World’s Finest! Podcast (S01E02) // Suicide Squad Trailer Analysis

Transcript for the video in case folks would like to read the conversation!

TW: Mentions of domestic abuse and rape culture.
Ben
Hello internet! This is Ben here, a recent college grad from CSUF and future unemployed member of society.

Elaine
Hi, I’m Elaine! I’m about to enter college, specifically in the middle of Nowhere in Pennsylvania. I’m also unemployed.

Ben
We are the…

Ben + Elaine
[Out of sync] World’s Finest!

Ben
Uh…gotta work on that. We should rehearse next time.

Elaine
Yeah. Ahhaha!

Ben
Yeah. You shouldn’t come drunk either, that’s very unprofessional.

Elaine
Oh my gosh.

[WORLD’S FINEST, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.]

Ben
Welcome to our first episode! This is a video podcast about nerd culture through a person of color’s perspective. And today’s theme is BEGINNINGS!

And today’s episode is also powered by THE BAND WITH NO NAME Film Company.

Let’s jump into the Headlines: Comic Con 2015 just happened in San Diego recently, and a lot of exciting trailers—

Suicide Squad directed by David Ayer starring the likes of Will Smith and Margot Robbie.

Elaine
Of like Suicide Squad is just like trying to like build on the hype of Guardians of the Galaxy? [Elaine’s Southern Californian accent is coming out.]

And it’s kind of weird. Because I guess they’re trying to make it fun, because you know the Joker and Harley Quinn are very like loose cannons.

Ben
[Unamused?] Yeah.

Elaine
Like they are just like out there doing their own thing. [Elaine, what are you doing with yourself?]

Ben
There—There’s some cool iconography. Like it was neat seeing Harley Quinn live in the flesh!

Um…The Joker…Uh…Whoo! /s

Uh…Okay, it’s just so—It’s too soon for me since Heath, so I’ll try not to make any comparisons cause that’s really unfair. But I mean, Jared Leto is coming off the heels of what is, probably, thee pinnacle portrayal of the Joker on screen.

And um…I don’t know. I’m not digging the tattoos, or the grills, very much. But I understand that you gotta do something different, right? But it’s just very off-putting, especially “Damaged” right across the forehead. What’s up with that?

Elaine
I love Jared Leto. I love his band. I love what he does when it comes to…you know…creative intelligence rights. Uh…and he’s not a—not a bad actor. I’ve seen a few of his films.

Ben
[throwing shade] He’s kinda got an Oscar.

Elaine
Yeah, I mean, there’s just that little fact that he has been recognized for being a good actor. Just a little.

But I don’t like where DC’s going with this.

Ben
Yeah, it’s a very strange tone. I understand, like I’ve um…read some Suicide Squad.

Like I get they got to be little bit edgier than other teams like the Avengers or the Guardians of the Galaxy. That’s kind of like their M.O. Um…

Elaine
They’re villains—They’re a group of villains.

Ben
They’re a group of supervillains.

Elaine
Like come on!

Ben
But the thing is that premise is so silly. You gotta have some fun with it.

The lack of that element [fun] and just the overall dark, morose, almost sadistic tone—It’s kind of a turn off.

Like um, I mean I dig Harley Quinn but once again, when are we going to get a variation of her that’s not so super sexualized? You know, with the short-shorts and the fishnet lingerie going on…Like I don’t get it—

Like that’s not what Harley Quinn was intended for when she was originally created in 1992 by Paul Dini. Like I think that she’s a fun female-counterpart to the Joker, and she…

I’m sure Margot Robbie will hold her own against Jared Leto, and I’m sure it’ll be a fun performance. But it’s not what I imagined…So prove me wrong [DC], please!

But um…there’s a lot—There’s a lot to take in this [trailer], cause there’s still like 10 other characters that we didn’t mention.

Elaine
All the females—I think it’s just Harley Quinn and the Enchantress, I mean there might be another female but—

Ben
We got an Asian Ninja—

Elaine
Katana?

Ben
—female, yeah.

Ben + Elaine
Katana, yeah.

Elaine
Katana is a cool character though. Um so those three—Katana is the least sexualized, but the other two are definitely hypersexualized. And it kinda sucks!

Because, again, Harley Quinn is not intended to be that kind of person.

Ben
Yeah.

Elaine
And her original costume is the Harlequin costume—a full body suit with a mask and everything! But she was still hella sexy.

Ben
Yeah… /shade?

Elaine
As per usual, the Asian is not on screen as much…

Ben
She’s there somewhere…in the background.

