We dig deep into the dazzling queer wonderland that is She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, raving about all the things we love about it and ranting about Catradora and what we see as the romanticization of a deeply abusive relationship. HOT TAKE, we know.
What do you call people who get turned on by eating all the things? (a Nicky original!)
Analyzing Catradora: Kylo Ren in a Cat Suit
While we LOVED She-Ra overall, we both had enormous concerns with Catra and Adora’s relationship. We spend the first half raving about everything we love in this magical show, including the strong restorative justice vibes, the queerness, the friendships, the costume designs and diversity of body shapes, Swift Wind and SHANTIES!
Then we get serious about the disturbing relationship between Catra and Adora, tracking the abusive behavior and the way that the story did not allow for a proper redemption arc to justify them becoming a couple.
Literally the entire rest of the internet disagrees with us, everyone else think Catradora is great and that Catra was completely redeemed by the end, so here are some folks that take the opposing view from us, if you want to explore that as well:
- “She-Ra’s” Nuanced Take on Abuse and Trauma Is Its Real Power | Bitch Media
- She-Ra Season 5 Watered My Crops & (Almost) Cured My Depression | MelinaPendulum
- The Brilliance Of She-Ra’s Final Season | Riley J Dennis
- Why Catradora Works (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power) | The Roundtable
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Nichole [00:00:27] Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Bitchy Shitshow, home of the bitchiest bitches and the shittiest of shit shows.
Callie [00:00:39] Wow, big, big claim there.
Nichole [00:00:42] I know. I might be overselling it, but we’ll see.
Callie [00:00:47] You called us the bitchiest bitches and then I start giggling. Like I just… People are going to be like OK…
Nichole [00:00:52] Yeah, I know. I’m Nichole.
Callie [00:01:01] And I’m Callie.
Nichole [00:01:02] And today we’re talking about…
Callie [00:01:04] She-Ra Princesses of Power.
Nichole [00:01:06] She-Raaaaa! Yeah.
Callie [00:01:09] The Netflix show.
Nichole [00:01:11] Yes. We’re very excited about this. We both watched all of the five seasons very quickly and loved it. So we’re like, hey, we need another kind of easy week, let’s talk about She-Ra. So what we’re going to do today instead of doing a news item, is we’re going to start off the episode with what we liked about She-Ra, and just random, you know, things that we want to talk about. And then we’ll do the joke and thank some patreons, and then we’ll get into what we’re considering the main topic which is Catradora. It’s very controversh. We, as usual, have a different opinion from like literally everyone else on the internet so we’ll get to that later. But first, what did we think about She-Ra?
Callie [00:02:07] Oh my god. It’s like hard to even know where to start.
Nichole [00:02:12] It really is.
Callie [00:02:13] I mean, honestly, I just like, loved it as a show. I just want to state that first, like, I really think it was well done, I love the characters. Even the things that I’m going to like nitpick or talk about later as things I didn’t necessarily love, like did not really detract a whole lot from the show, you know?
Nichole [00:02:38] Mm hmm. Yeah, I agree.
Callie [00:02:38] It was so well done. And just honestly, like so gay T.M.. Like I just love, and not only that, I just felt like it was such a queer show. Like I was telling, Nichole and I were joking the other night and I was like, we were talking about the our favorite couples on the show or whatever and I was like, I don’t even feel like there really were any straight couples on this show. I think even the couples that we would, you know, kind of call straight or think that they’re straight, don’t really read straight to me. Like it just feels very much like, very queer, like very kind of different than anything like in this typical category of story, right? Like this kind of adventury like fighting show and this kind of rebellion. And like it just didn’t have any of like the usual like toxic masculinity bullshit. Like it all just was so based around like friendship and love and you don’t really know who is into the other person and who just has like a really deep friendship. And I just…
Nichole [00:03:49] I love it!
Callie [00:03:49] I loved everything! It was so colorful and bright and it showed like restorative justice. It showed community building. It showed like, friendship. And I like that it showed love in just this like very, in so many different forms, you know? But it somehow didn’t feel to me like they were necessarily different forms. Like usually shows are very much like this is friendship, love. This is romantic love. This is, you know, familial love. And this show just really kind of like, I don’t know, it was all just kind of based on this love and in this really radical way, I thought.
Nichole [00:04:30] Yeah, I really think that that was, in rewatching season five, I didn’t have time to rewatch the entire series, but was like, OK, well rewatch season five. And what stood out to me in the rewatching was how much Perfuma really encapsulated, in a character, everything you just said and I think like the vibe and the theme of the show. Like she was fighting with Horde Prime I think, having an argument with him, and she was – I mean, they all were. And she was saying like, friendship is powerful, love is powerful. And she had other times in that season where, like when she was, just had such strong belief in Scorpia. And she just was so like strong in her, like, my ability to love and be soft is what makes me strong.
Nichole [00:05:30] And it was like, this is such a beautiful thing that we don’t get to see enough in anything, really. Is this character who’s so femme being a being so strong. And not just like, oh, she’s femme and she’s strong but her literally saying, like, the shit that makes me like feminine and the shit that makes me soft is exactly the thing that makes me strong. I just thought it was really beautiful and it was like I always liked her character, but she kind of was one that would like fade a little into the background for me. And in the rewatching, she really, like, came forward for me in a big way. And yeah, I just think her like, her and Scorpia were another one where I’m like, are they? You know? Which is really cute.
Nichole [00:06:21] But yeah, it was kind of like I don’t know, like what their attachment is but it’s just so beautiful. And it’s just so, and like Scorpia is such a, you know, also loved her character and how she’s this like tank. You know, she’s just like big, like strong person who like literally has armor as like part of her body, and started off on the bad side but like just has such a good heart and is so like loyal and like for Perfuma to be so soft and come in and like see the softness and Scorpia, and just like… I just loved it!
Callie [00:06:58] Yeah.
Nichole [00:06:59] I just loved it. And I just loved it for, you know, all the girls out there who don’t, girls or like very feminine people who don’t get to see a lot of, like, feminine people be represented in that way. I think it’s getting a lot better. I feel like I’ve seen more of that. But yeah, just for her to literally be like a flower child, you know, like earth-loving hippie almost character, but just to be so, like, strong in that and be like this is exactly… And they kept saying, like, you could maybe be the most powerful princess, like if you just got over your fear of hurting other people. And she’s like, but isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t it good that I’d rather, like, hold back my power and not risk hurting other people? And I just was like, living. Loving it.
Callie [00:07:47] Yeah. I love that you brought up Perfuma. I feel like she was a character that for a lot would kind of like fly under the radar. But she had some, like, really incredible moments and like a great arc and just her development of, yeah like, she wasn’t going to be embarrassed, like shamed into feeling embarrassed about the fact that she’s like, you know like highly femme, like very kind of soft energy, really based in like this, like kind of almost cheesy love and flower power type thing. But she was like, no, like really rejected that and was like just as much in the rebellion as like anyone else and was really a strong character. And yeah, fuckin Scorpia like just killed me.
Nichole [00:08:38] She’s just the best.
Callie [00:08:39] She’s the best!
Nichole [00:08:39] She’s so funny. She’s so sweet.
Callie [00:08:42] Yeah.
Nichole [00:08:43] She’s very sexy, like surprisingly. You’re like excuse you in that black dress, my goodness.
Callie [00:08:49] When she showed up to the princess ball I was like, listen, I am a grown woman. I should not be having weird feelings about a cartoon character.
Nichole [00:08:59] I mean, girl that’s the whole series for me. I was like, these characters are teenagers. Don’t be a perv. I need to know how old Seahawk is, by the way. Because he can shanty on me any time. But anyway, also, I have to say I hate musical segments of shows.
Callie [00:09:29] You do.
Nichole [00:09:29] Which I know you agree with. And Scorpia’s song, I actually loved it.
Callie [00:09:36] Yeah.
Nichole [00:09:37] And I was like, whoa, what’s happening here? Yeah, the song was cute and her like coming, you know, getting over her nerves, and like Perfuma just cheering her on. I just was like, I loved it.
Callie [00:09:53] Mm hmm, yep.
Nichole [00:09:53] And her voice was great and I was like, this is like a first for me, I always hate this kind of thing in a show.
Callie [00:10:02] Yeah.
Nichole [00:10:03] Yeah. So anyway, I don’t know if they’re a couple, but I love them regardless. I think Madame Razz, most underrated character. I loved her. I want her to be a real person. I want her to take a thousand years to make me cookies. I know she was making pie but I don’t like pie so I feel like she would make me cookies. I just fucking love, every time she was onscreen I was like, I wish she was in every episode. And I know that that would look like betray what her character’s purpose was. But it’s like I literally don’t care. I just wish they would randomly cut to her every episode cause I loved her so much.
Callie [00:10:44] She kind of, I have similar feelings towards her that I do towards like Baby Yoda in just that she’s just like so fucking adorable and funny that I just am like eeeee, like every time she’s on the screen, like those big ass glasses with her eyes like, super magnified.
Nichole [00:11:05] I know! I just have a thing for witchy old women in the forest. I don’t know what it is, but she… Oh my god. I just, I love her so much. I loved her so much.
Callie [00:11:15] Yeah, she was definitely a favorite.
Nichole [00:11:16] When they cut to her at the very end she was like ah Mara, you know whatever, and I was just like, aww like why aren’t you a real person?!
Callie [00:11:24] That fucking got me.
Nichole [00:11:26] Yeah.
Callie [00:11:27] Yeah, that moment at the end of just like, Mara dear, you’d be proud. And I was like, stop it!!
Nichole [00:11:34] Razz, don’t!
Callie [00:11:36] Yeah. No seriously.
Nichole [00:11:37] Yeah. Swift Wind.
Callie [00:11:43] Another good one. I feel like we could just go down the list and rave about everybody.
Nichole [00:11:49] Yeah, I mean, basically. I didn’t know I needed like a talking unicorn horse character, but like, I so did. No I loved… So I will say, I did want him to have like a little kid cutesy baby voice just because I’m a sucker for that in an animated series and this one did not have any cutesy baby voices. But it’s fine. But I did like the, I think for kids especially, I did like the fact that he was this like beautiful, pretty dramatic, you know, unicorn. And he had like a dude voice, like a masculine voice. And I thought that was cool.
Callie [00:12:29] And not only was his voice masculine, but he did talk like bro, which is like so, such a funny, like, weird mix then of him being like, feeling himself all the time with, like, how fuckin pretty he is, you know. And yeah, I love how he was just like constantly bringing up the chairs. I was like that’s the kind of energy I want.
Nichole [00:12:55] Well and I love how like he had consciousness, or whatever, I mean animals have that but like whatever we would call it, that humans have. And then he immediately was like, overthrow the system. He immediately was like, I need to free my animal kin and we need to overthrow the system. And you need to give me a fucking chair so that there’s equality here. I don’t even need the chair, but I want the chair so that you all know.
Callie [00:13:23] Like at the table too. Like it needs to be at the table with everyone else.
Nichole [00:13:31] Oh, too good.
Callie [00:13:34] Yeah, and I love how he just kept like bursting in. He almost had like a Kool-Aid man kind of quality of like, “Swift Wind!” He would just keep bursting into places and they’re like, “Not now!” Like we don’t need you.
Nichole [00:13:46] I loved he, when they did that mission where they ended up finding out everyone was like chipped, he was like, “Oh, we need to go here because they throw the best parties!” And the way he bursted into that building, and his like wings were out and his face, and then he was like, oh, what’s happening?
Callie [00:14:07] Oh my god, that was so good.
Nichole [00:14:12] It was so good. But yeah, I loved, I love that like… Cause I’m also watching Avatar now finally, and it’s actually almost hard to talk about She-Ra because I’m like so obsessed with Avatar. But I feel like both shows have a cool kind of like awareness of animal rights or animal liberation thing running through them, you know? Where it’s not super obvious, but it’s also something that like is there and is like brought up and I think that that’s really cool and I like it.
Nichole [00:14:49] I think the, and I’ve heard other people say this too, it’s not just my thoughts, but the diversity of body types is really fucking cool. And like in animation, often there’s like a base that’s just used for everyone. And you could tell with this that each character was designed specifically, like individually, which is really neat. Like everything, not just their body type, but like their height and their clothing, and they’re like, everything was very individualized. Every character looked very different. And I thought that that was really fucking cool. And it’s a lot of work, you know, so like to appreciate that the intentionality of that was really neat. Even the characters that had larger bodies did not have the same body. They were different. You know, they were different sizes, they were different heights, like they had a different shape to them. It just was really fucking cool.
