Isn’t It Romantic (and Funny!)?

How many times have you seen this plot in movies and television? Man and woman are friends. Man harbors romantic feelings for woman. Woman isn’t interested and/or doesn’t even realize the man loves her. Man is determined to make her see the light. Man does all sorts of ridiculous, over the top things, and sometimes even creepy things to make the woman see how perfect they would be together. By the end, the woman miraculously does see the light and falls madly for this man she previously hadn’t considered.

Now, all of that plays out as romantic and funny, yet in real life having someone repeatedly ask you out or even show continued, persistent interest after you’ve clearly said “no thanks, move along now” is anything but romantic and it sure isn’t funny. I don’t know that I’d call it stalking, but, from first hand experience, it is extremely offputting. Depending on the person, it’s even harrassment. I could certainly see it leading up to worse things. I’m going to cheat here in highlighting all that’s wrong with the above scenario and direct you to an older post on The F Word, a link provided to me by someone on my LiveJournal in response to my complaints of yet another man (two, actually) who couldn’t take no for an answer. The author there is pretty concise, and she makes a very good point about how the same type of behavior in women garners a far different reaction.

This weekend, I realized just how pervasive this particular trope is. I have weaned myself off of children’s programming, but caved on Saturday and watched Nickelodeon’s newest show, iCarly. Right there on the screen, from the very first episode, we have this scenario playing out. Carly’s neighbor and pal Freddy has a huge crush on her. She tolerates his advances like he’s a silly boy, because he is. She does nothing to encourage his devotion (unless, and this is odious, she wants him to do something for her), but he is prepared to follow after her like a puppy for the slightest chance. She’s not bothered by his behavior, and the behavior is always greeted with canned audience laughter.

Obviously, it’s too soon to say if Freddy’s love will go from unrequited to reciprocal, but the point is more how this scenario is catered to a young audience, and that audience will continue to get these messages over and over and over.

For women, the ultimate message in this seems to be “relax, let your guard down and let the guy that’s exhibiting stalkerish behavior in, because he could be The One.” (Never mind that he’s being creepy.)

For men, the message is “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try, try again – and don’t worry, you’re entitled to get the woman in the end, just like all those guys in the movies.”

Both messages are troublesome.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    This stuff had an unintended effect on me as a growing teenage girl: I assumed if a guy didn’t do borderline-criminal trying to get my attention, he wasn’t really interested in me.

    To this day I have no idea how attractive I was or wasn’t as a kid – I thought all the guys ignored me because none of them ever jumped up on a table and declared their undying love. I mean, ya gotta give a girl a hint. ;)

    I’m making light of this, but I’m dead serious. I also thought there were real life men who hit on every woman they meet, even the unattractive ones. I was devastated to go into bars and nightclubs and not even get one of these obnoxious bastards’ attention.

    Somewhere in my 20’s, I finally realized that men are remarkably more reserved than movies and TV make out. The vast majority of them are pretty sensitive to the fact that women are right to be cautious with strange men and it’s the man’s responsibility not to give her reasons to think he might be Ted Bundy.

    I’ve never had a guy keep after me after I say “no”. What I do get instead is guys who never get up the nerve to ask me – they just keep following me around like I’m The One even though we’ve never had a proper conversation. Now that’s just creepy, not flattering. I don’t think for a minute it indicates that I’m attractive; I go straight to thinking it indicates that he is somewhere between really clueless and seriously deranged.

  2. S. A. Bonasi says

    Oh so much word!

    Just off the top of my head, that trope has recently appeared in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, The Knights of Prosperity, Heroes, and Reaper.

    Likely do to The Knights of Prosperity’s premature cancellation, by the series finale, Esperanza still has no interest in dating Eugene (or any other man). What’s particularly disappointing is that the show appears to recognize the trope. In one scene, Eugene is finally about to declare is feelings for Esperanza when she states [again] that’s she not looking for a relationship. As Eugene “noblely” swallows his feelings, Gourishankar takes his turn to speak, promptly saying that he’d be interested in having sex with Esperanza. Eugene is outraged – OUTRAGED – on Esperanza’s behalf, but Esperanza says she appreciates Gourishankar’s honestly, but still isn’t interested. I thought it was a great satire on the Nice Guy pretending to be the female character’s friend while wanting more without saying so even though she’s not interested. Yet I can’t shake the feeling that if the show had gone on longer, Esperanza and Eugene would have eventually gotten together.

