Lobster Roll

Below is a small article about the American sandwich known as the Lobster Roll:

LOBSTER ROLL

One of the most popular sandwiches created in the United States in the New England dish known as the Lobster Roll. Not only is the latter native to the New England states, but also the Canadian Maritimes.

The sandwich consists of lobster meat served on a grilled hot dog-style bun. The lobster filling is served with the opening on top of the bun, instead of the side. The filling usually consists of lemon juice, salt, black pepper diced celery (or scallions) and melted butter. However, in some parts of New England, the butter is substituted with mayonnaise. Potato chips or french fries are usually served as sides for the sandwich.

According to the “Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink”, the Lobster Roll may have originated in 1929, as a hot dish at a restaurant named Perry’s in Milford, Connecticut. Over the years, the sandwich’s popularity spread up and down the Connecticut coastline, but not far beyond it. In Connecticut, when the sandwich is served warm, it is called a “Lobster Roll”. When served cold, it was called a “Lobster Salad Roll”. Over the decades, the Lobster Roll’s popularity had spread to other states along the Northeastern seaboard. As far back as 1970, chopped lobster meat heated in drawn butter was served on a hot dog bun at road side stands such as Red’s Eats in Maine.

Although it is believed to have originated in Connecticut, the Lobster Roll in the United States is usually associated with the State of Maine. But as I had pointed out, it is commonly available at seafood restaurants in the other New England states and on Eastern Long Island, New York; where lobster fishing is common. The sandwich has also become a staple summer dish throughout the Maritime provinces in Canada, particularly in Nova Scotia, where hamburger buns, baguettes, or other types of bread rolls and even pita pockets are used. The traditional sides are potato chips and dill pickles. McDonald’s restaurants in the New England states and in Canadian provinces such as Nova Scotia and Ontario usually offer Lobster Rolls as a limited edition item during the summer.

Below is a recipe for the classic Maine Lobster Roll from the Destination Kennebunkport website:

Maine Lobster Roll

Ingredients

*1lbs (or slightly more) cooked lobster meat, keeping 4 of the claw meat intact for garnish
*1/4cup finely minced celery
*1/4cup best-quality mayonnaise(I prefer Stonewall Kitchen’s Farmhouse Mayo), plus additional to garnish (only if you didn’t get the claw meat out in one piece!)
*1/2tsp fresh lemon juice(I literally just squeeze a few drops on the lobster)
*Sea salt, only if necessary
*Finely ground black pepper, to taste
*4 best quality New England-style hot dog rolls
*5tbs very soft salted butter
*Optional but good – paprika to garnish

Preparation

1. In a medium bowl, lightly combine the lobster, celery, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Taste first, seasoning with salt only if necessary and lightly with pepper. Chill until ready to use, but no more than 8 hours in advance.

2. When ready to serve, place a griddle or a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Spread both sides of the rolls with the butter and cook each side until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side (check your first roll, I found the bakery rolls browned faster, and it only took slightly more than a minute per side).

3. Fill and mound each roll with the lobster mixture—they will be quite full. Garnish the top of each with a piece of claw meat, or place a little dollop of mayonnaise on top of each roll and sprinkle it with a smidge of paprika or chopped chives. Serve immediately.

“FEUD” Season One – “Bette and Joan” (2017) Episode Ranking

Below is my ranking of the episodes from Season One (and the only season so far) of the F/X series called “FEUD”. Titled “Bette and Joan” and created by Ryan Murphy, the season starred Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon:

“FEUD” SEASON ONE – “BETTE AND JOAN” (2017) EPISODE RANKING

1. (1.05) “And the Winner Is… (The Oscars of 1963)” – The fallout from the Oscar nominations for “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” leads to underhanded tactics from Joan Crawford, while co-star Bette Davis relishes the opportunity to break a record.

2. (1.02) “The Other Woman” – With production on “Baby Jane?” underway, Bette and Joan form an alliance, but outside forces in the form of Warner Brothers studio chief Jack Warner, director Robert Aldrich and an unsuspecting bit player conspire against them.

3. (1.07) “Abandoned!” – Following the beginning of production for “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte”, the feud between Bette and Joan intensifies. Meanwhile, Bette reveals her vulnerabilities to Aldrich during their affair.

4. (1.03) “Mommie Dearest” – The “Baby Jane” production reaches its climax, while Bette and Joan clash over every last detail. And both actresses face private struggles.

5. (1.01) “Pilot” – Cast aside by Hollywood and struggling to maintain their film careers, Bette and Joan sign up for “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” before they commence upon a feud.

