Monday, November 30, 2015

JESSICA JONESSSSS!!!!111!!1!! GAAAAAAAH!!!!!1!!!!!11!ONE!!!

Photo from Wikipedia
Okay, I was going to try to post more thoughts about moving and about living in places and what that means to us as people but instead I'm going to geek out about Netflix's new show Jessica Jones because GAAAAAHH JESSICA JONES AKDJF;AJTEIAOJFDAJF;!!!!!!

So, Netflix has shown itself to be the place where gritty, dark dramas from the Marvel Cinematic Universe go to rest while the movies and ABC Shows are generally lighter fare.

I really like Daredevil a whole heck of a lot. The fight choreography was some of the best I've ever seen. Every blow felt brutal and real and painful, and I loved the complexity of the characters. The fact that the show was, at its core, about gentrification (among other things) is pretty frickin' crazy. That we can use the story of a man with super senses that dresses up like a devil (or, a ninja, at least) to beat up bad guys to tell this amazingly complex tale about crime, poverty, and the sticky and complex nature of how city development affects those things is pretty incredible.

Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin was fascinating. He wasn't the bold, cackling comic-book villain I remembered from watching the 90's Fox Spider-Man cartoon. He was quiet. He was sinister. He was also, at times, very sympathetic. There were times where he was saying his lines with such a look of sadness and pain on his face that you wanted to hug him--or you would want to if you weren't afraid he would decapitate you with a car door.

Jessica Jones continues that fascinating method of using the inherently ridiculous medium of comic books and their tropes to tell a fascinatingly complex story.

While Daredevil felt heavy, like eating a giant bowl of homemade mac and cheese, Jessica Jones feels lighter and more easily digestible. That's not to say that the show is some light, airy exploration in nothing, just that we've been watching this show for about a week and we're almost done. We watched 4 hours of it yesterday. In one sitting! We couldn't help it, the show was so good, the mystery so tense, and the characters so compelling that each time Netflix would bring up the countdown for the next episode, we found ourselves saying, "Yeah, sure. One more."

One more.

One more.

And it is incredible.

The great thing about Jessica Jones is that, at least as far as I can tell, there has not been a single moment where the show has objectified used Jessica as an object for the male gaze. I admit, it's hard for me to confirm this as I am male and have a gaze and therefore that gaze is inherently flawed. But the only time my wife and I debated over a shot was one shot of Jessica climbing a ladder that was shot from below. My wife thought it was an ass shot for an ass shot's sake, but I would argue that that shot was not about Jessica's ass but about highlighting the cramped, dark space she was cavalierly throwing herself into--as she so often does.

David Tennant's villain is very different from Kingpin. Where Wilson Fisk was quiet, intense, Tennant's Kilgrave is loud, brash, charming. He's not a cackling comic book villain either, and you eventually learn stuff about his backstory that makes him somewhat sympathetic as well, but it does start to raise interesting questions.

There are a lot of women, and the show is stronger because of it. And a thought that kept coming to me was this: David Tennant's character is one who gets everything he wants because he can control minds. All he has to say is for you to do something, and you will do it, and want to do it. And, in some ways, this comes across as a great metaphor for men--particularly white, straight men. 

While the metaphor is exaggerated, obviously, I'm fairly certain it's not by accident that the white, straight, male villain can easily get whatever he wants with very minimal effort. The world is his oyster. Meanwhile, he is directly responsible for many horrors in a lot of people lives, especially women and people of color. And much of this destruction appears to be, if not accidental, at least done without thinking. 

There are a few moments where I feel like Kilgrave is being perfectly genuine about the lack of evil in his intentions, and that was more horrifying than the flashy, big, evil teeth gnashing. Because the implication that our blind spots and lack of perspective and understanding can cause us to sew harm in other people's lives is one that I think we should all think about.

Actions have consequences, and many of those consequences will be unnecessary. So when you do something, and it causes someone harm, even if you didn't mean to cause that harm, it was still caused. And you still did it. So what do you do with that? Ideally, you apologize, and try to learn from the situation, to avoid further unintended consequences in the future. But that is hard to do, and when the intentions are good, it can be difficult to get over your feelings of "I meant well" and truly accept that your attempt at good made something sucky happen. But how you deal with those situations, when they're presented to you, I think, define who you are.