(Photo credit: CBS)
JUST ADD COLOR reader Natasha Polsinelli has provided our first reader-submitted Man Crush Monday, Shemar Moore!
Moore is the star of CBS’ S.W.A.T., the same show that has our other Man Crush Monday highlight, David Lim. Moore has had a long career in Hollywood, starring on The Young and the Restless, Criminal Minds, and as the host of Soul Train from 1999 to 2003.
On S.W.A.T., Moore stars as Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson, a former Marine and S.W.A.T. sergeant who is the leader of his unit in his hometown of Los Angeles. Hondo is, according to CBS, “[t]orn between loyalty to where he was raised and allegiance to his brothers and blue,” but under Hondo’s leadership, “these dedicated men and women bravely put themselves at risk to protect their community and save lives.”
Moore has won eight NAACP Image Awards and uses his starpower to bring awareness to multiple sclerosis after his mother was diagnosed in 1998. As the spokesperson for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Moore has been a part of the organization’s annual charity Bike MS ride from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles and donates a portion of his “Baby Girl” clothing line to the organization.
Photo credit: Annie Edmonds
Any S.W.A.T. fans here? If you’re a S.W.A.T. regular viewer, then you already know actor David Lim. Lim plays Victor Tan, a new officer who earned his stripes in the Hollywood Division before moving to the LAPD and Metro S.W.A.T. team.
Lim’s talents lie beyond just acting. Before becoming a member of the S.W.A.T. team, Lim was signed to Ford Models and moved to L.A. to pursue both modeling and acting. Lim has appeared in several commercials for Gillette, McDonald’s, Bud Light, Apple, and Dave and Buster’s. He’s also been a part of ABC’s Quantico playing new CIA recruit Sebastian Chen.
You want to get in shape like Lim? He’s got you covered with the perfect squat you can add to your leg day exercises.
As I’ve stated in my SlashFilm review, I’ve always been a Star Trek fan ever since I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation with my dad about 20 years ago. But while Jean-Luc Picard will always be my favorite Star Trek captain ever (who can say no to Patrick Stewart and the way he commanded with calm authority?), Picard has to battle Spock for the title of favorite Star Trek character ever.
The reason? Because as a half human, half Vulcan, Spock has had to battle his reason with his human emotions, emotions that had the potential to get (and, in the reboot films, has gotten) the best of him. The battle between raging emotions and cold reason is a battle I face constantly. Never did I think Star Trek would continue to crystallize this struggle in such a poignant way, but the franchise succeeded again with Star Trek: Discovery‘s Michael Burnham and her relationship to her father figure (and Spock’s future father) Sarek.
I’ve stated many times on this site and in other publications about how much of my love for Star Trek stems from its ability to showcase varying struggles that exist under the umbrella of “diversity.” Thankfully, the franchise also includes psychological diversity as well, as is the case with the Vulcan race. The Vulcans have stood for many things to many viewers. Some see the Vulcans and their occasional misunderstandings as a way to thoughtfully approach the autism spectrum. Others see the Vulcans as simply uppity living cardboard figures. Speaking personally, the Vulcans have always shown a light on two of my big personal struggles–perfectionism and the highly sensitive (or even empathic) mind.
The running joke my sister and I have is that I’m a Vulcan. In fact, when I said it as self-deprication a few years ago, my sister replied thoughtfully, “You know what? I agree with that.”
I’ve always been a deep thinker, and too many times, that thinking has either gotten me in some type of mental trouble or made me appear as unable to connect with the “normal” outside world. Sometimes, I feel like I can’t connect with the outside world, because I’m so wrapped up in how other people feel, how I feel, and how to best convey those feelings to people who might not have emotions that run as deeply as mine do. As psychiatrist and Emotional Freedom author Judith Orloff accurately described, “It’s like feeling something with 50 fingers as opposed to 10. You have more receptors to feel things.”
Believe it or not, it’s not easy being a feeler, and our Western society makes sure it’s tougher than it has to be. As a society,we value loudness over softness, action over reflection, and doing over being. The stereotypes of a highly sensitive person make us out to be gooey bundles of mush that can’t defend ourselves because we’re supposedly so much weaker than the “average” person. That’s not the case–we aren’t weak. We’re actually quite strong. But you wouldn’t know it from how much emphasis people put on having an extroverted outlook and put down those of us who are reserved within ourselves.
