Please note, this article contains a lot of NSFW (not safe for work) content. Please proceed with caution.
One of my best-performing articles is my review of ‘Altered Carbon’, which gets as many as a dozen new views every day. Most of the time, I can’t see exactly what brought people to that article, since most search results are listed as “unknown”. But I get occasional glimpses at the search results, and you’d be amazed by what they reveal.
It turns out that an awful lot of you want to know who the “Put Your Wife In Me” actor is in the second episode, and so I’ve decided to go with the flow of public interest and provide the answer you all so desperately seek.
After studious and determined research (involving going to the episode’s IMDB page and scrolling down) I discovered that the creative talent behind “Advert Spokeswoman #2” is Nalani Wakita.
That’s her name, but what else do we know about this unique individual? Why do so many of you find her so captivating, so compelling, that you scour the internet searching for her identity? What is it about her that makes her special?
Are you eager to find out her story, the tale of how she got into acting? Did she always dream as a child of one day being a star, a big name in Hollywood? Or did she stumble into it, as an off-shoot from a modelling career? Is it just a sideline, something she enjoys part-time whilst she pursues her true calling elsewhere? Or was she merely talent-spotted one day, given an offer to be in a TV show that she felt obliged to accept?
If stardom is a dream of hers, what spark lit the fire of that dream? Did her parents instill in her a keen ambition from an early age? Does she even have a close relationship with her parents? Are they disappointed in her life choices, and as such emotionally distant and unavailable? Or have they always been dedicated, supportive and proud to see their daughter work hard and advance her career? Or maybe it’s more complex than that: maybe her parents fret that they didn’t do enough to teach her how to find happiness in herself, and maybe each night she goes to bed worrying that her choices disappoint her family. Maybe both parties continue in this anxious state, equally unaware of the other party’s neuroses.
What about her personal life? Does her career keep her busy, so busy that she struggles to build deep connections with others? Or does she possess a demeanour that makes it easy for her to quickly build a strong, intimate understanding of the people in her life? Does she live and love with a carefree attitude, happy to share her vulnerabilities with many different people? Or does she cleave to a traditional, singular dedication to just one person?
How did her role in ‘Altered Carbon’ affect her? Does she regret exposing herself so explicitly, reinforcing the objectification of women in the media? Or does she feel that as society moves closer to equality, the feminist cause becomes less immediate and less relevant? Does she even think about it in these terms, or was this just a job for her, a paid role which she can add to her portfolio to help advance her career? Maybe she’s simply comfortable with her own body, and feels that adding to the taboo of female nudity by concealing it is itself an act of objectification?
But you don’t care. You don’t want to know the answers to these questions, because you don’t really want to know who the “Put your wife in me” woman is. You want to know what she is. You don’t want a picture of Nalani Wakita, you want images of her. For a few seconds you were able to see her at her most exposed, and now you want more. You want to to expose her further, get a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree view of her body, break her down to nothing more than a construct of skin and flesh and bone.
Nothing is ever enough for people like you. The goal that ought to sate your desires only fuels them, mutates them, until you yourself become an abstract caricature – a grotesque, slovenly creature, dick in hand, women with lives and stories reduced to nought but disposable stimulation on an endless conveyor belt of lust and depravity. If any capacity for human connection remained within you, you might pause to question not just your own life but that of the woman at the heart of your fantasy. Your interest might be piqued not by her nude flesh but by her naked soul, a delicate structure of unfathomable complexity hiding a spiritual bounty of untold value.
But such a thing is waste product in your eyes – needless baggage laid upon a pure and sexual body. Why burden an object of sex with emotions and ambitions? Why muddy the waters of carnal desires with the mess that comes from truly knowing a person?
Well, I’m not going to help you. I’ll not provide you with the images you seek. I’ll neither aid nor abet your descent into inhuman, id-driven base behaviour. If you want to see more of Ms. Wakita, you’ll have to find it yourself. Go looking through the scraps of the internet like the dog you are. Maybe somewhere along the way you’ll find rock bottom – if you even possess the wherewithal to recognise it before you continue plummeting into the depths of sexual despair.
However, quite a few of you come to my site looking for pictures of James Purefoy’s penis, and I’d be happy to oblige. These are the best I could find from a quick Google search, as well as some screencaps from ‘Altered Carbon’. Now, please! Enjoy this collection of James Purefoy hanging dong:
Please note that if the one thing I have accomplished in my life is adding James Purefoy’s dick to image search results for Nalani Wakita nude, I’ll be so, so happy with myself.
This post contains images of nudity and plenty of spoilers for ‘Altered Carbon’, so please proceed with appropriate caution.