    On Heroes, Claire has recently got a flying stalker in the form of West. Gratingly, the show does not treat West as a flying stalker, even though that’s exactly what he is. (Heroes has got to be the only show that in one moment can have something amazingly non-tradditional like Molly having two daddies and the next reproduce such a long-standing sexist trope.)

    On Reaper, Sock encourages Sam to pursue Andi (who just wants to be friends) because Sock says Andi has low standards (who dad died, and it’s implied there are troubles at her home) and has a low enough self-esteem not to realize that she can do better. ‘Cause, you know, that’s TOTALLY romantic.

    Recommended: Day Break, in which Brett and Andrea develope an amazing friendship…that’s nothing more than a friendship.

    Lost, in which, over the course of the show, Charlie’s insistance to be a part of Claire’s life despite her ambience…is treated as Charlie overstepping boundaries and having a wrongful entitlement complex. What’s particularly nice is that Claire is allowed to like Charlie a bit and it still be Charlie overstepping when Claire insists she doesn’t want him near her, and he doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Probably the best episode with this is “Fire + Water”, and amazing exploration/deconstruction of everything wrong that had been slowly been building in the “relationship” between Charlie and Claire. Surprise, surprise, a good portion of the fandom hate the episode.

    Avatar: the Last Airbender. A show for all ages where, unless I’m forgetting something, the slowly building relationship between Aang and Katara is mutual, where any mistakes made (they’re young, after all) are treated as mistakes, and there is no stalking. Both Katara and Aang have a tendency to act shy and/or jealous, but it’s treated as them still learning how to express their feelings. As they grow, they’re relationship grows as well. Of course, it helps that they both work to save the world.

  3. Tessa says

    Heroes has got to be the only show that in one moment can have something amazingly non-tradditional like Molly having two daddies and the next reproduce such a long-standing sexist trope

    This is one of the things that’s really bothered me about Heroes. It seems capable of doing really interesting, non-stereotypical things with some of its characters, but when I stop to think about it, it seems as though it’s only really bothering to play with the male characters. The female characters are confined to the same old roles.

  4. S. A. Bonasi says

    Tessa, I don’t quite agree. There’s more at play in Heroes than gender. Most relevant here are sexual orientation and race/ethnicity/nationality. Not that Heroes doesn’t have some skeevy issues with race/ethnicity/nationality (because it does, majorly), but I’m not going to begrudge on basis of gender the show having Mohinder, an Indian-American character, in a same-sex relationship*, as well as part of a well-constructed plotline of dually raising an adopted daughter with Matt and infiltrating the Company. Don’t get me wrong; I wish the show would do better with gender. But I don’t want to dismiss what they do at times get right with characters of color/queer characters even if those characters are male.

    Or are you thinking of a point in the show where they did something interesting and non-stereotypical with hetersexual white male characters?

    ‘Cause I got to say I’m drawing a blank there. Peter is neither particularly original nor interesting (unless he’s shirtless and handcuffed in a box), I like Nathan but the conflicted ammoral politician is hardly new, ditto for Noah as the morally ambiguous bad-guy-turned-good-guy, and Tazeko Kensei is the classic white-guy-who-is-part-of-a-story-regardless-of-plausibility-because-white-writers-like-to-write-about-white-people. (Try saying that three times fast!) Sure, some of the characters are well drawn, but none of them are revolutionary. Beyond that, Zach was gay (well, for a while at least), and I’m considering Matt a queer character until proven otherwise. I think Sylar’s a highly creative character, but at least part of that comes from his subtextually homoerotic relationship with Mohinder. So that leaves…Ted Sprague. I’ll give you Ted Sprague.

    *Yes, yes, I know the show hasn’t textually confirmed Matt and Mohinder as a couple [yet]. But come on! It takes some serious het-as-default to look at what’s been shown and not come to that conclusion.

  5. sbg says

    BetaCandy said:

    I’ve never had a guy keep after me after I say “no”. What I do get instead is guys who never get up the nerve to ask me – they just keep following me around like I’m The One even though we’ve never had a proper conversation. Now that’s just creepy, not flattering. I don’t think for a minute it indicates that I’m attractive; I go straight to thinking it indicates that he is somewhere between really clueless and seriously deranged.

    I’ve had my fair share of those, too. Like the dude who wrote me a love letter as he was about to be shipped off to Afghanistan – some 18 months after I’d last seen him, and at that we’d never exchanged more words than, “Here’s your receipt,” and “Thanks.”

