It's Wednesday, So Let's Talk About Avatar

On Wednesdays we write about Avatar: The Last Airbender. (What, did you think that would be a Mean Girls joke? Everybody does Mean Girls jokes. Give me some credit.)

Every piece of media has something to teach you, even if it’s just this is how to write a crappy story. My interest is not just general series recap and review (there are better sites for that) but to illustrate what these stories do well. Or what they suck at, depending on the situation. (I’m looking at you, Legend of Korra.) 

I’m starting with Avatar: The Last Airbender for two reasons. First, it’s the greatest cartoon ever, and I will fight you on that. There are a million things to learn from Avatar, and I’m going to talk about them. Second, I’ve never seen all of Legend of Korra. The show was a great betrayal to me for reasons I’ll discuss at length when we get that far, and I’ve never made it past the end of season one. I think it’s time to bite that bullet, if only for purposes of understanding how to do something well versus how to fail at it. Third, the show is over a decade old now, and everyone has basically accepted it as a classic. Which it is, but every classic has its flaws, and we need to talk about them just as much as we need to discuss its accomplishments in representation and animation.

Some miscellany before we begin:

A) As I said before, I think Avatar is the greatest cartoon ever made. Legend of Korra… less so. We’ll see how I feel as we progress. I was a really intense fan of Avatar, so I’ll probably drop some stuff about fandom history as we go on.

B) I’m a Kataang shipper. Don’t expect much sympathy to Zutara here. I’ll probably pick apart the appeal at some point in the show, because I like poking sleeping bears. On other shipping matters, I’m neutral. I ship everybody.

C) I have a bias against Zuko. He has the most amazingly well executed redemption arc in the history of ever, but by the time we finally got that redemption, he had already earned my eternal enmity. This has improved with time, but I’ll still make fun of him a lot. Especially since he’s actually a fail whale instead of the sexy sex beast fandom makes him out to be.