Impromptu Assignment #2

Post Impromptu Assignments here:

 

Here is Kerra Taylor‘s assignment

Andrew Wire

12 thoughts on “Impromptu Assignment #2

  1. Nick Nylen

    (1) Show: “The Twilight Zone”, Episode: “Eye of the Beholder” (S2 E6, 1960)

    “Eye of the Beholder” begins with a bandaged woman in a hospital and it is suggested that she’s had surgery to correct some kind of disfigurement. After she reflects on how scared she is that the surgery will not have been able to fix the extent of her ugliness, the staff (their faces hidden in shadow) finally agree to remove the bandages. Underneath she’s very (conventionally) attractive, but she shrieks in horror when she sees her reflection–her face has not been “fixed”. The staff’s faces are revealed to be horribly disfigured, a commentary on the way society defines beauty–that it is merely subjective and determined by contemporary, and ultimately changing, values.

    The film is made up of only a few characters:
    1. The lead woman (hospital patient), named Janet Tyler
    2. A male doctor, who appears to be in charge
    3. Two female nurses
    4. A male nurse
    5. A male dictator, or the leader of the society, shown preaching on the TV
    7. The other outcast, a male, the only other who is “disfigured”
    6. 10 or so extraneous hospital staff, about evenly divided gender-wise.
    8. Rod Serling himself, appears as usual, commenting on the story, thought outside the diegesis of the film.

    This episode is unique for the time (and arguably even for contemporary times) in that it has an even ratio of male to female characters. Those in power are primarily male: the head doctor, the fictional society’s dictator, the security grunts who chase down the protagonist when she tries to escape. However, the characters with the most substance (consequently, the only others who are named) are gendered male over female 2:1. The society depicted is clearly highly patriarchal, though whether or not that was intentional is unclear given the nature of the story; it is a dystopian world. The protagonist, Janet Tyler, is portrayed as a helpless victim, unable to conform in a world that values conformity above all else, because she was born differently. Interestingly enough, the actress voicing her while she is bandaged up is different than the one playing her after her face is revealed. While her face is obscured, her voice is at odds with the way the “beauties” of the day spoke. It’s not soft or elegant, but rather abrasive and forward, comfortable and honest. A quick Google search reveals that the voice actress might not have been considered leading-lady attractive by early 1960’s standards. Though the intention might have been to mislead the audience for the twist, it’s slightly ironic that a show critiquing conventional standards of beauty would cast a more attractive woman to be looked at, and a less attractive woman to perform with her voice only. The characters that empathize with Janet, the doctor who at one point questions the way those who look differently are treated, and the other outcast who takes her away at the end to the “ugly colony”, are both male. In fact, little is made of the issue of gender in general. The world of the episode is split into two factions: those that are born normal and those that are born ugly. Despite being about conformity, little is made about the more nuanced issued surrounding it, such as performance. Performance is one of the things that makes a woman’s experience of meeting beauty standards more difficult and confusing. Ultimately, Janet’s experience of being woman in this particular dystopian society is quite muted in the script, a problem that sort of flattens her character and the concept as a whole.

    (2) Show: “Lost”, Episode: “Pilot” (S1 E1, 2004)
    Lost begins on a deserted island in the aftermath of a plane crash. The survivors find out they are stranded and nobody is coming for them. They begin to band together to survive as they hear strange sounds coming from the deepest part of the jungle…

    The characters are (as established in only this episode):
    (1) Jack, a doctor
    (2) Kate, a tomboyish woman
    (3) Sawyer, a racist, sexist southerner
    (4) Sayid, an Iraqi
    (5) Charlie, a drug-addicted rockstar
    (6) Hurley, an overweight man with a sense of humor
    (7) Shannon and (8) Boone, a bickering sister and brother duo
    (9) Claire, a pregnant Australian girl
    (10) Michael and (11) his young son Walt, a father and son with a poor relationship
    (12) Jin and (13) his wife Sun, a married South Korean couple
    (14) Locke, a creepy bald man
    (15) Rose, an elderly woman seated next to Jack pre-crash
    (16) The female flight attendant on the plane before the crash

    At the start of this series, the men outnumber the woman, 10 to 6. The activeness of the women’s roles vary. Sun, the Korean woman, seems to be very subservient to her husband (he makes her button the top button of her shirt despite the heat) and it is implied to be a cultural thing. Shannon, though very opinionated and sure of herself, is depicted as “prissy” and unable to help herself with survival necessities as she reverts to painting her nails and suntanning on the beach. She does however manage to use her sexuality to coax men into doing things for her–catching her food, etc. Claire, pregnant and in her last trimester, is depicted as proactive but not necessarily full of physical agency as she is unable to do much in her state and often needs help from other characters. In general, the men are all depicted more or less active, often posturing and fighting over who’s going to make the big decisions or get the harder, more risky things done (like going after food or searching for the plane’s radio in the jungle). The only woman who seems interested in joining them and exercising her agency is Kate. Kate perhaps doesn’t fit neatly into a standard gender roles in that while she’s conventionally attractive, she dresses in loose-fitting, tomboyish clothes, and she doesn’t seem to perform gender in a particularly feminine or masculine way. All the women, save Rose the elderly woman, and arguably in this episode, pregnant Claire, are at least somewhat sexualized. A few of the men–a significantly smaller percentage–are sexualized as well, showing off well-toned torsos.

    (3) Show: “Murder She Wrote” Episode: “Footnote for Murder” (S1 E19, 1984)

    In this episode of Murder She Wrote, elderly murder mystery-writer / murder mystery-solver, Jessica Fletcher, solves the mystery of an author who is murdered and an unpublished manuscript that goes missing at a literary awards ceremony.

    The characters are:
    (1) Jessica Fletcher, the protagonist
    (2) Horace, a poet and friend of Jessica’s, possibly a coded homosexual
    (3) Hemsley, writer, awards show MC and murder victim
    (4) Tiffany, awards show coordinator, highly-sexualized, a seductress
    (5) Alexis, Hemsley’s ex-wife, to whom he is in financial debt
    (6) Mr. Winslow, an author up for an award
    (7) Debbie, an inspiring writer
    (8) Frank, a man exploited in one of Hemsley’s novels
    (9) Lucinda Lark, a female writer, who’s presented as a bimbo
    (10) Melvin, the DA prosecutor and investigator
    (11) Meyer, police detective

    The gender roles in this episode are pretty polarized but the casting is close to equal (6:5, men). Many of the women are presented as sexualized and using their sexuality as a means to various ends. Jessica, as usual, is the exception as an asexual elderly lady. Debbie, the young aspiring writer, though a minor character, is also an exception–her character is defined by her ambition, which she doesn’t chase by exercising her sexuality (it is revealed she committed the murder defending herself from a rape). Almost all the male roles are similar–they’re posturing and performing masculinity: making passes at women and, quite ridiculously, threatening to fight and even throwing punches at each other at the writer’s cocktail party over petty remarks. In this instance, Horace, Jessica’s poet friend, is the exception. He’s possibly a coded-homosexual, portrayed as sentimental and frivolous, with mannerisms that are sometimes more feminine than masculine. Also, he’s often called “wimpy” by other characters, refusing to posture when the other male characters challenge him. It’s also possible I’m misreading it. He may be more in line with the “neurotic New Yorker” type character a la Woody Allen.