Callie [00:15:49] Yeah. Yes. I’m glad you brought that up. I really appreciated that as well. Another thing I appreciated is that I liked that this show dealt with kind of complicated emotional stuff. Like I like that it showed some of the like, messier or what some would maybe refer to as like the embarrassing emotions. Like I like how this show, like, put those in there and also didn’t have them be like momentary, you know? Like Glimmer and how much like she really struggled with feeling like left out and abandoned. And, you know, she made some pretty bad calls because of it. And those are the kind of feelings that we’re taught to feel like, ashamed of, right? Like, you know, if you have this, like, a fear of abandonment or if you’re feeling left out or embarrassed or whatever, then that’s something to, like, kind of push down and not deal with.
Callie [00:16:46] And, you know, it’s, it would be easy to look at a character like hers and be like she’s the fuckin queen. Like, you know, this is silly that she’s feeling like left out or having a hard time adjusting to this new role and coming up with a new dynamic with her friends, and also like, you know, partners in battle. But the show really like, dealt with that and let it kind of hang over the show for a significant amount of episodes, you know? And then obviously, Catra, like her whole fuckin arc, was basically just one big, you know, fear of abandonment. And the show never really, like, flinched from that or looked away, so.
Nichole [00:17:31] Yeah. I agree. Yeah, there was a lot of really good work done during the show. Like even with Bow and Glimmer, they had two different instances of like needing to repair their relationship, and they both were handled. Like they both like factored into the storyline and had to be worked through. And, you know, each had a span of like multiple episodes so it wasn’t just within one episode, something happens and then it’s resolved. It like took several episodes for it to be resolved. And it just showed… It showed how you can come back from bad behavior and how you can be understanding about behavior, but also how the other person has a right to be angry and how like they have a right to need space to process that. And even if they decide to not come back to the relationship, like that is their right and that’s OK. And that can be a healthy option. And I thought that that was huge, especially for kids to see but like, honestly, for any of us to see cause not a lot of media does that.
Callie [00:18:45] Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I feel like with one notable exception, um every character-
Nichole [00:18:53] Is that foreshadowing?
Callie [00:18:55] Yeah.
Nichole [00:18:58] I love the sauciness. “Yeah.” Stay tuned!
Callie [00:19:06] Yeah, I feel like with one notable exception, like every character that like fucked up had to like actually repair the relationship in some way. And not just in the way we usually see with these, you know, kind of adventury, like hero journey stories where it’s like, oh, I’m just going to like do something really cool in battle or I’m going to save you and then we’ll be good. Like, there had to be some sort of like acknowledgment or emotional work to repair the damage, you know. And I thought that was really fucking cool. Because yeah, like, obviously, if someone, like, saves your ass like that, that is going to go a long way. But it really doesn’t like deal with the underlying issue. And this show didn’t really let us, like, forget that. It didn’t kind of take that easy way out which I, I really appreciated.
Nichole [00:19:59] Yeah, I did too. Yeah and there was, not… Well, I guess we’ll get into it later. But yeah, there was just a lot of like talking through stuff in a way that you often don’t see, in general but especially in a, you know, animated series with such short episodes. But they really did dedicate a lot of time to different characters talking through things with each other in a really healthy way and showing the progression of people like, working through stuff together. And there was always this feeling of for better, for worse, but there was always this feeling that like once someone was accepted into the group, they were just accepted into the group, you know? And there wasn’t like, this continuing punishment of a person even if they still needed to, you know, get it together, even if there was still some resolution that needed to happen, you know? They would be protected, they would be, you know, like a lot of times, like characters would start being nice to a person pretty quickly. And just like considering them part of the best friends squad or whatever. And there was just a big feeling of like, if you can just get over your shit and stop doing the bad things then like you have a home and you have a place here. Which is what it’s all about.
Callie [00:21:25] Yes. Yeah. I love that. I have, one of my favorite characters was Mermista like just period. Like she was so fuckin great. And I loved her little one-liners, like I just re-watched the finale, the last couple episodes to like get ready for this episode, and I loved her being like so we’re just like, we’re all fine with this?
Nichole [00:21:50] I actually wrote that down cause I was like, that’s a mood…
Callie [00:22:01] I know, I loved it, yeah. Because I was like I’m glad at least like the audience is getting some sort of like, oh okay yeah, like this is [inaudible].
Nichole [00:22:13] Yeah. And her and Seahawk were just, like even while she was chipped. She’s like, why are you like this?
Callie [00:22:23] No, they were the fucking, like I stan those two so much. Like the fact that he was always just like, threatening to break into shanty. And I think his character was another really interesting one because, handled poorly he definitely would have given off like very different vibes. Like the fact that he was very clearly into Mermista and she was not really reciprocating could have like veered into like, oh, the guy’s just like kind of browbeating the girl into like falling for him, you know? But we really didn’t get that. And I mean, there were some touches of that where he definitely was like pushing a little bit, but he never really crossed a line as far as I can remember. And I feel like the fact that his, he had kind of a different energy, like I appreciated that in their dynamic he wasn’t this, like, macho pirate who was like the bad boy, like he was, you know, this like just very-
Nichole [00:23:31] Soft pyromaniac?
Callie [00:23:32] Yeah. I know, when they bonded over the fact that she also burnt a bow and his eyes got that like love, that cartoon love look where it’s like they get all watery and big and yeah, I was like OK, this is the best thing.
Nichole [00:23:48] Yeah and rewatching that too, I appreciate that Seahawk’s character is very like anti-toxic masculinity in that, it wasn’t even in this season, but it reminded me that like there is this season where, you know, it’s clear that they’re dating or hanging out or whatever, and he’s like sad and he keeps talking to everyone about how she won’t invite him to hang out with her friends. And he’s, like, sad about it. And he’s very open about it and like, you know, saying that he feels insecure and he’s like, “Am I cool? I’m cool, right?”
Callie [00:24:25] Yeah.
Nichole [00:24:26] But I thought it was just nice to show, like, you know, a masculine character processing his feelings very openly like that and like wanting to be a part of his girlfriend’s life. You know, like it was very clear that he just like really cared about her and just wanted to, like, be a part of her social circle. And I thought that was really sweet and nice to see. And also hilarious, and how he kept trying to prove how cool he was.
Callie [00:24:53] Which always does the opposite.
Nichole [00:24:56] Yes, especially in a cartoon.
Callie [00:24:58] Yeah.
Nichole [00:25:00] And then I think the last thing I had, I mean I obviously could talk about like every little detail all day but that’s not interesting, was Bow and Glimmer. So a lot of people that I’ve seen have said that they’re kind of, and you and I have talked about this, that we’re kind of bummed that they ended up being a couple. Just because they had such a great friendship and it did seem like at the end they just started like putting couples together, like everyone started saying I love you and becoming a couple. And it’s like, and this factors in a lot into like how I feel about Catradora, but like in kids’ shows, I’m always wary when there’s too much focus on, like, romantic love because like, little kids don’t need to be… We say this on the show a lot but like every relationship in your life can teach you how to have a good romantic relationship.
Nichole [00:25:55] So for a kids’ show, if they just focus on like friendship and family, you can still teach really good building blocks for romantic relationships later without having to focus on romantic relationships. I just think it’s a messy area, and again, this is going to factor in a lot to how I feel about things today, but like, I was someone who really fucking internalized like I need to find my person, like at age like nine. Like, I became obsessed with people and I kept thinking, like, people were my one. And it like, I really internalize this kind of stuff, and so I feel like, from even my own personal experience, I can say that like especially I think if you’re a kid who feels lonely or not cared for in some way, you can be really susceptible to something like this. To thinking that, like, your person is out there and you’re gonna find them as a kid because all the kid shows you watch, all these kids are finding their person. And it just is like why are we doing this?
Nichole [00:27:02] So that was like, I think Bow and Glimmer together in any capacity are super cute, but I just felt like they were such a good model of, like a friendship. And I just didn’t, it just did feel a little wedged in that they became a couple at the end. And I also, initially I also had a problem with this because I felt like Bow was giving me major like asexual and maybe even aromantic vibes, which I thought was super cool to see represented. And I thought that then becoming a couple kind of undid that. But in this second watching, I realized, like, he only ever, like, kissed her on the forehead. And then even in She-Ra’s future vision, like, he just had his arm around her and they were kind of cuddling. So I do want to like back up from that and say that I do think that if his character is intended to be asexual, I think that that was still maintained. Because they were the only couple that didn’t kind of like kiss on the mouth and have more of like a sexual tension. So I do think that that’s cool if that, I feel like that representation was somewhat there with Bow. But I still feel like the relationship, the romantic relationship wasn’t really necessary. I feel like they worked really well as friends. Especially for a kids’ show.
Callie [00:28:18] Yeah. Yeah, I agree with you. I do think there is a major problem with like shows like always coupling everyone up, and how like, yeah, I was right there with you as like a little kid who was like obsessed with the idea of like finding my person, my like, you know, that that finding that like one romantic partner, my future spouse, was like this incredibly important thing. And it does do a number on you, you know? And I do like that they had worked out like their friendship, their issues. And I kind of had wished that, because I feel like this can then make you kind of look back on Glimmer’s like jealousy a bit and see that it’s like romantic jealousy. Whereas like there is, I mean, we all know that there can be jealousy in like, friendship, too. And I feel like it then kind of changes what we thought was happening at the time. You know, it like undercuts it a bit in a way that I don’t particularly love.
Nichole [00:29:21] Well, I love that you brought that up because there is a thread throughout the show that the only people who get really jealous is in a romantic situation.
Callie [00:29:32] Yeah.
Nichole [00:29:33] You know?
Callie [00:29:33] Yeah.
Nichole [00:29:34] And it almost like normalizes that as a part of, like, romantic connection.
Callie [00:29:40] Yeah. That’s such a good point.
Nichole [00:29:42] Because you’re right, like the whole, we’ve talked about Princess Prom and like, how much, you know, you related to it and how much I think like a lot of people probably related to Glimmer’s feelings there and it didn’t need to be romantically driven. It was just like she felt scared and left out in like her friend group. I mean, I’ve felt that way. I may not have expressed it as like outwardly as she did, but like, I have definitely felt that way of like feeling kicked out or feeling like I was losing something in my friend group and just feeling like really shitty about it. And so yeah, I just, I do think like it kind of like retcons that whole episode a little bit in a way that I thought was a little disappointing.
Callie [00:30:26] Yeah. Yeah, I agree.
Nichole [00:30:31] And people are saying they thought maybe Bow was gay, he’s sexually ambiguous. And yeah, I just like that about him. I like that to me, he just read as a character who is like full of love, who loved, like, cuddling people and being affectionate but he just didn’t seem sexual. And so I could see him just being kind of like maybe ace, maybe aro, a-ro, aro? You know, but like but also kind of like breaking the barriers of what that even would look like in most people’s minds. As someone who’s just, you know, like he’s just so full of love but he just doesn’t want that particular aspect of it. But yeah, he’s like sexually ambiguous in a way that I think is really fucking cool.
Callie [00:31:20] I agree.
Nichole [00:31:21] Like whatever his character was supposed to be. And we were talking about that too. Like that’s why we think Seahawk and Mermista aren’t necessarily a straight couple, because they both read super bi to me as well. Like, I literally think everyone on the show is at least bi.
Callie [00:31:38] Yeah. Yeah, I know. I said I don’t think they’re like any real, like straight couples. Like I, everyone just read as like pretty queer.
Nichole [00:31:47] And Jess just said, “Bow an aro?” And I’m like yes, I feel like the show is telling us. He loves puns so he would love that pun, right?
Callie [00:32:04] Yeah.
Nichole [00:32:04] Also, his daddies could be my daddy.
Callie [00:32:09] They were…
Nichole [00:32:09] The daddies on the show, excuse all of the you.
Callie [00:32:14] Yeah. OK, that is another thing I have to say. So in the final battle scene when Glimmer was squaring off against her dad and he called her baby girl and I was like, this feels highly inappropriate.
Nichole [00:32:31] I know!
