Last Friday’s Stargate SG-1 episode proved to me once and for all that the folks behind the franchise don’t see any purpose to Sam Carter beyond her love life’s ability to titillate the audience.
In this episode, SG-1 met up with a number of other “SG-1” teams from alternate universes. In these other universes, events could be any degree of different or similar to the timeline our SG-1 knows. There should be alternate universes in which Jack O’Neill never left, in which Daniel’s wife never died, in which same sex couplings are viewed as good for morale among military team members, and in which puppies are considered an American delicacy. We are assured early in the episode, by Sam no less, that the possibilities are infinite.
Out of all these possibilities, we get a virtual tour of Sam’s alternate lovelives. Oh, and Sam’s sorely missed best friend, Janet (Teryl Rothery) – killed off in Season 7 because Robert C. Cooper had read the thinking behind the death of Chewbacca in the Star Wars post-Jedi novelizations – turned up, but that seemed to be more important to Daniel and Teal’c than it was to Sam. She was a bit distracted by the return of a much less integral character who died in Season 4 – Martouf, a cute guy played by J.R. Bourne.
In this episode, we learn that one of the Alternate Sams recently had a honeymoon. We learn that another one dated Martouf, then dumped him and is now pregnant with someone else’s child. We learn that Jack O’Neill is still running the SGC in one of the realities.
There was, apparently, a deleted scene in which we would have learned of an alternate universe where Daniel’s wife never died and is still helping them fight the bad guys. But the exploration of that integral arc, which hails all the way back to the movie, was cut for time. What’s disturbing is that there were no deleted scenes that would have featured Sam re-bonding with Janet. Sam’s platonic relationships are simply not of interest to the writers. Strangely, the platonic bonds between Daniel and Janet and Teal’c and Janet get a little bit of airtime. Is that because they assume we’ll read sex into it? “Hey, dude, there’s a man and a woman on the same screen so they must be doing it!” Or do they sometimes comprehend that we can cry over deep bonds of friendship as easily as bonds involving exchanges of bodily fluids? Why was Sam denied this sort of emotional charge?
Why is she always denied emotional outpourings that are more complex than weeping over her love life? And why is her love life always more important than her accomplishments?