    There also always seems a great disparity between how much they like me and how much I can stand to tolerate them. It’s like they only like me because I don’t respond (ala, they think I’m mysterious). I’m not being coy. I don’t know HOW to be coy.

  6. says

    Yes, it’s frightening how early we start teaching kids this. On the thread on stalkers over at feministe, someone brought up the vast number of fairy tales in which the hero wins the girl by accomplishing all sorts of impossible tasks given to him by her parents. As an antidote to that I suggested LLoyd Alexander’s tale of how Eilonwy’s parents got together.

    And BetaCandy, I’m right with you in terms of thinking I was completely unwanted because guys didn’t do outrageous or overt things to get my attention.

    “On Heroes, Claire has recently got a flying stalker in the form of West. Gratingly, the show does not treat West as a flying stalker, even though that’s exactly what he is.”

    For some reason this storyline hasn’t been bugging me as much as it possibly should. I think perhaps in part because it’s so nice to watch Claire. I don’t want her to go away and have to watch Silly Brash Princess, Crying Girl Who Cannot Survive Without a Man (and is surrounded by superstitious brown folk), Precocious Girl who doesn’t act anything like any child I know, or pretty much any more overt sexual attacks on the female characters on the show.

    Plus, I haven’t really been reading it as “boy trying to get girl” but as “freak suspecting a fellow freak.” I’m not saying their aren’t problems with the way it’s being portrayed, especially since we all know where this is going, I’m more just surprised at myself for not picking up on the stalker vibe.

    Now, Parkman, Mohinder, and Molly otoh, that bugs me. Mostly because the Heroes writers can’t write kids worth crap, so I’m predisposed to hate any story line that makes Molly a permanent part of the cast. But also because – where the hell is his wife? And (as someone pointed out on the GW forums) wasn’t she pregnant? Did he abandon one kid to take care of another? And it doesn’t help that they don’t seem to be doing a very good job of taking care of her anyway. Plus, since they don’t have any actual gay characters on the show (and there are rumors they retconned one out before the show even aired), I can’t really see them as anything resembling a gay couple.

  7. S. A. Bonasi says

    Mickle,

    “Freak suspecting a fellow freak”, even with the stalkerish vibes, might have been different (especially if the stalking part was addressed), but Claire & West as a couple has been all over the promos.

    And who says Matt abandoned Janice? (Yes, she was pregnant, btw.) The first season made it plenty clear that their marriage was on the rocks; personally I assumed that she divorced him. (Although to be fair, this hasn’t been covered yet. Also, I would hope that it’s established that Matt will be paying child support.) As for Matt and Mohinder, I think they’re doing the best they can for Molly, given that she has some sort of dream stalker that’s way out of the ordinary of what most parents have to deal with.

    Concerning gay characters on the show, the issue with Zach had to do with the actor (and rumoredly the network), and if you’re talking about the lesbian friend Claire was supposed to have, the actor dropped out in favor of a bigger role elsewhere. Whether or not the character was written out completely remains to be seen; I’ve heard conflicting reports.

    But isn’t saying that you can’t see Matt & Mohinder as a same-sex couple because there aren’t any queer characters on the show rather self-defeating? If the show is intending for Mohinder & Matt to be a couple (and unless they really f*** things up, I would assume that’s what they’re heading for), then the show does in fact have queer characters: Matt & Mohinder!

  8. says

    Didn’t they divorce? Or am I making stuff up again?

    About West: I sort of see him as stalker-y, but I haven’t really thought of him as a potential love interest for Claire. What he makes me think of is how, when there’s an influx of new kids in my school, there’s always that one who doesn’t act like who or what she looks like, and you (okay, I) just have to figure out what’s different.

    Though the window thing wouldn’t have been my choice.

  9. S. A. Bonasi says

    Dunvi,

    Yes, Matt & Janice got a divorce sometime between the end of season one and the beginning of season two, although the specifics haven’t been addressed.

    As for West, the fact is, he is a love interest for Claire; there are promos and now preview clips showing them kissing. Although given what you and Mickle wrote, I’m really wishing they hadn’t gone that route.

  10. says

    “….but Claire & West as a couple has been all over the promos.”

    Ah, yes, but I ignore the promos. Thus why I was a bit slower on picking up on the love/stalker angle.

    “If the show is intending for Mohinder & Matt to be a couple (and unless they really f*** things up, I would assume that’s what they’re heading for), then the show does in fact have queer characters: Matt & Mohinder!”