6. (1.06) “Hagsploitation” – Hungry for another hit after “Baby Jane?”, Jack Warner pressures Aldrich into bringing the original team back together for a second project – “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte”. Meanwhile, Joan receives a surprising blackmail threat from her brother.

7. (1.08) “You Mean All This Time We Could Have Been Friends?” – In this finale, Joan accepts a leading role on a new film (her last one), despite her deteriorating health. Faced with a possible new rival, Bette reflects on her misplaced feud with Joan.

8. (1.04) “More or Less” – When “Baby Jane?” opens in movie theaters, Bette and Joan face uncertain prospects, Aldrich deals with his own personal and professional difficulties, and his assistant Pauline Jameson makes a surprising offer.

“LOST”: Kidnapping a Child

Two-and-a-half years ago, I had come across this ARTICLE about Jaycee Lee Dugard, who had been kidnapped at age 11 and found 18 years later. For reasons I cannot explain, the article led me to reflect about the child kidnappings featured in the ABC series, “LOST”.

“LOST”: KIDNAPPING A CHILD

*Ben Linus’ kidnapping of Alexandra Rousseau. A French research vessel had run aground the island back in 1988. Among the crew was the heavily pregnant Danielle Rousseau. Following the deaths of her husband and fellow crew members, Danielle gave birth to a daughter, Alexandra “Alex” Rousseau. Future leader of the Others, Ben Linus, had been ordered by the current leader, Charles Widmore, to kill both mother and daughter. Instead, Ben merely kidnapped Alex, claiming that she would be safer with him within the Others’ camp. He pretended to be Alex’s father for sixteen years. Eventually, mother and daughter reunited in Season Four. But they were never able to enjoy their reunion, due to them both being killed by Charles Widmore’s hired thugs within a few days of their reunion.

*Walt Lloyd’s kidnapping by Tom Friendley, at Ben’s orders. Four of the island’s castaways – Walt, his father Michael Dawson, Jin Kwon and James “Sawyer” Ford – attempted to leave via a constructed raft. Hours later, a boat conveying a group of armed Others – the island’s residents – intercepted the raft, snatched Walt, and damaged the raft. The three adults managed to make their way back to island. We all know about the circumstances that resulted from that particular kidnapping. Michael disappeared for a while to search for Walt. Once he found the Others, he made a deal with them to free both Ben and Walt, who had become the Losties’ prisoner. In order to free Ben, he murdered Ana-Lucia Cortez and accidentally killed Libby Smith. His deal with the Others also included leading Jack Shephard, Kate Austen, Sawyer and Hugo Reyes to their camp. Upon leaving the island, Walt forced him to tell the truth about his deal with the Others and his shooting of Ana-Lucia and Libby. Father and son became estranged. And later, Michael returned to the island to atone for his actions . . . and ended up dead in a freighter explosion. All because Ben Linus had ordered Walt’s kidnapping. Why did Ben order Walt’s kidnapping? That remains a mystery to be solved.

*Kate Austen’s kidnapping of Aaron. Upset over Sawyer’s decision to jump from a rescue helicopter and return to the island in the Season Four finale, Kate decided to claim Aaron Littleton, the infant son of the Australian-born missing castaway Claire Littleton, as her own. She convinced Jack Shephard to help her. And both of them managed to convince Sun Kwon, Sayid Jarrah, and Hurley Reyes to pretend that Aaron was Kate’s son. Six months following their return to the United States, Jack and Kate encountered Aaron’s grandmother, Carole Littleton, at the funeral of Jack’s father, Christian Shephard. Despite their discovery that Aaron’s grandmother was alive, Kate continued her impersonation as the boy’s mother and Jack continued to support her lie. Two-and-a-half years later, Kate finally decided to hand over Aaron to Carole, due to being driven by guilt from Sawyer’s ex-girlfriend, Cassidy Phillips, whom she had befriended. And I cannot help but wonder if Carole Littleton would have ever learned about the existence of her grandson if Cassidy had not convinced Kate to give him up. Because I have grave doubts that Kate would have made this decision on her own initiative.

Five Favorite Episodes of “LUKE CAGE” Season One (2016)

Below is a list of my favorite episodes from Season One of “LUKE CAGE”, the Marvel Netflix adaptation of the Marvel Comics hero Luke Cage. Created by Cheo Hodari Coker, the series starred Mike Colter as Luke Cage:

FIVE FAVORITE EPISODES OF “LUKE CAGE” SEASON ONE (2016)

1. (1.07) “Manifest” – New York City Councilwoman Mariah Dillard’s political career comes under fire following some violence between her gangster cousin Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes and vigilante Luke Cage. Also, Cottonmouth picks up information from Hernan “Shades” Alvarez, his arms dealer’s liaison, that could put Luke on the run.