Callie [00:32:31] Because no one actually uses baby girl about their actual daughter. Like baby girl, especially with his, like, very gravelly tone. And like, maybe I’m just a little affected by the fact that, like, everyone on the internet is obsessed with that movie 365 right now. And how, you know, the guy is like, he calls the woman baby girl in this like, very sexual dirty way and. I don’t mean dirty in a bad way, but just you know what I mean. And so, like hearing him say that, I was like, oh my god! Like that is not how we use that word, sir. I don’t think you understand what that means. I did not appreciate it.
Nichole [00:33:14] I mean, I did appreciate it but in a way that made me feel very confused.
Callie [00:33:18] Well, that, yeah. I didn’t appreciate him saying that to her, in this, you know…
Nichole [00:33:23] Correct. Yes. Yeah, and I think that that’s, and forgive me, I think it might have been someone in Discord, might have been Mohera who brought this up, but… Or maybe someone else, sorry. I don’t know who to give credit to. But we were talking about She-Ra and someone brought up, and I thought it was a really good point, that like, you can show like sexual or romantic relationships through the adults in the show. So you can still have some of that representation there without needing it to be with the kids. And I thought that that was a really good statement because it’s true. Like we could see like Bow’s dads being in a like loving gay relationship. And we don’t necessarily need to see the kids pair up in certain ways to still have that there.
Nichole [00:34:15] And like Callie was saying, the show itself just had such a queer fucking vibe. Like everything just felt really queer. So it’s like we didn’t necessarily need to see people actually couple up to still have that experience of queerness. Cause like I, the first time I hung out with a big group of queer people like that was the feeling. It just feels different to be in a queer space. It feels so good. So I think even just having a show that kind of has that queer vibe, not even necessarily around sexuality, but like literally how people relate to each other and how no one’s put in any kind of box, I think is powerful enough without having to see characters like actually like become couples.
Callie [00:34:58] I agree. I agree. We got a really good comment by Latasha.
Nichole [00:35:05] We’ve had many.
Callie [00:35:05] Yes, a lot of good comments.
Nichole [00:35:07] I know, I feel bad, but I’m like oh, I could just read all these comments.
Callie [00:35:11] I know, right? Saying, “I love how the straights get all up in arms when they see gay representation on kids’ shows because ‘the agenda’ and I’m like, what the fuck? As an asexual, seeing everything romanticized really messed me up.” And yeah, that’s… That’s a mood.
Nichole [00:35:27] Right? Yeah, no it’s really true. We don’t ever get to see that and we just see people’s deep connections as like sexual romantic connections, you know? And it’s hard too because of shipping culture. Looking at all of you.
Callie [00:35:54] That pause!
Nichole [00:35:54] And it’s like I get it, right, like so many of us love love and so many of us like want, you know, we want to think these things will like happen in our lives or whatever, but it is kind of a problem. I, I respect and understand it in a queer perspective because there haven’t been enough representations and there’s so much queerbaiting in media that it makes sense for people to like, really ship, and have like fan fiction and fan art around queer couples. But I think, like in general, it is kind of also a problem that like every time we see two characters who have some kind of a good or strong relationship, like the immediate question is, are they going to become a couple, or are they a couple?
Nichole [00:36:39] You know, we always talk about it but like Elementary is like literally one of my favorite fucking shows ever on the history of this planet. And one of the biggest reasons why is because Sherlock and Joan have such an amazing fucking relationship, but it is platonic. And the show just doesn’t-
Callie [00:37:08] Ever go there.
Nichole [00:37:09] Ever go there. And it’s fucking, and they are partners. Like they even say that, they’re business partners and they’re actually life partners, but they are not a couple. And like, you know, that’s how Callie and I are. Like we’re business partners, we’re like partners in a lot of ways. And we travel together and we do all kinds of stuff together. And we don’t have good representation for that in media without it being like, oh, they’re secretly lesbians, they’re just not out yet. Right? Or like, you’re two losers who couldn’t find someone else and so you hang out together. Like, those are our options?
Callie [00:37:45] Yeah.
Nichole [00:37:46] And so, yeah, seeing something like elementary that could handle that and just continually push how close and how meaningful their relationship was while also continuously defining it as platonic was like revolutionary to me.
Callie [00:38:03] That’s so well said. And I agree with you, I think there is an overreliance on this one specific kind of like romantic love. And we really don’t learn to develop our other, like, love skills and our love relationships. Right, like you can truly love your friends, you know, and you can build a life with your friends and your community that doesn’t rely so much on like focusing everything on like one person and having them be the one. Right? Your sexual partner, your romantic partner, your life partner. You know, like, that’s a lot. And not that that’s a bad thing to find in one person, but it’s because we’re always shown that, like the nuclear family, because we’re in this like cishetero patriarchal culture, right? That focuses on capitalism and it’s easier to manage us in a capitalist culture when we’re in these little nuclear families so they have to teach us that like romantic love is so far beyond any other meaningful connection in our life to the point where like, how many shows and media and movies have we seen where someone will literally, like, abandon their entire life, their entire like family, friends, culture, they’ll up and move across the world, you know, to be in this romantic relationship.
Callie [00:39:24] And not that you’re never, like, going to move with a partner, but that it’s just so common, and it’s always like well of course you’re going to because you’re in love with this person and like that comes like so far beyond, like it’s so much more important than anything else. And it’s like that’s not all that healthy, you know, to live like that. And that’s another reason why I agree with you. I’m a little bummed that this show like, had everyone kind of couple up at the end, because I think showing that all of these people like working together and building a community together. I mean, they literally like built this like coalition, rebuilt this coalition of princesses, right, and then became like really good friends and support systems for each other. It really didn’t all need to go in a romantic direction. So, yeah.
Nichole [00:40:13] Yeah. Yeah. So, we could go on forever. But I feel like that’s a pretty, probably good segue into Catradora controversy. But first, so Callie?
Callie [00:40:35] Yes.
Nichole [00:40:37] What do you call someone who gets turned on by eating all the things?
Callie [00:40:44] I don’t know.
Nichole [00:40:45] AKA me. An om-nom-nisexual. Or it could be an om-nom-nom-nisexual, depending on how many noms you want. Do you get it?
Callie [00:41:08] Yes.
Nichole [00:41:10] I made it up myself. That’s why it’s not very good.
Callie [00:41:18] Oh, my god. That’s funny.
Nichole [00:41:23] Yes.
Callie [00:41:25] Alright.
Nichole [00:41:25] So I think we have some daddies to thank. Some cashpigs.
Callie [00:41:31] Don’t say that right before I have to read their names!
Nichole [00:41:35] Thanks, Daddy!
Callie [00:41:36] You know how I feel about the D word.
Nichole [00:41:40] You know how I feel about the D word. We’re probably going to lose so many donations cause they’re like I did not consent to being called a daddy.
Callie [00:41:53] Yeah listen, don’t sexualize me, OK? I’m just trying to throw you a couple bucks. OK, yes we have a bunch of new patrons to thank. So thank you to Kaley J, to Rica, to Landon, what’s up, Landon? I think you’re on the stream!
Nichole [00:42:14] Thanks Landon!
Callie [00:42:14] Also Hassna, and Jordan, and Crita, and Lynn, and Dave M. and Eve. And a very one time, a very one time… A very generous one-time donation from Becky K. sent that recently. And new patron Stephanie Ruda increased their pledge. Joseph and Elizabeth. So holy wow y’all. Thank you for, thank you for all of the support. Thank you to all of our new patrons and for all of the one-time donors out there. We appreciate y’all so, so much.
Nichole [00:43:05] Yeah. Thank you so much. I had to come back because this comment was too fucking good from Jess, “Swift Wind was like if BoJack Horseman was a good person.” You just won the internet, like, so good. And now everyone’s asking if they’re daddies, and saying they’re all daddies today.
Callie [00:43:31] Yeah. I don’t see a lot of asking. I just see a lot of…
Nichole [00:43:37] It’s me, daddy.
Callie [00:43:42] Landon, “It’s me, your daddy.” Dannygron we’re all daddies now. Especially those who laughed at that joke. Oh my god.
Nichole [00:43:49] Callie, you haven’t watched BoJack, have you?
Callie [00:43:51] I have not.
Nichole [00:43:52] I think you said you couldn’t. Did you try and you couldn’t get into it?
Callie [00:43:54] I mean, I think I put on an episode, the first episode, and didn’t really continue it. Which doesn’t necessarily mean I couldn’t get into it, you know.
Nichole [00:44:03] Yeah, I’ve done that before.
Callie [00:44:04] That’s the kind of show where like, I’ll probably watch it while I’m working because it’s you know, I like to have a show on in the background while I’m working because it forces me to, like, not pick up my phone and to actually focus. But I do that with shows that I’m not like really gonna be paying like a super lot of attention to. So I’ll probably…
Nichole [00:44:25] It’s a masterful show, but yeah, I don’t know. I can’t guess, like how much you would like it or not like it. But yeah, I saw a lot of you talking about Elementary since I mentioned it and I will just give yet another plug. I think it’s on Hulu.
Callie [00:44:41] So good.
Nichole [00:44:42] And honestly, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. I love it so much.
Callie [00:44:45] Yeah, it really is. It really is.
Nichole [00:44:51] It does have one bad season that we don’t talk about. So once you see Kitty, you know that shit is going to suck for a while. But otherwise, wonderful.
Callie [00:45:04] Yeah, I do really love how Elementary shows, you just never get a show where people are basically like choosing to be partners in life without there being like any romantic tension. And also, like, not a reason why they’re not romantic. It’s not like, oh, one of them’s like gay and the other’s not. Or you know one of them’s heartbroken over a relationship or, there’s no barrier.
Nichole [00:45:31] Or there’s a misunderstanding? Your favorite.
Callie [00:45:31] Right. Yeah. Oh, listen, don’t get me started.
Nichole [00:45:37] I will get you started. It’s my favorite thing to do.
Callie [00:45:42] I hate that so… Which is another thing I loved about this show is like for the most part, like secrets did not last very long. Like someone wasn’t able to like hide their feelings for an extended amount of time. Again, with one notable exception. But I fucking hate that because like in Elementary, it’s just like they’re both like attracted to people of the gender that the other person is so that’s not a thing. It’s not that one of them’s like crushing or heartbroken over someone else and it’s like this barrier. They literally just like have no sexual tension and they respect each other’s bond, like the bond that they have too much to ever make it romantic. I mean, that’s incredible.
Nichole [00:46:26] They even do deal with jealousy, but it tends to be in terms of like worrying about their dynamic getting fucked up and they deal with that in a really cool way.
Callie [00:46:37] Yeah.
Nichole [00:46:38] So anyway.
Callie [00:46:40] Yeah.
Nichole [00:46:41] Jeremy Brett? We’ll talk about that, the afterparty.
Callie [00:46:48] Yeah.
Nichole [00:46:50] Yeah, so. All right, listen, mommy’s going to set a hard boundary here. So listen up. We understand that most of the internet does not agree with our opinion that we’re about to get into. Our opinion that we’re about to get into is based on personal experience, is very personal to both of us. So what I’m trying to say is that I have no interest in hearing why you may disagree with us. Because I’m joking, but I’m also not joking, it will be hashtag triggering. And also I’ve read and consumed countless other opinions that do not, you know, like I’ve heard the other side is what I’m trying to say. So I am setting a boundary right now. You can talk to each other. You can talk on Discord. You can go on your forums. But I do not want to get any messages from anybody being like, here’s why you’re wrong. Or have you thought about this? I don’t want to hear it. We’re in Joker territory where my opinion is set. It is based on personal experience. And I just don’t want to get into it. I’m putting an alternative opinion out into the world, and that’s it. You can disagree, that’s fine, but I don’t wanna hear about it.
Callie [00:48:14] Yeah. Yeah. And if, yeah, if you disagree then that’s totally fine, but yeah.
Nichole [00:48:20] Yeah. I’m not here to force people of what to think, I’m just here to talk about how I feel. So with that disclaimer, Catradora is a fucking mess.
Callie [00:48:37] Dislike.
Nichole [00:48:38] Two giant thumbs down. Now, I want to say before we get into this, to understand. So a lot of the opinions that I consumed were largely, I think, I think what a big problem is with how we’re having a conversation about Catra and their relationship online is that a lot of people are talking about it in terms of redemption. And they’re tying that a lot, like I saw someone say, well, a big reason people are struggling with this is because they think redemption has to be focused around punishment. And I agree that that is a lot of times how people process redemption. But that’s not where we’re coming from.
