(Disclosure: I’m partnered with Netflix as a #StreamTeam member. I was not directly compensated for this article. All words, thoughts and crippling nostalgia are mine.)
Every month, the Netflix life cycle evolves and we get some new content while saying goodbye to some old content. In July, we say goodbye to some old favorites (so watch them NOW before they’re gone) but say hello to some new, sexy content.
I heard about NBA Playgrounds and knew I had to have it. An arcadey 2-on-2 basketball game promising big dunks and fast action harkening back to the days of NBA JAM.
Spoiler alert: some of these big dunks and fast action are delivered. But the game trips over its own shoelaces all too often. This is not an updated NBA JAM you can play with your kids.
Look, we all love our kids. But sometimes, something deep inside of you becomes a petty monster and you give your kid such a side eye that it actually hurts your own reproductive organs.
That was me last week — three times — over video games.
The problem with being so kick-ass is that business as usual gets forgotten. Case in point: my son dressed as Captain America to see Santa and it was incredible. But in all the hubbub, Santa never asked what he wanted for Christmas.
There was a moment of near-tears. But I reminded my son that he can write Santa a letter and we’ll mail it off.
I know I wrote about this back at Easter time (and ew, so few posts ago), but it’s worth saying again: I love that my son son dresses up like a superhero to see Santa every year, and I love that it’s something we do together.
I’m standing over my son’s bed, and I start crying. I think: he’s alive.
It’s a weird emotion for me. My wife and son were in a car accident today coming home from school. Everyone was okay. The car wasn’t. People lived, items didn’t. It worked out how it was supposed to. But my seven-year-old is scared. He’s waking up as soon as he falls asleep. He’s crying because he’s scared. “I want momma,” his voice cracks.
“Momma’s got to sleep too,” I answer. “She was also in the car accident and she’s hurt too. You both need to rest.”
“No, I know. It sounds weird to me too,” I assured the mother of my son’s friends. “I did just ask if your kids could come over and I could show them Japanese cartoons and take pictures of them. I get it.”
Let’s rewind back to mid-December: my son and I were Christmas shopping, and Nintendo had a game kiosk set up in the mall. Among the games was one called Yo-Kai Watch. My son and I wouldn’t have paid too much attention to it, except that one of the game’s characters was a butt. Like, literally, a butt. A Nintendo rep asked my son if he wanted a Yo-Kai Watch mask. “THE BUTT I WANT THE BUTT,” my son yelped because he’s seven years old and he’s my son and I love him as much as anything could love anything.
But I digress.
As the father of a young daughter, I am not used to social progress. I’ve come to expect that female politicians will be constantly asked about their appearance. I’ve come to expect that corporations will forget to make toys based on the female lead of their new blockbuster movie. I’ve come to expect that it will take Barbie over 50 years to acknowledge what real women look like. I’ve come to expect that, at every turn, society will find a way to let my daughter down, in big ways and small ways, entirely due to her gender. I am used to being disappointed on my daughter’s behalf.
So, imagine my surprise when I recently encountered some small, hopeful progress for girls in a completely unexpected place – children’s character underwear.
That’s right. There are Star Wars and Marvel underwear for girls right now and it’s kind of a big deal.
We should’ve seen it coming. After the #WheresNatasha and #WheresGamora campaigns – hashtags that called out the lack of female representation in the merchandise for Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy – WHY did anyone assume that Disney, toy manufacturers, or retailers would’ve learned their lesson for Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Were we that naïve? Did we just not want to admit what we all KNEW was going to happen? That, even though Daisy Ridley’s Rey was the LEAD CHARACTER in the whole damn film, she would be almost impossible to find on Force Awakens merchandise. Because that’s EXACTLY what happened. Hence the inevitable hashtag #WheresRey.