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Tim C
Sun, May 19, 2019, 6:15am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Crossfire

Watched this one last night cause I was in a bad mood and wanted to see somebody in a worse one. Wasn't disappointed! Remains one of my favourite episodes of the show. Unrequited love, to put it delicately, fucking sucks, and Auberjonois' performance with Echevarria's writing give us a devastatingly on-point depiction of it.
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Tim C
Sun, Apr 28, 2019, 3:15am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

Not too bad. I liked it! I especially liked that it wasn't really Ed, but Claire who was the real saviour of the universe.

When I look back on the entire season, though, my feelings aren't as positive. It was better than the first season, but only slightly; many of original gripes with the show are still present. The mashup of humour and drama is frequently awkward, the ship itself still looks like a cheap fan-made knockoff of the Enterprise D, the acting is all over the map, and it still feels far too familiar far too often.

Should the show be renewed for season 3, I hope they can follow the example set by "Sanctuary" (a triumph of episodic sci-fi, I thought), and focus more on building out their own unique universe, with their own unique sense of humour, instead of the bargain-basement "TNG, but with lame sitcom gags!" that we were too frequently served up in the past.
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Tim C
Sat, Apr 27, 2019, 6:12am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

You were more charitable than I thought you'd be, Jammer! Great review.

As for my fellow Commenters. RE: star ratings, I have it on good authority that there's a review of Star Trek Nemesis on THIS VERY SITE that has a higher rating than zero minus fifty. If we're going to revolt and burn the place down over the arbitrary number system, I feel like that's rightfully the first stop, right before the Undiscovered Country review, BECAUSE WHY DIDN'T YOU GIVE IT FOUR STARS JAMMER THAT MOVIE IS PERFECT AND YOU ARE A BAD PERSON FOR NOT LIKING IT AS MUCH AS ME
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Tim C
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

You're missing my point, and deliberately so, I suspect. The fact that you *can* fanwank away a plot hole or nitpick doesn't always excuse having to do it in the first place, and DSC leaves quite a few of these logic gaps in its wake. Now that we've got 29 episodes in the can, it's starting to look like a habit.

I'm not particularly interested in having a last-word Internet fight with someone as eagerly combative and quick to make things personal as yourself; when it comes to entertainment value, everything is ultimately subjective so there's not much point. So I'll leave it at that.
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Tim C
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Alan, when the viewer has to do as many mental contortions as you've been valiantly performing over the course of this season in order to backfill gaps in storytelling logic, I wouldn't call it successful storytelling. This doesn't mean the show can't be *entertaining*, or even thought-provoking; just that when the writers have left it up to us to fanwank away some relatively glaring contradictions, they're not doing their job properly.

I like the show. I applaud that it has had the creative courage to forge its own distinct identity as Epic Action Trek, as opposed to following the VOY/early ENT/Orville route of just duplicating the TNG model. But far too often, when a reasonable audience member might ask "Huh?", the show just reaches over and cranks the volume to 11 and pretends it can't hear you. I would hold up the conclusion to "The Sound Of Thunder" as a prime example of this phenomenon, where the spectacle was very impressive but just left me in the audience going "wait wait wait wait!"

This overlong and overindulgent two-part finale has been the ultimate expression of the problem, and people are dinging it accordingly. I wouldn't go as far as some in calling it awful; I feel that there's been a lot to like, primarily in the acting department, and the spectacle is on a ridiculously sumptuous visual scale.

But at a certain point, you can't just keep giving a pass to all these logical nitpicks. They stack up. Especially in a serialised narrative like this one, the damage to one's suspension of disbelief is cumulative, and leaving reasonable questions unanswered (like, "Why do nanobots have to be delivered into the eye?" or "How are these shuttles getting around so quick?" or "How exactly do those red signals that kicked off the entire season's storyline work?") doesn't make me think the writers are encouraging us to come up with the answers ourselves. It makes me think they never bothered to ask the question. It's either an insult to our intelligence, or an indictment of theirs.

This show has all the tools at its disposal to make something great. It has excellent actors, amazing production values, and a generous budget. The only missing ingredient is tighter writing. I hope that in season three, they can deliver it.
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Tim C
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

TBH Brandon Adams, I was on the fence myself for awhile, but I figured it would just be *too* shamelessly fan service, even for this show.
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Tim C
Sat, Apr 20, 2019, 4:35am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Booming: "I guess people were crying all the time out of happiness during season 2."

