Log in

No account? Create an account
bear by san

March 2017



Powered by LiveJournal.com
shotgun spies mfu illya

let's have a party. there's a full moon in the sky.

So basically this is Fran Wilde's fault, because I was on a tear about it the other night and she told me I needed to write a blog post. So here's a blog post. (Does anybody even read blogs anymore? Tap, tap, is this thing on? "140 characters is all anyone will ever need.")

My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and--cod help me--Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there's an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend... and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she's obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility.

And that's it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie.

I thought for a minute that Guardians of the Galaxy was going to pull off a subversion. They were so close. All they had to do was have somebody make the point that We Survived The Magic Radiation Because We All Worked Together, but no, it's the pure fucking light of Chris Pratt's Y chromosome that rescues the day again.

This is the part where I point out my love for Farscape, in part for not falling for this shit--in fact, for relentlessly subverting the Corn-Fed White American Dude Goes To Space And Brings American Values To The Natives narrative. In part by showing space and aliens driving Crichton nuts, and in part by surrounding him with endless competent awesome women.**

You know, I've taken a lot of responsibility in my life, and never once has it resulted in me becoming a Chosen One. I guess it's the lack of a broken chromosome.

Anyway. So tired of that narrative. Somebody please write me the book or movie where it turns out that the chick was the Chosen One all along? 

*Remember Bulletproof Monk? Neither does anybody else, except me, and that's because it pissed me off. It's really fun to watch Toronto cosplay New York ineffectually throughout the movie, though.

**Also, one of my dearest friends and favorite people basically is Aeryn Sun, so yeah.



Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
Want to be sure you've read In Praise of Joanne Rowling's Hermione Granger Series. Because yes.

Personally, I am even less fond of the Girls Ruin Everything trope--c.f. Guinevere et alia. It ruined Super 8 for me, among many other stories.
And also:

Do you actively like Chosen Ones, or is this just the way you feel like a Chosen One story would be least annoying? (This is a genuine clarifying question, not an attempt to bash you with anti-Chosen One rhetoric if you like them when handled well.)
I am agnostic on them if they are handled well, really. But they are so rarely handled well.
Have you seen Tasha Robinson's piece on the subject over at The Dissolve?
Somebody please write me the book or movie where it turns out that the chick was the Chosen One all along?

Working on it. Several iterations of it, actually. Because, yeah, with you on that one.
So, the phrase "Chosen One" totally makes me think "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and gods know it has its flaws, but the girl really is the savior of the universe. A lot.

Very tangentially, have you seen the Canadian show "Slings and Arrows"? It subverts the "white boy is handed clue on platter, gets clue, becomes clueful" trope and this makes me very happy. Am personally very tired of watching the white boy get a clue when handed to him, carefully gift-wrapped and chosen to compliment the color of his living room furniture.
(Mentioned this over on Twitter too) I'd add to your annoying Chosen One examples, Pixar's "Up". The brave adventurous woman seems to have existed solely to sacrifice her dreams so that her death can inspire the grumpy old man to become a hero (and belated father-substitute, bringing in the father/son bonding trope as well).
I'm with you on this. Although Guardians of the Galaxy was especially bad, because I went in knowing that Gamora is this absolute badass who can go toe to toe in hand to hand combat with Thanos. . . and instead I got semi competent capture bait. Blargh.
So, I mostly hate chosen one tropes. I mean, I can deal if they're well handled, but even then they tend to reinforce underlying ideas about power and power dynamics that I find distasteful.

Oh, and I hate stupid gender dynamics even in absence of chosen one tropes.

That all being said, bulletproof monk was one of the milder examples - I mean, yeah, who knows why she fell for him, but at least it was openly acknolwedged that they were both and equally the chosen one. And as far as ridiculous martial arts flicks go, it was fun. (Of course, "fun" means that I had a great time hanging out with my martial arts peeps and mocking it. I mean, things that were historically ridiculous. Things that were linguistically ridiculous. Things that were physically ridiculous. Why not throw in emotionally ridiculous?)
Yeah. I did feel like she got consolation prized at the end, but it wasn't half as irritating as, oh, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON II or READY PLAYER ONE, to mention two that got named by various people on twitter.
I was especially frustrated by that aspect of The LEGO Movie because they were obviously trying to be critical of the trope . . . but they didn't go so far as to ditch it, which made the critique fall flat. It's like the type of humour that tries to mock racism or sexism or whatever by being over-the-top racist or sexist: there's a point at which I feel like it's still just perpetuating the bullshit you're theoretically trying to stop.
People still read blogs - and I’m reading with interest.

I don’t hate the Chosen One trope; I fully accept and understand that it doesn’t work for everyone. (And, like another commentator, it immediately makes me think of Buffy.)

I haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet. Did this ruin the movie for you? Having not seen it, from a distance (your description) it sounds like the woman in this role is kind of the mother figure/master to the bumbling but promising apprentice - which makes it sort of a coming of age for the apprentice. But! Again: haven’t seen it yet.

It didn't ruin the movie for me, because there were so many other things I didn't like about the movie that it was impossible to ruin.

But it ruined the Lego movie for me. And the second How To Train Your Dragon. And various other otherwise pretty okay movies and books.
"Somebody please write me the book or movie where it turns out that the chick was the Chosen One all along?"

Patricia Wrede sort of does that with Thirteenth Child.

I don't think she's subverting quite the same trope, but the main character definitely sees herself as being in a supporting role to her very special brother who is certain to grow up to do very special things and then... she ends up saving the day.

Of course, the real reason I like the trilogy is because it is one of the few fantasy stories I've come across where the conflict is consistently "man against nature" rather than man against "EVVVIIIILLLLL for no reason just because EVVVIIIILLLLL." :D
Sam Carter? But, in general, you're completely correct.
Yeah, this trope sucks. Indeed, all central-hero-surrounded-by-adoring-love-interest/sidekick narratives suck.

(I took a hatchet to it in "The Jennifer Morgue"; maybe I ought to do it again ...?)
Yeah, you done good on that one.
I love Bulletproof Monk, and yes, she should have gotten the entire tattoo, but, I did think it was cool how they split it between the two worthy people. She is way more qualified than him, thats for sure, but he got the redemption part right.
There has been a terrible dearth of Bear-rants in my feed as of late, and I am happy to see this one. ^_^


I am totally going to use your description of Farscape as a way to get my gf to watch it. =)

Edited at 2014-09-13 03:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, that. It particularly gave me the irrits in Guardians of the Galaxy because a) Nebula and Gamora, right there, why was the whole film not about their epic foster-sisterly rivalry of Shakespearean proportions ending in a fraught alliance against an abusive father figure? and b) the whole film was pretty much a blatant Farscape ripoff made by people who didn't get what made Farscape great or funny to start with (seriously, you have a sequence set inside the skull of a dead ancient being, and there is no gross-out body horror moment at all? Pfffffft. Chickens).
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>