    Now that I don’t understand at all. Why would you assume that Mohinder and Matt are going to be a couple? Do you just mean “keep sharing the responsibility of raising Molly?” ‘cuz I don’t see how that’s going to last for more than a year or so without at least their couple becoming a threesome or foursome – will neither of them ever date again or something? If you mean, they will start making out – why? There hasn’t been any indication that either is gay or bi. Why would raising a kid together make them so?

    “As for Matt and Mohinder, I think they’re doing the best they can for Molly, given that she has some sort of dream stalker that’s way out of the ordinary of what most parents have to deal with.”

    Oh, no, that part they are doing just fine on. It’s more that, just as Molly herself strikes me as really off, so does the way in which Matt and Mohinder interact with her. Which tends to get translated in my head sometimes as “doesn’t know how to deal with kids.”

    “And who says Matt abandoned Janice?”

    Not me. I specifically asked if he abandoned the kid. Maybe she had an abortion. Maybe she’s still pregnant/had the baby. (The timeline has me confused.) Who knows. The point is that we don’t, and the implication is that it doesn’t really matter. Considering how excited he was about the pregnancy, I find that odd. Shouldn’t it matter to Matt? The writers may just be waiting to address that, but considering how inconsistent they’ve been with things like this, I’m not counting on it.

  11. S. A. Bonasi says

    Mickle,

    You’re right; you did say “abandon one kid”. Sorry about that. As for them addressing it, they will. But that gets into spoiler territory, so I won’t say any more. And I can see how not knowing that would change how someone viewed the show, just as not paying attention to promos does.

    As for Mohinder & Matt being a couple, it’s several things. Firstly, they’re living together. If it was supposed to be just about taking care of Molly, the writers could have had Matt living in Eden’s old apartment. Relevant here is that Mohinder does not have a three bedroom apartment; the place the trio is living is the same apartment that Chandra originally rented just for himself. Point being, it’s not like there’s a spare bedroom Matt could be sleeping in.

    Secondly, the writers made it clear right off the back that Matt was divorced from Janice. Making such a creative decision (and establishing said decision so early on in the seasons) shapes the context of things. Were Matt and Janice still together, I would have smiled at Matt and Mohinder living together (if nothing else, it’s non-traditional parenting), but never made any assumptions or expected anything to come of it.

    Finally, there is Matt’s conversation with Molly’s teacher. Eventually, of course, it becomes clear that Molly’s teacher is talking about Molly’s bad dreams, but much of the conversation before that point came off as Molly’s teacher objecting to Molly having two daddies. Especially since Matt gets defensive about his divorce when Molly’s teacher questions Molly’s home life; it’s clear that Matt did not initially assume that Molly’s teacher was referring to Molly having bad dreams.

    Given that Matt and Mohinder have yet to share a scene this season where both are awake, it is possible that my assumption that they’re intended to be a couple is wrong. If so, I’ll be very disappointed in the show. It’s one thing to have Nathan discuss his liking of zucchini, no one really expects anything to come of that, but setting it up so it looks like Matt & Mohinder had gotten together during the skipped over four months and then not following through is a different matter.

  12. S. A. Bonasi says

    MaggieCat,

    Hey! Nicholas D’Agosto was in Supernatural! Anyway, I don’t have anything against the actor; but I don’t like his character. West is very judgemental and a bit of a jerk. If the show presented him as someone with inhibited social skills because his power made it difficult for him to interact/connect with other people, that would be one thing. But the show presents him as being Teh Deep who will Show Claire the Way! With his dual powers of flying and stalking! Ick.

    Excellent point about the paternity of Janice’s child. I know that Matt and Janice’s divorce will be delved into in an upcoming episode, and I’m curious to see how it plays out.

  13. MaggieCat says

    On Heroes, Claire has recently got a flying stalker in the form of West. Gratingly, the show does not treat West as a flying stalker, even though that’s exactly what he is.

    I cannot tell you how much I hate this storyline. I can’t decide if it’s because of the character himself, or if I’m predisposed to dislike him because of the actor, who seems to play characters who spend their time following around blonde girls who are way cooler and more competent than him. (That’s all he did in his episode of Supernatural, too.)

    I also have this lovely vision of him screwing up, Nathan coming to yell at him and West trying to fly away, only to have Nathan zoom after him. Heh. Okay, I guess I really don’t like the character.

    And who says Matt abandoned Janice? (Yes, she was pregnant, btw.) The first season made it plenty clear that their marriage was on the rocks; personally I assumed that she divorced him. (Although to be fair, this hasn’t been covered yet. Also, I would hope that it’s established that Matt will be paying child support.)