I think the biggest moment of pure optimism and happiness in season two of Disco for me was when Michael Burnham was strapped to a chair screaming in pain as her skin burned off and she choked to death on poison fumes, while everyone else stood around watching without anyone even asking if maybe they could turn the volume down. ☺☻

Okay, in all seriousness, there was the occasional flash of traditional Trek spirit this year. The science mission in "Brother", deciding to trust the sphere in "Obol". I don't need that all the time, but I would hope that season three can move us away from galaxy-destroying threats to something a bit smaller scale.

I bet you five hundred quatloos that it won't though!
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 6:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

I cringed at a couple of those quotes in the interview too. Kurtzman's heart genuinely seems to be in the right place, and I don't doubt his credentials as a Trek fan, but the lack of self-awareness is sometimes utterly baffling. Hopefully with a new (co) showrunner next year, some of those less desirable creative impulses will be reined in.

The one that really got me was:

"We will definitely be exploring who inherits that chair. Obviously, there's a very loaded look between Saru and Burnham. They're both qualified in very different ways, and that's something we'll explore."

No exploration needed. That's Saru's damn chair! He's earned it.
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Just in case anybody missed it (some of the commenters seem to have): yes, the show was renewed for season three, and yes, it's taking place in the future with the Discovery crew.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/star-trek-discovery-season-2-finale-time-jump-explained-1203166
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 6:33am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Not a terrible episode, but nothing to write home about it either, which is disappointing after last week's terrific entry. I'm more intrigued about what the consequences of that ending will be when we get to next week's season finale.

I did enjoy Kelly and Dr. Finn's conversation about what it means to get older. I turned 35 this year, and I'm the most comfortable I've ever been with regards to myself and my ambitions and how they're working out. That was definitely not the case ten years ago, and when I reflect on how I would deal with my younger self were we ever to cross paths, I feel like my feelings would be exactly like Our Kelly: I'd more than likely just be driven up the wall by my younger self's completely different view of the world and I don't think there's any way young me would listen to a word I had to say.

So even though the episode wasn't great, there was some interesting food for thought.
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 4:00am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

2.5 stars. It's the opposite of the first season finale`, which was insanely rushed; this was too padded and felt a bit flaccid. When we started getting "2001: A Clip Show Odyssey" in the middle of our Ultimate Space Battle To The Death, I was actively irritated. I've been watching all year, show; I don't need to go on a greatest hits tour. (That said, the trippy visuals were awesome.)

Additionally, the entire subplot with the torpedo and Admiral Cornwell felt completely unnecessary and could have been deleted entirely with no loss to the episode. And I don't buy the denouement, where it's revealed the reason we never hear of the spore drive again is because Starfleet are keeping it hush hush: it makes no sense at all for them to abandon such incredible technology, especially when it had nothing to do with the threat from Control in the first place!

I was also confused by the logistics of the space battle, which is a consequence of filling the screen with a billion fighters, I think. This episode could have been greatly improved with some more restraint, but I think we've learned that's not a word this show is familiar with, for better AND worse.

There was plenty of good on display here though. The opening minutes with the frantic rush to assemble the suit under a ticking clock were excellent, and appropriately heart-pounding. All the performances were on point, as usual, and the battle certainly looked fantastic, if not particularly logically depicted.

Season 2 as a whole? 2.5 stars also. It's probably not going to be the majority opinion, but I think that season 1 was a more ambitious and memorable story, for all its flaws, and it also had the virtue of novelty, being the first new TV Trek in over a decade. Season 1's central mysteries were built around characters, whereas Season 2 gave us a more traditional sci-fi conundrum, and felt more ho-hum as a result. I was far more invested in learning more about Captain Lorca than I ever was in how they were going to technobabble their way out of a fight against Star Trek's version of the Terminator, a story whose facets we've seen in many prior episodes, from all those TOS "AI gone wrong" plots, to the Borg, to ENT's Temporal Cold War.