All this leads to is, aside from a smattering of depression, a bad case of perfectionism. I call myself a “recovering perfectionist” now, but for a long time, I’ve been investigating where my perfectionism came from. I’d have to say that there are a lot of reasons for it, but one of them is because I’ve used perfectionism as a bad coping mechanism for the harsh world who can’t handle tears. I grew up comparing myself to others who I thought were better than me simply because they could they naturally handled emotions in a different way than I did. I didn’t realize that the way I handled my emotions was simply my nature–it’s as much an integral part of me as my black skin is. After growing into adulthood I’ve realized that there’s no reason to try to change myself, since my emotions work just like how they’re supposed to work. They are part of the inner strength that help make me a better version of myself each day.
Michael Burnham seems tailor made for this type of exploration of inner strength. I see in her what I’ve seen in me all the time. I see her struggle to adapt to her Vulcan upbringing and tamp down her human (i.e. emotional) self. I see her struggle to fit in with her Vulcan peers, possibly feeling a lack of self-esteem at not being like the others. I see the shadow of perfectionism that showed itself as cockiness when she first enters the U.S.S. Shenzhou–you can tell she thinks she knows everything about everything because she’s been the first human to graduate from the Vulcan academies and excel amid intense pressure and a stacked deck. I also see her struggle to understand that her humanness–her emotions–is what makes her great.
Her struggle against emotions is also apparent in Sarek and other Vulcans. Big fans of Star Trek know that Vulcans do, in fact, feel. As Memory-Alpha states:
“Contrary to stereotype, Vulcans did possess emotions; indeed, Vulcan emotions were far more intense, violent, and passionate than those of many other species, including even Humans. It was this passionate, explosive emotionality that Vulcans blamed for the vicious cycle of wars which nearly devastated their planet. As such, they focused their mental energies on mastering them.”
Vulcans, including human-born/Vulcan-raised members like Michael and Vulcan-human hybrids like Spock, always suffered with deep-running emotions. Here on planet Earth, there are tons of folks like me who always seem to be drowning in their own emotions, even as we attempt to tamp them down. The actual suffering doesn’t come from the emotions themselves, but from the attempt to control them. But if you unleash those emotions, then what? The fear of being out of control in any fashion is what, sadly, keeps the suffering going. It’s the Vulcans’ own fear of a lack of self-control that keeps them perpetuating what is essentially a culture of emotional abuse and intense perfectionism over and over. The aspiration to be the ultimate Vulcan, as it were, is what causes Vulcans to stay at war with themselves.
The Vulcan brain can also be a scary place to be due to their intense emotions. Again, to quote Memory-Alpha:
“The Vulcan brain was described as ‘a puzzle, wrapped inside an enigma, house inside a cranium.’ This had some basis in fact, as the Vulcan brain was composed of many layers…Unlike most humanoid species, traumatic memories were not only psychologically disturbing to Vulcans, but had physical consequences as well. The Vulcan brain, in reordering neural pathways, could literally lobotomize itself.”
The human brain can’t lobotomize itself (although it can block highly traumatic memories from ever reaching the surface), but his description of the Vulcan brain, especially the part about how much of a puzzle it is, fits the highly emotional mind as well. A mind that is constantly drenched in deep emotion is a mind that is mystery even to itself. The fact that there’s science spearheaded by the leading HSP expert, Dr. Elaine Aron, that show that the highly sensitive person has a hypersensitive wired nervous system and empathy-targeted brain is evidence that the highly sensitive mind is an overactive (and sometimes over-reactive) place. Also, like Vulcans, those who consider themselves highly sensitive or even empathic have extremely strong reactions to events as well as the mundane, due to the fact that–like Vulcans–we can usually sense the emotions of others.
