Monday, December 12

Divine: The Series - A Snarky Review

This post contains spoilers for Divine: The Series*. You could read it cold but I'd love you to give the series a gander to see how scathingly accurate my review is. There are six twelve-minute episodes, linked below:
The One with the Magic Loaf of Bread
The One with the Evil Baby
The One where the Literal Fish is a Symbol for a Metaphorical Fish
The One with So Many Feelings
The One where Lady Gaga Makes Out with a Mascot
The One that’s Even More Confusing than the Last Five

Because I'm fair and wonderful and I don't want to burn in hell, I'm going to employ the sandwich-method approach to this review: positive-negative-positive.

With this bread I shall make the holy sandwich of criticism

Here are some good things about the series:
1. The lead actor, Guy Whose Name I've Yet To Google**, is naked for the duration of the first episode.
I'm okay with that.

2. Misha
3. Collins. 
4. Misha Collins plays a priest. Maybe because I wasn't raised religious, but there's something about that collar that just makes me want to... confess stuff. Granted, he doesn’t do much acting, because his character is in perpetual awe of everything, so he basically spends his days reacting…
This does not mean acting again.

Okay, are we happy so far? I'm not being horribly unfair and mean? Right, here's the negative stuff. Don't worry, there are only 8 points to get through.
1. There's a stone-faced self-flagellating superhero named Divine. Not an imposing name for a superhero. Well, not a traditional superhero, which he seems like. Could've worked for a cross-dressing superhero. In that case, it'd be great if his name was Divine! with an exclamation mark.
That would've made the series a lot more fun.

2. Blood. Lots of blood. Gooey blood. Blood makes us edgy! I’m not opposed to blood, but making someone bleed doesn’t automatically make me care about them. It just automatically makes me wonder what they use as a thickener for all that red dye.
3. Divine! has a 'sidekick' who's a hot Asian girl in a Catholic schoolgirl outfit, goth make-up, and coloured streaks in her hair, which is in fucking pigtails. I'm not entirely sure what her purpose is, because she can't climb a ladder, and can't fight anything the size of (or presumably bigger than) a baby.
It's okay, it was an evil baby.
3. In episode five, Divine saves a hooker (or doesn't save a hooker? It's so ambiguous! Loose ends make us deep!***) who's co-incidentally dressed up as Lady Gaga for Halloween. Well, that last bit's not exactly in the show, but it's the only way I can explain her outfit.

Just dance! Or pose.

The hooker is squirming in unnecessary ecstasy under a john, when she suddenly decides she's done hooking and wants to go back to school to fulfil her dream of being a nail technician. Probably. The fact that she rejects this evil dude before he attacks her is so problematic we don't even have time for it today. Let's just say that it's not enough that he's a demon beast thing and is therefore evil – no no, it's her asserting her right to choose what happens to her body that really pushes him over the edge.
4. In keeping with the Halloween theme, the perfectly normal guy MAGICALLY transforms into a guy wearing a crappy bull head. I assume he just put on the head because the full bull mascot costume gets him all sweaty when he beats up hookers. We just don't know.

Go Bulls!

Divine! saves the day and Asian girl crouches next to the victim, watching Divine get stabbed. She does absolutely nothing to assist, unless you count her continuing to be hot and Asian as doing something. 

5. These are just the action episodes. The poorly-thought-through talks-about-God episodes are even worse. My favourite part was when a curly-haired priest (not Misha Collins – boo) gives the old 'teach a man to fish' saying WHILE HOLDING A FISH. To REALLY bring that point home.

I had more sympathy for these fish than for any other character.

6. I almost liked a character once. There's a taxi driver who speaks probably more than all the other characters combined, and says some borderline amusing things. He generally doesn't have that ripe-for-parody serious!face everyone else does. Then he starts bleeding and mumbling in Latin and we never see him again.

Wait... what?

7. I get the sense that everybody thought the whole superhero + Christian mythology crossover was a great idea – but nobody felt the need to explore it or do something new and interesting with it.  There's a single moment where maybe a sticky issue is almost tackled. But then it's not. See, Curly Priest (the one who's not Misha Collins), while holding a fish, talks about how he feels guilty that a friend committed suicide because he (the friend) was gay. And Curly Priest couldn't help or support him, so now Curly Priest has angst. Unsurprisingly, this is all left open ended and Curly Priest doesn't actually say it's stupid to hate people because they're gay. He just cuts up fish and pouts. But whatever.

8. The whole series gives itself an air of gravity and importance that it doesn't earn through story development. Also, I hold a deep dislike for websites with light text on a black background. But now I'm just being difficult. Let's get the crusty top onto our review sandwich.

More good things! Continuing from the list above...

5. Um, it was free?  

6. Oh, I did like the Sin City-esque aesthetic they went for. Kinda feels like they ran out of money towards the Halloween episode. But the first few episodes look nice.  

7. The series was a public-funded project and apparently the supporters were really made to feel special and a part of the process. That's nice. 

8. Oh, did I mention Misha Collins as a priest? *scrolls up* damn it. But at least now I have as many good points as bad ones. Sandwich complete!

So that’s my – wow, very long – review of Divine. Overall, I’d recommend the series only if you have a snarky friend (or a companion blog post!) to watch it with.

For added fun, put some pictures of the cast into the Marie Claire Virtual Salon and see what they'd look like with Tyra Banks' hair, like I did with Dan Payne above. Sorry Dan, apparently we can't trust the Marie Claire robots to apply eyeshadow. But I still think you look divine.

*Not to be confused with Divine: the perfume, Divine: the gospel trio or Divine! The heartwarming TV movie about a gang of crazy kids that take their drag show from the convent to Vegas.
**Real name: Gregor Googlevitch. Ha, kidding... It’s Dan Payne. Which, coincidentally, is quite a heroic name.
***Or lazy. Or nearsighted in terms of story development. But probably deep.


  1. Haha! The Winchester sandwich is the holiest of sandwiches :P

  2. Stasia LoutfrakhmanovaDecember 16, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    That was awesome :D Mmm, sandwiches... Misha Collins and J2 sandwich... Um, anyway, great post! More snarky reviews please!


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