On an individual level, season 2's episodes were of a higher quality, I think: "Brother", "An Obol for Charon", "If Memory Serves", "The Sound of Thunder" and "Project Daedalus" were all standouts, and the mid-tier stuff like "New Eden", "Light and Shadows" and "Saints of Imperfection" were also quite enjoyable in spite of their flaws. But taken as a whole, it's a bit more of a damp squib.

All of that said, I'm very keen to see what they're cooking up for season 3. I'll see you all here at the end of the year for the Picard show, nerds!

P.S. There's a commenter here named Brandon Adams who owes $10 to the World Wildlife Fund. I won our bet! No Borgs to be found here. ;)
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Tim C
Thu, Apr 18, 2019, 10:19am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

I don't know about the rest of you, but anytime an argument devolves into back-and-forths over terms like "Mary Sue", I switch off. As with other pejorative labels like "SJW", it's lazy criticism and the frequent abuse of it by online shitheads* has tainted it by association.

That said, I will confess that I find it mystifying how anyone could apply it to Burnham, the character who has first billing in the credits. Of course she's involved in everything; she's the main character of a heavily serialised narrative.

The question of whether or not this blows out your suspension of disbelief in a narrative sense is another matter. (As Jammer mentions in this review, the show has pushed it to the limit with Burnham-worship in the first half of this finale.) Personally, I like SMG's performance, and I find the idea of her character - a human raised by Vulcans - to be an intriguing one, but after this season I'm ready for the show to broaden its scope beyond Burnham, purely for variety's sake and because this show has a talented cast and other interesting characters that aren't being tapped to their full potential.

*Not specifically aiming THAT pejorative at anyone here ;)
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 7:29am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Sanctuary

A few episodes ago, I said that I thought The Orville had hit its ceiling rank. I was wrong. This was a perfect episode that didn't feel like it hit any wrong notes. This feels like what the show has wanted to be all along. I'm really impressed and hope they can maintain this level of quality through to the end of the season.
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 5:47am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1

I'm totally reserving judgement on this until we see how things play out next week.

If the show follows through on disconnecting the Disco and Burnham from its current setting, then that's a bold storytelling choice that would justify all of the teary goodbyes, which is largely what this episode largely consisted of. (And they were well done, too!)

But if the show pulls the rug out from under all this build-up, and resolves everything with a Reset Button... well. That would be make this entire episode a colossal waste of time and be a very crass exercise in audience manipulation.

Let's not take door #2, please.

P.S. The Enterprise bridge looked great, albeit too glossy. Much better than the Kelvin-verse variant. The rest of it looked a bit too much like redresses of the Disco sets for my tastes, although that's likely a budgetary decision. And the great teleporting shuttles return! Maybe Vulcan and Xahea are just close neighbours... *eye roll*
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Tim C
Thu, Apr 11, 2019, 5:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

Agreed on almost everything, Jammer, except Tig Notaro; Jett Reno reminds me of some of the funniest people I've ever worked with. Maybe I'm just a sucker for snide assholes. (I also liked Stamets in season 1.)

Paul M, I don't think season 1's issue was necessarily the serialisation so much as the pacing and the ideas. Those last two episodes of S1 had a lot of heavy lifting to do, and some of the ideas that we were asked to accept were just dumb (Starfleet are OK with blowing up planets, the Klingons are on Earth's doorstep but turn around at the drop of a hat, L'Rell is able to take over the Empire with an iPad, etc). It also rendered the Disco crew's heroics in "Into The Forest I Go" meaningless to the big picture.

I still have hope that season 2 manages to stick the landing. I think they've done alright so far, and unlike season 1, they're not abruptly changing gears from another universe and another time with only two episodes to go.

As Jammer says, though, this feels like it's dragged on long enough. I still think a better idea for the third season might be smaller arcs, like Enterprise S4 or Agents of Shield's season 4.
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Tim C
Wed, Apr 10, 2019, 4:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Bread and Circuses

hifijohn, you should check out the TOS novel "First Frontier". It has all the alternate-timeline Kirk vs. Dinosaurs action you could ever want. :)
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Tim C
Tue, Apr 9, 2019, 12:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

I think you can interpret the Federation's actions after season 2, where they still continue to conduct exploration, scientific, and trade missions in the Gamma Quadrant, as the equivalent of the freedom-of-navigation exercises that are conducted in today's times in the South China Sea (amongst other places).

