Thursday, February 17, 2005

"Lost"...and getting loster

For four years now J.J. Abrams has been writing kick-ass roles for women on the television show “Alias.” The main character Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) is a strong and complicated woman who embraces both her femininity and her aggressiveness in her work and home lives. Many other female characters on the show are bold decision makers and clever schemers. Why then are the all the women on Abrams’s new show “Lost” so completely over powered by testosterone? More than forty people, pasts riddled with murder, shame and marital deceit, are stranded upon a deserted island yet within a short time they become dependent upon the men for their survival and well-being. It’s not as though the women characters are weak. However the efforts put into developing them as strong leaders are obviously lackadaisical. One might argue that Jack is considered to be the main leader because of his past as a doctor and that Locke is in charge of finding nourishment because of his knowledge of hunting, but why did such vital roles go to the men? Many of these women made terrifying and bold decisions in their lives before crashing on the island, yet suddenly when they are in a crisis they become dependent and submissive, leaving their fate in the hands of a few ‘strange’ men. Is it possible that Abrams has used up all his female know-how on Sydney Bristow and Irena Derevko or is it really that hard to conceive of a matriarchy as a successful form of life?

5 Comments:

Blogger Izdatyel said...

Sorry M.A.,
I can't say much here since I've never seen "Lost" and only seen portions of a couple "Alias" episodes. But, heck - I certainly think that women are too often prescribed certain unfair (and limited) roles in the media. To be honest, I thought "Alias" was as much a culprit as a hero in this regard. Every advertising spot seems to be saying "don't miss your chance to see Jennifer Garner in lingerie this week!" - literally, every week. Obviously those are just commercials; but they are, afterall, composed of scenes from the episode. I'm just not sure I can buy that being a secret agent entails lingerie-necessitating covert operations at least once a week. Nevertheless, I suppose it's positive that she is the "strong" and central figure/hero.

The admittedly limited exposure I've had to the show just hasn't grabbed me in the least. I have viewed large portions of a couple episodes and was bored. It seemed to jump back and forth between campy and tedious.

Alright, my comment has shifted to one about the merits of "Alias" itself. J., I'm sure your blood pressure is already rising. But seriously, why make the significant investment the show requires to really "experience" it, when the samplings disappointed me and there are so many other things to see?

2/20/2005 8:01 PM  
Blogger Jason Work said...

"Why make the significant investment the show requires to really 'experience' it, when the samplings disappointed me and there are so many other things to see."

Interesting, I am fairly certain that those are almost the exact words I used to describe my feelings about Radiohead's "Amnesiac" and I was severely criticized by the Cossack for it. How about it Cossack? You watch the first few episodes of "Alias" and I'll plug through "Amnesiac?"

Oh, and by the way, any honest "Alias" fan hates the promos for the show. They totally reflect a lack of understanding of the demographics of the show and basically amount to ineffective pandering.

Now, is there anyone out there who has actually seen these shows and is willing to comment?

2/21/2005 3:27 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

I'm personally attracted to Lost bc of the wierd looking hobit dude from LOR... j/k...

As I'm not qualified per Work's requirements I will not comment any further. :)

2/21/2005 3:53 PM  
Blogger Jason Work said...

Hobbit-guy is actually one of the best characters on the show.

I know not everybody's seen these shows. How about comments on women's roles on television in general. I'd say women tend to get stronger roles on TV than in film. Opinions?

2/22/2005 1:23 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

I'm no media guru, but I think you are right Work. It does seem like there are a lot more heroins (sp) or strong female characters on TV versus the movies.

It seems like movies that even start out positioning a woman as very powerful and successful, end up warping into some sort of "chick flick" (please excuse the cliche), where the gal ends up figuring out that all she really wants is love and marriage, and the whole success thing was just a facade.

I don't think it really reflects real life. My wife, for example, is a very successful, young professional. She does look forward to a family some day, but she just as much looks forward to grooming her skills and career on an ongoing basis.

2/22/2005 4:41 PM  

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