That post title is a lie.
I think there actually might have been as many as three female extras/minor roles who kept their kit on in the handful of scenes in which they appeared.
Look, it’s 2018. Nudity needs to be less of a taboo, I get that.
But it’s 2018. We need to stop using women as sex objects.
First, here’s a spoiler-free, safe-for-work review of the show just as it is, no politics or social commentary:
The Actual Review
If you’re a thirteen-year-old boy, brought up by the most toxic elements of the internet, you’ll probably love ‘Altered Carbon’.
If you’re a normal fucking person, you probably just won’t care about it.
‘Altered Carbon’ is, to all intents and purposes, an unlicensed series of ‘Blade Runner’. In look and feel, it in every way tries to invoke the classic Sci Fi Cyberpunk Noir, and broadly succeeds from an aesthetic perspective. There’s flying cars, and massive cities, and dystopian slums, and class discrimination, and mega corporations, and so on. There is also plenty of body horror thrown in, too, and a bit of “what it means to be human”.
Sadly, the similarities to ‘Blade Runner’ really are skin-deep. There isn’t much else, thematically, going on with ‘Altered Carbon’, beyond the fairly ham-fisted message that humans are defined by their finite lifespans – a message that crops up towards the end but is largely forgotten by the final two episodes.
There are two major issues with the show, the first of which is its lack of ambition. I haven’t read the book, nor am I particularly a fan of cyberpunk, and even I thought this show was generic. There wasn’t a visual in this entire series that hasn’t appeared in countless other films, graphic novels or computer games, and the world it creates feels small, despite the canvas with which it had to work.
The second major issue is the show’s excess. Fight scenes are highly stylised, belonging more in a DC superhero movie than in a show that tries to be “gritty.” Bloody violence and gore are rampant, and yet characters survive impacts and assaults that should, by all reason, leave them broken. This weird mix of ghastly mutilation and “totally badass” endurance takes the action past gratuitous and into the realm of the grotesque.
In essence, the show doesn’t know what it wants to be. There are some nice moments, but they’re sporadic and infrequent enough that at no point did I feel engaged. This may be a result of some pretty fucking uninterested performances by the show’s lead and the show’s ultimate antagonist. I thought Joel Kinnaman was pretty good in ‘House of Cards’, but here he’s just dour, swinging through the full emotional spectrum of “Bored” and “Angry” and literally nothing in between. The actor portraying the antagonist, meanwhile, is absurdly wooden and artificial.
The show tries to present itself as some kind of mystery thriller, focusing around the investigation of a wealthy man’s murder in his high-security penthouse. But the ultimate solution feels contrived, and at no point does much of what’s happening feel mysterious. Given ‘Altered Carbon’s adherence to the Blade Runner aesthetic, I feel like it could also have taken a narrative queue and made this a story of pursuit rather than investigation, given how poorly the investigation angle is developed.
To summarise: if you really want to see live-action cyberpunk as a TV series rather than a film, then you can watch ‘Altered Carbon’ and scratch that itch – and literally no other itches.
Otherwise, you probably aren’t missing much, unless you have a powerful desire to see just how little can be achieved with such an abundance of resources.
Huh. Maybe it’s a satirisation of itself.
The rest of the review will follow. NSFW imagery, spoilers, and plenty of inexpert socio-political discussion lie within. Please leave now before it is too late.
I fucking warned you.
And Now, The Political Bit
In this entire series, there are, I think, three examples of male full-frontal nudity, one of whom is named. There are plenty of topless and butt shots of Joel Kinnaman’s improbably statuesque figure, and a few other examples of men without their shirts on. But not many.
By contrast, there isn’t a single named female character bar one, a lawyer, who is under the age of fifty and who doesn’t take all of her clothes off at some point. Most end up with full-frontal nude scenes. Only one woman, Quell, played by Renée Elise Goldsberry, doesn’t show any explicit views of her body, but she still has one sex scene in which she’s fully naked – she just gets the benefit of a little “modesty”.
The bulk of non-named female characters also appear either fully naked or at least topless. I struggle to recall any other women in the show who don’t bare any intimate parts of their body, with the exception of Detective Ortega’s middle-aged mother; a young schoolgirl; and a single extremely wealthy woman who, it turns out, was just a disguise of the main antagonist, who is also a woman who spends a lot of time completely naked.
Nudity’s a fine thing. There should be nothing wrong with baring the human body, and I personally believe that the world would be a better place if we removed the taboo – and hence, diminished the fetishisation – of naked bodies.
The reason it’s a problem in ‘Altered Carbon’ – and, to be fair, many other modern productions, including ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Spartacus’, pretty much anything by HBO, in fact – is the lopsided nature of the nudity.
