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Sara Reads: Fridging, Manpain, and the Cis-White-Dude Hero: Lazy Storytelling in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

dammit-mcu:

fuckyeahdiomedes:

You’d think that B.J. Britt, the actor who portrays Agent Trip, would have been a shoe-in to join the regular cast of the show in season two. (During a Q&A hosted by Comic Book Resources before the season two premiere, in fact, more than one person asked about the possibility of Britt joining the show as a regular cast member) But it wasn’t him. Instead, the new member of the regular cast was an English actor named Nick Blood who had been brought in to portray Lance Hunter.
It’s not necessarily curious that the writers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would bring in Hunter—he’s an established character in the 616 universe with ties to S.H.I.E.L.D.—but it is curious that they would bring him in as a regular, and obviously with every intention of sliding him into the hero role that was vacated by Ward, when they already have someone—an awesome someone, a someone who is adored by the fans—waiting to take that role.
Think about it.
Agent Trip is, as has been noted, loyal, dependable, and a badass. He’s witty, he’s warm, he’s an adorable tech geek, and he’s a freaking legacy. His grandfather was a Howling Commando, for Stan Lee’s sake. He should be the guy. But he’s not the guy. Lance Hunter is.
There’s an elephant in the room, people: Antoine Triplett is an African-American character.
Lance Hunter is a British mercenary with a heart of gold; he’s a man with a checkered past who just needs someone to believe in him. He’s a cis-white-dude, and he’s ready to be a hero. And, more importantly, the cis-white-dudes who traditionally run everything in the entertainment industry are ready for him to be the hero. They aren’t ready, in any way, shape, or form, for Antoine Triplett to be the hero.
There’s so much wrong with this that it’s hard to believe it gets worse.
But it does.

Ok, but in all fairness, BJ Britt is already on another TV show so he can’t really be a full cast member on AOS

I think the point is less about BJ and his availability, and more that once again, AoS is giving the hero narrative, and regular series spot, to yet another bland white dude, but with a British accent this time.

Trip is a great example of a heroic character who should have been made a regular (had BJ been available), but there are other characters who could’ve been made a series regular, and given the heroic role, like Akela Amador, or Mike Peterson, or Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders is available, as far as I know), but AoS deliberately chose another white guy and fridged a lesbian character for his manpain.

It’s a choice that shows where their priorities lie, and it’s worrying.

Yes, indeed. Thank you so much for bringing that point forward.

Any of the characters you mention would have been excellent choices to add as a series regular. (Akela Amador! AKELA AMADOR! Jeez, talk about a character with a tragic past who’d be an amazing foil for Coulson. I would kill for a story arc about the two of them getting a second chance to work, grow, and heal together as mentor and mentee.) But hell, they’re bringing in Bobbi Morse as a recurring character, and she’s got a huge and fascinating history to play with if the writers were looking to add an established-in-the-comics character to the lineup.

If feel like the sidekicking of the Trip character is just one symptom of what tumblr user roane72 called the AoS “cis-white-male fixation.” I see the fixation particularly in the writers’ special-snowflaking of Phil Coulson in season one, their ongoing obsession with Ward and his tragic past, and inversely in their penchant for subjecting women and PoC characters to body horror experiences. (Man, I really want them to stop doing that.)

Worrying priorities is exactly right.

(Source: sechan19)

broodleboodlescoodles:

d-o-r-ia-n:

little-crazy-misha-minion:

thereaintnorestforthefandoms:

queen-of-the-rising-demons:

The Four Founders of Hogwarts.

