I’ve given up on watching Bionic Woman. And it actually surprises me that I don’t feel guilty about giving up on a show with a strong woman character.
How far we have come!
I don’t know why these past few weeks have gotten me thinking more and more about women and our status in the world. I found this over on the Jezebel website (a site that has been proving entirely too amusing, of late). It’s a little piece from 1937′s Modern Mechanix proclaiming the then-cutting-edge thought that “…women also have ideas.” Oh, it amuses!
Thankfully, I’ve seen so much that makes me realize that we’ve come farther recently than we think. And after the depths that Britney and Paris have taken us to, I think the time has come to look at this subject so we can hold on to some hope. Of course, since my life centers around film and television, it’s no wonder that this is how I do so.
One of my first examples of women’s progress was Princess Leia Organa (now Solo). There she was, taking control. Walking carpets meant nothing to her. Neither did staring down a scary-looking, armor-loving mad man with breathing issues. Long live the buns!
In the aftermath of Star Wars came the original Battlestar Galactica. It floored me. (And for those who haven’t watched it, you really should do so. There is just so much to love about the ’70s-ness of that show that you should see every episode.) The best part for me about the old BSG, at the time, was that the women had some power. Granted, it took the destruction of their society to make it happen. But there were all those women trained as Viper pilots. There was Cassie, who rose up from prostitution to become a nurse. And Sheba! Sheba took it from no one. That was amazing. “I could be in charge,” I thought. “I can kick some ass!” (Naturally, after Apollo fell in love with me. Curse Richard Hatch for crushing that dream!)
And now we have the remake of The Bionic Woman. I find myself giving up that spot in my TV schedule. While the new Jamie Sommers does demonstrate some definite female kick-ass, I find it so odd that the show doesn’t feel cutting-edge to me. There have been a lot of women who kick ass on TV in recent years. But I think comparing it to the novelty that was the ’70s-era Jamie makes it somehow pale in comparison.
The original Jamie was pretty radical in her day. She worked for a living. She handled herself well. Sure, she had some romantic entanglements, but don’t we all? But she was revolutionary! She was actually going after bad guys and taking them down. (All with her wonderfully bouncy hair.) This was the new woman.
And today’s Jamie has many of the same traits. But I’m just not connecting with the show. So, after frustrations with the characterizations and the unfolding of the storyline, I’m giving up on it.
Yet I find it so cool that I don’t feel the need to stick with the show just because I want to support a kick-ass woman character. There are many to watch, already. (The new BSG, the Stargates, Chuck — just to name a few.) And it’s just wild that we’re currently in that state.
And there are women out in the real world doing much the same thing — probably in part because of kick-ass TV heroines and those women in 1937 who dared to “also have ideas.”