Tag Archives: Netflix

Dear Netflix, thank you for the character of David on “Travelers”

9 Jan

Josh and I have been watching “Travelers”, a Netflix Original Series. He started watching it during season one because he ran out of “Continuum”, so this was suggested (as Netflix does), and I happened to be in the room when he started watching it.

We both got sucked in.

Be warned, there may be spoilers.



[Image description – River Song from “Doctor Who”, smirking, and the word “Spoilers”]

“Travelers” is about people who come to the 21st century from a much more dire future time, trying to fix what went wrong. There’s protocols, and The Director, and other such things. Travelers arrive seconds before a human in the 21st century is about to die, and basically take over their body with their consciousness that’s been sent from the future (it’s a fine moral like, as they’re not taking a life, but they are assuming one, friends and relatives included.)

One traveler is sent into the body of Marcy, an intellectually disabled woman. Marcy has a case worker, David, who instantly notices Marcy goes from an almost illiterate woman who speaks slowly (can we say verbal apraxia?) to a well-spoken, literate, obviously above normal intelligence woman overnight.

Marcy – and therefore David – become a storyline in the show. David is the nicest of all the guys who, when everyone decides Marcy must have been defrauding people for those sweet sweet disability benefits, jumps to her defense. He doesn’t think she’s a cheat or was using the system. He just thinks that obviously some sort of miracle must have happened.

By the fourth episode, I worried more about David, a secondary character, more than most of the main characters. Because they wrote him to be exactly who I would want to be working with and caring for Maura someday. They showed how he paid for things for his clients out of pocket. How he knew what would help calm them, what their favorite foods were, where they were sleeping on the streets. During a pandemic during the second season, he went straight to the shelter to make sure his clients were okay, were cared for – because someone had to, and that someone was him. When he won the lottery, he gave it all to the people he worked for.

He is, for all intents and purposes, a perfect human being. He is who we all should try to be more like. He is the guy I’d want as Maura’s case worker. And that’s saying a lot.

But last night, as season two was winding up, there was a scene where the one character who’s been an asshole the whole first season, and is a recovering asshole in season two, reverts to his asshole ways when talking about Marcy to David.

He called Marcy “the retarded girl”.

I held my breath.

“That’s a hateful word.” David replied.

And I may have yelled “YES!”

David didn’t let me down.

Yes, they used the world I dislike. But then they addressed its ugliness. It was said to be ugly, by someone who’s behavior was ugly in the show.

And then, it’s ugliness was called out.

“That’s a hateful word.”

And the next time the recovering asshole mentions Marcy – two sentences later – he uses a more appropriate phrase – “mentally disabled”.

He was called out on his ugly behavior and it made a difference. David, once again, showed how to make a difference.

There was no big lecture, no big drama around the use of the word “retarded” – just a simple but pointed addressing of it – “That’s a hateful word.” – coming from a man who devoted his life to the people society overlooks or ignores.

For all I’ve seen people defend the use of the word “retarded” in shows and music and books because “that’s just how people speak”, I’ve never seen where then the use of the word is questioned by another character. It’s usually dropped by someone and then life carries on.

But not this time.

This time, some writer for Netflix deliberately chose it. And then deliberately chose to call it out for what it was – a hateful word. And then showed the one who use the word choose a different phrase.

Because while it is a word some people use still, there are those of us who are willing to call them out for that use.

And apparently, Netflix is now one of us.

So thank you Netflix. I know it was just two lines in one episode of a show, but dang if it didn’t mean the world to this mama.

Note – I was totally not paid in any way to endorse this show. No compensation was earned. I do totally recommend this show if you are sorta into sci-fi and like well-rounded characters. 


Okay, I am now writing from the Great Beyond.

Because when sharing this on Twitter, I did what good social media gurus are told to do – tag and hashtag.

And I got a response.

I got three responses.

First, from Eric McCormack, yeah, the lead actor in the show (and also producer for at least Season 1.) 



[image description – tweet from Eric McCormack]  – “Great Letter, Phoebe, thank you. The writer was @ken_kabatoff, and @bradtravelers created David for @PatrickGilmore because there is no one better at being a great human being.”


And then Patrick Gilmore, the actor who plays David, chimed in –



[image description – tweet from Patrick Gilmore] “Thank you for your letter, @herdingcatsblog. That scene was all @ken_kabatoff & @bradtravelers. I was blessed to have an Aunt with Down Syndrome. I got into fights in grade school with anyone who used the “R” word. I hugged Ken when I read that line 🙂 @TRVLRSseries @netflix”

And THEN, this appeared from the WRITER HIMSELF, Ken Kabatoff –



[image description – tweet from Ken Kabatoff] “I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying.


So now I’m dead, but in a good way.

Now everyone, go watch this show. Because it obviously is made up of a bunch of really decent human beings – and because I already need Season 3.







“Anne with an E” has left me depressed

23 May


Warning! This post will contain more spoilers than River Song’s hair.

Okay, we ready?

“Anne with an E” is a Netflix series based on “Anne of Green Gables.” I should say loosely based. Very loosely.

