Tag Archives: Television

How “Fringe” can Hint to the Future of “Steven Universe”

Two shows. One is a live-action, cult hit, drama-oriented show starring three protagonists and their adventures into the slightly strange along with the occasional drug trip. The second is an ongoing, animated show starring a boy, his three alien mentors, and their adventures in the fantastical along with the occasional song. These two shows, Fringe and Steven Universe, are so different from each other that making parallels or comparisons between the two would be difficult if not nonsensical.

Yet both of them have a strong focus on parenting and in particular, Fringe deals with fatherhood while Steven Universe concentrations on motherhood. I want to dive in to how both of these shows deal with their respective parent and discuss if the now ended Fringe can tell us the future of the still ongoing Steven Universe.

Let’s start with Fringe. Fringe’s attitude and theme towards fatherhood is at first quite subtle. Our main source is Peter and his dad Walter who are two of the three main protagonists of the show. Season One focused greatly on Peter and Walter amending their very rocky relationship which culminated to Peter finding a newfound love and respect for Walter. As the series progressed, new fatherly relationships are expanded on such as Astrid Figglesworth’s uneasy relationship with her dad and Olivia being abused by her step-father when she was a child. The big kicker though comes in the reveal that Peter is from an alternate universe and Walter kidnapped him when he was a child when his Peter died. This catalyzed most of the series’ events including one of the show’s main antagonists, Walternate, or the Walter from the alternate universe, and his quest to get his son back. Super trippy and balls awesome, yes, but it does highlight the lengths both Walters had to go through in order to save their son. Fatherhood was ratcheted up a notch in the final season (and this was when my roommate and I noticed its prevalence) when Peter went to great lengths to avenge his daughter’s death and September was willing to sacrifice his life for his son Michael. It was also the season where Walter sacrificed his life for his son Peter in a very bittersweet ending. This article does a great job summarizing Peter and Water’s relationship and I highly suggest you read it if you are a Fringe fan.

Steven Universe’s themes of motherhood are starkly more apparent than Fringe’s initial dip into fatherhood. First off, Steven basically has three moms and a dad that we only see every four episodes or so. Steven’s own mom also gave up her existence to bare her child and to symbolize her love for Steven’s dad, Greg. Season 2 has also been giving us a lot of great mom episodes involving Connie’s mom, Sadie’s mom, and, of all people, Onion’s mom. Already, we have seen themes of nurturing (Onion’s mom), protection (Connie’s mom), and encouragement (Sadie’s mom) that make up a big part of motherhood. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get more mom episodes in the future from other supporting characters along with a more detailed look at Steven’s mom, Rose Quartz, and her love for Greg.

Okay, so is there a connection between these two, vastly different shows’ approach towards parenthood? Well, there is but both of them handle it differently.   Boiling down plot elements to their purest form, we see a strong sense of sacrifice from both mothers and fathers. As mentioned before, the fathers in Fringe go to great lengths to avenge, protect, or preserve their offspring from harm no matter what the costs. In Steven Universe, Rose Quartz sacrificed her life to bare Steven while the Crystal Gems defend and protect Steven even if they are harmed during the process.

Now granted, Steven Universe is still an ongoing and continuously evolving show so we have yet to witness the full potential of it. This idea of sacrifice may play out more or there may be other themes of motherhood that would be touched on instead (like the aforementioned nurturing, encouragement, and protection). Nonetheless, Fringe could give us a clue into the future of Steven Universe, a future where things aren’t as rosy as they currently are.

As situations will likely become dire, we should expect the characters on Steven Universe to make tough decisions that would ultimately change the current standing of the show. This show is not afraid to challenge familiar tropes and the status quo. Other Cartoon Network shows, mainly Adventure Time and somewhat Regular Show, have done the same thing to their setting and characters and it’s not surprising that Steven Universe is already doing it despite its still young lifespan. Likewise, Fringe is similar in to Steven Universe due to its plot setup, its embracement of the untypical trope situations, and how every season is unique due to dire changes that happened at the end of the previous season. What I’m saying is that Steven Universe is changing and will continue to surprise us in ways we won’t expect, the days of status quo continuity, as seen in Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, and Ed, Edd, and Eddy, are long and forgotten.

First off, if we were to be directly inspired by Fringe, there might be a global invasion of Homeworld Gems. If the Cluster, whatever that is, does not work out. Yellow Diamond may take it upon herself to call a massive invasion onto Earth, and establish a matriarchy on the planet. Steven’s home could be destroyed, his city would be forced into curfew, and Homeworld Soldiers would patrol the streets looking for him and the Crystal Gems. This happened in the final season of Fringe when the Observers took over the protagonists’ universe and basically established a fascist patriarchy. This comparison between the Observers and the Homeworld Gems is not farfetched as they are characterized by their mysterious nature, their power, and their preference towards one particular gender. Both forces were hinted at since near the beginning of their respective shows and we’re only given teases and glimpses into their world as their series continued. And now, it will only be a matter of time before the Homeworld Gems make their true, and world-shattering entrance.