    Then they had better establish that it’s actually Matt’s child. Considering she was cheating on Matt with a friend (and former partner) of his, I’ve always thought it was a questionable issue.

  14. MaggieCat says

    West lost me when he started in on his whole robot/alien spiel at the very beginning, because his logic doesn’t hold up. So Claire’s a robot because she chooses not to volunteer information in class that would make her look smart? But.. wouldn’t “robots” do what they’re told, like answering the teacher’s questions? And if she had spoken up in class, wouldn’t she have been branded teacher’s pet?

    Bad logic is offensive, especially when he’s trying to use it to pigeonhole the girl he just met and goad her into refuting his statements. There’s a whole section on ‘typecasting’ in The Gift of Fear, and that’s a prime example of it right there.

  15. says

    “If it was supposed to be just about taking care of Molly, the writers could have had Matt living in Eden’s old apartment.”

    Well, they could have, but it doesn’t really make sense for them to do so. Why in the world would you pay double the rent in NYC when both of you are struggling to get back on your feet, and you now have a kid to look after?

    I dunno. Unlike Tara and Willow (pre-kiss) on Buffy, there’s just so little interaction between the Matt and Mohinder. And while there are ways in which Heroes is miles above the rest, there are so many ways in which it just plain sucks, and they usually have to do with diversity and relationships. Having a diverse cast is not the same as doing a diverse cast well. Simone being the prime example of this.

    The dynamic reads much more “handsome m[e]n saved me from the monsters” than anything else. Especially given both their previous interactions with Molly. In the alternative universe, there was an underground system in which Bennet and others protected people like Molly, and Matt and Mohinder tried to track them down. (Sort of, they both made deals to protect people – Molly being one such person – from the same law they enforced.) So, I’ve been more reading the situation as a twist on that.

    Plus, I’d expect a group of writers that is open to showing that kind of relationship to do a better job giving us some more beefcake, considering how they show the female stars. Granted, Mohinder is pretty much the only male character they consistently show as sexy*, so maybe I’m wrong. Both readings could be true. I’ll be very happy if I am.

    “West lost me when he started in on his whole robot/alien spiel at the very beginning”

    Yeah, and I think, oddly, that’s another reason why his stalking Claire didn’t give creep me out as much as it should have at first. Him being interested in her secrets (rather than her body) and struggling with some of the same issues Claire does made his bad logic and arrogance come across as bravado and awkwardness after the fact. Still annoying, but slightly more understandable, especially in a teen. It’s sort of like, yeah, he’s being a dork, but yay! his character is being consistent and I can empathize with his motivations even if I think he’s being really juvenile.

    Besides, I was too annoyed with the fact that, oh, of course her new friend is going to be a guy. And the cheerleaders are her enemies again. How dare we do something new or create a situation where women will have to talk to each other on a regular basis. blech.

    Oh, and good point about Matt possibly not being the father.

    *I find all the guys on Heros to be sexy. But I think it’s pretty clear that not all the writers, directors, and camera people do. Unlike Ali “I look less messed up in jail as a psycho than I did when I was in the psych ward because Death was stalking me” Larter.

  16. scarlett says

    Really not fussed on this West character . Maybe he is just trying to confirm his suspicions about her being a \freak’ but I found the whole ‘floating outsied her bedroom window’ things creep. I kinda thought Matt using his powers to read Janice’s mind was creepy, but that was worse.

    In RL, I had a close male friend who said several times when I was in a longterm relationship (almost five years) that he’d often thought we would get together if I was single.Never did anything when I WAS single, mind you. I was thinking a while ago that it was such a movie cliche to have the male best friend in love with you, but I fuond it annoying, lost a lot of respect for the guy (five years! seriously!) and our friendship eventually broke down when I started seeing someone else. I just don’t see what’s ‘romantic’ about someone hanging around in the hope of a hook-up.

  17. Nialla says

    Interesting you should mention this, because my mother’s been dealing with an employee who’s about my age (late 30s) who’s one of the guys who doesn’t just have the feeling of entitlement for a woman they’re interested in, but thinks any woman who says hello to him wants to have sex with him — including underage customers.

    She’s repeatedly talked to him about it, and also talked to supervisors to get him reassigned, but it hasn’t happened so far. She and the other employees (both males in their early to mid-20s) are doing everything they can to keep him away from customers in general and female customers in particular.