    1. Evette Brown

      I absolutely LOVE “The Twilight Zone.” I blame it on my father. He was born in 1960 and has a love for shows from his childhood, so we always watch “The Twilight Zone” marathons. That episode (and most of the others involving beauty norms like “The Mask” episode) is quite interesting. I appreciate your analysis in terms of gender performance. While I identify as a media, race and gender scholar, I am also a fashion and race scholar. You bring up an adequate point in that it is difficult to adhere to unrealistic beauty ideals, but yet, women (and men) strive to conform at all costs.

  2. Jay Oetman

    (1) Show: “Golden Girls”, Episode: “The Triangle” (S1 E5, 1985)
    In this episode of Golden Girls an archetype (or maybe it’s better termed a stereotype) comes into play, and a friendship between two women is severely threatened by the actions of a charming interloping doctor. At the beginning of the show, Sophia needs a medical examination and luckily the women are able to find a doctor who does house calls. Coincidentally, this doctor is a single eligible bachelor near the women’s age. Within minutes of the physician’s arrival, Dorothy has secured a date with the man. Anyone who has watched the show, can bet that this is going be disastrous in some way because the Dorothy character never has a date without some major upset. For whatever reason, in screenplay writing, women like Dorothy often have a difficult time finding dates. Dorothy is the sort of female character which is presented again and again throughout literature, television, and film. She is the smart girl who often intimidates men and thus is often left alone. This is a commonly occurring archetype which has its reverse or flipside in Blanche who is almost all allure and sexiness. The show, while presenting the audience with typical female characters also shows the unique strength of the women independently and through their friendship. However, that unity is often upset throughout the show only to come to a conclusion at the end. True to form, the doctor makes a pass at Blanche one night before he is about to go out on a date with Dorothy. This is a somewhat typical portrayal of a man and especially a male doctor (I don’t like stereotypes all that much but this is one which the writers make us of, and several things of note happen so let’s run with it). From this point several interesting things happen as a result of gender roles. The writing works with typical so-called “feminine” and “masculine” behaviours, but also ventures away from the stereotypes to present the strength of character of the Golden Girls heroines. Blanche is presented as her predictable self, she is flirtatious and obsessed with her own beauty, this writing functions on several gender roles typifying this sort of female character; however the episode veers away from presenting Blanche as simply a wily woman intent on steeling away other women’s men. While this is her conventional presentation, in this episode, while Blanche is attempting to tell Dorothy about the Doctor’s advances she states: “I haven’t been a good friend to a lot of people Dorothy Zbornak, but I’ve been a very good friend to you.” Blanche makes it clear that even though her typical behaviour has damaged her relationships in the past she has not treated Dorothy with the same carelessness which has deleteriously affected her other female relationships. In the end the doctor is found out to be the villainous letch that he is and the women’s relationship is restored.

    (2) Show: “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, Episode: “Mary, Joseph, and Larry” (S3 E9, 2002)
    This episode has Larry David, its central character, enduring the Christmas holidays. This is amusing because Larry as a Jewish individual has but a passing tolerance for the Christian holiday. His wife’s parents are home and several thought provoking gender roles are presented in the installment. In the story, the curmudgeon, David sits upstairs reading a book while his in-laws are singing carols by the piano the emblematic husband who cannot stand the in-laws. When he emerges from his retreat he cantankerously asks his parents and sister in-law if they can sing more quietly. In somewhat typical behaviour, David’s wife Cheryl chastises him following a very ubiquitous motif wherein the husband is browbeaten by an insistent and pedantic wife. The next day David is once again reprimanded, this time for eating cookies which he thought were animal crackers, but were instead a baked representation of the holy nativity. Having ruined some peculiar tradition of his wife and her family, David now left to his own resources must attempt to make amends. David is a character which follows several archetypal presentations of male behaviour. He is greatly dependent on his wife for knowledge of how to complete simple tasks and he clumsily steps on peoples’ toes with his all too male lack of consideration throughout the entirety of the show. At one point in the storyline he rents a church live nativity scene to perform in front of his home. True to typified if somewhat crude behaviour, David makes comments about the size of the woman’s breasts playing Mary. By the end of the episode, David is in a fight with the gentleman who played Joseph in the nativity scene and the blundering men come under the censure of the exasperated wife.

    (3) Show: “Honeymooners”, Episode: “Young at Heart” (S1 E20, 1956)
    As most people know, the show the “Honeymooners” has often received criticism for its character Ralph who is constantly threatening his wife with violence. However, if one can get beyond that humour which has lost all allowance in a much more “abuse conscientious” society, the show actually accomplished some things which played with social norms. Unlike many other 50’s sitcoms wherein the father is a very respectable bastion of respectability and dependability, Ralph is a buffoon whose overt masculinity subverts his attempts and ultimately presents him as far inferior to his wife. Much sitcom writing since the “Honeymooners” presents the father as this helpless clown who is reliant on the sensible wife. This presentation of gender in a father who can barely tie his own shoes is presented in many shows including but not limited to “All in the Family,” “Married With Children,” “Home Improvement,” “The Simpsons,” and “Family Guy.”
    In this episode of the “Honeymooners” Alice, the wife character is worried that she and her husband are getting old. So in an effort to spice up their marriage, Ralph takes the wife out for an evening of youthful frolicking. The buffoon of a husband ends up getting in arguments constantly, true to an omnipresent presentation of male behaviour and the wife Alice wheedling and whining throughout the show is similarly presented in an emblematic way. Sitcoms often follow a traditional presentation of gender and that tradition stems from early sitcom work as seen in the “Honeymooners.”

