Archive for the ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Category

Minority Report Card: The Wedding Band and More.   Leave a comment

“What up? We’re three cool guys looking for other cool guys who wanna hang out in our party mansion. Nothing sexual. Dudes in good shape encouraged. If you’re fat, you should be able to find humor in the little things. Again, nothing sexual, underlined.”-Mac

With premiere season over, this column is now going to monitor representation in a sample of seven episodes every week (until midseason premieres – woohoo!). I will be looking at whether it passes the Bechdel test, a test that asks whether the premiere has two female characters who have a conversation about something other than a man. I will also see whether it passes the same test modified to apply to people of color (the “Troy and Abed test”) and then modified to apply to queer people (the “Will and Jack test”). I’ve selected one TV show from every night of the week to look at (skipping Tuesday this week since TV took  break for politics). I don’t have a particular system devised for selecting episodes to look at, so please comment if you have any requests.

American Dad! (Fox)

For Sunday night I selected the only TV show that still hasn’t passed a single one of these tests so far this season. The episode I looked at this week was Episode 8.3 “Can I Be Frank With You?”

Bechdel test: Fail

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Pass

Notes: I honestly didn’t expect American Dad! to be the show that went this long without passing one of the tests– after all, CBS exists. The episode that finally made it over the hump did it in the worst way possible, with a throw away joke where the goldfish talks to Roger and we find out that they’ve been having sex. I guess this makes the fish bisexual and so I’m giving it a pass. Mostly to get this show off my back. But damn are they bad at this.

Gossip Girl (The CW)

Monday night’s show was the evening soap opera about the Upper East Side’s elite. The episode I looked at this week was Episode 6.4 “Portrait of a Lady Alexander.”

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: Just like in the premiere, this show failed everything except Bechdel. Back in the early seasons, the show had a prominent queer character (Erik) and a prominent person of color (Vanessa), but it’s been lacking in diversity for a while. I’m hoping that before the season ends we get a return from Erik and possibly some follow-up on the plot they started with Nelly Yuki.

Supernatural (The CW)

On Wednesday I looked at this long-running drama that tracks two demon hunters. The episode I looked at this week was Episode 8.6 “Southern Comfort.”

Bechdel test: Fail

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: After a promising premiere, this episode went back to the show’s roots of focusing on white, (allegedly) straight men. On the plus side, next week we’re getting a prominent plot involving Kevin Tran and his mother.

The Office (NBC)

On Thursday I looked at the final season of the sitcom The Office. The episode I looked at this week was Episode 9.6 “The Boat.”

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Pass

Notes: It’s nice that they’re giving lone gay character Oscar a love interest and a storyline this season, but their handling of this plot is pretty sloppy. Because its outside the world of the show to give Oscar and Robert significant scenes together, we’re really not given any information about the relationship besides the fact that Robert is married to Angela and they have a baby, so they both mostly come off as terrible people, although it sometimes seems like we’re supposed to be invested in them successfully keeping the relationship a secret. It’s not really an offensive plot line, especially since many of the straight couples have equally sloppy plot lines lately. It’s just a bummer to see their first really significant plot line involving too gay characters handled in such a sloppy way.

Degrassi (TeenNick)

On Friday I looked at this Canadian teen drama. The episode I looked at this week was Episode 12.25 “I Want It That Way.” 

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Pass

Will and Jack test: Pass

Notes: There was a point while I was monitoring all the American major network premieres when I started to wonder if I was just asking too much, since show after show kept failing these tests. This episode was a reminder that this really isn’t that hard. The a-plot was a love triangle between an Indian girl (Alli) and two black guys (Dave and Dallas) and while there was romantic tension in her scenes with both of them, they also gave her scenes dealing with her friends, family and academic career so she comes off as a fully realized human being. Both of the subplots involved queer characters– one was about Fiona wanting to win over her girlfriend Imogen’s mother and the other was about Tristan wanting to lose weight. Both of these plots kept the characters’ queer identity in mind while still realizing there are other aspects to them. It was refreshing and also made all of the American shows I looked at more depressing by comparison.

Wedding Band (TBS)

On Saturday I looked at the premiere of the latest TBS sitcom. I can at least assure you that it’s better than Sullivan & Son.

Bechdel test: Pass

Troy and Abed test: Fail

Will and Jack test: Fail

Notes: I appreciated the fact that there was a major subplot involving two women working together at a business, especially since something had to balance out all the nagging wife jokes. Poor Harold Perinneau (Lost, Oz) was the one person of color and his dialogue was largely made up of “I’m the black guy” jokes.

 

That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll have seven more episodes, including the season two premiere of the groundbreaking feminist sitcom Whitney.