Nichole [00:49:27] Really, my issue is literally around Catra and Adora’s relationship. It’s not so much that I think Catra wasn’t redeemed in certain ways, or at least on her path to being redeemed, and that she didn’t have a character arc. But when I take everything that’s happened between the two and the way that they relate to each other, I’m deeply, frankly, deeply uncomfortable with the fact that like the… What’s the word I’m looking for? Like the pinnacle of this whole show was around their final romantic connection. So just understand that going into this, that’s where I’m coming from, is literally around like their relationship and what I saw between the two of them in terms of them being a romantic couple. It’s not necessarily like I think Catra is bad and needs to be, like, banished forever. That’s not the point, because they don’t think that that’s true.
Callie [00:50:26] Yeah, yeah.
Nichole [00:50:30] So do you want to start? Do you want me to start?
Callie [00:50:36] I, yeah, I’ll let you start.
Nichole [00:50:38] So the biggest thing that I want to say, and this is probably the most controversh thing that I’ll say today so buckle in, is Catra is literally Kylo Ren in a catgirl skin. And I think that, like in queer spaces, we have to fucking do better. We can’t just make someone like gay and then be like, oh, all they’re problematic behavior is fine. If this was literally a white dude, like a white cis het dude doing all exactly the same things with people saying all exactly the same things about him, we would be tearing this show apart collectively. But because now it’s like lesbian love and it’s like a cute cat girl, we’re like letting all of this go. And that’s really fucked up. Like, she literally tried to kill Adora several times.
Callie [00:51:29] A lot, like a lot of times.
Nichole [00:51:31] Yeah. She tried to destroy the universe. She tried to blow up a planet. And you know, how many fucking Kylo Ren analyses did we have, how many people are out here shaming anyone who’s attracted to Kylo Ren because they’re attracted to like a fucking, you know-
Callie [00:51:49] Bad daddy.
Nichole [00:51:50] Nazi, bad daddy, etc., etc.. And yet now the whole Internet is raving about how Catradora is, like this perfect thing. And they’re not. They’re really not. Everything even in rewatching season five, I was so blown away by like how much time and attention the show spends on if there’s good in Catra. And this is literally like the Darth Vader argument. Like there’s no, they’re even in space like there’s no difference. She doesn’t have a lightsaber, I guess that’s like the difference. But like, she’s literally like a Darth Vader or like a Kylo Ren where there’s this tragic backstory but now you’ve become this person who’s just doing so much damage that you’re kind of beyond, like, romantic redemption.
Nichole [00:52:44] Now, again, I’m not saying I want Catra, like I necessarily felt like Catra couldn’t come back in some way from things, but there was so much work to do to get us there that I don’t think that the series even had the runtime to properly do it. I’ve heard, of course, a ton of comparisons to Avatar, and I won’t like try to spoil anything for anyone who’s like me and somehow still hasn’t seen it. But, you know, I’m halfway through the last episode of Avatar and there’s a redemption arc in that that is done really well. And but to be fair, they have like a much longer overall total runtime, like much longer, like 20 hours longer. So it makes sense that they had time to do that. So I think what my real issue is, is that I don’t think it was responsible to either have them become a couple, or have the tension between them be murderous.
Nichole [00:53:43] They could have like… They could’ve still, and just so you know, I have the comments off because I don’t wanna get distracted right now. So if you have stuff to say, we can say it in the after-party. But I’m going to focus. But they could have had, like it could’ve still worked if Catra had just stayed with the Horde for one reason or another, without her necessarily trying directly to kill Adora and to kill her friends and to destroy the planet. Like they still could have worked out a storyline where the two had been separated. Maybe there’s a misunderstanding even though I hate that, and that is where the tension was coming from.
Nichole [00:54:29] And that would have been much easier for her to redeem in the time that they knew that they had, right? If it was more just like, oh, we were fighting on different sides and I didn’t see like, like I mean there’s enough tension for Adora to just be the person who sees the ethical thing to do and will do it and for Catra to not be that person, who’s not really honestly very concerned with ethical stuff. And I think that in itself could have been a lot of source of tension that wouldn’t have been to the level of her literally thinking she did kill Adora and being happy about it. And, you know, participating in this like, empire. Like this white supremist, like eugenist empire that was trying to wipe out everything in the universe. It just, they created like a mountain that was too much to climb in the runtime that they had.
Nichole [00:55:27] And honestly kind of ever, in a way but like, I always have mixed feelings about redemption arcs or from someone that bad. But again, Avatar is able to do this in a way that was like really convincing. And I think does speak to a nice like, restorative justice arc that I always want to have in media. But we couldn’t resolve what we were presented with in the time that we had and it should not have been resolved at the end of a domestic, at the end of a romantic relationship. I have a lot more to say, but I’ll let you talk.
Callie [00:56:07] God, I agree with everything you just said so hard. I have a real problem with,, first of all, I think your overall point is like 100 percent spot on. They had way, way too much of Catra’s problems a, and then also too much of her bad actions to like have a true redemption in the amount of time that we had. Like you, cause Catra had like several things going on. And then also like the things that she was doing were so bad. Like not even just like oh, yeah, they kind of ended up on opposite sides of this war, you know. Like Catra, like it was all a personal vendetta from Catra to like take Adora out. And it’s like that doesn’t…
Nichole [00:56:58] Yep. Over jealousy.
Callie [00:56:58] Yeah. That really doesn’t… Jealousy, but then also, like, we kind of find out at the end that it’s been this like underlying threat of, not that it was that big of a surprise because it was written all over her face and character the entire time, but this like deep, deep, deep, painful well of like fear of abandonment. And it’s like, listen, I get it, OK? I get it.
Nichole [00:57:26] Callie’s like hashtag relatable, alright?
Callie [00:57:26] Yeah. Been there, yeah. Not tried to kill anyone over it. I feel like I need to specify that. But like it just was like way, way too much. And like even if it had just been like her jealousy and her fear of abandonment and like, that would have been already probably too much to like, fully redeem Catra by the end. But then to wedge in this like, “I’ve always loved you,” bullshit. It’s like listen, I am so glad that you compared her to Kylo Ren. I think for a lot of reasons, they’re like very similar storylines. And I don’t really think that her choosing to, like, run back at the end and help Adora like, kind of do what she needs to do was really a redemption.
Nichole [00:58:18] No.
Callie [00:58:18] Like that didn’t really own up to like, like Catra was literally Adora’s abuser.
Nichole [00:58:23] Thank you!
Callie [00:58:24] She like, we saw even back when they were kids that she was like abusing her. She was like emotionally and mentally manipulating her. She was physically abusing her. There was a lot of things that she was doing to Adora that were like, really not cool. And I get they were both kids, they were being raised by this like fucking bad army. So I get that they probably were not being, like, emotionally cared for or brought up so, like, I, you know, yeah, make some allowances for the fact that they were raised in a toxic space. But the fact that they grew up basically like sisters with Catra abusing Adora and then Adora leaves. Like Adora didn’t really even do anything to Catra to, like, bring on this mistreatment. Like, I kept thinking throughout the show, like wait, why is Catra so mad? Like Adora didn’t really even abandon Catra. Like yeah, she chose to leave the Horde, but she also like asked Catra to come with her.
Callie [00:59:25] And then several times tried to get her to like put down, you know, their weapons and like come together. And I just was like, this is not OK. Like, she’s abusing the fuck out of Adora for literally no reason. And I just don’t really think that her actions at the end, while respectable, I can’t think of the right word I want to use. Like, while I’m glad that she had her own kind of like hero moment of coming around and trying to undo the damage that she did. Like, let’s not forget that, like Catra brought-
Nichole [01:00:03] I have so much to say about all of this.
Callie [01:00:05] Brought all of this on. You know, it’s like, OK, so, yeah, you finally, like, got it. And you’re trying to stop the damage that you’ve had a huge hand in making come to pass and you’re standing by Adora in the end. I just, the fact that they then wedged in this romantic love, as much as I loved the fact that the show was like this shit is gay af. There’s going to be rainbows.
Nichole [01:00:30] She’s literally a lesbian cat girl.
Callie [01:00:31] Yeah. Like they’re just rainbows everywhere in these final two minutes, you know, like literally like the world is made over by a magic rainbow. And I was like, listen, I’m here for it. But also this feels real inappropriate.
Nichole [01:00:47] But like, I still see you. Yeah.
Callie [01:00:48] Yeah. I just, so many problems with like… And like everyone else, I was saying they all kind of had to like own up to their shit and I don’t feel like Catra really did in the end, you know?
Nichole [01:01:02] No, she didn’t. And that’s why I wanted to rewatch the fifth season specifically because that was the only season that she actually even like tried to really, like, do anything to make up for what she or like, you know, have any kind of, like, redemption arc. And the thing is like she said, I’m sorry twice. She said, I love you and I’ve always loved you. Which we’ll fucking dismantle, pick that apart.
Callie [01:01:29] Let’s put a pin in that.
Nichole [01:01:31] Put a pin in that! But the thing is like this is what, this is what’s fucked up about our culture, OK. Like she, first of all, I love what you were saying, like about how Adora didn’t really actually do anything because she didn’t even actually run away.
Callie [01:01:47] No.
Nichole [01:01:47] She was out by accident. Right, like her whole situation was an accident, brought on by Catra being a little shit and wanting to go do naughty things and She-Ra’s like, well, OK, or Adora is like, OK, at least let me come with you to try to like whatever. So yeah, it’s not even like she just packed her shit one day and was like I’m out of here with explanation. Like and yeah, the second Catra found her, or they found each other, she was like, Adora was like so happy to see Catra and she’s like oh my god, thank god you’re here, like, come with me, I just found out that this is all bullshit. We’ve been on the wrong side and now we can, like, help these people. And Catra was like, fuck that, you’re choosing these people over me? Fuck you. And was mad about it.
Nichole [01:02:39] Which then we see in these back flashes, these flashbacks… words… That like that had been literally their entire life together. Like she scratched up Adora’s face at one point because Adora dared talk to someone else at dinner?
Callie [01:02:56] Yeah…
Nichole [01:02:58] Come on you guys, like we can fucking do better than this. That’s, in every like thing I read or watched with people defending this relationship and Catra were saying, you know, well, Adora abandoned her and that triggered her issues. And I’m like, that’s fucking victim-blaming. That is how Catra interpreted what happened. But that is not necessarily what happened. Right, like everyone has their own version of reality. And what Adora did was not abandoning Catra. Adora realized she was on the wrong side of things and she tried to get Catra to come with her and Catra was like, go fuck yourself. And then decided to try to kill her because she was so mad that Adora had made new friends. Let’s remember, she was mad that Adora chose She-Ra and her new friends over her.
Nichole [01:03:52] Now I’m coming out hot, but I want to hit pause to just say I do not think Catra is irredeemable. I don’t think that showing people who struggle with abandonment issues or, what’s it called, oppositional defiance, you know, things like this, like personality disorders, these are very real things that people struggle with. And I think it’s okay to show a character who like, is lovable in some ways, but is also very abusive and show how they can come out of that. My issue here is that that is deep and very difficult work. It is very difficult in real life for people with these issues to get to a place where they can have healthy relationships and not really harm the people around them.
Nichole [01:04:38] And it’s hard for them because they are very lonely. Right, and they are very afraid of being abandoned. But that doesn’t make it not abuse. And this show, and then the people analyzing this show, instead of seeing that and being like, fuck, there was more work that was needed here, we took on too much. This was like too much for us to process in this time, especially when the ending was her being in a romantic relationship with the person she abused for like 10 years. You know? Instead, we get like, oh, she said sorry. And she, like, sneezes really cute so she’s redeemed. And she does sneeze very cute. It’s adorable. Her little helmet with the cat ears. Very cute. There’s no denying that. But that doesn’t… That’s not the work.
Nichole [01:05:32] Like saying sorry to someone is… And she also, so one of the things I had a big problem with is she never directly sought out people to have conversations with. And the one time she did, the only time I noticed that she did was with Scorpia. She did kind of like eventually. But if you remember, she was fighting Adora to be like, I don’t want to be around those people, they don’t like me. So she was trying to run away from, like, actually resolving any of these conflicts. And then when she did kind of slink up to Scorpia at one point and try to say, like, sorry, Scorpia like, interrupted her with a big bear hug. And then that was it. Like every time she went to even start to apologize, nobody had a conversation with her. It was just she was immediately forgiven.
