English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: #gender Page 1 of 4

Kimmy Schmidt: Why it all Works

Kimmy Schmidt is a fictional plot about one girl who was kidnapped by a reverend when she was only 13 years of age, kept in a underground bunker for 15 years convinced that there was no life above her and that everything she previously knew and loved had perished in an apocalypse. She then is found and rescued by the U.S. government at the age of 28 and must live without any source of viable income in the cutthroat city of New York, where she is constantly deceived by others who try to con her money or make her do sexual favors.  All the while she must remain a strong witness and figure in convicting her cynical kidnapper. This is a very dark plot that could be the plot to a high intensity, multi season drama series, but this is the polar opposite of dark and dramatic.. I may not even be too bold to claim that Kimmy Schmidt: Unbreakable may be the funniest thing I have ever watched. But how does a show with such a dark premise create such a comedic tone… well I’ll tell you.

The most prominent aspect of the comedy within the show is the delivery of lines. This show has many different comedic aspects within it but the one portion that really makes the audience hurl over from laughter is the deadpan delivery of nonsensical dialogue.  For those unaware, deadpan is a mechanism of comedy in which one person says or does something funny during a scene and no character on screen laughs or reacts at all to the action, acting like it is completely normal.  This contributes because this series thrives off of nonsense even in the most intense moments of the show, and when witty, nonsense is spewed back and forth between characters of the show in very intense moments, you just can’t help but laugh as an audience member.

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Quote from Kimmy Schmidt

Another aspect that contributes to the comedic tone of the show is the pop culture references and the very modern material that is portrayed.  Kimmy was born in the mid 1980s as previously stated, so naturally there are many 90s pop culture references as well as the current day references that often times are completely nonsensical because Kimmy was only a child during the 90s and still technically has the cultural awareness of a child as she has just been released from a barren bunker separated from the outside world.  This allows for Kimmy (and less often her supporting characters) to make inappropriate, and often nonsensical but comical, comments that are also hilariously delivered through deadpan dialogue about pop culture.

Though there are many factors that contribute to the comedy within the very intense plot line of the series meshing well, I firmly believe that the deadpan delivery of dialogue and the frequent culture references are key to the comedy that has allowed Kimmy Schmidt.

Peace out Blog Posts.

4th Time’s the Charm: Gender in Fresh off the Boat

The gender representation in Fresh off the Boat suffers from a lack of women in its cast, and the women in the show are usually just side characters (besides the Huang matriarch).

The show has a lack of women in it, but this might be due, in part, to the lack of women in the Huang family. Despite this lack of women, the show will still usually have 1 of the 3 sub-plots dedicated to Jessica. In this episode, she is quite present.

Jessica is usually shown to be the least nonsensical family member, as her husband is a completely goofy character. Despite this, she is depicted as a bit of an eccentric in this episode because of her superstitious beliefs. She is proven right in the end, and the family must change with the help of their grandmother’s strange rituals.

Jessica is a strong mother, she takes an active role in her kids’ lives and plays an active role in the family affairs, usually overpowering her husband. Despite this good representation, this happens to fall into one of the oldest stereotypes of Asian women, the Tiger Mom. On top of this classical stereotype, Jessica is an Asian middle-class penny-pincher. The show does a good job at showing the audience these stereotypes, but also doe not do much in the way of breaking them.

Jessica, in a fight with her husband (that she totally wins)

The show tends to allow Jessica’s character with many victories, she basically controls the family, wins most arguments she gets into, and is extremely gifted at selling houses, all of which are great for a strong female presence, but these little victories can not make up for the classical stereotypes that the show espouses, the Tiger Mom and penny-pincher, both of which are never addressed or talked about outside of the many jokes and gags present.

While Fresh off the Boat may be a funny sitcom about an under represented race in America, it does little to fix the associated stereotypes and deceptions of that very same race’s women.

A Friendship Between Two Broads

Broad City is objectively a unique comedy series, especially under the category of female-centered television shows. The uniqueness of the show stems from a variety of characteristics, but the show’s most defined characteristic is its implementation and representation of gender throughout each episode. Yes, Broad City is centered on the lives of two female millennial city-dwellers, Abbi and Ilana, but the show is much more than that.

