The 4400 – Dirty Diana

This will ring bells for anyone who’s read Scarlett’s  Fidelity is a Virtue,  If  It’s OTP article and Jennifer’s Sam Carter’s Cheating Heart. It’s a theme I, frankly, never even really noticed much before.

Another good example of this trope has arisen on USA’s The 4400. Basic premise to the show: people who vanished suddenly reappeared, with special abilities. Diana Skouris is an NTAC (government agency that oversees the 4400 phenomenon) agent who has adopted a little girl who was one of the special returned abductees. The girl, Maia, can see the future. Handy!

Anyway, in a recent episode, Diana’s flaky sister April stopped by for a visit with her latest boyfriend, Ben. Chit chat occurred, with Diana and Ben talking about travel or photography or something. Diana noncommittally suggested she’d like to see his photos. After April and Ben depart, Maia announced that Diana was going to get married soon and wasn’t it exciting? Diana asked to whom she’d wed. Maia told her that her new daddy was going to be…Ben. April’s boyfriend.

This freaked Diana out. Life  went on…and some days later there came a knock on her door. It was  April’s boyfriend, with the photos. Diana was still wigged and blurted out “Look, this isn’t going to happen.” Her sister’s boyfriend wasflummoxed – rightly so. What the hell?

It would have been fine had they ended it there…Diana told Ben  why she had the freak out on him and they agreed not to push their luck and just not see each other in passing ever again.

Which didn’t happen, naturally.  They were meant to be, you see. They ran into  each other in the  grocery store and proceeded to innocently shop together. At the end,  both confessed it felt like a date…and kissed each other, just to see what it was like.  Fireworks, baby.

I started getting  more than a bit irritated here, but I think they  eventually wound up sleeping  together at least once before they fessed up to  sister April, who was devastated…and get this: she  didn’t hate  Ben or hate Diana (after all, they were fated!),  she hated herself for being so wholly unloveable that the only decent guy she could snag ended up being  better with her own sister.

Say it with me, folks: WTF?


  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    That’s a repulsive storyline, even without the icky meta-message. And after three examples, something else has finally occurred to me: the cheated-upon person always either gives the cheaters his/her blessing (Pete, April), or is evil and therefore dies (Vaughn’s wife).

    It’s the forgiveness from the cheated-upon that tells us the writers are seriously endorsing cheating in cases of “true love”. After all, if the cheated-upon thinks it’s okay, who are you the viewer to say otherwise?

    Imagine a similar storyline dealing with murder:

    A: “You killed my brother!”

    B: “Yes, but I couldn’t help myself. I’ve never felt so strongly about anything in my life. I tried to hard to resist it, but it was fate. I was meant to kill your brother!”

    A: “Oh, well, in that case…”

    Okay, that’s a little over the top and facetious, but really. 😉

  2. scarlett says

    Yeah, when you put it like THAT, you realise how ridiculous the storyline is. At least soap operas have the decency to (mostly) portray infidelity as the hurtful, everyone-looses mess that it is…

    I’ve written an article about Grey’s Anatomy which I might bump up because it’s fairly relevant to this string of articles – not only did they happily have a married man pining for his girlfriend (who he had a relationship with in response to his wife’s affair, which SHE had because he was never there) but the shippers have gone to great lengths to portray his wife as an uncaring bitch, where I always saw a woman who loves her husband, has made mistakes and is trying to make up for them. So basically you have the shippers absolutely determined to have wifey be The Bitch, despite all evidence to the contrary, just so it can fit into their romantic notices…

    I second that: WTF?

  3. sbg says

    Facetious or not, you’ve got a point. It’s like everyone assumes when that OTP romance is involved, the brain gets checked at the door. The audience will buy anything. All for romance. Woo.

    And I won’t even mention the other disturbing relationship on the show – okay, I will. Baby rapidly ages…into a hot young thing. An adult who probably fed her just the week before decides it’s a great idea to boink her. Maybe I should have saved that for another post. Hmm.

  4. sbg says

    Heh. The ridiculousness of the plotline was pretty blatant even without substituting murder for infidelity. I think my jaw might have dropped when I saw Diana going on a date with her sister’s boyfriend. I mean…her sister’s boyfriend! That’s messed up.

  5. sbg says


    It’s bad enough that they do this, but most of the time the characters involved are otherwise brilliant, resourceful, competent and strong…or they are until this fated romance comes in to play. Then they turn into complete boobs who can’t make decisions and whose formerly core morality vanishes.

  6. scarlett says

    That, IMHO, is actually worse – if they were weak, indulgent people to beging with, then you could just say ‘well, what did you expect?’. But by making them strong, intelligent and competant, it’s a stupid and insulting storyline.

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