Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Obsessed with Supergirl, Part 2

Season 2 SPOILERS*****

Well, geez, I barely got the last post published & the writers on Supergirl have already sunk the show to its lowest point ever.  This is bad.  This is so bad.  For a show that started off so feminist & strong & girl power-y, it has done a complete 180.

Let's start with a simple description of things that often happen with female characters in movies & TV.

#1 - Trinity Syndrome.  What is Trinity Syndrome you ask?  “For the ordinary dude to be triumphant, the Strong Female Character has to entirely disappear into Subservient Trophy Character mode. This is Trinity Syndrome à la The Matrix: the hugely capable woman who never once becomes as independent, significant, and exciting as she is in her introductory scene.”

OMG, you guys, this is totally happening.  With the introduction of the white male character Mon-El, Kara has slowly been pushed to the side & Supergirl even more so, UNLESS it has to do with the relationship.  Remember in my last post how I mentioned that in some episodes the male cast members were getting something like 75% of the screen time?  Yeah.  
Now, I decided to actually time our main character's screen time without the new male "lead" in the episode "Star-Crossed".  It was about 7 minutes, give or take.
Also, with Kara being fired, the Catco/Reporter part of Kara's life has been completely & totally dropped.  The importance of reporting to Kara has just vanished.  The importance of anything in her life, other than her relationship with Mon-El,  just simply doesn't exist.

Seriously?  For real?  Ugh.  Yuck.


In "Star-Crossed" we learn that our new "lead" white male character Mon-El is actually the Prince of Daxam, a party planet that had slaves & kept it's people drunk, drugged & distracted in order to abuse them.  Mon-El was actively part of that.  He benefited from it.  He escaped by abandoning the woman in his bed, his guard killed a Kryptonian, stole his pod & placed the Prince inside with no arguments from Mon-El.  When he arrived on Earth, he lied to Kara.  He has been actively lying to Kara since day one.  9 months of lying, as he slowly managed to develop an intimate relationship with her.  

Let me ask you something.  Let's say you met someone that said he worked as a guard for ISIL.  He tells you that he wants a fresh start & you are wary.  Still, he keeps trying.  He often disregards your wishes (like telling everyone you are dating after you've asked him to keep it quiet for a while) and blames everything he does wrong on simply not understanding because of his raising or cultural differences.  So you keep giving him the benefit of the doubt but then, after developing a relationship & having sex you find out this dude was actually an active member & leader of ISIL.  He actually beheaded people. I don't know about you, but I would be horrified.  This isn't just a simple lie.  This is a terrifying betrayal as well as a very scary insight into the mental process of this person. Saying he didn't know any better is just not acceptable.

Now, some argue that Kara is trying to make him better & he keeps begging her to help him be a "hero", but this too is ridiculous.  It is NOT a woman's job to train a boy to become a man.  It is not the female lead character's job to train a man to be a hero.  Kara hasn't figured out how to balance her life yet & now the CW has made her main mission in Supergirl to train & better a horrible slave-owning asshole from a planet & family that tortured it's own people.  

If any characters should be helping this guy, it should be James & Winn.  Why is this Kara's job?!

Also, Mon-El never really apologizes until it's very clear that their relationship is over.  Instead, he does the classic abusive thing of laying blame on the female because of his discomfort.  

"By now the girl usually forgives the guy for whatever the dumb thing the guy has done." - Mon-El

WTF?  It gets worse.  He pretty much admits the only reason he wants to be a hero is to stay with Kara.  

"I love being the hero because it means I get to spend every single day by your side." - Mon-El

This means he still isn't getting it.  He doesn't understand what a hero is.

Kara then asks him: "Where you ever going to tell me the truth?"

And he answers: "I don't know.

Holy crap, he just admitted that if Mom & Dad hadn't shown up, he might have NEVER told her.  That's pretty F'd up.
She breaks up with him at the end only to immediately get back with him in the musical episode of the Flash.  

"I forgive you." - Kara after waking up from the Music Meister's spell.

We went from a female-centric show about a hero trying to find her humanity & balance her life, and stand up for women everywhere, to a male-centric show about a jerk from a planet of terror that needs a Mommy/Wife to show him how to be good.

Oh, make me so incredibly sad.  

The ratings are the lowest they've ever been. 


Geez, I wonder why?  
It's probably too late to turn this around now, but if the writers care or want to try, here's some advice:

  1. After being introduced, does your Strong Female Character then fail to do anything fundamentally significant to the outcome of the plot? Anything at all?
  2. If she does accomplish something plot-significant, is it primarily getting raped, beaten, or killed to motivate a male hero? Or deciding to have sex with/not have sex with/agreeing to date/deciding to break up with a male hero? Or nagging a male hero into growing up, or nagging him to stop being so heroic? Basically, does she only exist to service the male hero’s needs, development, or motivations?
  3. Could your Strong Female Character be seamlessly replaced with a floor lamp with some useful information written on it to help a male hero?
  4. Is a fundamental point of your plot that your Strong Female Character is the strongest, smartest, meanest, toughest, or most experienced character in the story—until the protagonist arrives?
  5. …or worse, does he enter the story as a bumbling fuck-up, but spend the whole movie rapidly evolving past her, while she stays entirely static, and even cheers him on? Does your Strong Female Character exist primarily so the protagonist can impress her?
  6. It’s nice if she’s hyper-cool, but does she only start off that way so a male hero will look even cooler by comparison when he rescues or surpasses her?
  7. Is she so strong and capable that she’s never needed rescuing before now, but once the plot kicks into gear, she’s suddenly captured or threatened by the villain, and needs the hero’s intervention? Is breaking down her pride a fundamental part of the story?
  8. Does she disappear entirely for the second half/third act of the film, for any reason other than because she’s doing something significant to the plot (besides being a hostage, or dying)? 

There's also the Bechdel test: 

  1. The movie/TV show has to have at least two women in it,
  2. who talk to each other,
  3. about something besides a man.

There's also the Mako Mori Test:

  1. at least one female character
  2. who gets her own narrative arc
  3. that is not about supporting a man’s story.
Here's a great article on more ways to excel with a female character:

The writer's have essentially cut off all female contact with Kara in Season 2 as well.  No Cat Grant, no Lucy Lane, her sister has a g/f now & they have cut way back on the Alex & Kara moments.  Her only other real female contact is Lena Luthor who only guest stars in the show.

As you can see by everything above, that's another serious problem for a show with a female lead.

I think it's a lost cause, but I really, really hope these writers wake the hell up & fix this show.  It had the potential to be amazing, but now it's just another male-centric trope fest.

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