2. (1.11) “Now You’re Mine” – In one bold move, a person from Luke’s past and Cottonmouth’s arms supplier, Willis Stryker aka Diamondback, puts Luke on the defensive, NYPD Detective Mercedes “Misty” Knight in dire straits, and Harlem’s safety in jeopardy during a confrontation at the Stokes family’s nightclub, Harlem’s Paradise.

3. (1.02) “Code of the Streets” – Luke is pulled deeper into the fight for his neighborhood in Harlem when, as a favor to his close friend Henry “Pop” Hunter, he tries to help a kid who’s in trouble with Cottonmouth after participating in the theft of the gangster’s money during an arms deal.

4. (1.04) “Step in the Arena” – Following Cottonmouth’s attack on the restaurant/apartment building where Luke lived, the latter recalls his past as former Savannah police officer Carl Lucas and the experiments that he had endured while as a prisoner at the Seagate Prison in Georgia.

5. (1.12) “Soliloquy of Chaos” – Misty digs deeper for the truth regarding Luke and Diamondback’s connection and a recent murder, while Harlem’s power players throw the city into confusion.

Five Favorite Episodes of “GAME OF THRONES” Season One (2011)

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Below is a list of my favorite episodes from Season One of “GAME OF THRONES”, HBO’s adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s 1996 novel from his A Song of Ice and Fire series, “A Game of Thrones”. The series was created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss:

FIVE FAVORITE EPISODES OF “GAME OF THRONES” SEASON ONE (2011)

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1. (1.09) “Baelor” – In the wake of Lord Eddard (Ned) Stark’s arrest for treason, his oldest son, Robb Stark, goes to war against the new King Joffrey and his mother’s family, the Lannisters. Khal Drogo, the Dothraki husband of Daenerys Targaryen, falls ill from an infected battle wound.

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2. (1.05) “The Wolf and the Lion” – Ned’s wife, Catelyn Stark, captures Tyrion Lannister, whom she believes is responsible for attempting to kill her second son, Brandon (Bran). She takes him to her sister’s land, the Vale, to stand trial. King Robert Baratheon of Westeros receives news of Daenerys’ pregnancy and plots to have her assassinated. Ned, as his new Hand of the King (premiere aide), refuses to participate in the plot and resigns his position.

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3. (1.01) “Winter Is Coming” – In the series premiere, Ned is torn between his family and his old friend, King Robert, when the latter asks him to replace their recently deceased former mentor as the new Hand of the King. Viserys Targarys plans to wed his sister Daenerys to Drogo in exchange for an army to invade Westeros and reclaim the realm’s Iron Throne on his family’s behalf.

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4. (1.06) “A Golden Crown” – While recovering from his duel with Jaime Lannister, Ned is forced to run the kingdom, while King Robert goes boar hunting. At the Vale, Tyrion demands a trial by combat for his freedom. Viserys begins losing patience with Drogo and threatens Daenerys’ life in exchange for the promised army.

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5. (1.10) “Fire and Blood” – Robb vows revenge against the Lannisters following the incident of the last episode. Ned’s illegitimate son, Jon Snow, must officially decide between joining Robb’s army or remaining the Night’s Watch near the Wall. Daenerys says her final goodbye to the catatonic Drogo.

“LOST” RETROSPECT (1.14) “Special”

“LOST” RETROSPECT: (1.14) “Special”

I just watched the Season One episode of “LOST” called (1.14) “Special”. It reminded me of how the show runners had pretty much screwed over the Michael Dawson character.

Although I do not regard “Special” as one of the series’ best episodes, let alone one of the best about Michael, watching it reminded me of the anger had I felt the show’s fans and their expectations and assumptions about him. One of the criticisms directed at Michael was his inability to be the perfect parent. Some critic actually claimed that Michael did not know how to be a parent. It occurred to me that it was a stupid comment to make. Worse, this comment was indicative of the fans’ unrealistic expectations of Michael’s character.

