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Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Didn't do a Quest post last week, so here's just a brief rundown of my sci-fi/fantasy viewing in the last fortnight:

Doctor Who ended on an episode which wasn't Moffat's best but was still great; Merlin came back with an excellent 2-parter that was marred only by some dodgy CGI and a certain character surviving seemingly mortal injury yet again when it's as clear as day that she should have been  killed off ages ago; I finished off the commentaries for the first half of Caprica and moved on to the episodes from the second half; Wolfblood continued to be top shizz; and The Vampire Diaries came back for a fourth season of 'this person is dead, oh no they aren't, actually they might be, but they might not, no they're someone else who's pretending to be the ghost of the first person but is really a hybrid of the second person and a third person's goldfish, but no, hang on, no-one can die after all, unless it's a Tuesday and they have a hole in their jeans and a G in their name, because of the magic jellyfish.'

Oh, and some witches had a good laugh about raping a guy.

I didn't have high expectations going in to Switch. Everything about it screamed low rent Charmed rip-off. Just think about that for a second. Exactly. What I didn't expect was that it would not only be a charisma free bore-a-thon, but that it would also be a moral vacuum.

First things first, they killed a cat; by accident; and brought it back to life. I don't have a problem with that seeing as how messing with the veil is a staple of supernatural drama; and given that the show was trailed with a heavy emphasis on quirk and comedy I wasn't exactly expecting Pet Semetary; but some consequences would have been nice. Instead it was just a stepping stone to the next crisis, which was equally pointless. And resolved in a manner so predictable you wanted to slap them for taking an entire episode to figure it out. Imbeciles.

Boring and predictable do not amount to the same thing as 'moral vacuum' though. No, that's where the other main plot line comes in. One of the lead characters; I don't know their names yet, don't hate me; works in a shop with two men. One of them is her friend, and gay (which will be important later) while the other is a new guy that both she and her (shockingly camp) gay friend fancy. He shows zero sign of making a move on either of them though, so rather than do the obvious thing of perhaps asking him out, she goes home and recruits her friends to put a spell on a piece of jewelery so that he would be hopelessly attracted to the person wearing it.

Now, seminal Buffy episode Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (and the other 978 'don't mess with love' cautionary tales) have taught us that this will go wrong. She's doing it anyway though. Not a one of her friends objects, which is moment the first of making this whole cast seem like conscienceless monsters.

She meets up with him and as soon as he sees the brooch he's kissing her face off. Then it;s off home for lots of noisy sex. Anyone see the problem here? It's Torchwood's 'Owen and the pheromone spray' all over again. She essentially roofied him. It's rape. Which her flatmates respond to with wry smiles. Moment the second.

Now, if this was heading down a 'there will be repercussions' route I could tolerate it. So I kept watching, waiting for the shoe to drop, waiting for the moment of redemption.

 I thought we were going to get it when she met up with him in a club and he started showing slightly creepy signs of potential stalker-itis. Was she going to face the consequences? No, it turns out that's just what these writers think romance sounds like.

Then he tells her that she's changed his life, because 'I used to think I was gay, before I met you.' This obviously means that she can no longer see him, because apparently having a witless sex slave is no fun if that person would choose a different gender, if given the choice. Remember, she doesn't want out because she realises what she has done is creepy and wrong; she wants out because, well, she's a shallow person with very warped priorities.

The cast of Switch
Back at the flat, the coven get a lecture from a slumming Caroline Quentin, who is the mother of, er, one of them, and is disappointed in their skill levels. Desperate to impress her, they blurt out that they have raised the dead (the cat) and done the love enchantment. Oops, silly girls, that's dangerous magic that goes against the natural order and not to mention is fucking rape; talking about the 'love' enchantment there, not the cat. Quentin, far from being impressed, goes absolutely batshit mental with them, and tears them a new... No, actually, she's well impressed and starts having orgasms at the thought of the bragging rights she'll have at the next solstice. Moment the third.

After that some things happened and the various plots kind of meandered to their predictable ends and she figured out the way to get out of seeing her gay slave anymore. She gave the brooch to her gay friend. Yep. So now, the guy she coerced into bed is full on into her mate, and though we don't see it, we can probably surmise that some rampant animal sex is going on between the two of them as we speak. With the victim still having no free will and the other guy, who isn't in the know about magic, having no clue that he's essentially been given a sex doll as a gift. Moment the fourth.

At not a single point does any character voice an objection, however mild, to the messing with his head. At no point does any character voice an objection, however mild, to the fact that he is having sex against his will. At no point does any character voice an objection, however mild, to the fact that he has been consigned to this life, seemingly indefinitely. But I guess it's ok though right? I mean, he's gay, and he's been made the sex slave of another  gay man, so he'd probably be ok with it, right?

This show was never meant to be a hardcore, full on drama. It is quite clearly intended to be a bit of lightweight romantic fun. I have no doubt that the writers would protest the rape allegations, as the writers of Torchwood did with the Owen character; but it changes nothing though. Whatever their intentions; and I'm willing to believe they were innocent; the whole exercise was woefully misguided, wrong-headed, and offensive.

Or was it just me?

See you next week. No idea what I'll be talking about, but you never know, it might be interesting.

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