something off in Shondaland

4/24/15


I did not start watching Grey's until it was already season 4 or 5. But once I started watching it, I could not stop. It was really good. Over the years, the show has inevitably gotten bit off, but I still watched because I loved the characters. I was really sad when Christina Yang left the show last year, because her character was one of a kind. She was unapologetically brilliant and determined, and knew what she wanted most of the time. Just like everyone else, she had her moments of lows and weaknesses. Her exit on the show was really well made, which made me happy. 

After season 10, I wanted to give the show a fair shot. I thought maybe I will still like the show even without Christina. Through out season 11, the dynamics that made the show were broken apart and absent which made it empty. Derek was gone for the most part, which was weird. They tried to replace Derek with another Shepard, Amelia, but hey just because someone has the same last name and profession does not mean you can use them interchangeably.  Spoiler alert ... don't read further if you have not seen last night's episode.

Derek was the character that gave this show a backbone. If we were to compare the show to a building, Derek was the foundation (though the show is supposed to be about Grey). He is kind, gifted and has better hair than anyone else on the show. Most importantly, he glued everyone together in the show. The rest of the cast are just individuals without any good connections among all of them. There are relationships here and there, but they are needed to be glued together. And Derek Shepard did exactly that. Now that he is gone, the show is a shattered glass. Even if you put it together, it will never be the same.

I do realize that it was the only way Derek's character could exist the show, since it does not make sense to break Derek and Meredith apart. So he had to die, but I did not like the way he died. He died because a neurosurgeon from the backwoods had to finish his steak. Honestly, I am not sure if that would actually happen in real life. Neurosurgeons don't leave the hospitals, because that is literally where they live lol. Also the doctors in the backwoods tend to be nicer and more people orientated, because physicians who actually deeply care about their patients tend to end up in rural areas. I just wish he had a fair shot at living. I guess Shonda Rhimes wanted to make his death special by making it tragic or something. Whatever...

Meredith Grey's character is good, but only in a context of Christina Yang and Derek Shepard. She is weak. The only reason she made it this far is because of Christina and Derek. She never stood on her own until this season. Clearly Shonda was preparing us for the future, but the problem is it did not work!!!! She was a killer surgeon and everything now that Derek is gone, but that is the whole point. She had the potential, but never used it until her man had to leave the show. That is what I mean by weak. It is a weak character. Maybe Shonda will do something with her character in the future, but it would be entirely different show. 

At this point, I believe the show should have ended after last season. If Shonda Rhimes was interested in making a medical drama, then she should have started a completely new show. I think I am done with the show. I will just rewatch the old seasons.

And Scandal is just a mess lol. I have no idea what is going on. Olivia's dad Command wanted nothing to do with Olivia when she was about to be sold to whomever that bid the most. But all the sudden, he just showed up again, because he needs Olivia as his fixer? Seriously... I thought the Command was the ultimate fixer. But now he can't even take care of a case against him? 

Speaking of Jake Ballard's character, I am not too surprised that his character left, because his relationship with Olivia hit a dead end. But another man sent by the Command to sleep with Olivia? Really.... It is the same story from the season 1. Is the new guy going to fall in love with Olivia? Seriously just enough...

I am sorry about my rant, but it needed to be done. RIP Derek Shepard. "It is a beautiful day to save lives." 

did bloggers become mere marketing tools?

4/19/15

photos: @lisadengler@thegrey @nancyklozet @somethingnavy@dashofdarling

I strongly believe that it is time for us to make a distinction between magazines, online magazines / popular personal blogs and actual personal blogs. It is somewhat related to the same old topics of sponsorship and press samples. First of all, let me make it clear that I have no problem with sponsorships, press samples and affiliate links. I actually disclose that I use affiliate links and received limited amounts of press samples. Now that we made that clear, lets move on...

I just read on Yahoo, 50 Bloggers Wears The Same Dress, Sells Out Within Days, and it inadvertently expressed what I could not pin point. I don't think it was the point of the article though. The point was that Lord and Taylor came up with a marketing project, Design lab, in collaboration with fashion bloggers. The idea is that bloggers do outfit posts featuring items from Lord and Taylor's Design Lab collections. The article claims that the bloggers were paid for this collaboration (did not factcheck this). And soon as the posts went alive, the dress was sold out. 

Currently the Lord and Taylor website still have the dress, so I am not sure if the dress was restocked or Style haul exaggerated the outcome. Regardless, the point is bloggers are great marketing tools for retailers. It is a perfectly symbiotic relationship that is beneficial for both sides. Retailers get their sales and bloggers make living doing what they love. 

Before we go further on this topic, we have to explore the origin of personal blogs. Let's back up and remember why personal style blogging was such a success from the beginning. It is because magazines did not provide affordable, approachable and trustworthy recommendations due to advertisement, sponsorship and press samples. Then, personal style bloggers came along and filled that space. 

And most importantly, each blogger was totally UNIQUE and had identifiable PERSONALITIES. It is still the reason why people read blogs, but unfortunately without realizing that many of the bloggers have lost their individuality to certain extent and became somewhat of an extension of magazines, nothing more than marketing tool for retailers. The easiest evidence to support this argument is perfectly articulated in the Style Haul article: 
"Where were the real girls? Wearing real clothes that did not cost thousands of dollars? Somewhere along the way, brands started noticing, and sending newly influential names free products. Suddenly every bloggers had on the same Tibi skirt, was carrying the same Kate Spade bag, and sporting a pair of Karen Walker shades."
Finally, this is where my problem is with where blogging is going and what it has became. I am ok with bloggers making money doing what they love. But sponsorship and compensation, at least in the form that is widely used currently, have been graduallly affecting blogs by steering them away from their original individualities and relatability, which were what distinguish the blogs from the magazines. Otherwise, you won't see the same bag or shoes on all the blogs at the same time. As a result, personal style blogs are becoming SMALL INDIVIDUAL RUN ONLINE MAGAZINES that get compensated for their work. 

I believe there are room for everybody, so everyone should do what they love and find their place in the world of blogosphere. Successful growth of great bloggers are inevitable and nobody should be blamed for being successful. Instead they should be celebrated and congratulated. 

Unfortunately, once blogs retain certain level of readership, it is hard to retain the original nature of the personal blogging. It is manifested in so many ways including in the price of the clothes being featured to relatability of their lifestyle. For example, most top bloggers did not fly first class and owned only luxury designer clothes when they started out. We were able to purchase certain things worn by them, but now it is almost impossible. It is not necessarily a bad change, rather it is a form of development and their induction into the professional world of magazine in an unorthodox way. 

As for readers, we should learn to recognize the success of our favorite bloggers, but be aware that content of the blog is inevitably going to have conflict of interest due to the monitory contribution the bloggers receive from their work. As for finding more relatable "like me" bloggers, they are always new upcoming bloggers who still have the characteristics of personal blogs.

Visceral Maze.
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