Of course Michael had no idea on how to be a parent. He was new at it, thanks to his ex-girlfriend, Susan Lloyd. Not only did she break up with Michael following Walt’s birth. She also decided that Michael would not play a role in Walt’s life as his father. Even before her death, she had expected her husband and Walt’s stepfather, Brian Porter, to be the one to raise him. One of the more frustrating aspects of the “LOST” fandom toward Michael is that many had expected him to be this one-dimensional character. He either had to be another castaway, loyal to the series’ leading characters; the perfect parent, despite having very little experience prior to being stranded on the island; or turn to the “Great White Hunter” aka John Locke for lessons on parenthood.

And what the fuck was up with John Locke? Teaching Walt how to use a machete … without Michael’s permission? What the hell was he thinking, allowing a child to handle a dangerous weapon? And then there was that piece of advice he gave Michael – to treat Walt more like an adult than a child. What the fuck? Walt was ten years old, not fucking twenty-four years old. One, parents tend regard their off-springs as children even after they become adults. To a certain extent. And two, Walt was too young and too immature to be treated like an adult at the time.

What I found disturbing about this situation regarding the machete lesson is that when Michael had called Locke out for teaching Walt how to use a machete, the latter turned it on Michael and blamed him for not being the perfect father. This was bullshit. Teaching a ten year-old boy how to handle a machete without the permission of the latter’s father? Treating said ten year-old child like an adult? If Michael was expected to become a better parent because he had followed Locke’s advice, then “Special” gave the wrong kind of lesson in parenthood. And if I must be brutally honest, so did screenwriter David Fury. In the end, Walt’s encounter with a polar bear pretty much justified Locke’s decision to teach him to use a machete. It seemed as if Fury and the series’ show runners – Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof – believed Locke knew more about raising a child than Michael.

John Locke was not Dr. Spock. He was a man who had the wrong idea on what it really took to become a parent, based on his own damaged relationships with his parents. As for Michael, he was never a perfect parent. But he was never terrible. And despite his flaws, a great deal of his actions were dictated by his desire to protect Walt from the island’s dangers. His lack of perfection was not surprising since a “perfect parent” does not exist. Never really existed in the first place.

Human beings are not perfect. If humans are not perfect, why expect someone – whether in real life or in fiction – to be the perfect parent? Or perhaps many “LOST” fans had harbored such high demands from Michael because he was a black man and not the lead of a television show. Perhaps he was not expected to be as ambiguous and complicated as he proved to be.

L.A. Noir IV (2001-2016)

Below is the fourth set of images from some famous film noir movies set in Los Angeles:

L.A. Noir IV (2001-2016)

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“Training Day” (2001)

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“Mulholland Drive” (2001)

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“Collateral” (2004)

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“Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” (2005)

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“The Black Dahlia” (2006)

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“Gangster Squad” (2013)

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“Mob City” (2013)

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“The Nice Guys” (2016)

1830s Costumes in Movies and Television

Below are images of fashion from the decade of the 1830s, found in movies and television productions over the years:

1830s COSTUMES IN MOVIES AND TELEVISION

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“Pride and Prejudice” (1940)

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“My Cousin Rachel” (1952)

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“Jane Eyre” (1983)

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“Impromptu” (1991)

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“Middlemarch” (1994)

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“Onegin” (1999)

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“The Young Victoria” (2009)

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“Jane Eyre” (2011)

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“Les Misérables” (2012)

“Gentleman Jack” (2019-present)

“What Went Wrong With ‘CHARMED’?”

“WHAT WENT WRONG WITH ‘CHARMED’?”

What happened with the original “CHARMED” (1998-2006) series? How did a show that for a brief period, used to be one of my top ten favorites ended up as something for me to be derisive about?

Well, below are what I believe are the three major traits that contributed to the show’s decline (at least for me) – morality, portrayal of men and magical powers.

Morality:

For me, this was a major problem with the series. The audience was led to believe that the Halliwell sisters aka the Charmed Ones were the epitome of goodness, yet the writers have allowed them to get away with some very despicable acts. I am not one of those who demand that protagonists of a fictional story – whether in print, movies, plays or television – be flawless or ideal. I realize this is impossible, due to human nature. But I believe that when a work of fiction allows its protagonist to make a mistake or crime, I believe the writers should allow that character to face the consequences of his or her actions. Unfortunately, this rarely happened on “CHARMED” – especially in regard to the Charmed Ones and their whitelighter, Leo Wyatt. On the other hand, the Charmed Ones, Leo and the series’ show runners and writers made certain that others – like Cole Turner – pay the price for their actions. Whether they deserved it or not.

