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14 April 2016 @ 12:52 pm
What is going on with television, lately?  
Can television just stop killing off and mistreating women and minority characters? Seriously, enough is enough already.

This has always been an issue in media, as it sadly happens all the time, however within the last several weeks there have been an unfortunate amount of deaths of minorities on various programs. Even more so are some reported details that the actors involved were mistreated behind the scenes that prompted them wanting/needing to leave the show. From supporting to even main characters on their own damn show, they are being killed off in pointless, senseless fashions, or hell just written off with no reasonable explanation or even respect to the actors at all, that is severely disappointing and depressing. I'm not even in some of these fandoms, but I'm still bitter on their behalf nonetheless.

When you have a character of a marginalized group (women, LGBTQ+, racial minorities) who don't have much positive mainstream media representation to begin with, there is certain responsibility to uphold. We're not asking for special treatment, just treat these characters as human beings and not expendable objects by repeatedly perpetrating reprehensible tropes and stereotypes. Remember, representation does matter. When you have a minority character present in the story that is a conscious decision made and when said character is mistreated, that is a clear message you're sending to that particular audience. So don't act oblivious or surprised (or worse, holier-than-thou) when there is an uproar or backlash from the fanbase.

Also, while character deaths are never easy and are meant to be devastating, it should only be done when it is respectful to the character and their overall arc and presence in the story. The constant overuse and abuse of this "anyone can die" trope is not ~shocking or ~unexpected, but predictable, lazy writing that shows how little thought goes into it.
 
 
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Profiterole: Sense8 - Nomi and Amanita_profiterole_ on April 14th, 2016 08:36 pm (UTC)
This! All of this! I've dropped shows in the past because of it and I've dropped shows very recently because of it, though I can't drop them all because almost ALL the writers had the super original idea of killing their minority characters these last 6 weeks. TV is supposed to be entertaining, but right now it's mostly a source of distress.
Renée: LotS. Kahlan/Cara.rogueslayer452 on April 15th, 2016 09:48 am (UTC)
TV is supposed to be entertaining, but right now it's mostly a source of distress.

It's really sad when you think a particular show would know better, but then they disappointingly fall into that same category. I don't know what it is lately, but it's like all the networks had a board meeting a while ago and decided that shows must kill off more women and minorities for the sake of ~drama. :/
Julie: ATLA ★ embitteredragnarok_08 on April 14th, 2016 08:47 pm (UTC)
Yes to all of this!!!

This is seriously becoming a disturbing trend on TV and it's really distressing to see.
Sylvia: Kung Fu Kitchen Fuckrheasilvia on April 14th, 2016 09:01 pm (UTC)
This has been an issue for so long now, and still TPTB seem to have no awareness of the problem at all. When there is only a single notable character representing a minority on a show, or a single "speaking" female character with agency, killing them off cannot be handwaved away with a breezy "but everyone can die! lots of people die on this show!"

When non-minority characters die, that is not an end to all worthwhile representation of male, heterosexual, cis, Causasian, able-bodied (and so forth) characters on that show. So itr's disingenious at best to use that argument, because the situations are simply nothing alike.

That said, this most recent wave of killing off and mistreating female and minority characters has passed me by so far... which shows are the latest offenders?
Renéerogueslayer452 on April 15th, 2016 12:27 am (UTC)
So itr's disingenious at best to use that argument, because the situations are simply nothing alike.

Exactly, it's only said whenever they kill off someone who isn't a straight white male, as if it's their defense and justification for their actions. We aren't dumb, we know exactly what you're doing.

That said, this most recent wave of killing off and mistreating female and minority characters has passed me by so far... which shows are the latest offenders?

