Nov 15 2011 12:00pm

Once Upon a Time vs. Grimm, Week 3: Snow Falls and Bees Swarm

Now this is what I’m talking about! The past two weeks in the Battle of the Network Fairy Tale Shows have been lopsided in favor of one show or another. Finally, in week three, we have two solid, entertaining episodes in which each show highlights its strengths. On Once Upon a Time, we experience the beginning of one of literature’s most popular couples; and on Grimm, we delve deeper into the show’s mythology as the term “killer bees” gets a whole new meaning.

Before we discuss this past week’s episodes, go vote for your favorite at the People’s Choice Awards! Both Once Upon a Time and Grimm are up for Favorite New TV Drama! Let the class know who you’re voting for below! Then dig in and let’s discuss two of televisions best genre offerings!

And, um, bee-ware the spoilers. Sorry.


Once Upon a Time, Ep 3: “Snow Falls”

Henry (Jared Gilmore) is convinced that the John Doe (Josh Dallas) in a coma at the Storybrooke hospital is actually Prince Charming and that it’s up to Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) to revive him so that they can live happily ever after. Emma (Jennifer Morrison) thinks she is humoring Henry by making this happen, but begins to believe more strongly after Mary revives John Doe so much that he goes wandering in the woods, and Regina (Lana Parilla), who is inexplicably his emergency contact, thwarts Mary Margaret’s happiness by contacting John Doe’s wife. Meanwhile, flashbacks reveal how Snow White met Prince Charming (whose name is James, thankyouverymuch!), and how they ended up saving each other.

Script (2): Liz Tigelaar has delivered a funny, smart, and adventurous script that managed to appeal to both my cynical, sarcastic side and my romantic, squishy side at the same time. It was such a joy to watch the evolution of Snow White and Prince Charming’s relationship from captive and captor to best friends who love each other so much they want to be each other’s champions that I didn’t even mind when their language got a bit too modern. It was close enough. It was thrilling to see Snow White as a hardened survivor. Unlike Disney’s version of the character, who remains cheerful no matter what, this Snow was given an emotional journey, and we got to watch her learn to trust — a journey that parallels the journey of her daughter, Emma, in the modern world. We also got to see more from Prince Charming, a man who is much more substantive than his status and title might lead one to believe. In the modern world, Regina’s sabotaging of Emma, Henry, and Mary Margaret’s efforts continue to be believable even as her methods have to become more desperate. Despite the fairy tale nature of the show, the motivations and actions of the characters remain firmly grounded in reality.

Performances (2): While she’s given us hints of her talent in the first two episodes, Ginnifer Goodwin finally comes into her own in “Snow Falls.” Her performance as Snow White in the fairy tale world is nuanced and full of fun and a wicked sense of humor, while her performance as Mary Margaret is heartbreaking. It wasn’t until this episode that I noticed the way that Goodwin holds her shoulders as Mary Margaret, slumped and lopsided as if her lack of hope in love is physically weighing her down. Josh Dallas shines as Prince Charming. He plays a man who falls in love without being a pushover; who saves the girl and accepts being saved in return. Whereas few women today would actually want the Prince Charming we hear about in storybooks in real life, Dallas convincingly plays the kind of prince we might all wish for.

Production (2): Snow. White’s. Woodland. Outfit. Enough said. But just in case that wasn’t enough for you — that outfit was awesome. I want it. I want it hard.

Oh yeah, and the rest of the show looked good, too. There were trolls, apparently. But I barely paid attention to how cool they looked, because I was too busy coveting Snow White’s awesome-ass cape, and the worn leather vest with the fur on the shoulders, and the awesomeness of her hair, and the really cool pants. I’m such a girl. Whatever. That outfit owned.

Representation (1.5): With the greater inclusion of Prince Charming into the story, Henry’s being more active than usual, and Sheriff Graham’s help in the search for John Doe this episode is the most gender balanced yet. Whereas it’s been nice to have such female-focused stories, a rarity on television, it’s even better to see what happens when men and women share the story equally. I know right? But believe it or not, it can totally happen! More of this, please.