Generally, the show includes a wide spread of gender throughout each episode, notably through male side characters as well as gender-fluid characters (RuPaul’s cameo in Season 4). Also, the show intersects gender with many other representational axes such as race, class, and sexual orientation. Ilana’s friend with benefits, Lincoln, is black, and her roommate is a gay Hispanic man named Jaime. Also, Ilana herself does engage sexually with both men and women, so the millennial, open-minded, unbiased representation of characters definitely shines through. Despite all these characteristics, the show does place a predominant focus on the women of the show, specifically the two female leads in Abbi and Ilana. The inclusion of the peripheral characters is mainly to bolster Abbi and Ilana’s story-lines, and the intent of the show is to portray a unique and non-stereotypical female experience.

Cast of Broad City, (left to right), Lincoln, Ilana, Jaime, Abbi

With the premiere episode of Season 4, titled “Sliding Doors,” the viewers are exposed to a more direct development of gender representation, particularly in the basis of female friendships. The opening episode is about the crazy story of how Abbi and Ilana met as young adults in New York. Ilana witnessed Abbi struggling to get into the subway, so she helped Abbi by swiping her in. However, they both missed the train, so they were basically stuck together. Although they met by chance, Abbi and Ilana do not take that for granted, and it was ultimately their decision to develop this new friendship. Television shows usually depict women as competitive or opposites of one another, and female friendships tend to be more one-sided. Broad City shatters this stereotype, however, by blossoming the friendship between Abbi and Ilana in a more authentic way in the Season 4 premiere. Abbi and Ilana recognize each other’s quirks upon first meeting, and they are willing to mutually interact and help each other out. For example, they both enjoy lighting one up from time to time, and their sense of humor plays off each other. This embracing of each other’s personality emulates a sense of relatability with the viewers that is otherwise lacking in other TV shows.

When Abbi and Ilana first met (“Sliding Doors”)

Therefore, the basis of female friendships plays into the representation of gender in Broad City because it helps to portray women in a different light. Without the stereotypes of envy and competitiveness being shown, female friendships like Abbi’s and Ilana’s are strong, embracing, and supportive of each other no matter what, making Broad City a much more refreshing show.  

Fresh Off the Gender Representation

Episode 7 of Season One of Fresh Off the Boat is called “Showdown at the Golden Saddle” and is about Eddie trying to get the neighbor, Nicole’s, attention. Compared to the previous episodes in season one, this one gives much more agency to Nicole. Nicole is no longer just a character that reacts to Eddie’s remarks but now also interacts with him. Though Nicole is a more developed character in this episode she is still portrayed as a prize, mostly due to her appealing physical appearance. This is reasonable as the whole show is supposed to be from the perspective of Eddie who is still a young boy.

The show still does a good job of incorporating other active female characters such as Jessica and her best friend Honey.  Jessica is the alpha of the family who always makes significant decisions that impact many of the other characters. As Eddie said in this episode, “The tough guy in my family had always been my mom” referring to Jessica. Not only is she a prominent female character, Jessica also facilitates the representation of Asian Americans. Even though the whole show revolves around race representation, Jessica is a prominent character that holds up certain stereotypes while dismantling others.

Even though the show does a really good job of representing the male and female genders, it does not have much gender spread beyond that. There have been zero characters so far that identify with a gender other than these two. However, it is still early in season one so there is a possibility that such characters will be represented later on.

 

These iconic nicknames show how Jessica is represented as an equal with Louis.

 

The Bigger Female Picture

After watching through most of the first season of Orange is the New Black so far, it’s safe to say there is a very diverse and intriguing representation of genders and how they clash with other categories such as sexuality and disabilities. The show starts off with Piper and her fiance, Larry. This show is mostly dominated by female characters, as the only male characters introduced in the show are Larry, the prison guards, and the alpha prison watcher. There are only two genders represented on the show being male and female, and no others present. As a result of so many female characters on the show, there is a wide variety of global categories distributed between.