This fucked me up for a good 5 minutes.

oh

Oh God…

OHH

lookintothemind

(Source: georgies-closet)

Sara Reads: Fridging, Manpain, and the Cis-White-Dude Hero: Lazy Storytelling in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

fuckyeahdiomedes:

You’d think that B.J. Britt, the actor who portrays Agent Trip, would have been a shoe-in to join the regular cast of the show in season two. (During a Q&A hosted by Comic Book Resources before the season two premiere, in fact, more than one person asked about the possibility of Britt joining the show as a regular cast member) But it wasn’t him. Instead, the new member of the regular cast was an English actor named Nick Blood who had been brought in to portray Lance Hunter.
It’s not necessarily curious that the writers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would bring in Hunter—he’s an established character in the 616 universe with ties to S.H.I.E.L.D.—but it is curious that they would bring him in as a regular, and obviously with every intention of sliding him into the hero role that was vacated by Ward, when they already have someone—an awesome someone, a someone who is adored by the fans—waiting to take that role.
Think about it.
Agent Trip is, as has been noted, loyal, dependable, and a badass. He’s witty, he’s warm, he’s an adorable tech geek, and he’s a freaking legacy. His grandfather was a Howling Commando, for Stan Lee’s sake. He should be the guy. But he’s not the guy. Lance Hunter is.
There’s an elephant in the room, people: Antoine Triplett is an African-American character.
Lance Hunter is a British mercenary with a heart of gold; he’s a man with a checkered past who just needs someone to believe in him. He’s a cis-white-dude, and he’s ready to be a hero. And, more importantly, the cis-white-dudes who traditionally run everything in the entertainment industry are ready for him to be the hero. They aren’t ready, in any way, shape, or form, for Antoine Triplett to be the hero.
There’s so much wrong with this that it’s hard to believe it gets worse.
But it does.

Ok, but in all fairness, BJ Britt is already on another TV show so he can’t really be a full cast member on AOS

Okay, but in all fairness nothing.

I swear if I had known that people were going to use the point about regular vs recurring cast members as proof that the argument I’m making is null and void, I wouldn’t have put it in at all. Because at the end of the day, it’s simply not that relevant to the main point.

I’ve already stated the following elsewhere, but here it is again:

The existence of a contract with BET might prevent BJ Britt from joining the main cast roster of AoS, but it doesn’t prevent the AoS showrunners from writing Agent Trip into the role of the show’s hero. They could easily have transitioned Trip into the role vacated by Ward. They didn’t do that, though. Instead they introduced an entirely new (white) character to take that role and immediately added the actor who plays him as series regular. Those are deliberate actions on the part of the creators to put a black man in the role of sidekick and a white man in the role of hero. And frankly, if the assumptions about BJ Britt’s contract are true (they’ve never been confirmed), the fact that the creators didn’t hire an actor who was free to join the main cast in the first place very strongly suggests that they never had any intention of having Agent Trip be anything more than a sidekick character.

Fixating on the question of contracts ignores the bigger picture. It’s basically saying that because Britt has a contract for this other show, the showrunners have no choice but to engage in shitty writing, and that’s just not true. The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. writers are not at the mercy of BJ Britt’s contracts. This is not a situation where his having a role on Being Mary Jane forced them to use lazy stereotypes and sexist tropes in their stories. They made the decision to do that all on their own. And it was a terrible decision, and I’m calling them on it.

If anyone would like to debate any of the other aspects of my essay, I’d be glad to hear and discuss them, but please don’t throw BJ Britt’s contract at me as if it is the only point my argument was making.

See also: this reply.

Anonymous

Anonymous asked:

Just referring to your other post, Triplett technically is a main character, but, for legal reasons, they can't say it, since he's a main character in another tv show, and its not allowed or something.

This is the second time I’ve heard a variation on this refrain since posting my essay (all of twelve hours ago). I suspect it may not be the last time I hear it, so I’m going to address it right now and hope against hope that my reply puts this baby to bed once and for all.

So let’s begin with the technical facts to which you are referring. The other show in question is BET’s Being Mary Jane, where Britt plays the younger brother of the main character. He is listed as part of that show’s main cast, although he has only appeared in about half of the episodes to date. Now, it may be true that Britt’s contract with BET prevents him from being contracted as a regular performer on another show. I honestly do not know how that sort of thing works, and I honestly don’t care.