Audience Engagement (2): Snow White and Prince Charming relationship snark! That was enough to make this an appealing episode, but the rest of the story — Mary Margaret’s search for love, Emma’s increased interest in Henry, Regina’s constant one-upwomanship — was enough to engage an audience. The story included enough aspects of the series premise that anyone stumbling on the show for the first time with this episode would have all they need to enjoy it.




Grimm, Ep. 3: “BeeWare”

A flash mob on a bus leads to a murder. When Nick (David Guintoli) and Hank (Russell Hornsby) are put on the case, the investigation leads Nick to learning more about the fairy tale underworld. Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz) puts the detectives in charge of guarding Adalind Schade (Claire Coffee), who is both the hexenbeist who tried to kill Marie as well as a woman mysteriously related to the two women murdered in the episode. We are introduced to the mellifurs, bee-like creatures who act as a clarions in the creature world. Their only natural enemy? The hexenbeist. Wackiness ensues. Also, this episode features a crap-ton of bees.

Script (2): After last week’s misstep, it was great to see writers Cameron Litvack and Thania St. John give us a story that starts out with a strong, clear case, and ends by expanding the world of the show in a way that makes the viewer want more. This episode had the brisk pace of the pilot and allowed the stories and goals of all of the main characters to converge. This case brings Nick closer to the creature world than anything has before, which ratcheted up the suspense as Nick was in constant danger. Captain Renard is becoming a more imposing figure, and his interactions with both Adalind Schade and Nick are fascinating to watch. This episode also features some wonderful moments of humor. From Sergeant Wu’s sarcastic comments, to the interactions between the detectives and the mortician, to lines like “Harper’s bee man just buzzed me. Yeah, I went there,” where Hank both makes a bad pun and acknowledges it in the same breath, made the episode fun as well as exciting. It’s nice to see that all of the humor doesn’t have to come from the character of Monroe. The one flaw? Hank attempting to stop the bees coming through the bathroom window by swatting at them with a towel, instead of — I don’t know — CLOSING THE BATHROOM DOOR AND TRAPPING THE BEES IN THERE.

Performances (2): The entire cast brought their A games to this story, but this episode was pretty much a contest between David Giuntoli and Sasha Roiz to see who could deliver the most intense I-Know-All-Your-Secrets Face. The scene in which Captain Renard questions Nick about what he knows about Adalind Schade was fraught with tension as questions and answers were lobbed back and forth like tennis balls. However, Roiz pretty much stole every scene he was in this episode. In his scenes with Nick, he excelled at conveying a cool nonchalance, even as he was making really pointed comments; and in his scenes with Adalind, there’s a hint of tenderness, too. When he says things like “I told you, I won’t let anything happen to you” and “Serena and Camilla are not you,” it not only reveals something about him, but it makes Adalind someone worth paying attention to. Not that Claire Coffee doesn’t make us pay attention. She, too, is wonderful at navigating the tricky waters of duplicity. Reggie Lee adds beautifully to the humorous dynamic that Giuntoli and Russell Hornsby share, and watching the three of them interact at a crime scene is proving more and more enjoyable each time. Oh, and there was an all-too-brief, but fabulous guest appearance by Nana Visitor (Major Kira on DS9!) as the queen bee.

Production (1.5): Excellent make-up on the bloated faces of the victims and on the transformed faces of the mellifurs. The, um, honeycomb hideout looked really cool. However, the best bit was the bees, of course, both the swarms as well as the detailed work on the single bees that interacted with Nick.

Representation (2): It almost felt like a different show entirely! Suddenly, there were all these women around! And they were all doing important stuff! Juliette was actually involved in helping Nick’s partner after he’d been riddled with bee stings. I knew those veterinary skills would come in handy! The mortician, Dr. Harper, played by Sharon Sachs, was a delightful and competent presence, and I hope we see more of her as the show continues. Adalind continues to be awesome, and I’m firmly Team Schade. The creature world brought yet another woman into Nick’s life in Melissa Wincroft a.k.a. the queen bee, who manages to teach Nick a little more about himself before he has to shoot her. The murder victims — and assumed fellow hexenbeists — Serena and Camilla were both women, one of whom was a woman of color. Normally, I’d balk at the victims constantly being female and/or people of color, but I’m not in this case, because these women were a part of something bigger. They weren’t just nameless/faceless victims, and that redeems them. Grimm also continues to be a racially and ethnically diverse show, which allows this episode to be the first to earn the full two Representation Points this week.

