Back in July, Varietyshared the news that The CW is developing a Batwoman series due to debut in 2019. You might be inclined to roll your eyes at the thought of another superhero drama, but you should have a little more faith in the Arrowverse that The CW has been building for the past six years.
Whether you’re a fan of the shows or not, there’s no denying the Arrowverse features some invigorating takes on the classic superhero canon along with some boundary-pushing characterization and storylines that promote diversity.
The upcoming Batwoman series not only sounds like a fine addition to the Arrowverse, but it also sounds like it possesses a lot of potential to be a great show in and of itself. Here’s everything we know about The CW’s Batwoman series so far that is making us hyped for it.
Batwoman will be the first openly gay female superhero on TV
If you hold this sentence close to your ear like a conch shell you can hear the shrieking of a thousand bros complaining about “SJWs” and “feminazis” – so we highly recommend against such a practice. As described by Variety,the show follows Kate Kane, a young woman “armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind” – which in fairness does sound like someone is deliberately trolling the sort of toxic fandoms who for some reason still believe superheroes should continue to be white, male, and straight forever.
Batwoman’s sexuality isn’t just an exercise in virtue signaling to keep the diversity back slaps coming – it’s also a crucial part of her identity and backstory. In the comics, Kate is shown to have a military background (which is why she’s so kickass) with a storyline that explores her being forced to quit when she’s accused of having a lesbian relationship with her roomie at the United States Military Academy, which she doesn’t deny because she’s an absolute boss. It’s a defining moment that undoubtedly shapes who she is as a woman and as a hero.
Batwoman has a complicated family history in the comics
It’s still uncertain how closely the show will stick to the comics, but considering the synopsis touches upon how “Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope”, it sounds like it may be sticking tight to the canon of the character.
Kate’s origin story is similar to Bruce Wayne’s, with the character witnessing the murder of her mother and sister and growing up to become a wealthy socialite after her father remarries a billionaire weapons heiress. There’s plenty of tortured angst to be found in the residue of that story, as Kate struggles with the ramifications of it. Worst still, Kate discovers her sister may not even be dead, bringing some serious doubt and complications to her already complicated life.
Batwoman is set to appear in the annual CW DC crossover episode
Having previously worked as a writer on the reboot of Melrose Place and Smallville and as an executive producer of teen-vamp fest The Vampire Diaries, Caroline Dries has the credentials necessary to lead a creative team in developing this comic book adaptation. Her experience on these shows should help to provide the perfect balance of delicious soapy drama, twist-heavy narrative, and genre goodness that the Arrowverse demands.
Though it’s still uncertain as to whether the show will even be picked up by The CW, we’re going to go all out and speculate that it seems damn likely it will be. Sarah Schechter and Berlanti are both executive producers on the show via Berlanti productions, which is presently dominating the network.
Currently, Berlanti has seven TV shows on The CW including all four of the DC shows, as well as Black Lightning, Riverdale, and upcoming high school drama All American. Beyond The CW, Berlanti is also a producer on a further seven TV shows including the upcoming Lifetime show YouandChilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. So to add a Batwoman show to his CW roster? It’s a no brainer and we can’t wait to check it out as and when it gets picked up.
The verdict’s in: Netflix’s new satirical comedy Insatiableis a disastrophe. And not the good kind you can sit and enjoy with a bottle of wine and absolutely no shame. The kind that misfires in its attempt to be edgy while lacking the sharpness and wit to nail the delivery of its controversial subject matter.
The show itself follows a “fat girl” (a thin girl in a fat suit) named Patty (Debby Ryan) who gets punched in the face, has her jaw wired shut, loses weight (and subsequently becomes “hot”), and seeks revenge on those who bullied her.
Although the premise is problematic in itself, we were quick to challenge the naysayers who denounced the show before they’d even seen in. However, having seen the first few episodes ourselves now, we can confirm Insatiable contains none of the sharpness it needed to deliver such a satirical statement on body image.
The show is at once aggressively cruel and a total yawnfest, and contains some tired queer tropes via its depiction of Patty’s closeted lesbian bestie Nonnie (Kimmy Shields) to boot. So while everyone expected Insatiable to be bad, the reality is even worse.
Instead of wasting your time on this trash heap of a “comedy” (which drops on Netflix today), turn your focus to better content with these stunning examples of #GirlPower. Here are ten of the best female-fronted shows to stream instead of Insatiable:
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling body-slammed its way into our hearts when it first hit Netflix in 2017, and continued to do so into S2 with a solid core cast, nostalgic 80s setting, heartfelt portrayals of female friendship, and oodles of spandex.
