The Czar, against his better judgment because now our free time is wasted, has started to explore Netflix. One reason why is his love for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And you probably know, if you’ve even read this far, that the Marvel Cinematic Universe encompasses a number of television shows as well as the blockbuster movies. Although the television shows do a so-so job of tying into the movies (mostly pop references, but the rare shared actor), they are often quite entertaining. And Netflix, gosh, has about a half-dozen television series all linked together with the movies.
One of these is Jessica Jones, which is about to start its third season. Unlike the more familiar Captain America or Spider-Man, Jessica Jones is a lousy superhero. She hates herself, she hates her life, and she doesn’t even enjoy super powers all that much. She wants to be a private investigator, mostly handling sleazy divorce cases, and barely eking out a living. Her super powers make her great at her job; her lousy clientele, however, makes her just about dead broke each month. The television show is okay, as far as the plots go; frankly, the best thing about it is the theme music, which is basically the best theme in the entire MCU.
But we digress. Here’s the deal with the show: it features as its main character an alcoholic rape victim who’s so anti-social that she has trouble with any sort of relationship, although she sometimes bangs a black super hero who works across the street. Her only real friend is a self-made radio talk show host whose intelligent programs and fearless personality have made her rich and powerful in New York City. Her best client is a lesbian lawyer. Her neighbor is a half-black, half-Hispanic ex-junkie who helps her less often than not. We get to know each of them so well, in fact, that some appear on multiple Netflix series.
So what’s the problem with that? The Czar couldn’t think of one.
Fortunately, the social justice warriors rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Season three, we learned this week, will finally introduce some diversity to this cast.
Wait, what? A victimized woman rebuilding her psyche, a family-positive back guy who emphasizes family, a self-made millionaire woman friend, a lesbian power attorney, and a black/Hispanic man who beat heroin…is too hetero-normative patriarchal white racist stuff.
So the new season, the producer acknowledges, will include more women of color. Never mind the most important role in all the Netflix series, whom the Czar hasn’t even mentioned, is a Cuban nurse who is braver than anything, and whose only super power is a knowledge of emergency room medicine. But that’s not enough.
What the show needs, maybe, is a black lesbian. Or a gay Hispanic guy. Or an Asian Muslim girl. Or…well, basically, the only two white males in the first season, at any rate, are the bad guys. Anyway, social justice nerd warriors rejoiced at the news all over social media: Jessica Jones was finally going to fix its diversity problem.
Long-time followers of the MCU know that Marvel Studios and its parent, mouse-oriented parent conglomerate, basically don’t give a crap about social agendas. Marvel movies are intrinsically conservative, but they don’t beat you over the head with it the way the comic books do. Evil exists, and good needs to defeat it. God exists, according to Captain America, and Black Panther lectured us that the soul of a person matters far more than skin color ever will. Families are essential, and if you don’t have one, you build one. That sort of stuff.
The fact that liberals rejoiced over this news probably made a few Disney executives snicker, although not in contempt because more viewers mean more dollars to the House of Mouse. Yeah, whatever…if they want to watch the show now in greater numbers, good.
But this won’t be enough. Jessica Jones worked for the Czar because its characters were really interesting and useful. Adding in more “people of color” (that is, people who look more like the leftist dorks who feel offended by everything) probably won’t hurt the show, but it sure won’t improve it, either. It’s just appeasing the same crybabies.
Yet, this won’t work: you can’t appease these people. In a small ensemble, you only have so much room for actors: where is the disabled, Assamese, transgendered atheist? Better add one into season four. And the Tagalog-speaking albino, half-Aleutian/half-Aborigine bi-curious Siamese twins? Better put them into season five. Because it’s never enough.
Ultimately, this won’t really change the show. If the character works, the character works. If not, the villain will graphically slaughter the character in the first couple episodes. But if you won’t watch a decent program because your particular combination of traits is not adequately represented, you probably shouldn’t be watching television. You probably should be out in the real world, discovering that not everyone is like you. And perhaps you’ll even come to accept that not everyone likes you, either.