Why I No Longer Watch NCIS

I watch NCIS VERY intermittently, and after the last episode, I’ve decided never to watch it again.

What I saw was the “˜hero’, Tony, strutting around like Mr. Big-Man-on-Campus. He didn’t seem to do much but grab other people’s work out of their hands and present it to Gibbs, their boss, to take credit. He dumps grunt work onto his colleagues, then snatches it back when it looks interesting. In one scene, he palmed off a translation job to Ziva, an Israeli-Mossad colleague, only to snatch it back when he heard something about a three-way, and promptly take credit for her findings.

In another, he gives a male colleague Tim untold grief about his use of moisturiser, saying it’s “˜women’s business’ – and by implication, Tim is effeminate – despite the fact everyone else but Gibbs comes to Tim’s defence.

He constantly shows a complete lack of respect for Ziva, despite the fact she is a highly competent person, who goes about doing Tony’s job while Tony is busy bragging about how well he can do it.

But what really got me is how Tony is portrayed as otherwise likeable and popular. There’s no real antagonism existing between him and his colleagues. In real life, higher powers would be inundated with complaints about such a man, and if his skills were so great that he needed to be kept around (and Tony doesn’t seem particularly vital to his job) he would be barely tolerated. You know the kinds of people who are barely tolerated in the workplace; they’re the ones who never know where the hidden stash of chocolate is, because they raid supplies and don’t replace them. They’re the ones who are always being left out of the loop in the hope they’ll be left off team excursions. They’re the ones who radiate from all the resentment being directed towards them (and the antagonism they’re directing outwards).

Not Tony. Tony’s a chauvinist, and lazy, and only bothers showing respect to his boss. In a real-life situation, he’d be the first person everyone warns you about. But other thAn that, he’s a hero – or at least, he’s supposed to be. Women are meant to be falling at his feet – and no doubt meant to be heartbroken when he dumps them. I think the NCIS PTB were trying to portray him as the hardworking hero, but I just saw a lazy chauvinist.

What kind of audiences are buying this crap?

Comments

  1. Maartje says

    Though of course we’re behind on NCIS, I like Tony too. I admit to not watching NCIS for the high content of reality, which is a good thing ’cause the whole reality thing has been tossed out of the window a long time ago.
    Tony isn’t very usefull but he’s fun to watch. Out of the whole cast of characters I think it’s Gibbs that has the worst attitude against women. And the Director just needs to grow up and learn to think for herself.

  2. sbg says

    I’d disagree that he’s not useful. It always appears as though he’s not doing anything…and yet he also always has the information Gibbs is looking for. ;)

    I think Gibbs’ attitude toward Madame Director was more of an icky personal nature than an overall lack of support for a female in a leadership role. Which doesn’t excuse him, or the writers for giving us that crap.

    Between Madame Director and Ziva Sue, I just want to scream.

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    In real life, higher powers would be inundated with complaints about such a man, and if his skills were so great that he needed to be kept around (and Tony doesn’t seem particularly vital to his job) he would be barely tolerated.

    He wouldn’t? You and I must have very different employment backgrounds because everywhere I’ve worked, there’ve been a few like that, and they were tolerated and often popular. Even when they were most decidedly useless.

    Now, I don’t watch the show and I have no idea how I’d react to this character or his place in the show, and I’m not saying that you, SBG or Maartje are wrong – more than one opinion can be valid here. I’m just saying that yahoo cowboys certainly ARE tolerated and praised in my experience. To the extent that those few not on their bandwagon get branded jealous and petty.

  4. sbg says

    To be fair, Tony doesn’t go completely unchecked. As often as he issues snarky commentary, he gets it right back from his coworkers, and if there were anyone most likely to get smacked upside the head by the boss (literally) for saying stupid things, it’s Tony. He gets smacked a lot.

    There’s a very big element of approval-seeking little boy in Tony’s character, IMO, which accounts for at least 90% of his behaviour. Like the Gibbs/Madame Director storyline, that’s not an excuse as much as a factor.

    And while I love Tony, I don’t disagree that much of the crap he pulls is sophomoric at best and often sexist. At least until he had his brain sucked out by his latest storyline.

  5. Nialla says

    What kind of audiences are buying this crap?

    Me. ;)

    I don’t always like how Tony’s written, but I can say that about most of the characters on NCIS. It’s a show that’s an odd mix of drama and comedy, which is offputting for some who think it’s supposed to be just a serious drama.