Yas queen! While it’s bittersweet to know that Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson’s next season will be their last, marking the end of an era, we can at least remind ourselves of the hilarious times the comedy duo have brought to us over the years (from seafood allergies to Val’s diamond-munching antics – no mo FOMO).
For four tumultuous seasons (soon to be five), Abbi and Ilana have kept our sides splitting with their portrayal of two broke girls living in NYC, while teaching us the true value of female friendship. It’s thanks to this show that we can’t leave the house without a Bingo Bronson at our side and a backup vape in our rucksacks.
A dazzling thriller from Phoebe Waller-Bridge – the creative mind behind Fleabag – Killing Eve stars Sandra Oh as a woman whose job as a bored low-level MI5 security employee takes an exciting turn when she links a string of murders to the capricious and dangerous assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer).
As Eve embarks on the task to seek out her culprit, the two end up obsessed with each other and enter into a risky game of cat & mouse. The genre-bending miniseries is at once slick, gripping, and wildly entertaining, bringing fresh energy to a worn out genre.
Jenna Bans’s dramedy is getting a second season and we’re here for it every step of the way. Centering on three suburban moms (with glorious turns from Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman) who find themselves in desperate circumstances, the tired trio have had enough of playing it safe and swap wholesome housewife values for a life of crime, chaos, and dollar bills by robbing the local supermarket at (toy) gunpoint. Some girls are good, some girls are bad, and some are just doing what they can to get by.
A show that was cut from the air and from our lives too soon, the neo-noir YA crime thriller saw Kristen Bell long before herGood Place days, as a snarky high school student turned private investigator who dedicates her life to cracking the toughest mysteries in the affluent town of Neptune, including the murder of her best friend Lily.
Using her smarts and determination to unturn a number of stones (while dealing with sexual trauma of her own), Veronica is the ultimate example of girl power, proving you don’t have to show physical strength to be powerful.
The CW’s dark, edgy, and sexy take on the Archie comic books has proved highly addictive, set in the once-idyllic small town that becomes a hotbed of controversies and secrets with the death of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines).
The TV show equivalent of your 00s teen angst, Daria was more than just a cartoon – it was a way of life.
Fuelled by misanthropy and cutting wit, Daria was and still is the perfect example of sardonic apathy, following the titular character through teenage life as a proud outsider in a world of mainly idiotic adolescents and condescending adults. Together with her bestie Jane, the pair take on the world in Creepers and grunge boots, one snarky quip at a time.
As their seemingly perfect lives unravel, dark secrets bubble to the surface and we begin to see that life is not as it seems in the tranquil beachfront town of Monterey. Not only does the show offer a gripping storyline and three-dimensional characters whose arcs you can’t help but be enthralled by, but the show also tackles the tricky subject of domestic abuse in a complex and nuanced manner. With season two on the way, we’d recommend giving season one a watch or rewatch ahead of its release.
Mishel Prada and Melissa Barrera star in Tanya Saracho’s latest comedy as Emma and Lyn – two estranged sisters who return to their old LA neighborhood where they are confronted by the past and the truth about their mother’s identity.
In its first season, the show has been praised for its portrayal of Latinx culture, LGBTQI relationships, and gentrification – with another season on the horizon, we’re excited to see what hot topics Saracho and the creative team will take on.
Ryan Murphy’s portrayal of 80s NYC ball culture is dazzling, authentic, and deals with its challenging topics with tact and finesse. A landmark show in terms of LGBTQI representation, Pose explores the fetishization of trans women and the details of gender reassignment surgery in ways that have not been seen on TV before.
As well as lifting the curtain on the bold ball subculture and the issues the trans community faced both inside and out of the scene, Pose also feels like a family drama thanks to the relationships formed by the sweet yet powerful Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), who builds lives and shows love by making a home for Angel (Indya Moore) and Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain). In short, Pose demands to be seen – it’s one of the greatest shows on TV and we’re giving it tens across the board.
At the beginning of Hulu’s documentary Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie, we hear a series of various people offering their take on the legacy of Mattel’s iconic, plastic, and often controversial doll.
She’s destined to be a polarizing figure because “femininity has always been a contested space,” one states. “She’s the symbol of America,” another proclaims. Someone else muses that Barbie represents something far beyond the doll we all played with as children, arguing “Barbie symbolically gets caught up” in issues surrounding “gender roles, and white supremacy, and body image, and beauty myths.” Ultimately, as a Mattel worker later suggests, Barbie comes with “a lot of baggage”.
Toy market and society aside, that’s perhaps most evident in how Barbie is depicted in popular culture. The name “Barbie” has become synonymous with depicting a certain type of woman and is exchanged on screen as a barbed insult.
