Friday, May 10, 2019

Hate-Watching Alex Danvers

I'm not really into 'hate-watching' a teevee show; it seems a little silly. There are so many wonderful things to do and see, why spend time watching something you hate?

SO many wonderful things.

Still, I can't pretend I'm immune to the appeal of watching something because it's ... non-ideal. After all, some -- okay, fine, MOST-- of the movies I watch are terrible horror films I enjoy precisely because of their imperfections.  But I don't HATE them for that.  

In fact, sometimes I am overwhelmed by a near-religious awe at how MIRACULOUSLY bad some are.

And there are shows I watch that I generally like but which have characters in them I can't bear, characters I just LOVE to hate.  Not villains; people you are supposed to like, in theory, but whom the showrunners have made unlikable.  I would mention Iris on The Flash, but of course, she's been supplanted by her idiot daughter, Nora, a character so continually and constitutionally wrong-headed that she could ONLY be the child of CW Iris&Barry.  

My name is Nora West-Allen, and I'm the fastest fool alive.

It's Supergirl that takes the cake, though.  In fact, it takes forty of them. And that's terrible.  Because it's got the ultimate hate-watch character:

Alex Danvers

She's smart! She's sassy! She's spunky!

I'm not sure which one this is supposed to be.

She's a brilliant physician!  She's a butt-kicking ninja!  She's a supersoldier/secret agent!

She's a Brill Creme model!

I (kind of) get it. The showrunners felt they needed Supergirl to have a human female confidante (so they gave her a sister, which she has never had in comics) and chose to make that character sufficiently uber-competent so that Supergirl wouldn't overshadow her.

Unfortunately, despite the continued assertions in every episode that Alex is "the best person I know for the job" and "the most [insert positive adjective of human qualities] person I've ever meet" by virtually every character who's known her for even two minutes, Alex Danvers is a living trainwreck of a human being. 

I think that dress tells you everything you need to know about Alex Danvers' decision making ability.

All the time.  And it's not only constant its omnidirectional.  She can't make decisions in the field, at the office, with her family, to her friends, in her love life.  Alex is in a constant state of emotional turmoil and indecision.  It's like an evil cabal of misogynistic writers got together and said, "We're going to insert a secret asset into the Supergirl show: someone who, at every opportunity, will send the message that women, no matter what their external accomplishments, will always be emotionally unstable and unreliable."  Is Vartox a show consultant?!?

Now, I know what some of your are thinking: "Alex is a normal human, they have doubts, it's great to show that strong people are not emotionally invulnerable blah blah blah."  And maybe you can excuse some of Alex's (endless) stumbles that way.

But it's constant and repeated.  Alex lies to her sister about her work. Alex is dating Maxwell Lord. Alex has trouble admitting she's gay. Alex gloms onto LITERALLY the first lesbian she meets and whine her into being her girlfriend.  Alex suddenly wants children.  Alex doesn't know the first thing about her girlfriend and is shocked by everything she learns about her.  Alex can't live without {cast member].  Alex can't get along with [cast member].  Alex doesn't believe she can help Kara / do her job / run the DEO / make the hard decisions / sleep with Sarah Lance. I mean, who DOESN'T sleep with Sarah Lance?!  

Alex is the perfect self-sabotaging character, because no matter what happens on the show, Alex Just Can't Even Right Now, even when what happens is something SHE fought for.

It's not, Alex. Not if you're in it, too.

Alex Sanders, how I love to rant at the television at you!  You may not be able to order a dessert without having an existential crisis and mental meltdown, but you HAVE been able to teach me how enjoyable 'hate-watching' can be!


John C said...

I didn't have a problem with Alex until this most recent episode. Other than this season's highly unfortunate haircut, I mean. I don't see her background as out of the question: She had a degree, was recruited by her father's organization, and trained to beat the stuffing out of people. And it's been hinted that her self-doubt comes from having to run interference for her demigod foster sister and then getting recruited into a super-secret government agency. Overall, not bad, though a lot of my acceptance might also be due to Chyler Leigh's often-great acting.
Mind you, I also like Iris.
But this last episode had the "what would Kara say" moment, where...not only was it extremely obvious what Kara would say, but I'm 90% sure it's what Kara did say the last time this came up, but...maybe the writers don't watch the show? It'd explain a lot of the ragged characterization especially during the whole Reign storyline.
And was that whole sequence supposed to be the two of them flirting? Because they're terrible at it, if so.
Nora, though, I want to spin off onto a separate show...with Ralph, and maybe Roy Harper, just for good measure. And then I can actively avoid watching that show.
On the other hand, Doom Patrol gave us an army of carnivorous rectum-monsters, so I guess it all evens out.

