Saturday, March 5, 2016

So The 100. . .

. . .is so getting cancelled.

SUPER MEGA GIANT SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 7 OF SEASON 3 TO FOLLOW.

Also, discussion of Game of Thrones season 1-5. For comparison.

I've been kind of avoiding any spoilers/news/reviews of the shows seeing as how my plan had been to avoid all episodes until the season finished. It had gotten to the point where watching wasn't enjoyable, just sorta tiresome. I said before that they seemed to have a problem with needlessly trying to pander certain fans on certain scenes, then switch it up with some shock, then back to the pandering, ad infinitum.

But I did trust them in one thing: don't kill off your only lesbian character--a prominent love interest and strong female character who is both a leader and a warrior. Just don't do it. Don't do it. Give her plot armor. Put her on a bus. Just. Don't. Do. It.

I've previously been really angry at The 100 for how it treated its POC characters, particularly in regards to how it disposed off and seemingly forgot of Anya. But as soon as fans started saying, "good on the POC diversity, but what about LGBT+ characters?" and the writers started hinting, "soon," I thought they'd know better. They had to. They just had to. I mean, these people seem to spend half their writing time justifying themselves on Tumblr and Twitter. They seem to know fan expectation. They seem to understand fan reaction. At times, it seems that's all they know.

And then they fucked it up.

I'm saying that in a sing-song way in my head: and then--they. Fucked. Ittt. Up!

Oh boy.

The way I found out was because someone else got a spoiler. Goodreads!buddy and recent Pinterest/Blogger stalkee Mila posted an update that she'd just gotten spoiled for a character death on the latest The 100 episode, followed by a crying gif.

My stomach kinda sank.

I know, I'm a writer, I should come up with better metaphors than that. But it did. And I knew it'd be bad. Granted, I didn't think it'd be WE KILLED LEXA WITH A STRAY BULLET AFTER SHE HAD SEX WITH CLARKE bad because I thought she had plot armor. But it still did feel like the classic sinking-of-the-stomach so I said "fuck it" to my own rule and caught up.

And. . . .


I know the official reason is because the actress landed a lead role in Fear the Walking Dead, and per Jason Rothenberg, they had a shit time even getting her for seven episodes as it was. I understand the need to write out her character. I do not understand the need to do it post relationship-consummation with Clarke and by a STRAY BULLET FROM TITUS of all things.

At first, I didn't dare check Tumblr, but Twitter is drowning right now. Most of the major accounts associated with the show are getting bombarded by angry fans stating:

1) Die.

2) Lexa deserved better.

3) You manipulated us.

4) We won't watch it anymore hope you get CANCELLED.

5) Another queer girl killed for no reason fuckyou.

Throughout Friday afternoon, a part of me kept (rather unjustly) thinking, it took Lexa's death for you to see how shitty the writing has been turning? They've been doing questionable choices and death-for-shock-value for a while now, and it's just gotten worse and worse. They've been fridging women. They've been ignoring POCs. There have been good shocking moments--Finn's death. Clarke and Bellamy pulling the lever at Mount Weather--but there have been just as many terrible ones.

(And that A.I. sideplot just got so fucking nonsensical, I want to stab myself in the kidney. Further ruined by the fact that the head of said A.I. plot is named Becca. Are you doing this to fuck with me, writers?)

Eventually I braved Tumblr and took the plunge and saw there were people legitimately self-harming over what had happened.

And I guess I mean that in all forms. Someone mentioned cutting themselves, and that may just be one person, but other girls were crying, admitting to having suicidal thoughts, feeling this crushing weight of disappointment that their one representation had been killed, that the one show that had boasted being progressive had completely shat on all of said progress, that they felt legitimately manipulated.

And honestly? My heart broke for them. Not in a "I fucking told you so!" way, because I didn't necessarily see it coming. (I should have but I didn't). But in a genuine way.

Weird comparison time, but I was trying to think back to how it felt after Sansa was raped in season 5 of Game of Thrones. (Another thing I didn't see coming because every part of my being was trying to justify why it wouldn't happen).

Like The 100, Game of Thrones has long stopped understanding the basic reasoning behind utilizing tragedy as a plot point. It's like a monster of its own making. Game of Thrones became famous for a Anyone Can Die theme. For perpetuating that Valar Morghulis is not just a theme of the story, but a theme of life we must all come to accept. But ultimately, it seems to have forgotten it is still fiction, and if you need to earn this death scene, this assault, this dark moment for this character.