All of which is understandable. In recent years, Barbie has suffered a decline in popularity and in sales. As Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie highlights, the classic doll hasn’t kept up with modern trends or social changes and her impossibly shaped figure, porcelain skin, and white blonde hair are hardly representative of modern America.
Barbie started out as a renegade career woman at a time when this simply wasn’t an option for the average housewives who may have watched their daughters play with the ambitious toy. But over the decades Barbie soon became a plastic relic; an icon of mass consumerism and disposable playthings with little else to offer young girls.
In the 1994 episode of The Simpsons titled “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”, we see little Lisa Simpson (Yeardley Smith) raging against this idea as she discovers her latest Malibu Stacy doll is fortified with a series of pull string sexist sentiments like “Thinking too much gives you wrinkles” and “Don’t ask me, I’m just a girl”. Clearly based on Teen Talk Barbie – a version of the doll released in 1992 that spouted such dismal “teen talk” phrases as “Will we ever have enough clothes?” and “Math class is tough!” – bimbo Barbie was in full effect.
Distraught, Lisa seeks out the creator of Malibu Stacy, Stacy Lovell (played by an on form Kathleen Turner) and makes an aspirational toy called Lisa Lionheart with the woman who she hopes will inspire little girls to be smart, ambitious, daring, and confident.
However, when it comes to releasing the toy, it’s a massive failure overshadowed by the release of a new Malibu Stacy toy – an updated version of an older model who just happens to come with a new hat. But a closing shot shows one little girl looking clearly delighted with a Lisa Lionheart doll. “If we get through to just that one little girl then it’ll all be worth it,” Lisa states optimistically, measuring success in positive influence instead of dollar signs.
The episode powerfully highlights that representation is important. And that’s as apparent in TV and film (where many of Hollywood’s most popular and best paid female stars are as blonde, white, and impossibly skinny as the classic Barbie doll) as it is with toys.
The more that Barbie has been depicted as a superficial bimbo, the more it’s become the overwhelming legacy of a progressive doll that once assumed the role of an astronaut decades before the first human woman was able to and that took the role of a presidential candidate back when Hillary Clinton was just Bill’s other half.
In 2010, Toy Story 3 both played up to and masterfully subverted Barbie’s bimbo persona with the doll shown swooning for Ken (Michael Keaton) and shrieking over a closet stacked with outfits. All the while, Barbie (Jodi Benson) looked as bright-eyed and dim-witted as ever.
However, later on in the movie, Barbie develops some serious grit and strikes back against her beloved in a bid for information about what the evil Lotso (Ned Beatty) has done to Buzz (Tim Allen). Barbie gets mean, ties Ken up to a ping pong paddle, and proceeds to tear up all of his cute little 0utfits right in front of him in a show of torture.
The Toy Story version of Barbie shrewdly and wittily celebrates everything that has managed to maintain Barbie’s success over the years – the doll is unabashedly feminine (even when she’s torturing someone) but at her best, she’s always had a lot more going on than just being a plastic airhead. As Pixar’s interpretation proved, the doll is also only as stupid as we allow her to be (all pull string faux-pas aside).
Barbie can take on whatever narrative we create for her and by depicting the toy as a one-dimensional dummie, we’re also carelessly reflecting some of the worst tropes of our media – female characters can only be one archetype, blonde women are idiots, and femininity and beauty are to be considered a weakness.
As we tune in to watch Westworld’s life-size Barbie dolls Dolores & Maeve prove they’re more than just body parts and disposable punching bags on HBO and we watch the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race strut out definitions of femininity and glamor in a way that Barbie would surely approve of, the doll and everything it represents is more relevant than ever in modern society.
Whether Barbie is a vapid bimbo or a renegade of a toy is up to all of us to decide for ourselves. But if the doll truly is the symbol of America, we’d do well to think there are some brains rattling around inside that little plastic head of hers and that she isn’t just an embodiment of all the weakest stereotypes ever perpetrated against women in our culture today.
Vidacenters around two Mexican-American sisters from the Eastside of Los Angeles who returned to their hometown in S1 following the death of their mother. It has been lauded for its portrayal of Latinx culture, while also tackling important societal issues regarding gentrification and LGBTQI experiences throughout its debut season.
With another round on the horizon, we’re excited to see what hot topics Saracho and the creative team will take on. While we wait, here are a number of other TV shows taking on tricky subjects and addressing reality in a conscious way.
Ryan Murphy’s Pose made history by featuring the largest transgender cast in TV history, as well as taking on the first transgender woman of color to direct an episode of television thanks to the talents of best-selling writer Janet Mock.
