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I’m fantasy casting the US government with my favorite sci-fi heroes and the answer seems super clear: Jean Luc Picard is Joseph Robinette Biden and Michael Burnham is Kamala Harris. It’s not just the obvious — their positions as captain/President and first officer/VP, their age, or race (although these things help) — Jean-Luc Picard and Michael Burnham share illuminating parallels with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, from their leadership styles to their reputation.

Now I don’t actually know any of these people — I’m not trying to cast based on their true, innermost selves. I’m talking about their myths, the stories they tell about themselves and the ones we tell about them. Take their values: Faith in humanity. The belief that diversity unleashes our potential. The importance of doing what’s right. That’s what Biden-Harris ran on and what we expect from our Star Fleet leaders. …


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I introduced my partner to the term “bodice ripper” last week. Oddly, as a straight male, he’d never heard it but the rise of Bridgerton (before the whole, attempted coup thing) finally gave him a reason to learn it.

While the latest Shondaland juggernaut is based on an extremely popular romance novel series, many men are ignorant of this entire portion of our culture. After all, it doesn’t fit within our society’s narrative that declares men are the only ones who seek out sexual content (see the conversation around porn). …


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First of all, Sylvie’s Love is good. This Tessa Thompson-led picture is beautiful, set in New York’s 1960’s jazz scene. The costumes, the decor, the music, all make for an immersive experience matched by the film’s sweet, simmering love story. That’s reason enough for the Latinx community to show up for Sylive’s Love but there’s so much more.

For one, it features our favorite leading ladies. This is Tessa Thompson like I haven’t seen before. I’m used to seeing her as a badass whether in Westworld, Thor, or Creed. Sylvie’s strong but her strength is the quieter, less sure kind. She’s the privileged daughter of an established Black Harlem family, engaged to one of its most eligible bachelors. But as her true love, Nnamdi Asomugha’s Robert, says, her fiancé is the least interesting thing about her. …


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Latinas and femme Latinxs may be the least likely to be represented on TV but that doesn’t mean we’re absent. So let’s end the year by celebrating the show’s we led in 2020. Yes, the Coronavirus meant some of our favorites didn’t drop new episodes this year (come back, Pose! We miss you Queen of the South) and yes, Latinas and femme Latinxs generally appear as supporting characters or as part of ensembles (and we’re great in these roles — watch Brooklyn 99, Gentefied, On My Block, etc. to see what I mean). But we also helm shows. …


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Remember restaurants? I do — even if I haven’t eaten in one since March. I used to love going to fancy and hole-in-the-wall places trying familiar dishes or new foods entirely. It was fun and communal and it’s gone now, thanks Coronavirus. Cooking at home is not the same, no matter how healthy your sourdough starter. Luckily we still have food TV.

Pardon my metaphor but cooking shows are the comfort food of television, both unchallenging and pleasant to consume. Hulu’s Eater’s Guide to the World is all these things but it’s also a vision into what our media would be if it reflected actual reality. …


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The man has been voted out of office and we are breathing a sigh of relief. In fact, we’re ready to have the last laugh That’s why we’re imagining the fictional (actual or would-be) Presidents who would have done a better job the last four years. This is definitely not a list of best TV and movie presidents (there are many of those). No one played by Harrison Ford, Geena Davis, or Dennis Haysbert appears on it. There’s no President Bartlett or his equally improbable and impressive peers. We’re not talking the greats here. No, this is a list of presidential villains, traitors, and idiots. A list of fictional ne’er-do-wells who would all make better Presidents than the 45th person who actually held the office. …


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It’s no wonder that Justina Machado broke out on Six Feet Under. The show centers on the whitey, white, white undertaker Fisher family and the quietness that consumes them. Machado plays Vanessa Diaz, wife of expert corpse restorer and eventual partner Frederico. And she pops against Six Feet Under’s muted background, stealing every scene she’s in with warmth, humor, and humanity. In the nearly ten years since Six Feet Under premiered, we’ve learned to expect such amazing performances from Puerto Rican Machado. And we’re grateful for it.

It’s hard to make a Latinx show without her — she’s Carmen on Elena of Avalar, Reina on Devious Maids, and Maya on Superstore. And even when she’s surrounded by loud and proud fellow Latinxs, she stands out. Remember Darci Factor on Jane the Virgin? As the match-maker reality star, Machado met our favorite Jamie Camil’s Rogelia De La Vega toe to toe, managing to be just as silly, ridiculous, and likeable. She also got possibly the best line on Queen of the South (“Is America as bad as everybody says it is?”) believably playing an over-the-top street-smart, kept Mexican woman who learns how to run her own product after her cartel-member husband is executed for his lack of loyalty. And she did it wearing “leather” jeggings for half a season. …


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There’s lots of talk about diversity in Hollywood right now. And we want to believe it’s working, that Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian femmes are finally getting the TV deals that pipe their stories into our living rooms. But is it all talk?

We DMed Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón, Director of Research and Civic Engagement at UCLA’s Division of Social Sciences to find out. Along with professor Darnell Hunt, Dr. Ramón co-authors the center’s reports on diversity in Hollywood, including their recently released 2020 findings. …


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We have no idea what’s going to happen. We don’t know who’s going to win the election, when we’ll know the results, or how Trump and his cronies will respond to any of it. We do know that sitting in front of the TV, watching mostly white male pundits flap their jaws in the face of all this uncertainly sounds like torture. They don’t know what’s going to happen either and they’ll mostly just repeat themselves as facts trickle in.

It’s only the future of the free world at stake! There’s got to be a better way. So while we’ll definitely be following favorites like Soledad O’Brien and Maria Hinojosa on Twitter, we need something to watch so as not to go insane. …


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Sci-fi is singular because of where it can take us— with Star Trek, I get this sense of hope that humanity will learn to rise above the prejudices that define our current world. With Battlestar Galactica, I question fate and the limits of human ingenuity. With Star Wars, I delve into the delightful idea that all living beings are connected and that life itself has its own power (the Force — you dummies). …

About

Cristina Escobar

Professional feminist. Amateur woman, Chicana, mother, partner.

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