Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"What are you looking at, mister?"

Today on Poe's Deadly Daughters, Sandra Parshall ponders TV's fantasy image of female cops. I commented:

I'm generally not into cop shows, but I agree that many of the female cops on TV seem to dress too provocatively for the job. If they dressed more professionally, their beauty would still come through, in my opinion.

A few portrayals I have enjoyed:

Elisabeth Rohm as Det. Kate Lockley on "Angel", back when Shawn Ryan worked on the show. Ryan went on to create FX's "The Shield".

Sasha Alexander as Special Agent Kate Todd on "NCIS". She was undeniably attractive, but dressed conservatively, and never failed to call the men on their sexist remarks.

Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane on "Lois & Clark". Not a cop, of course, but the same sort of professionalism is expected of journalists. Hatcher is also quite attractive, but in the first season of the show, Lois didn't seem to go out of her way with makeup, hair, dress, or shoes. She wore what made sense and looked real.

In subsequent seasons, after show developer Deborah Joy Levine left, Lois's outfits were silver, purple, fluorescent orange—an obvious attempt to make her look more "comic book".


Deshant said...

While I lov ethe idea of brutal realism on network television, network executives think that is a REALLY bad idea. So the writer creates a role for a 'tough-as-nails' female detective and perhaps even has a few ideas for what she will look like. Short hair, modest dress, maybe a broken nose from boxing with her older brothers. Then the casting director sees this and talks to the producer: "why can't she be tough AND attractive?". So they start getting some good-looking actresses and pick out one. Then it's time for wardrobe. The dresser sees this gorgeous woman and puts together something that shows a bit of cleavage and maybe some flattering to the rear view as well. Next thing you know Stana Katic is walking on the set of Castle or Gabrielle Union on Life. They are playing a role that is just as tough as they were written but now they are good looking and well-dressed. These shows are dramatizations of real (mostly unreal) events. If you want real like depictions check out the great shows on TRU (CourtTV) or some of the stuff on A&E. You may find that instead of sexy girls showing off their cleavage their will be a plethora of "Moobs".

Gerald So said...

I don't ask for total realism from TV dramas. They are fictional by definition and I watch them to escape into a world more exciting than my own. I want just enough consistency for me to imagine these actors could be the fantasy people they're supposed to be.

Another non-cop example is Jolene Blalock as T'pol on "Enterprise". While she was never quite dressed modestly, her gray 1st-season uniform was much more subdued than her 4th-season fluorescent orange one. I didn't believe either uniform because Vulcans are conditioned to downplay their emotions. The last thing they would want is to draw possible unwanted attention to their sexuality.