Worse than the periodic spinelessness of the title women, for me, have been the relationships of the secondary characters.
Exhibit A: Lane and Zack. Zack acted like a complete ass, and Lane dumped him for good reason. He showed no sign of real remorse, he didn’t apologize, they hadn’t had a conversation about even getting back together, and all of a sudden he just says to her “I miss you and I want to get married”, to which she responds “Okay”. And there’s no voice in the show, nothing that ever suggests we’re supposed to think this is anything other than awesome, because yay, wedding! The fact that you weren’t even speaking, let alone dating, ten minutes ago is now completely moot! I’m often willing to forgive a character for making a bad decision, and even let a show slide if a bad decision doesn’t end up being recognized by the character who makes it, if someone in the show world would acknowledge that there may be a problem and cause for concern. Just a character who can speak as and to the audience to suggest that something is off about a situation like this, and remind us that a marriage proposal is not in and of itself that thing that we wait for, regardless of the form and context in which it comes, and regardless of how intelligent, talented and awesome we are as individuals.
And just in case we haven’t invoked enough television clichés recently, how about a pregnancy? The first time she has sex? Oh, with TWINS! While the pregnancy has provided good fodder for exploring Lane’s relationship with her own mother, and her sense of self within the cultural view of motherhood to which she is accustomed, I feel like there was plenty to explore in Lane’s character without bringing in babies in such a hackneyed manner.
Exhibit B: Speaking of babies, Sookie’s having another one. I realize this got written into the show because Melissa McCarthy got pregnant, but other shows have written and filmed around an actress who was pregnant without making the character pregnant, and in this case they had to write around the fact that Sookie and her husband had agreed that he would get a vasectomy after their last child. It’s how they wrote around that that makes me angry in this case: he just didn’t get the vasectomy because he was scared, and he didn’t tell her, because she had been continuing to take the pill for some reason. She stopped her birth control, assuming they were okay, again with no discussion coming up, and boom, she’s pregnant with no idea that it was really possible. It comes out in oh-so-humourous fashion when Jackson is acting overprotective about her having even one drink or going skiing, since he knows what she does not, which is that she may be pregnant (for a show with so many words, nobody seems to say the really important stuff). She really isn’t angry enough about the violation to her body and to the trust within their marriage that is represented by a pregnancy that she took on good faith was at best highly unlikely. Let me be perfectly clear: that is not in any way light or funny. That is not something one should get over in the space of a 15-minute conversation in which one’s best friend points out the good things about motherhood. That is grounds for divorce, and it is completely counter to her right to choose, not to mention to the idea of the circumstances under which she thought she was consenting to sex.
Damn, writing about this is making me angrier than I thought I really was.