Audience Engagement (2): This episode had everything: humor, suspense, excitement, inclusion, solid performance, and a clear, concise story that anyone could get into.

TOTAL SCORE FOR GRIMM: 9.5 (out of 10)



Cumulative Scores So Far:

Once Upon a Time: 26.5

Grimm: 24.5

There are only two points dividing these two shows, and if the episodes remain consistently solid, this race is going to be close all the way to the finish line! Two really good genre shows on network TV? Not exactly a bad problem to have! Let me know what you think in the comments!

And come back next week to participate in the conversation after you watch Once Upon a Time, which airs Sundays at 8/7 Central on ABC, and Grimm, which airs Fridays at 9/8 Central on NBC.

Teresa Jusino wants Snow White’s woodland outfit. Did she mention that earlier? She can be heard on the popular Doctor Who podcast, 2 Minute Time Lord, participating in a roundtable on Series 6.1. Her “feminist brown person” take on pop culture has been featured on websites like ChinaShopMag.com, PinkRaygun.com, Newsarama, and PopMatters.com. Her fiction has appeared in the sci-fi literary magazine, Crossed Genres; she is the editor of Beginning of Line, the Caprica fan fiction site; and her essay “Why Joss is More Important Than His ‘Verse” is included in Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon By the Women Who Love Them, which is on sale now wherever books are sold! 2012 will see Teresa’s work in an upcoming non-fiction sci-fi anthology. Get Twitterpated with Teresa,“like” her on Facebook, or visit her at The Teresa Jusino Experience.

1. Lsana
I have to disagree about Grimm. In my mind, this episode was about 50 minutes of "blah" followed by 10 minutes of "wow!" There was a good story here, but it didn't seem to be the story the episode was telling. If the story had been about Nick trying to unravel the conspiracy involving the hexabeasts, mellifurs, and paper mills, that would have been interesting. Instead, the majority of the episode was focused on Nick figuring out things that the audience already knew. It was only in the last 10 minutes during the confrontation between Melissa, Adalind, and Nick, that things got really interesting.

Admittedly the interesting part was really interesting. The show did a good job showing Nick's conflict between his duty as a cop and his duty as a Grimm. He chose to be a cop this time but left us with the distinct probability that he made the wrong choice.

Overall, I think my problem with Grimm is that first, it's a police procedural. It's essentially CSI:Narnia or Law and Order:Stepmother Victims Unit, and there has just been so much CSI or Law and Order or clones of one or the other that I'm kind of tired of them. Second, I don't think it's a particularly good police procedural. The mysteries haven't been all that interesting. The metaplot is better, but the ratio is not enough to hold my interest. If this is an episode that the fans of the show consider "Great/Almost Perfect," I think it's time for me to bail.
2. mordicai
9.5 out of 10? I don't know if I can begin to grok that. What kind of curve are we grading on? I mean, I don't particularly hate or like these shows, but from what I've seen I wouldn't put them in the running with shows like...Firefly or Twin Peaks or Pushing Daisies or...well, shows that I'd give 9.5/10s to.
Teresa Jusino
3. TeresaJusino
Mordicai @2 - The grades are based on the criteria I set forth in my first post, and I'm comparing the shows to each other, as well as to themselves - episode to episode. That's it.

Good lord, if I were comparing these to every show ever created? That would make things more difficult, wouldn't it? I wouldn't be able to get out of bed in the morning! :)
David Thomson
4. ZetaStriker
They're not grading for quality in the way you think, modicai - she clearly delineates what the scores mean in her posts, and script quality is only a two-point fraction of that total.
Teresa Jusino
5. TeresaJusino
ZetaStriker @4 - Yes. And that's done on purpose to keep all the criteria equal to each other. The most you can get in any category is 2 points. I did that, in part, because I'm a writer and my prejudice and tendency is to judge everything script-first to the exclusion of everything else that can make a show great, like production value and the performances of the actors that can sometimes lift a lifeless script.

