(Here there be spoilers.)
I really liked “Jessica Jones,” the new Marvel show (available in 13 streaming episodes on Netflix).
Is this the most feminist interpretation of a superhero ever done? It just might be, both for having tons of well-developed female characters (good, bad, and – mostly – gray), but also for its themes. You can get an idea by looking at the titles in these links about the show:
- What Rape Apologists Need to Learn From Jessica Jones | Tor.com
- Jessica Jones: shattering exploration of rape, addiction and control | Television & radio | The Guardian
- Jessica Jones is a Primer on Gaslighting, and How to Protect Yourself Against It | Tor.com
- Jessica Jones Is a Show About Trauma That Doesn’t Skip Over The Complexity of PTSD
- ‘Jessica Jones’ showrunner Melissa Rosenberg talks casting, adaptation, and female sexuality – LA Times
- Jessica Jones and Toxic Masculinity
- In “Jessica Jones,” Marvel takes on the biggest villain of them all—the patriarchy – Quartz
- Jessica Jones, Isolation, and Support Systems : Lawyers, Guns & Money
- Women Saving Women Saving Women Saving Themselves
- Jessica Jones, or how to make a TV show about trauma
But Jessica Jones isn’t a “message show” that’s a chore to watch; it’s exciting, suspenseful TV with engaging characters and whiplash plot twists.
Anyway, this is a thread for folks who have watched “JJ” (or those who haven’t watched it but aren’t spoiler-adverse) to discuss it.
One point that’s on my mind today, after reading some comments: Am I the only one who liked the character of the neighbor? I don’t mean Malcolm Ducasse, played by Eka Darville – everyone loves Malcolm. I mean the upstairs neighbor, Robyn, played by Colby Minifie. She’s an objectively despicable character – small-minded, inconsiderate, abrasive, mean, and disturbingly controlling of her twin brother. And by setting Kilgrave free, she sets off a chain of events that leads to many people’s deaths. But that she’s a horrible person doesn’t make the mourning she goes through when her brother dies, or the trauma she suffers as the villain mentally abuses her and the “good” characters lie to her, any less real. I really enjoyed Robyn and hope she returns next season.
Another point: This is a female superhero whose background story includes being a rape victim – a point that usually turns feminist comics fans against a character, because it’s an idea that’s been overdone, and is too often just used for titillation or for scoring cheap sympathy points or just because writers see “female character” and automatically and meaninglessly go for rape.
But feminists are, by and large, really love “Jessica Jones.” And I think a lot of the reason for that is that it turns out the rule isn’t “don’t do another female superhero with rape in her past”; it’s “don’t do it unless it’s done well.” From an interview with showrunner Mellisa Rosenberg:
Q: How did you make your choices regarding depicting or not depicting rape?
A: With rape, I think we all know what that looks like. We’ve seen plenty of it on television and I didn’t have any need to see it, but I wanted to experience the damage that it does. I wanted the audience to really viscerally feel the scars that it leaves. It was not important to me, on any level, to actually see it. TV has plenty of that, way too often, used as titillation, which is horrifying.
Anyway, anyone else watch “Jessica Jones”? What did you think?