I commented below with a list here, which are only the ones I currently know of. I also forgot to add that Kat Graham, who plays Bonnie on TVD, has said she will be leaving the show after seasons of also being sidelined and mistreated.
potentiality_26potentiality_26 on April 14th, 2016 09:29 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with all of this. I'd stopped watching pretty much all the shows in question, but I'm still pissed off right now. No one is expecting minority characters to be bullet proof all the time, but there's a difference between killing off a character because it's the logical next step in the story and it's meant to have a major impact, and killing off a character because they're the one you feel is expendable- and I get the sense that most of these shows are doing the latter.

Also, I don't understand why killing a character off for shock value is a thing. Sometimes the actor has to leave or it makes sense for the plot and that's fine, but whenever the writers go around saying "We wanted viewers to know that no one is safe" I get so confused. Like who was thinking to themselves, "Gosh, I really wish I was watching this show with no expectation that the characters I love would survive."
Renée: House Martell.rogueslayer452 on April 16th, 2016 09:37 am (UTC)
It's most definitely the latter.

The whole "anyone can die, nobody is safe" thing irritates the fuck out of me, because it's such a stupid tagline and it's only used as an excuse to kill off a character whenever they feel like it, not when it makes sense to the narrative of the story or even pays respects to the character. It's like, "well, your time is up because we decide to, bye!" and that's just so...lazy and disrespectful. Most shows now are going for the Game of Thrones logic, which even that doesn't make sense since GOT is killing off characters that are still alive in the goddamn books, just because they want it to be more entertaining or some bullshit like that.
dhampyresadhampyresa on April 14th, 2016 09:36 pm (UTC)
The constant overuse and abuse of this "anyone can die" trope is not ~shocking or ~unexpected, but predictable, lazy writing that shows how little thought goes into it.

THANK YOU.
Renéerogueslayer452 on April 15th, 2016 10:29 am (UTC)
It's so baffling to me that there is a constant lack of understanding that overusing this particular trope, killing off a character just for the sake of shock value, isn't really shocking anyone. If anything, it only enrages people because it's so overdone to the point where it has desensitized the audience and that is not a good thing. Character deaths are to be treated with respect, not tossing someone aside simply because you have no idea what to do with said character.
 grace ∞ the best damn woman that I ever seenafastmachine on April 14th, 2016 11:17 pm (UTC)
A-fucking-men. What shows have you noticed lately? I'm only seeing Arrow and AOS so I'm curious what else is doing it?
Renée: TSCC. Jesse Flores.rogueslayer452 on April 14th, 2016 11:38 pm (UTC)
The 100 has had a number of racism issues, having recently killed off a black male regular execution-style in the dirt, but they also killed a lesbian character with a stray bullet minutes after finally having sex with our main bisexual leading lady, fueling the Bury Your Gays/Dead Lesbian Trope. This caused much outrage from the fandom because the showrunner and other people BTS were basically baiting the fans of the pairing and the protection of this quickly rising fan favorite character for months, and people were livid beyond belief when they pulled the shit they did, and some other shady shit too.

The Walking Dead killed a lesbian character with a random arrow through the eye. Empire and The Vampire Diaries both killed off lesbian couples. Pretty Little Liars introduced their first transgender character, only to kill her off immediately in the next episode.

Sleepy Hollow just killed off their main character and co-lead of the show, Abbie Mills, a black woman, in the third season finale. The actress herself wanted out due to the mistreatment of her character and herself having been sidelined for nearly two seasons, but that still didn't give them the right to basically kill off her character. It's sad really since the first season of the show was beautifully diverse and possibly the only good season the show will ever have, but by S2 and onward it was essentially erasing all diversity altogether in favor of pointlessly adding in more white characters.

And just a few days ago, Arden Cho has announced that she has been written out of Teen Wolf, which she had only just found out. Never mind that she was a regular, but she was also slowly being pushed to the sidelines, according to those that have watched the show.

These are just at the top of my head, and I'm pretty sure there are more. But these are the only ones that I'm aware of at this moment in time.

