Tag Archives: TV

When Our Dragons Leave the Nest

dragonsmapedited

It took me a bit to figure out why I was having such a visceral reaction to the Netflix Originals series Dragons: Race to the Edge. But when I finally figured it out, it made perfect sense.

This DreamWorks animated show is related to the feature films, but takes place between the first and second movies. Whereas the first How to Train Your Dragon was Hiccup finding himself discovering how to interact with people in his world, the show takes place a few years later. Hiccup and the dragon riders are older — well into their teenage years — and teeming with youthful pride, arrogance, and that unavoidable yearning for independence.

As you can see from the map above (taken at DreamWorks during an event last month), the center is their home island of Berk. When the first movie started, that hunk of rock was all Hiccup knew. It was his world and his entire universe. But after befriending dragons and using them as a means to explore, their world got a lot bigger.

That’s great for my 7-year-old, who binge-watched this as his summer vacation started and marveled at all the new adventures the characters were having and all the fresh discoveries of new lands and types of dragons. He wants to be Hiccup and Astrid and Fishlegs, out there in the brave new world making important and exciting discoveries. And who can blame him?

As for me, I found myself commiserating with Stoic, Hiccup’s dad. Why? Because he was struggling with conflicting emotions regarding his son going off into the world. He’s a protector, and that protection has always come by gathering everyone together on the island of Berk to keep everyone safe. Safe at home. Safe from harm.

But even in fictional worlds set in a time long since gone, parents still struggle with letting go.

I realized I was relating to this show because the kids (and the dragons) are literally leaving the nest. Stoic is watching his son leave home and establish his own identity with equal parts pride and worry. For parents, the toughest part of kids growing up is letting them stand on their own two feet and losing the ability to protect them at all times.

So as Hiccup and gang explore dangerous new places, deal with conflict both internally as well as taking on enemies, and learn to survive on their own, I just keep looking at Will and wondering how I’ll cope.

Right now his map is our small New England town. But as he gets his proverbial dragon wings, that circle will grow. Breakneck bog will be the next town over when he can ride his bike on his own. His driver’s license will take him to SnowWraith Island with friends. And it’ll be the far-flung Eret’s Island if he decides to go far away for college and life afterward.

Will watches Dragons with wide-eyed enthusiasm and longing for adventure. I watch it through Stoic’s eyes. The eyes of a parent. Eyes that get occasionally moist with a mix of pride and worry at the thought of my son striking out on his own, outside of my direct protection.

I’d feel a lot better if he could take Toothless to college.

Toothless!!! #dreamworksdragons

A video posted by Aaron Gouveia (@daddyfiles) on

*************

StreamTeamBadge

I was compensated by Netflix for writing this post in the form of an all-expense paid trip to DreamWorks Animation in California. Also, as part of the StreamTeam, I received free Netflix for a year and an iPad Mini. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

Share Button

If You’re Defending Josh Duggar, You’re the Problem

Josh Duggar repeatedly molested underage girls, including his sisters, while his parents sought to cover it up and avoid talking to the proper authorities. You’ve seen the news by now and you know how utterly revolting it is from every angle. I don’t need to cover the horrifying details here.

I read the news last night as I was going to bed. I thought finally, even the most ardent supporters of TLC’s clown show won’t be able to spin this, and perhaps common sense will prevail. The blanket condemnation and the collective horror at not just Josh’s action, but the duplicitous cover-up by his parents, will be the nudge all of the extreme fundamentalists require to come to their senses.

Turns out I was giving that particular group far too much credit.

Right, Samantha. Because the first thing a rational person thinks after finding out about a serial child molester who targeted sleeping children including his own sisters aided by his parents in a massive coverup to hide the facts until the statute of limitations had run out, should be “Boy, I really hope I can still watch all these people on TV every week.”

Oh you’re sorry, Republican Girl. You are very, very sorry. Mainly because your definition of “amazing people” includes child molesters and those who enable them.

duggar1

Catherine has taken the “blame the media” approach and given it an Alex Rodriguez level steroid injection. Instead of questioning why Josh Duggar is molesting young girls and, more importantly, why his parents wouldn’t alert the proper authorities, she points the finger at the DAMN MEDIA! After all, how dare reporters look under the surface for things and file FOIA requests to obtain information from official sources and then publish that information for people to read. Wait. What? That’s PRECISELY the job of media members everywhere? Oh. Well, nevermind then…

These two esteemed Twitter users were far from alone in making this point. As instructed by the Far Right Emergency Handbook, religious conservatives everywhere immediately started shouting about Lena Dunham (and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton too, just because) and pointing out the LIBERAL HYPOCRISY of getting upset about one and not the other.

Dunham, in case you hadn’t heard, described a moment in her childhood when she — at the age of 7 — looked in her 1-year-old sister’s vagina, found some pebbles, and then alerted her mother. Clearly this single incident is exactly the same thing as being a 14-year-old, repeatedly groping and fondling young girls while they’re sleeping, having your parents cover up that abuse over the course of years, all the while telling anyone within earshot gay people are dangerous pedophiles.