Such missions accomplish two tasks:

* They let the opposing power know that you don't recognise an over-reaching claim on what is recognised to be international waters. In this case, the Dominion appear to be unilaterally asserting ownership of the entire GQ, and the Federation would be unwise to let that stand.

* They demonstrate to your allies that you haven't abandoned them, and you won't. Recall that by the time "The Jem'Hadar" happens, trade and diplomatic relations have already been established with the GQ by a number of AQ species. If the Federation were to just roll over and cancel these alliances on the basis of the Dominion's threats, then what message does that send to your own members, not to mention the other belligerent powers in the AQ?

Section 31's covert effort to infect the Link is obviously unsanctioned, at least as far as the Federation's civilian leadership is concerned. How many Starfleet higher-ups (like Admiral Ross) knew about it ahead of time is another matter, but given that the virus was the final trigger for a Dominion surrender, was it really the wrong call? (Personally I'd fall on the side of "yes" - pre-emptive strikes are rarely justified - but I don't think it's a black-and-white argument.)
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Tim C
Mon, Apr 8, 2019, 4:17am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

Daya, I'm not Alan, but like him I'm a massive TOS fan who enjoys Discovery. I can't speak for him, but there's two strong reasons that I enjoy this show.

#1: It's new Star Trek that feels fresh. Until Enterprise went off the air, Star Trek had been a fixture of my TV entertainment since I was born, and I remember in the later years of Voyager and the TNG film series how annoyed I had grown with the creative forces behind the franchise. Discovery is far from a perfect show, but the high-budget, foot-to-the-floor, "Hey audience, check THIS shit out!", plot-twist heavy approach is a far cry from the stale "Archer goes to jail, again" that was making me scream in tortured frustration back in 2002.

#2: I remind myself that every previous show had its own issues. TOS could be super cheesy and sometimes felt like it had a very limited grab-bag of cliches (God Like Beings, Kirk Beats The Computer etc). TNG's characters were so insanely boring at times, its a wonder that show was as popular as it was. DS9 had to contend with Ira Behr's insane insistence that the Ferengi were hilarious. VOY was so creatively lazy it rarely bothered to use its own premise. ENT was the very definition of mediocrity in its first two seasons. And DSC focusses too much on Burnham and doesn't stop to let the characters breathe often enough. These are flaws, yes, but to my mind they're far from dealbreakers.

Do I get annoyed by the shoe-horning in of TOS characters like Spock? At first, yes. When the Enterprise rocked up at the end of season one, I wanted to throw rocks at my TV. But then Anson Mount as Pike stepped off the transporter pad in "Brother", and goddamn if he just hasn't been an absolute gift to the show and the franchise. And Ethan Peck has been giving us a great performance as a younger Spock; do you really not enjoy his take on the character? Does knowing he overcame a learning disability as a child weaken his TOS character? I feel like it makes him an even more impressive specimen.

It wasn't necessary to bring these legacy characters aboard the Disco, true, and I feared the writers would fuck them up. But they haven't, and I have more faith in them as a result. I would prefer they struck out on their own, but if they can maintain this level of quality in the casting without radically re-interpreting what has come before then I'll deal with it.

TBH, I have a feeling that the time shenanigans in this season are somehow going to remove Michael from Spock's memories altogether. That would be a plausible reason why she's never mentioned again, although the fact that Spock was well-known for keeping personal matters quiet also works just fine for me.

Anyways. That's my two cents.
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Tim C
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 1:47am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Suspicions

"The best Dr. Crusher episode" is a description like "the mildest form of cancer". Beverley is boring AF and Pulaski never should have left the show. I would take season 1 Bashir over Beverley.
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Tim C
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 1:38am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Redemption, Part I

^^ See above for the strongest argument in favour of keeping the star rating system on the site... for the amusement of others when people get completely triggered by them.

"Legacy" blows, btw.
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Tim C
Fri, Apr 5, 2019, 7:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Through the Valley of Shadows

Talk about your split personalities. What I liked this week:

From the actors: Anson Mount once again brings his A game, and like in the excellent "If Memory Serves" he gets a chance to step outside of being just a Space Hero and show some range and he really delivers. His shock at the reveal of where he's headed was played perfectly. Performances like this shouldn't be taken for granted; whatever show gets him next is very lucky.

