Welcome to this week's edition of Pop Pedestal, Bitch's series of tributes to characters we love. Today, I'd like to recognize the Greendale student whose favorite film is "a tie between Ghostbusters, An American Werewolf in London, Back to The Future, Blade Runner, Stand By Me, Stripes, Star Wars IV through VI, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Jaws, Raising Arizona, Jurassic Park, Seven, The Matrix, Goonies, Breakfast Club, Real Genius, Better Off Dead, and The Fog of War." I am referring, of course, to Abed of NBC's Community.
Castle is a guilty pleasure for me. I once watched four episodes of the show in a night because it's well-written, witty, and fun—and has some "strong" female characters front and center—so I want to be able to say, just go and watch it right now, don't even bother reading the rest of the post.
But my inner feminist critic has some issues with the show.
Last night's episode of True Blood contained the usual outrageous plot twists and soap opera-levels of drama, which is great and which is why I (and probably you if you're reading this) look forward to summer Sunday nights. However, it also contained a totally fucked-up gang rape scene which the show's creators (and many media outlets) are calling anything but.
All good characters have a complex back story. But what is it with giving female TV detectives a particularly awful past?
By no means is every female investigator on television shown to be "damaged," but I think there are enough to make up an anecdotal trend. This "damage" is usually crucial in explaining why the character became a detective in the first place and why they are so intent on doing their job.
Are there any explicitly feminist crime TV shows? Prime Suspect, which ran on UK television channel ITV from 1991 to 2006, is surely a contender, starring Helen Mirren as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, a female detective breaking into a male-dominated world. It dealt explicitly with issues such as institutional sexism and racism in London's Metropolitan Police force.
It's being remade for US television, with Maria Bello taking on the role of Tennison.
Columbo was the late, great Peter Falk's most well-known role. We knew him by his rumpled mackintosh, his preternatural ability to hone in on the killer within seconds, and his catchphrase, "Just one more thing...." And, of course, the shadowy figure of Mrs. Columbo.
It's no secret that 16 and Pregnant is marketed to women. Each episode is narrated by the teen mom, who also provides the testimonials and has the camera on her at all times. The commercials shown during the program are obviously geared toward teen girls, and the chat on MTV.com's 16 and Pregnantpage is filled with girls, mostly teen mothers themselves. As viewers we never see teen parenthood from the father's point of view and the possible value from including their experiences is completely lost.