As such, Pose is a landmark show in terms of LGBTQI representation, exploring the fetishization of trans women and the details of gender reassignment surgery in ways that have not yet been seen on TV before.
Taking place in the 80s, Pose is centered around the acrimonious relationship between two ball houses and delves into the lives of the trans characters who are finally shown to be more than just one-dimensional sex workers.
Via its numerous side stories, from Blanca’s journey as a “mother”, to Angel’s love affair, to Ricky and Damon’s blossoming relationship, Pose tackles a number of important issues including transphobia, homophobia, the HIV crisis, and racism, and it does so with tact, sensitivity, and finesse.
While Amazon Prime’s Transparent centers on one trans woman’s journey as she transitions in later life, the show also veered into political grounds as the Pfeffermans headed to Israel in season four.
Offering a ten-episode exploration on the issue of borders, Transparent explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as Maura is invited to give an Israeli conference on gender and Judaism, bringing her kids with her to the holy land.
Their journey allowed for the creators to explore Israel, the West Bank, themes on God and religion, politics, the history of the area, and the conflict that has been going on for 70 years. As Transparent does so well, these heavy themes are lifted with moments of hilarity and humanity – but more essentially, they were a departure from the usual way Israel is depicted on US television.
“She refers to them as ‘they,’ sort of like ‘the man.’ Personally, as a young American Jew, I’ve felt often frustrated by the one-sided Israel at all costs perspective. I think I was excited to bring in a world that we don’t get to see, and hear people’s opinions that we don’t get to hear.”
The ABC family show has never shied away from exploring cultural issues within its storylines, having focused on issues such as gun control and racial prejudice in modern society.
However, there’s one episode in particular that serves as a significant example of why Black-ish deserves credit for incorporating such serious subjects into its narrative and that is season two, episode 16 “Hope”, in which the Johnson family discusses race issues while watching news coverage of a grand jury considering the indictment of a white police officer accused of killing an African American teen.
Sparking emotional responses on social media, the episode put the show within the thick of the Black Lives Matter movement. “This is the age of #BlackLivesMatter and sometimes there is no better way to get a message out to the American public than secreting it in one of their favorite sitcoms,” noted The Guardian.
There are thirteen reasons why we support Netflix’s decision to renew the young adult drama 13 Reasons Why for a third season, one of those being the show’s dedicated to not only portraying mental health issues, bullying, depression, sexual assault, and suicide in an honest and frank manner, but also its efforts to help audiences seek help if suffering from such afflictions.
S1 depicts the suicide of teen protagonist Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who leaves behind a series of tapes revealing the events and the people who led her to commit the act. The show incorporates narratives of depression including those dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault.
Although many of the adult viewers clutched their pearls in horror at a show discussing these topics and portraying them uncensored (you know, like in real life), a study showed teenagers reacted well to the content, with more than three-quarters of respondents stating they learned about depression and suicidal ideation.
Meanwhile, another major issue the show tackles is that of sexual assault and rape culture, which it does so convincingly by using the narrative to highlight its persistence in schools, its dark evolution through social media, and the debate surrounding consent.
The scene in which Hannah is raped shows her turning numb and unresponsive, portraying how rape doesn’t necessarily mean the victim has to fight back to show they do not consent and that there is no right or wrong response when faced with a traumatic experience.
It’s rare for a teen show to level with its audience in such an honest manner and it’s for this reason its audience deserves a third season. No matter how much it “offends” the Parents Television Council.
Starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, HBO’s Big Little Lies was one of prestige TV’s big wins. A dark crime drama about the seemingly perfect lives of three mothers as they unravel to the point of murder, the show won over audiences and will continue to do so with a second round set to premiere in 2019.
Not only does the show offer a gripping storyline and three-dimensional characters whose arcs you can’t help but be enthralled by, but the show also tackles the tricky subject of domestic abuse in a complex and nuanced manner.
While Kidman’s Celeste appears to have the perfect marriage, we soon discover the opposite to be true. On the outside, her husband Perry is kind, caring, and affectionate. But behind closed doors he is controlling and dominating, flipping between love and rage like a light switch.
As is seen in so many domestic abuse cases, Perry manipulates Celeste into forgiving his behavior and even into feeling guilty herself. Speaking to Marie Claire, CEO of Refuge Sandra Horley praised the accuracy of Big Little Lies’s portrayal of a controlling and abusive relationship, adding that the show highlights how “women like Celeste should never be judged for how they respond to abuse.”