  3. Jane Flynn

    Breaking Bad; Multiple Episodes from Season 1 & 5
    SKYLER (wife of Walt); Pregnant (with Walt’s baby), and so thinks about herself and the rest of the family before Walt. She is often very bitchy, making sly ‘digs’ and Walt, to try and influence his decisions on his treatment. Despite her knowing his cancer treatment will barely be worth it, the viewer knows that she is pregnant, and deep down doesn’t want to raise her new baby having never met its father. Despite this, she is constantly portrayed as a nasty character, but it isn’t until one thinks about her away from the show, that they see that she isn’t necessarily thinking just of herself; she is thinking about her baby too. She seems very much in denial that Walt is so ill, and Walt is shown dealing with the consequences of his treatment (e.g. his hair falling out) alone; literally (no one else is in the room) and metaphorically.

    WALT (Husband of Skyler); He suffers from cancer, and through out the first season, Skyler convinces him to get treatment for his cancer, to prolong his life. He doesn’t want to have the treatment, saying that it is not worth the side affects and money, for how little extra time he will live – the treatment will only delay his death. He sets out to make the drug ‘Meth’, in an attempt to earn money to pay for his treatment. Skyler has no idea that this is how he plans to finance his treatment – he continuously lies to her, despite her thinking the best of him. His day job as a Chemistry Teacher means his ‘partner in crime’ who he makes the drugs with, is portrayed as ‘below’ him in the show. His side kick is a young gentleman, who is knowledgeable about drugs, and between him and Walt, they hope to create a good pair; Walt knows about the chemical processes, whilst his assistant knows a lot more about the drug dealing side of the operation. Knowledge seems to be used as power in this partnership, as they are both males.

    In season 5, Walt develops more as a liar, as he blames other serious crimes on other characters by altering and setting up the crime scenes to try and fool the police. Through out season 1 and 5, his decision making doesn’t seem so tied up in his emotions; unlike Skylers.

    MARIE (Family friend of Walt & Skyler)
    In season 1, when Walt and Skyler are hosting a baby shower, she gifts them a tiara made of very expensive materials (jewels, gold, etc). As they are suffering financial difficulties with Walts illness, Skyler decides she has no option but to sell the tiara to a jewelery shop. When presenting the tiara to the jeweler, she is placed under arrest, as it turns out that the tiara was stolen from that exact shop. As such, Marie appears to have all the characters under her control in this episode; she knows the tiara has been stolen. When the tiara is gifted, Walt and Skyler are very embarrassed that they have been given such an expensive gift. This embarrassment seems to foresee the tension that their relationship is going to be put under when Skyler is arrested.

    WALTER JR. (Son of Skyler and Walt)
    He suffers with cerebral palsy, and so walks on crutches, and his speech is often slurred. This apparent physical weakness seems to set him below his other members of the family, and so he is often seen as last in the ‘pecking order’. He is very upset by his fathers illness, but seems unable to speak up about his emotions; showing that his disability not only makes him physically weak, but it also seems to place him in an emotionally weak position. He and Walt, seem not to be driven by their emotions, where as Skyler seems entirely driven by how she feels, and how she will feel once the baby is born.

  4. Alex Wilson

    1 (Show) “Orange is the New Black”, Episode 13 “Can’t Fix Crazy” (S1 E13, 2013)

    The show takes place at a female prison, and focuses mainly on the character Piper Chapman. This is the final episode of the first season in the series, and the characteristics/personalities of the characters come full circle allowing the viewer to see them for who they really are. Fairly immediately, there is a confrontation between the female inmate, Piper Chapman, and the “overseer” of the prison Sam Healey. He uses his power to immediately deny her request, and leaves her standing there alone. I feel like this is a very stereotypical part in movies/shows where the man is viewed as having the power and the female as a “helpless damsel”. Fairley immediately after, however, guard John Bennett and prison supervisor Natalie Figueroa have a meeting. During the meeting she uses her power to push Bennett around, not allowing him to write up a report that would in turn hurt her image. This is the exact opposite of the first seen I mentioned, causing there to be a power struggle not only between rank, but between gender as well. There is some power struggle, gender related, through the rest of the series, however there also are many problems between the women themselves throughout. Amongst the female cast, there is extreme diversity as far as characters go, including a transgender woman, a “butch” lesbian, a soft spoken yoga instructor, and a red-headed Russian woman who controls things on the inside for most of the series.

    2 (Show) “The Office”, Pilot, (S1, E, 2005)

    Even though this is the pilot episode, the series jumps right in to a story line, that being the company may have to downsize, and shows the personalities of the characters very well (which stick very well to the rest of the seasons). At the head of the office there is man, Michael Scott, a typical things to see in a series or movie. Shortly after the episode begins, however, Jan Levinson-Gould comes in to the office for a meeting with Michael, who happens to be his boss. She gets after him a little bit for not having a fax she had sent, who Michael tries to push off onto the secretary, bringing up a hierarchy of power between the females and males. Also what I feel to be extremely stereotypical Pam Beesly, who plays the roll of the secretary. I can’t say that I have ever seen a show or movie with a secretary in it who was not a female character. The rest of the pilot shows two other main characters throughout the series, Jim Halpert, the jokester than everyone loves, and Dwight Schrute, the nerdy, serious toned character who seems the be the target of most of the pranking.

  5. Ryan Freels

    1. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic S1 Ep.19 A Dog and Pony Show

    Characters

    1. Rarity- The lady like protagonist.

    2. Spike- Male attempted rescuer 1, crushes on Rarity, power fantasizer.

    3. Twilight Sparkle- Female attempted rescuer 2.

    4. Applejack-Female Attempted rescuer 3.

    5. Fluttershy-Female attempted rescuer 4.

    6. Pinkie Pie-Female attempted rescuer 5.

    7. Rainbow Dash- Female Attempted rescuer 6.

    8. Sapphire Shores- Female customer and pop musician.

    9. Spot- Diamond Dog leader 1.

    10. Rover- Diamond Dog leader 2.

    11. Fido- Diamond Dog leader 3.

    12. Diamond Dog henchmen

    This episode takes the damsel-in distress trope, succubus trope, hero trope, and commonly held concept of a lady and flips them all on their head. Rarity is out to fulfill a job for her customer Sapphire Shores, who needs a wardrobe of multiple gem-covered outfits. With the aid of Spike she sets out to seek gems, her finding them with her magic and him digging for them, all while she goes into how a lady acts and how she should be treated (never jealous, never flips out but can feel awe, shouldn’t be kept to wait).

    After a while of this, she is captured by the Diamond Dogs, a patriarchal group, which leads Spike to getting the help of the other mane six. The manage to get down underground to rescue her, all while Spike fantasizes about being a big powerful knight that rescues her. This flips the notions of the hero on its head because most of the heroes are female, the “big powerful knight” is really a baby dragon. Perhaps the best example of this regarding these characters is when Spike tries to ride Twilight Sparkle to Rarity’s rescue, who with a strong sense of irritation, agrees to let him “Have this”. The fact that Twilight Sparkle is a female characters and a pony is used to show that the female characters just as objectified and animals heroes ride.

