The Phantom of the Opera (Part 2)

Alright, it seems we are once again dealing with The Phantom of the Opera, and the confusing details therein. Not just the movie, but the musical itself.

Now, before we begin, let me just warn you. I will not discuss Gerard Butler in this article. I’ve already said all I have to say on the subject last time. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do so here. If you are reading this because you want to see me rage about Butler and his portrayal as the Phantom, you will be disappointed.

With that out of the way, let’s begin.

Now, my main issue today concerns Don Juan Triumphant, the opera which the phantom presents to the theater managers in the musical.

My issue with this is twofold. The first part is simple. The opera makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE WHAT SO EVER!

Let’s go over the lyrics, detailing the plot of the opera.

Passarino: Your young guest believes I’m you,
I, the master, you the man.

Don Juan: When you met, you wore my cloak,
With my scarf you hid your face.
She believes she dines with me
In her master’s borrowed place!

[…] Passarino: I come home, I use your voice, slam the door like crack of doom.

Don Juan:  I shall say: “come – hide with me! Where, oh, where? Of course – my room!”

You follow that? Here, let me break it down for you. Don Juan (A) wants to sleep with the maiden Aminta (B) and asks his servant Passarino (C) for help. So A sends to B, dressed as A, so will think is actually A, inviting her to dinner. Except C hid his face so wouldn’t notice C not being A, despite B presumably never having met either A or C, seeing as A’s entire plan would fall apart otherwise. A will then pretend to be during the dinner with B, with C coming home pretending to be A, so A can take into his chamber which presumably in reality belongs to C, and sleep with B.

At this point, Travis (T) really feels like finding Andrew Lloyd Webber (L) and beat him over the head with a shovel (S)!

WHY THE FUCK DOES HE SEND PASSARINO IN DISGUISE!? Why doesn’t he go in disguise himself?! Why is he in disguise at dinner? In fact, why a disguise at all?! If she is familiar with Don Juan to the point he has to disguise himself, wouldn’t she find it strange that she was invited to Don Juans home by a man who refused to show his face at any point, and sounds radically different at dinner compared to when he invited him?! This makes no sense!

And I wouldn’t be so annoyed by this, if they didn’t go out of their way to explain what the fucking plan was! Andrew Lloyd Webber sat down, read this, and decided “Yes, this makes perfect sense to me.

But hey, I suppose it’s ok if it’s a bit nonsensical. You could argue that the opera is just a means to an end for the Phantom. It’s just a way for him to get Christine. It’s not like he spent a long time on this opera or anything…

Oh wait, that’s right…

See, my second issue with the Opera in the musical is that it’s completely missing the point of the Opera from the book!

In the book, you know what Don Juan Triumphant is? It’s the Phantom’s Magnum fucking Opus! He has spent over 20 years writing it, and when it’s first introduced, he claims that when it is finished, he will be finished with life. The opera itself is encapsulating his loneliness, his sorrow, his suffering, his hopes and his dreams!

At one point, Christine asks him to play some of it. His response: 

You must never ask me that. […] I will play you Mozart, if you like, which will only make you weep; but my Don Juan, Christine, burns.

That’s what the opera is! The Phantoms soul, lain bare in the medium of an operatic score that “Makes pain divine”.

But why keep that, when you can just make it a nonsensical mess that he cobbled together in six month, as part of a plan to get to Christine!

Not to mention that the ONLY REASON this plan worked at all, is because apparently, nobody in the fucking audience could tell that the Phantom took Piangis place!

Which, again, wouldn’t bother me, if they didn’t outright state IN THE FUCKING MUSICAL, that they would have people with guns around, and the entire production was for the express purpose of taking out the phantom!

The one reason this thing is happening, and nobody notices the Phantom, on stage, singing?!

Everyone involved in this is an idiot! 

Gah!

Well, this turned out to be a slightly shorter post than I thought it would be… Who knows, I might return to this subject somewhere down the line.