Though I think you'll find that the success of EVERY category usually starts with a strong story. :)

Now, that's it for talking my process...let's talk about the shows! :)

Lsana @1 - Normally, I'm not a procedurals person either. Or rather, I don't seek them out. Like, if a roommate has Law & Order or CSI on, I'll usually get sucked into the Case Of The Day. :) But I don't watch those shows as a fan. However, when a procedural has another angle that I can pay attention to in addition to the straight-up police work, I tend to like it, because procedurals offer great standalone stories, which I love, and then I get the added thing the show is offering. For example, I love Castle, because it's a show about a writer and has a very literary sensibility. It's a show where there are a lot of nerdy jokes and the main character makes observations that have nothing to do with experience as a cop.

Same for me and Grimm. I love that it has a main character who is a cop, but now can't really think like one. Like you say, I feel like this is a conflict that's going to exist throughout the series, and that's one of the things I like about it.

Also, I disagree about the cases. You know that I didn't like last week's case at all, mostly because I thought the telling of it was structured in a really boring way. The first case with the missing girl, though, was exciting to me, even despite the flaw of the solving being dependent on an iPod still playing a song, because the script did a good job of setting up the perp and showing us the danger the girl was in.

Actually, I think talking this out to you has helped me figure out something else I think is important. In both the pilot and in "BeeWare", it takes a while to know exactly what kind of creature is involved. We don't know until close to the end what being a blutbod really entails, or what being a mellifur really means. In the bear episode, we find out about Jagerbar and the roh-hatz ritual pretty quickly, and so the rest of the episode is just...finding them.
Jeremy Goff
6. JeremyM
Both of the episodes had a really hard time keeping my attention this week. Though that may be more a testament to my own lack of attention while watching TV lately. There were things that bugged me in both:

In OUAT it was the modern language in the old world setting. Not only that they used it but that they switched between it so freely. I also wasn't a huge fan of the Trolls. The makeup and costumes were good but for some reason the acting and they way they were potrayed just kind of bugged me. I did like the backstory of Snow and Prince Charming. I liked how she wasn't a helpless damsel in distress, but could actually handle herself in a tight spot.

In Grimm there were a few things that I walked away confused about. Like the fact that I'm still confused about how the mellifurs act as warnings and a social network. I understand that that's what they do but I'm not clear on how they do that. With the end scene it seems like they convey that through stinging but....yeah that's all I got on that. They were some others but they were apparently so minor that I can't recall them at this moment. Other than that I liked the twist on having Nick defend the woman/hexenbeist that tried to kill his aunt. I also really like the actor that is playing the Blutbod (I'm unable to remember character and actors name at the moment).

Overall I still enjoyed watching them I just wasn't as engaged as I have been the last few weeks.
Adrian J.
7. LightningStorm
I've said it in past posts here, and I'll say it again. Once Upon a Time is much much better than Grimm. Nothing about the Grimm episodes is really that appealing to me at all, and as another said if this is considered a "great" episode of Grimm by fans of the show, I need to stop watching it.

I think my problem is that I'm not really a fan of shows that are more geared toward the one-off episodes than long arcs. I like shows like BSG and Lost that have huge arcs that pay off over a long period of time. But I do also like shows like X-Files and Supernatural that can do episodic with a good long arc underneath that. To me Grimm just doesn't accomplish this union of arc/episodic well.

Anyway, for the People's Choice Award, I couldn't vote for either of these shows, as there was too much stiff competition in that category and at least 3 others were vying for the top spot. I wanted to stick with a sci-fi/fantasy vote, but ended up with Ringer as my choice there instead.
Lisa Grabenstetter
8. magneticcrow
Ugh, I dunno. Once upon a time is pulling way ahead of Grimm in my own estimation, and I wasn't expecting that.

Really, Grimm is just remining me more and more of 'Supernatural', delete the most blatantly sexist and racist aspects CW put in. It's a buddy-buddy guy show, and the only character I actually want to get to know is his fiancée, who's had all of five minutes of screen time (and yet, like, 90% of the more entertaining dialogue).

