Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Watching TV

So Tuesday night at the delagar household is Girls Night Home -- this is what the kid has named it, because mr. delagar teaches on Tuesday nights, so she and I lie about on the sofa in the TV room and watch first Bones, which has the guy that used to be on Buffy, who's very tasty, plus a woman who plays a forensic anthropologist, so, you know, a smart woman, and then House.

Last night my mother was there as well -- she came up to Arkansas to stay in case I did, in fact, have a tumor, and is hanging around for a bit. Anyway, we're watching Bones and the guy who used to be on Buffy, I cannot remember his name, hold on, let me do some research, David Boreanaz, jeez, no wonder, who could remember that one? Anyway, he's coming out of a bar with the female lead, the really smart anthropologist woman, and he's putting on his jacket and just for a second his belly shows, and all three of us go, oooo!

Seven years old to sixty-eight years old, slain by a glimpse of hot belly.

I tell you what, biology is a killer.

Meanwhile, though, that's not what I started this post to talk about. Really! It isn't!

This post is about the anthropologist woman, who's brilliant (so the show writes her) and yet wholly inept socially. I like this show, because I like the bit about having smart women on TV, smart people on TV, but why must smart people be shown as socially inept?

I know, I know, we gotta get plot and character arc somewhere. Why, though, with smart characters, does it always have to be there? "Oh, I know! She's smart, but she -- has no common sense! She's smart, but she -- can't deal with people!"

See, because that doesn't necessarily follow, I have to tell you. Most smart people, they have common sense, in fact. (Lots more than your common ijits, actually.) Most smart people are, in fact, good at handling (you can read that manipulating, if you like) people. Goes with the big juicy brain. Tends to make smart people good at reading emotional cues and paying attention to details and collating data.

Now, smart folk may not think it worth their while to coddle every ijit around them -- that may be true. You could write that character -- as had been done with the show that follows Bones, House -- but notice that's not what is being done with the woman on Bones. It's not that she's smart enough to know how to handle people and just doesn't care to, as is clearly meant to be the case with House. No, it's that she's too inept to handle people.

She can figure everything else in the world out, just like that. But the human male? Beyond her capacity.

I mean, please.


Anonymous said...

It's not at all that you can't see *people* on TV that are too smart to care about handling people, because as you mentioned, _House_ showcases that beautifully. It's that *women* who are brilliant have to be seen to have some crippling flaw, so why not social ineptness? (Why can Dr. House piss everyone in the world off, but it never impacts him negatively? Because he's a man, of course.)

I *love* _House_, both the show, and the character. And *not*, as the media keep trying to convince me, because as a woman I want to "reform" Dr. House. Oh no, it's because I *identify* with him, and I'd act that way myself if I could get away with it. But there are no common stereotypes of brilliant-but-absent-minded, or brilliant-but-pain-in-the-butt *women* out there -- that's a pass given only to men.

At least Dr. House is actually written as if he *is* brilliant. I stopped watching _Bones_ (while I liked the female lead) precisely because David Boreanaz's character is written as being too much like too many guys I know IRL: they *think* they're a lot smarter than they actually are, and they want *all* women, no matter how intelligent, to defer to their superior manly minds. I loved him in _Angel_, and gods know, he's good-looking, but his character is just too smarmy, for too little reason.

zelda1 said...

It's that old romanticism right her in America. There has to be a conflict in a person to prevent coupling, now a long time ago, it was a ship wreck and with the gods help, they all hooked back up, happily ever after, but today, it's what, besides a ship wreck can seperate a man and a woman, oh wait, let's make one of them socially inept. Yes, but really smart and let's make it where they have to have some kind of help in order to get together. It is all too easy and too cheesy. That's why I like CSI. Dead bodies, help finding the killer, clues, and more dead bodies. LIttle, if any sex. Now, that's entertainment.