Assuming, of course, that I haven’t been beaten to death for daring to criticize Andrew Lloyd Webber, while also being lenient on Gerard Butler…

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WTFAW: Majora’s Mask

It’s time to deal with our very first fan theory about a video game. It’s surpring this hasn’t happened sooner, really. After all, we’ve covered theories about movies, tv-shows and even a song at this point!

But we’re finally here, and we’ll be starting off strong, with one of the darkest video games of the 90’s. The Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask.

(And if you laugh at that description, you clearly haven’t played the game… Also, massive spoilers ahead.)

Now, I’m actually pretty optimistic about this. There’s a lot to be found in this game, so who knows. Maybe this will be good?

Let’s begin.

Dave: Ok, so the theory is that the five areas of the game directly correspond to the five stages of grief!

And just like that, my optimism is rapidly replaced by the familiar approach of a headache…

Dave: No, really, this really adds up!

Ok, fine. What are the arguments?

Dave: First off, there’s Denial, which is characterized by Clock Town. People in the city refuse to believe the moon will fall and destroy Termina, and are confused that the city is empty.

Next is the Southern Swamp, with Anger. The Deku scrubs are angry at the monkey for kidnapping the princess, and refuse to even listen to his claims to the contrary.

The third stage is Snowhead, which symbolizes Bargaining. The Gorons are freezing to death, hoping their dead hero will return to life and save them.

Next is Depression, symbolized by Great Bay. The Zoras have lost their guitarrist, and are mourning him, and Lulu, the singer in their band, has lost her voice after her eggs were stolen.

And finally for Acceptance, there’s Ikana Canyon. With no more masks to assume and virtually everyone dead, Link has nobody to conquer but himself, forced to face his own grief and pain, and come to terms with the loss of his friend.

Is that all?

Dave: Yeah. Pretty neat, huh? What do you think?

Well, the theory is very elaborate and detailed, I’ll give it that, and it includes a lot of elements from the game…

Dave: See? I told you!

So what do I think? I think it might be the biggest load of conceited, pretentious, pseudo-intellectual bullshit I’ve ever heard!

Dave: What?

Not only is everything you just said wrong, but it’s so absolutely idiotic it borders on the intentional!

Dave: Oh, really? And why is that?

I am GLAD you asked! But before I explain to you in how many ways this theory is stupid, let me explain the issue with this type of theory. It’s the same problem as with the theory about Harry Potter, Snape and Voldemort corresponding to the “Three Brothers“.

Imagine, if you will, a house of cards. When you plan it, you can make it very elaborate and fancy, but for it to actually work when you build it, every single card has to be perfect. If a single card falls, the entire house will collapse.

By the same token, every part of this theory has to add up. If even one of them fail, the entire theory falls apart.

And what you have done is suggest five separate parts, and NOT A SINGLE ONE ADDS UP!

Let’s begin with Denial, shall we? In Clock Town, you’re right that people are refusing to believe the moon will fall. After all, this is clearly shown to us in the mayors office, where there is a meeting. The meeting is between the carnival commitee, urging the mayor not to cancel the carnival…

And the captain of the city guards, who is urging the mayor to ORDER EVERYONE TO EVACUATE THE TOWN, on account of the fucking moon falling!

Right there, the idea that the people in clock town symbolize denial is in pieces. But that’s not all! The captain states everyone besides public servants and comitte members have already left!

The carpenters, over the course of the three days, also flee the town. In the end, only their leader is left. If Clock Town truly symbolized denial, not a single person would leave, flee or even question the current situation!

As for Anger, while it’s true that the Deku Scrubs are preparing to punish the innocent monkey, they are doing so by order of their king, who suspects the monkey of kidnapping the princess.

We are told by the princess that the king is known to act without thinking when he’s worried. He is also the ONLY ONE in this area who displays anger! Shouldn’t everyone be angry for this to work? Shouldn’t Koume, the old hag who was beaten up in the woods, be angry? The other monkeys, who know what happened to their brother? Are they angry?

No, they’re not!