    The notions of the hero, lady, and common female gendered tropes further gets spun on their heads by Rarity, the real star of the episode. All while maintaining her lady like demeanor, she out wits and manipulates the Diamond Dogs. When they try to make her dig, she digs do slowly and “girly” that they agree to do it. When they try to make her pull, she critiques there working conditions, hygiene, treatment of ladies, and demonstrates whining versus complaining to the point that they will do anything to get her to stop. When they then try to overthrow her, she cries after one call her a mule, having know concept of how to handle this, they agree to let her have everything if she will just leave. Rarity uses the archetypes associated with women in a justifiable manner to manipulate the Diamond Dogs, get herself out of a dangerous situation ran by a patriarchy, and reward herself. Her manipulating them what is considered female attributes to rescue her self takes the archetype of the succubus and turns it into an honorable trope. But most apparently, she rescues herself, smacking the damsel distress trope in the face. When the heroes get to her, it is merely to assist her take out the gems.

    All in all, this episode takes many tropes and both critiques them and spin them on their heads. It did all this in around twenty minutes and did not miss a bit, always being entertaining. This is one of the best episodes the show has to offer.

    2. Doctor Who: The Idiots Lantern

    Characters

    1. The Doctor-Main male protagonist

    2. Rose-Main female protagonist, assistant to the Doctor.

    3. The Wire-Main antagonist, appears female

    4. Mr. Magpie-Antagonist, works for the Wire.

    5. Eddie Connolly-Antagonist, rats out Wire’s victims

    6. Rita Connolly-Protagonist, controlled by Eddie.

    7. Tommy Connolly-Protagonist, controlled by Eddie

    8. Grandma Connolly-victim of the Wire and Eddie.

    9. Det. Inspector Bishop-Antagonist that becomes protagonist.

    The Doctor and Rose go to London during 1953, when an alien, with the assistance of Mr. Magpie who is under her threat, takes over television around the time of the Queen’s coronation, hoping to feed on the identities and faces of the people that watch. After Rose has been taken, the Doctor gains the help of the detective and Tommy, and saves all those he she has currently captured as well as the millions she is about to capture.

    The entire film is an anti-fascist statement and can be seen as a commentary on how propaganda brainwashes, what with the swatzika antennas and identity stealing televisions and all. However, it also throws in patriarchy, acknowledging it as an evil and a form of fascism. The lead of a household in the show, Eddie Connolly, treats his wife like a slave, expects his son to be a “man” like him, and turns in the grandmother when her face is taken to save his reputation. The Doctor and Rose both stand up to his injustice, and so does his wife when she see all his evil come to light, She then encourages her son to help the Doctor. It is problematic however in that the main female protagonist finds herself needing to be rescues, continuing the overdone damsel in distress archetype.

    Though problematic, this episode remains overall very progressive. It addresses patriarchy as a form of fascism, reducing women to second classes citizen and forcing an unfair expectation on the men that are not in line with it. It also shows it being defeated when a house wife rises against it and when a man different from it helps save the world.

    3. Adventure Time S1 Ep.1 Slumber Party Panic

    1. Finn- Main male protagonist

    2. Princess Bubblegum-Main female Protagonist

    3. Jake-Finn’s best friend and fellow hero

    4. Lady Rainicorn-Jakes girlfriend and Princess Bubblegum’s best friend

    5. Candy people-citizens

    6. Zombies-antagonists.

    7. Gumball Guardians-keepers of the royal promise.

    Finn assists Princess Bubblegum as she uses scientific ability to make the dead alive again, but due to a slight flaw in formula, the become zombies. Due to the fact that candy people explode when afraid, she hosts a slumber party where Finn helps keep them unaware and safe, making him royal promise not to tell anyone. When he gets them blindfolded and has them hit the zombies wit sticks, telling them they are pinnyattas. He then tell Jake thinking it is all over, however the Gumball Guardian capture him, making him answer a question or die. He answers that 2+2=4, and Princess Bubblegum realizes that her formula needs for, and then brings the dead to life.

    In some ways this is progressive, in that the Princess Bubblegum is more than pretty and nice, but also a scientifically gifted individual. However, Finn is show as the more active hero, which is in line with the common trope of the male hero. Also, Lady Rainicorn, in this episode at least, is not shown as much more than Jake’s girlfriend. This episode, while plenty wacky, fun, and interesting, is not particularly progressive, but doesn’t over feed the common tropes either.

  6. Daniel Sliwa

    Adventure Time, Episode: “Fire and Earth”

    List of characters (in order of appearance):
    (1) Jake
    (2) Finn
    (3) Ice King
    (4) Flame Princess
    (5) Bubblegum Princess
    (6) Cinnamon Bun
    (7) Flame King
    (8) Flame King’s follower
    (9) Lumberjack
    (10) Flame Guards

    This episode opens with Finn and Jake playing videogames, Finn distracted due to his recent breakup with Flame Princess. He lied to her and because of it she demands “time to herself” after having a meltdown and literally melting down the Ice King’s kingdom. The Ice King is now homeless and decides to move in with Finn and Jake, leaving the rebuild of his kingdom in charge of penguins.

    The episode then shifts to Flame Princess, taking time to think out in the woods. As she’s talking to herself she reveals how she left her kingdom because of all the drama and lies that surrounded her life. She thought Finn was different and would offer her something true, but this was sadly not the case. Flame Princess then discovers that Princess Bubblegum has been spying on her, studying her, in order to figure out her emotions and how they lead to her outbursts. Flame Princess is threatened at first, but is then intrigued by the idea, in hopes that she can find out more about herself and get a handle on things.

    Bubblegum begins to commit some tests on Flame Princess, but has to leave it to her aid Cinnamon Bun to attend to urgent matters. Cinnamon Bun is oblivious to all life and takes Flame Princess back to his house so they can talk. There the past of Flame Princess is revealed and how her father locked her up because he was afraid of her power. Flame Princess decides to return to the flame kingdom and overthrow him, turning the kingdom to a place of truth for all.

    I never realized this before but it’s really interesting how the females present in the show are the ones who seem to most the most intellectual and ponder much deeper thoughts. Princess Bubblegum is very technical, always studying and wanting to know more for the betterment of her kingdom. Flame Princess is struggling with her identity, trying to figure out who she is. On the other end, the guys are more action oriented, quickly jumping into situations without knowing all the information, and being ultimately simple-minded when it comes to knowledge and emotions. When Finn sees Flame Princess again he wants to know if they can get back together, but now she has found herself and knows that her place is in her kingdom to turn guide “the weak” to a place of truth.
    The Flame King and Ice King also seem helpless. The Ice King is having issues with penguins messing up his kingdom so they need help from Bubblegum. While the Flame King literally locked up his daughter for 15 years out of him fearing her future power.