Plus I find the whole "all male worker bees" thing really irritating. Male bees cannot sting. Sting = sterile ovipositor. #wtf
I don't really see the increase of female villains overall as necessarily an improvement if they're interntionally stripping away what should have been female extra roles. It's like Grimm's casting department has an allergy to including women that aren't dying, in danger, or baddies.

Not that OUaT is doing so well on the PoC thing. Spoiler for ep.4: it almost seems like this is going to get better, and then it doesn't. In a really disappointing way.
Anthony Pero
9. anthonypero
Robert Carlyle puts Once Upon a Time way ahead of Grimm in the interest department. We're just getting the tip of the iceberg of where that story is going, and Rumplestiltskin is at the heart of it. Which would make me squee if I wasn't so manly :)
10. tigeraid
Does every single post on tor have to fall into women complaining about gender equality? Is it REALLY the end of the world if there isn't an interesting, strong/beautiful/intelligent woman in every episode of every TV show on the planet?

This episode of Grimm did exactly what feminists wanted anyways: two strong female characters, with the bee queen (Nana Visitor! Haven't seen her in years) and Adalind shows us some glimpses of her character.

The episode's been the best so far, so I'm glad I gave the show a chance. The humour is good and the cops are all starting to interact more comfortably. The hints at the big over-arching plot the show will hopefully follow were fun too. Did anyone else notice the bee that stung Nick at the end was white instead of yellow? Hmm...
11. Lsana

Since reading your post, I thought a little more about what my problem is with Grimm, and I think it's this: I don't think Nick is a very good detective. As far as I can tell, he has his magical Grimm powers, Monroe's help, and the brains that God gave a particularly slow-witted hamster.

In most procedural/mystery stories, I'm used to the detective to being right with me or slightly ahead. In all three episodes so far, Nick has been way behind me. Some of that is the fact that I know this is a fantasy show and he doesn't, but not all of it. Every clue he gets seems to be via Deus/Monroe ex Machina. All in all, everything in the procedural parts of the episode seem backwards: things that ought to require serious deduction are dismissed in an instant via a Grimm-sight reveal or from Monroe's information, things that are obvious to me are treated as though they are major revelations. In this episode, Nick couldn't find Melissa without Monroe's help. He couldn't figure out that Serena was a hexabeast until Adaline showed up, despite the fact that Monroe practically spelled it out for him. The only reason he figured out which of the flash mob were suspicious was because of his Grimm-sight. All in all, he's a homicide detective who hasn't done much to convince me he could have even guessed the end to an Agatha Christie mystery.

I may give it one more episode. Call it the triumph of hope over pattern recognition. But I'm definitely leaning towards reclaiming this particular hour.
Joe Vondracek
12. joev
JeremyM@6 , Silas Weir Mitchell plays Eddie Monroe the blutbad. He's a long time character actor who's been in about every third/fourth TV show over the last 15 years.

Lsana@11, ITA. The major problem that I have with Grimm is that the Nick character is just kinda... meh. I don't hate him, but I wouldn't really care if he got decapitated in the next episode either. (Although, if he keeps making the snide remarks to Eddie, like "Good boy," then I am going to hate him.) It's too bad the aunt isn't around anymore, because her character had tons more pizazz than Nick's character.

OUaT feels much more imaginative and engaging to me than Grimm does. Maybe that's because Grimm has a "we've been down this road before" feeling to it, as a mash-up of a cop show with a supernatural threat-of-the-week show. (Has it been noted that Russell Hornsby starred many years ago in "Haunted" with Matthew Fox, who played an ex-cop that was able to communicate with the ghosts of dead people?)
Teresa Jusino
13. TeresaJusino
JeremyM @6 - you know what's interesting? The modern language really bothered me about the pilot, but when comparing it to this ep, I think I know why. With the relationship between Snow and the Prince that this show is setting up being such a modern take on the relationship, I think the slips into modernity fit better. Whereas the wedding scene that starts the series off felt more traditional and fairy-tale-ish, so the modern language was more jarring to me there.