Just in terms of the book, I think people forget how many times A Game of Thrones kept reiterating that Ned was going to die. Even the first season--back at the show's peak--reminded you that he was making the wrong choices and they would lead to his demise. Don't trust Littlefinger, don't confront Cersei, don't, don't, don't. The only reason the death is still shocking is because it understands the fantasy genre and all of storytelling in general. It understands your expectations and carries on. It knows you believe the main character does not die. The hero does not die. We might toss them to their lowest point, but they will not die.

So when the story understands we have that expectation, it can play out the plot properly without deceiving anyone. AGOT never tells you Ned will survive. You just believe what you want to believe and when the shock happens, it is built up and earned by the rest of the writing.

It understood that, once upon a time. It doesn't anymore. So when the show kept tossing out characters, killing them left and right, and then outright created a scenario where one of its strongest female characters was relentlessly abused for no reason other than, "We're edgy!" I couldn't bear to keep watching.

I was in the minority. Viewership might have dipped, but it didn't tank.

The angry Lexa fans of The 100 made up a good chunk of the viewership.

Plus, I'm hearing Lincoln (another POC man and someone who was subjected to a very questionable story in season 1, to say the least) might get offed sometime this season.

Yeah.

This show is fucked.

There's this weird belief that the best kind of writing is the writing that surprises you, that shocks you, that keeps you guessing. So Game of Thrones perpetuated the belief that to be interesting, you had to be edgy and shocking and as brutal as much as possible. And in the process, they and The 100 writers and just a shitton of creators in general forgot that over saturating the stories with such choices makes them feel contrived and manipulative.

I was completely heartbroken when Sansa was raped in season 5 of GOT. It felt like this deeply rooted sense of betrayal, caused by a show I'd praised and forgiven and tried to embrace despite its flaws. But when she was senselessly abused without a care of how it reflects and embodies everything that's wrong in our culture--how it even influences it as all art does--I couldn't stomach the thought of going back to the show.

So when I saw queer girls everywhere demanding a boycott of The 100, I had to sympathize.

And hopefully learn from it too. As I hope all writers will learn.

I'm thinking Jason Rothenberg thought he could get away with it because he kept stating that theirs was a brutal show of a brutal world. He thought they could get away with it because he'd swear up and down that the show wasn't about romance every time the shipping wars reached him on Twitter so of course if one got tossed aside, it was for a very good reason and the show could carry on without it.

And this is a borderline dangerous assumption to make, but what if he thought he could get away with it because he already had an LGBT+ lead?

The reason for why the death of queer characters is dangerous is because there are so few of them in media. When you kill them, it isn't just an individual dying, it's the representation of hundreds of thousands of people being axed off yet again. It feeds into stereotypes, it cuts short said representation, it just does all kinds of harmful shit. So it can't be wrong to think the series considered that, well, queer girls still had Clarke, right? They could survive without Lexa?

I don't know. All assumptions.

But even though I had decided not to keep watching the show, I had been keeping an eye on the ratings per episodes after they aired.

I'm keeping an eye out for a week from today. If I see a drastic drop, then I'll know the Lexa fans kept their promise.

FYI, The 100 PR department must be hell right now. Or just in general the whole staff is in the gutter. Unjustifiably, some of the actors and writers are getting death threats. Holy shit, fans. Holy shit. (Plus they're kind of lashing out at the Bellarke shippers and I just don't want to even touch that. The shipping wars of The 100 have always been a headache).

If I ever make it big (I know I won't, shhh) remind me to just disappear from the internet? But also keep an ear out for criticism and literary analysis. That kinda thing. That kind of balance.

I really am mad at the 100 writers. But just as a creator myself, I feel this weird sense of empathy for them. Like, I just imagine something similar going down with my own shitty writing, and I.. . .I don't think I'd recover. In any way imaginable. (Hopefully none of my old silly posts--like THIS ONE--are held against the hypothetical much older, much wiser version of me.)

At least I can find comfort in the idea that if/when I mess up, it'll be radically different from these mess-ups.

But as for The 100 team. Well.

You fucked up.
~Becky

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