Stargate SG-1 fans have a few complaints about the presentation of Samantha Carter in later episodes. Some of the issues are nebulous – for example, is her love/lust/crush for her commanding officer demeaning to women, or realistic for a woman competing in a man’s world? Is the way she treated her boyfriend/fiance in the last two seasons heartless and selfish, or just confused? Sometimes we go back and forth on these issues, according to how they’re presented in a given week.
One issue that I keep coming back to, no matter what else, is that somewhere along the line, somebody decided her chest needed to grow and her t-shirts needed to shrink, and entire shots needed to be framed around her bosom. That galls me to no end.
In early seasons, Sam wore regulation t-shirts and other Air Force garb, none of which was tight over the chest area. She looked nice, she had a good figure, and her breasts were medium-sized – definitely not small. Furthermore, there was no particular attempt to frame shots around them.
Around Season 4, her t-shirts started getting tighter. They actually pucker around the neck and collarbones because they’re too small, but worse, they start to somehow tighten under her breasts, like a swimsuit, so that you really couldn’t miss ’em. I mean, I’m not really into breasts and still – after a while you find yourself focusing on it. Amanda Tapping referred to it as “very distracting” in the DVD commentary for “Avenger 2.0”.
That wasn’t enough. By Season 7, people thought she’d had breast augmentation. I think it’s actually a very heavily padded bra. There were shots where her bra was visible under the clothes, and you could see where the padding ended and the real curve began. At a convention, Amanda Tapping referred to a promo picture in which her chest was ridiculously prominent as “Stargate Barbie”.
In Season 7, the show finally began to offer some gratuitous shots of the guys in workout clothes and tank tops, showing off muscle tone. But these were not constant, and there was no attempt to augment any of their body parts. And from what I’ve read, most fans would prefer to leave off both the beefcake and cheesecake shots, and get on with the story. People grew to love this cast while they were wearing fatigues, not sexy workout clothes.
Some people feel the other various detriments to Sam’s character are the by-product of bad writing, something we should overlook because it’s not intended the way it comes across. But what always sways me toward seeing the presentation as deliberate is the fact that somebody in charge felt the need to enlarge and focus on her breasts. There’s no way to interpret that, except that someone thought she needed to be more perfect. Well, the rest of the now all-male cast is not without beauty flaws. We enjoyed them anyway.