For the male characters, they tend to all act dominant and controlling. Larry expects Piper to go into prison and come out bruise-free. He planned on marrying Piper originally, and didn’t realize that Piper would be faced with so many obstacles. Larry thought it was not fair for him, so he ended the relationship temporarily with Piper because of her struggles. With the prison guards like Porn-stache, they are all attempting to be alpha and controlling all of the inmates to do whatever they please. Most of the officers are especially rude and do not bother with treating the inmates with any sense of respect. All of them are heterosexual and act like typical gender stereotyped males.

For the female characters, they take on a wide spectrum of personalities and attitudes. Every female prison inmate has differing characteristics, whether it’s the way they act, their orientation, or upbringing. Most of the females in the prison are heterosexual and come from a significant other before going into jail. However, there are a select few that are homosexual, and several that have mental disabilities. It’s interesting to see the culture of religions, orientation, races, and attitudes clashed in the same department and how the inmates interact/react to each other’s actions. Overall, the situation of Piper and the obstacles she has to face encountering new environments every day makes the show constantly fun to watch.

Larry and Piper before Piper leaves for prison.

Your Worst Nightmare- If You’re a Woman

Anyone who’s read, watched, or even heard of The Handmaid’s Tale knows how horrifying Gilead is for the Handmaids. These women had a normal life before, but suddenly they are thrust into this new world in which so much progress is gone, society reverted to a place even worse than the past.

It’s almost impossible to believe that this show takes place in the present. We view progress in human rights as upwardly linear, even exponential, but The Handmaid’s Tale expresses how easily fear and misuse of power can take everything away from women and other minorities. Although the whole structure of society has been redesigned in Gilead, the cause and effect of this change is due to women’s supposed infertility. Birth rates dropped steeply in the past, causing fear that led to men blaming the women and creating the concept of Handmaids.

Gender plays a big role in our world today, but in Gilead, it dictates everything. Most of the men are Guardians, Commanders, or Econopeople. They form the backbone of society and pick what the women’s roles are. They own property, basically including women, have jobs, and are able to live relatively peaceful lives. However, the women are Marthas, Handmaids, Aunts, Wives, Econowives, or Unwomen. Although some are more pleasant than others, none are happy. They lead lives decided by other people and suffer through both pain and boredom. Since this is the first generation of Gilead, these women live every day remembering the past but have to deal with the present. In Season 2, Episode 11, June goes into labor and remembers her past experience with her first child. An experience in which she was surrounded by those who loved her, doctors, and good conditions. Now, she has to give birth alone with no drugs, doctors, and without any emotional support. However, she uses the memory of her past with her first birth and numerous Handmaid’s births to get her through it. These paralleled experiences show the new reality these women have to face with no way out- not even a quick death is guaranteed.

Close to escape, June goes into labor and must give birth alone and fire flares to make sure her baby will be safe.

Even though the Handmaids go through day after day of emotional and physical abuse, in Gilead, they are seen as those who have been given a second chance. Aunts try to brainwash them into believing that they this providing for the world is a privilege and that they should be grateful. Men, like priests and homosexuals, who didn’t fit Gilead’s rules were executed while fertile women involved with religion or lesbians were given this second chance. Although many factors influence one’s experience in Gilead, gender plays as the most major role, with neither outcome being favorable. Which outcome is better? Debatable.

Gender and other stereotypes on “Fresh Off the Boat”

Fresh Off the Boat gets better with stereotypes and gender representations as the series continues. However like many other shows, it doesn’t deal well with tropes, stereotypes, and genders during the first season. Starting the series off, there are 2 main male characters, Eddie and Louis, and 1 main female character, Jessica, along with two other boys, Emery and Evans, and grandma Huang. Jessica is a stereotype Tiger Mom pushing her children to perform well in academics. Jessica is a typical housewife staying home taking care of the kids and house chores. Louis is a typical male breadwinner of the household working each day and being away from home. In season 1 episode 9 “License to Sell,” Jessica becomes a realtor, selling houses, however, she still isn’t able to break away from being a housewife. Even though she has a career, Jessica only really sells house when her kids are at school despite how successful she is. Fresh Off the Boat does present us with the fact that Jessica is truly the head of the household, instead of Louis, as she is seen commanding everyone around.