    Futurama, Episode: “I Dated a Robot”

    List of Characters:
    (1) Fry
    (2) Bender
    (3) Lucy Liu Bot
    (4) Amy
    (5) Leela
    (6) Hermes
    (7) Professor Farnsworth

    This is a rather strange episode where Fry learns that one can download famous celebrities onto robots, and he chooses Lucy Liu. However, this isn’t for a real relationship, but I highly sexualized one. All Lucy Liu Bot and Fry do is have sex, angering both the females of the group and Bender, the robot. Soon Fry and the gang save the real Lucy Liu from an evil corporation whose holding the celebrities hostage for downloads.

    The episode is intriguing because of its commentary on relationships and how men typically are very focused on sex, even going to the lengths of downloading women into robots, not planning on dating them but almost enslaving them for sexual acts. Obviously this offends the women in the group, and for good reason. What’s even more interesting is how the character Leela saves the group, and does so quite often during the series. Leela has always been depicted as a strong female character throughout the show.

    The episode always goes into the importance of procreation and how men with robots won’t lead to offspring. So although the episode offers commentary on how women shouldn’t be only seen as sexual objects, it stresses how sex is vital to the human race for procreation.

    The Simpsons, Episode: “Mother Simpson”

    List of characters:
    (1) Homer
    (2) Marge
    (3) Mona Simpson
    (4) Lisa
    (5) Bart
    (6) Maggie
    (7) Mr. Burns
    (8) Mr. Smithers
    (9) Chief Wiggum

    This is easily one of my favorite episodes of The Simpsons. The episode opens with Homer faking his own death in order to get a day off work. It works, but of course this leads to funeral arrangements because everyone thinks that he’s dead. To clear things up Homer goes to the cemetery and brings up his Mother by pointing out her grave. Turns out it’s not because his father lied to him, but he happens to meet his Mother, who he thought was dead, but was actually just hiding for years.

    This leads to the family being back together for only a short while before Mona has to run, because she’s a fugitive. The viewer learns that the reason she went into hiding was because in the 1960’s she joined a group of radical hippies who break into a germ warfare factory. She’s then forced to leave her home and son because she was spotted by Mr. Burns.

    Mona Simpson is brilliantly voiced by Glenn Close, and comes in to provide the family with guidance. She teaches Lisa to be proud of her intelligence and abilities, Bart to be less of a brat, but most importantly she lets her troubled son, Homer, know that she always loved him. Typically Homer as seen as a man-child, always confused and going with the flow of things. This episode shines light on the fact that Homer was left with his father, Abe, who really didn’t seem invested in anything except his television. Now that Homer knows his mother is alive this brings out the child in him, doing such childish things as trying to get her attention while he rides a bike, but it adds another layer to his character.

    Mona Simpson is a powerful female character. Searching for more to life than whats in her home and actually going out and fighting for it. She may be a fugitive, but she got caught because she chose to help an innocent man, who had the nerve to turn around and report her to the police. Even though she’s only in two or three episodes she always has infinite wisdom to share with the Simpson household. Her impact is perfectly summed up in the final minutes of the show. Homer and her drive out to the desert to get her away from the police, he says goodbye, and she’s gone. Homer is then left to wait, looking up at the stars knowing that his mother is out there and loves him and this makes him take a minute to absorb life. For once the man-child is shown ponding the deeper things out there.

    1. Kerra Taylor

      I am 28 years old and I remember when The Simpsons first came out on T.V. I think that it is interesting to see how all of the characters have artistically changed over a long period of time. It’s kind of like how Mickey Mouse’s character has morphed or when companies decide to update their brand name icons. Anyway, for a show, I am not sure that many seasons could possibly add up to the amount that The Simpsons have been in running. Makes me feel old. Unfortunately, I do not remember a specific episode that I recall as a favorite, but I remember buying The Simpsons game for the PC back in the 90s. It was a virtual Springfield where you could navigate around the city and interact with every character in the show.

      I always loved Lisa for her intelligence and determination, but Bart always reminded me of my brother- a prankster. Honestly, I haven’t watched The Simpson’s in years. I guess I had seen enough as a child.

  7. Karsten Burgstahler

    (1) How I Met Your Mother: Episode “The Bracket” Season 3, Episode 14
    Barney is facing a terrible conundrum; every time he tries to trick a woman into taking an interest in him, he walks away for just a second and returns, only to be slapped by his target. Someone is interfering in his pick-up games. So Barney buys some beer for his friends Ted, Marshall, Lily and Robin and the five sit around a chalkboard, running down a list of every woman Barney has slept with to find out who his stalker is. When the group can’t narrow the pool past four women, Lily, who has actually seen the woman, agrees to go with Barney to each of the women and tell him which on it is, but only if he apologizes to each one of them. This leads Barney to confront some terrible lies he’s made, including once telling a woman he had an evil twin in order to sleep with her twice and once leaving a girl in the middle of the woods by herself.

    Female Characters
    (1) Lily Aldrin. Barney’s friend Lily accompanies him while he tries to determine which of the four women is following him. Lily is often portrayed as a strong woman; however, as is the nature on this show, she does talk about sex with her husband Marshall quite a bit. In this particular episode she is treated as the moral right, helping Barney learn an important lesson that might make him a bit less of a cad. While she seems to enjoy the pain Barney might endure she appears to have a genuine desire to help him better himself.
    (2) Robin Scherbatzsky. Robin doesn’t get much to do in this episode, but she dos sit around and crack jokes with the group as they go through the bracket. Robin herself is highly motivated and works hard to achieve her dreams in journalism; usually the men she works with are chauvinistic or just idiots. Robin doesn’t desire to have kids and wants to marry on her own terms — sort of the opposite of Lily. Later on in the series she becomes engaged to Barney, a relationship that even fans of the show aren’t sure will work.
    (3) Meg. One of Barney’s conquests. Often the women here outside of Robin and Lily aren’t too bright; this one, one of the four who Barney thinks might be out to get him, actually blames herself for breaking up with Barney after their one-night stand. She has no respect for herself and her true repentance to Barney is played for laughs.
    (4) Anna. Another of Barney’s conquests. Barney told this one he was Ted in order to sleep with her. Anna clearly hates Barney but is portrayed as a bit of an imbecile; she may not know he isn’t Ted, but she becomes the butt of the joke.
    (5) Kate. You guessed it, one of Barney’s conquests. Barney told this one he had an evil twin. We only get a brief shot of her, but she’s strong enough to take down Barney when she tackles him at her front door.
    (6) Holly. The final conquest of the evening. Holly has moved on and actually met her husband shortly after sleeping with Barney — she appears to be well-adjusted. At least until we find out that she actually slept with Barney after she met her husband, something her husband has just become privy to. Once again, she is the butt of the joke.

