movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Mon Nov 26 2007, 04:31pm | 9 comments
My fellow Film.com contributor D. Maass and I talk Battlestar Galactica: Razor. And geekiness ensues…
My review of Razor is here.
Posited: BSG offers the most well-rounded depictions of women ever. Discuss.
Well-rounded? There ain’t many curvy ladies on BSG.
Right. Because that’s the only possible way that women could be well-rounded…
BSG certainly offers some of the most bad-ass depictions of women ever.
There was a double meaning there…After all, are there any women in the BSG universe who aren’t uber-attractive? I mean, look at the Adamas: Bill’s pockmarked, and Apollo was pretty prosthetically plump for a while. I guess Cally’s kinda plain, but her character isn’t really all that well rounded.
I think BSG offers some of the most well rounded characters ever, male and female.
Ah, so “curvy” women can’t be “uber-attractive”?
There’s no shortage of well-rounded male characters in pop culture. But there are very few similarly interesting women. BSG lets women be as interesting as men are far more typically allowed to be.
The overuse of the word “cheesy”–especially as it is largely undefined and unspecific, while simultaneously being a vague putdown–by Mr. Maass is very annoying.
It is hard to counter charges of cheesiness when it is never clear what people mean by cheesiness in the first place.
Well before you get too excited, Dave, I recall that Ron Moore made comments long ago that the final Cylon is “someone we’ve met before” and that he’s already left hints as to who it is. I’ll try and find the source on that, but Shaw seems unlikely.
Personally, I’m leaning toward Felix Gaeta. It would make complete the irony that the resistance on New Caprica was, in fact, orchestrated entirely by Cylons. (This does leave one exception: “Duck”, the aptly-named suicide bomber. But maybe his role was played up so we could get enough exposure for the character?) But back on topic…
I agree that the depth and breadth of the women characters on this show is simply unrivaled. I’ve been catching up on past episodes lately and was interested to note that it was President Roslin that took the hard line by insisting on using the virus to annihilate the Cylons. Even Adama backed away, challenging not only gender stereotypes but military-versus-civilian stereotypes as well. Generally, it seems like the women characters get more thorough treatment; whenever someone makes a comment that feels out-of-character it’s inevitably one of the guys. It’s about frakkin time, and part of what makes BSG some of the best programming on television, regardless of genre.
I also appreciate that they are still willing to recognize differences between male and female. The Leoben toaster wasn’t able to break Starbuck until he brought in the little girl and convinced her that the girl was her daughter. For all that Starbuck tries to deny her emotions, there is something about the maternal bond that transcends conscious will. That Starbuck gives herself in to it only to realize it was all a lie leaves her deeply scarred. That couldn’t have been sold with a male character. I’m a dad and confess some minor understanding of parenthood. I certainly don’t buy into gender stereotypes. But I do think that the maternal connection is at some deeper level. It’s really cool to see that they allow Starbuck – who is otherwise so stereotypically male – to explore that side of herself. “Well-rounded” is an apt description.
I’m sorry to say that I caught Razor on the second run, so I missed those delightful little treats in the commercial breaks. Hopefully they’ll be included in the DVD . :-p
In a related note, I was tickled to find this Roslin ’08 campaign shirt.
I do think that the maternal connection is at some deeper level.
If there were some mystical “maternal instinct,” women would never abuse or abandon their children. And we know that does happen. And in this case, the child was NOT Starbuck’s, so there wouldn’t have been such a “bond” anyway. Perhaps Leoben was just fumbling around trying to find *something* that would push a button with Starbuck, and he found it in a previously unexpressed desire to be a parent.
It’s really cool to see that they allow Starbuck – who is otherwise so stereotypically male
I like to think that the fact that a woman character can be so convincing as a “stereotypical male” might make some people reconsider that male stereotype…
If there were some mystical “maternal instinct,” women would never abuse or abandon their children. And we know that does happen.
I respectfully disagree. There are awfully strong instincts not to kill oneself. But people manage to do it all the same.
But that’s beside the point. I didn’t use “instinct” for that reason. And “maternal” was a proxy for some word that doesn’t exist. I don’t think the connection is automatic, nor universal, nor limited to genetic offspring. I appreciate the need to shake off those interpretations. Still, for as deeply as I love my daughter I can’t help but feel that she and my wife share something so visceral that I can’t hope to understand it. It’s hard to shake the notion that women have the capacity to connect with children on a different level. I obviously can’t say whether this is societal or biochemical. Also, sharing a bond and being a good parent are not equivalent.
Still, this psychological knife was really the catalyst for Starbuck’s downward spiral in Season 3 – you can almost see the break when Casey’s true mother is revealed. It would take a helluva lot of work to make that truly believable with a male character. Could “Apollo” have pulled it off? “Helo”? Maybe it’s an artifact of our culture, sure, but the point is that BSG isn’t afraid to broach these concepts because the stereotypes have already been so artfully eviscerated.
Indeed! I was tacitly referencing your post on film.com on that very subject. There’s something very refreshing about constantly being challenged but never preached at (or even guided), and that’s BSG in the abstract.
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