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  • Briston Brooks

Supergirl, why?



Needless to say: Supergirl spoilers to follow (and also one, minor NCIS spoiler.)

Okay, so I was supposed to be using this space as a self-improvement journey, but instead I want to talk about something that the restrictive 140 characters of twitter can't quite purge from the depths of my soul.

There's something you should know about me, internet. I don't really watch shows. My particular brand of ADHD does not lend itself to show-watching. I've watched four shows in my life, NCIS, Grey's Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, and Supergirl. That's not to say I didn't watch a season of HTGAWM or iZombie here and there. But those four, I actually watched, episode 1 to episode whatever. OUAT is kind of fizzling for me. NCIS died when Ziva left. And, well, Grey's is... let's not go there.

Instead let's go here. To Supergirl (read: Superdisappointment.)

When I first heard about Supergirl, I didn't really care. Other than a massive crush on Chyler Leigh, there wasn't a lot of reasons for me to tune in. But the more I learned (interracial main relationship? HELLO), the more I liked. So I watched season 1, mostly for the sisterly dynamic, but also for James/Kara, Cat Grant, and I'll be honest, Maxwell/Alex. Listen, I know he's not great, but it's not my fault Chyler Leigh has chemistry with burnt popcorn kernels.

So fast forward to Season 2 and a move to the CW.

Let me just say, I was skeptical about what they'd do with the plot, but I had some kind of strange faith that the CW would understand the need for representation, that they would listen to their audience like more mainstream networks never would. I was even more excited when they announced a character would be coming out as gay, YES, and getting a love interest.

Imagine my surprise when Kara breaks up with James in the first episode, literally five minutes later in show time, for no reason. They rewrote her entire character and undid every bit of discovering herself she'd done in season 1, for... what? Oh, right, for Dexter.

What? Oh wait, apparently that's a different UFWG (Unidentified Fucking White Guy) on the table.

Even then, I was so sure they wouldn't do this. They wouldn't break up an interracial relationship, one with amazing foundation in friendship and goodness, for an UFWG. Honestly, I thought Superman was pranking everyone because I can't even tell the difference between him and Mon El.

And I'm not trying to be mean. It's not that he isn't cute, sure, he is, in a very eyes-glazed-over-seen-it-a-million-times kind of way. Supergirl was supposed to be different! I guess it was my own naivete for believing that, but when they introduced Maggie as Alex's love interest, I thought we had something here. Alex's coming out was so relatable, so true to life, so good. And with Lena Luthor replacing Maxwell, this was starting to look like a feminism powerhouse, even with the departure of Cat Grant. But apparently no.

Every episode since Alex and Maggie's short-lived love story, any focus on them has been totally derailed. I swear, Alex got more screen time last year, and it's hard not to see Maggie as some kind of "token" when she's getting three lines a week. Which is sad, because Floriana isn't even actually Latinx, which is problematic in and of itself. But the least you could do was give your Latinx character actual screen time and help out all the kids out there who never see themselves in media. Since you already short-changed the Latinx actors looking for work. It's infuriating.

Instead, the focus has been on Kara and Mon-El. Which, I mean, it's had cute moments. I'm not saying it hasn't, but it's the most contrived, cliched boring storyline I've ever seen. Every trope they've used, fish out of water, girl formerly uninterested in dating, the white hyper-masculine bad boy gone soft for this one quirky girl, has been used a million times. Kara is essentially Mon-El's manic pixie dream girl. Just look at him, he's every single brooding YA love interest. He drinks, he parties, he won't take responsibility for anything, he's really not good at rejection. And Kara is just so smitten she shirks every "responsibility" she'd made for herself (in Season 2, anyway, who knows what happened to anything from Season 1) to be with this guy. I mean, does this not sound familiar?

Kara Zor-El is so busy. She's got to save the world, become a reporter, get to where she wants to be in life! The last thing she has time for is the loud-mouthed macho-hot-guy she's forced to work with. Too bad he's just SO cute and won't leave her alone. Maybe there's more underneath that brooding surface.

Cue every heterosexual white love affair ever written. No offense. It's BORING! It's been done a million times, and the formula is dying out! That's what's horrible about this. A few years ago? I'd understand. Appeal to the masses, but the masses are tired of this same thing, over and over. They wanted something new. And you gave them... this.

So, let's talk about last night, which has been building for ages. Firstly, the writers said that the episode was Sanvers-centric. Those were words they used, and I sure see why. I mean, five minutes out of forty-five? Wow! Thank you heterosexual overlords for this blessing. Surely, we gays will be totally star struck with five whole minutes. That's basically centric to us. We don't know the difference. And then! We get the pleasure of watching some strange love triangle (COULD IT BE MORE TROPEY?) between Ronald McDonald and Mon-El. Which was nice, because Kara actually started standing up for herself when Mon-El went straight to creepy town over "defending Kara's honor."

And, then, of course, everything works itself out, and it turns out Kara was only telling Mon El no because she wanted to protect him, and because she didn't understand herself. Speaking of toxic, unnecessary, and overused tropes! Oh boy! And then it's followed up with a make out scene that I swear was longer than every Sanvers scene since the mid-season premiere.

I'm not that frustrated about the scene itself. If they wanted to go the route of Kara and Mon-El, despite chemistry that I completely fail to see, then fine. They can do that. What I'm not okay with is how they've torn the show down for it. I wasn't happy knowing that Season 2 was going to fly off the rails into uncharted territory. I knew pieces of Season 1 were going to be erased, but I thought it would be to make way for diversity, for good representation, for marginalized people. For something different and unique and interesting. That's the only reason I was okay with it, that's the only reason I could accept a total break from the story they'd built, the story I watched, through 20 episodes. It's the only acceptable reason for such disjointed story telling.

But to do it for this boring narrative, for a narrative that turns the show from something different and fun to every other show on the CW and every other major network that I've forgotten about in the past five years, is rage-inducing. I'm furious. I'm furious that we got to see Alex come out, only to have it shoved to the back for the same story about a white guy and a white girl coming together despite the white girl's initial reluctance. I'm mad that Kara has been reduced to an object for men to fight over. I'm mad that James, one of the only black characters on the show, was shoved into NOTHING after a break up that made so little sense that I'm sorry, but I have to cry racism. I'm mad that M'gann, the only other actual person of color they've introduced, was sent away, which essentially robs J'onn of an actual on screen romance. I'm mad that they only seem to care about Sanvers, the lesbian rep, when they're promoing. I'm mad they care so little about POC that they couldn't even be bothered to find an actual Latinx lady to play Maggie.

I'm mad. I expected more. I expected to be able to come watch this show and see something diverse. See something new. Something run by girls, which is, still, today, so rare. And all I get is some jar of mayonnaise taking center stage at every turn. This isn't about me being unable to like white male characters, I do. I even admitted to liking Maxwell Lord because he wasn't dominating every second of screen time. I was okay with Mon-El until the show was rewritten to be about him.

I'm just mad at Supergirl because they've let me down in every conceivable way. They gutted everything interesting from Season 1, and then they replaced it with storylines a hundred percent more boring and contrived and RACIST. I just don't see any reason to follow it anymore, and that's just unfortunate.

Well, that got aggressive.

#supergirl #karazorel #sanvers #supergirlcriticism #thecw #gayrepresentation #lgbtqa #lgbt #racism

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© 2016 by Briston Brooks