Elaine
Yeah, and she is a really cool character. I liked her—I liked her in Birds of Prey. She was cool, and I’m really hoping they do something purposeful with her.

Uh…Again, I hope they don’t oversexualize her. Because I mean it’s true that Asian women especially are sexualized because of their “exoticism” or the exotic factor, which is very disturbing.

Um…Or they’re just written off as like, just in the background, submissive, sub-plotted. Definitely so…

Ben
You can learn all about this in our PSA about Asian American sexualization: Sincerely Me.

Elaine
Yep, it’s true.

Ben
Shameless plug.
Nah, I totally agree. Like um, I mean I do like the eclecticism of the cast. We do have a black man as the lead. We have API figure in there. We have a really prominent woman in Harley Quinn.

Um…I dig that. I dig where they’re going with it. I’m hoping it’s just a good movie.

Because, you know, Hollywood is a copycat institution. If this blows up, if this is good—then we’ll get more of those kinds of movies, these kinds of movies. You know, with like diverse casts and what not.

So I mean, like I mentioned with Batman Vs Superman, I’m not cheering against this movie. I want it to do good, I want it to be good. But there’s so much going against it.

And it’s not…Like a lot of people are going bananas over this trailer, but I’m just not—I’m very hesitant…to jump on board just yet, especially with David Ayer at the helm. He’s very hit or miss.

Elaine
Yeah, he is. But I don’t know, I’m still gonna watch it.

Ben
Yeah.

Elaine
Because I support—I love Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn is great.

I kind of wish it was her, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy. Like if they could have done more like, a more female-heavy Suicide Squad I would love to see that play out, because as the World—the FIFA Women’s World Cup has [shown]—

Girls are vicious! And it’s amazing!

When you just let them do their thing, it’s so beautiful because they bring everything they got into it. So I guess if there were more women in Suicide Squad and like one or two guys there, that would be really cool.

Ben
Yeah, just have a token guy. [OMG Ben]

Elaine
Yeah!

Well, not necessarily so, but definitely have…The Joker not as a token guy, but as that like pivotal character that makes Harley Quinn want to break away.

Because I think that’s the point of Suicide Squad in the original comics, was that Harley Quinn was fed up with the abuse she got from Joker. And because Poison Ivy has always been her bestie—

Like [Poison Ivy] would always encouraged Harley in the animated series and in the comic books to get away from Joker, because it’s not a healthy relationship for obvious reasons.

That would have been a great—Having Joker there in the beginning as one of the reasons why Harley Quinn wants to go out and do her own things, is a great reason to have him as one of the cast members. Having him as the Squad—in the Squad, which is seems like is what’s going to happen considering he’s in the cast photos—I don’t think it’s empowering to Harley Quinn.

Ben
Cause she’ll always be in his shadow.

Elaine
Or like—That history of abuse is still there. And it doesn’t give her as much room to grow cause as the same time—

Again, being a comic book reader, it’s like you’re always expecting for Joker to say something to hold her back. And that’s not what I want. I want him to be out of the picture and have Harley Quinn take all the spotlight and just grow from there.

Because—and that’s one of the reasons why I really really want to watch in support of Suicide Squad, because I love that character so much.

Ben
The abusive relationship between the Joker and Harley Quinn…It’s the kind of one thing where, you know, you can tell that men are running the industry, because of all the ways they portray women.

Um…And the only way it seems women can gain strength, or gather enough gusto, to move on and be independent and do their own is through abuse, or some sort of traumatic event. A la…what happened in Game of Thrones recently with Sansa Stark.

Elaine
There has been little change—Or like when people try to reach out and say, “Hey, you should really stop making this a plot device.” [Creators] still continue to do it. So I think that this is just an issue that everybody has to address, because rape doesn’t just happen to women—it also happens to men, and it also happens especially to people of color and the LGBTQ+ communities.

So it’s a horrible thing that we all need to be very cognizant of when it comes to consuming media.

Ben
Yeah, it’s awful. I don’t find any entertainment out of these depictions of women.

<Um…I mean I feel like we’ve moved so forward with the likes of Katniss Everdeen. I mean the YA novel adaptations seem to be going pretty well with how they depict women, and what being a strong woman means. [Really, Ben? “Strong woman”?]

Like you can go through hardship and overcome that hardship, but why is it solely just rape and like promotions of rape culture? I just don’t understand like it’s—it’s awful!