LightningStorm @7 - Ringer? Huh. I haven't watched the show at all, so I can't say, but you're the first person I've heard say anything remotely good about that show. Now, I'm curious. :)

Magneticcrow @8 - Good point! :) I'd totally forgotten that. The mellafurs should really be (bee? heh. sorry) an all-female covert ops force spreading information around. Maybe they were trying to stay away from the stereotype of women as gossips? But yes, that would certainly allow for more women. Then again, there's a male talking cow on Back at the Barnyard, so... :)

anthonypero @9 - engage in your manly squee loudly and proudly! :) I, too, love Robert Carlyle

tigeraid @10 - I agree that this week's Grimm had a lot of great women in it, which is why I said as much in my review! :) Also, I did notice that the bee at the end was different, and wondered if it was a regular bee, a mellifur, or perhaps another creature that can change shape and was seeking Nick out. Hmmm indeed!
However, is it the end of the world? Well, yes. :) I mean, not really - nothing on TV is "world ending", but would you ask the question about male characters? Ie: Does every episode of every show have to have a strong/interesting/intelligent man in it? You'd expect a show to. Why not have the same expectation of female characters. Why is it so easy to accept a mostly-male cast, when in real life, women are everywhere taking part in the world. It's called writing good characters. If you're going to have a show set in the real world, it's got to have women in it. And if it's going to have women in it, you might as well write them as full, interesting characters, otherwise why bother?

LSana @11 and joev @12 - I agree that the character of Nick is a bit milquetoast. However, there are things I like about him. There actually are moments when he's been insightful about the case aside from his grimm abilities. He's been shown to be a good general people profiler, and you always see Hank asking him how he's sized up someone before they actually go talk to them. But no detective - television or otherwise - solves cases without input from others. Also, the vibe that I get is that Nick is newer to this than Hank is. Hank seems to be older and sort of guiding him. Nick is getting guided by Monroe (and previously Marie), too. It's the standard "Hero Coming Into His Own" thing. He's got to start kind of green so he can grow into the hero. He could definitely use a bit more personality, but most protagonists are boring at first. I like him enough that I'm willing to watch him grow.
Jeremy Goff
14. JeremyM
TeresaJusino @13-That's funny because it was the opposite for me. In the pilot I didn't really notice it and therefore it didn't bother me. Once you pointed it out on that first blog though I haven't been able to not hear it. It's kinda like that beeping that you're able to block out without even trying but once it's pointed out to you then you can't stop hearing only that. So I guess I have you to thank for that :)
Matt Wright
15. matty42
Haven't watched the latest Once Upon a Time yet, but the wife and I were baffled by the Grimm episode. There were some strange cuts that may have been due to network errors, but - and this is totally subjective opinion here - the episode felt rather weak. Nothing interesting happened until the end when we find out about this mysterious threat to Nick. I like the side-by-side comparison, and will continue to watch the two shows.
16. AlBrown
I liked both of the shows this week, just like Teresa. However, my wife didn't like this episode of Once Upon A Time as much. I guess I must be the romantic in our family!
17. PJP
Once Upon a Time has a more solid storyline and it's more "real." Rumplestltskin's (sp?) melodramatic behavior is a little too queer for me, but I did like the realness of the Mr. Gold tale with the pregnant girl and how it symbolizes problems that people deal with in real life.

I do like escapist type shows like Grim, but the bee episode had me pressing the fast forward button. Grimm made me cringe. Tacky. Cheesy. That's the best I can say about it. The lead is handsome and the blonde chick is pretty, but you need substance and more than just good looks to keep a show afloat.

And I liked the Once Upon a Time episode three as well.

My grades...
Grimm: C
Joe Vondracek
18. joev
The modern language in the "fairy tale" parts of OUaT doesn't bother me because I figure that those bits are Henry's re-telling of the story. As a kid, he wouldn't be familiar with olde-timey language, so the characters speak in modern fashion. At this point, other than Henry's assertions about what is what, do we really know that what he says is true or is it possible that he's just some psychologically-scarred kid pining for a fairy tale solution to his unhappy life? (I'm hoping for the former, but I think that it's been left deliberately ambiguous.)
Adrian J.
19. LightningStorm
Teresa @13: (first let me talk about Ringer then I'll get back to the topic at hand) :) Ringer is one of those shows that is surprisingly good. I too didn't give the show the time of day until it was 6 episodes in and a friend told me that it was WAY better than the premise sounds and he VERY HIGHLY recommended it. So I watched it and found myself watching all 6 episodes in two sittings and was mad that I didn't have the 7th episode to continue on to until it aired next. It was that good. Now, it does have moments that way push your ability to suspend disbelief but the overall story and engaging plot keeps you there. Is it a tad melodramatic sometimes? Yes, but not in a bad way, I mean most shows have their fair share of melodrama these days right?