Edited at 2016-04-14 11:51 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - carlyinrome on April 15th, 2016 12:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rogueslayer452 on April 15th, 2016 07:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sarren on April 15th, 2016 11:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rogueslayer452 on April 16th, 2016 04:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rheasilvia on April 15th, 2016 12:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rogueslayer452 on April 16th, 2016 05:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - afastmachine on April 15th, 2016 09:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rogueslayer452 on April 16th, 2016 05:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - goldenusagi on April 16th, 2016 03:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rogueslayer452 on April 16th, 2016 05:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - goldenusagi on April 16th, 2016 07:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - allodole on April 20th, 2016 10:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rogueslayer452 on April 20th, 2016 11:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
sometimes, red riding hood will eat the wolf.: all your fury ∞ (haleforce)stydia on April 15th, 2016 03:00 am (UTC)
If the writers can't see what they're doing, not only to their characters and to their shows, but the way that they're alienating their fanbase, someone should seriously take all of their shows away. This is getting ridiculous.

Arden Cho lost her scenes to newer characters and didn't even know about it until fans asked her why she wasn't in episodes....and then Teen Wolf just tosses her aside. Kira was one of my faves, and I'm sad to see her go. The same with Lincoln, Lexa, and Laurel :(
Renée: Elementary. Joan Watson.rogueslayer452 on April 15th, 2016 07:22 am (UTC)
I heard about what happened with that episode, and it made me so upset for her. And apparently where they left off they had an interesting storyline setup for her character, but now it's just going to be abandoned. Because idk, they seem to think that her story is "finished" or something, when clearly it didn't seem like it and she didn't feel like Kira's journey ended at all. I feel bad for her, since it was obvious she loved the character and wanted more to do with her, but the show just kept sidelining her it seems. :/ It reminded me a lot about what happened with Crystal Reed since she wanted a break from the show, but apparently in their minds that meant they needed to kill off Allison and she was so visibly upset about that. :(

It makes me so angry when TPTB just don't understand the fanbase and continue to disrespect not just the audience but also the characters and the actors. And the sad thing is the actors have little to no say in what is happening and just have to do the best what they can with the material they're given.
Kevin Jonesmulder200 on April 15th, 2016 05:06 am (UTC)
Can television just stop killing off and mistreating women and minority characters?

THIS! It's not innovative or creative, it just shows that you are lazy and lock skills.

When you start killing off WHITE MALE characters, then we can talk.
Renéerogueslayer452 on April 15th, 2016 09:59 am (UTC)
And that's the thing, isn't it? Very rarely do the straight white male characters end up the same deal. It's almost always women and minority characters who suffer. And TPTB have the audacity to use the tired excuses of "it ups the stakes" or "anyone can die" or "it's unpredictable and unexpected" as if that justifies their decision.

Edited at 2016-04-15 10:00 am (UTC)
night_owl_9: Clarke x Lexanight_owl_9 on April 15th, 2016 05:42 am (UTC)
Yes to all of this.
R.: well you were a magazinependeries on April 15th, 2016 02:32 pm (UTC)
There are like three TV shows which haven't let me down this year. I've dropped The 100. I'm excited about American Gods, though!
Renéerogueslayer452 on April 16th, 2016 07:23 am (UTC)
It's really disappointing when shows you used to like continually pull this kind of shit. :/

I'm happy that Ricky Whittle managed to get the role on American Gods, though, and I'm hoping he is treated better than on the The 100.
Kim: Uhurasaturnsdaughter on April 15th, 2016 05:21 pm (UTC)
Amen to all of this. Going over the shows I'm currently watching, the ones that haven't killed off a minority character lately is a much shorter list than the ones that have. Sleepy Hollow is the one that pissed me off the most and I hope it gets canceled, I'm beyond done. Arrow's death was respectful, but they'd been sidelining the character for a while. The Blacklist just did it last night and it completely changes the basic premise of the show. I'm not sure how much more I can take.
Renée: BSG. Sharon Valerii.rogueslayer452 on April 16th, 2016 07:39 am (UTC)
I know that it's nothing new, and it's sad to even say that as a painful fact, but just seeing all of these events all together as unfortunate timing is beyond ridiculous. Though it has opened the door for discussion for others to be aware, and thankfully with social media people can, and should, bring attention to this particular issue. Not that the higher ups will listen (considering how Hollywood continues whitewashing things time and time again even after much outrage and public protest), but if there is no audience after what some of these shows have done, they really need to rethink what they're doing.