Tig Notaro returns with a more toned-down performance, and while it's easy to see how some find her acting wooden I personally find it to be a perfectly calibrated deadpan. Make this woman Chief Engineer in season 3, show.

From the writers: finally, after 26 episodes, a Klingon plot I actually found myself engaging with. Mainly this was due to the mysticism of Boreth, a concept I've always been fond of because it helps make the Klingon society seem bigger than just one-note warrior-monsters. (This idea of the Klingons being guardians of some serious time-travel shit also plays to me as a cheeky nod to the events of VOY's "Endgame", wherein Future Janeway steals her time travel device from the Klingons. I doubt it's intentional, but it feels right to me.)

I didn't even hate L'rell this week!

What I *did* hate: the ongoing Control/Burnham/Spock plot, where my logical nitpicks just keep stacking up and up and up to the point where I'm now almost completely disengaged from the story:

(1) Just how fast are these fucking shuttles, and how long was the Disco at Boreth? The show often does this, teleporting characters and ships around the quadrant, to the point where I now just roll my eyes when they use the spore drive, because why even bother when travel time to pratically anywhere is apparently only a couple of hours?

(2) Why didn't Control just break Burnham's fucking neck as soon as Spock left the room? Why bother sitting around to monologue about it? This is a standard critique of TV and movie supervillains, but this one is supposedly a cold, unemotional AI and I am 100% not being sold on it.

3) Why does Control need to inject you in the eye with nanobots, aside from the fact it was a good shock horror effect the first time they did it to Leland? And if it can reform itself into scary little tentacles, why not just do that to begin with? And if... oh, forget it. When you stop imposing limitations on your scary monsters, I stop caring, because the answer to anything becomes "because the script said so".

4) WTF were they even doing on that ship anyway? If Control is a super-intelligent AI, why are they talking openly about their plans on a ship they know it controls and where it can undoubtedly hear everything they are saying? If... GAH. *starts banging head on desk*

5) Oh, so NOW you want to bring up self-destructing the ship? Better late than never, but holy shit show, your audience should not be this far ahead of your intrepid crew of heroes.

I give it 50/100 quatloos.
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Tim C
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 6:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

Booming, ROFLCOPTER!

hahahahahahahaha. Fuck, I had actually forgotten that scene in Community. Now there's a show that belongs in any conversation about televised works of art. (Well, except for the gas leak year.) It still makes me laugh more than almost anything else except perhaps Newsradio or Arrested Development.
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Tim C
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

It's been over ten years since I watched The Wire in its entirety (the new HD remaster is still waiting for me to have a second go) but I remember feeling at the time that the second season was too big a change of gears, in addition to feeling rather slowly paced. I'd really invested in the setting of the first season, and I never became attached to the characters at the docks like I did the ones in the projects.

Season five of The Wire is the *best* season of the show, so I don't know how anybody could dare critique it. ;)
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Tim C
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 6:16am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Perpetual Infinity

The April Fool's joke was perfect, Jammer. These Discovery review threads so frequently turn into endless, dull back-and-forths that mostly seem to be about trying to have the last word rather than genuinely debating the merits of the episode or the show in general.

TBH, they're sometimes a very good argument in favour of having an AI step in and end all human bickering.

Permanently.

I kid.

Mostly.

Anyways, I found it amusing.

And just for kicks, an OT troll: season 2 of The Wire sucks
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Tim C
Tue, Apr 2, 2019, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Balance of Terror

I'm in my right mind and to this day I think that this ep is kind of overrated.

My introduction to Star Trek was as a very young kid watching Dad's old VHS recordings of TOS. He would often suggest episodes to put on, and the one that I would disagree with most often was "Balance of Terror"*. It has its moments, but it can be absolutely plodding at times, and even to my very innocent eyes at the time the Romulan bridge looked kinda rubbish. (Dust falling from the ceiling. On a spaceship. C'mon!)

It's got a great concept and some great moments - some all-time classic moments, in fact! - but the execution is flawed. It ain't perfect.

*To my eternal shame, my favourite for years was "The Apple". Children are cretins.
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