That’s not just apples and oranges, it’s apples and fire hydrants.

duggar2

Got that? It’s less about the criminal molestation and more about the actions afterward. And Josh Duggar apologized, so dude — move on already! Right? Hell, this thing has been in the news cycle a whole 20 hours and we’re STILL TALKING ABOUT IT! But it’s interesting Valerie thinks failing to alert the authorities and trying to pass off a summer remodeling homes as “therapy” is “lifting up the name of Jesus.” Jesus didn’t return an email seeking comment for this piece, but I have to believe he’s not too thrilled to be involved in this one.

duggar3

This is the craziest comment I’ve personally seen on this issue. And it’s also the most frightening, because it’s 100% pure, unadulterated praise. For Josh Duggar. An admitted child molester.

Kelly is right in that Josh Duggar didn’t “justify or defend.” Mainly because there’s just no way to justify or defend being a serial child abuser. And yes, he confessed. Bravo. It only took him 13 years, a hidden letter in a book that was sent to Oprah Winfrey’s show, and multiple FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests that revealed hard evidence in the form of police reports that couldn’t be denied.

But “humility and redemption?” Is it humble to publicly call gay and transgender people dangerous pedophiles when YOU are actually the dangerous pedophile? Sorry, but I fail to see how Josh Duggar is “redeemed” by being exposed as a dangerous and utterly hypocritical fondler of young girls, and part of a family that would DARE cast stones regarding homosexuality when they were housing and covering up for a pedophile in their own four walls.

When you think about it, several members of the Duggar family seem more like sociopaths than anything else.

All I can think about are those poor girls, the victims of Josh Duggar’s abuse. Did they get the help they need? Have they suffered additional trauma having to live with their abuser and see him every single day for all these years? Or were they afterthoughts in the mad scramble to protect poor Josh’s reputation?

Either way, if you’re someone publicly defending Josh Duggar or the Duggar family after this unspeakable atrocity, you are every bit as big of a problem as the perpetrators.

Share Button

5 Reasons Parents Will Love Marvel’s Daredevil

DaredevilI’m not a comic book guy. Hell, I was never even a comic book kid because I worshiped at the altar of Boston sports. My superheroes growing up consisted of Larry Bird, Reggie Lewis, Roger Clemens, and Drew Bledsoe. Yet now, as a parent to two precocious boys, I’m suddenly knee deep in Spiderman, Batman, Iron Man, Thor, and the rest of The Avengers.

But Daredevil? Never heard of it and had no plans to watch it. But boy am I glad I’m wrong a lot.

Marvel has proven once again they are completely on top of their game, by bringing the story of Matt Murdock to life in a riveting way. By day, Murdock is a lawyer in Hell’s Kitchen who went blind as a child after an accident in which some nuclear goop got in his eye. But by night, he is a vigilante superhero whose heightened senses from the accident allow him to be a ninja badass taking on the city’s criminal element.

You might watch it for the acting, which is superb. Or for the fight scenes which are meticulous and smooth in their complexity. But as I voraciously consumed watched Season 1 in record time, I realized I was enjoying Daredevil on an unexpected level as well — as a parent.

So with that in mind, here are five reasons parents will relate to Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, and Karen Page as they take on the evil Wilson Fisk.

************************

5. Knowing When People Are Lying
Matt Murdock’s heightened senses allow him to basically be a human lie detector. Even though he can’t see, he can sense when people are breathing heavy, experiencing rapid heartbeats, and trying to deceive him. This is no different than knowing your kids so well you don’t even need to look at them to know they’re trying to pull one over on you. And sometimes the most difficult part is knowing they’re not being straight with you, but not letting on and allowing them to make their own mistakes.

4. Being Filled With Self-Doubt
There are no parenting manuals for new moms and dads. As a result, we often pretend we know what we’re doing, but in reality we have no clue. We’re just making it up as we go along, doing what we think is best, and hoping it works out. Likewise, I really enjoyed how Murdock has no real plan. He’s got his sense of right and wrong and the bare bones outline of a plan, but the specifics often come into focus on the fly.

3. Relationships Become Difficult
When you’re a blind lawyer/vigilante superhero leading a double life and spending your nights risking death for the sake of your fellow citizens, it’s safe to say secrets are a big part of your existence. And that makes relationships fairly difficult. While nights with a newborn aren’t about battling villains in epic martial arts showdowns, they’re still pretty horrific. You go a few months with little to no sleep, and you’ll feel like a human punching bag too. Nothing wreaks havoc on a marriage like a baby. Well, nothing except being a superhero crusader.

2. Struggling to Keep Tempers in Check
As with all great superheroes, the line between good guy and bad guy often becomes blurry. Murdock gets so blinded (pun intended) by his need to bring his nemesis Fisk to justice, he often worries he becomes as obsessed as the people he’s battling. While he prides himself on never crossing the line of taking human life, his temper constantly flares as he approaches the point of no return. Likewise, my kids routinely drive me to my breaking point. Like the time when you tell your kid not to hit, explain why hitting is bad, sing songs about not hitting, and then — SLAP! He hits you right in the face anyway. The urge to yell and spank is strong. So strong.