There are so many scenes in ‘Altered Carbon’ that feature a fully-clothed man and an at least partially-naked woman (or at least a woman wearing see-through clothing) that it actually gets a little uncomfortable. And to be fair, there are examples of male nudity, sometimes even when there are clothed women in the same scene. But they are comparatively so few and far between that there’s simply no possible way that it could be viewed as “egalitarian”.
Now, that may be intentional. I’ll concede that one of the themes of the show is the exploitation of the lower classes by the upper classes, and so naturally you’ll see more sex workers, more poor people forced into compromising situations to amuse their hyper-wealthy abusers.
But that doesn’t explain why almost all of the sex workers we see (roughly 90%) are women. Many of the hyper-wealthy elite are women themselves, most with sexual interests in men, it seems. So you might expect the many brothels and strip clubs and snuff fetish hotels to be staffed by at least as many men as women.
Nor does the exploitation metaphor explain why it is that all of the wealthy, powerful women also end up without any clothes on.
Indeed, early on, as the lead character Kovacs explores a sleeve- and clone-production facility (“sleeve” being the term for a body, effectively, which can be inhabited by a person’s consciousness) he walks past three large holographic advertisements: one a man and one a woman, both advertising better sleeves for their owner, and a third, a fully naked woman with the slogan “Put your wife in me.” Could that not have been an attractive young man with the slogan “Put your husband in me”? Wealth and power in this world seem to be attributed to masculinity by default, despite featuring an independently wealthy woman as the main antagonist.
Now, this is a fairly standard trope, sadly, for the cyberpunk genre. In something like ‘Ex Machina’, however, the decision to have outwardly female androids exploited by a male creator feels like a self-aware, conscious decision, and the ensuing nudity feels similarly appropriate – the discomfort of it all fits the theme of the film.
‘Altered Carbon’ doesn’t even have that level of flimsy rationalisation. During the finale, the female detective, Ortega (see below) is held captive aboard the villain’s floating sex dungeon. Her rescue team is made up entirely of men – all technical experts in some capacity, and none of whom appear naked. One of those men is, in fairness, merely a male body inhabited by a woman’s consciousness – but the scene itself is nonetheless made up entirely of male actors. Again, none of whom take their clothes off in the entire series.
Note: Detective Ortega is one of only two female protagonists who, despite generally remaining fully clothed, has nonetheless been shown showering, and also wandering around a room fully naked whilst her sexual partner lies in bed with his genitals covered by the tactical arrangement of a sheet, and also being bathed by that same man, who remained fully-clothed throughout whilst she again wandered around with no clothes on.
During a prior fight scene, we see Ortega confront and fight with the show’s villain, Kovacs’ sister Rei. Ortega is fully clothed, but the fight occurs in Rei’s private cloning chamber, where a series of her fully-naked clones attack Ortega in sequence. Which means that in one of the few scenes in all ten episodes to feature only women, half of those women are completely naked.
Further issues occur with one of the more minor characters, Lizzie. Lizzie is a young woman who is murdered so horribly that her consciousness gets caught in a “trauma loop”, where her tortured mind is forced to relive her attack over and over.
Part of her “recovery” involves her learning advanced combat techniques, such that she feels like she has the ability to defend herself, thus empowering her to leave her shell and re-enter the real world. Which is kind of fine, I guess, I can make my peace with that.
Where it falls down though is that her first appearance in the real world is her inhabiting the artificial body of a completely naked sex robot, or “synth”. She then morphs the synth’s appearance to match her own – such that she is now completely naked. She then decides to clothe herself, at which point she chooses a revealing, skin-tight bondage outfit.
Now, I mean, at least the character chose that outfit for herself. But she didn’t really, the show’s creators did. And that means that one of the few women who actually get an arc in the series does so by evolving from a mute, terrified trauma victim to a “totally badass” action girl, dressed as a BDSM sex worker. If that doesn’t seem at least a little off to you, then that’s fine, but it seems weird to me.
There is a hell of a lot more to talk about regarding gender representation in ‘Altered Carbon’. For all of its sins, I will at least credit the show with having a decent spectrum of PoC as its cast members (even if all the wealthiest people seem to be white).
But its over-sexualisation of women makes it feel irreparably out of touch – particularly when we’re all still in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
If you’re still not convinced, and if you think I’m making too much of it, then all I can say is this: if all the images of naked men throughout this post left you feeling uncomfortable or distracted, that’s exactly what it’s like watching ‘Altered Carbon’. Only ten times more so. I had to scrape the series to find these images of male nudity – but it would have been ten times easier to find a corresponding amount of female nudity.