Donald Glover’s surreal comedy tackles social issues via the lens of rap, successfully weaving together themes of oppression, racial prejudice, and poverty told with an absurdist and entertaining oddball ride about a rapper named Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) and his manager / cousin (Glover).
“With Atlanta, Glover uses the platform of network television to express his opinions on race, black culture, hip hop, mental health, masculinity, and fatherhood,” noted The Mercury. In particular, Paper Boi’s journey provides an insight into what it’s like as a rapper in the landscape of Atlanta.
Season two of the show explores themes on exploitation and poverty, starting with a shootout at a drive-through and going on to show how Earn is now homeless and Paper Boi is under house arrest. It makes poignant statements without veering into overtly political commentary.
“The way I look at it, the years Obama was in office, and the year after Trump was inaugurated, if you were poor, you really didn’t see the difference. That stuff really didn’t touch you,” noted Glover. “We just look at what happens when someone is really poor, when someone really doesn’t have a stake in any of this.”
Justin Simien’s Netflix dramedy made bold political statements in S1 by focusing on racial issues at an Ivy League college. However, it was in season two that the show really came into its own, addressing its flaws on slippery politics and building on its topical takes on racism, black identity, and police brutality.
For round two, we see the characters of Winchester University as they deal with white supremacy, online alt-right trolls, and the psychological fallout of racial discrimination.
But we’re also shown the bigger picture, including Reggie’s suffering mental state following his traumatic experience when held up at gunpoint by a police officer, as well as the emotional distress Sam felt when being targeted by a racially-charged social media attack.
Yet the reason Dear White People resonates, outlined The Verge, is because “it’s adept at finding those little moments that feel like in-jokes to black viewers, and the ways we use humor to cope with living in a less-than-welcoming country.”
As we wait for news of whether Netflix will or won’t pick up GLOWfor a third season, what better way to show the streaming site your appreciation of the show by dressing up as your very own Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling and pulling some shapes that would even make Zoya the Destroyer blush.
To do so, you’ll likely be tempted to drop a fair chunk of money on a set of spandex ensembles. But the truth is, it takes a lot more than some shiny leotards to dress like a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling – the look revolves around a specific attitude, not just a whole set of shimmering looks.
To ensure that you can become a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling while bingewatching the second season, here’s our guide on how to dress like a GLOW superstar.
Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have
Early on in S1 we see Ruth (Alison Brie) drawing inspiration from iconic wrestler Hulk Hogan to practice some moves and some serious looks in her bedroom. Why? Because she wants this job, dammit! Rip open an old shirt, tie a towel around your head, and give yourself a fierce pep talk in the mirror to be the person you know you can be.
Don’t be afraid of a DIY look
Sometimes you just have to go with your instinct, cut some fingers out of a pair of dish washing gloves, and Frankenstein an outfit out of old threads to look your best.
Try new things
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling aren’t afraid of invention and neither should you be! Every day is an opportunity to be someone new. If that means throwing on a space helmet or a cape to your boss’s party, so be it!
You’d better work!
Who says a workout wardrobe has to be drab? Look as fierce as your regime is by rockin’ a heroic leotard, some rainbow leg warmers, and a cut off tee. Or make like Tammé Dawson (Kia Stevens) and tone down that badass body with some delicate floral spandex.
Don’t be afraid of bringing some major hair game to the gym, though. Braids and bouffants make you stronger, honey!
Speaking of which, your hair – go big or go home!
The bigger, the better, ladies and gentlemen. There are powers to be pulled from a high stack of well spitzed hair. Pair with your best gnarly fighting face.
And take your opponents down.
Your day & night looks both need to involve pure power outfits
Whether you’re kicking ass hustling for money like the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling do when they’re trying to fund the show or kicking ass in this big wrestling ring called life, you need to bring some power to your look. For daytime, this means dazzling the world for money like Melanie (Jackie Tohn):
Before unleashing your bad girl after dark with enormous hair and bodycon realness.
Experimenting with some bold shoulders, sleek hair, and sweet colors like Jenny (Ellen Wong).
Before letting your hair down and letting your wild side out.
Looking like Nancy Reagan one moment.
And looking like Nancy Reagan’s worst nightmare the next.
Always try and work a solid pair of suspenders into your look
Justine (Britt Baron) is a big fan of them and so are we. Incorporate them into every look possible. It’s dynamite!
Most importantly, always be true to yourself
We hate that characters Arthie (Sunita Mani), Reggie (Marianna Palka), Tammé, and Jenny are forced to dress as the obnoxiously offensive stereotypes of their respective heritages. Particularly as their characters are nothing like the wrestling personas they’re forced to adopt. To dress like a Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling means knowing yourself and celebrating your strengths, just like Sheila who never loses sight of herself even at the damn roller disco.