Near the end of season 1 episode 3, we are introduced to Nicole who is the beautiful girl on the block that Eddie instantly falls in love with. In this episode, we are shown how Eddie considers women more like objects of attraction. First, Eddie wants to use Honey to show off to his classmates in order to get friends; then we see Eddie fall in Nicole simply because of her beauty. Both also dress in slightly revealing outfits. Then later we meet Connie who is Jessica’s sister, Connie then tells us how she got fake breast implants. Also when we meet the neighborhood women in the “Pilot,” they are all in a group skating around the neighborhood; it was quite obvious that all the women were housewives and whenever we see them it’s with Jessica not allowing us to see their daily lives.

In Fresh Off the Boat, nearly everyone is straight with the exception being Nicole; however, we don’t learn about this until a later season. The most notable episode, about this, in the first season is episode ten “Blind Spot.” This is where we learn of Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Oscar, who is gay. The problem with the shows portrayal of Oscar is that they seem to of use every gay stereotype in the book. Oscar first is given a short of accent, then we learn that he is auditioning for the Aladdin Ice Show Spectacular. Later when Oscar gets out of the shower, he is wearing a pink robe and a “gaysian” necklace.

One inclusion that is notable is including Grandma Huang backstory of foot-binding that shows us what women had to deal with in old China.

Jessica being rightfully prideful about being able to sell a house that no one has been able to sell before.

Eddie tosses coupons at Honey as if he’s in a gentleman’s club

Power of the Uterus

If this were review topic six, six would have been our lucky number. Season six, episode six, Orange is the New Black creators sure know how to make women powerful.

When you have a show about lesbian mastermind criminals under the supervision of officers that are female which are under directors that are also female, you have a sort of power struggle. Even though it is just one gender, the gender is broken into different dynamics. For example in the first two minutes of the episode we are shown four characters: Daddy, Daya, Barb, and the blonde girl (acts as the messenger and one of Barbs servants). Usually in shows, the male presence dominates the female presence however there are no males so we are conflicted with who is in power here. Ultimately Barb is the head of the entire C block because of the superiority she gained when she first entered max. Then we have daddy, the butch lesbian with more manly attributes than the rest and obviously the dominant sexually, which makes her struggle to earn power understanding. Then we have Daya and the blonde girl which are on slightly different levels because of the feelings Daddy has for Daya.

Daddy and Daya showing the simplest affection at the beginning of the episode

Regardless of the position of the prisoners, we still have the position of the prison guards who execute their dominance for more reasons than one and MCC corporate staff that but heads when dominance is taking place.

Let’s examine the interaction between Linda and Natalie. It is obvious that there is a mutual dislike between the two of them and for obvious reasons *cough cough Joe* however one does dominate the other and maybe it is that Natalie does not respect Linda’s position because she lacks the ability to do her job efficiently that they bud heads. However in this dynamic between the two women, the superior seems to be the submissive woman in this interaction.

This display of power within the gender is interestingly depicted by the writers of the episode. There are some many types of girls that it gets confusing who is dominating and who is submissive and why this is taking place. There is no perfect way to set up a sort of “food chain” of power however in scenes it is obvious who is powerful and who isn’t. Without regards to any men, I think that Orange is the New Black efficiently depicts some badass women that can stand alone without the presence of male dominance.

Not Just a Housewife – Fresh off the Boat

Even though “Fresh off the Boat” is written about Eddie Huang’s life, I believe that his mother is actually the main character. Most of the show’s plots are centered around some conflict related to her, or about some fear of her. So for this gender analysis blog, let’s take a look at the real main character of “Fresh off the Boat” – Jessica Huang.

There isn’t too much of a gender spread on “Fresh off the Boat” – a majority of the main characters are male, except for Jessica and Louis’s mother, Grandma Huang. Jessica is a house-wife turned real estate agent, but don’t let that fool you. She is far from a typical TV housewife – she is the matriarch of the Huang family. The entire family (except for Grandma Huang) lives in fear of her, closely following the boundaries and rules that she has set. Jessica is also a very powerful and capable character, frequently shown as naturally good at many skills and a hard negotiator. In spite of her toughness, the show also demonstrates that she is capable of putting her tough love aside to show warmth to her family. Her decisions and actions are the primary fuel for the show’s plots. So “Fresh off the Boat” did a great job in representing Jessica as a powerful female, but what about everyone else?