Nichole [01:06:20] So there’s a very strong sense throughout the whole show that, like, Catra is just broken. We can’t hold her accountable for anything she does. And like, if she even starts to, like, slightly be kind of nice, then she needs to be immediately forgiven and everything is like, fine and we don’t talk about it. Which blows my mind, because it’s the exact opposite of what we saw with literally every single other relationship. And oddly, this is what I wanted to bring up before, but oddly the only person who even started to actually call her out on her shit was Perfuma. Perfuma is the only person who got in her face and was like, what you did was not okay. Like, she reamed her out for how she treated Scorpia, and she called her out that like you’re not even doing anything. Like you’re not even, like, really like making things better. But that didn’t go anywhere. And like, she doesn’t have a direct relationship with Perfuma of all people.
Nichole [01:07:17] So my major, major issue with her and Adora specifically like I said at the beginning, my main issue here is them becoming a couple and them being a couple is the resolution, was that Adora never had a confrontation with Catra. Catra said something like, when they were in the, the magical planet where they found that cat, spoilers, she… I know that’s going to, like, rock your world. “Oh, they found a cat.” But, you know, Adora said, I mean Catra said, like, “I’m really trying to work on my anger so will you just back up?!” And Adora, like saying it out of anger, and Adora was like, “Oh,” like sparkle eyes, like “You are?” and that was it. It was like, oh, I’m just trying to, like, not be angry.
Nichole [01:08:06] And we all know the biggest problem that I have with storylines like these is that, and what I was trying to allude to before, is that if you have anger issues for whatever reason, those are very deep. It’s a coping mechanism and it takes a lot of hard work with a professional and with like the support of the people around you, and a lot of personal accountability for you to overcome those. So she’s trying to like white knuckle, just stop being mad all the time. And then the people around her are like, oh, well, you’re just even trying? Like, great, we fully trust you now and like, everything’s fine. And I’m not saying they should be mad at her, but I’m saying to get into a situation where there could be continued, let’s be real domestic violence and abuse and everyone is just signing off on it. And no one is sitting She-Ra… If this was real life, you don’t think you would sit Adora down and be like, girl, what?
Callie [01:09:08] Right. Yeah.
Nichole [01:09:09] Like, not only am I scared for you, but you brought this person back in, and like, no trust has been built with us at all? So that’s what I felt, it was like that redemption of them becoming a couple, there was no, like you could just see that the storyline that a kid, and let’s all remember too, I’m talking about this from the angle of like, this is what a kid is seeing and interpreting so they’re not going to have all the layers of stuff that we have to maybe further analyze this. They’re seeing that like, oh, I’ve had issues with my anger my whole life. I do stuff I’m ashamed of. I get really mad and jealous and I can’t control it. And then eventually I just have to like want to control it really, really hard and then things will be better. And that’s how we set people up for failure. We do it with addiction. We do it with anger issues. We do it all kinds of ways where we’re like, you just need willpower. If you just tried harder, then you would be better. And, you know, if you don’t, then I’m mad at you. And if you are trying, then like all is forgiven. And it’s like neither of those are a good treatment plan for someone with these issues.
Callie [01:10:17] Say it!
Nichole [01:10:20] I’m so fired up.
Callie [01:10:20] No, I could not agree with you more strongly. Like, I just… Also while you’re talking, it made me think too that like Catra’s redemption is not even a redemption for Catra. Her redemption is overcoming her fear of abandonment to stand with Adora at the moment she thinks like she’s going to lose Adora forever. That does not make up to Adora anything that’s happened, like that is not for Adora. That’s an important step in Catra overcoming her own issues and working through them. But that does nothing to, like, really own up to everything that she’s done. So, like, that’s pretty messed up. Like everyone else had to, like, own up somehow or try to like, fix the situation that they helped create. Or, you know, a wrong that they’ve done, except Catra. Like she never really had to own up to anything that she did.
Callie [01:11:23] And I get it. She’s like, we don’t really see much about their childhood beyond the fact that we know like Shadow Weaver was obviously not very warm and motherly. So, you know, we get the sense that it was like a very cold, lonely childhood, but like we don’t really see what they’ve suffered through. But we can kind of guess that they’re probably both like, you know, emotional abuse victims just by probably sheer abandonment, you know, and lack of really like, parental warmth. But she really did, like, abuse the fuck out of Adora their entire childhood. And another thing, too, is that in that moment when Adora, like she has this whole adventure, she discovers the sword, she realizes she’s She-Ra. She realizes that everything she’s been told their whole life about the Horde is wrong and she tries to convince Catra to go with her.
Callie [01:12:23] I’m so glad that you talked about how excited she was just to run into her and that she could save her and they could, like, run away together. And Catra like, sneered at her and mocked her. And like, it wasn’t just like, oh, I disagree. She was almost like you had no idea. Like, she made it seem like Catra fully knew that they were on the wrong side and did not care, whereas this all felt very like new to Adora, you know? Now, arguable whether she maybe should have realized that she was like fighting on the wrong side of the war, but they were kids or at least teens at that point so whatever. But, yeah, I just have a real problem with, like, she tried to help her and Catra was just like, you didn’t know what this was? Like, you couldn’t tell from our entire upbringing, like who, which side we were on? And then she like gets so mad that she wants to, like, murder Adora and her friends for like several seasons worth of content because she feels abandoned. And it’s like she didn’t abandon you, she tried to bring you with her.
Nichole [01:13:29] Right. And she never abandoned you. And that’s what really fucked me up when I rewatched season five after reading and hearing these other people’s opinions, harping on Adora’s abandonment of Catra and how like Catra has theses abandonment issues. But every single flashback of them as kids is Adora repeatedly just coming to Catra and being like, I’m your friend, I’m here, it’s okay. Like, I’ll never leave your side, I’ll always protect you. And whatever you do, it doesn’t matter. Like you’re my friend and I love you. And like she would get literally, like, physically abused and still keep coming back.
Nichole [01:14:10] She even had that one flashback where, like, she still had the scratches on her face and she’s like, you’re not at dinner and Catra’s like, go away, you know? And she’s like, well if you’re not going to eat dinner, I’m not going to either. And she just, like, sits with her and she’s just like, I’m always gonna be here with you. So for them to phrase Adora as someone who abandoned Catra when Adora was the one being abandoned repeatedly. People don’t fucking see that. And this is where I like my personal experience is like really going to kick in. But when you are an endlessly emotionally supportive person, and someone who constantly pushes you away and constantly rejects you, do you know who’s being abandoned? You. You are.
Nichole [01:14:57] You’re the one who’s being emotionally vulnerable. You’re the one who’s being strong. You’re the one who can’t fucking lean on anybody else because that person is always a goddamn mess and pushing you away and you don’t know what you’re gonna get day-to-day. So you have to rely on yourself and you have to be strong enough to shovel that shit down that you might be feeling to be there for the other person. You’re walking on eggshells because you’re constantly trying not to upset them.
Nichole [01:15:23] Like, how do you think after Catra like, ripped up her face and got so mad about her talking to another person, do you think that Adora, like, had friendships growing up? Or does she always have in the back of her head that that would make Catra pissed. And so probably always kept people at arm’s length so to not like upset Catra. Because that’s what happens when you’re with someone like that, is your whole world becomes about how do I like, not upset this person? So for me to then watch season five again, like having these thoughts, my head.
Nichole [01:15:55] And Catra, and by extension the show, had this narrative of like Adora always like wanting to do things by herself and taking on the burden of stuff, and Catra always frame this as Adora was like being little miss perfect or like abandoning her to go do the right thing alone. And it’s like, why the fuck do you think she thinks she needs to do that? Could it maybe be because you always made her do stuff by herself because you weren’t there supporting her and you were the one that she had to tend to all the time? So she didn’t have someone to lean on. Like, what the fuck? And then we’re supposed to be like, oh, this is so sweet and romantic. And can we talk about her saying, “I love you, I always have”? If you are a child, or an adult with daddy issues as most of us are, you hear something like that, that means that everything she did to Adora was out of love, romantic love.
Callie [01:16:59] Yes! It’s the opposite of accountability. She basically is like saying everything she’s done was because she just loved her.
Nichole [01:17:07] Yeah. That’s not an explanation, that’s concerning.
Callie [01:17:09] Textbook abuse behavior and manipulation.
Nichole [01:17:13] Yes! Oh, I tried to kill you because I loved you. I beat you up because I loved you. I got mad that you had friends because I loved you. And I couldn’t just tell you so instead I hurt you. But like, you need to forgive me because isn’t it sweet and romantic that I’m saying that I love you? For a show that did everything else so fucking well and subtly and like beautifully and healthfully, like I do not understand what happened here.
Callie [01:17:40] Yeah, yeah, I don’t either. I don’t understand how they can have such a nuanced, like just really beautiful awareness and development with all of the other characters. And then this was like so the opposite and just abusive and wrong and uncomfortable and way too many things wedged in together. I mean we had like a whole season of, oh my god, what’s her face? The queen princess? The princess with-
Nichole [01:18:09] Glimmer?
Callie [01:18:10] Glimmer, thank you. I’m terrible with character names.
Nichole [01:18:13] I am too usually.
Callie [01:18:14] I can like never remember names of anyone. Like I’ll binge an entire show and not be able to like relay any details of who did what to you. Anywho. So Glimmer, like we had an entire storyline of her, like working through her jealousy over her friendships and the understanding of that and yet like with Catra we got like, she has abandonment issues, she has anger issues, she has jealousy issues and she’s been secretly in love with basically her sister, the entire show. It’s like, what the fuck?! That is, how could you have so much time for all of these other like, just kind of arguably small in comparison, you know, things and give it a whole season to percolate and develop and grow and be resolved and then with Catra, it’s like all of these things kind of shoved in at the end. It was extremely uncomfortable.
Nichole [01:19:12] Yes.
Callie [01:19:12] We’ve gotten some really good comments about how Entrapta was basically held endlessly accountable, like the entire show. Like she was never really let off the hook for the fact that she was like constantly doing things like siding with the enemy or making weapons that were hurting them. And we, the show never really like went when to why she was different. You know, she does kind of give off a like, she’s possibly on the spectrum vibe, like we don’t really know. So the show has some sort of like awareness and forgiveness, like gentleness around her, of like even the characters are kind of like, oh, she’s like different. You know like she just, you can tell she doesn’t really understand the implications of a lot of the decisions she’s making because she’s just so kind of purely into the tech and the development and the scientific discoveries. But the show never really let her off the hook for that, even while it, like, had these moments of, like, understanding for the fact that she clearly is just, like thinks differently and reacts to personal relationships differently. It was nothing but holding her accountable. And yet, like, Catra just like nothing, like none of it was she held accountable for.
Nichole [01:20:33] No. Even when she was trying to do the work, it was in this aggressive way. Like that scene just like really hit me when she’s like, I’m trying not to be angry anymore. So, like, basically stop pissing me off. And it’s like, OK, like I get, you know, it’s hard work and you would be struggling, but at the same time it was always kind of like, Catra is trying to do a thing so everyone just like back up and give her all the credit and, you know, like that’s her growth. And it’s like that’s just the work. That’s not, that’s not the actual, like, mending relationships or holding someone accountable. And you’re right. Like, Entrapta got way worse. It was one of the final episodes when she was trying to get the signal to shut off everyone’s chip and the princesses were just like ripping into her.
Callie [01:21:25] Yeah.
Nichole [01:21:26] And were like, we don’t fucking trust you. You like, you know, betrayed us so many times and you’re a fucking weirdo. And I don’t get, like, what you’re doing. And then she has this whole thing where she’s like, I know, like, I’m always upsetting people and I don’t understand why. Like it was definitely like a-
Callie [01:21:42] God, that just got right to my heart.
Nichole [01:21:45] I know. That was definitely like a spectrum moment when she was like, are you all mad at me? And they’re like…
Callie [01:21:54] Like it was a total shock to her.
Nichole [01:21:54] And just like had no idea, yeah. I see Entrapta as like, I couldn’t decide. I think she’s chaotic neutral, maybe chaotic evil, but like, I think she’s chaotic neutral. But yeah, it was just like, she was definitely held to like a higher… There just were more repercussions for her, what happened. And it was like embedded in the storyline in a realistic way. In a way that maybe was almost unfair compared to other characters. Like I don’t feel like anyone tried to understand her, you know, in a way that, like other characters had those moments to like, understand and explain themselves. Although I guess that was her moment. But, you know, she’s just saying, like, I know that you guys don’t like me and I know that nobody likes me and that, like, I’m weird and like, I don’t communicate right. And I’m just trying to do this to help, you know. And it, like, helped to resolve the conflict. But, yeah, she was definitely like held to a different standard and, you know, actions are actions but like, she wasn’t intentionally doing bad things.
