Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.
And welcome to my third, and final, review of Joss Whedon’s Agents of SHIELD.
Those of you who follow my blog know that in my first review of the series, I said that it was entertaining, but highly clichéd and lacking in substance. Then, in my second discussion of the show, I described how impressed I was with some of the choices that the writers made in terms of plot and character development, and thus gave it a higher rating. Now, in my final look at the franchise, I will tell you in plain English that you can only eat so much shit with sugar on top of it before you realize that what you’re eating is, in fact, just that–shit. Stinking, steaming, stone-hard shit. That’s what this series is, and I’ll tell you why.
First off, remember how in my earliest review I said that I admired the fact that this show didn’t have too much overarching plot and gratuitous character drama–how it was nice to see a classic action/adventure series in the tradition of David Carradine’s Kung Fu? Well, forget everything I said, because by the middle of it’s FIRST season, Agents of SHIELD develops SO many goddamn sub-plots, ranging from the character Coulson’s quest to understand how he got brought back to life, to the hacker Skye’s search for her parents, to the team’s repeated clashes with an evil organization headed by a professed Clairvoyant–that it’s enough to make your head spin. To quote the great Sweet Brown, “Ain’t Nobody got time for that!”
Second, I once gave PRAISE to this series for making some bold choices–like having the comic relief character Fitz turn out to be a bad ass, like giving the stony-faced Asian stereotype May a sense of humor, and most importantly, having the pretty boy Ward start a relationship with her, and not Skye, whom everyone predicted would be his love interest. Now, however, I have to take back all the compliments I gave the show, because its pretty much made all those interesting changes null and void. Fitz’s cool side has never re-surfaced, May’s sense of humor has vanished as quickly as it came, and not only are she and Ward no longer together, he pretty much came out and said that he was in love with Skye the whole time. This latter detail is particularly frustrating to me, because I thought it was a clever, original, and very interesting choice to have the show’s romantic center be a relationship between a younger White man and a middle-aged woman of color. Not only is this very rarely shown in the media, it also goes against all audience expectations. So often when you watch a show, you can tell straight off the bat who’s going to end up with who–in Glee, you know Finn and Rachel will be together, in Avatar, it’s obvious that Aang and Katara will get married some day. With Agents of SHIELD, that apparent romantic pair up initially looked like Ward and Skye–the show’s two sex appeal characters. I was so ready to see it happen, was so prepared to watch a predictable, made for a horny fan base romance, but then, May and Ward started sleeping together, and I was thrown totally off guard. I started questioning my own expectations, and even began to have hope for the series. But then, of course, the writers had to ruin one of the few good things they had going for themselves by having Ward not only cheat on May, but also tell her she meant nothing to him. This choice seemed both contrived and unrealistic to me, because if you think about it, May and Ward have a lot more in common than the latter an Skye do. Both are fighters. Both are cut from the same cloth. Both have suffered through trauma in the past. It honestly felt like the writers were desperate to find a way to give the horny fans the pair up that they wanted, and not the one that made sense. This decision to break up the show’s only interracial couple is troubling for another, even greater reason though. It confirms all my worst suspicions that the media doesn’t want people of different ethnicities marrying and intermingling. This might seem like a bold, and somewhat absurd assumption to make, but if you think about it, it isn’t all too far fetched. Nearly every movie, play, or TV show made that features an interracial couple ends with that couple breaking up. If you don’t believe me, then just look at Harry Potter, Jungle Fever, Snow Falling On Cedars, Mr Nobody, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Glee, Friends, Scandal, Othello, Madame Butterfly, and Miss Saigon for your proof. Even more disturbing than having the couples’ love end in tragedy, these productions also go out of their way to make the people of color seem less desirable than the White love interests. In Harry Potter, for instance, the protagonist’s Asian girlfriend, Cho Chang, is written as weaker and more emotionally fragile than his White one, Jenny. Similarly, in Agents of SHIELD, the Asian woman, Melinda May, is frigid, stern and cold in comparison to the bubbly and outgoing White girl Skye. Now just what kind of message is that sending to all of us at home? A bad and fallacious one, that’s what!
Anyway, after sitting through these last few episodes of Agents of SHIELD, I just lost all faith in the series. It jumped the shark so much that it damn near sent the cast into orbit. That is why my final grade for the show is a full on 6 out of 10! It’s not just bad, it’s offensive. It won’t just irritate you, it will piss you off. No matter how you approach it–as a nerd, as a romantic, as a writer–it is guaranteed to both disappoint and disgust you. Do not, and I repeat, do not waste your time with it.