1. Protecting Loved Ones At All Costs
In the end, this is what Matt Murdock and Daredevil is all about — selflessly and unceasingly protecting the people you love. Even when they can’t see it or don’t know he’s doing it, Murdock always keeps everyone’s safety at the forefront of his mind. Parents know this feeling all too well, as the safety of our children is paramount. All the worry, obsessing, and precautions are because we care so much. That’s why Murdock takes all the beatings and it’s why parents endure the Terrible Threes.

For some other great things to watch on Netflix, check out the following:

netflixapril

1. Revenge
2. Pretty Little Liars
3. Bloodline

***********************

StreamTeamBadge

I was compensated by Netflix for writing this post. Although I did not receive monetary compensation, I received free Netflix for a year and an iPad Mini. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

Share Button

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Is a Role Model

unbreakable-kimmy-schmidt

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a new show on Netflix. And it is freaking spectacular.

Seeing that it’s co-written by Tina Fey, I had a feeling it’d be great. But I underestimated how wonderful, funny, smart, silly, and simultaneously uplifting it would be. You see, Kimmy was part of a cult for 15 years and spent that time in an underground bunker with her sister-wives. Then one day she was freed by the authorities, and despite being completely out of touch with modern living, she joined the world.

Does she have issues and some life turbulence? Oh yeah. But remarkably, she never uses her past and what happened to her as an excuse. Instead, she moves to New York City and decides to find her own path no matter what.

I couldn’t help but think of my fundamentally awesome wife, who is her own version of unbreakable.

My wife is an amazing person. And while Kimmy climbs out of a literal hole to rejoin the world, my wife constantly has to scratch and claw her way out of the metaphorical hole of mental illness and depression. When MJ could no longer work as a bank manager due to her condition, I feared for the worst. Here was a workaholic, Type A, career-driven woman who suddenly finds herself unable to work, saddled with depression, and a baby to take care of while I was working my job.

But just like Kimmy Schmidt, MJ reinvented herself.

She didn’t have much of a plan and the odds were against her, but with persistence she did it. And just like Kimmy, she had help from a few friends (Tituss, Jacqueline, and Lillian are hysterical in the show). My wife found her way as a TERRIFIC stay-at-home mom. It’s not a role she envisioned for herself early on, but she rolled with the punches and eventually found what makes her happy.

You can continue to watch our lives unfold here on this blog, but visit Netflix to enjoy watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and get inspired to reinvent yourself as well.

**********************

If your little ones want to be similarly inspired, check out these great movies on Netflix.

netflix2

  1. Turbo
  2. Antz
  3. Mulan

For the adults, here are some of my favorite movies where characters reinvent themselves.

netflix1

  1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  2. Chef
  3. Silver Linings Playbook

StreamTeamBadgeI was compensated by Netflix for writing this post. Although I did not receive monetary compensation, I received free Netflix for a year and an iPad Mini. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

Share Button

Puss in Boots Now Showing on Netflix

PussInBoots

I hate cats.

Not only am I allergic to them, I just can’t stand them. They’re elitist, holier-than-thou feline devils who only want to give and receive affection on their terms. My wife had three cats when I met her, and I was in hell. One of them routinely pooped in my shoe. And naturally, despite wanting to be left alone, they would proceed to climb on top of me during the night as I slept. My wife told me it was them showing their love for me. I maintain they were trying to drape themselves around my neck and kill me in my sleep.

We still had two of the cats when Will was born, but had to get rid of them when we moved. And as much as I loathed them, I was sad for him. So imagine the joy he felt when I told him I had found a cat we could have in the house that both of us liked.

Netflix Originals has just come out with The Adventures of Puss in Boots, an animated series that expands on the popular and lovable kitty with huge eyes featured in Shrek and the Puss in Boots movie. The swashbuckling smart-alec cat is back and embarking on a bunch of zany adventures that my 6-year-old laps up like milk. Your kids will love it too.

But if you really hate cats that much (and I don’t blame you), Netflix has some great stuff for dog lovers too.

airbudannieclifford

 

And if you’re an adult looking for some great pet-themed content, Netflix has you covered there too. Feel free to eat your four-legged loving heart out with these awesome movies and shows.

anchorman2wilfredfamilyguy

 

So whether you align with soulless kitty cats or loyal and honorable dogs, jump on over to Netflix and start enjoying some great original programming and terrific shows and movies they have.

C’mon meow, go on and do it. Throw me a bone here. Doggone it, I’m serious. Sorry, but I can’t paws-ibly stop.

********

StreamTeamBadgeI was compensated by Netflix for writing this post. Although I did not receive monetary compensation, I received free Netflix for a year and an iPad Mini. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

Share Button