Callie [01:23:02] Unlike Catra.
Nichole [01:23:03] Whereas Catra definitely was. Catra is like I’m going to fuck all your shit up. I’m gonna blow myself up if that’s what it takes.
Callie [01:23:13] I’m gonna literally end the universe. I’m going to end all life in the entire universe.
Nichole [01:23:20] Cause I have a crush on someone.
Callie [01:23:21] Yeah. No, even like the Entrapta stuff I think is such a good parallel to the Catra situation because of how much she was held accountable and because of how much-
Nichole [01:23:33] She did bad stuff.
Callie [01:23:34] And she did do bad stuff. But she also didn’t do it intentionally, unlike Catra. Like I just think they, those two storylines play off each other really well in trying to, like, understand how this show really viewed and handled their behavior differently. Because she did do bad stuff. But the princesses also never really… Like with everyone else they would kind of, like once you became one of them, right, you were one of them. And then they tried to, they made sure to like play to your strengths, to understand your differences. Like the ice princess and the fact that she was like kind of immature and she was always like, overly aggressively doing stuff and fucking up their plans. You know, they tried to, like, work with her.
Callie [01:24:14] They never really tried to work with Entrapta. Like they just kind of accepted, like, oh, she’s just weird and she’s different and we can see that she doesn’t really grasp what’s going on. But no one really ever stopped to be like, OK, so this is like what the plan is or this is why what you’re doing right now is like really bad, you know? So, like, there wasn’t really that understanding there. When clearly if anyone on the show needed it, it was her, you know?
Nichole [01:24:40] Yeah, seriously.
Callie [01:24:40] Not Catra, who like, while some of her actions were maybe like a little bit beyond her control, like I mean, not beyond her control, they were understandably hard for her to manage because of all of her, you know, the abuse she suffered and her emotional underdevelopment and that sort of thing. But like the show never really worked with Entrapta. And like Catra, it just, it is a really interesting, to kind of look at those two in parallel and see how the show handled them.
Nichole [01:25:14] Yeah. And Entrapta was another one who just forgave Catra. And that’s one that I can kind of forgive because I feel like it was coming from this place of Entrapta, like knowing and feeling what it’s like to have everyone mad at you and feel like you either don’t know what you did wrong or can’t control it. But yeah, I mean, she really fucked over Entrapta. Like, that was bad.
Callie [01:25:42] She manipulated the fuck out of her.
Nichole [01:25:44] Yeah. And she just didn’t like, it was just like, oh yeah it’s fine. So there just wasn’t, and again, it’s not about punishment. It’s just it was modeled so well in other conversations. Like, again, the one between Bow and Glimmer, where she’s like, look, I know I really fucked up, and like, I just want you to know I’m extremely sorry and I’m always gonna be here and you, like, take as much time as you need. And that might mean that you never are my friend again and that’s OK. Like, that’s what I’m talking about. It’s just, it can even be just one conversation. But a big thing with emotional abuse is that you need, as the abused person, one of the pivotal things that you need from your abuser to, like, heal the relationship is to hear them explain to you what happened. And no one got that from Catra. Especially Adora, who was the one who really needed it the most.
Nichole [01:26:42] You know, she never was like, OK, I’ve got these anger issues. You know, I think, like, it should take you a long time to trust me again. And I’ve got a lot to make up for. And I need to really work on myself and work on that and find like, I know there probably aren’t therapists in Etheria, but like, however, you would model that, then like she needs to find someone to, like, mentor her and like help her be accountable. But there had to be some kind of like… Like for her to even say something like, I understand why you think you need to do this by yourself because I’ve never, I’ve always made you feel like you needed to take care of me. But I’m here now to help take care of you. You don’t have to do this alone. Like that could be something where it’s like, okay, you’re like showing awareness of what has happened and how it needs to be different. But we didn’t get that.
Callie [01:27:32] Like some true acknowledgment, you know?
Nichole [01:27:35] It was like, listen dummy, you don’t have to do this alone. I’m here and I love you. And it’s like, and I’ve always loved you. And it’s like, okay, well, so you still left me on my own while you were always loving me. So, like, why is this different now? And why am I a dummy for not understanding that, like, you have my back now when you never have before?
Callie [01:27:54] Yeah. I know, and I think I got lost in making other points, but I want to come back to you bringing up like how the person who’s like the one who’s trying to be the supportive one to the person who has the fear of abandonment, the person who’s being the abuser. Like that it was Adora who was abandoned over and over and over. I think that’s a really, really important point. And you know, she was hated in some ways by Catra for having Shadow Weaver’s love, you know, and that she was like, jealous of that and that’s a reason why. Like, it was, we’re supposed to feel that it was somewhat justified, that Catra like was constantly punishing Adora. But it’s like we’re not really under, it’s a misunderstanding of the way abuse works, because not only was Adora being abused by Catra for things that were out of her control, like she was also a child. But Shadow Weaver’s love wasn’t really love. Like she put her on this pedestal. She put all this pressure on her. She trained her.
Nichole [01:29:02] It was the narcissistic parent love, right?
Callie [01:29:02] Yes, she isolated her. And so it’s like she not only was carrying the pressure and burden from Shadow Weaver, but then she was carrying it from Catra and she was the lonely one. She was the one being constantly abandoned by the people that were supposed to love her and be a part of her family. And all she ever did was then try to like show that love to other people and be there for them. And she got nothing but punishment for it. And Catra, yes at the end, like you said, she said sorry and yeah, I, I love you dummy, I’ve always loved you. But it’s like that doesn’t really explain like, that doesn’t fundamentally acknowledge or like you said, say back to the person you’ve abused or you’ve harmed, like what you did, you know? Like she really didn’t acknowledge, like, hey, I know we both had a really fucked up upbringing and I shouldn’t have blamed you for me not getting the love I needed from Shadow Weaver. Like that was not your fault and I took it out on you and that was not OK. And I was scared of being abandoned and I was afraid to leave the Horde, even though, like, you tried to get me to come with you, but I was like, too afraid.
Callie [01:30:10] Because that’s another thing, too, right? People that have like abusive upbringings, they tend to fall into very rigid roles and family structures. So even if Catra knew that the Horde were the bad guys like it would make sense why she couldn’t leave, you know, but she never really explained that back to Adora. She never said any of that, she never really showed Adora or anyone else that she understood what she’s done, you know, or the harm that she’s done, beyond just like, oh, sorry for trying to blow up the world and murder you and your friends multiple times. It’s like, no, what did you really do that you can see now in your behavior, came from a place that wasn’t your fault, but also was not OK.
Callie [01:30:55] Because it’s hard work to do, but like, we have to get to a place where abuse victims can have redemption and come back, but they can’t be fully let off the hook for the things they’ve done either. It’s like the abuse they suffered isn’t their fault. And the behaviors that were created and coping mechanisms that were created from that abuse isn’t their fault, but the things they do to others are. And we need to kind of hold both of those truths. And it’s messy work. It’s not easy, but we can’t just keep having these like redemptions where the abusers are like, well I was really fucked up too, so sorry, I love you. And it’s like that’s not OK.
Nichole [01:31:39] Yeah. Yeah, one hundred percent. And it’s very common for someone in a Catra like mindset to have that feeling of like oh I have all this beautiful stuff hidden away inside me and it’s other people’s responsibility to discover it.
Callie [01:31:55] Pull it out of me.
Nichole [01:31:56] And bring it out, and pull it out of me, and just be thankful for it when it comes out. And then like, forgive me immediately when like I’m mean. Speaking from experience, OK?
Callie [01:32:13] Oof. Yeah.
Nichole [01:32:14] Like lots of experience. I dated a Catra for seven years.
Callie [01:32:20] Yeah.
Nichole [01:32:21] Yeah, and he would literally say that. He’d be like, I feel like there’s a whole universe inside me that other people don’t see. And I’m like, well, whose fault is that? You know, like, yeah, I get it. A lot of us feel that way, right. A lot of us feel like there’s something beautiful inside us that other people just don’t like make the effort to see. But when you’re literally like, trying to get to know you is like trying to hug a barbed-wire fence, there is just a point when that’s abuse. That’s an abusive mindset. That like, oh, someone should rip themselves to shreds to try to get like a nugget of kindness from me. And that’s their job. Not my job to do the work of, like, being more comfortable being vulnerable, and being more comfortable being softer so that people can get to know me. That’s really fucking abusive. And it always comes with this like entitlement to things that no one is entitled to. Like Catra wasn’t entitled to Adora staying the same forever. The struggle I had-
Callie [01:33:20] That point!
Nichole [01:33:24] Yeah, I’m about to expand on it. But the struggle I have with this show is that the way that it showed trauma and abuse was actually amazing. It just didn’t resolve it in a healthy way. Because her, the whole situation with Adora leaving and realizing she was on the wrong side and trying to get Catra to go with her, to your point Callie, like was a perfect representation of someone who’s grown up with abuse and cannot withstand change. And so it creates this conflict because another thing that I’ve learned the hard way from being in a relationship like this is the other person cannot withstand you becoming a bigger, better person.
Speaker [01:34:05] And so that whole scene and that whole just plot point of like Catra didn’t, wouldn’t go with her but was so angry with her for leaving is very, very analogous, how do you say that word? Anyway, it’s very similar to how people like don’t, any small change in their partner, they’ll make fun of it or they’ll get mad at it or they’ll ban it. You know, they’ll like tell you that you can’t do that thing because it makes them uncomfortable because they cannot withstand any kind of personal growth or change. So they want you to just, like, stagnate with them. But then it makes them unhappy and angry. And then they take that out on you because you’re also somehow supposed to be entertaining them and supporting them and making them happy, which you can’t do with someone who just wants to stagnate and not work on their issues. So you end up in this cycle, again where you’re tiptoeing around, you’re trying to keep someone happy and you know that you can’t grow on your own because you’ll lose that person. And it’s extremely abusive.
Nichole [01:35:13] I was very, on the first and second watching, it really ripped my heart out. I think it was in the second to last episode where Adora you know, goes for the heart, what was it? The heart thing that she had.
Callie [01:35:33] Oh, failsafe.
Nichole [01:35:36] Failsafe. Thank you. I kept thinking faultline, and I’m like that is a different thing.
Callie [01:35:41] I cannot believe I remembered that.
Nichole [01:35:43] I know, that was amazing. But you know, she decides to like, do what Shadow Weaver says. But it was very clear that it wasn’t because she trusted Shadow Weaver. It just was literally like, we don’t know what else to do, right? So she decides to go for the failsafe and Catra leaves. She’s like, I’m not going to sit around here and watch this. You chose her over me, I’m fucking leaving. And Adora runs after her and literally is like on the ground, crying, pleading, screaming, like, do not leave, I need you. And Catra’s like go fuck yourself and takes off.
Nichole [01:36:21] That’s abuse. That’s emotional abuse. And that is going to create someone who thinks that they have to do everything on their own and that’s going to create someone who thinks that they need to sacrifice themselves to take care of something and be alone because they never have support from another person. And they always know that love is like a second from being ripped away. It’s conditional. It’s conditional on you keeping the other person in a good mood and a happy or else it’s just going to be pulled away. And we saw that countless times throughout the series. How many times would Adora grab Catra’s hand or, you know, be soft with her, like come up physically close to her and be affectionate and Catra pulls away and like is like no. Or gets physical with her. It happened consistently.
Nichole [01:37:06] It’s a hallmark of abuse. And so we see, again, Adora is being pegged in a lot of these reviews as this person who abandoned her or like was somehow apart from her, but she is actually extremely warm and loving and supportive the entire time. And she was the one, she openly said multiple times like, I need you. I want you. I need you. And Catra got it in her head that it was like a different kind of love or whatever. That whole thing felt weird anyway. But like it wasn’t because of Adora’s actions. It was because of how Catra was interpreting her actions. She didn’t choose Shadow Weaver. She chose to try to save the fucking universe. And it was the only way she knew how to do it. And she wanted Catra’s support. It was like, I may have to go die. Can you please be nice to me while I’m trying to save the universe? I need you. And she was like, no.
Callie [01:38:01] Yeah. It’s like, oh, you’re choosing her over me again.