    There have been times when you see the “real” Tony instead of the slacker good-old boy image he often projects. That’s what lets me know it’s a projection. He works hard, but often does it in secret on his own time to protect his image. Why he does that would make an interesting topic though.

  6. Jennifer Kesler says

    It sounds like there are definite hints that there’s “more to him” and presumably the other characters have had their glimpses of this… but that it might be easy to see a few episodes of this and NOT catch anything but a slacker good ol’ boy who’s inexplicably valued by colleagues.

  7. Nialla says

    It sounds like there are definite hints that there’s “more to him” and presumably the other characters have had their glimpses of this… but that it might be easy to see a few episodes of this and NOT catch anything but a slacker good ol’ boy who’s inexplicably valued by colleagues.

    Yes, it’s definitely a case where catching a few episodes doesn’t give the full picture of what the character is all about.

    Like I said, I don’t always like how Tony’s written, but I get feeling a lot of it depends on who’s doing the writing. Some insist on playing up the worst bits because they see it as “funny.”

  8. scarlett says

    He wouldn’t? You and I must have very different employment backgrounds because everywhere I’ve worked, there’ve been a few like that, and they were tolerated and often popular. Even when they were most decidedly useless.

    Well I’ll qualify by saying I’ve only ever worked in minimum-wage places and the people I’m talking about in my real life experience were either grunts or first-level management. On one occasion, someone was shifted from area to area for as long as the people in that area could stand them, until they got sick of being moved around and quit, and on another they had so many informal chats with a higher manager (after getting daily complaints from the people they worked with) that they left.

    And as another qualifier, I think I’ve watched 3 episodes all the way through. Yes, I think it’s one of those shows where NO-ONE was particularly well portrayed, but Tony in particular got my back up, maybe because I’ve met a few like him in RL and they weren’t popular like he is.

  9. SunlessNick says

    I’m currently in season 3 of NCIS, and still watching it. While Ziva is often called a “Mary Sue,” I quite like her so far (though I think she’d fit in better on a show like 24).

    Regarding Tony, he’s the character I like the least, but I haven’t seen him stealing other people’s work yet. I do think he treats his co-workers badly – though I also think he’s treated badly by Gibbs. My main problem with Tony though, is that I don’t find him terribly interesting.

  10. SunlessNick says

    Addendum. I’m not sure I’d agree that Tony is a chauvinist – he seems to treat McGee much the same way as Kate and Ziva, and from what I’ve seen, his snipes at them aren’t gendered – and he respects Abby’s skills as much as Duckie’s.

    He dates (and talks about his dates) in a shallow fashion, but I don’t get the impression that he considers himself uniquely entitled to that; I don’t think he’d mind himself being the subject of such a conversation.

  11. icarus says

    um, i note that his attitude is based entirly upon a script and i hear that the producer Bellasario is being replaced anyways so maybe you should see the new guy’s work before you stop watching NCIS completely, besides, there’s always going to be a person somewhere in your everyday life that you won’t like, whether its in a show or in real life, i figure that it would be easier to learn to cope with it that let it destroy a perfectly good circumstance, in this case watching NCIS

  12. scarlett says

    Yeah I’ve known some pretty horrible people in my life, the issue I had with Tony wasn’t that he was rude and arrogant but that people interacted with him as if he was a much nicer human being.As I said in the most, if I worked with him in RL, he’d be the rude, arrogant guy that no-one interacted with unless it was nessasary.

  13. Barbara Ann says

    First I would like to say that I love N.C.I.S. the show and the real life N.C.I.S. I think that Tony comes off to some people in a bad way because yes, he is cocky about the work he does and doesn’t do :), a smart ass, and very very into himself. I personally can’t stand people who are that way. However, I will have to say that Tony does do his job and he does it good. As someone who is studying to be in this field I feel that having Tony as a character is pretty smart. There ARE people like this everywhere at every job no matter what. His character brings some upbeatness to a show that is based on a career of such high stress, so to add someone like him makes sense because it shows this lighter side of seriousness that occurs in every day life.
    I like them all on the show, I think that the writers and producers do a great job with it and each persons character fits their different qualities that they bring out and make you feel like you are a part of them and that you are right there with them investigating.

  14. Louise says

    if not for DiNozzo Gibbs and Maddie (Kelly’s old friend) would have died when Gibbs drove the car into the water in the episode Requiem

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