Jump off the ropes and go dazzle the world, folks!
You could say it all started with Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) in Grease. Perming her hair into a seductive cloud, pouring herself into a pair of smothering skin tights, and lighting a cigarette she has no idea how to smoke. And all in the service of suggesting that Sandy has a secret darkness inside of her.
With a new dark wardrobe and sultry spirit, she exudes confidence and deviance. She can rock with Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and the rest of the T-Birds. And she can kick it with the Pink Ladies – even if in actuality she’s pure, humdrum, and totally wholesome.
In Riverdale, this trope keeps popping back up by exploring the bad girl flip side of goody-two-shoes Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart). Dark Betty (as the character is known in the show) wears a black bobbed wig and has a penchant for black lacy lingerie. She’s super dark, folks, and her dress sense reflects it.
Even the most hardcore of Riverdale fans (like ourselves) can admit there’s something irritating and poorly executed about Dark Betty. It isn’t so much the adoption of the terrible wig or her proclivity to strip down to her undies that we take umbrage with.
It’s more the suggestion that Betty’s “dark side” is something that can’t possibly be consolidated with her public identity – despite the fact she dates the town’s broodiest biker babe and nobody would likely give a shit if she suddenly went legitimately edgy.
Instead, this dark persona steps up to take on various tasks and is unleashed sparingly and seemingly at random.
Dark Betty steps in to torture a dude who’s been sexually harassing her classmates. Dark Betty becomes a cam girl. Dark Betty has kinky sex with Jughead (Cole Sprouse). Dark Betty does a cringe-inducing striptease to the most depressing song imaginable (the Gary Jules cover of “Mad World”).
Dark Betty doesn’t make an appearance at Jughead’s birthday, but this dark persona still gets the blame for Betty having the gall to organize a surprise party for her boyfriend against his wishes. (Oh and sure, not telling him about the whole “I tortured Chuck” thing.)
“Something is very, very wrong with me,” she tells him, “Like, there’s this darkness in me that’s overwhelming. Sometimes I don’t know where it comes from, but I think that’s what makes me do things.”
The character’s declaration to her boyfriend brings to mind Dexter Morgan’s (Michael C. Hall) excuse that his “dark passenger” is the one who requires him to kill with a thirsty regularity in Dexter. It provides a personification of his need to take life and also absolves him of responsibility for the murders.
He doesn’t want to be doing this but he has to. Ultimately, Dexter is in charge of the journey, but he’s still allowing for his “dark passenger” to dictate the destination – however, the serial killer decides to only kill people who have committed hideous crimes against others.
Likewise, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) goes off the deep end with her magic dependency after her girlfriend is killed. Subsequently, her red hair turns black, as do her clothes, and she transforms into Dark Willow.
Like Dark Betty and Dexter’s Dark Passenger, Dark Willow has a thirst for punishment and winds up flaying the skin from the body of the man who killed her lover. But as it turns out, that isn’t quite enough to satiate the flip side of the formerly good witch.
Dark Willow winds up on a rampage of magical rage that threatens to destroy the entire planet. However, unlike Dark Betty and Dexter, at least Dark Willow commits wholeheartedly to her new savage persona – Dark Betty and Dark Passenger are like lounge outfits to be slipped into after a long, hard day of presenting as “normal”.
Which is perhaps our biggest problem with the trope. The whole “I have a secret, uncontrollable inner darkness” kind of loses its edge when it’s clear the character can in fact control these dark urges that define this side of them on some minor or major level.
It’s a trope commonly seen in teen TV shows for exploring the “dark sides” of young women struggling with the complications of growing up. However, for most young adult shows, this isn’t all too often explored by simply paying fanservice by throwing the female character into some sexy underwear and a dark wig.
In The O.C., it’s Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) drinking herself into a young ruin, throwing pool furniture around when her mom asks her what’s on her mind, and shooting her boyfriend’s brother because, well, why not.
In Glee, it’s Quinn piercing her nose, dying her hair pink, and turning “punk” overnight because she’s sad and that’s just who she is now (deal with it, Glee Club!).
In My So-Called Life, it’s Angela dressing up like Rayanne after she finds out her former bestie slept with her ex-boyfriend and figures bad girls don’t get hurt.
And in Gossip Girl, it’s little Jenny Humphrey’s transformation into a Chuck Bass screwing, teenager from hell with a wardrobe full of solid black kinderwhore creations.
Where all of these dark transformations differ from Dark Betty is that these characters are all given space to experiment with these dark sides without it being highlighted as an unhealthy or dangerous mode of expression.