However, with all of this going on, it’s fascinating that Sarek still saw the value in human emotions, so much so that he entrusted his ward to Capt. Georgiou in an attempt to give her the human experiences she never had. It’s also poignant to note that he only shows his true emotions to those closest to him, like when he does his best to hold back a proud smile as he introduces Michael to Georgiou for the first time. Or when he reveals to Michael through their mental connection his regret at not showing her the emotional support she needed throughout her life. His statements are made simply, but you can see the depth of feeling there. You can tell how much he loves Michael and does truly believe in her, like any good father would. Like any parent, he’s made mistakes in raising his child, and he’s emotionally intelligent enough to be able to admit that–and his emotional state surrounding this fact–to Michael. As we already know from Star Trek, Sarek sees a lot of admirable qualities in humans, so much so that he married one and had a child. Perhaps it was raising Michael that helped him open his eyes to the importance of having a balance between emotion and reason.
Showing Sarek reveal his emotional side to Michael, and Michael revealing her emotions to Georgiou, brings up another point about highly sensitive people, or at least, someone like me–it’s difficult showing your full self to the public. It’s much easier–and much more intimate–to show the full extent of your emotions to those closest to you, to those who understand you. Not everyone realizes that emotions aren’t there to be played with or used against the person; we highly sensitive people only feel safest revealing ourselves to those who mean the most to us in our lives. Those people have earned the right to know us as we are, and that is a coveted position to hold. In Star Trek terms, it is a coveted position to have a Vulcan as a friend, because they will probably be extremely loyal to you because of the position you hold in their life.
The scene between Sarek and Michael in the mind meld was extremely special for me. It hit home in a way I didn’t expect that scene to do. It made me feel like I finally have someone who understands my personal struggle on television, and she’s also a black woman. It showcases a different side to blackness that is rarely seen on television (so much so that tons of Star Trek fanbros are up in arms over Michael leading the series). She’s not loud or brash. She’s not sexually promiscuous. She’s not even funny, really. She’s a no-nonsense, yet naive woman who is still trying to find herself amid her place between two cultures. She’s ‘a puzzle, wrapped inside an enigma, house inside a cranium,’ and it’s good to see someone like her exist in our pop culture. She lets other black women like me, women with Vulcan brains, know that not only are they just fine, but they can–yes, I’m saying it–live long and prosper. ??
Gina Rodriguez is making moves and preparing to educate the viewing public on immigration rights in the process.
According to Jezebel, the Jane the Virgin star has sold two shows with immigration as its focus. The first, Have Mercy, is based on a German series format and tells the story of an immigrant Latina doctor who opens her own clinic after working as a nurse’s assistant. This show has been sold to CBS, which, combined with Gloria Calderon Kellett’s History of Them, makes CBS’ new commitment to diversity seem a little more legitimate.
The second, Illegal, has been sold to The CW and is based on the life of Jane the Virgin writer and co-executive producer Rafael Agustin, who immigrated to America from Ecuador and discovered his undocumented status while attending high school.
According to The Hollywood Reporter Illegal will be an hourlong dramedy and is currently in development.
Earlier in the week, I wrote about John Leguizamo’s op-ed in Billboard calling people to action to support and uplift Latinx voices in the media. If you’ve been wondering how to do that, here’s the perfect opportunity—a new show centering on Latinx characters is coming to CBS, and it’s going to need your support.
One Day at a Time co-creator Gloria Calderon Kellett has announced that she’s bringing a new multi-camera/hybrid comedy to CBS called History of Them. According to Remezcla (via Deadline), the show will revolve around a “Latinx and white” multicultural relationship “told through the eyes of the couple’s future daughter as she navigates their social media feeds.” As Remezcla writes, the show is, like One Day at a Time, “semi-autobiographical to Calderon Kellett’s life.”
So excited to write this!! Thank you Sony, CBS & Odenkirk +Provissiero Ent.! https://t.co/dyM8UYny58
— Glo Calderon Kellett (@everythingloria) August 24, 2017
CBS has gotten tons of flack for not having enough diversity in their line-up, particularly for how their current line-up of shows failed to have women in leading roles or directing/behind-the-scenes roles. With History of Them, CBS seems to be trying to mitigate their bad press and do right by underrepresented groups.
History of Them currently doesn’t have a filming date, much less a premiere date, but whenever the show does premiere, we need to do our best to support it in whatever way we can. The second season of Calderon Kellett’s One Day at a Time premieres in 2018, another chance to throw our support behind Latinx talent.
Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, stars of CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 have decided to leave the show before its official eighth season return.