Nichole [01:38:04] She never did.
Callie [01:38:04] And it’s like, or the universe ends.
Nichole [01:38:07] Right.
Callie [01:38:07] Like either way, like yeah.
Nichole [01:38:10] Right. I can tell you from experience, it’s really hard being a person who tries really hard and works really hard and then gets blamed for any success that you have because of that. You know, I’m not going to blame Catra for how she was, but like Adora worked really hard. We saw it like when we first meet her and Catra, the whole contrast is that Adora is like doing the exercises and doing all the stuff and then Catra just shows up late and is like whatever about it. And again, we get why this happens. But it’s really hard to be a person who tries really hard and works really hard and then the person who’s not, is fucking constantly mad at you and calling you like a teacher’s pet or a brat or the favorite one because you, like, work hard at stuff. That’s abuse, too.
Nichole [01:39:01] It’s undercutting everything you’ve achieved because you just are hateful. Like you just don’t want that other person to feel that they’ve earned anything that they have. And it creates, again, a situation where you’re going to get a person with a pathology of, like, I have to do this on my own and my life is worth sacrificing for the good of other people. Because you’ve never gotten the validation that, like you’re enough. Because you’re working, working, working, and you have someone else telling you that everything you have is just handed to you and that you don’t deserve it. And that’s very confusing, especially if it’s someone you love that you’re trying to support.
Nichole [01:39:41] And to your point too, about Shadow Weaver, like she’s a typical, like an archetypal, like narcissistic parent. And we see this with that, not to like armchair diagnose, but just saying, like, she represents that type of parenting. And in that type of parenting, you always have the scapegoat kid and then the golden child. And the golden child is often like hated by the other kids because they’re seen as getting everything. But that is also a very strong form of abuse. I was the golden child for a while, and I can tell you that it teaches you that, like, love is extremely conditional and that you better be perfect 24/7 or else it’s gonna be stripped away.
Nichole [01:40:28] And you’re also taught that your own life is not yours, that it’s someone else’s. It’s a reflection of somebody else and something else. And so you can’t live for yourself because you’re indebted to whoever you’re a reflection of. Because that’s what a narcissistic parent does. They pick a golden child because that child represents them. They’re not their own human. They’re not their own person. They represent the parent. And you learn, you are the type of person who would go fucking sacrifice yourself because you’ve learned that your life, your actual life, your wants and needs and your inner experience, is not valid. And it doesn’t count for anything. It’s only what you do for other people. It’s only how you reflect the people around you that matters. And that’s deeply, deeply damaging. Even on, if at the outside it looks like that kid has a better experience than, you know, the scapegoat kid.
Callie [01:41:27] And so incredibly painful.
Nichole [01:41:30] So painful.
Callie [01:41:30] And yet again, I mean, we see Adora definitely did struggle throughout the series with, like, overly sacrificing herself, right, like running into the battle and being too willing to, like, sacrifice herself for the greater good. And her friends even called her out on that, which I’m glad happened because your perspective Nichole that you just brought up was such a good one. It wasn’t just that she was like this innate hero or born as such a good person. Like that is also, that was the way the abuse that she suffered manifested in her, right? And then she struggled with it.
Callie [01:42:08] Like we see, what was so heartbreaking about this, like end arc, right, is that like we really thought she was going off to die. And for the first time, she didn’t want to. Like she didn’t want to have to do that sacrifice. She didn’t want to get the failsafe. She didn’t, she knew she wasn’t, she was having problems with her powers. She couldn’t tell anyone. She couldn’t say goodbye to her friends because she’d know that they wouldn’t let her go. Like it was a very different moment of sacrifice than anything we’d seen up before then. Because usually she was, like, gleefully charging into her own doom, right? And then she finally comes to a place where she starts to value her own life. And then she has to make the sacrifice because literally no one else could do it, you know? And then she has Catra, like you’re abandoning me, you’re choosing to abandon me again. And it’s like she, the heartbreak of Adora not wanting to have to do this, and yet again, being shit on by this person who she clearly like, loved and cared for her whole life was really heartbreaking, really heartbreaking.
Nichole [01:43:22] It was heartbreaking. It made me very sad. Alright, I’m looking at my notes to see if I have any other amazing points that I haven’t hit yet. Oh, and just kind of to the Entrapta point, I also feel that Glimmer had harsher repercussions for her behavior than Catra did. Which I feel like, I guess we’ve like, in a roundabout way, kind of touched on. But like she really thought she was going to lose Bow at one point and even Adora was kind of questionable at one point as well. And she really, like, had to work at healing those relationships. Like, if you remember, Bow was really cold to her for I think like two episodes. And it was like questionable if he was gonna be able to come back from that with her. And so, it just again, like yeah, she did, especially the second time was like a really shitty thing. But it wasn’t like trying to kill people.
Callie [01:44:28] Right. Right.
Nichole [01:44:30] It wasn’t like trying to kill her friends, you know, and she had had to, like, work through that and had bigger repercussions from that than Catra did.
Callie [01:44:38] Yeah. Well, yeah and again, just I know we’ve talked about this a little bit, but tacking onto the point you just made. Again Entrapta was held so much accountable for her own actions when arguably she really didn’t understand the implications. She wasn’t really making a lot of choices where she directly understood what she was doing. And she was manipulated by Catra into a lot of these things. You know, she was lied to about her friends abandoning her. She was lied to about kind of the end results of the things that she was developing for Catra and, you know, Wrong Hordak or whatever.
Callie [01:45:20] So I just, it is interesting to me how much like everyone else was really not let off the hook at all, even when arguably they should have been, you know? Not that you can’t hold someone like Entrapta accountable, you absolutely can. But there didn’t seem to be any, like give there that took into consideration like the things that she obviously struggled with and are very understandable why she kind of made the choices she did. Whereas someone like Catra like, was always fully aware of what she would like, everything was so intentional, you know? Unlike everyone else, where depending on the situation, I don’t think anyone else had the level of intentionality that Catra did. And yet for her to be like not really held accountable for her actions when everyone else would was grating about the show. In a show that was otherwise like just so beautiful and magical and wonderfully written and developed, it’s like how is there this massive blind spot with how fucking terrible, you know, the story with Catra was told.
Nichole [01:46:32] Yes.
Callie [01:46:33] And then for everyone to be shipping them just because, like, oh, it’s lesbian love and it’s like…
Nichole [01:46:39] And there is a problem with domestic violence in gay relationships and, you know, this isn’t helping. This isn’t helping to literally reskin domestic violence in a catgirl suit and then say that it’s romantic. Like, you know, there are lesbians who fucking hurt their partners. And this is a real problem. And we can’t, that’s what I mean like we need to do better because we can’t show something that I guarantee you, if this character had been a white cishet dude, we would all be like up in arms collectively about how abusive this person was. And then you literally, like, put him in a different situation and now it’s like romantic and beautiful and like were celebrating gay love. And it’s like there’s a lot of people out there who are abused by their partners. And we can’t, I’m not saying this should have taken the step to address that issue, but it shouldn’t have romanticized the issue. It should have found a different path from that.
Nichole [01:47:48] Yeah, I just had a note, too, that like everything Catra does is about Adora. And I think this is another thing that people think is romantic, but it’s actually really, really, really unhealthy. So even her saving Glimmer, like she even says, like I’m doing this for Adora. Not because it was the right thing. It’s like because she wanted to save Adora. She says like she’s trying to do one good thing, like Glimmer challenged her to do, but you can tell like it’s around like saving Adora. And like her saying, you know, I’ve always loved you and blah, blah, blah. Like everything, every episode, she’s just obsessed with Adora and everything revolves around Adora. Even when Catra had a bit of her own social group with Scorpia and Kyle and whoever else was around in that group. Poor Kyle.
Callie [01:48:40] I know.
Nichole [01:48:41] I would have loved to have seen him, you know, happily hooked up with someone in the end. He deserved it. But, you know, like she actually had established a bit of her own, her own, like, social circle. And that could have been a redemptive arc for her. That could have been her way out is through having these friends and expanding her world, she could have realized like, oh, like this is good to have more friends and this is good to have these different people and I need to be better about how I treat people to keep them in my life. But that was another thing she just blew up. And it and she blew it up because she was so hyper-focused on Adora. And so I think that’s something that people point out as like a romantic thing, but it’s not. To be that hyper-focused on someone is really, really unhealthy and abusive. Or it leads to abusive behavior because it’s just not healthy to have every single thing you do, think, and feel, revolve around one person and their actions and what they’re doing.
Callie [01:49:40] Yeah. Yeah.
Nichole [01:49:44] Yeah, and I just think, too, I heard a lot of defense of her redemption arc in terms of like, oh, she learned to like, you know, she learned to like go be with people and try to get over her abandonment issues and that’s like, that’s not redemption, though. That’s personal progress and that gets you on the path to redemption. But that’s not in and of itself redemption.
Callie [01:50:11] Yeah.
Nichole [01:50:11] Because that’s like me, because they were like, oh, she’s trying not to be angry or whatever. And it’s like, well, OK, so if someone starts meditating, are you like, oh, they meditate now, so they’re forgiving? No, meditating is something they’re doing as a coping mechanism to try to be a better person, but that has nothing to do with what they did to you before and how the two of you are going to resolve that. Do you see what I’m saying? And there is a lot of, I just saw online, there’s just like a lot of confusion between things she was doing to try to like be a better person and like her actual redemption, like particularly with Adora.
Callie [01:50:48] Yeah.
Nichole [01:50:48] Those are two different things.
Callie [01:50:50] Absolutely. Well and I said earlier that the fact that her redemption, her getting over her issues, was choosing to stand by Adora in the moment she thinks she’s going to lose Adora, that Adora is going to have to sacrifice herself, is getting over her own issue of abandonment, but is not really making anything up to Adora or any of the other people she harmed. You know, like you’re saying, it’s an important step into like dealing with her own issues. But it’s not really, it’s more of an inward thing, not an outward thing, you know?
Nichole [01:51:24] Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Callie [01:51:25] Her choosing to, like, basically face her ultimate fear, which is, you know, Adora leaving her permanently we think, is a good step for her, but it’s not doing anything to repair any of the damage that she’s done. Or even own up to any of the damage. Like she didn’t even really ever acknowledge to Adora everything she did to her, so.
Nichole [01:51:51] Yeah. Yeah, I’ve just had that too many times too, where some person comes back into my life and is like I’m doing yoga now or whatever. And it’s like, OK, that’s good, but like that doesn’t change anything between… I mean, I used to fall for it so this is coming from experience. But it’s like that doesn’t actually heal what happened between us. And that doesn’t even mean that you’re actually different. You might just be adopting this thing that should be a coping mechanism. But if you’re not actually using it that way, then it’s not. You can do anything and it doesn’t mean that you’ve actually addressed any of your issues, you know.
Callie [01:52:31] Well, and restorative justice is about healing what was broken, right? Like that’s why it’s such a good example to talk about Glimmer and Bow because Glimmer says to Bow, like she owned up to what she did wrong and said, like, I know that it’s going to take you time and like I will be here for you, even accepting that you may never get over what I did. And that’s okay. Like, you take all the time that you need and I will be here for you. Like, that’s what it is. It’s about doing what you need to do, what the other person needs to do to repair what you broke. And that never really happened with Catra. That’s why restorative justice usually focuses on like getting the aggressor, the perpetrator, and the victim to sit down together or, you know, through mediators and say, like, what would resolve this? Like what would fix what went wrong? You know, there needs to be owning up to what happened, what the person did, and then taking some sort of action to fix it, to restore things. You know, it’s not just saying sorry, it’s not just healing yourself. You need to actually do something. And Catra never really did that.
Nichole [01:53:55] No, she didn’t. And there should, you know, we have focused a lot on Adora because I think it’s important. But I had a thought watching this through the second time, especially when, the Mermista quote that you said before when she was like, so we’re like all OK with this? Reminded me of like when you get back together with your shitty ex and you just bring them to a gathering and your friends are like… um… what is this? And you’re just kind of like… Like Adora just kept telling everyone they bumped into like, oh, it’s complicated, but like she’s on our side now. And it’s like, no. This is a person who has literally tried to kill some of these people. Like, you cannot just bring her into a space and just be like, oh, it’s fine. It’s complicated, but it’s fine.
