ONTD Political

What Happens When Conservatives Watch TV With Ideological Glasses?

1:32 pm - 07/15/2009
You get really interesting reviews like this one. Read the whole thing before posting "LOL why was this approved?" comments:

Torchwood: Pro-American TV From The BBC



I think I’ve found the most pro-American show on television. True to form, its not produced in Hollywood.

Growing up, I was obsessed with “Dr. Who.” In the seventh grade I wore a Tom Baker style scarf to school every day (Baker and Davidson are my favorite “Doctors,” if you understand what that means, feel free to have it at in the comments). I thoroughly enjoy the “reboot” that currently airs on the SyFy channel and recently stumbled across its spin-off “Torchwood.”

“Torchwood” is an odd blend of “CSI,” “The X-Files,” and “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” It follows the adventures of Torchwood, an above-top-secret agency that monitors alien activity on earth. Their headquarters in Cardiff is above a “rift,” a sort of rip in time and space that lets creatures from other planets and dimensions, as well as other time periods, in and out of our world.




On the surface, the show is very British. The slang, inside jokes, and references are undoubtedly more entertaining to the BBC audience than to the U.S. Syfy Channel audience. There are even references to Welsh characters dreading crossing over into England. That’s how inside it is. Clearly, its not made for us.


The show has numerous interracial, homosexual, and intergalactic romantic relationships (yes, people having sex with E.T.s). The world of “Torchwood” is incredibly diverse, but the series never calls attention to this fact. There are no episodes where the Asian character laments how people don’t understand her culture, or where black characters complain about discrimination and band together to outsmart “The Man.” Race and gender are portrayed in a clearly neutral fashion, true to the American “melting pot” concept and not the divisive “multiculturalism” that sits like a cancer on our society. Everyone is human (unless it’s an alien) and everyone is very, very British.

Everyone is British, save one. The enigmatic Captain Jack Harkness, an extra-terrestrial time traveler with an American accent. He’s the leader of the Torchwood team, and episode after episode he makes the tough decisions, does the ruthless things, and acts in the greater good for the other characters and mankind as a whole. He does all this despite the hemming and hawing coupled with emotional weakness of his European cohorts. Episode after episode the other characters scream and cry and allow their human frailty to jeopardize the planet. Episode after episode Jack Harkness does the dirty work, exposing his wisdom and strength to his associates who ultimately accept and thank him for his decisions. Jack does gain some insight and knowledge from his co-workers’ empathy, but it only serves to make him stronger, never detracting from the mission at hand.


It can’t be a mistake that Harkness is an American, he is the only person on the show who is. In a not so subtle way the shows creators are admitting what a lot of us already suspect; that despite their complaints, objections, and dislike for America and its policies, Europe ultimately needs us. Furthermore, Europe needs the “cowboy” American, and not some mirror image of itself.

John Barrowman plays the omnisexual Harkness with a boyish glee. He displays a love and aptitude for violence. He shoots first and asks questions later. He knows that terrorists, even alien ones, should never be negotiated with or trusted. At times, his brash refusal to display empathy or appease hostile forces leads to personal catastrophes and losses, but at the end of the day, he is right. Evil is defeated.

The show also features one of the strongest, best female characters I have ever seen. Eve Myles plays Gwen Cooper, a former police officer turned Torchwood operative who deftly manages to balance her personal life and relationship while saving the world. She is tough, sensitive, smart, and witty. Despite being the newest addition to the team, she naturally slides into a leadership position when Harkness is out of the picture. Oh, and in season three, she’s an action hero who happens to be pregnant. Sarah Palin would be proud.

The show’s creator Russell T. Davies (the man who is also behind the new “Dr. Who”) may be, along with Joss Whedon, my personal favorite show runners working in the industry today. Both of them chose writers who portray the world not as it always is, but in a romantic way, the way it should be. Their subtle and not so subtle Libertarian political view points are a breath of fresh air when compared to the liberal schlock that dominates most of our industry, especially in hour-long dramas.