In terms of gender, there is little active representation beyond Jessica. The show only portrays males and females, and outside of Jessica, a majority of females depicted are the rather ditsy women that share the neighborhood. However, “Fresh off the Boat” shines in terms of merging race and gender. It’s the first ABC show to depict an Asian family as its lead, and while it is a Western stereotype that Asian women are quiet and submissive, Fresh off the Boat went out of its way to ensure that it would not contribute to this image in any form. Its lead female is respected by everyone, both in and out of her family, and the only person she somewhat fears is her mother-in-law. Thus, even though “Fresh off the Boat doesn’t extend its arms into many other representational axes, it did a fantastic job in what it did choose to represent. It broke stereotypes and created one of the most iconic families to currently exist on ABC, and showed that being a housewife is anything but a sign of weakness or incapability.

It was very early in the show, but this scene is a perfect demonstration of how Jessica gets stuff done.

Dr. Model in Grey’s Anatomy

One of the major aspects of Grey’s Anatomy is that it features a female lead who is independent and intelligent. This in itself is a move towards equality in television. In episode 4 “No Man’s Land”, gender issues over capability and appearance come starkly into focus.

There has long been a divide between men and women on their expectations of what should or shouldn’t be done. The “double standard” is continually debated on and talked about. Some people don’t think that it’s real or anything to be concerned with. The writers of Grey’s Anatomy took a very definitive stance on this issue in episode 4. One of the interns, Izzie, is attending a middle-aged man who needs a biopsy for his prostate cancer. The man refuses for her to be near him during his surgery or even to attend to him because he has seen her photos in a modeling campaign. It turns out that he is attracted to her and didn’t want Izzie to see his prostate surgery. This reasoning is reasonable in some ways, especially since it is the patient’s choice. However, the other interns treating Izzie differently due to her photos is presented in a different way.

One of the pictures of Izzie modeling that was posted on the elevator doors.

Alex, a male intern, posts Izzie’s pictures all around the locker room and calls her “Dr. Model”. Izzie, however, retaliates by saying that due to those pictures she was able to graduate debt free. There is certainly the implication, also, that if one of the male interns were to have a similar set of photos or something sexual in nature published about him, it would have been applauded. For Izzie however, being both attractive and a surgical intern is seen as an impossibility.

Grey’s Anatomy has taken on a strong position on this issue. They make it out that Izzie should be celebrated both for her medical achievements and for being able to do what she had to in order to graduate without debt. It is clear from the show that femininity can be seen as a sexual thing without being demeaning to women. Gender should have no role in determining capability or in deciding which options should be open to different people.

Gender Norms and Culture- Sense8

Sense 8 is a very unique show. I’ve never seen a show that has so many subplots attached to the main plot. Eight different stories are told. Not just different in that different events are happening in each story, but different in almost every aspect. Each character has a unique cultural background that brings something unique to the show. These unique cultural backgrounds of the characters allow different gender norms to be represented from across the globe. Of the eight main characters there are 4 that identify as female and 4 that identify as male.

 

For an example of the way that gender is represented differently dependent on the cultural background of the character, lets compare and contrast the characters Sun and Lito.

Sense8 Season 2

Sun is a business women from South Korea but she has a secret hobby. She fights. Not just women but also men. She is tough and hard willed. Yet, she is always undermined by her father and brother. Even though her brother stole from her father’s company that she worked so hard for with no credit, Sun takes the blame so that her father’s company will not fall through. She is a woman that makes endless sacrifices and in part because of that she is strong. She is forced to fulfill a role she wasn’t meant to be in.

Lito is a male actor in Mexico that also has a secret. He is gay but must hide this from the public because of the machismo male culture of not only his country but the entertainment industry. He presents himself as this tough heterosexual male with a great body because, like Sun, that is what is expected. Both characters are tough because they are forced into a box they do not belong, yet they still conform to gender norms- much like us all.

