Today, I’m going to do two things: whip out a tag and pimp out my favorite blog. That blog? Snark Squad. I can’t get enough of them. What they do (for the most part) is read books and watch shows and movies and then do really snarky recaps. These recaps cover everything from Fifty Shades of Grey to Sweet Valley High to Pretty Little Liars. However, they don’t just snark: they point out and explain harmful tropes and toxic relationships. It’s very interesting and informative. But mostly, it’s just entertaining as hell. This tag was created by one of the women who run the blog (Marines). It takes different tags they’ve used on their posts and creates questions out of them. I watched a couple videos of this tag and just knew I needed to give it a try. The best part is, because Snark Squad discusses all sorts of media, this tag isn’t restricted to books. That really opens up my options. And so, without any further ado, let’s get answering:
- Contrivance Brings People Together: Name a work that relied too heavily on contrivance for your taste.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I know the contrivance is kind of the point, but it gets to be too much. Everything that happens at Caraval is fake because it’s a game, and yet we’re supposed to treat it as real. This even extends to people dying. If you die during Caraval, you just come back to life at the end. There are no stakes. By that same token, Scarlett’s search for her sister isn’t all that urgent because she’ll just come back at the end. It’s this weird double negative where nothing matters so everything matters and vice versa. It’s all made to be more complicated than it needs to be, and only becomes that much more complex with that twist ending.
- Taking the parent out of parenting: Name your least favorite fictional parents.
Jonathan Hale and Samantha Calloway from the Addicted/Calloway Sisters series by Krista & Becca Ritchie. Jonathan Hale is physically and emotionally abusive. He’s also a prime example of toxic masculinity, shaming his son for experiencing sadness or crying (both of which he views as weaknesses). Samantha Calloway is not much better, having caused three out of her four daughters to develop some kind of mental illness. Rose is incredibly obsessive-compulsive after years of impossible expectations thrust on her by her mother. Daisy’s self-worth drops to subterranean levels after being forced into modeling and never being allowed to speak up for herself. Lily develops a sex addiction due to being utterly ignored by her mother, as Samantha assumes Lo will take care of Lily. She’s also incredibly snooty and judgmental. Both Samantha Calloway and Jonathan Hale can choke.
- Sandy Cohen Eyebrow Scale of Non-Negligent Parenting: Favorite fictional parents
Victor and Tanya Baxter from That’s So Raven. Towards the end of 2017, I rewatched this show for the first time since I was a kid. What really struck me was what great parents these two are. They’re supportive of their children and encourage them in their interests. They’re willing to be silly with them and always make time to bond. However, they’re not afraid to discipline their kids when they get out of line. And the punishment always fits the crime. But, ultimately, you know Raven and Cory are good people because Victor and Tanya taught them how to be. And I love them for that.
- Detecting the Shit Out of Things: Name your favorite fictional detective or favorite story that features investigation
Veronica Mars from the show of the same name. I mean, girl is Bad. Ass. She’s a teenage private investigator. She’s also incredibly witty and smart. On top of that, she’s daring and strong. I just… love her so much. I would die for her.
- 1430 on My SAT: Name your favorite intelligent character
Kestrel from the Winner’s trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. She’s only about sixteen or seventeen, and yet she’s already a great military strategist. In fact, she becomes valued by her people for that. Her cleverness and smarts are also what help her navigate court life and go toe-to-toe with the emperor. This devious lady is one heroine who puts brains over brawn.
- I Hate This Fictional Character So Hard: A fictional character you hate— hard
Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He’s such an entitled misogynist. I don’t even want to get into it because I’ll get too angry. If you’ve seen the show, you know what he did.
- Dazzling You with My Brooding: Favorite emotional or broody character
I really don’t go for broody broods anymore, but I guess I’ll go with Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. He loves so deeply, he’s willing to sacrifice his own happiness. Plus he’s funny and nerdy. I don’t have the same passionate love for him I once did, but I do still love him very much.
- Beware— Actual Trauma Ahead: Work that legitimately traumatized you as a child (or child at heart)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling. I first read this series in the third grade and had to quit when I got to this book. The dementors just scared me too badly. I didn’t pick up the books again until the eighth grade. I’m not bothered by them anymore, but they really upset me back then. So, in a way, I guess they did their job.
- Team Feels: Fictional work that gives you all of the feels
One Day at a Time. This show makes me laugh, cry, and get all warm and fuzzy inside. I love the Alvarez family so much and their stories mean so much to me. Penelope is a veteran and she struggles with PTSD and depression. Elena comes out as a lesbian. Overall, their family dynamic is just so beautiful and this show is everything to me. Please, please, please watch at least four episodes of this show. That way it’ll get picked up for a third season. I need more of these wonderful people in my life. And so do you.
- Team Heartless Cow: Fictional work that gives you none of the feels, especially if it made other people very emotional
The Notebook. I saw this movie for the first time a few years ago and I thought it was just okay. Honestly, I really haven’t retained much from it. I don’t know why this is the movie that women stereotypically love because it wasn’t that spectacular. Maybe I’m just heartless.
Do you have any answers to any of these questions? Tell me about them in the comments! And if you haven’t checked out Snark Squad’s blog, definitely do!