How 'bout those compelling yet offensive stories?! Current case in point: The Magicians, a series that I originally gave a chance because it displayed redeeming story elements. Strong male and female characters. Hope, wisdom from that which we do not understand. Then... I watched the entire first season. It provided some really great excitement and creativity (yay!) and a lot of chauvinism and abuse (boo). For the uninitiated, part of my background includes the study of mass media. I dug it in my bachelor's degree program. Wanted to know how to decipher true messages from all of the feces that exists. This curiosity developed with many resources, some of which I reference on my Other Perspectives page. Anyhow, blah blah. At first, I thought I might watch The Magicians for a long time. It piqued my interest and carried a couple of (what I thought would be) strengths. After an experience of the entire first season, I'm left disappointed, insulted, and mostly disgusted with the story.
For serious, writers! What the hell is going on over there? ***SPOILER ALERT*** I talk about the entire first season of The Magicians and some of Warehouse 13 after this paragraph. Avoid if you want to keep these Syfy shows a surprise!
The Magicians and its actors and actresses really provided some great material in the first few episodes. I bought into the relationships in spite of the skirts that practically revealed butt cheeks. I fought with myself to stay with the series even after I realized they were casting the bad element off on the female kinda-non-white looking lead rather than the male completely white looking lead. Then came the suicide episode, the one where my boyfriend warned me to cover my eyes just before the show depicted a man and a gun and a graphic display of his distorted head post-shot. There was what appeared to be a two-second suicide hotline ad at the end of the episode. Then, the last episode happened. The kinda-non-white looking female lead is raped by a white man, and then she gains power from his semen. This is replicated later in the episode when another female lead drinks a male magical character's semen because it offers power. Gawd. I can barely type that sh*t. It's so fuc*ing insulting to females and anyone who's ever received abuse.
First off, the kinda-non-white looking female doesn't even fight back when the man is raping her. She just cries. Which... ok, sure. This might happen. But some people might also fight! Kick! Scream! Grab testicles and bite them off! Prep selves to know what to do and how and when! Look, not all of us lie down and "try to enjoy it," as my mom (maybe she was trying to help?) suggested she would do if a man broke into the house (we lived together) and attempted to rape her. We can fight back. We can learn how to protect ourselves. Just because someone decides to rape does not mean we have to give up and only cry. We can cry AND fight! We can learn techniques that prevent rape! We can learn how to help ourselves, and it can work, and we don't have to give up.
Then, second -- the drinking semen thing is disgusting. It's degrading. It's soft porn meets B movie meets I don't ever want to watch again because the storytelling is so limited and offensive in scope. And the gaining god-like power from a man's semen after he rapes... this is pure chauvinism. It's twisted and perverted and fuc*ed like abuse at its core. Gawd. I felt triggered for the first couple of days after I watched those episodes. And the warning messages with 800 numbers at the end. They don't cut it. They aren't enough. Don't even market the filth that is what I watched for the first season. How shameful and irresponsible. Our younger generation watches this. People who don't have social connections watch this perverse disgusting scenario and glean normalization. Wake up, you media hounds. Be upright in your development and production. Pretend the person watching is someone you care about. Protect that person. Be a fuc*ing good person. Sheebus.
Syfy! I know you can create good material. I really enjoyed Warehouse 13. I mean, sure. I didn't like some of the stories. But overall, I like the whole idea of inviting your enemy to work with you. I enjoyed the female delinquent and older advisor tale. Please put together some better material because I really want to like you. Right now, this Magician story with all of the abusive, callous stuff. It sucks.
Well hello there.