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Tear Jerker / Lindsay Ellis

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  • The Loose Canon episode on 9/11. Unsurprisingly, Lindsay delves into heavy territory regarding a terror attack that claimed 3000 lives and set up many other wide-reaching and destructive events in the years following. It's made worse by the fact that Lindsay is a New Yorker herself and recently experienced a release of suppressed emotions she didn't even know she held back when visiting a museum about 9/11. It's not entirely mournful, but the tragedy of the attack definitely shows.
  • In "RENT - Look Pretty and Do As Little as Possible," Lindsay states throughout the essay that one of the biggest reasons why she hates RENT is because of how much it mitigated a legitimate grievance within America regarding the government's reaction to the AIDS crisis into some unlikable dreck that ultimately misses the point, trying to sanitize a dark historical truth and replacing it with "hip," vague attempts of "sticking it to the man." To illustrate exactly how horrible this is, she begins the first 3-and-a-half minutes of the video discussing the terrible real-world AIDS/HIV crisis of the 1980s in full with no jokes, describing the nation-wide shunning of the LGBT community, the failure of the Reagan administration in treating the massive HIV spread - being told "To look pretty and do as little as possible" - then telling people there was nothing they could've done about it after it had already claimed thousands of victims they blamed as their own fault.
    • To really drive the point home, she closes the video by intercutting "La Vie Boheme" - in which characters loudly celebrate how hip and avant-garde they are - with Larry Kramer's enraged "We are in the middle of a fucking plague!" rant from the documentary How To Survive a Plague.
    • Her little rant towards the end seems to be the most genuinely angry she's been in one of these videos, and for good reason, as she drops a bit of truth on our "heroes".
      Lindsay: A light, user-friendly sort of anarchy does not work in a narrative about the AIDS crisis, because there is nothing noble in extolling the virtues of quietly giving into your disease when there is a system right there that CAN help, and is actively even aggressively failing you but you rejected it because "fuck the man!" I'm not a part of your system! I don't need your protease inhibitors! And that is what "RENT The Movie" ends up being: Sympathetic to an underclass that was violently screwed by the system, but ultimately the embodiment of the voice of the ruling class. That is why a story about homelessness and the AIDS crisis ends up being about "not selling out". It advocates for no revolution, other than the revolution that makes you—as an individual—feel good. It reinforces a worldview that in which the only way to rebel against the system is to reject it, and it might feel good to throw it on the ground, and throw the rest of the cake too. It gives you a sense of power in a world that makes you feel powerless, but in reality the only thing it fosters is actual powerlessness, because in rejecting the system, you are not only failing to take it down, you are also forfeiting any voice within it. RENT takes an inherently political issue and depoliticizes it to create something comforting and consumable. RENT looks pretty, and does as little as possible.
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  • In her "Framing Megan Fox" video, when discussing the sudden replacement of Mikaela with Rosie Huntington-Whitley's Carly after Megan Fox was fired from the franchise when Transformers: Dark of the Moon was almost finished, Lindsay points out that the writing, which gave Huntington-Whitley's character all the plot beats that Mikaela was supposed to have, essentially makes it seem as if the women are not just interchangeable "hood ornaments" to the writers, but to the protagonist. So the conclusion of Mikaela's arc is...coming to realize that her boyfriend doesn't really love her and is just like all the other shitty men she's had to put up with and breaking up with him offscreen. Since she starts the video by explaining that Mikaela is a good character undermined by the camera's relentless sexualization of her, who grows and self-actualizes during the first movie, that's kind of a Downer Ending.
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  • In her video on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Lindsay talks about how this movie affected her, comparing the death of her own father with the death of Yondu.
  • Part 1 of "The Hobbit: A Long-Expected Autopsy" ends as this, with Lindsay summarizing how disappointing and disillusioning The Hobbit trilogy was, especially heartbreaking since The Lord of the Rings trilogy — which was made by much of the same people — was such a massive inspiration to her. She doesn't even really get angry at it, she just feels nothing, making her wonder what even led her to loving The Lord of the Rings and the works of J. R. R. Tolkien in the first place.
    • It then turns into happy tears when Nella shows up as Lindsay is about to leave for New Zealand, echoing the last scene from The Fellowship of the Ring.