I won’t lie – I’m in the “The 1985 version is the best” camp. I had a massive crush on Jonathan Crombie. I thought Colleen Dewhurst was perfection as Marilla. Megan Follows will always be my Anne Shirley.


Yet I can also admit, while I watched the series, I did bristle a bit that “Anne of Avonlea” took some creative licenses and changed a bit. But the spirit of Anne of Green Gables was in it, so I forgave it for being different than the books. I did not watch the third installment that they tried – because wow, way to jump the timeline to throw Gilbert off to war (in the books, it was Anne and Gil’s sons who went off to fight WWI).

But this new version? This “Anne with an E” version?

It’s just depressing.

Seriously. It’s depressing.

Anne with an E has PTSD from her abusive past. I’m not being facetious – several times, she gets so sucked into a flashback that she forgets where she is, stops what she’s doing. Then when someone reaches out to her, she’ll blink and go “Oh, sorry, let’s talk about flowers, shall we?”

Honestly, Anne with an E could use some major therapy. Again, that’s not being funny. Anne Shirley was a chatterbox – Anne with an E babbles manically. Anne with an E has flashbacks to when Mr. Hammond had a heart attack while beating her with his belt. Anne with an E talks about overhearing the Hammond’s sex life, laughing as she talks about how Mrs Hammond didn’t want to “pet his mouse” when he was drunk and often, it sounded like she was being murdered. Anne with an E runs in her skivvies through fields, nearly going over a cliff, because Rachel Lynde wounds her pride. Anne with an E is horribly bullied by the teens of Avonlea, being called trash and a dog, schoolboys barking at her when she walks by. Anne with an E literally gets sent away from Green Gables after the brooch incident, only to be found after several days of her avoiding going back to the asylum, choosing homelessness instead.  To make up for sending her away, Anne with an E is adopted by the Cuthberts.

Adopted. Anne with an E becomes Anne Shirley Cuthbert.

That is where I was a bit “Oh no good sir! NO!”

They made Gilbert an orphan too. So he and Anne can have something to bond over. Except Anne was a bit too perky that she now had a fellow orphan friend and Gilbert was all “OMG Anne, it’s not about YOU!” – which, in all fairness, he had the right to say. Then Gilbert closes up the family house and goes to the city to work on the docks, giving up school.




Still from Netflix’s “Anne with an E”



The stuff and nonsense continues – Marilla joins a “progressive mother’s group”, where the ladies of Avonlea sit around talking about what a glorious word “feminism” is and hoping their daughters do more than just marry. But then, because Anne said that Prissy Andrews and the teacher must be having “intimate relations” after she and Diana spy on the teacher touching Prissy’s face, Marilla is shunned by the mother’s group. And is upset by this. Marilla, the pinnacle of strength and “I really don’t care what you think”, gutted by a mother’s group.


And Matthew almost loses the farm, has a near death experience, and the Cuthbert’s are now on the cusp of losing their farm, so they send Anne into the city to sell their worldly possessions.

Yes – they send the flighty 13 yr old that they can’t trust to keep a pie from burning to the city to barter their goods for money. It’s okay though, they send the farm hand who’s about the same age as Anne with her. He then gets mugged and beaten, the money he had taken away. Because why the hell not at this point?

At the end, as a cliffhanger for Season Two, Anne opens the door to find their new boarder – who is a sketchy dude we were allowed to see being sketchy, and possibly the one who mugged the farm hand boy. I don’t know, at that point, I was fast-forwarding through whole scenes because I just couldn’t take any more of it.

It was all so depressing. It was like “Okay, what bad thing can happen in this episode? Anne isn’t traumatized enough…oh, I know! Billy Andrews can angrily confront her alone in the woods so that the viewers aren’t sure if he’s going to physically or sexually assault her. But it’ll be fine, because Gilbert will rescue her. How’s that for a meet cute?” #truestory

Anne of Green Gables was a dreamy girl. Anne with an E is living one nightmare after another. Anne of Green Gables was full of optimism and innocence, even through trials. Anne with an E leaps from one tragedy to the next.

We all loved Anne of Green Gables because there was laughter and friendship, and kindred spirits. There were hardships, but it wasn’t a tsunami of troubles that Anne with an E deals with. Anne of Green Gables had hope. Anne with an E is waiting for the next wave to hit.

And to mess up the Anne/Gilbert storyline is a disgrace. Part of what made their story so good was that Gilbert liked her for her brain. He liked that she was his equal in academics. He appreciated her dreaminess. He liked that she didn’t fall for him just because he was cute. Anne and Gilbert were equals in ways that are still necessary to hear about today.

The funny thing is, I have almost no problem with the casting. Marilla and Matthew are well cast, Anne and Gilbert are decent even if they aren’t Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie.

We don’t need Anne of Green Gables to be darker, grittier, tougher – not when the other Netflix option for teens is “13 Reasons Why”.

No, we need Anne and her dreaminess, her optimism, and her silly mishaps with friends. We need Gilbert to fall for that smart, quirky girl. We need Avonlea to be a place of regular folks, sometimes snippy (I’m looking at you, Pye clan), but mostly decent people.

“Anne with an E” does not deliver any of that, and that’s why, for me, it’s fallen so short.



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