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Altered Carbon (2018)

Content warning: this review contains graphic discussion of the rape, torture, assault, and murder of sex workers; as well as spoilers after the jump.

For the uninitiated, Altered Carbon is the story of Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman), a biracial man “resleeved” into the body of a beautiful, dirty blonde-haired, and incredibly hard-bodied white man in order to solve the murder of an immortal—called Methuselahs/Meths in this dystopian future—named Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy). In this world, bodies are called sleeves and are changed like socks. The rich are, well, really rich and they are really powerful as well. In the future of Altered Carbon, hundreds and hundreds of years (or thousands, who knows? Because in both the book and the Netflix series, the year is not specified) from now, humans can now—for the right price—live forever in a variety of sleeves, clones, and synthetic sleeves. Living like gods, believing their own press, and flaunting laws and rules openly, the Meths are, to quote this show’s Magical Negro, Quellcrist Falconer (though Renée Elise Goldsberry steals every scene she’s in), “the darker angels of our nature.”

Altered Carbon is not the most interesting show on Netflix. At the beginning it tries to pace itself but, even with the outstanding special effects and stunt work, it drags. But it is full of nudity (James Purefoy hangs dong once, nearly every female cast member shows her breasts, butt, and even some full frontal nudity, and Joel Kinnaman is perpetually half-clothed, so be ready for it) and awkward, drawn-out sex scenes which are fairly useless to the plot, so there’s that. Full of graphic glimpses of myriad sexual positions, drugs, and profanity-laden rock and roll, the show does seem like it’s going to be an over-the-top, wild ride—and it is. It really, really is. It’s shiny and full of energy and, from the first violent, intimate, mind-bending episode, it tries its hardest to hook viewers with claws that refuse to let go. Altered Carbon is a sight to see and a world to behold, sure. But is it a world you want to spend 10 hours in? Because just a few episodes in, a repetitive theme makes suspension of disbelief impossible for viewers in the know. It’s something we discuss all the time here at Tits and Sass: stigma.

You’re Not Funny: SNL Can’t Parody Porn Stars

swarovski.jpgI spent the better part of last June gluing rhinestones to this one wall in my apartment. At some point during the second week I started wearing a toolbelt full of E6000 glue, wadded up paper towels, sparkly bits and the syringes I use to control where the glue goes. I should mention that the toolbelt was being worn instead of pants as opposed to on top of pants. I should also mention that my apartment has horrible ventilation and I was probably kind of high on glue fumes. The glue fumes may have contributed to my decision to climb the radiator instead of using a ladder.

On the night of the 14th there was a knock on my door. The only person who knocks on the inside door is my superintendent. His name is Jorge. I yelled “Come in” and then realized that he might be upset about the fact that I was sticking things to the wall with heavy-duty glue. Fortunately, Jorge is a very special creature. He took in the whole spectacle, exclaimed “Oh my god!” and proceeded to gush in his Puerto Rican-Brooklynite accent about how much he loved where I was going with the concept. Then he ran upstairs and came back with a giant box of “Sarchovskys? Warsovskys? Whatevah. I thought you might be able to use them for your project.” See, at some point in the past decade someone had left a giant box of Swarovski crystals at his apartment. Happy Birthday to me. No, seriously. The next day was my birthday.

Support Hos: Elementary, Season One (2012)

That's the face I make when snide detectives blindside me with blackmail videos from my former career as an escort. (Screen shot from Elementary, season one, episode eight.)
That’s the face I make when snide detectives blindside me with blackmail videos from my former career as an escort. (Screen shot from “The Long Fuse,” S1E8, Elementary, CBS)

I’m a sucker for procedurals (while also being deeply ambivalent about them), so of course I was going to watch Elementary, CBS’s not-so-new-now take on Sherlock Holmes; I was immediately sold because female Watson. Played by Lucy Liu. And Jonny Lee Miller as a weird, twitchy, tattooed, recovering-addict Sherlock Holmes. I’m beyond over the BBC’s Sherlock, Howling Cabbagepatch’s shark-face, and the disappointing but predictable treatment of domanitrix Irene Adler—not really surprising considering the writers, but I digress.The formulaic nature of procedural mysteries is inexplicably soothing to me, and, however lackluster (and aren’t they the definition of “formulaic”?) they have the serious merit of being one of the only genres to consistently feature sex workers. Sure, they’re usually dead sex workers, but I don’t give up hope. The times they are a-changin’, and live lovable sex workers have carried their weight on some critically acclaimed cable dramas: Deadwood, Copper, Secret Diary of a Call Girl. I have faith that network procedurals will catch up soon.

In a way, Elementary has. For a procedural that features a sex worker body count of zero, the instances of live sex workers on the show are fairly high. I was alert from first watch: while the pilot didn’t have any dead sex worker bodies, I waited for the inevitable. As episodes went on I started to relax and feel hope, and then suddenly, in E08, “The Long Fuse”: Lisa Edelstein, aka Elementary’s first Sex Worker!!! made it through an episode unharmed. She was treated with sympathy as a working-class girl whose escorting career, after paying for grad school and a successful business, was now being used as blackmail against her by a creep who had violated her privacy and filmed their call.

The Doctor Is In: Sex Work Goes Whovian

(image via http://nerdquestionoftheday.com)
(image via http://nerdquestionoftheday.com)

by Josephine and Caty

The year is 3056 and some things never change. You’re filing your nails in the dressing room. Just another dull night in the Martian strip club. Perhaps you’re idly thumbing through an old Cosmo as you wait patiently within the brothel at the end of the universe.

It’s not always this slow, it’s just that time of the year…Right?

You hear some odd whirring and clanking over the music. What the heck was that? That was nothing, you think. Probably someone trying to parallel park a junky lunar module outside. Whatever. Time to hit the floor.

A man across the room looks weirdly familiar. You approach him and say hello.

He responds in the most cliché way possible: “Do you want me to take you away from all this?”

Why does this man look so familiar? Could it be? Is he…the Doctor?

Hey, it could happen. Even Time Lords have needs.

We wondered, what would our good Doctor be like as a client or a customer?

 

Ridin’ Nerdy: Exploiting the Myth of the Fake Geek Girl

Gimmie some sugar, baby. Josie, as Evil Dead's Ash, hanging with R2D2.
Gimmie some sugar, baby. Josie, as Evil Dead’s Ash, hanging with R2D2.

I like to scan the men bathed in flashing red light at their tables, strategizing. Star Wars and comic book character t-shirts are the easiest. Anyone who gives off the vibe of working in tech. Sometimes I can recognize a tattoo, or, sometimes it’s just a good hunch. Really, most of the men in these places under 30 will light up when I talk about how I spent a few hours playing Skyrim in my underwear, even if it would be better if I lied and said it was Call of Duty.

I’m hunting for nerds in the strip club.