As fan theories go, this one is kind of out there so if you were looking for something easier to swallow I present you with this. Fringe’s final season was intense with emotion, action, and payoff. Steven Universe will likely emulate this on both the positive and negative notes. If sacrifice does come into play in the show’s final moments, we will likely see some of our favorite characters pass away (and not just reborn) for the protection and preservation of Steven.

While Fatherhood, both in Fringe and in general, may be categorized by bravery, morality, and wisdom and Motherhood may be categorized by the aforementioned nurturing, protection, and encouragement, both are ultimately link in self-sacrifice. What lengths would any good Father or Mother go to in order to preserve their child? Fringe knows this and embraces this. Steven Universe will likely go the same path. Pearl loves Rose Quartz and her child Steven. Pearl has sacrificed herself so many times in order to protect Rose. Whose to say that she won’t do it again but this time, end her life permanently by doing so? What effect will this have on Steven’s psyche when that time comes?

Perhaps Steven will become hardened by his loss and take on the role of both a father and a mother figure to the rest of his family and friends. We saw a glimpse of this in the premiere of season 2 when he tried to shut Connie away from his troubles. He wants to protect those he love. If a true tragic loss were to occur, he may go more extreme than this and take on a role similar to Peter when his daughter died in the final Fringe season. If that were to occur, he’ll need Connie, similar to Peter’s significant other Olivia, to pull him back and embrace his true humanity, once again.

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Initial Reaction to ABC Battlebots (2015) Episode 1

Holy Crap.

Battlebots has returned this year on ABC and it’s as ridiculous and amazing as it was more than ten years ago on Comedy Central.  To begin with, I want to say I felt like my ten year old self again while watching this first episode.  The hype, the out-of-place suave commentators, the flashy stage, and the killer robots threw me back to my parents’ couch years ago.  It was fun, stupid, and most importantly, robots fought each other for the glorious nut!

First, few things I was disappointed about before I gushed about everything else.

-No original theme?  That makes me sad.  The original Battlebots referee Mark Beiro was also not there but considering his long and great career, I’m totally fine with that.

-They didn’t say “The box is locked, the lights are on, it’s robot fighting time!”  Come on!  That was basically their slogan!

-As mentioned before the main three commentators seem out of place but given the nature of Battlebots history, that’s typical.  At least they’re not as annoying as the original ones!

Okay!  Onto the good stuff!

This season of Battlebots (season 6) has made some good choices in order to both highlight the builders and televise the battles.  Instead of a huge assortment of robots we get just 24 robots in one weight class.  This cuts down the shallow coverage of the robots and gives us a more in-depth look into each of them.  This is great!  We learn why we should care for each of the robots, it makes us root for them more, and it gives us the opportunity to connect to them and remember them better.

Some people complain about the coverage on the builders but that’s typical Battlebots!  They love to focus on the builders!  It humanizes them!  It gets the audience to know them better and why we should root for them!  It also shows how anyone can build robots and compete in the tournament!  It’s pretty funny too when you get this juxtaposition of these cool, suave announcers interviewing the dorky and sometimes rigid builders.

At first I thought when they were focusing on the builders they were only showing the winners of each battle.  Thankfully, I was wrong with that as evidence by the Warhead vs. Biteforce battle.  Good!  I don’t want things to become predictive!

Okay, now onto the battles!

First off, Razorback vs. Icewave.  Nice, good battle to start on!  Razorback is interesting; I never have seen a Battlebot design like that before.  What were they trying to accomplish there?  Anyway, Icewave was definitely the highlight for this battle.  I liked the builder, Marc DeVidts, he reminds me of me a little.  He saw Battlebots around my age and wanted to build his own Battlebot because of which.  That’s awesome.  Icewave actually reminded me of the former Middleweight Champion, Hazard thanks to its spinning blade.  Icewave was just tearing apart Razorback and it was greeeeeat.  I look forward to Icewave’s next battle!

Next, Wrecks vs. Plan X.  Anyone recall the Middleweight T-Wrecks here?  Hm, maybe me.  Regardless, Wrecks is nothing like T-Wrecks.  God, this robot is so funky!  I freaking love this guy!  Team Captain Micah “Chewy” Leibowitz explained that he came up with this robot after waking up from a dream and I can tell!  Then there’s Plan X which is also freaky thanks to its glowing brain.  Former Battlebot competitor Lisa Winter built this robot and I was pleased to see her return.  Female representation in a male dominated sport is always a plus especially when the builder is young and confident in herself.

This battle was probably the most entertaining out of the four thanks to these two weird, weird, robots.  It looked like Plan X was going to win it at first then Wrecks started shuffling back like a determined terrier ready to take down a german shepherd!  I was laughing my ass off during the entire fight.  Part of me was hoping Wrecks would win this one due to its comeback in the last ten seconds and the huge damage it was inflicting on Plan X.  Definitely a favorite.  I was disappointed by Plan X’s spinning weapon but hopefully it will do more damage in the next round.

