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Friday, 5 of March of 2021

Sym-Bionic Titan – “The Ballad of Scary Mary”

Sometimes I come out here with my astronomy class and have starbecues.

I am a bad fan of this show.  Not only did I know know when season 2 was starting, but I was also unaware that it had changed days. Shameful, I know.

So Titan comes back from hiatus with a good episode, one that expands its show’s universe a bit, something I’ve been waiting for the show to do. Earlier episodes had made gestures to this, with varying degrees of success, but with the range of characters we get to see in the episode, plus a nice flashback for the school’s history, I feel like “The Ballad of Scary Mary” is a good step in helping create a more fully realized world.

Now if only Kimmy weren’t drawn in such a problematic way, I’d be pretty happy.

So let’s talk about Kimmy a bit and the show’s ideas of appropriateness. The school’s students have their annual Scary Mary party (the origins of which are told in a nice, sepia-hued flashback with Mary clearly based on Scooby-Doo‘s Velma), a big empty field and bonfire event that feels quaint but still works for the show overall, I think. So, of course there’s various challenges to this. There’d be alcohol there in real life (someone’s cousin or older brother or sister would’ve done it, we know that), but since the show is now on at 7pm on a Wednesday, the jocks (and Newton/Octus) chug 2 liters. Of soda.

Kimmy, Newton, and Meat chug sodasSo, no boozing or appearances of getting drunk. Instead, a burping contest occurs and the only other person seen drinking is Meat, and he seems drunk as a default anyway, making this a safe stand-in for alcohol consumption where one would reasonably expect there to be some. I get that, and it doesn’t bother me one iota.

But Kimmy’s design does frustrate me, still. Take a look at the image on the right, from the above mentioned scene. Kimmy’s wearing low-riding jeans, as someone her age and fashion inclinations would. As a result, we see the lines of her groin. It’s more pronounced in a later shot, but I use the one on the left to call attention to the values dissonance at work in the scene. It boils down to this: alcohol is not age/time slot appropriate but that groin lines are totally acceptable.

Frankly, the groin lines, while sexualizing, aren’t as bad as Kimmy’s booty-dance from a few episodes ago, though the groin lines go narratively uncommented upon (Kimmy, as I noted, wasn’t rewarded for her self-sexualization, which led to character development). And, indeed, the show acknowledges that Kimmy likes Octus because he treats her like a person, not an object. I wish the show would be so forward thinking.

I’m not going to mention this again unless there’s something as egregious as the booty dance to happen. The episodes are finished and in the can, so my criticisms can only go so far. I’d like to know the network notes that happened when these shows came back from the animation studio. Obviously the drinking would’ve been remedied during the script/storyboarding process, but so would the booty dancing. So I’m waving the white flag on this, but consider all my objections to be logged for future episodes.

I enjoyed the rest of the episode, frustrating as I found Kimmy’s model here. I like the show expanding the high school realm a bit, giving more characters for the trio to interact with.  Jason certainly seems like a promising klutz for Illana to befriend and I enjoyed the low-key beginning of Lance’s relationship with nameless low-key girl. The shape-shifting Mutraddi was nicely designed (I liked that he seemed to be made of crystals), though the big showdown got distracting since it was in the form of Kimmy for much of it.

Annoyances aside, glad to have Titan back on the schedule.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • “What’s with all the Dad music on this thing?” Oh, like you’re one to talk, Kimmy. What with your Flock of Seagullls playlist and all.
  • “Oh yeah! All right! I’m honking the horn! This is fun!”
  • What’s with that red head in the skirt standing out in that shot shot I linked to above? She stands out later, as well, during a couple of the big crowd scene.


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