Your Obedient Serpent said...

oh my gods. "Maybe the CW writers don't watch their own shows" is like the Unified Field Theory. It would explain EVERYTHING.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm with you: Alex is terrible at her job, really she's terrible at everything she does. Even as of the pilot episode, she was kind of bullying Kara into hiding her powers for her own protection, which i can kind of understand, but talk about letting nearly limitless potential go to waste.

I want to like Alex, I do. But Alex makes the wrong call at EVERY. SINGLE. OPPORTUNITY. I don't know how that's even possible by accident. Hell, remember the episode where they revealed that Hank Henshaw was actually J'onn J'onnz? Well thanks to Alex's vague suspicions that Hank was hiding something, she disobeyed direct orders, and multiple DEO agents died as a result (before things got so bad that Hank had to go full Martian to fix Alex's mistakes). Naturally, there were no professional repercussions for any of this, and she eventually got to head the DEO. She fails upward in ways that white men can only dream of.

Alex is a Dunning Kruger elemental.

Anonymous said...

... though I do have to give Alex credit for trying to save Kara's life in this last episode, by dropping handfuls of grass on her. It was just like that scene in the classic "Frankenstein" movie where they brought the monster to life by dumping lawn clippings on him.

(Anonymous says there was a way to salvage that scene. Okay, it seems like Red Daughter's enhanced powers were blocking sunlight or something, right? Like I assume there was a bubble of scrambled energy that was keeping sunlight out? Alex had just been in the sun, however she got to the fight location, and so maybe there was still a little bit of solar energy on her that hadn't dissipated, just the tiniest spark. That should have been where Kara got just enough energy to survive, not from plants and their shared love of photosynthesis. It would have made for a nice "Power of Love" moment too.)

Anonymous said...

... seaason finale, and I don't think it counts as a spoiler if I mention that, when asked for her opinion, Alex had the worst ideas possible.

Alex is like a compass that points infallibly in exactly the wrong direction. That's the same as a really good compass, provided you use it properly.

cybrid said...

On a tangent about a tangent in the article: That film "Devil's Express" (1976), which features a guy battling the sewers...dressed like THAT.

How was that guy a Super Mario Brother before there were Super Mario Brothers?


Unknown said...

I'm going to have to agree with you on that one. Alex seemed like an emotionally abusive person to Kara when Kara literally loses her family,whole world, and practically rejected by her cousin Alex goes to make Kara's life hell by treating her like garbage, like she didn't belong there.

Let's go along to where Alex kills Astra I honestly don't care what people say her Alex killed Astra Kara's only family member. Lied to Kara about killing Astra because she was afraid of the consequences of her actions, and was forgiven?! No Kara would have been understandably upset with Alex and it would be a slow burning process to forgive Alex and she would have to earn that forgiveness.

Also Alex constantly not trusting Lena Luthor when she proved time and time again proved that she wasn't her brother or mother. And poor Kara forced to keep her identity a secret because "Alex and J'onn said so" pissed me off man.

And finally they focus WAYYY to much on Alex and not enough on Kara it's "Supergirl not Supergirl and friends!!" Alex was an agent who lied to Kara killed Astra, didn't believe in her sister when she had suspicions about Jeremiah, practically cast Kara OUT as her own sister and reminding Kara that her family is dead?! Another failure of Alex Danvers!! Then she became leader of the Del but not really. She lost her memories but constantly belittling supergirl. And then Alex is suddenly a very ugly supergirl, and then a vigilante?! Yeah no that's too much for me I stopped watching supergirl a while ago but this just aggravates me it seems the writers have no ideas to go off of anymore!! Read the fucking comics for god sake!!!

Slaughter said...

I actually kind of like Alex, she's a pretty interesting and simple way to make Kara different from Clark: Clark never had a sibling. Bam, massive differences.

Anonymous said...

Yes!! I can’t stand her