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The Week in Geek: Universes ended, memories wiped, and podcasts beginning

Contributed by
Jan 25, 2019

We did it! The end of another week. Here in New York, it went from feeling like it was in the negative degrees to being in the 50s. That's normal, right? Everything is great!

Anyway, let's not talk about the weather. Let's talk about the news. The nerdy news. Here they are, the five biggest stories from ... The Week in Geek!

$340,000 STREAM FOR DONKEY 64 AND TRANS RIGHTS

Over the weekend, YouTuber Hbomberguy (or Harris Brewis if you like real names or whatever) took to Twitch for 57 straight hours with two hopes: To finally completely beat his archnemesis in the Nintendo game Donkey Kong 64, and also to raise money for Mermaids, a U.K.-based charity that provides resources and support to both transgender and gender-diverse children as well as their families.

This happened for a reason; it wasn't just a whim. The National Lottery was supposed to give £500,000 to the organization until the former creator of shows like Father Ted and The IT Crowd, Graham Linehan, decided to go on a crusade to prevent it. Linehan began posting to a parenting website encouraging mothers to reach out to the National Lottery and complain about Mermaids being supported.

And with this going on at the same time as the United States Supreme Court pushing through Donald Trump's plan to deny transgender people the right to serve in the military, it's easy to feel scared, angry, and frustrated. So thank goodness for Brewis and "thank goodness for Donkey Kong 64," a thing nobody ever expected to say. After 57 hours of streaming, wherein numerous online celebrities, transgender voices including Chelsea Manning and Natalie Wynn, and even New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez all joined the stream in support, about $340,000 was raised in support of Mermaids.

So if you've been feeling stressed, just remember that there are also people who would raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support children in need. And also to own Graham Linehan through Donkey Kong 64 GIFs. And that's nice.

Black Panther premiere cast - Getty

Ian West/Getty Images

BLACK PANTHER NOMINATED FOR BEST PICTURE

Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards were announced this week. Lots of genre movies made appearances on the list of nominees, including Mary Poppins Returns, First Man, A Quiet Place, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Avengers: Infinity War, Ready Player One, and even Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Sorry, Aquaman. No soup for you.

But I'll tell you who got all the soup: Black Panther! Ryan Coogler's superhero masterpiece racked up seven nominations, including ones for Costume Design, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Original Score, Production Design, Original Song ... and Best Picture.

Black Panther is the first superhero movie to be nominated under the Best Picture category, proving, once again, that Black Panther is not done achieving incredible milestones.

IS STEVEN UNIVERSE OVER?

**SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers for Steven Universe below**

After a brief two-week hiatus, Steven Universe finished off its fifth (and potentially final) season with a one-hour episode called "Battle of Heart and Mind." It was a landmark episode for the animated series for many reasons, not least of which is that most Steven Universe episodes are only 10 minutes long. It featured gem fusions we've never seen, answered enormous questions about the nature of the show, and virtually wrapped every loose strand up into a nice bow.

Is Steven really his mother, Pink Diamond? No! Can the Diamonds see reason and respect the concept of gem fusion as well as all life on Earth? Yes!

"Battle of Heart and Mind" saw the return of many of Steven Universe's team both behind the scenes and within the narrative. It also summed up everything positive about the show. It ended on a song about self-respect, self-love, and a simple request from those who can muster neither respect nor love for those different from themselves: Change your mind.

And even though a Steven Universe movie is coming before the end of 2019, this kind of feels like the end. We started with a boy eating cat-faced ice cream sandwiches and we ended on an interplanetary adventure about respecting people's identities, no matter what names, genders, or sexualities were assumed of them at birth. Not bad, show. Not bad.

DAVID TENNANT DOES A PODCAST WITH ...

It was revealed this week that 10th Doctor and charming man about town David Tennant is doing a podcast. It's called "David Tennant Does a Podcast With." Nice. We know that the first episode will feature his Broadchurch co-star and often-queen Olivia Colman. Other episodes will include Whoopi Goldberg, John Hamm, Gordon Brown, Michael Sheen, Ian McKellen, Samantha Bee, Krysten Ritter, and Jodie Whittaker.

It's a bold move, this virtual unknown (what's his name, Davey Tennsywennsy?) trying to break into the highly competitive sport of podcasting. (Sarcasm.)

Anyway, the first episode with Olivia Colman will drop next week. Try not to regenerate until then.

EVERYONE SAYS "WHO ARE YOU?"

**SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers for The Magicians, Supergirl, and The Good Place below**

Not one, not two, but three different shows all had mind-wipe or mind-wipe-adjacent plotlines this week. The Magicians began its fourth season with most of its protagonists in what is basically a magical witness protection program. The biggest part of the magic is that, in addition to assuming new identities, the characters themselves also believe they have always had those identities.

Likewise, on Supergirl, it became clear that too many people are aware of Supergirl's secret identity, Kara Danvers, after Colonel Haley uses that information to try and force Supergirl to fall in line. The result is that everyone from the DEO (except Brainy) has their minds wiped of the information that Kara is Supergirl — including Kara's sister, Alex. It's a huge moment, alienating Kara from the person she loves most and leaving her feeling lost during a time when aliens like her are more hated on Earth than ever.

And on the Season 3 finale of The Good Place, as the Soul Squad began planning stages for building their own test Good Place in order to reaffirm humanity's capacity for, y'know, good, it becomes clear that Chidi would obstruct that plan by being too nervous about the unexpected arrival of his ex-girlfriend, Simone. As a result, Chidi had his mind wiped, thus losing memories of all the growth he's made, all the friends he's connected with, and of the love he's found with Eleanor.

Chidi and Eleanor have found each other again and again throughout the show's three seasons, which cover countless reboots and memory wipes, but neither of them has any way of knowing if it will happen this time, if Chidi will fall in love with an Eleanor who doesn't need him to be her ethical center. The episode, titled "Pandemonium," is a reminder that there are no easy answers, no certainties absolute. Just the reality that we must carry on, regardless of circumstance. Smile, though our hearts are breaking. Smile, even though they're aching.

Maybe the reason there's so many mind-wipe stories lately is that all of our lives have become so complicated that we find ourselves uncertain and unknowing of not just the world around us, but of our own hearts and minds. Maybe this is our TV universe reminding us that that's okay, even when it's not okay. Sometimes that's just life. The only way through is forward.

Jeremy Bearimy, baby. Even when there are clouds in the sky, we'll get by.

That's it. Thanks for reading. See you next time.


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