 

Women Off the Boat, in New Places of Power

Throughout the first season of Fresh Off the Boat, gender roles remained very static and I’d go as far as saying they were very stereotypical. None of the characters really break any molds; most everyone is a typical character and there aren’t any radical characterizations regarding gender. One may argue that Jessica’s place of power in the Huang family challenges the typical patriarchal scheme of a family that we see emphasized through the rest of the neighborhood moms. While this is certainly the case, she is still very dependent on Louis to make all of the money and she fits into the whole “tiger mom” stereotype. I guess all of this is passable since the series is loosely based on Eddie Huang’s book, so this may very well have been how these people existed and interacted.

Towards the end of the first season and certainly in the second, there is some shifting of power regarding gender. Jessica gets a job and is able to provide for the family and move her character away from its previous positioning as a strong matriarch that is only concerned with the performance of her kids. In season 2, episode 3, she also demonstrates her ability to negotiate with salespeople and scores her family a new car for significantly less than its sticker price. As such, she definitely has a big effect on the plot of the show and begins to break away from the more typical role she previously occupied.

Additionally, Nicole, Eddie’s neighbor, is expanded from just being Eddie’s crush to also being a strong, plot-driving character. In episode 5, she demonstrates a lot of power over the boys in school by scaring them away from Jessica’s real estate property. This is definitely a shift towards a more progressive role than she previously held as more of just a pretty face.

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Nicole scares off some boys.

This is probably the lone example of something in the show shifting into focus without becoming the butt of a joke, as with sexual orientation. The show brings this up a lot, but it’s never really explored. It’s always used to convey a joke, which I hope will change in the way we’ve seen the show’s representation of gender evolve. In addition, the rest of the female characters occupy very stereotypical roles, as stay-at-home neighborhood moms and a trophy wife. The same can be said for the men, who are mostly rich country club members. At least each gender is accounted for in near equal numbers. I guess the directors just take a lot of time to push the plot in new directions and are slow to approach new facets of representation.

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The Denim Turtle, Jessica’s escape. Also happens to be a lesbian hang-out.

Killjoys – Revolutionizing Gender Norms on Television

By now you should have now realised KillJoys is known for having a female show creator, and it shouldn’t surprise you the way women are portrayed in KillJoys is unlike most other TV Shows.

Female show-creators, although aren’t rare, isn’t common either. KillJoys is exceptional because it has a female creator who truly had her own say, allowing the adoption and portrayal of characters which is unlike most popular TV shows. Female characters in the show consist of a wild spectrum, from the lead protagonist and hero such as Dutch to the antagonist and extremely evil characters such as Delle and Aneela. Although all the female characters may have varying motives, they can all be called a hero as each of them undoubtedly had their own heroic moments. Even the most nefarious female villain in the show, who have unquestionably committed unspeakable crimes, are presented their other side of their sense of inarguable rightness and greater motive, which manages to win over the audience’s sympathy and admiration over the long run.

 

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Delle Seyah Kendry in Killjoys

Just as female villains aren’t necessarily manipulative like how they are often portrayed in popular culture, a protagonist is neither always heroic or selfless. Dutch as a prime example has often veered off to her self-desires during missions, most notably trying he save her “mentor” regardless of knowing the crime he had committed. On the other hand, Dutch’s background is also gradually revealed during season 2 – turns out she was from a wealthy family. From Dutch’s perspective, here background is full of sorrows, although this was questioned in season 3 when alternatives of Dutch’s background events were revealed. Afterall just like the villains maybe Dutch was trying to gain sympathy.

But then when you add the questionable acts of “The Company ” and Killjoys and the story mostly told from Dutch’s perspective, who knows who’s the actual villain of the Quad.

