrong or evil or awful or something to be ashamed of. I was worthy of love and a relationship (those would take a while to find — one much longer than the other, too).

So when I find that TV show or movie that makes me feel this way, I go a little bit nuts. I want to watch it over and over again, my favorite and not-so-favorite parts, engulf myself with the warmness that spreads throughout when I’m reminded that I’m not alone. Not that I need as much reminding as I used to, but it’s still nice to be reminded.

This also applies to people, as I try to surround myself with those who make me feel safe, warm, happy, not alone.

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This lady in particular.

And maybe this doesn’t make sense to you if you’ve never been affected this way by a show or a movie or a song, but if you have, well, you’re not alone.

I felt this way with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and much to my surprise, Wynonna Earp hit me the same way. How and why and how is another post for another time, but when I was thinking about how to explain all of that, I kept coming back to Graham.

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Not this one, but the cat’s out of the bag (ha!) as to where I got his name.

So, thanks, Clea and Graham (and Melissa) for making me feel like I’m not the only one. For making me feel like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. For showing me that there are other people like me. For helping me to hold on just a little while longer, because my pickup truck and sunset were waiting.

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heart eyes*

*photo credit to Laura Kathleen Photography