In Riverdale, there’s an insinuation that Dark Betty is inexplicably both. As a result, this side of the character is confined to the sidelines. She digs her nails into her palms and sits out her turn.
Overall, it’s a supremely lame way to explore a young woman potentially struggling with mental health issues or who simply might have a healthy interest in pursuing a consensual sadomasochistic relationship.
But instead, Dark Betty is treated like a part of the character’s identity that needs to be chained down and locked up – left unexplored and misunderstood unless Betty can bring her out for the occasional striptease, cam sesh, or sex time with Jugs.
This suggests that Riverdale is more interested in fetishizing Betty’s inner anguish than it is in effectively exploring it. That’s incredibly disappointing for a show which otherwise delivers strong and complex female characters with compelling feminist arcs.
The bottom line is that good girls can be bad – and they shouldn’t have to concoct some bullshit “I have an inner darkness” excuse to do so. Every person has a dark side and it serves TV shows well to explore those aspects of a person’s identity in depth and with care.
So to throw a wig and some hot lingerie on that dark side? Come on, Riverdale – you can do better. In S3 of the show, we hope to see Betty refusing to apologize for her dark side and simply referring to it as “Betty” – no further adjective required.
You’d better be fixing up your finest spandex costume and sticking to that training regime because S2 of GLOWreturns to Netflix on June 29 and you’re gonna want to jump straight into the ring and bingewatch it in full the second it drops.
Since we still have a fair few days left to wait for the new episodes – and your memory is likely hazy from all those power slams you’ve been practicing lately – here’s a handy recap to remind you of who all the gorgeous ladies of wrestling are ahead of the S2 premiere.
Coming from a family of wrestlers who don’t want their baby girl entering the same business, Carmen is rebellious but loveable, simply looking to find her place in the world. The character is initially a little shy and awkward and doesn’t quite fit in, making her eventual position as one of the most essential women in GLOW – the one who can teach them all the best moves – all the more satisfying by the end of S1.
Despite a legit professional athlete, poor Reggie gets the pivotal role of Liberty Bell taken away from her because she doesn’t seem “all-American” enough and is then lumped with a minor role as Vicky the Viking.
In one of the many racial stereotypes Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) forces upon the gorgeous ladies of wrestling, poor Jennie is forced to inhabit the most heinous of sweeping “Oriental” stereotypes by wearing a conical hat and declaring herself “cute like panda, fast like dragon!” Jenny is actually Cambodian-American and is probably one of the biggest Valley Girls in the entire ensemble.
Melrose is essentially one of those background babes you’d see in a 80s hair metal video but with a slammin’ look and the ability to slam other wrestlers down in the ring. The party girl can be playful and fun but also vindictive and bitter when crossed.
The punk rock teenager is revealed to be Sam’s daughter towards the end of S1 and so it remains to be seen what sort of an impact that might have on her involvement in all the wrestling antics of S2. One thing’s for sure – she’s definitely going to be kicking up a ruckus either way.
Indian-American Arthie is given the most distasteful and offensive wrestling persona by Sam, who glibly urges her to present herself as a “terrorist or genie or some sort of other evil Arab.” The character didn’t enjoy a gigantic arc in S1, but we’ll hopefully be seeing a lot more of her in S2.
Sorry, but these come in a pair and stay in pair. The hairstylists are hilarious and bring some serious comedy hijinx to the wrestling ring as elderly ass-kickers Ethel and Edna. Outside of the ring, the dynamic duo pull pranks, cackle their butts off, and ham it up wherever they can.
Allowing the character to live out a flip side to her own ditzy personality, Britannica is the smartest woman in the world whereas Rhonda is happily coasting on her good looks and rockin’ body. But what she lacks in a superior intellect, she more than makes up for with heart, including having actual feelings for Sam – and not just sleeping with him for perks – and coming up with that offbeat white girl rap in the S1 finale that most definitely made you cry. No point denying it.
Be still, our beating hearts! Sheila is easily one of the sweetest and most passionate wrestlers in the ring with one of the most authentic personas. To quote Suicide from Return of the Living Dead, it’s not “a fucking costume, it’s a way of life!” As a result, Sheila lives her wolfy truth and is one of the most fascinating characters in the show for it.
S1 of the show saw Tammé wrestling not just with her fellow gorgeous ladies, but also with the idea that her persona is more of a racist caricature than the subversive satire Sam makes it out to be. As Buzzfeed described her, “She’s a boogeywoman right out of Reaganite rhetoric” and we imagine those questionable dimensions of her persona could prove to be challenging for Tammé once more in S2.