Nonetheless, the portrayal of Dutch as the captain of the team and the ship, while seemingly holding a monopoly over power allow females to reach a new height within popular TV culture. This also defies the social norms TV shows have always been engraining us with. Dutch is a fighter, an assassin, a killer and a strategist; something females wouldn’t have been portrayed as in TV just a decade before. At the same time, Dutch doesn’t lead a team of female fighters. Instead, both of her team members – John and D’avin – are both men. Dutch as a female dominates men, reversing the stereotype of males being dominant over women. The character of Dutch on television definitely revolutionize popular culture while its appeal towards the audience and the success it has achieved speaks for the gender imbalance in television women have always been enduring.

 

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Dutch leading the charge in season 1 episode 4

Killjoys have certainly made a great stride forward in how females are portrayed in television shows. However, apart from how women are portrayed, KillJoys have also made a breakthrough in season 3 – the cast of a large number of disabled actors. Read more about it here.

Does hip hop make him supreme – or is it all a scheme?

One of my favorite parts about Fresh off the Boat are the voice overs. Eddie Huang, a middle schooler, narrates the first and final scene of every episode, but as an older post-pubescent man. As the main character, he is telling the story from his perspective and how he views the plot. Therefore, this implies that this is how Eddie sees himself. This is just a hilarious ploy by the writers to me.

The voice of this character is unique to say the least. He reflects Eddie’s love of hip hop by using popular slang terms, because those terms are ~cool~. The speech used by this narrator is based off the speech of the popular hip hop artists who act as Eddie’s role models. The voice drastically contrasts with the voice of the real Eddie Huang which is high pitched, and the slang terms don’t sound quite as natural, because he’s a little kid. When Eddie uses the same slang it looks like a kid who is pretending to be cool when in reality he’s not, but the narration voice really is. Again, what this says about Eddie is that he genuinely believes he’s really cool.

This says a lot about Eddie’s character. Eddie’s character struggles to make friends. He is often rejected by the kids at school. In season 1 episode 5, the episode starts out by Eddie narrating how he doesn’t get invited to any sleepovers. This statement alone is a bit odd, considering the narrator is an adult and adults don’t exactly have sleepovers (in the traditional sense of the term…).  The narrator continues by saying he was “mad siked” about getting invited to the sleepover which is something a ~cool~ person would say. And then the shot pans to Eddie, a small pudgy middle schooler who lacks in eyebrows (no offense Eddy, still love you). Despite this you might start thinking Eddie was actually a cool kid, because he finally got invited to a sleepover and was making friends. But again, the show reminds us that he is not. The next shot is of Eddie’s mom telling Eddie that there is “no way” he’s going to that sleepover. Again we’re reminded that he’s just a little awkward kid (again no offense).

I mean look at him… his cheeks are so chubby.. he has baby fat!

This really just serves as a constant reminder that people view themselves as a little bit cooler than we actually are. Not just kids, adults too. If the joke didn’t apply to adults, it wouldn’t be funny. Obviously low self esteem is a real thing, but the way we view ourselves is never exactly how the outside world views us.

Gender in Glow

Gender is a central element of the show Glow; whose entire focus is the “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling”. Despite the entire focus of the wrestling league being women, there are no women in any leading or executive roles working on it. The show utilizes this to exemplify the “glass ceiling” commonly imposed upon women, where women rarely rise to executive positions even in fields where they constitute a plurality or majority of workers. Though the entire focus of GLOW is the women, the director, producer, and sponsor are all men. Though Cherry is given some power she is rarely taken seriously either by the other women or her superiors. This is made particularly clear in season one episode five, where Sam and Bash are attempting to secure funding for the show.

Sam tells the women they are only present for “window dressing”

Though the women are the entire focus, they are brought merely as “window dressing” and are essentially just intended to be sexual objects and not speak or display their wrestling talents. Ultimately, they display their worth when Ruth provides a convincing performance and engages the crowd, managing to secure funding for the show, but despite their legitimate value and talent the women are treated as if they are less than the men and not taken seriously merely because of their femininity. These problematical issues that Glow draws attention to in this episode are representative of similar issues women commonly face on a regular basis in the workforce both in the US and across the world. There are countless issues, such as the wage gap and glass ceiling, that have a profound and negative impact on women. Glow manages to highlight these issues by showing how women are unjustly treated unfairly based entirely upon their gender.

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