Saturday, December 2, 2017

Uh-Oh, I Have a Crush on Another Boy


Slight spoilers for Marvel's The Punisher, if you haven't seen the whole season yet. 

I haven't been very consistent with watching the Marvel superheroes series on Netflix, but my husband, Mr. Tit Elingtin, has been devouring them. I watched a bit of Luke Cage, which I really liked, and a bit more of Jessica Jones, which was also quite good, but with my inconsistent access to streaming Netflix this summer, I hardly watched any of Daredevil

I knew Deborah Ann Woll played a character on Daredevil. You may remember her from the Charlaine Harris-based HBO series True Blood. She played Bill Compton's vampire "child," Jessica Hamby, and much of Jessica's storyline was a love triangle involving her, Jason Stackhouse, and Jason's best friend Hoyt Fortenberry. The series ended with a happily-ever-after for Jessica. 

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Tit binge-watched the latest Marvel series, The Punisher. Woll's character from Daredevil, Karen Page, had a starring role. I got hooked.

The Punisher is a Marvel title that I actually used to read as a teenager. My brother had a subscription. It was right around 1990, and the series was The Punisher: War Journal by Jim Lee and Carl Potts. 

The Punisher, a.k.a. Frank Castle, isn't a superhero. He has no superpowers. He's a violent vigilante who brutally dispatches criminals. His Backstory of Infinite Sadness is that his wife and two children were brutally murdered, and now he doesn't GAF what happens to him personally. He's on a suicidal revenge mission (or what designates as "Roaring Rampage of Revenge") -- he just happens to be exceptionally skilled at killing criminals. 

This characterization may remind one of my fictional TV boyfriend John Reese

On the Marvel series, Frank is played by Jon Bernthal, my newest boy crush. He played Shane Walsh on The Walking Dead, but I didn't like Shane Walsh. No one likes Shane Walsh**. Shane Walsh was an abusive asshole.

Jon Bernthal as Al Capone in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
Because as everyone in Hollywood knows, Jews and Italians are interchangeable.

I didn't make it that far into the TV series, but I understand that--SPOILER ALERT--his conflict with Rick ended in a physical fight in which Rick had to kill Shane or be killed himself. Then Shane came back as a zombie. Then Carl, the one of Lori's children whose bio dad is definitely Rick and not Shane, had to re-kill Zombie Shane.

He was a zombie. She was a vampire. They're perfect for each other. 

In this Netflix iteration, Frank Castle -- well, he's kind of an asshole too, what with the brutal vigilante killings and all. He has another side, though, one that's extremely loyal to his family and friends -- and yes, even romantic. Many of his memories of his slain wife Maria are very sweet, and he was clearly a loving, hands-on dad to elder child Lisa and younger child Frank Jr., even though he had to be away from them with the Marine Corps. He was a military dad, but a soft dad nonetheless. 

His friendship with Karen Page is developing into a slow-burn romance, but obviously with quite serious complications, him being a wanted multiple murderer and her a reporter. Karen has become his berserk button - don't dare threaten her. They've saved each others' lives now, and there was a significant forehead touch in an elevator. 

Forehead touches are not sex but often foreshadow sex in the future. They also convey an emotional connection. Frank is really a one-woman-at-a-time type of guy, and his commitment to Maria was deep and genuine and lasted longer than her life. In one scene in which he's badly injured and near death, he remembers dancing with Maria at their wedding. 

Their ship name is Kastle, and I ship it so hard. I really want Frank Castle for Karen Page, not for myself. 


Frank's characterization hits upon several of the tropes that I find particularly delicious: the wounded warrior trope, the outwardly tough guy who's soft as a kitten belly around the right woman, and the woman who's strong enough to stand on her own two feet but inwardly melts when the tough-soft guy's around. Frank Castle is covered in blood, scars, bruises, and stitches most of the time, which is true to the comic books, and WHY DO I LIKE THAT?!? But I do.

And Jon Bernthal is one of my (many) favorite boy types: Yeshiva Boy Who Grew Up Hot. He has clearly been working out for this physically demanding role and as a result has back muscles that look awesome in his many shirtless scenes. He has big, soulful, dark-chocolate brown eyes, and why wouldn't Karen be into a Frank who looks like this? 

Karen and Frank can't possibly have a happily-ever-after ending. I won't pretend I think they're going to end up getting married and having children. One of them probably ends up bleeding out in the other's arms. Vigilantes don't get to grow old gracefully. Ask Mr. Reese. 

I'm asking for heartbreak once again, but I can't help my stupid feelings. I'm shipping Kastle. It'll go right up there with my other OTPs, like CaReese, Destiel, SnowBaz, Johnlock, and all the other shipper nonsense I get myself into, most of which are doomed to end in a puddle of blood and tears. 

P.S. I do highly recommend the Night at the Museum movie trilogy if you haven't seen it already. The third film, one of the last performances of Robin Williams, is especially bittersweet and poignant but ultimately worthwhile. And Rami Malek as the young mummified Egyptian pharaoh Akhmenrah is also quite handsome. 

**Some people probably like Shane Walsh. If you do, I'm not judging. He's fictional. Go for it. 

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