Nichole [01:54:48] Like there should have been some kind of communal reckoning where, and again, they do this really well in Avatar, where, you know, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. It doesn’t have to take a lot of episodes or a lot of screen time. But there does need to be, as you were saying, this restorative justice conversation with some kind of mediation where it’s like, okay, you are a dangerous person, there are probably people here who have PTSD from you and your actions, like how are we going to deal with them if they don’t want to be around you? And can we have a consensus? And, you know, if you do something wrong, like how are we going to handle it and where are the guidelines?
Nichole [01:55:27] Like, there’s all kinds of things that should have been talked about. And instead, Adora was just bringing Catra to stuff and people are like trying to attack her because they’re like, holy shit, you know, this horrible person is here and she’s like, it’s fine. Just how do you do with your friends when you’re embarrassed because you know you shouldn’t be back with this person but you are. And you’re hoping if you just bring them and don’t say anything, that everyone will just get over it and you never have to talk about it and that’s not a healthy way to deal with stuff.
Callie [01:55:56] It also does not work.
Nichole [01:55:59] It does not work. It makes your friends stop inviting you to things.
Callie [01:56:02] Yeah.
Nichole [01:56:03] And then you become more isolated in your shitty relationship. It’s actually the worst way to handle it. I did want to say, well, do you have more Catra stuff?
Callie [01:56:15] Yeah, I just had one more thing, I guess, in kind of a vague sense about the Catra situation. I know there is, I know probably a lot of the stanning for Catra and Adora being together comes from, you know, this obvious lack of representation that lesbian couples get. And I, I see that. And I, I don’t want to be dismissive of that because that’s real. I mean, representation matters. But I just want to gently and kindly say that, you know, part of… I’ll speak for myself. Part of my queerness is wanting to change things, right? We’ve talked about using queer as a verb. And I don’t want queerness to start to fall into the same traps that this likes cishetero patriarchal bullshit has. You know, I don’t want us, to just because we want representation, to accept abusive representation. I don’t want us to see bad couples. I don’t want us to see and start to glorify, like bad consent or toxic romance or toxic behaviors.
Callie [01:57:29] So I don’t want to, like, go too hard against it because, like, I, I can only really imagine what it’s been like for people where their whole lives they’ve never really seen representation and how much it matters to them to actually see that like basically a gay kiss, just like, save the world. And how importantly, like and how incredibly special and good that that would feel. But I just want to, like, challenge everyone to, like, really kind of sit and, sit with this idea of like, let’s try to make things better. Like, let’s not just start to like fall into these, like, bad patterns. Because I don’t want us to replicate, like, all of the kind of toxic bullshit of, like white supremacy and cis hetero patriarchy and all of that stuff, you know? I want the world to get better. I don’t want us to start to, like, get what they have.
Nichole [01:58:26] Yes.
Callie [01:58:26] And I think that can be a hard conversation to have because I think there needs to be space for not everything having to reach such a high bar. Because this conversation always happens whenever there’s like, you know, a new show where maybe it’s like a family of color and it’s like just some shitty sitcom. And then people are like, well, the show’s not good. And it’s like, yeah, but like white shows don’t really need to be good. And it’s like, you’re right. You know, there needs to be space for not everything having to clear this like extremely high bar. But I also don’t think that that necessarily means like we accept actual toxic relationships or toxic behavior without commenting on it and resolving it in a good way, you know?
Nichole [01:59:11] Yeah. Yeah, I completely agree with that point and the importance of making that point, that like we’re still, feels like a mecca of, you know, gay shit right now just because we haven’t had it before. But it is still proportionately so much less than everything else. And like, it is important to people and certainly don’t want to take away from that. But also, yeah, we want to be building towards something that’s better. And not just having, you know, like I was saying, like this reskinned representation that’s just doing the same shit. And it just especially stands out in this show because the show literally is in every single other way queer shit. Like beautiful, lovey, not toxic masculinity, you know, anti-toxic masculinity, just like gorgeous queerness. And so this like, unfortunately, being kind of the main storyline throughout the whole series was just very jarring in comparison to that.
Nichole [02:00:18] And, you know, and we do have stuff like Steven Universe to compare it to for queer shit, where it’s like we’re not having to see people in romantic relationships that are based on like violence against each other and that kind of tension for kids shows. And then we have things like Killing Eve for us adults who want to see some violent, lesbian, sapphic, sexy vibes, you know? But this show, Killing Eve does a good job of framing like this is fucked up, like, the show is not trying to make it seem like this whole dynamic is not fucked up. So for us adults, we can be like, cool. It turns me on. It’s exciting. I like to watch it, but I also can see very clearly that this is not like a healthy relationship. This is just the kind of stuff that we fucked up humans like to watch and that’s totally fine.
Nichole [02:01:23] So I think that’s it, too, like the framing is really important. We can have fucked up stuff and have that be fine, too, to get, you know, full representation. But it’s just how are you framing these relationships? And that’s why like I love Killing Eve. Beyond the fact that it is like sexy and like interesting and thrilling, the show knows what it is. And the show isn’t trying to, like, gaslight us into thinking this is like romantic. It’s like, no, this is like two extremely fucked up people. Like, every time you start to kind of get soft towards Villanelle, she does something horrifying. And you’re just like, oh, right. This bitch is like, unredeemable basically, right? So we can’t, we can never, the show never lets us settle too much into like, oh, a love story here could redeem this character. It’s like no, she’s not redeemable. She’s like just a bad broken person.
Callie [02:02:21] Well, and even Sandra O’s character. It’s like-
Nichole [02:02:24] Yeah, she’s all fucked up and weird.
Callie [02:02:25] Yes. She’s not doing great stuff either, you know?
Nichole [02:02:29] And everyone around her is like, what the fuck is wrong with you?
Callie [02:02:31] Yeah.
Nichole [02:02:33] Yeah.
Callie [02:02:33] That’s such a good point.
Nichole [02:02:34] Yeah. No and yeah her character’s doing weird shit.
Callie [02:02:36] Yeah. The context really does matter. It’s okay to have messy characters, it’s OK to have antiheroes and all of this stuff, for people that have a messy arc and develop structure. But it’s like the context of like are we supposed to like just forgive them at the end though without really having to earn it.
Nichole [02:02:57] And who’s the audience?
Callie [02:02:57] Yeah, and who is the audience? I think the fact-
Nichole [02:02:59] Like Avatar did it well for a kid’s show, you know, with a redemption arc. And then Killing Eve does it great for like just some gay shit that like we all know is really fucked up.
Callie [02:03:10] Yeah.
Nichole [02:03:12] And so great. And then, so the last point I wanted to make was that I did want to say I felt this the first time and then even stronger the second time watching it that the, Adora’s storyline, well Adora’s/She-Ra’s storyline around this idea of self-sacrifice and having to accept people in and accepting, you know, love and all that stuff. I felt that it was/could be a very powerful metaphor for like accepting your sexuality and accepting, like, happiness. And so I did want to like even though I don’t like a lot of the details around it, I do think that the metaphor was very powerful. Fucking people with their motorcycles. It’s too hot to shut my windows, so I apologize for any background noise you’ve been hearing, but it’s a hot one. And I decided to wear a sweater because it was only animal printed thing I had. And I had to be on theme because I’m a fucking nerd.
Nichole [02:04:26] But anyway. Yeah I just thought, like, I don’t know, just when she was talking to Mara and the way Mara was talking to her, it was almost like two gay people talking to each other like, you know, like a mentor and like a baby gay. And she’s just saying, like, don’t you want to be happy? Like, isn’t it, what about you? Like, you deserve love, too. And Adora’s whole kind of persona of being so uptight, I don’t think she ever really rejected her sexuality. But I do think, like, maybe she shut down any, like, emotional, sexual, physical kind of needs to be this like over-performing person.
Nichole [02:05:08] And I did think that that, I just wish her friends had been around her at the end, like collectively, and that her accepting this was like a part of her friendship with all of them instead of her and just Catra. Because I do think like in a way, it’s this beautiful metaphor for like accepting that there’s this part of you, right, that does want things, and has desire, and wants a fuller life and that it’s okay to maybe not be as perfect anymore in order to go have it. And I think, like for queer people, that really resonates. And then it also resonates with like perfectionist people or people who’ve been abused in that way where you feel like you have to earn love. And I just thought, I just wanted to pay homage to like I did think the symbology of the whole ending was really fucking beautiful. I just wish her friends had been there. I don’t like how the ending kind of separated the friends everywhere. I think they should have all been together.
Callie [02:06:08] That is a beautiful point. And I didn’t even, I didn’t even really, like, pick up on that specifically. It is kind of a beautiful moment that she was forced into kind of cutting out, like a lot of victims of abusive situations, like cut off their emotions, cut off their own wants and needs. You know, it’s very common.
Nichole [02:06:28] Don’t know that they’re queer for a very long time.
Callie [02:06:35] Girl. You know, and kind of fall into a… I’ve been learning a lot about this recently, but more about the fawn response to trauma and falling into people-pleasing. And I think there was a lot of that with her. You know, her way of processing her upbringing and her, you know, really lonely life up to the point of discovering her friends was going into this like self-sacrificing, overly extending herself, sacrificing her own wants and needs. And I think it is a really beautiful arc that she had at the end, very subtle of like realizing that she could want things for herself. That that was valid to want love, to want friendship, to not want to have to die for the greater good. You know, I thought that was, that is a really beautiful parallel with like coming to terms with yourself and your sexuality and just who you are in the world and what you deserve, you know?
Nichole [02:07:39] Yeah because even for a cishet person, I think even that kind of person can get cut off from their own sexuality or their own, you know, romance or their own whatever and really convince themselves that they don’t need or want those things. And some people just don’t. I don’t mean to be ace erasure here, but I think there are a lot of people who do. And you really, I mean, it kind of happened to me in a way. Like, you just put it all down and you just think like, oh, I just don’t need those things. I mean, I think I’m even kind of doing it right now. But anyway, story for a different day!
Nichole [02:08:19] But yeah, it’s pretty easy to get more swept up in something that seems bigger than yourself and to really put those earthly needs aside as, you know, silly or unnecessary or dirty or, you know, however we classify these things. And yeah, I just thought it was such a beautiful moment for her to be like, I do want this stuff. I want to live. You know? And I just thought that was, you know, Mara saying, like, I didn’t want to die. And I did it so you wouldn’t have to. And now you’re here like, why are you here? And I just was like, oh my god. All the feels.
Callie [02:09:03] I just got like full body chills, like that just made me so emotional. Yeah.
Nichole [02:09:08] Yeah. So I did want to, I know we came down really hard on a lot of, you know, obviously the Catra stuff. But I again, want to reiterate that the show overall I loved. I would highly recommend it. And I do think that that message at the end was really powerful and really beautiful, even if I don’t love 100 percent the way it was delivered. I still think it’s something that will get through to a lot of people who feel that way.
Callie [02:09:38] Yeah, yeah.
Nichole [02:09:40] And it challenges, like you were saying, it’s good queer media that challenges the superhero storyline of like, like there’s honor, right, in like sacrificing yourself and like every hero should want to and should be praised for that. And so to have that moment of softness right at the end where everything’s like literally about to blow up, to have like a female character too, to be like don’t, like why, what about you? What about you and your life? And I just thought that was really beautiful.
Callie [02:10:11] Yeah.
Nichole [02:10:14] So.
Callie [02:10:16] Dat’s it.
Nichole [02:10:23] I’m fucking done. Are you done? So I was trying to get it done this week. Hopefully I’ll have it done for next week. But I do want to say we’ve been slacking on promoting that we’re part of the Channel Zero Network. So I’m going to try to create an intro that includes that information. But we are very proud of that. And so if you haven’t checked out the Channel Zero Network, I highly recommend. It’s a network of anarchist media, which is fucking badass. We have a lot of comrades in there who are doing incredible work. So, yeah, if you want to check it out and we’ll also probably start promoting other people in the network and being a little bit more collaborative in that sense. We’ve just been hashtag overwhelmed but did want to take a moment to mention that today.
Callie [02:11:08] Yes.
Nichole [02:11:10] So I think we’re talking about queering anarchy next week, or queer anarchy, or queering anarchism, whatever we decide to title it.
Callie [02:11:21] Yeah.
Nichole [02:11:22] Don’t hold us to it too hard but I’m pretty sure that’s what we’re going to talk about. We’re very, very excited about it. So we will catch you all next week.
Callie [02:11:31] All right, bye bye.
Nichole [02:11:33] Bye.