    (2) The Office: Episode “Finale” Season 9 Episodes 24/25 (Two-Part; I’ll only be addressing the second half)
    In the series finale of “The Office,” Dwight and Angela finally get married after several kinks, one of which involved Angela’s previous marriage and child to a senator who was actually gay and Dwight’s engagement to one of his farmhands. Pam says she has sacrificed so much for her husband Jim and puts their house on the market so that they can move to Texas and allow Jim to start his dream job. At the end of the episode all of the cast members head into the office for one last time and reminisce before they go their separate ways.

    Female Characters
    (1) Pam. The relationship between Jim and Pam is one of the show’s driving forces for all nine seasons. Pam is engaged to another man named Roy for the first few seasons; despite the fact that the audience knows Jim is better for her than Roy, Pam is always seen as the smarter one in her relationship with Roy, who is portrayed as a brute. It’d be too easy to say Pam simply takes up the role of dutiful wife, sacrificing for her husband; their relationship has been give and take, and they clearly have an equal partnership as she has made plenty of sacrifices for him.
    (2) Angela. Angela has always liked Dwight, and she usually doesn’t take any crap from him. However, most of her laughs come from the fact that she is a prying prude. That’s been toned down a bit here, but one joke in particular at her bachelorette party is based on this. We’ll get to that in a minute.
    (3) Meridith. Meridith is Jim and Pam’s co-worker, often the polar opposite of Angela — she’s all about booze and sex, but male co-workers often look at her as sort of an anti-sex symbol. She’s certainly good-hearted, but in this episode when she attends Angela’s bachelorette party it turns out that her son has accidentally been hired as the stripper. Things get uncomfortable when she starts grinding on him. Meredith’s laughs come from these sex gags.
    (4) Kelly. Kelly is one of the few double minorities on the show — she’s an indian female — and she’s portrayed as a girly-girl who thrives on drama, especially in her relationship with co-worker Ryan. And even though they feed off each other, Kelly is often the smarter one in the relationship, while Ryan is portrayed as a clueless hipster. In this episode, Ryan leaves his baby with Kelly’s fiancé so the two can run off together. Even though she often pushes for diversity in the workplace she usually comes across as a teenage girl who never grew up.

    (3) Dexter: Episode “Are We There Yet?” Season 8, Episode 8
    Dexter’s in a bit of a pickle: he believes Zach, the kid he’s been training to control his urges to kill, might have killed his next door neighbor. Dexter believes it’s time to kill the kid himself, as per his code (he has a thirst to kill but only kills fellow criminals who have escaped the system), but Dr. Evelyn Vogel, who actually taught him the code, still believes Zach can be saved. Meanwhile, Dexter’s old flame Hannah has made her way back into Dexter’s life and now needs help escaping the country. Hannah tried to kill Dexter’s sister Deborah last season, so Deb is understandably upset when she discovers Dexter is seeing her again. Dexter and Hannah drive to where they’ve traced Zach’s car in an effort to find him and kill him; however, they soon discover he might have been framed for the neighbor’s death. In what might be the best moment so far this season, Dexter, Hannah, Vogel and Zach sit around a table like a serial killer family, discussing their exploits for the day.

    Female Characters
    (1) Deborah Morgan. Dexter’s sister Deb has always been a strong character who can take care of herself. In fact, every time she tries to develop a relationship the guy either ends up dying or ends up being a serial killer. She has risen through the ranks of the Miami Metro police department and is Lieutenant for awhile; after discovering Dexter’s true identity, she quits her job and turns to a life of drugs and booze to make herself forget what she has helped Dexter cover up. Although Dexter tries to help Deb, ultimately it is Vogel, another female, who pulls Deb out of her rut. She will do anything to protect her brother, so when she runs in to Hannah in this episode, the two have a showdown. In the earlier seasons Dexter was protecting Deb; it seems like Deb has more than held up her end of the bargain in the last few seasons.
    (2) Hannah. Dexter’s old flame. She’s a murderer who poisons her victims; it’s strongly believed she killed her husband. Hannah is clearly in control of her own destiny, and people fear for their lives around her. However, she has a draw to Dexter that make her put her shields down. She works as both a positive and a foil; she seems to be the only one Dexter can relate to, which helps him grow as a character; however, she is a threat in Deb’s eyes. Deb has an attraction to her brother, something the writers have explored in the past, and it’s possible she sees Hannah as the “other” woman in a relationship with Dexter; however, not much time has been put into that side plot this season.
    (3) Vogel. Vogel helps Dexter think clearly, although she might be unstable herself. She needs Dexter’s protection, and although she is smart she needs Dexter’s protection from one of her former patients. Vogel’s character hasn’t been explored in great detail; however, it does appear the writes are pushing the audience toward her past beginning with the next episode. Vogel’s morals are ambiguous, and, at least in the episode, we don’t know drives her.

  8. Alex Wilson

    (Show 3) “Sons of Anarchy”, To Be -Act 2, (S4, E14 , 2011)

    This episode is the last in season 4. The show about a biker club, the “Sons of Anarchy” who sell guns in order to make money for the club, and eventually get tied into a major drug cartel. For the most part, the main characters in the show are all men, and what you might call stereotypical bikers. They have tattoos, are rough and not afraid of anything, and always tend to be involved in some kind of trouble. The exception to the main men characters are Gemma Teller-Morrow and Tara Knowles. Gemma throughout the series has been a very tough woman, also being what you might call a stereotypical biker woman. She doesn’t take any shit from anyone, and is not afraid to interfere and law down her own law when she feels like it. Tara is a doctor starts off as being more of a push-over in the series. By this point, however, she has become hardened and is turing into the same type of character Gemma plays. Neither of their characters are typical of what you generally see of women characters, and neither (at this point) play the helpless damsel in distress, or a women who can’t do anything for themselves. They have power and the ability to make things happen, to a certain extent.