Next, you say that Snowhead symbolizes Bargaining, because the Gorons are all waiting for their fallen hero to rise from the dead and save them. I suppose we’re ignoring that the goron elder got frozen in an ice block, trying to get to snowhead temple! Seems strange considering the gorons supposedly all expected Darmani to sort it out! Instead, they’re all DUMBFOUNDED by your arrival in goron form, surprised to see Darmani seemingly risen from the dead!

Dave: Ah, but Darmani begged you to give him life back! That’s bargaining!

No, it isn’t! That’s begging! You have to offer something in RETURN for it to be bargaining!

Dave: Well, when you heal his soul, you got his mask…

Oh, right, that’s true. It’s a good thing that doesn’t happen at any other time in the game, right? It’s not like a ghostly dancer and a dying Zora both ask you to heal their souls, granting you a mask in return- OH WAIT!

Speaking of Zoras, this leads us to Depression, with the Zoras all grieving over the loss of their guitarist. And what grieving it is! Why, it’s such a painful loss, none of them ever mention it, or even seem to acknowledge your return as out of the ordinary at all. It’s almost like they have no idea Mikau is dead!

Dave: But Lulu is standing behind Zora Hall, staring at the ocean! She is described as looking sad, and has even lost her voice because of the loss of her eggs! That’s text book depression!

Right… Never mind that she lost her voice BEFORE her eggs were stolen! In fact, the reason she lost her voice is because something is wrong with the Great Bay Temple! The drummer, Tijon, mentions a rumor that should something happen to the Great Bay Temple, the descendants of the Zoras guarding the Temple may suffer. Lulu laid those eggs to remind her of the song that opens the way to the temple! It’s not depression, it’s a fucking curse!

And finally, Ikana Canyon and Acceptance. How did you put it? No more masks to assume, nobody left to conquer but himself and coming to terms with his pain and loss?

First off, Link brings all the transformation masks with him to Ikana, and he has to keep assuming those forms throughout the area in order to progress. He just doesn’t get a NEW form to assume. Second, nobody left to conquer? What about the Garo Ninjas? What about captain Keeta? What about the ghost sisters? What about Igos Du Ikana, the FUCKING KING!?

What about Twinmold, the main boss of the temple?! Does defeating them not count as conquering? In fact, he does more outright fighting in this area than anywhere else!

And of course, coming to terms with his own pain and loss. That’s an interesting argument…

Hey, Dave, just out of curiousity, could you do me a favor?

Dave: What?

Name ONE SINGLE FUCKING TIME we’re shown Link coming to terms with any kind of loss, pain or grief! Name one time he seems to acknowledge his past. And while I’m asking, what fucking loss?! What painful loss has Link suffered that he needs to come to terms with!?

Dave: The loss of Navi, of course!

He doesn’t come to terms with that! In fact, by the end of the game, he continues on that journey, looking for her! How is that posssibly acceptance?!

In fact, that’s another fucking problem with the theory! The examples you have offered are not only insufficient, but also, they’re not based in grief!

The carpenters supposed denial is just pigheaded stubbornness, not denial in the face of loss or grief!

With the swamp, the king is not angry out of grief, but out of concern for his missing daughter!

Those are NOT the same thing!

With Snowhead, the gorons are not waiting for Darmani, But even if they DID, that is not bargaining! That is HOPE! Horribly misplaced, idiotic hope, but hope all the same!

HOPE IS NOT THE SAME AS BARGAINING!

And Lulu, like I said, is not depressed! She’s fucking cursed! When you play the song for her, she snaps out of it as if woken up from a trance, wondering what’s going on!

Not to mention that this is missing a core fucking detail!

Dave: What’s that?

THERE ARE SIX AREAS!

Dave: What?! No, there aren’t! There’s the town, the swamp, the mountains, the sea and the canyon. That’s the entire map. What other area is there? I know you’re not counting Romani Ranch.

Can’t tell what it is? Here, let me give you a pointer.

 

Moon.png
THE FUCKING MOON!
Remember that!?

The incredibly weird area with the giant tree and creepy children running around, wearing the masks of the bosses you’ve fought? Where you face off against Majora’s Mask itself, the big bad of the game?!

