On A Tangent

The ultimate site for a generation sidetracked by the fandom life


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Tapping on the Fourth Wall: Do They Know They’re Singing?

Musical theater is a divisive medium. For some, it produces endless delight and fanatical devotion; for others, bafflement and fierce avoidance.

For me, musicals have always been a source of enjoyment. I grew up watching The Sound of Music once a year, every year. I spent most of the last academic year reviewing Broadway tour productions for my college newspaper (best gig ever – great seats for the low, low price of 500 words). I’ve even been in a musical or two myself.

But not everybody is musical fan, and understandably so. Musicals can be just plain baffling. Why is everyone singing? Why does everyone just accept this? Real life isn’t actually like this! (As a person who sings throughout my day, I beg to differ, but the point stands.) Musicals aren’t exactly a 1:1 reflection of everyday life.

But some musicals do try to tackle the question of “why are we singing?”. Some musicals seem to take place in a world where everyone sings and spontaneous extravagant musical numbers go unquestioned. But some musicals have a group of people consistently baffled by the theatrical antics of the main characters, a mirror for the audience who are less than spellbound by this perfectly choreographed and harmonized world.

I’ve been thinking about these questions recently and the worlds that musicals create. Specifically, because I recently binge-watched the first season of the CW show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (a musical comedy), I’ve been thinking about how these questions are addressed in musical television, both in shows that regularly feature musical numbers and ones for which musical numbers are a rarity.

Today, I’ll break down four of my favorite examples of musical TV and attempt to answer one question: do they know they’re singing?

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There and Back Again: A Reader’s Journey

Okay, so the title is a bit misleading, because this isn’t about The Hobbit. Well, it’s about a hobbit, but not The Hobbit. You get the gist.

Confession: I, Leah, self-proclaimed fantasy fan and avid reader, have never read Lord of the Rings.

I will pause here to allow time for your gasps of horror and shocked swooning.

We good? Okay. So, that confession aside, I’ve also come to the conclusion that it’s high time I fixed that. Not least because, later this year, I’ll be traveling to Oxford (!!!!) and generally basking in the academic and literary glow where John Ronald Reuel Tolkien once walked.

As I read, I’ll be availing you all of my thoughts, commentary, and general impressions. I plan to take it at a pace of about 100 pages a week, and I’ll be posting which chapters I’m reading next in my weekly update on Fridays, so if any of you want to follow along, I’d enjoy the fellowship.

…eh? Eh? Okay, even I’ll admit that was a little bad.

I’ll be starting out with chapters 1-4 (A Long-Expected Party through A Short Cut to Mushrooms), so if you’re ready, bust out your swords (and your bows and your axes), and join on my travels through Middle Earth. It’s sure to be an incredible journey!


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10 Books to Shape a Life: Leah Edition

As a reader, English-degree-holder, and aspiring publishing professional, I get asked one question a lot:

“What’s your favorite book?”

Which, frankly, kills me because do you know how many good books exist in the world? And even having read only a small fraction of them, that still equates to dozens of books that have made me laugh, cry, have existential crises, and wish I were a better writer. Narrowing it down to just one? Impossible.

But ten? Ten is more manageable. Don’t get me wrong — it still requires hours worth of scanning my Goodreads, combing my bookshelves, and flipping through page upon page of great writing. But it’s doable.

So, without further ado, here are, in no particular order, the ten books that shaped my life:

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On a Tangent (Again)

Hello folks, and welcome back to the fray!

We’ve had a bit of a hiatus while Leah completed her degree, but we’re happy to return better, brighter, and feistier than ever!

We’ll be kicking off our reboot with a favorite subject for both of us: books! This week, we’ll each be compiling a list of ten favorite books — books that have influenced us as writers, readers, and citizens of the world. We’ll tell you when we read them, why we love them, and why you just might want to consider picking them up for yourself.

We’ll also be attempting to return to a weekly schedule of posts. Real life gets busy, but we want to get back to talking about the things we love, and discussing them with you!

Until then, happy reading, watching, and learning!

 

 


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Announcement: Marvel Monday Schedule

So, as I’m sure you all know, Agent Carter has come to an end. (At least for now, fingers crossed.) I’ll be finishing up my reviews with this week’s Fandom Friday post, so be on the lookout for that.

In the meantime, however, Marvel Mondays will continue! How, you ask? What could possibly fill the void left by our favorite leading lady? Well, prepare yourselves: it’s gonna be big. Continue reading


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Marvel Monday: The Many Faces of Margaret Carter

Welcome back from our mini-hiatus. Due to an unprecedented bout of bad weather where I live, coupled with that lovely portion of college life I like to call midterms, my schedule has been a bit off. But, we are now back in full swing! This week we’ll be discussing the episodes for the past two weeks, A Sin to Err and Snafu, which I actually find fit rather well in a review together. So, without further ado:

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