Ep 283: Homeland, Survivor

When Nelly Thomas comes in to talk about Survivor, you know that it’s like a party for your ears, but is she losing faith in her one time bucket of television joy? And what’s with this new fascination with Celebrity Rehab? She explains all.

Also, with Glenn Peters in the co-host seat, we discuss the new Showtime drama, Homeland.

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/media.boxcutters.net/BCep283.mp3|titles=Episode 283|artists=Boxcutters]


One Thing

  • Jeopardy! – 6pm weeknights, One HD
  • Holy Flying Circus – Channel Internets
  • Unforgettable – 9:30pm & 10:30pm Wednesday, 8:30pm Thursday, Nine

Today Tonight

The host of Today Tonight on the East coast is, indeed, Matt White.

Star Trek

See John and Josh at ACMI, Live In The Studio, talking about Star Trek.


  1. David Boxcutter says:

    I really don’t understand how Josh translates Israeli TV having a very small and highly reactionary audience into “the cream rises to the top”. Could you please elaborate?

  2. rubenfrombreakers says:

    “Poach” Karl? Like drive through the jungle and shoot?

  3. Follow up to the review of Homeland, I’ve now seen 4 episodes and have to say Josh and Glenn got this one totally right. While it remained watchable there were a lot of problems with the writing. As Josh commented all the women are crazy or slutty. However, by the end of episode 4 it’s hard not to feel the show’s more than a little racist. While I get the show centers on terrorism etc and so muslims were inevitably going to be the bad dudes, by the end of episode 4 it felt like watching a Bush-era montage of stereotypes.

    Done, done, done.

  4. Glenn Peters says:

    I can’t stop thinking about the garage scene.

  5. Hi Guys. I specifically didn’t watch Homeland because of your review, which I figured, I wouldn’t like, being a woman ‘n all. But then a bunch of my more feminist friends started raving about this show and I thought I’d take a look. And what did I find? A really enjoyable show that seems more feminist that most in this TV genre.

    I have to take you guys up on your “feminist reading” of the show. Firstly, it’s really really rare to have women in shows like this, and more than that, to have more than one key woman, if we get to that stage. In Homeland, there are a lot of women, even women in less significant roles where a man would normally have filled the role. Not only that, but the women are complex and varied. Yes there is a prostitute – one prostitute – but she is heroic, she risks her life for her country and she uses her position for power when it could have been otherwise.

    As for “slutty” – other than the prostitute, there are the wives of the POWs. One remarried – kinda not slutty. The other, after her husband had been missing, and presumed dead, for eight years, got a boyfriend. A boyfriend who became a father figure for her kids. That’s not really slutty, in my book. And you know, even if it was slutty, she’s liberated in her sexuality. I’m glad that we can move beyond the slut shaming.

    So that leaves us with “crazy”. And as far as I can see, there’s just the Danes character who is crazy. (She has a sister who seems like a steady, non slutty, non crazy person of stability for her family. Also there is the woman high up in the defense ladder who wasn’t crazy or slutty either). It’s interesting that you see the Danes “crazy” – a mental illness she has been managing since her 20s – as a character flaw when you don’t read the POW guy as similarly flawed even though he is clearly equally troubled with perhaps PTSD or similar after you know, the torture for 8 years. He is interesting, and complex, where Danes is not, according to your reading of the show.

    I found Homeland a really interesting display of varied and diverse female characters within the limitations of reality of today. And I felt sad that you guys dismissed the number and variety of women at all, rendering that important step invisible, to then say, as Joanna Russ would suggest “yes, but look who they were” (paraphrased from “How to Suppress Women’s Writing” by Joanna Russ).

  6. deborahb says:

    Er, yes, I don’t think the women were either ‘crazy or slutty’ at all. The ‘slutty’ label particularly rankles if applied to the wife, who deserves better for the fact she tried to start a new relationship years after thinking her husband was dead, but was brought down by her own efforts to hide the shame she – unfairly – felt, the self-judgement she executed in the midst of trying to hold her family together. I can’t see that as slutty at all.

    The ‘crazy’ label overlooks the complexity of the main characters struggles to overcome her affliction. When Mandy Patinkin suggests in the final episode, “You’re the strongest person I know”, I agreed with him. Danes’ character was a flawed hero, brilliant and troubled, much smarter than the rest of her CIA colleagues, but also more dangerous, more willing to live outside the rules.

    It’s a shame that efforts to present complicated, flawed, interesting women in main roles can be so blithely dismissed as ‘crazy or slutty’. Especially when there’s so many questionable and corrupt men in HOMELAND we could be commenting on. Or do we just expect that from men? (Boys will be boys, but the rules for women’s behaviour are far more numerous and diverse.)

    This kind of review sends a message to TV producers that it’s easier & safer not to run the risk of including women in main roles. Which, frankly, sucks.

  7. Josh Kinal says:

    The review in this episode was recorded after only three episodes of Homeland had gone to air. Personally, I’d only seen two of them.

    I’ve seen complicated, flawed and interesting women characters on TV. The women in The Shield and The Wire all had their issues and dealt with them in their own ways. They were nuanced and treated with respect: defined by more than just their jobs, afflictions or sexual encounters.

    The labels I used, “nutcases, sluts and whores” were part of a larger discussion about the bad story-telling in Homeland. The women are introduced as simplistic caricatures rather than complex individuals. For example, the question surrounding Carrie is the simplistic “Is she right?” rather than the more complicated, difficult and interesting “What drives this dangerous obsession?” The more interesting question is answered almost immediately.

    Compare this with the mountains of intrigue around Brodie. If he turned, why did he turn? If he is really a hero then how did he survive? Unfortunately the writing suffers here too.

    As I mentioned in the review within the episode, if we only witnessed the case from Carrie’s perspective, we might share her desire to be proven right and we might question what we think we know when she faces the same uncertainty. Instead we are given information to make us pass judgement on Brodie. There is no opportunity for empathy with Carrie because we can see Brodie doing things that she can’t see.

    Which is all to say that the story-telling is poor in general but in particular it favours the male characters over the female characters in terms of well-rounded and intriguing introductions.

  8. Glenn Peters says:

    “Speaking as a feminist, myself…” – Alexei Sayle in the Young Ones.

    I’m not sure what to add but a very similar discussion has broken out with last Sunday’s screening of the first of the new Sherlock episode. (see it when you can!)


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