The two left the series–which they were a part of since its 2010 premiere–after receiving a final contract offer that was reportedly 10 to 15 percent lower than white co-stars Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin. O’Loughlin and Caan also have deals that allow them to make more money–their back-end deals allow them to earn a portion of the show’s profits. It’s currently unclear as to whether Kim and Park had similar deals as well.
Hawaii Five-0 executive producer Peter Lenkov released a statement on Kim and Park’s departure:
“I will never forget meeting Daniel while still writing the pilot and being certain there was no other actor who I’d want to play Chin Ho Kelly. Needless to say, Daniel has been an instrumental part of the success of Hawaii Five-0 over the past seven seaons and it has personlly been a privilege to know him. Grace’s presence gave Hawaii Five-0 a beauty and serenity to each episode. She was the consummate collaborator, helping build her character from day one. They will always be ohana to us, we will miss them and we wish them both all the best.”
Kim has issued a statement on his Facebook page:
CBS has since fired back at the accusations of stiffing Park and Kim in a statement saying that the actors were given large pay increases:
“Daniel and Grace have been important and valued members of Hawaii Five-0 for seven seasons. We did not want to lose them and tried very hard to keep tthem with offers for large and significant salary increases. While we could not reach an agreement, we part ways with tremendous respect for their talents on screen, as well as their roles as ambassadors for the show off screen, and with hopes to work with them again in the near future.”
The first trailer for Star Trek:Discovery is out, and it’s everything I’d hoped it would be and more!
Long-time sci-fi fans who also happen to be women of color know just how rare it is to see a woman of color in the Captain’s Chair. With Star Trek, the closest we’ve gotten is Lt. Nyota Uhura, who manned the communications for the Enterprise. She wasn’t a captain (until much, much later in the Star Trek canon), but she was on the bridge, showing young girls that they too could shoot for the stars (even if you’d only end up hitting the clouds).
This go round, we have female captain and a female first officer in Star Trek: Discovery. Michelle Yeoh plays Captain Georgiou and Sonequa Martin-Green plays Commander Michael Burnham. Here’s more about the show from ExtremeTech:
“Star Trek: Discovery is set ten years before the events of the original series and takes place in the original timeline, not the alternate future the Romulan Nero created when he traveled back in time, killed George Kirk, and later destroyed Vulcan. Its lead character is Commander Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Unlike previous Star Trek shows, Discovery won’t deliberately focus on the captain (or space station commander) as its protagonist. Her nickname, “Number One,” is a delibarate homage to the character of the same name from the Star Trek pilott “The Cage,” as played by Majel Barrettt. Burnham is human, but was raised on Vulcan by Vulcans, which explains some of the setting of this trailer.”
What I love about this first look and synopsis, aside from it just being Star Trek, is that it seems like there will be (or there is the potential for there is to be) a nuanced look at race, culture, and the push and pull of the two. All of this seems to be embodied in Martin-Green’s character. Of course, in the future, everyone’s post-racial to a degree. But Since we’re in 2017, I like how Burnham is a black woman who is 1) not defined by an American stereotype of “blackness,” and 2) has a struggle between her humanness and her cultural upbringing on Vulcan. I think this type of character could appeal to many audience members who have grown up wrestling with parts of their identity that society wants to put at odds with each other; maybe the most analogous situation is a trans-racial adoptee who recognizes that they are not the same race as their parents, but have grown up in their parents’ culture instead of the culture everyone expects from them.
On the whole, though, it’s just fun to see two women running the show. Both actors have proven themselves time and again (Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon among her other films, Martin-Green’s character Sasha on The Walking Dead), and it’s so rewarding to see two women of color hold down the fort in a genre that is still dominated by white men. I can’t wait to see them in action.
What do you think about Star Trek: Discovery? Give your opinions in the comments section below! Star Trek: Discovery debuts with a two-part season premiere this fall on CBS, with the full season airing on CBS All Access.
It’s getting close to the fall TV season, so I spent part of the weekend actually developing my fall TV viewing/reviewing/recapping schedule (instead of what I usually do, which is wing everything the weekend before fall TV starts).
So, for everyone who loves reading my recaps and viewpoints on TV (and like interacting with me with my live-tweeting), there’s THE OFFICIAL COLOR SCHEDULE!
(All times listed are CT since I’m in the central time zone)