Sunday, June 22, 2014

Orphan Black Has Made Me Afraid

I admit to holding on to a bit (or way more) of naivete and blind idealism when it comes to certain issues related to casting in Hollywood. When people roar about Supernatural killing off all the ethnic and female characters, I point out that they kill off EVERYONE. If someone ever survives (Hi, Sarah from "Provenance" in season 1!) and comes back, well, we know it's goodbye. When people were up in arms about having too few females in the first "cast photo," I thought it was unfair to JJ Abrams, who is well known for using strong female characters in his shows. And then we had additional casting announcements that hopefully appeased the impatient angry masses.

I tend to believe there is oversimplification in casting allegations, and I tend to take that angle when I debate such issues because...big confession here...I'm part of the problem. I *love* The Avengers, and I don't care that it's flooded with testosterone. You can't pay me to go see August: Osage County, and I turned off Bridesmaids about 10 minutes in because it made me queasy. I don't want the movies and shows I love to go away, so I try to make the issue more complex.

A couple of days ago a friend and I were chatting about The 100. For those who don't know, that's a CW TV show set in the future, featuring kids sent from a space station down to a post-nuclear Earth to see if it's safe to come back to. I stopped watching after maybe the third episode, when a little girl killed one of my favorite characters. The fact that he happened to be black was irrelevant, but my friend said yeah, she hates that the show seems to kill off all its ethnicity. She also said, in that same conversation, that Orphan Black wasn't getting the credit it was due because it's a female-centric show.

OB does get tons of credit, at least as far as gen-pop buzz goes. Tatiana Maslany, who has played 9 different, very distinct characters, has won her second Critics Choice Award and everyone raves about her skill. But of course by "credit" we mean Top Honors, aka an Emmy. We have a little while before we find out whether she'll be nominated. The show itself probably will never get a nomination, because it's very genre, it's on BBCAmerica, and the competition is fierce. But NO ONE on TV can possibly be giving as good of a performance as Maslany is right now. I argued that the genre and the network were bigger marks against the show than the fact that there are more women at center focus than men.

But a gamechanger occurred in last night's finale. We learned there are male clones, so the guy who has been playing Mark will get a chance to do what Tat does. And now I'm scared. This is a perfect chance for my friend to be proven right. If this guy gets more acclaim than Tat has (which, like I said, would be difficult in terms of buzz) I'll be forced to admit that the level of gender bias in television is disgustingly deep-seated.

So come on, Hollywood. For once prove all the others wrong. Give us a reason to put this topic to bed, at least for a little while!


LBDDiaries said...

I'll have to take your word for all this as we barely watch commercial television (Big Bang Theory & 2 Broke Girls, both silly but fun). We don't watch a lot of deep shows because Alpha Hubby wants to smile - or watch bloody Sci Fi (eech). Well, that does mean I get to READ in His Majesty's presence while he's watching bloody stuff (which tends to make him laugh even while the ethnic hero is usually being killed off!). Good post!!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Yeah, reading while the other person/people watch TV is time-honored togetherness. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I tend to watch shows with hot guys on so I don't really pay attention to what else is going on. Probably my current favorite show is Once Upon a Time. Hot guys but except for one guy, the women have the power. So it's great, hot guys being bossed around by strong women.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Ha! Sue, you shock me. :)

I watch plenty of hot guys shows, too, but this one is special.

I agree about OUAT!