Next we get the upset battle Warhead vs. Biteforce.  Ah, Warhead, one of the few veteran robots that unfortunately couldn’t seal a win against his opponent.  And to be fair, it was a bad matchup.  Biteforce had a strong drive and a highly defensive ram.  That drum spinner barely dent Biteforce and the arms and tail were useless.  Biteforce had this battle right from the get-go by pushing Warhead all over the place and into two different pulverizers (which made me laughed hard)!  Biteforce reminded me of Complete Control thanks to its unique design and ability to handle dangerous opponents.  Good work Biteforce!

Finally, we get the amazing battle between Nightmare and Warrior Clan.  Man, ABC missed their chance to talk about how Team Nightmare and Team Whyachi had fought each other before in Season 3 for Nightmare vs. Son of Whyachi where Son of Whyachi won hands down.  They should have mentioned that!  Anyway, great battle even though my favorite, Nightmare, got flipped over (again, another bad matchup for a veteran robot).  To be fair though, whether done intentionally or not, the new Nightmare design kind of helped Nightmare in its dire situation.  I’m sure Jim Smentowski was trying his damndest to flip his terrorizing robot over.  Regardless, DID YOU SEE WHAT NIGHTMARE DID TO THAT BITTY FLAME BOT!  That was hilarious.

We still have more qualifying rounds to go through so I’ll withhold my judgement of flame and multi-bots until then but so far they seem to be working out well.

As for wildcard…there are 24 robots and 12 battles which means 12 losers.  Only four of the twelve losers will be picked to fight in the second round (if I’m interpreting the rules correctly).  The show briefly mentioned that the judges will pick the four robots that did the best in their respective matches (which is a great idea).  If I were to pick a robot or two from this episode it would be Wrecks or Nightmare.  Both did a great job fighting their opponent and I can’t decide who deserves it more.  I guess I lean towards Wrecks cause I want to see more of him!  He’s so funky and hilarious (but also he lasted the full three minutes as well)!

My Pick to Win the Nut: I think Icewave might have the best chance.  Battlebots has had a history of vertical rotator robots (e.g., Hazard and Son of Whyachi) winning the Nut.  Icewave’s blade was just wailing on Razorback showing that he is both a good defensive and offensive robot.  However, Icewave was smoking by the end of his match which isn’t good and he’ll have to worry about flipping robots like Warrior Clan (who might even be too low for the swinging blade).

Overall, the episode was great and I look forward to seeing more episodes of Battlebots!  Woo!

Does Columbo’s Wife Exist?

Columbo is one of the greatest characters to grace the small screen and is definitely among the top five detectives of all time. His soft personality combined with his loquacious attitude mixed with his attention to detail makes him a standout among other, harsher detectives. He lulls you in a sleepy sense of security and then nabs you with your guard down. Through his bumbling appearance, absent minded persona and his cheap-looking cigars, Columbo can trick the murderer into revealing details and lies that would otherwise be unnoticed.

One of the ways he does this is through his constant conversations about his adored wife, known simply as Mrs. Columbo. Columbo finds someway to bring up his wife to the killer when they are discussing about the victim, the murderer, or anything in general. This usually agitates the murderer and can then lead them to tripping on their own lies.

But let me ask you this, does Mrs. Columbo actually exist?

The answer seems easy to answer at first but once you think about it, you really have to question about her supposed existence. Just like last week’s article on the conundrum we faced towards the Batman-villain Poison Ivy and her diet, there’s more to this than it seems.

The thing is, we have never witnessed Mrs. Columbo before. We never see or hear her and yet she is one of the few reoccurring characters on the show due to her sheer presence brought by Columbo’s detailed descriptions of her life and personality. And it’s because of these intricate details that many have speculated that Columbo has made her up. It’s almost too coincidental that Mrs. Columbo happened to be a fan of Chef Paris or Maestro Benedict for instance. Columbo always has a right scenario for her to relate to the murderer’s life.

Unfortunately, to answer this riddle, we would have to dive into Columbo’s personal life, which is quite difficult given the show’s reluctance to allow us to accomplish that. It’s pretty funny actually. Many modern detective shows give us sooooo much information on the detective’s private life. They’re like an open book to us.

As such, it is these precious few moments of Columbo at his relaxed state that we must rely on. Particularly, before he meets the murderer and builds the slippery slope that will lead them to their demise.

One moment that we see this is in “A Stitch in Crime,” where Columbo briefly talks about his wife to a police officer before examining the body. Now, I find it hard to believe that Columbo would continue the Mrs. Columbo façade to a fellow officer. However, you could argue that he’s constantly on guard, so to speak, and he wants to be prepared when even a police officer murders somebody (which actually did happen in one of his episodes). Therefore, he can continue his shtick relentlessly without missing a beat.

A little bit more proof comes in the “Troubled Waters” episode where we see Columbo talking to his wife via a telephone. This is where we are getting into crazy territory if we were to assume that Columbo’s so devoted to having a non-existent wife that he keeps up this elaborate lie by talking to her on a telephone and lying to everyone on board that his wife won the both of them a pair of tickets to go on a cruise.

Thankfully, in that same episode, other characters have admitted they had seen his wife several times during the course of the episode. Granted, this is not total hard proof but I’m willing to be convinced by the evidence given in the examples I have mentioned and other that I haven’t. Columbo has a wife.