Piper Halliwell’s Purchase of Illegal Fruit – In the Season Two episode, (2.12) “Awakened”, a greedy Piper had purchased illegal fruit from South America that had not been inspected by U.S. Customs for a cheap price. She had plans to serve the fruit to her customers at her P3 bar. After sampling the fruit, Piper became afflicted with a deadly disease called “Oroyo Fever”. First, her sisters Prue and Phoebe used a spell to save her life by directing the disease from her body to an ninja action figure toy owned by another patient. This act led to other patients in the hospital being afflicted by the disease. Eventually, Prue and Phoebe reversed the spell and Piper became afflicted again. In the end, Leo used his whitelighter ability to cure Piper.

Since Leo had used magic for personal gain, he lost his whitelighter wings . . . temporarily. The Charmed Ones, on the other hand, did not pay any price whatsoever for their actions in this episode. Piper managed to survive and did not face any illegal prosecution for breaking Federal law. Also, Prue and Phoebe did not pay any price for using magic for personal gain and threatening the lives of innocents in the process. On the other hand, Piper’s miraculous recovery attracted the attention of physician, Dr. Curtis Williamson. His determination to learn how she had recovered so quickly led to him temporarily possessing the Charmed Ones powers and his death in a later episode, (2.20) “Astral Monkey”. While Piper had lamented over not answering one of his earlier requests for a medical examination, neither she or her sisters felt any guilt over how their actions in “Awakened” led to Dr. Williamson’s death in “Astral Monkey”.

The 48-Hour Window of Opportunity Rule – According to the Season Four premiere, (4.01-4.02) “Charmed Again”, the Whitelighters (“good”) and the demons (“evil”) had made a compromise regarding the moral compass of witches. This compromise created a period of forty-eight hours for a witch to decide his or her alliance or moral path. Frankly, I thought this was a dumb idea ever created by Brad Kern or one of his writers. The idea that the Elders’ Council and the Source’s Council had the authority to give a new witch a specific time period of free will to choose between good and evil is ludicrous. That witch or any other individual should constantly have some semblance of free will to choose any particular path . . . should have been regarded as a natural right. What made this rule even more ludicrous is once a witch makes up his or her mind, he/she will remain either good or evil until death. What on earth? This whole “Window of Opportunity” rule smacks of a fairy tale for children and not for a series about adult women. What Kern had failed to remember that life is uncertain, which means there are no real absolutes upon which one can depend. In other words, if Paige had chosen evil, her decision could never be regarded as absolute. In the real world . . . or in a well-written story, there would be no real absolute. Not only was this rule a prime example of how the series’ black-and-white morality stagnated the series’ writing development, it also appeared in the “CHARMED” reboot series. Pity.

Darryl Morris’ Soul – In Season Six’s (6.01-6.02) “Valhalley of the Dolls”, two of the Charmed Ones, Phoebe and half-sister Paige Matthews had committed a despicable act with the psychic rape of their close friend, Inspector Detective Darryl Morris. The pair used a spell to strip Darryl of his soul without his consent. They had committed this despicable act in order to free Leo from Valhalla (Norse/Viking version of heaven) and have him remove a spell he had cast on Piper. Phoebe and Paige’s act should have had major consequences for them. Instead, the writers treated this act of psychic rape as a joke and dismissed the whole matter with Darryl lamely and quickly forgiving them. I was disgusted by this episode.

Rick Gittridge’s Murder – Phoebe and Paige had committed another despicable act in the Season Six episode, (6.17) “Hyde School Reunion”. Nervous over facing former classmates at a high school reunion, Phoebe had cast a spell on herself, regressing her personality to her seventeen year-old self. While under this spell, she used magic to help a former high school classmate named Rick Gittridge escape from prison. Eventually, Phoebe recovered from her spell and realized she had a convict who knew she was a witch on her hands.
When Rick held her and Paige at gunpoint and demanded that they change his face so that he could avoid the police, Paige obliged, at Phoebe’s urging, by giving him the face of their nephew and Piper and Leo’s younger son, Chris Halliwell. What Rick did not know and the sisters did was Chris was on the run from a group of Scabber demons that he had angered. So . . . instead of teleporting the gun from Rick’s hand and sending him back to prison with his memories wiped, Paige transformed his face to resemble Chris’. The Scabber demons saw Rick with Chris’ face and promptly killed him before disappearing. And both Phoebe and Paige – to my utter disgust – declared their action had been necessary. In other words, Phoebe and Paige got away with cold-blooded murder thanks to Brad Kern’s misplaced sense of justice.