I don’t care because the legal status of BJ Britt’s contract is essentially immaterial to my argument. It’s a red herring. It has no bearing on the AoS writers’ decision to put Agent Trip in the background while they advance a white character, Lance Hunter, to the role of main hero. It also has no bearing on their decision to use the sexist trope of fridging in an attempt to cement Hunter in that role of hero. Antoine Triplett may technically be a main character on the show, but he’s clearly not intended to be the main (young) hero of the show. He’s not being written that way; he’s being written as a sidekick. And the only excuse for that, is that that is the story the writers have decided to tell. If the writers wanted to make Trip the hero; they would make him the hero. But they are very obviously (as of the first few episodes) making Lance Hunter the hero, and it is my opinion that race is the motivating factor in that decision.

For anyone out there who wants to throw this alleged “oh but BJ Britt has another job and so I don’t need to pay any attention to the rest of your argument” curve-ball at me: just. don’t. It’s bullshit. It’s a bullshit excuse.

Sara Reads: Fridging, Manpain, and the Cis-White-Dude Hero: Lazy Storytelling in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The casting news about the introduction of Lance Hunter was made during the Marvel Television panel at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. At the same time, another piece of casting news was made: legendary fantasy icon Lucy Lawless would play the role of Isabelle Hartley—another, albeit extremely minor, character taken from the pages of the comics. This news was very well received by just about everyone, and Marvel quite quickly set about the task of fanning the flames of viewer excitement—releasing a first look at Lawless as Hartley in late August and a spate of interviews with her teasing her character in the week leading up to the season premiere.

Imagine everyone’s surprise, then, when Isabelle Hartley debuted in episode one and promptly died a rather horrible death.

At first, I wasn’t sure what had happened. “So is Lucy Lawless going to come back to life with superpowers?” I asked my roommate, who was watching the premiere with me. “Are we going to have, like, a zombie Lucy Lawless who’s kind of like zombie John Cho on Sleepy Hollow?”

The way Lawless’ character had died made such a scenario barely possible, “But still,” I thought to myself. “Stranger things have happened. This is a comic book, after all.”

In that moment, even such a flimsy origin story was preferable to the alternative: that Isabelle Hartley had been fridged in order to advance the storyline of her male counterpart, Lance Hunter—the cis-white-dude ready to be a hero and in desperate need of a sympathetic backstory to grease the wheels of fan acceptance.

Read more.

MCU Trauma Symposium: GOTG and the misfit as refugee

dignityisforotherpeople:

All the reviews of Guardians of the Galaxy mention the “ragtag band of misfits” trope, but none of them seem to have noticed how political this movie is. Not that it’s especially allegorical or polemical, it’s not. This is not a movie about how politics is, could be, or ought to be practiced, which is good, because I hate that kind of movie. Instead, despite the epic scale, this is a much smaller story, about the effects of political trauma on individual life.

When you hear “band of misfits,” you assume you’re going to get some combination of fuckups and weirdos, and GOTG certainly delivers. They’re all different colors and species, engaged in variously illegal activities, with levels of merriment ranging from “stonefaced” to “maniacal.” But to stop there would be to miss the most important part. The emotional core of every member of the team comes from their origin stories, which are: abducted from home by mercenaries and coerced into service of same; family killed by invading attackers; family killed by invading attackers and coerced into service of same; abducted from home (or synthesized?) by shadowy experimenters and coerced into experiments in service of same; and though Groot’s story is left untold, he too has lost any larger community he may once have been part of.

These are not “dropped out of state school because I was partying too hard” stories, despite the lazy jokes about Quill sleeping around. These are stories of political violence and disenfranchisement. Our heroes belong not to the social category of fuckups but to a political category: refugees. By the time the movie starts, they’re a long way from being innocents, but those trajectories each began in the moment they were rendered helpless and alone. “Life takes more than it gives”: it’s taken their communities, their families, their autonomy.

This movie is about what it means to make something new for yourself, after what you have has been taken away. Petty larceny doesn’t cut it, grand larceny doesn’t cut it, even vengeance doesn’t cut it. There are only two things that really help: making your own family, and giving a shit, which turn out to be pretty close to the same thing.

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