Her Looming Shadow Grows: The Complex Women of ‘True Detective,’ Molly Lambert for Grantland
I see this idea floated a lot. Is this true? It’s not for me, I’m pretty sure. I love The Sopranos, and I never felt like I was Tony. I like Molly Lambert’s writing so much, I just am reading this piece so I’m using it to ask. Really interested to know if anyone’s willing to say!
Anytime a sentence starts that way (“everyone identifies with…”) I get so CRANKY omg. I’ve been told by multiple film bros that I’m lying and/or deluding myself for saying I don’t identify with Walter White even a little bit. “No I mean, I know he’s a bad person but don’t you think that deep down we all identify with him a little bit?" No sorry bros, and I don’t know what to say to you…? No sorry bros but like how dare you…? I get that Molly Lambert is trying to make a really different point here, but it still feels like kind of the same thing.
(I mean: “Everyone identifies with Carmela Soprano onscreen, and nobody wants to identify with the inferior and also kind of embarrassing men in her life.”)
(“Everyone identifies with Adriana La Cerva because WHY WOULD YOU NOT you’re probably lying to me.”)
(“Everyone identifies with Peggy Olson, and nobody wants to identify with the boring suits she works with.”)
(Even: “Everyone identifies with the pretty little liars onscreen, and nobody wants to identify with their laughable dudes in bad haircuts.”)
(For example, etc, etc, etc, you know.)
Yeah, no. I can’t speak on what True Detective is like because I haven’t seen it. But now, as an adult lady, don’t usually identify with powerful men onscreen, especially powerful white men. Maybe it’s because I have been raised not to identify with those dudes. So like white men are not going to role models, you know? I mostly see these shows as dramatizations of how awful powerful men are in real life.
I identify more with the females on shows who get passed this boat load of trouble caused by the men in their life and then either deal with it with a tremendous show of strength or get rid of it with the most calculated finesse…fuck, I’m having trouble dealing with the stress brought up by buying a car, imagine if I had a meth-cooking husband. I’d lose my shit.
I realize that the use of background titties in shows like The Sopranos and The Boardwalk (which I am currently making my way through) devalues women’s bodies but when I am watching it mostly I see it as just women doing their job. It’s like seeing factory workers in the background, just skilled laborers having to put up with more bullshit. I have to take a step back and think about male viewers before I think about dudes valuing images of others dudes being shitty.
This reminds me of Orange is the New Black and how Piper is supposed to be the protagonist but really I read her as a villain so the show becomes infinitely less problematic, but that is not how it was made to read and that is not how viewers are seeing it.
But, no, I don’t identify with powerful men (unless they seem unusually clever; I see myself as being very clever). Neglected wives, however, have been some of the strongest characters I’ve seen on television. Because everyone shits on them and they still find the strength to pull through.
for the bolded