9:58 pm - 11/07/2012

“The Golden Age of TV” x TV Wives: A depressing undercurrent of misogyny

Earlier this week, there was a recap posted on Grantland about the latest episode of The Walking Dead, which made some great overall points about the show and its underselling of their own characters, and also touched on a very disturbing trend happening with most of our currently critically beloved shows – the absolute hatred most fandoms seem to have for the wives in them:

(btw, I shouldn’t have to point out how SPOILERY this is, since, like I already mentioned, it’s a recap of the latest episode – but still, just for good measure: Spoilers ahead.)

(…) As befits a character always treated as second-class, T-Dog’s dismemberment was overshadowed by a much more outrageous death last night. And the fact that it’s taken me 900 words just to get to the part of the episode that everyone is talking about reveals my ambivalence. To recap: In an act of perfect TV karma, Lori goes into labor while on the run from a swarm of walkers. In the relative peace and lack of hygiene of a boiler room, she realizes “something is wrong” and insists that Maggie cut the baby out of her, likely ending her life. With a level of uterine gore not seen since Prometheus and a dash of Oedipal agony unimaginable even by Sophocles, this is precisely what happens.

Now, in the short view, there is a part of me that admires the unblinking savagery of Mazzara’s vision. As appalling as everything that happened in the boiler room was, it certainly was consistent with the miserable universe The Walking Dead has created, a place where tough choices are inevitable, pain is unavoidable, and life — particularly young life — is to be protected at any cost. All actresses, inevitably, are asked to perform an agonizing birth scene at least once in their careers, and Sarah Wayne Callies was excellent here. For once, her innate fierceness was used for something other than accusatory snark; in her wide-eyed and desperate good-bye to her son, there was a hint of the ferocious and protective warrior/mother the character could have become with better development and more thoughtful scripts.

As quick as I’ve been to label Lori Grimes one of the worst protagonists on television, the intensity of fan hatred has continually given me pause. There’s a depressing undercurrent of misogyny to a lot of the reaction toward TV wives these days, from Skyler White to Cat Stark. It’s something I’ve been guilty of harping on as much as anyone. But a large part of the blame rests in the writing, the perpetual creation of an impossible dynamic wherein the cool husband wants to do fun and/or violent stuff and the snippy wife is always trying to harsh his mellow. As a TV fan, I wasn’t unhappy to see Lori Grimes go. And the atrocity of it all brought out the best in the normally wooden Andrew Lincoln and certainly made the burden on young Chandler Riggs — who, thus far as an actor, has proven to be all hat and no cattle — even greater. But the exact way she went out was an even greater bummer than the irritating scold the character had become.

Lori’s final words to Carl, before sacrificing herself in front of his young eyes, sounded to me like an unnecessary apology, not a loving good-bye. “It’s so easy to do the wrong thing in this world,” she moaned. “If it feels wrong, don’t do it. If it feels easy, don’t do it.” What she was referring to, of course, was her utterly reasonable decision to bed down with Shane, a trusted and caring family friend, amid the looming horror of the end of the world. Her ongoing guilt and suffering for this is and has always been outrageous; surely a reality in which burying a machete into a man’s widow’s peak is a heroic act can forgive a little post-traumatic nookie. There’s a difference between the admirably unforgiving worldview Mazzara is trumpeting elsewhere and downright cruelty. There were plenty of reasons for Lori Grimes to die; it’s a shame that her capital offense turned out to be the simple act of being alive.

Also embedding the video linked to in the article:

Full article at the source
cerseilannister 8th-Nov-2012 12:55 am (UTC)
it surprised me that this is all so many ppl get from arya's story so far. the things that have happened to her in the books hit me hard bc she's my bb and all the discussions i looked at after i was done with adwd were like, 'omg badass assassin i hope she kills cersei and dany lols'.
soavantgarde 8th-Nov-2012 01:05 am (UTC)
right? it's all about how many ppl she's gonna kill and how long she's gonna stay with the fm and I'm just like "...can't we talk about the process of her losing her identity and how she simultaneously clings to it and tries to deny it bc in her mind her old life is pretty much destroyed? and the effect that has on a 10 yr old?" idgaf about how she's going to kill LF or tommen for the iron bank, I want to talk more about what would happen if she was reintroduced to anyone from her family, how she would react to seeing sansa again, etc
cerseilannister 8th-Nov-2012 01:23 am (UTC)
"...can't we talk about the process of her losing her identity and how she simultaneously clings to it and tries to deny it bc in her mind her old life is pretty much destroyed? and the effect that has on a 10 yr old?"
basically. the last ppl she should be with are the damn fm.
lol omg these assassination plots are too much tho. one that comes to mind is arya killing missandei and taking on her face to kill dany. can the fm change race too or..
soavantgarde 8th-Nov-2012 01:25 am (UTC)
LOL I haven't heard that one. I've heard arya killing tommen, littlefinger, cersei (omg she's the valonqar!), being assigned to kill sansa, sooo many ridiculous theories

I'm just not very interested in her story anymore, s2s. I was never a fan of all of the stories cut off from the rest of the characters (jon and dany, and now tyrion and arya).
cerseilannister 8th-Nov-2012 01:32 am (UTC)
lol valonqar. let's just ignore the obvs choices of jaime and tyrion who aren't having great relationships with cersei and call arya the valoqar.

yeah, i can get losing interest in those POVs tho. i still like most of them (except jon bc idc about anything in the north & up oop) but i feel like i keep waiting for them to come back to other characters. these detours get boring and annoying.
soavantgarde 8th-Nov-2012 01:58 am (UTC)
lol jon is like my least favorite pov, oops. yeah I feel like I'm walking on a treadmill w dany and tyrion's storylines, idgaf about what they're doing atm, I just want them to get to westeros

I liked arya's story when she first got to braavos but I feel like she's stagnating now, I don't like her staying in one place for so long
leaf_collector 9th-Nov-2012 12:11 am (UTC)
iawtc Arya is a precious character, and deserves more.
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