  9. Evette Brown

    “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse”
    Season 2, Episode 3
    Episode Title: “The Blind Date”
    Air Date: July 20, 2012

    “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse” is a creation from the warped mind of Tyler Perry, a Black American filmmaker, director and producer. The television series – which originally aired on the TBS network and has since moved to the Oprah Winfrey Network – chronicles the turbulent marriage of Angela and Marcus Williams, an upper-middle-class couple residing in Atlanta, Georgia. Angela and Marcus’ characters on “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse” are reprised from Perry’s 2007 movie, “Why Did I Get Married?” and its 2010 sequel “Why Did I Get Married Too?”

    The principal characters in this episode of “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse” are as follows:

    Marcus Williams (Michael Jai White): Marcus is the male lead. He is married to Angela Williams and is often on the receiving end of physical, emotional and mental abuse from his wife. Williams is a former National Football League star. He now owns and co-anchors “C-Sports Now,” a successful sports television show.

    Angela Williams (Tasha Smith): Angela is the female lead. She’s married to Marcus Williams. Angela is constructed as a sapphire, a term coined by an emasculating character in “Amos ‘n Andy.” She’s loud, boisterous, aggressive and violent toward her husband, enemies and friends. Williams is also a successful business owner. She owns Lady Angie’s hair salon and hair care products, and was the cardinal breadwinner in the family until Marcus launched “C-Sports Now.”

    Jennifer (Cocoa Brown): Jennifer is Angela’s friend and coworker. She is an employee at Lady Angie’s. Jennifer is single, but has two children with two different men. She’s also overweight and is often the brunt of “fat jokes.”

    Tina (Bobbi Kristina Brown): Tina is Jennifer’s college-aged daughter. She works at Lady Angie’s, but is lackadaisical about her job. Her father and mother are separated.

    Leslie Morris (Crystle Stewart): Leslie is Angela’s best friend. She’s the optimistic character on the show who balances Angela’s rage and Jennifer’s pessimism. Morris is a real estate agent. She is also dating Joseph Jetson, another character on “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse.”
    Joseph Jetson (Jason Olive): Joseph is a partner at “C-Sports Now” and is also Marcus’ best friend. Jetson lives with Morris, but refuses to propose to her. His masculinity is constantly questioned since he’s a former tennis player and doesn’t perform hypermasculinity.

    Richard Ellington (Kent Faulcon): Richard is the Chief Financial Officer at “C-Sports Now” and is also a friend of both Marcus and Joseph. Ellington is a retired baseball player. He dates Keisha Jones, the mother of Marcus’ oldest children.

    Ro’Keisha “Keisha” Jones (Kiki Haynes): Keisha is the mother of Marcus’ children and Richard’s girlfriend. Her character is constructed as the archetypal welfare queen. Jones has a college degree, but refuses to provide financially for herself. She chooses to date wealthy men so she can remain unemployed. She is Angela’s foil on the show. Keisha is a constant thorn in Marcus and Angela’s relationship.

    In “The Blind Date” episode of “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse,” Angela and Leslie organize a blind date for Jennifer, without seeking her permission. They’re worried about Jennifer’s emotional health after they discover she’s rekindled a relationship with her son’s father.

    Angela and Leslie think Jennifer is subjecting herself to abuse because she’s overweight, so they coerce Marcus and Joseph into inviting some male friends to a dinner where they’re supposed to woo Jennifer.

    Jennifer’s daughter, Tina, tells Angela and Leslie that her mother isn’t a fan of surprises and she will be upset when she realizes she’s been blindsided. This is exactly what happens.

    Jennifer overhears the blind dates criticizing her because she’s overweight. In the final scenes of the episode, Jennifer screams at the men and storms out of Angela’s home (where the dinner is being hosted). She is also angry with her friends and refuses to speak to them.

    This episode is problematic for several reasons, but I’ll outline the three issues related to gender and weight that irk me the most.

    1) Angela and Leslie strip Jennifer of her agency by deeming that she’s in an unhealthy relationship because she’s overweight, and thus, must have low self-esteem. Their attitude toward their friend’s weight and emotional health plays directly into Western beauty ideals that shame women (and men) of size for being confident in their bodies. Angela and Leslie never considered that Jennifer was choosing to be in a relationship or that her decision had nothing to do with her weight. There was an automatic correlation between the two, and that is another example of patriarchy.

    2) Keisha tells Angela and Leslie that Jennifer “will never get a man until she loses weight.” Society dictates that no woman is complete without a man. Eve was created from Adam’s rib, so all women need leaders and all men need helpmates. Not only is this thinking patriarchal and heteronormative, it also assumes that Jennifer is uncomfortable with her size and that men aren’t attracted to women of size. My lived experiences dictate otherwise. I’m a woman of size. I exercise three times a week. I’m also in a committed and beautiful relationship with an amazing man. All women of size aren’t single and we’re not all looking to lose weight to appease the male gaze.

    3) This episode relies on historical tropes to reinforce oppressions. When Jennifer storms out of the house, Angela unleashes her anger on her husband and all of their guests. It is an obvious depiction of the Sapphire in a modern context. This is detrimental because media images sustain, even as society progresses. So, the reproduction of the Sapphire in shows like “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse” continue to perpetuate a distorted image of Black American womanhood. Also, in one of the scenes, Angela and Leslie are attempting to persuade Jennifer to attend the dinner party. She refuses. So, Angela and Leslie tell her what’s on the menu to get her to agree. It is a cheap shot, as most of the jokes on “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse” are.

    “Orange is the New Black”
    Season 1, Episode 3
    Episode Title: “Lesbian Request Denied”
    Air Date: July 11, 2013

    “Orange is the New Black” is a brilliant Netflix original series. It’s received critical acclaim for its exploration of White and middle-class privilege as well as the turbulent, complex lives of prisoners. The series was adapted from Piper Kerman’s eponymous memoir about the year she spent in a women’s correctional facility. Jenji Kohan is the creator of the series and Lionsgate Television produces it.

    The principal characters from this episode are:

    Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling): Piper Chapman is the female lead. The series is centered on her experiences at a correctional institution in Connecticut. Chapman is serving 15 months for transporting drug money for her ex-girlfriend, Alex Vause (Laura Prepon). She is constructed as a bisexual, White American, upper-middle class woman with a viable livelihood outside of prison. She’s engaged to Larry Bloom (Jason Biggs), but is in a sexual relationship with Vause.

    Alex Vause (Laura Prepon): Laura Vause is a supporting cast member. She is serving time in prison for smuggling drugs for an unnamed Mexican cartel. Vause is Chapman’s (Taylor Schilling) ex-girlfriend and is the reason she was indicted and sentenced for her role in transporting narcotics across state lines. Vause is contending with abandonment issues on multiple levels, and she seeks continuous solace in Chapman.