Does that somehow not count as an area? I’d argue that it’s in fact the most important area in the game, seeing as the strange and surreal nature of the game reaches a climax there!

Dave: I suppose…

This theory not only makes no sense, but it just reeks of ego-stroking! It’s like something dreamt up by a first grade psychology student. A moron who’s read two books on psychology  and decides to analyse and profile a fucking video game to feel clever!

And in the process missing the part about how Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who introduced the idea of the Five Stages, noted that it is NOT a step-by-step progression. Instead, they are five common experiences for a bereaved person, and can occur in any order, with some stages possibly overlapping or not manifesting at all!

So, the house of cards lies in pieces, to the surprise of nobody. Just because something includes a number, that doesn’t automatically mean the number has some deep, hidden meaning.

Or to paraphrase Sigmund Freud…

“Sometimes, a number is just a number”

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Firefly

Ok, so todays subject is the Sci-Fi show Firefly.

Now, before you all start hacking my blog, scour my contact info and plan my bloody, painful death, there are two things I should explain.

First of all, I like the show! I admit, it’s not my favourite, being more of a fan of Stargate SG-1, but I have nothing against Firefly at all. The characters are rounded and well written, the writing is solid and the show mixes two things I like a lot, namely Science Fiction and old west weaponry.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I’m not going to nitpick the show itself. As far as I can tell, there are no major question marks for the show itself, in regards to logic.

No, I have only two issues when it comes to Firefly, neither of which have anything to do with writing.

My first issue is that, for years now, I’ve heard discussions and arguing, when it comes to the shows cancellation, with people asking to bring the show back.

To them I say this.

Stop it. Seriously, just stop it. Stop trying to bring the show back.

And don’t get me wrong. I get it. The show was cancelled. It wasn’t fair, it wasn’t a good decision and it robbed us of an intruiging and well made story. I completely understand why people are upset about it.

But you know what? It’s been 13 years since the show was cancelled. Let it go. The cancellation was a travesty, but it’s too late to do anything about it now.

You don’t believe me? Here’s a little experiment. If you’re one of the people demanding they bring it back, let’s suppose that you got your wish. Let’s say that tomorrow, they made the decision to finally continue the show.

But then, how do you deal with the fact that so much time has passed?

There are of course many answers to that, but I don’t think any of them is very attractive. You could ignore the time difference and just pick it up where the show ended. But it’s going to be pretty obvious the actors are suddenly much older. It’s going to be a constant elephant in the room.

I suppose you could make it animated, but then you’d go from live action first season to animated second season, which obviously doesn’t work.

You could reboot it, but animated or not, that would just invalidate season one, and people would be angry.

Of course, there’s the option to set it ten years later, but seeing as people want the show back because so many storylines were left unfinished, that means you’d need to have those resolved in the interrim, meaning you may as well have rebooted the show.

However you look at this, bringing back the tv-show isn’t an option anymore, so just let it go. Let it rest in peace.

Now, my second issue when it comes to Firefly can be summed up thusly:

Why is the show named Firefly?

Don’t get me wrong. As names go, it’s a pretty nice one. But in regards to the show itself, that name makes no sense at all.

You know what the name is referring to?

The model of ship they’re flying.

In other words, naming this show Firefly is like calling the original Star Wars trilogy Corellian YT-1300 IV-VI, or calling Knight Rider Trans Am. Say what you want about the movie Serenity, but at least that name makes sense, since that’s the name of the ship!

Not to mention the theme to the show is called “Ballad to Serenity“!

I mean, look at Joss Whedon’s other works.

Angel: named after the main character.
Buffy: named after the main character.
The Avengers: named after the group of main character.

Next to that, the name Firefly is, if you pardon my plain speaking, stupid!

But then, I suppose that might explain something about the shows premature cancellation…

So let that be a lesson for you. If you’re making a show, and want it to have a long and succesful life, name it after an immortal celestial being or a woman in her early 20’s, and NOT after an insect that will be dead in two months…