    • And then there's the ending of part 3, "The Desolation of Warners", where Lindsay returns home after learning about the exploitation of New Zealand labor that contributed to the making of the Hobbit trilogy. At the very end, she says "Well, I'm back," and stares blankly at her room. It alludes to the ending of The Return of the King, but while that scene was (mostly) uplifting, this one is anything but.
    • The interview with John Callen (actor of Óin in all three films) is also pretty somber. He recalls that while filming the first movie, all the actors had a sense of camaraderie and friendship and looked forward to the rest of the experience. But slowly, as production continued, they realized that the younger characters (most likely Kili, Thorin, Bilbo, etc., though he does not name them) would get more focus above the others. He even states at some point that the rest of the Company actors had become "high-paid extras" at some point.
    • The Reality Subtext of the whole three part analysis is about examining the way that learning, as an adult, about the difficulties from behind the scenes - exploitation, corruption, and just general shittiness - that happened with the things you loved as a child (or really any age) leads to hurt, as if this thing that you loved and considered formative has betrayed you. It's a hard lesson for anyone to learn and take to heart, because, as pointed out, entertainment leads to trusting the creators with their emotions.
      • Then there's the fact that the #ChangeTheChannel document was released around the same time, which ended up being an uncanny mirror to the same situation being spoken about in the analysis.
  • The Last of the Game of Thrones Hot Takes has her dropping the snark when she takes Jon Snow's murder of Daenerys out of context and points out that this is an incredibly uncomfortable parallel to how real life abusers justify what they do to their victims.
  • The closing segments of "Protest Music of the Bush Era" leave on a very bittersweet note, driven by the observation of how both protest music and the world at large resigned to defeat following George W. Bush's reelection, instead skewing towards music that ultimately enabled their passivity, even when they try to also be reassuring of the future. While Lindsay points out that more proactive music has since emerged in its own right following The New '10s, she points out how part of the reason why is because in light of ongoing turmoil in the world since then, more and more have come to realize that no, not everyone will make it. To wit, she ends with "For Now"... playing over footage of destruction throughout Iraq.
  • Her impassioned speech at the end of her Cats video about how live theatre is going through a golden age becomes much less optimistic in light of the global pandemic not only closing theatre everywhere, but crippling it for years to come.
  • The ending of "How Aladdin Changed Animation (by Screwing Over Robin Williams)" serves as a tribute to the man and the pure heart, not the money or the bankability, that went into his role as the Genie.
  • The latter half of "Mask Off" goes full raw Sincerity Mode (with little to no jokes) especially since it involves her feeling compelled to resurface some really painful, personal trauma especially involving her being sexually assaulted in the past in order to explain the creation of a video people were condemning for making light of the topic...which, she reveals, was published without her consent. She especially gives a major "The Reason You Suck" Speech to those who actively participate in (for lack of a better word) cancel culture for the purposes of power-play rather than any activism that seeks to change actively the world.
    Lindsay: "You... know this is just entertainment to you, right?"
    • A particularly charged sequence in the video has her saying that her Tweet, the one that caused her to leave Twitter and experience harassment, was not only not racist, it had nothing to do with race, but with the character archetype of Zuko and the Heel–Face Turn becoming more prevalent in fantasy. While she doesn't say it outright, the clear implication is that the suffering she endured was All for Nothing.
    • She gets very emotional defending her friends Jenny Nicholson and Sarah Z, who had also received a substantial portion of the mob's ire, pointing out how patently unfair it is to target them for the perceived slight of them remaining friends with Lindsay and supporting her. Lindsay also acknowledges that she received a lot of her current ire from defending her friend Natalie when a similar situation had happened the previous year, and just about breaks down when pointing out how insane it is to be attacked for wanting to support her friend (which, as she mentions, she'd do again in a heartbeat).
    • She begins the closing chapter of the video by acknowledging anti-Asian racism, showing a casually racist and transphobic tweet from Mike Huckabee, appended with a statement from a friend who asked for white people to imagine having to endure that kind of abuse every day (as people of color do). Lindsay sounds like she's close to tears as she acknowledges that very point.

Outside YouTube

  • In the episode of her podcast "Musical Slpaining" about the Beetlejuice musical adaptation, Lindsay tears up while talking about the grief process that Lydia's character goes through, and how it's an internal process but that needs external validation, remembering her own grief at her father's passing.


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