Monday

i've started this, so i'm going to finish it

By this point I just can't stand the father-son plot line trope so much, I just can't watch anything that plays it. So walking dead, I stopped at episode three. Daredevil, I just tried watching, and gave up in the second scene. Does anyone in the Star Wars trilogy ever mention Luke's mum? Don't we think that's a problem?

[How to train your dragon does a good job of subverting it - rather than the hiccup growing up, hiccup's father and the rest of his society changes to fit in with him. In the sequal, his ideas of a peaceful resolution are crushed by an insane enemy with whom dialogue is impossible - a convienent enemy for war mongers, which I'd be more critical if there weren't real groups like nazis and Islamic state.]


New Star Trek 2 plays this too, partially, with the older man who took kirk under his wing still hanging around, but it exemplifies another macho trope that's my new one to be sick of, 'I've started so I'll finish'

This involves the male lead starting at a point of immaturity, doing something badly that has unintentional dire consequences, and then having to be the hero and fix things. From mike the knight up to a huge number of slacker comedies and action films, my main problem with this plot line is this: rather than being a hero, the man is just catching up with everybody else. They shouldn't be congratulated for that. Instead, why don't they just focus on some of the actual grown ups in the story, who might still have an interesting character arc.

I mention Cbeebies' Mike the Knight, because it distills this plot for children to such a formulaic pattern that it's impossible to ignore it.

The conceit runs thus: mike is a prince who wants to grow up to be a knight. His mum is the queen, his dad the king is perpetually away on some crusade, and his sister is training to be a witch. Mike therefore feels he has to grow into the gap left by his father. Every episode, mike finds a knightly quest that he feels he must complete. He receives a specific piece of equipment, whose usefulness he calls into question. He then spends the majority of the episode getting things wrong and making everything worse, while everybody around him tries to stop him. Literally anybody else in the kingdom would be a better person to sort out whatever the trouble is, not least of whom, his very capable and mature sister. Eventually, it gets into mike's head that he needs to use the support he has and he does the right thing. 

The big problem is, next episode mike goes trough exactly the same steps, with the determination to be a dick about things of a battery-powered toy repeatedly bashing itself into a wall because its wheels are broken. Every time you think Mike has grown up a notch, next time you realised he hasn't generalised at all - he might have learned how to do that one thing, but he's just as much of an idiot he ever was because he never learns any quicker. This is the same problem with this trope in the media - we see men learning, but never see them using the knowledge for anything. 

It feels like an extension of the 'disaster porn' obsession: plot lines driven by idiotic decisions of supposed heroes. The difference is the 'hero' has to clean up their own mess.

Even the new avengers film has a major plot line of 'uh oh, we fucked up because we're idiots and now we've got to save the world from something we've created' - which is also the same plot as almost all other superhero films. And why does star wars focus on luke skywalker, the teenage wannabe-pilot undergoing a hero's maturation quest, rather than the kick-arse already-hero Leiah, who seems to be completely competent both as a secret agent and a guerrilla? 

Repeatedly, we are told that a male's quest to be a grown-up is more interesting than the actual job of being a grown up - a role usually played by a female. Where this leaves us, I'm not sure, as it implies that once you achieve adulthood, the adventure is over.


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