The ex-stuntwoman is clearly the low-key leader of the ladies and one of the main forces who encourages everyone to train harder, push further, and go bigger with their performances. Unlike some of the other ladies, Cherry has no grand delusions as to what GLOWmay be at its basest – a cocaine fever dream on a flimsy budget.
She’s obnoxious, desperately needy, and way too theater kid for anyone’s tastes, but Ruth is also endlessly endearing and one of the most passionate characters about the whole project. Her Russian villainess Zoya chews the scenery and laps up every boo the audience launches at her.
In the ring, Liberty Belle is an all-American hero complete with dazzling smiles, shining blonde hair, and an impossible sense of togetherness and strength. Out of the ring, Debbie is a single mom and former soap opera star grieving the simultaneous disintegration of her marriage and her close friendship with Ruth (who slept with her husband).
The Underwood nation is under attack and it’s up to one woman to whip it into shape – that woman is Claire Underwood.
For five long seasons, Netflix’s hit political drama House of Cards has seen Claire & Frank Underwood (Robin Wright & Kevin Spacey respectively) at the helm of the US government as President and First Lady. That’s all set to change with the forthcoming sixth and final season as after five years of scheming to get control of the White House, Frank’s stepping down from his role.
As you’ll be well aware, the reason for Frank’s abrupt exit is due to the allegations made against Spacey in the wake of the sexual misconduct scandal, leading to the decision to cut the actor from the show and continue with Claire front and center. While it’s sudden, Claire has always dominated as she navigated the power-hungry halls of Washington and by the end of season five, she’d already started to assume the position of her husband. In light of Netflix dropping a series of S6 first-look images, we’re discussing what a Wright-led House of Cards will look like now Claire is in charge. Introducing the new President you’ll love to hate. Spoilers ahead!
Majoritively, the many plots of the show are settled. Claire’s killed her lover Tom Yates, everyone who knows about the election meddling are dead, and the ICO leader Yusuf Al Ahmadi has been pacified. But that’s not to say there isn’t a lot more juice coming our way now that Claire is POTUS.
So while S5 focused on Frank’s re-election bid, it turns out this was all a plan to move out of the position (to find true power in the private sector) and put the First Lady in control. However, in a cruel twist Claire went back on her promise to let Frank off from his crimes during office, leaving him under threat from potential prosecution.
With Claire in control, we wonder what actions she will take in her new position. As Screen Rant pointed out, Claire is a wartime President and her first action as Leader of the Free World is to deal with the ongoing war in Syria, a threat that built up throughout the season. “This is one facet of power we’re yet to see explored in the show and will surely advance the already fractured relationship between the Underwood administration and Russia’s President Petrov. How will Claire cope as the pressures and body count mounts up – ruthless or toothless?” With what we’ve seen of Claire so far, no doubt the answer will be ruthless.
With regards to her staff, the end of S5 appears to pitch Mark Usher (Campbell Scott) as the most likely to take the spot as Vice President – whoever claims the position, they’re sure to play a significant part in Claire’s office. Elsewhere, we know that Seth Grayson (Derek Cecil) is out as Press Secretary and replaced by the equally ambitious Sean Jeffries (Korey Jackson), “a fact the current administration is trying to hide in the transition but will inevitably come out,” added Screen Rant.
Loads of WTF moments
Although Frank’s been at the helm of the misdeeds for five epic seasons, Claire has been there all the way, playing dirty during her climb to the top and proving time and time again that the two are cut from the same cloth. There’s not a lot she won’t do to gain and maintain power, which is why we’re eagerly awaiting in anticipation what tactics she’ll be whipping out in S6 as she attempts to retain her position as US President.
One thing Claire’s not afraid to do is use her feminine wiles to seduce and / or overpower her male counterparts, from giving her bodyguard an old fashioned while he’s on his deathbed to awkwardly boning Frank while he’s crying on the floor to making the Russian Ambassador watch her pee. She’s also taken some absolutely scandalous actions during her time in office, including her epic revenge on rapist General Dalton McGinnis, assisting her mom with suicide, and using sexual assault victim Megan Hennessey to help promote a sexual assault bill for personal gain. Yikes!
See ya, Frank!
Breaking the stereotypes perpetuated by preceding political dramas, House of Cards paints Claire Underwood to be just as ruthless as her male counterparts. In short, Claire Underwood is an absolute savage and while we might be saying goodbye to the central character, expect more sex, lies, and scandal with a female POTUS at the helm. And if you’re already dreading the looming end to the show, just remember it’s rumored there are plenty of spinoff ideas being thrown about in the Netflix backroom.