What Sleepy Hollow did was so unbelievable, like to a level I didn't even expect it would. It was already going down the crapshoot as it was, but what they did in that finale was basically self-sabotage. And they have the audacity to think the show will continue to live on after that, as if there still is an audience after the bullshit they pulled. No way. I also hope it gets cancelled, put it out of its misery so the actors can be free from this atrocity.
Allisonvapor on April 15th, 2016 08:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this post! I have been so enraged lately.
Renéerogueslayer452 on April 16th, 2016 07:45 am (UTC)
Seriously. It's just so outrageous to me that this keeps happening. It's 2016, dammit. Television is supposed to be a better medium for women and other minorities to be featured in better stories and given more opportunities, and yet somehow every time we move several feet ahead we always end up taking a few steps backwards and I'm sick of it.
an idea is bulletproofelizalavelle on April 15th, 2016 09:43 pm (UTC)
I think the problem is that so much of the media is controlled by straight white men and they see everyone who does not fall into that box as other and expendable. I think we have enough television out there now that if you're using death as a shock value thing it's starting to just not work. Fans have lots of other elsewheres to go. Lazy writing irks me a lot and if I get bored I have a huge to watch list and I'll just move on.
Renéerogueslayer452 on April 16th, 2016 09:27 am (UTC)
I think the problem is that so much of the media is controlled by straight white men and they see everyone who does not fall into that box as other and expendable.

Oh definitely, and a lot of them just don't get it or refuse to listen even if it is constantly called out and addressed again and again. It just continues through this vicious, infuriating cycle. The industry needs more women and POC as directors, creators, producers and writers, and less of the straight white men running things.

I think we have enough television out there now that if you're using death as a shock value thing it's starting to just not work.

Yeah, and people aren't stupid. Using the threat of "anyone can die" to proclaim that your show is ~edgy and ~gritty isn't going to fly. When you overuse character deaths as a way of shock value it loses all emotional impact, not to mention it makes the audience lose interest rather quickly.
Chelsea: Arrow → Laurelsictransits on April 16th, 2016 11:22 pm (UTC)
Totally agree with you! It's sad that this is a trend with so many shows lately. =/
Renée: Arrow. Sara Lance.rogueslayer452 on April 17th, 2016 08:28 am (UTC)
Yeah, and while it's sadly not uncommon in media it's been far too frequent this year alone, and the list just keeps piling up. It's a problem that seriously needs to be further addressed and dealt with.

Edited at 2016-04-17 08:29 am (UTC)
Celeste: the 100: clarke/lexaceleste9 on April 17th, 2016 05:02 am (UTC)
Thank you for this post, it said what I have been feeling much better and more coherently than I could have! I just feel so let down by TV lately. Think about what you are putting out there, shows. Context is a thing that matters.

And character death as a stunt is NEVER GOOD. NEVER. (Yes, Arrow, that was a stunt. You didn't even know who was going to be in the grave and you did it anyway. FFS.)
Renée: LotS. Kahlan/Cara.rogueslayer452 on April 17th, 2016 11:50 am (UTC)
It's just really disappointing how many shows have done this lately, and some of the more controversial BTS incidents have just left me in utter disbelief. It's so depressing.

I'm at least hoping that with all this attention more writers and showrunners and network higher ups will take the hint to reconsider how they approach things. I'm not holding my breath, but regardless it's still great seeing the public (or at least from online and social media outlets) outrage nonetheless. It has really shed light onto this particular issue that others might not have been entirely aware of just how frequent this occurs in media which hopefully can spread word on how to fix this huge problem.