When looking up FernGully clips last year, I ran across the Big-Lipped Alligator Moment meme and traced it back to a funny video produced by two internet reviewers, the Nostalgia Critic (played by Doug Walker) and the Nostalgia Chick (played by Lindsay Ellis). They were so entertaining that I bookmarked both of their pages, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Lindsay Ellis is a feminist who makes video reviews from a feminist viewpoint. My appreciation of the Nostalgia Chick has greatly diminished over time, however, largely stemming from the character's absurd qualities being difficult to distinguish from Lindsay Ellis' honest criticism, as well as her bad (i.e. anti-feminist) taste in humor.
To understand the Nostalgia Chick, you have to look first at the Nostalgia Critic. Doug Walker is an intelligent comedian who decided to humorously criticize movies and TV shows he grew up watching, and he created the character of the Nostalgia Critic to be his avatar in doing so. He based the character off of Daffy Duck from Loony Tunes, and he has speculated he could have in part subconsciously based the Nostalgia Critic off of the Queen of Hearts from Disney's Alice in Wonderland. The Nostalgia Critic is bored, salacious, and angry to the point of regularly trying to kill everyone in the vicinity with a pistol. The Nostalgia Critic is not Doug Walker; however, Doug Walker sometimes uses the Nostalgia Critic to communicate positive messages in and around the angry gun nut. I would characterize Doug Walker as a feminist even though he doesn't identify himself as such, as he has used the Nostalgia Critic platform to criticize treatment of women in movies.
In response to requests that he review media aimed at girls, Doug Walker instead decided to hold a contest for the role of a female counterpart for the Nostalgia Critic, which he named the Nostalgia Chick. Now, the problem with this name is that it implies that a "critic" would be male by default. We have the "Nostalgia Critic", a man who reviews normal media, and the "Nostalgia Chick", which is the add-on specifically for that other demographic over there. This was reflected in their taglines. The Nostalgia Critic's send-off is "I remember it so you don't have to", while the Nostalgia Chick's initially was "I remember it because the dudes don't." Lindsay Ellis actually came to the same conclusion about it being sexist and dropped the tagline altogether as well as the restriction that she only review girl-themed media. The characters' names still pose a problem, though. I think what should have been done is have both of them be called Nostalgia Critics and have them individually known as the Nostalgia Chick and the Nostalgia Dude or Nostalgia Guy. You know, have both of them given gendered titles. As it is, we've still got a default critic and the special female variation.
So, anyway, Lindsay Ellis won the role of Nostalgia Chick and tried to find her schtick. She initially was just a pleasant, playful feminist reviewer who made snarky comments about how things for girls tend to be made, and then started incorporating a darker element to her character as she brought her friends into the show. The pleasant demeanor is now used to contrast with a load of morbid humor about the Nostalgia Chick being a horrible person. She's a stalker who spies on her friend Nella, who is actually hired to be her friend to make her look skinny in comparison. Alongside this, Lindsay Ellis preaches third-wave feminism through the Nostalgia Chick. The character makes feminist criticism while being a selfish abusive stalker. It can easily come across as the Nostalgia Chick being an evil feminist whose feminism is one of her negative traits. I have similar criticism about the Nostalgia Critic, but I think Doug Walker does a better job of keeping his own persona separate from that of his character's. When the Nostalgia Chick yells about "slut-shaming"--a phrase almost unheard of outside feminist circles--it can sound like like some weird aspect of the Nostalgia Chick's demented psyche rather than legitimate feminist criticism.
More than that, some of the jokes are just anti-feminist, and I really question her judgment in putting them in the Nostalgia Chick show. When criticizing the Christmas song "Baby, It's Cold Outside", the Nostalgia Chick has a flashback of a repressed memory in which her friend date rapes her by roofying her drink. Even though both characters act goofy and it's a little amusing to watch, this is still a rape joke in the middle of a feminist show. What the frak? And I do have to mention the infamous "rape rap" video that she's since taken down. I guess Lindsay Ellis got a weird comment that had a non sequitur about rape, and she wanted to make fun of the comment. It was something like "in my school, no one raps in the halls. they rape in the halls. and that is sad. :(". It's bizarre, but it doesn't treat rape in a problematic way. However, the Nostalgia Chick starts musing about if one could rap about rape, and she gets her convicted rapist friend (yeah, from the Christmas video) to improvise a few rape raps. Lindsay Ellis got an extreme negative reaction to the video and took it down, but... but what made her think it was a good idea in the first place???
There are also a series of videos depicting the reviewer characters on the site waking up in bed with each other. In "Spooning with Spoony", the Nostalgia Chick wakes up to find fellow reviewer Spoony has date raped her. Dear blog, what is up with her and the rape jokes? In "Linking up with Linkara", comic book reviewer and self-identified male feminist Linkara wakes up in bed with the Nostalgia Chick and other female reviewer Marzgurl, who indicate that they got drunk and had a wild threesome, but he can't remember a thing. He asks them to do it again, but they refuse because it couldn't possibly be as good the second time and say they'll just have sex with each other. He asks to watch, leading to the Nostalgia Chick saying, "No, you're a feminist. It's exploitation. It's bad." Uh, no, it's not because they already were consensual sexual partners. It would only be exploitation if he initiated the idea of them having lesbian sex at that point, as it would be specifically for his sexual pleasure, or if he continued to push after a rejection. Linkara reluctantly agrees with her and leaves, and then it's revealed that the gals were just playing a practical joke on him. So, now feminism is being misrepresented by feminist reviewers for humor aimed at an audience unfamiliar with feminist ideology.
...And I know this is an adhominem criticism, but I was rather offended by Lindsay Ellis' violent sense of humor as described in the commentary for her and Doug Walker's FernGully review. For the review, Doug Walker wrote a joke for the Nostalgia Chick that had her, as female lead Crysta, say that she intended to cut off male lead Zach's penis, and Lindsay Ellis was really reluctant to say the line when they were filming. In the commentary, Doug Walker implies she's a prude, and she retorts that she just doesn't find the joke funny. As an example of the kind of joke she would find funny, she suggests "Crysta" wanting to cut off Zach's penis as revenge against men for crimes against women. Not anything Zach did to Crysta, just men as a part of patriarchy in general. Doug Walker, presumably to be sociable, laughs along with her, saying "That's a Lindsay joke." I just don't see how anyone could be friends with someone like that. I mean, how is that significantly different from an MRA joking about how men should attack women for perceived oppression? Same hateful sense of justice, just with swapped players.
So... I'm not that into the Nostalgia Chick anymore. Lindsay Ellis does make a lot of good points, but there have been too many bad things. She doesn't make a very good distinction between the evil Nostalgia Chick and her own feminist views, and she doesn't seem to get the problem with rape jokes, and the bit about her thinking cutting off a man's penis out of feminist revenge being funny just makes me dislike her as a person. I know that's a logical fallacy, but who you represent yourself as to the world is important for an Internet personality, especially one for whom the lines between the actress and the character are indistinct. I actually like Linkara much better. Though the character of Linkara is different from actor Lewis Lovhog, Linkara is a superhero defending the helpless from supernatural evil, which is a far better personality for a feminist character than a stalker. Who would you rather have as a feminist character, Buffy Summers or Annie Wilkes? I thought so.