I recently wrote an article on an episode of House. I was feeling unusually positive that day, so I forgot to add a couple of cautionary notes:
- I’ve only seen three episodes of the show, and if Cameron just keeps making mistakes instead of learning, I will have to burn the creators of House in the same effigy as Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright of Stargate
- I’m a bit concerned by the indications I’ve seen in those three episodes that Cameron may just be your standard Idiot Girl Who Doesn’t Get It. In one episode, she had tried to find out if House was interested in her, and that sort of none-too-professional sexual tension tends to be a hallmark of bad things to come.
- Today, I came across this thread, which suggests at least some viewers find Cameron to be pretty consistently clueless. Sigh. Here we go again…?
I have some mixed views on this. If Cameron is destined to make every TV-girly mistake reserved for Our Little Stereotypes, then yeah, we have a serious problem. The argument that a male character could make all the same mistakes is valid, except for the crush she seems to have on House. Unprofessional crushes are, in reality, offered as proof of why women shouldn’t be in certain professions. If you want to draw gender lines, the inability to control emotions is much more typical with men than women – that’s why men are so thunderously well-represented in prison – but women continue to suffer from the stereotype that because we express ourselves in words instead of violence, we can’t hack it in the real world.
And that’s who Cameron is at this point: cute girl who can’t hack it.
The show could redeem itself, though. She could learn. We have Cuddy, at least, as proof that the writers aren’t suggesting possession of a vagina makes one incompetent. Contrast this with Stargate, where Carter started life as a pro with some passion and spark, and gradually degraded into a technobabble robot who served two purposes only: to show of how smart the writers thought they were, that they could Google all that research on coronal mass emissions and stuff, and to show how appealing Jack O’Neill was.
At this point, Cameron could go either way. She could continue to be useless, in which case she will degrade into a total female stereotype, given her girly crush on House. Or, she could learn and grow and follow in Cuddy’s footsteps.