  18. S. A. Bonasi says

    Mickle,

    The only issue I have with Matt staying with Mohinder for rent reasons is, again, that there ain’t much room in Mohinder’s tiny ass apartment. Nor did they, for instance, have Matt and Mohinder split the rent on a different, bigger apartment.

    Anyway, things were still ambiguous this episode. And I do see what you’re saying, although I’m still really pulling for the show to go textual with Matt/Mohinder. (My thinking that the show will actually go textual with Mohinder/Matt occilates, since on one had it’s just so There and on the other it’s almost too good to be true.)

    And yeah, Heroes does f*** up a lot with race and romance. Doesn’t mean they can never get things right.

    As for beefcake, given the amount of time Peter has spent shirtless this season, I have to disagree. Also, Nathan flying shirtless back in season one. Also, Isaac shirtless during one episode back in season one. Plus the show having one of the all around prettiest casts there is.

  19. says

    “As for beefcake, given the amount of time Peter has spent shirtless this season, I have to disagree.”

    Beefcake isn’t how shirtless they are, it’s to what extent the camera lovingly follows their form. The cast is pretty but the camera is still mostly employing the (heterosexual) male gaze. There’s a huge difference between some of the mostly male cast being occasionally highlighted as sexy, and pretty much being unable to show the female cast members as anything other than sexy.

    The fact that Nathan stands shirtless as he talks to Bennet and the Haitian, and then is shirtless when he goes into the diner, hardly compares to, gee, over half the scenes that Niki is in. Especially considering his scene with Niki in the previous episode.

    And, until this season, Peter consistently looked like shit.

    I’m not saying it’s not there, I’m just saying it’s not anywhere near as present as the cheesecake. And it doesn’t even come close to shows like Dexter, imo.

  20. S. A. Bonasi says

    Mickle,

    Agreed. I was thinking of the beefcake with regard to it being present, not in comparison to the cheesecake.

  21. Jennifer Kesler says

    Interesting you should mention this, because my mother’s been dealing with an employee who’s about my age (late 30s) who’s one of the guys who doesn’t just have the feeling of entitlement for a woman they’re interested in, but thinks any woman who says hello to him wants to have sex with him — including underage customers.

    Eww! Your poor mom. That’s lawsuit fodder right there.

  22. says

    S.A. Bonansi, I’m intrigued by your deconstruction of all the hetero white male heroes as boring stock characters…I would actually start throwing West in that pile already as well, because in addition to the stalking, he’s also a cliché of the hip high school iconoclast.

    The other thing with West/Claire that I would note (forgive me if this has been pointed out and I didn’t see it) is that it’s *Claire* who feels like she’s done something wrong and has to apologize/feel guilty/protect herself. She maybe shouldn’t have been self-harming, so all of a sudden the problem isn’t that she can’t tell her family that she has a stalker, it’s that she can’t tell her family what she’s done wrong. West turns every accusation of hers back around against her, which is the same thing he’s been doing when she turns down his flirtation. Ick.

    The original post reminds me of a t-shirt they were selling at Wal-Mart that got a little bit of publicity a couple of weeks ago: “Some call it stalking. I call it love”. The publicity was generated by a past stalking victim calling attention to it, having felt seriously triggered by it. I’m not sure what came of it, but it goes to show how mainstream it is that we’re crossing beyond ignoring to making light of it.

  23. S. A. Bonasi says

    Purtek,

    See, rather than throw West to the pile of stock hetero white male characters, I’d much rather just throw him to Sylar.

    But yes, excellent point about everything being Claire’s fault. The show doesn’t treat it like West has done anything [seriously] wrong; it’s Claire who’s denying who she is.

    SPOILERS FOR LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE “KINDRED”

    Case in point: last night’s episode “Kindred”. Claire finally (and awesomely) calls West on his shit, and he’s tells her to shut up before picking her up and flying away with her. And once she knows that West can fly, it’s like every other issue goes out the window. It takes all of three minutes for them to start making out, and now Claire’s angry at Noah. What, are we supposed to believe that in the 4+ months that Claire has known about her father, she never really realized that he did some f-ed up shit in the past?

  24. SunlessNick says

    I’m not going to begrudge on basis of gender the show having Mohinder, an Indian-American character, in a same-sex relationship* - S.A. Bonsai

    I’ve only seen half of season 1 so far, but it looks to me like Mohinder is Indian-Indian, not Indian-American; even if he moves there later, he’s still from India. (Which I think is cool given that he’s the narrator/philosopher character).