Anyway back to Grimm and Once Upon a Time (I refuse to use the OUAT acronym :p) Your question to tigeraid @10 was "but would you ask the question about male characters? Ie: Does every episode of every show have to have a strong/interesting/intelligent man in it?" It's a good question and I like when things can be turned on their end and asked the other way to see if it makes sense. And I think the answer to that question is an easy "No". I wouldn't expect every episode of every show to have a strong/interesting/intelligent man in it, nor would I expect every ep of every show to have the same type of woman in it. What I expect is for every episode of every show to have that type of character in it regardless of that character being male or female. Sure, the ideal may be to have both all of the time, but I wouldn't hold it against a show to have only a strong female or only a strong male.
20. tigeraid
Agreed. You can absolutely have a show with a strong female lead and a dude in the background. I'd say Buffy had that, at least at some points in the show. It's definitely few and far between, but they exist.
Karen Simley
21. Simka
Teresa, I'd like to chime in and add my recommendation for Ringer. I watched the pilot just because of Ioan, but the story aside from him--he was pretty bland at first--quickly caught my imagination.

On topic, I continue to enjoy Once Upon a Time. I'm enjoying your blogs very much, but the more I read about Grimm, the less it appeals to me.
Teresa Jusino
22. TeresaJusino
LightningStorm @18 and tigeraid @20 -
Well, the reason I gave OUaT such a high representation rating, depsite there not being much of an increase in the minorities front is that FINALLY, Prince Charming felt like a complete person. He wasn't just Snow's "dream man," he was a complex person that was fully fleshed out.

The thing is, usually, the female characters on shows, unless they're the lead, are written really badly. It's easy for you to say you would say the same about male characters...the thing is, most male characters are allowed to have inner lives that have nothing to do with men, whereas female characters, especially on an all-male show, are only there to be love interests or otherwise nurturing/comforting/etc. So when I asked you the question I asked, it wasn't because I thought that you demanded more of male characters than you do of female characters. I asked, because it's something you generally aren't asked to think about at all. Because it's a given that male characters will be written as human beings, and female characters will be written as devices.

Before this episode (and even after, as you'll see in my review for Week 4 re: Cinderella's Prince Thomas), I was worried that OUaT was starting to skew too far in the other direction to the point where the men were charicatures. However, I'm glad to see that's not the case.

I don't ask for brilliant/wonderful/badass/strong women all the time. All I ask is that the female characters be nuanced. I really hate the "strong female characters" label, because it's come to mean something it doesn't/shouldn't mean. Nuanced is a better word. I want female characters to be fully people, even if they're evil, or not strong, or cowardly and weak. I'm not saying women have to be lead characters, or in the forefront either. You bring up Buffy, and I would argue that Xander, while definitely in the background, was a well-defined character with his own inner life, struggles, and goals in the story. He supported Buffy, and he used to have a thing for her, but when she wasn't interested his life went on to be about other things.

It's not about women always winning in stories, or being the focus. It's about female characters being allowed to be complete people. That's all. It's very simple, really. It's all about quality writing. :)

joev @18 - that's an interesting point you make about the flashbacks being from Henry's point of view. I hadn't thought about it that way before. You're forcing me to see all that in a whole new way. Thanks!

JeremyM @14 - OH NO! :) I'M SORRY! God, I feel like I just broke up a couple after pointing out that the girlfriend chews with her mouth open.
24. Midnight~Howl
Grimm is more dark and less romantic. Once Upon a Time is very predictable, and you know who is bad and who is good. However, in Grimm, not all the villains from the fairy tales are bad. Take Monroe for example.
I have to say, I like Grimm better.

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