    Larry Bloom (Jason Biggs): Larry Bloom is Chapman’s fiancée. He is one of few male characters on “Orange is the New Black,” so his construction is interesting. Bloom is depicted as a privileged White man chasing a freelance writing career. He proposes to Piper before she begins serving her sentence, but their relationship shifts as the season progresses. Bloom capitalizes on Chapman’s pain, turning her experiences into a column for the New York Times.

    Sophia Burset (Laverne Cox): Sophia Burset is one of several revolving characters on “Orange is the New Black.” Chapman is the female lead, but the series features an amazing ensemble cast. Burset is one of Chapman’s fellow inmates. She is serving time for credit card fraud.

    “Orange is the New Black” details one inmate’s past in every episode. In the “Lesbian Request Denied” episode, the audience is provided with a glimpse of Burset’s past and the incidents that led to her arrest.

    Burset* was born Marcus Burset. She’s a trans* woman that has underwent sex reassignment surgery. Laverne Cox, the actress that portrays Burset, is a trans* woman as well. In itself, this is a powerful moment for television. Trans* narratives are often excluded from television, and when they’re included, trans* folks are rarely portrayed by real trans* actors and actresses. Cox’s casting as a trans* character is momentous.

    This episode is especially poignant because it subverts several aspects of trans* narratives that are often perpetuated in media. Though Burset is trans*, she’s married to a Black American, heterosexual, cisgendered woman. Her wife, Crystal, was supportive of her transition to womanhood and still visits her in prison. This is a direct contrast to the often dominant narrative that Black Americans are less supportive of the LGBT*Q communities and reproduce discrimination in our marginalized space. In terms of the male gaze, their relationship also positions Burset as a desired (and desirable) figure outside of pornographic imagery or sex work. That’s an important inclusion in the construction of the character.

    Burset’s relationship with Crystal also speaks to the need to separate gender identification and sexuality. Burset is a homosexual trans* woman. She is attracted to other women. The assumption is often that trans* women are attracted to heterosexual, cisgendered men that they’re interested in deceiving. That narrative doesn’t account for the trans* women attracted to homosexual cisgendered women, heterosexual cisgendered women, other trans* women, trans* men, etc. Sexuality is fluid and has little correlation to gender identification.

    Also, most trans* women are associated with sex work. To be clear: I am not demonizing sex work. For many trans* women, it is a viable option since many trans* men, women and queers face consistent discrimination and have no federal legislation to protect them. However, “Orange is the New Black” also provides a counternarrative for this as well.

    In “Lesbian Request Denied,” Burset is battling prison officials to gain access to the correct dosage of her hormonal medication. She details the importance of having adequate medication to prevent liver damage and other bodily injuries, which is an important public discourse. Hormones are necessary for trans* men and women. They’re not selective medications. A refusal to provide hormones could be a life-or-death scenario.

    A prison guard agrees to smuggle in hormones for Burset if she agrees to be intimate with him. Though she considers his offer, she ultimately rejects him and uses alternative strategies to gain access to her treatments. This is powerful because it presents another option, outside of the notion that trans* women must use sex work to survive. There are alternatives, and the Sophia Burset character proves it.

    “Ugly Betty”
    Season 3, Episode 9
    Episode Title: “When Betty Met YETI”
    Air Date: November 20, 2008

    “Ugly Betty” was one of my favorite shows. It was canceled in 2010, after a four season run on ABC. The show chronicles the trials and tribulations of MODE, a fictional equivalent of VOGUE, through the eyes of Betty Suarez (America Ferrera). Suarez is a Latina American native of Queens, New York and considers MODE her dream publication. She is hired as the assistant to the editor-in-chief, Daniel Meade (Eric Mabius), and the show chronicles her turbulent rollercoaster at the publication.

    The principal characters from this episode are:

    Betty Suarez (America Ferrera): Betty Suarez is an eccentric, 22-year-old Latina American hailing from Queens, New York. She isn’t the personification of a fashionista, but Suarez is an aspiring magazine editor. Though she’s interested in penning and editing “serious” pieces, Suarez is tapped as an assistant to the editor-in-chief of MODE. It is the equivalent of VOGUE and a member of Meade Publications, a larger publishing corporation.

    Daniel Meade (Eric Mabius): Daniel is the editor-in-chief of MODE. He’s the male lead. Meade was appointed as editor-in-chief after Fey Sommers – the equivalent to VOGUE’s Anna Wintour – dies. Daniel is also the son of Bradford and Claire Meade, the owners and operators of Meade Publications. He is constructed as an irresponsible, promiscuous playboy that is incapable of managing an effective business. Suarez is hired by Bradford because he thinks Daniel will never be attracted to her, so she can keep him focused.

    Wilhemina Slater (Vanessa L. Williams): Wilhelmina Vivian Slater (born Wanda Slater) is Daniel and Betty’s primary foil. She is MODE’s creative director, but is constantly attempting to sabotage Daniel so she can be appointed editor-in-chief. Slater is constructed as a snobby primadonna who is self-absorbed and incapable of feeling – since she spends her afternoons having her face Botoxed.

    Marc St. James (Michael Urie): Marcus “Marc” St. James is Slater’s assistant. He identifies as homosexual and fits the traditional performance of gay men in the fashion world. St. James is consistently attempting to conceal his sexuality from his family, especially his mother.

    In “When Betty Met YETI,” Suarez learns of an apprentice program that transforms editorial assistants into assistant editors. It’s called the Young Editors Training Initiative, or YETI for short. Suarez applies to the program and is forced to conceptualize an entire publication in 48 hours. She also discovers St. James is submitting an application. This presents a dilemma because YETI only accepts one editorial assistant per publication. Though St. James’ presentation is orchestrated well, Suarez is offered the spot in YETI. Instead of congratulating her, St. James belittles Suarez by telling her that she was only accepted because she’s Latina American and YETI has to fill a diversity quota.

    I approach this episode through an intersectional lens. It is impossible to extrapolate race from St. James’ treatment of Suarez throughout the series. He often appropriates Hispanic culture, donning sombreros on Halloween and using cultural references (e.g. “Go eat a taco and be quiet) to demean Suarez. Though St. James is a member of the LGBT*Q community, he still reproduces racism within his marginalized space, which makes for an interesting examination of marginalized groups replicating the ideologies of dominant groups. Also, Suarez is constructed to perform a narrow representation of Mexican-American heritage. Her clothes never match. Her father is an immigrant without legal clearance. She is working-class poor. She’s often uncomfortable in spaces like MODE because elitism is rampant within the power structure. Suarez’s acceptance into YETI and St. James’ undercutting of her achievement proves that race and gender are incapable of being separated within this show and other media texts.

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