    Case in point: last night’s episode “Kindred”. Claire finally (and awesomely) calls West on his shit, and he’s tells her to shut up before picking her up and flying away with her. And once she knows that West can fly, it’s like every other issue goes out the window.

    That is … yeah, I’m with you, throw him to Sylar.

  25. says

    I’ll add a third on the overall throw him to Sylar message. I was really frustrated with the whole storyline in last night’s episode–West’s smugness, Claire’s ‘hey-you-can-fly’ willingness to forget that she was pissed of for good reason, and the overall narrative structuer making it so that she actually should be reluctant to share that she’s in a dangerous situation. I’m not sure how to feel yet about the way they’re breaking up the intense trust relationship between her and her father, but I agree that I hate the way she’s immediately willing to switch allegiances to this creepy guy she’s just met.

    And I would add to the overall stalker-romance trope this idea of actually verbally saying ‘shut up, woman, I’m about to sweep you off your feet’

  26. S. A. Bonasi says

    SunlessNick,

    In the second season, it seems like Mohinder is planning to live in the U.S. long term, if not pernamently, although the show has not yet addressed the issue of his citizenship. So Indian-American would be appropriate, right? Because one doesn’t have to have been born an American to be an American, ya know?

    Purtek & General,

    I have to leave in a moment, but Greg Beeman talks about the West in his blog. That they were intentionally going for creepy disturbs me.

    http://gregbeeman.blogspot.com/2007/10/season-2-episode-3-kindred.html

  27. sbg says

    Stealing Bonsai’s spoiler stuff:

    SPOILERS FOR LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE “KINDRED”

    Case in point: last night’s episode “Kindred”. Claire finally (and awesomely) calls West on his shit, and he’s tells her to shut up before picking her up and flying away with her. And once she knows that West can fly, it’s like every other issue goes out the window. It takes all of three minutes for them to start making out, and now Claire’s angry at Noah. What, are we supposed to believe that in the 4+ months that Claire has known about her father, she never really realized that he did some f-ed up shit in the past?

    SO much about last night’s episode bugged me. As people probably know, I’m already on the fence with this show, but last night was pretty awful on several counts. What bothered me the absolute most was Claire going from “Leave me alone, you psycho jerk!” to “OMG, you’re just like me *SMOOCH* and my dad’s teh ebil because you randomly mentioned him and his activities in the past.” We’re not even talking a lengthy progression of West’s unhealthy behavior somehow whammying Claire, who’s to this point seemed very strong to me.

    Second to that, the unusually bad F/X just about killed it for me. ;)

  28. Ifritah says

    Can’t Hardly Wait is one of my favorite movies… but the main character’s obsession with the ‘popular girl in school’ is downright creepy. I always stop the movie before she meets him at the airport. Blech.

    As for Heroes, I’m going to get on the ‘West is creepy’ train. I don’t like him, don’t like the romance, and am waiting to find out that he’s like Syler and steals people’s powers and has somehow opened Nathan’s skull up and sucked the power out without killing him. *Nods sagely*

  29. SunlessNick says

    So Indian-American would be appropriate, right? Because one doesn’t have to have been born an American to be an American, ya know? - S.A. Bonsai

    Yes, I do know that.

    In the second season, it seems like Mohinder is planning to live in the U.S. long term, if not pernamently, although the show has not yet addressed the issue of his citizenship.

    I did not however know that. And I still think it’s cool that he’s from India.

  30. sbg says

    Chuck: Love the show, think it’s cute and funny. But they have one full-out case of stalker-dweeb (Chuck’s friend harasses Chuck’s sister for great laughs all around), and one partial – even Chuck himself kind of has a puppy dog thing going for Sarah.

    The Big Bang Theory: I haven’t actually watched this, but the premise is Hot Girl moves in across the hall from two geeks. Even not having seen it, I just KNOW that at least one of the geeks is already devoted to do Hot Girl’s every whim and will pine after her the (probably short) length of the series.

  31. says

    Even not having seen it, I just KNOW that at least one of the geeks is already devoted to do Hot Girl’s every whim and will pine after her the (probably short) length of the series.

    Of course! Because in TV world, women’s beauty enslaves men. Women make themselves beautiful on purpose for the express purpose of controlling men! Whether the men pine or stalk in response, it’s that hot woman’s fault – poor, poor man. And of course, like children, they take no responsibility for their reactions to women.