Elaine
Yeah, and I think that’s because it’s more awkward to like portray like the number of men who get raped. It’s…Again it’s like a lot of like—The men run the media, unfortunately. Like, they’re usually the head honchos and they control a lot of what people—what they will produce.

And though rape between men actually does occur, not as visible as the sheer amount of rape that happens to like women. It’s an still issue. [Bad example, Elaine.]

Ben
At the end of the day it’s just all glorification of brutality. I’m—I’m trying to wonder like what is the purpose and what is the meaning behind rapes portrayed on Game of Thrones. Cause they’re not commenting on rape culture, they’re not doing anything to spark a discussion how we could solve, or alleviate, those kind of terrible things. If anything like you said [No Elaine didn’t]—It’s promoting it, it’s glorifying it, it’s making it worse.

Elaine
Again, sometimes…It’s a weird thing. Sometimes, I feel like [writers] just throw it in there to have thrown in there, because HBO is just—You can do anything on HBO really.

Yeah um…definitely HBO is—You’re allowed technically to do that thing, but I don’t think you should. And so that’s why I think [rape is] randomly thrown in there for “entertainment,” or whatever that means. Um…and sometimes they may use it as a plot device. As in…It’s just one of those things that’s suppose to be a catalyst for the next plot twist or whatever. And it’s usually a miss for me because, it’s just like—That was unnecessary! You could have done this in a totally different way and it still would have worked out well.

Ben
Yeah.

Elaine
And if you were a good writer, you would have figured it out.

Ben
Mhm, exactly. And…Just to close with portrayals of strong women. [Because we want to get back to a less depressing topic]

The thing is we don’t have to think about in the context of, or the frame of, “Oh they’re women, so there’s a certain way we’re supposed to portray them.” Just portray them as human beings, cause that’s what they are.

And we still have the same aspirations and desires and certain things that connect us as one.

Elaine
Yeah. [?]

Ben
I’m thinking…Why can’t we get that across on screen and in our media? And then, if so our children won’t grow up to think that we have certain roles and things we have to fall into. We can choose where we fall into if we’re shaped to be that way. [Anyone follow Ben’s point?]

Elaine
I just think if you just portray women as women who are strong—This is a huge comment when it comes to a lot of people about the “strong, independent woman” trope…That because we’re supposedly strong, we’re not allowed to show emotion, or show emotions as signs of weakness, rather than showing distress is strength. [Anyone follow Elaine’s point?]

So I guess allowing women to cry and to go a bit mad, but some how make that a power. Like make that something empowering to them is very important.

Because I think, again, one of the reasons why Harley Quinn—going back to Suicide Squad—is so amazing is that she laughs so freely and so “unlady-like,” and cries often, and whines, and then goes off and blows something up—

It’s because she’s so like—I keep on calling her a loose cannon because she is. And that’s what make her great.

Ben
Yeah, she’s free.

Elaine
Yeah.

Ben
She’s liberated.

Elaine
She’s liber—Yeah she’s liberated in that she doesn’t care—

Her character doesn’t care much about all these like [tropes], “Oh I have to be stoic,” or “I can’t so too much emotions or else they think that means I’m soft-hearted.” No!

Like, she cries and whines all she wants. But at the end of the day, she does kill people, she does blow up things and destroy lives as much as Joker does in her own twisted way.

And that’s what I think is a great female character: Someone who can freely express who she is and still has that sense of power in her.

Um…So I guess when it comes to YA characters like Katniss Everdeen, I wish she would do that more. But I understand that her character is meant to be much more serious, because of the political context.

Ben
Yeah, it’s just like you said, there’s not variations of, or shades of, women doing other things. I think we need more women as villains, or like corrupt politicians, or whatever. You know, those things it shows—

Like it humanizes them, rather than putting them in a box once more. And so, it’s just another step on the ladder, but it’ll be great to see different shades of great female characters like you said.

TO BE CONTINUED…


Coming up—The Pilot is split into 4 part, or rather “episodes,” which will be uploaded soon! I will also transcribe those parts!

Episode 3: Bruh!
Episode 4: Beginnings

E’s Commentary
Oh my goodness. I swear I will get better. Please bear with me as Ben drops the last two parts of our pilot! At this point we were 2 hours into filming and I couldn’t string together thoughts. Again, while I was nervous, Ben just saved me by dropping nuggets of wisdom. Other than that, I omitted a few “uhs,” “ums,” and “likes” in this transcript, so that you folks don’t go crazy reading through it.
Please just give me another chance to go over my examples and thoughts in the next filming. I hope you folks stick around and watch me improve as we continue making these video podcasts for you!

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