Tuesday, September 29, 2015


[We continue with our analysis of the “Blindspot” pilot.]

An obstacle towards guys’ enjoying the show is the grating Twofer Boss.  Her role is to serve as the mallet in Whack-a-Mole -- the moles being the males.  As:

* Labcoated Science Guy quickly discovers what pharmaceutical is responsible for Jane Doe’s amnesia.  Briefing his boss and FBI Guy, he pronounces the long chemical name, and adds “commonly known as” (the acronym).   Impeccable. But she slaps him down:  It may be “common” in the hoity-toity circles you move in, “doctor”, but for the rest of us… Against all plausibility, the dramatic logic somehow has the male doctor wrong-footed.


FBI Guy tools off to the Statue of Liberty, which (as he has figured out) is about to be bombed by a terrorist.   In any approximation of reality, the Bureau along with the NYPD would deploy dozens of agents and officers for this op;  but the program sets it up so that FBI Guy is seemingly about to go in alone.  -- Now, that is the annoying scenario so frequently recycled by masscult so that the male hero can do some heroics heroically and not have to share the limelight with anyone;  it is the narcissistic/solipsistic Rambo motif, and it appeals to eight-year-old boys (and to the less intelligent among the nine-year-olds).  In recent years, the tired trope has been retooled with a sex-switch;  it is supposed to appeal to grown women.
But, interestingly, neither of these flavors of that motif are the goal here.

FBI Guy is not quite alone;  over his own objections, he brought along Jane Doe, at the insistence of his Twofer Boss.  Still, he tells Jane to wait back at the car (the patriarchal  beast!) while he singlehandedly Saves the Day(**); but again, Jane insists, and accompanies him into the Statue.   They meet up with the perp, and, in an extremely badly choreographed bit of sciamachy, the screenwriters maneuver FBI Guy, helpless and unarmed, into the grip of Perp, and only a head-shot by Jane saves his life and his bacon.

[**Footnote to laypersons and residents of Mars:  SWAT teams, Special Forces, and FBI on a takedown-attack  do not actually bring along tourists, bystanders, or embedded journalists along for the ride, regardless of the relative genders.]

Now, simply as an action sequence, that was incredibly inept, and likely to disappoint an average audience (let alone a more instructed one);  and yet a large well-funded team of producers and writers had plenty of time to craft the scene just-so, to help define the series in the pilot.  To make sense of it, we must proceed precisely as does a Freudian confronted with a Fehlhandlung:  as a symptom of something deeper, not as a random goof.
And the Trieb here finding expression is soon seen to be:  Feminine Revenge.  For:

* Back at headquarters, he reports to Twofer:  Jane saved his life, plus captured the perp.  Yet then, in an astoundingly implausible switch -- really, like a rift in the screenplay, as though someone had forgotten to delete his immediately previous remarks -- he shends his boss, saying Jane is our most valuable asset ever, and you almost wasted it by letting her go out into the field.   Why ever would he say that?  So as to set up the comeback: Twofer then acidly replies:  “She saved your life.”  As though Guy had been unaware of that, or had been churlishly ungrateful.
It reminds me of softball for the Pee-Wee League, where the kids are too young to hit a pitch.  You position the ball motionless atop a rubber pedestal, and let the kid take his time and swing.  Only, here the softball is FBI Guy’s head.

With this perspective, we revisit (1).  Here, it is beyond possibility to imagine this scene, the female boss’s putdown of the male boffin, with genders reversed, in modern Medialand.  (Just try to run such a scenario as an experiment in your head;  you will shrink back as from a hot stove.) Moreover, the putdown is truly gratuitous, and indeed off  (acronyms being in handy breezy use among laymen).  So what is the meaning of this exchange, absurd on the face of it?   An analyst refuses to accept things as merely, meaninglessly absurd. Again our Freudian:  It makes perfect sense on the underside of it.  It is revenge for an (imagined or remembered) scenario with genders reversed.
For exposition of a similar gender-squelch, cf. this:


The commercials chosen to accompany this show online, bear out the analysis.
In one, a demure, appealing, somewhat mousy carrot-top sits in a droning business meeting.  Suddenly, a cowgirl-clad mini-persona of herself leaps out of the laptop and starts vociferously twerking:  Eve Black to the original’s Eve White, in the classic fantasy “The Three Faces of Eve”.  Her twerking booty then knocks over a coffee-cup into … a guy’s lap (take that, you nasty phallus);  then she hits another guy in the eye (one of a twinned pair of sensitive round organs; to the reader we leave the rest) with her lasso.  Neither, of course, remonstrates or even reacts:  they are there to be abused by one of Eve’s daughters;  to take it, and like it.

There may have been adverse viewer comment on Twofer’s imperious personality, since by Episode Two the producers had popped in a new personality-module (into the P-drive that opens in the back of her head).  Now she is the wise, feeling counselor.  She tends to FBI Guy’s tormented soul.  At first, natch (typical for a guy), he doesn’t want to talk about it;  but under her gentle prodding, he opens up to, he emotes, and pours out childhood memories.  Pheromones are exchanged until the atmosphere becomes unbreathably estrogenic.
I first fast-forwarded over this glurge, but then was obliged to go back, as it quickly emerged that the traumatic memory in question is key to the whole plot.  He is traumatized with guilt at having inadvertently victimized a female playmate.  She was later kidnapped and has been presumed dead for a quarter of a century;  but naturally, to tie everything up into a neat bundle, she is hypothesized to be none other than … Jane Doe!

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