The portrayal of women on the television show 24
At the end of last season I wrote an article blasting the writers and producers of 24 for their misogynistic portrayal of women on their show. Part way into Season 2 - it is not comforting to see that things have changed.
So far in season 2, we have watched them kill off Paula Schaeffer (Sara Gilbert) in a bomb explosion at CTU. Sherry Palmer has appeared, screamed traitor - as she did last season - but seen this blatant character to fruition. My only hope with Sherry is that the season isn't over and they "could" possibly throw us another curve with her. However, I'm not going to hold my breathe with 24's track record.
Also at the President's side is Lynne. Lynne so far has managed to serve as a patsy for the bad guys in the government. That is when she isn't cat fighting with Sherry. I don't trust Lynne. I suspect her of being on the wrong side. Why? 24's history with female characters.
We also have Michelle. Why this character is even in the show is beyond me. So far she has only served to relay information. And I found myself reaching for the barf bag last week when she and Tony professed interest in each other. At this point I personally have Michelle "pegged" to turn coat on us at the last minute. Why? As I mentioned, the character is only relaying information and serves no other purpose which means she's there for something. If my hunch plays out, I'd like to kick the writers and tell them that they need to disguise these people better.
Then there are the blondes. Carla met a rather quick end at the hands of her wife-beating husband Gary. A beaten wife - now THAT's a strong female role for you.
Marie - who as of last episode revealed herself to be a bad girl - but only after sniveling her way through the every episode we've seen her in. Pardon me, but I'm having a hard time buying sniveling bride to be turned enemy spy here. I guess I should be saying things like "but that means her character is hiding it well" but I can't bring myself to do it.
Then there's Kim. Who last season ended up kidnapped multiple times while roaming the city in a skimpy cut up T-shirt she all but fell out of. Has poor motherless Kim learned any lessons? Of course not. So she's strong enough to grab the kid and run. But she runs in the family's SUV that has a tracking device in it. And when caught in heavy traffic she goes down the alley and lands smack in slime ball Gary's lap. And she runs from the police. Is accused of kidnapping. Tries to get the kid out of the hospital. But can't do it herself so she goes whining to her boyfriend Miguel. And the pair proceeds to run from the police yet again. Get caught by the police, get hauled off to the police station, transported to Los Angeles and thanks to Miguel's idea and Kim's inability to think for herself they end up in an accident and Kim is on the run once again. I don't have high hopes for Kim. My personal prediction is we're faced with a remaining season of Kim running and getting caught. My only prayer is that by the end of the season, Nina does Kim in with a bullet through her gut.
Finally out of our blondes - there is Kate. Kate, so far, only mildly irritates me. The "we don't know how to write women" writing crew of 24 has done a poor job of writing this potentially strong character. The fault in Kate's case is that they are trying to rush a storyline to fit the rest of the plot and it fails at times. I have a difficult time that a sister would wait until the eve of the wedding to have the fiancé checked out by a PI. Aside from that, I have high hopes for Kate. I just hope that the dorks writing this have the sense to keep this character as strong as he has been so far.
Last May I accused the writers of being misogynistic. I'm going to back down from that assessment and call them clueless. Whoever is doing the writing for this program may be able to throw us incredible plot twists week after week. They may be able to keep me on the edge of my seat guessing. But when it comes to writing female characters, they are hopeless.
The writers of 24 need to take a look at shows like Alias and Buffy. These programs show us women who are strong. Who can literally kick butt. Who don't back down. Who don't turn on the people around them. Who don't snivel or run or rely on the always at hand strong boyfriend/husband to save them.
Naturally I'll be watching the rest of the season. But I'm watching with that critical eye open. You can read that criticism each week in my show recaps where I openly call out things I hate and don't buy. I just hope that the writers throw one or two more surprises at me by improving the women on this show.