Alliance with the Avatars – Another major crime that the Halliwells had committed was helping the Avatars (an ancient group of extremely powerful magical beings) change the world by removing any dark thoughts from the human race and committing genocide against demons … all so that they can selfishly lead happy lives and not hunt demons. This little act, which had occurred in (7.12) “Extreme Makeover: World Edition”, resulted in the psychic rape of the world’s population and the deaths of those few who were not affected by the spell. And what happened after the following episode, (7.13) “Charmeggedon”? Leo paid the price for his part in the spell with the loss of his whitelighter wings and position as an Elder. Yet the sisters – especially Piper – avoided any consequences for their actions. Again. Instead, they blamed the Avatars for not telling them everything and the Elders for driving Leo into becoming an Avatar. This was so cowardly on so many levels. At this point, my opinion of the Charmed Ones had sunk to a new low. Their unwillingness to learn any lesson from their own mistake and blame others disgusted me to my core.

Cole Turner aka Belthazor’s First Death and the Source – Sometime in early Season Four, Phoebe’s lover and former assassin – the demon/hybrid Cole Turner aka Belthazor – lost his magical powers due to an old potion made by the Charmed Ones back in Season Three, because a woman wanted revenge for his past killing of her fiance. When the sisters were threatened with death at the hands of the demonic leader known as the Source, Cole used a magical object to strip the villain of his magical powers and use them to save Phoebe and her sisters. Unfortunately for Cole, he ended up being possessed against his will by the Source’s spirit. Episodes like (4.14) “The Three Faces of Phoebe” and (4.16) “The Fifth Halliwell” had made it very clear that the Source had taken possession of Cole’s body. Instead of having the Charmed Ones discover this, Brad Kern and his writers had allowed them to succumb to their worst fears and prejudices regarding Cole’s past and kill him. To make matters worst, the sisters never found out in the following season that he had been an innocent victim of the Source. Instead, Kern and the writers dump some “Cole turns insane” story line in early Season Five on viewers in order to set in motion the character’s departure from the series in the shitty episode (5.12) “Centennial Charmed”. In doing this, show runner Brad Kern and staff writers had failed to allow the sisters a chance to discover their own potential for bigotry and evil and thus, kill any chance of them developing as characters. Only Prue had been given this chance in Season Three episodes like (3.15) “Just Harried” and (3.16) “Death Takes a Halliwell”.

Other Magical Beings – The series’ “black-vs-white” morality had became a prime example of how people judge others on a purely superficial basis. Which the Halliwells had been guilty of. Look at Cole for example. The only reason Phoebe and her sisters had originally believed he possessed the potential for good was due to his human ancestry on his father’s side. For Phoebe and her sisters, Cole’s human half equated to good, and his demon half equated to evil. When Cole had lost his powers for the second time in Season Five (5.07) “Sympathy For the Demon”, the sisters’ whitelighter Leo Wyatt automatically judged him good, because he no longer had his “demonic” powers.

This all stemmed from the the series’ never ending habit of labeling certain powers as good (“witches, fairies, whitelighters, etc.”) or evil (“demons, darklighters, warlocks”), based on what kind of beings possessed them. I never understood why the series had continued to portray magical abilities in this infantile manner – especially for a show that was about adult women. “CHARMED” also made a big deal about witches not using their powers for personal gain. Yet, from what I have read about the Wiccan Rede (please correct me if I am wrong), personal gain is not even considered forbidden. Wiccans seemed to be more concerned with intent – using one’s powers to deliberately hurt another, forcing someone to do something against his or her will, or using magic on others without their consent, which the Halliwells were extremely guilty of in “Vahalley of the Dolls”(6.17) “Hyde School Reunion” and “Extreme Makeover: World Edition”. And by the way, the Charmed Ones never paid any consequences for their transgressions.

Phoebe, her sisters and Leo seemed incapable of accepting the possibility that ALL BEINGS, no matter who or what they are – have the potential for both good and evil within them. The show has refused to accept the possibility that demons have the potential for good and humans have the potential for great evil (with the exception of a few). To the series’ writers (and characters), a sentient being’s morality is mainly based upon WHAT he or she is, and not on the individual’s emotional state . . . OR CHOICES.