  32. sbg says

    From Purtek:

    The original post reminds me of a t-shirt they were selling at Wal-Mart that got a little bit of publicity a couple of weeks ago: “Some call it stalking. I call it love”. The publicity was generated by a past stalking victim calling attention to it, having felt seriously triggered by it. I’m not sure what came of it, but it goes to show how mainstream it is that we’re crossing beyond ignoring to making light of it.

    I forgot to say this, but who the heck would find that shirt funny? It’s disturbing that the behavior is treated as a joke so often.

  33. S. A. Bonasi says

    SunlessNick,

    Oh, I agree with you that it’s cool that Mohinder’s from India, given that he’s the narrator and “guide” character for the audience. Just didn’t want to be perpetuating the “Perpetual Foreigner” stereotype. (Which only applies for the second season, which you said you haven’t seen yet.) :-) <– Emoticon of peace.

    General,

    Anyone else see Reaper last night? It was horrible, with Sam (the male main character) being all AAAANGST that Andi (designated female love interest) is thinking about going back to college full time, which would mean she would have to quit her job at the Work Bench. So even though Sam’s playing the role of platonic friend, he totally likes her and so totally does not want her to go to college so she can get a career rather than continuing to work at the dead on job. Lip service is paid to the idea of, ya know, maybe Sam could go to college to, but it’s never a serious option.

    What’s even worse is that the Devil encourages Sam to act on his attitude. I know, he’s the Devil, but on Reaper, the Devil is very much the authorial voice of the show; he endorses the lesson that Sam is supposed to learn. That lesson? Prevent the woman you like (but won’t say you like) from bettering her own life if her doing so will prevent you from acting as her friend while secretly wanting her. Ick ick ick.

    In the end, the Devil gets the school closed down, but this is after Sam has already gone to talk to Andi. So now Andi has to wait to go back to college. Yuck.

  34. says

    I forgot to say this, but who the heck would find that shirt funny? It’s disturbing that the behavior is treated as a joke so often.

    This question often gets lost in the din of voices saying it’s ‘not that big a deal’. If it doesn’t matter, then just what’s funny about it? Seriously–that this passes even the most basic level of screening makes me think the world is just completely upside down.

    Re: Reaper. I’ve never watched it, but that description gives me a high level of ‘ick’. It’s not just the specific decision, and the fact that it will be good for her, that bugs me, but the basic premise that this male friend thinks he has some right to influence her decision essentially for entirely selfish reasons and nobody seems to be questioning either his authority or his motives. He’s being both the persistent stalker type and already manifesting controlling behaviour before they’re even dating.

    Ick again.

  35. says

    This question often gets lost in the din of voices saying it’s ‘not that big a deal’. If it doesn’t matter, then just what’s funny about it?

    Nothing, and I think that adds to the offensiveness. When I read about that shirt, I didn’t chuckle guiltily, then don my Downer Feminist hat and go purposely grumpy. I read it, thought it was totally unfunny, and actually I think that made me take even more offense than I would have if it was in any way amusing. I mean, had it been funny, I’d at least understand why they wanted to push the envelope. But a joke about stalking that isn’t even funny just seems like it wasn’t meant to be a joke at all.

  36. SunlessNick says

    Emoticon of peace.

    Sure. :)

    It’s not just the specific decision, and the fact that it will be good for her, that bugs me, but the basic premise that this male friend thinks he has some right to influence her decision essentially for entirely selfish reasons and nobody seems to be questioning either his authority or his motives. He’s being both the persistent stalker type and already manifesting controlling behaviour before they’re even dating.

    And even worse, the show seems to think he’s right.

  37. alicetheowl says

    I finally saw Waitress last night, and, while I was impressed with the subtlety with which they treated the main plot line, the secondary romantic subplot, involving Becky, really unsettled and then infuriated me. Becky goes on a short date with a man, and the date doesn’t go well. She rejects him. The following day, he shows up with flowers. When Becky won’t talk to him, he talks her friend into getting Becky to see him. He tells her he’s going to marry her, and is just waiting for her to realize that.

    You’d think that would be the end of it. No; we see him again, and they’re dating. Becky’s friends are, understandably, dismayed. They just keep their thoughts to themselves and remain distantly polite on the subject.

    I really thought, the way the movie seemed interested in portraying the subtleties of relationships, that this one was headed the same way Jenna’s and her husband’s had. The movie implies no such thing.

    I asked my husband what he thought of that subplot afterwards, and apparently, he thought the exact same thing; that this was how lopsided, unhappy marriages happen.

    God forbid a man listen to a woman’s rejection, and trust she knows her own mind.

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