What I’ve been Watching: The Book of Boba Fett
I should have posted this last week, but that was all taken up with talking about Steam demos. I actually finished it only a few days after The Mandalorian. Technically I should be posting that too, but I have more thoughts on that and I want to post them in full later.
I’m at a loss to understand why this was made. It’s maybe a little cynical of me, to assume that all shows are meant to feed into a sequel and a larger universe, but in fairness, it becomes evident in the last two episodes that the show is meant to be part of the Mandalorian tv show (indeed, some parts of it don’t really make sense unless you’ve seen The Mandalorian.)
I had assumed, viewing the trailers, that the show would be a sort of “crime lord in the Star Wars universe” as a smart Boba Fett drew on his years of bounty hunting to outmanuever local crime lords and build alliances. I pictured far-reaching smuggling operations, dodging Republic cops, gang wars with casts of anonymous gunhands killing each other in street battles.
And that’s… not what it is. Boba Fett is kind of clueless when it comes to crime-lording, indeed his lieutenant assassin knows more about it than he does, as well as his assistant droid. I’m doubtful as to what even makes him a crime lord, apart from owning Jabba’s palace and a blaster. He seems to have a lot of money, but where from, I can’t imagine. There’s no contraband, no source of income, no leverage. Yet he goes around everywhere declaring he’s the new Daimyo, like the guy who declared himself Emperor of the United States. He says he wanted to make a house where bounty hunters weren’t being hired by idiots and people weren’t constantly killing each other, but… it really seems weird that a former BOUNTY HUNTER would have the attitude that people shouldn’t issue bounties.
Honestly Book of Boba Fett feels very disney-fied, like they didn’t want to actually imply crime in a series about a crime lord. I can’t recall anyone using the word “daimyo” in reference to Jabba in the movies, and all of Boba Fett’s talk mostly revolves around protecting people and earning their respect–he doesn’t even mention taxes (though various “tributes” are expected from the local crime lords.)
Why couldn’t ex-bounty-hunter Boba Fett call on a network of bounty hunters he presumably knew and turn Mos Eisley into a bounty hunter hub of sorts? Maybe use his connections with the Tuskens to establish a treaty with the Tuskens–or use an army of them? So many possibilities, so much wasted potential.
What I’ve (Also) Been Watching: Phineas and Ferb
Originally my plan, after watching the Disney-owned Star Wars series, was to watch the Disney-owned series Loki. Or maybe Hawkeye, which my brother assures me is the best (Disney-owned) Marvel series. But it’s been a… difficult week. I try not to talk about my job too much, as that seems unprofessional, but I can at least mention that I dislocated my shoulder last weekend and that’s seriously impacted what I can do.
I mean, I can still watch tv shows. The point, though, is that I felt sort of down and I didn’t want to start a plot-heavy superhero mini-series with intricate premises. I just wanted to watch something fun and goofy. So I turned on Phineas and Ferb, which I discovered (and loved) when it was on Netflix.
Also Disney owns them too.
The show is simple fun, yet quirk and personable–not a stereotypical kids educational program. Phineas is a highly intelligent protagonist who never comes across as arrogant (unlike, say, Dexter), which gives the show a lightly educational nature, inspiring kids to higher achievement levels. And his relentless optimism and good nature infects the whole show, making even the erstwhile villain, Dr. Doofenschmirtz, not just harmless but legitimately lovable. Phineas is very much a kid, in that he finds everything about the world fun and exciting.
I like to muse on why the show works so well, especially with younger kids. Is it the fantasy of being smart and influential, or treated as a grown-up? (“Aren’t you a little young to build a roller coaster?”) The feeling of “getting one over” on one’s older siblings? I know when I was little I loved to fantasy about big and fantastical creations, and frequently fought or argued with my older siblings (might just be a guy thing, that.) It’s also interesting how the show remains fresh despite constantly following the same routine and using the same gags. Sometimes they invert the running gags, sometimes they comment on it, but the repetition somehow manages to be comfortable instead of tiresome.
Typing this up, what’s mostly hit me is the way Ferb functions within the show. He says virtually nothing, and has no character progression or real dynamic. Phineas says everything, chooses every invention, makes every observation–everything happens to HIM. It seems like Phineas should be a clear main character, and Ferb come across as simply a hyper-talented sidekick. But it doesn’t, and I’m interested in how they manage that. Maybe it’s that Ferb is portrayed as super-talented at everything and never really dependent on Phineas or anyone. Maybe it’s just that Phineas and Ferb are nearly always pictured together, so that it’s tough to think of Phineas as his own character. Maybe it’s the way everyone in the show treats Ferb as an equal, or the way Phineas himself clearly adores his brother. But Ferb feels like a main character, and that makes the show less ego-centric. It’s not about a single genius boy like Jimmy Neutron or Johnny Quest. It’s about two brothers–even if one of them does all the talking and all the decisions.
Well. I can’t say the show is underrated, as it was wildly popular while it was running, but I think it’s a fun and endearing cartoon that more people should revisit. The plots are not intricate, but the characters are endearing, and the world is bright and cheerful.