The reason I brought these issues is that Kern and the series’ writers had allowed the sisters to get away with major crimes. The sisters had paid the price for using their powers for minor acts – like Prue using her telekinesis to force an annoying neighbor, who had been allowing his dog to poop against their front steps, to step in said dog poop; and Phoebe using her premonition power to find the future father of her future child – but never for major acts that I had listed above. Also, I really wish that “CHARMED” had been more ambiguous and complex in its portrayal of morality. Everything was so simple-minded and childish. Demons/warlocks are all evil; humans are all good (unless there are no demons around). What exactly was wrong in portraying demons and other supernatural beings as morally ambiguous? What was wrong in the sisters learning that morality was not as simple and easy to label, as they have assumed for so many years?

Portrayal of Men:

Another problem I had with “CHARMED” was its portrayal of many male characters. I understand that the series had wanted to portray women in a positive light – strong and intelligent. There was nothing wrong with that. By why did the series’ portrayal of men had to be basically negative? “CHARMED” was supposed to be about feminism. However, my idea of feminism was not male bashing or emasculation. Unfortunately, the series was guilty of both. During most of Seasons One and Two, the sisters had a tendency to make many unnecessary quips at the expense of the male gender. And there was the (2.05) “She’s a Man, Baby! She’s a Man!” episode that I would dearly love to forget. And what happened to male witches? I can only recall seeing one so-called male witch on the show – Max Franklin from (1.14) “Secrets and Guys” – and at age thirteen, he was too young to be practicing witchcraft.

Regular Male Characters – Another problem is that most of the strong male characters on the show are either stripped of their power or dies. this happened to characters like Cole Turner, Andy Trudeau, Leo Wyatt, Chris Halliwell and Kyle Brody. The powerful half-demon Belthazor aka Cole ended up having his powers stripped in (4.08) “Black As Cole” and was “deemed safe” to marry Phoebe. And when he became more powerful than ever in Season Five, he was judged “evil and insane” and targeted for death by Kern and his writers in “Centennial Charmed”. Andy Trudeau, a strong-willed San Francisco cop who also happened to be Prue’s true love, ended up dead not long after he discovered that the sisters were witches at the end of Season One. Although Piper and Leo’s older son Wyatt became a very powerful witch, he was too young for the writers to do anything about it. Leo became a whitelighter Elder at the end of Season Five and later, an Avatar in early Season Seven. Thus the writers felt that they had to break him away from Piper. And they did not reunite the couple until Leo permanently became a mortal (aka “safe”). Both Chris (Piper and Leo’s younger son) and FBI Special Agent Kyle Brody (Paige’s love interest in Season Seven) were strong personalities who ended up dead – along with ex-demon named Drake who had decided to become a human. And how did the series end? With a powerless Leo, a non-magical husband for Paige, and a “Cupid” (magical being associated with love) for Phoebe to marry.

Darryl Morris – One would notice that I did not mention Darryl Morris, the detective inspector from the San Francisco Police Department, who had known the Halliwells since the beginning. Darryl had began the series as Andy Trudeau’s partner. Following Andy’s death, Darryl became the sisters’ main non-magical contact between Seasons Two and Seven. The writers’ treatment of Darryl really annoyed me over the years. After Season Two, I got tired of him freaking out whenever faced with the sisters’ magic. Also, the sisters had badly mistreated him during Season Six . His soul was stripped from his body against his will in “Valhalley of the Dolls” by Phoebe and Paige. And he was was framed for murder by magical beings known as the Cleaners, who used him to cover up the Halliwells’ careless use of magic. When he had decided that he wanted nothing to do with the Charmed Ones (and I did not blame him) in late Season Six, the writers had treated as the bad guy for failing to forgive them for what happened to him. And when Darryl finally reconciled with them in Season Seven, he returned to being one of the sisters’ lap dogs. Leo became the other one.After years of watching the show, I found myself wondering if both Constance Burge and Brad Kern had become leery of the idea of the Halliwells being associated on a permanent basis with strong male characters. And I found that sad.

Magical Powers:

How can I put this? One of the more confusing aspects of “CHARMED” has always been its portrayal of magic. The series’ portrayal of magical beings and various abilities have struck me as contradicting. Another problem with the series was that the show runners and the writers had allowed its black-and-white mentally to label what kind of abilities that its characters can practice.

Fire Ability – For example, according to the series, any ability to do with fire can only be possessed by evil magic practitioners like demons and warlocks. Why? Fire is an element, not something evil. The series had featured a witch in its premiere episode, (1.01) “Something Wicca Comes This Way” as a pyrokinetic. Later, a young foster child named Tyler Michaels in Season Four’s (4.12) “Lost and Bound” also had the ability to create fire. These were two rare cases in which “CHARMED” featured pyrokinetics who were not evil. However, the series eventually ret-conned Tyler as a Archai, an elemental being who could not only create fire, but use fire to create portals. Was Brad Kern uneasy over the idea of a minor protagonist being a mere fire starter? It certainly felt like it. Was the series’ portrayal of fire as something evil stemmed from religion? Again . . . it felt like it, but I cannot say for certain.

