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GASP! She has emotions!

November 2nd, 2008     by Stark Koenig     Comments

I have been an aficionado of crime procedurals on TV for at least a decade now, fed in recent years with a constant diet of CSI and Law & Order spinoffs, new young ensemble casts of model-icious criminal profilers, FBI missing persons investigators and cold case cops. What a smoergasbord! I’m getting full.

Thankfully, this season’s TV roster seems to have picked up on an emerging demand in the TV market for old school sci-fi/strange phenomenon dramas, a la The X-Files, perhaps due to the recent release of the second X-Files movie (so, it was a flop; they didn’t know that when they picked up the new shows!) or the recent seasons’, to my mind, inexplicable favouring of shows like The Ghost Whisperer. Whatever the reason, there are some new phenomenon shows that have piqued my interest, and one in particular: Fringe.

I really enjoy the cast of this new show. Having been born a bit too early to appreciate teen dramas like Dawson’s Creek, I am not familiar with Josh Jackson’s Pacey character, which probably works in my favour. I know Kirk Acevedo and Lance Reddick from their work on Oz and The Wire. I would like to see more diversity; most of the main players are white, with people of colour only in supporting roles. Some of those supporting characters, including that of Astrid, played by out lesbian Jasika Nicole, do seem to be taking a larger role, however, a trend that I hope to see continue.

TV shows with strong female leads are rare to say the least, and this one is a gem. One moment that sticks out in my mind as unique is a conversation that the lead character, Olivia, has with her supervising agent, Broyles, about her approach to her work. She says, “I guess you’re going to say that I am too emotional. Putting aside the fact that men always say that about women they work with, I am emotional. I put it into my work; it’s what makes me a better agent.”

Wow! Women never get to say that on TV! I have become so accustomed to crime procedurals and their tendency to include scenes where one member of the bloated ensemble cast has some sort of breakdown or makes a vital mistake on the job due to his, or usually her, emotional proximity to the work. It is very rare to hear someone own the emotion and use it as a tool. Because women are taught from a young age to be emotional, and because such a value is placed on emotional distance and objectivity in a majority of fields usually considered men’s domains, such as law enforcement, science, business, etc., the emotionality of women is often what is used to keep us out of those domains. This was the first time in a long time that I have seen a female character on TV turn that on its head and talk about it as a strength.

Tags: media savvy

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