Slutsky: So I simply noticed the fabulous Janelle Monae and Hong Chau in ‘Homecoming’ Season 2. Monae as Alex performed a ruthless “disaster supervisor” and was unbelievable as was Hong Chau’s Audrey Temple — the susceptible however bold Geist govt
Bitchin’: Aren’t you fearful about a queer feminine couple being solid as primarily the villains in a TV sequence?
Slutsky: Properly, it is not like Little Mermaid’s witch as an illustration, who was modeled on drag queens and was simply evil with no motive for being so. Or, different feminine villains we have had in the previous who had been evil with none backstory. However in ‘Homecoming’, there is a trajectory, a narrative to why these two women behave the way in which they do. Granted Alex is horrible, even utilizing a faux story to get a lady worker to again down from a sexual harassment case — zero factors for feminism there. However she is additionally making an attempt to work the system quite than permitting the system to work her. Ladies staff are normally disregarded in conferences, and usually find yourself in assistant roles cleansing up after males — precisely like Audrey Temple. And it is Alex who evokes her to go after the highest place utilizing misleading means.
Bitchin’: I nonetheless do not know the way this is a good factor. I believed ‘Homecoming’ had probably the most horrible ladies characters this season. Even Wendy stole Audrey’s concepts to not point out Francine Bunda who needs the army to make use of the Geist memory-erasing drug.
Slutsky: Properly, to place it in context, we have had very profitable, very fashionable TV narratives about anti-heroes — from Tony Soprano to Walter White — all unhealthy guys however with well-developed character arcs that make audiences really feel for them. And their story arcs didn’t in any method connect with their intercourse enchantment or appears to be like.
Alternatively, we have now had only a few anti-heroines with correct character growth. You have got villainous females who’re evil as a result of they need a man — case in level ‘Disclosure’, ‘Deadly Attraction’ or noir movies with their femme fatales, the place there is an extreme deal with the girl’s appears to be like or “ugly” evil ladies the place ugliness is equated with villainy.
Even ‘Gone Woman’ regardless of being a chilling masterpiece on feminine villainy, was nonetheless about a lady scheming to remain married or on the very least punishing her man for straying. However ‘Homecoming’ is feminine villainy focussed on reaching stability and safety in a man’s world. It is a completely different form of “breaking unhealthy”, you understand?
Bitchin’: Ladies are normally solid as victims of males or as temptresses — I agree. We do not appear to have feminine villains who cross the Bechdel take a look at.
Slutsky: Even in comedy! ‘Fleabag’ was additionally concerning the lead character sleeping round and that was the messy, unhealthy half about her. And I actually need to see highly effective feminine villains or messy, harmful or unhealthy ladies whose storyline would not circle round their appears to be like or their intercourse lives. That is the place ‘Homecoming’ is a breakthrough and I hope we see a lot extra of harmful dames on our screens like Alex and Audrey.
Slutsky & Bitchin’ is a column that examines the highs and lows of popular culture and media from a feminist POV.