The Nexus – Another aspect of magic that I found ridiculous on “CHARMED” was the whole “Nexus Theory” from the episode (1.15) “Is There a Woogy in the House?”. An earthquake had revealed a magical entity called “the Woogeyman” that resided in the Charmed Ones’ basement. The sisters had learned that their home was located on top of a spiritual nexus – a location that was equidistant from the five spiritual elements. And because Phoebe had been born inside their home, her moral compass could easily swing from good to evil, in compare to her sisters. This was all bullshit, of course, since anyone can swing from good to evil or back, considering the circumstances. But what made this “Nexus Theory” even more laughable was that the five elements that played a role in it – earth, fire, water, wood and metal – are associated with Chinese philosophy, not Wiccan beliefs. The elements associated with Wicca are – earth, fire, water, air and spirit. Prue had claimed that the first list of elements were Wiccan, when they were actually associated with Chinese philosophy. Sigh!

Paige Matthews’ Ability – Season Four had introduced a new member of the Halliwell family – half-sister, Paige Matthews. Paige was the creation of an affair between the sisters’ mother, Patricia “Patty” Halliwell and her whitelighter, Sam Wilder. With Prue no longer a member of the Charmed Ones, Paige had replaced her. Naturally, Brad Kern and his writers believed they had to create an ability for Paige that was similar to Prue’s telekinesis. And what was it? Well, the sisters dubbed it telekinetic orbingSigh! In a nutshell, when Paige wanted to move something or someone, her object would disappear in one spot and reappear in another. Does this sound familiar? Well it should. This ability is usually regarded as teleporting. But the objective is the same as telekinesis – moving someone or something from one spot to another. Because Paige’s father was a whitelighter and her ability manifested in white or blue orbs, her ability was labeled as telekinetic orbing. It would have been a lot easier for the writers to use the correct phrase for Paige’s ability – teleporting – and easier on the mouth for the actors. But alas . . .

The above are simply examples of the series’ rather odd and occasional erroneous portrayal of magic. If I truly wanted to delve into this subject, it would have required me to write another essay – a long one at that. So, I will end it right here.

I have written other articles about “CHARMED” in which I had discussed issues I found problematic. But when it came to morality, male characters and magic abilities, I feel that the series had made its most obvious mistakes.

Five Favorite “EUREKA” Season One (2006) Episodes

Below is a list of my favorite episodes from Season One of the Syfy Channel series, “EUREKA”. Created by Andrew Cosby and Jaime Paglia, the series starred Colin Ferguson:

FIVE FAVORITE “EUREKA” SEASON ONE (2006) Episodes

1 - 1.03 Before I Forget

1. (1.03) “Before I Forget” – Occurrences of short-term memory loss begin afflicting the citizens of Eureka, when visiting scientists arrive in town, forcing Sheriff Jack Carter and Dr. Henry Deacon to determine the cause behind the phenomenon. Tamlyn Tomita and Andrew Airlie guest-starred.

2 - 1.12 Once in a Lifetime

2. (1.12) “Once in a Lifetime” – After another lab accident Jack wakens to a Eureka set in an alternate future. Tamlyn Tomita guest-starred.

3 - 1.08 Right As Raynes

3. (1.08) “Right As Raynes” – Odd fluctuations in computer-controlled environments may have something to do with the return of a former Eureka citizen, a computer programmer named Callister Raynes, who has past connections with Global Dynamics CEO Nathan Stark and Deputy Sheriff Jo Lupo. David Paetkau guest-starred.

4 - 1.01 Pilot

4. (1.01) “Pilot” – After a strange accident sidelines Eureka’s sheriff, Jack, then a U.S. Marshal, takes over the investigation into the mysterious phenomenon that led to a resident’s death, while traveling through town with his teenage daughter Zoe. Maury Chaykin, Rob LaBelle and Greg Germann guest-starred.

5 - 1.11 H.O.U.S.E. Rules

5. (1.11) “H.O.U.S.E. Rules” – Following Henry’s decision to leave Eureka and Jack considering to do the same; S.A.R.A.H., the artificial intelligence (A.I.) for the latter’s home, traps Carter, Henry, and others in order to protect Eureka from being abandoned by many.