“Torchwood” season one and two are available on DVD. Season three’s mini-series “Children of Earth” airs on BBC America starting July 20th.


There are errors in this review (ie Jack's real background; the Boeshane Peninsula, the misspelling of Davison's name, failure to understand the Welsh culture), but the gist of is pretty thought provoking! I'm glad this review of the show is even handed, because I was afraid the Right was going to trash it due to the violence and homosexuality. At least they figured out that Children of Earth shows Big Government at it's worst and has some pro-life themes as well.

For a while now, I thought Jack displayed Neocon tendencies. I'm glad this reviewer thought the same thing. I also squeed at the Gwen-Sarah Palin comparison of course!

ETA: I didn't see the need to apply an American interpretation to the show, but apparently it's needed for many to get the drift. Also too, many of the issues AREN'T in black and white, a point the reviewer missed.

ETA 2: The more I read your comments, the more I question the author's argment. Again my attempts to reconcile my politics with my fandoms failed!


ETA 3: Congrats ONTD_P, you have convinced me that this review is EPIC FAIL!


SOURCE
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leelakin 15th-Jul-2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Okay, that's it. XDD I'm gonna go watch Children of Earth RIGHT NOW. It isn't safe anywhere on the internet, ahaha *afraid to get spoiled*
BBL when I'm through, then I can comment on this.
(what did you guys think about it?)
kryptonitepussy 15th-Jul-2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
it's amazing but it gets hard to watch near the end, very depressing.
great writing/acting though.
kryptonitepussy 15th-Jul-2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
lmao oh god, this is pathetically stupid. rly reaching.
children of earth was amazing though.
bluetooth16 15th-Jul-2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's pathethic at all. Then again, I'm a Conservative Whovian.
eeriewhisper 15th-Jul-2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
Funny, I thought it's a big "FUCK YOU" to the Tories and their social politics and how British society in general treats and regards the people who live in council estates.
ninius 15th-Jul-2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
This this this this this
kurthummel 15th-Jul-2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
As an American and fan of TW, I'm facepalming. Why do we have to try to Americanize EVERYTHING just to find it *watchable*?
bluetooth16 15th-Jul-2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
I definitely agree with you as a fellow American TW fan. Too many Americans have little exposure/understanding of non-Hollywood entertainment conventions, and to cope with the issue things get watered down.
antisaints 15th-Jul-2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
“Torchwood” is an odd blend of “CSI,” “The X-Files,” and “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.”

I just came.
luno 15th-Jul-2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
Really? I've been watching it since day 1, and I just threw up a little at the comparison.
kitty0_o 15th-Jul-2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
Baker and Davidson are my favorite “Doctors,”

DAVISON! DAVISON! *hem* Okay, now to read the article.
filbypott 15th-Jul-2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
Meh. It's been downhill since Troughton IMO.
mareeana 15th-Jul-2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
despite their complaints, objections, and dislike for America and its policies, Europe ultimately needs us. Furthermore, Europe needs the “cowboy” American, and not some mirror image of itself.

I think if you told RTD that this is what his scripts meant, he'd be most offended.

Edited at 2009-07-15 06:15 pm (UTC)
box_in_the_box 15th-Jul-2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
To be fair, there's a long tradition of writers not recognizing the politics inherent in their own writing.

Marvel Comics, for example, seems to be made up of a largely liberal crew of creators and editors, who certainly haven't shied away from mocking Bush or conservatism, and yet, there's really no other way to read their Civil War storyline, and all of the stories that have come from it, as anything other than enthusiastic endorsements of Bush's civil liberties-killing policies.

As a gay man, Davies would also be offended if you told him that his portrayals of same-sex relationships are heteronormative, but if you look at his writing ...
heather 15th-Jul-2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
Well. This is ... interesting. You know what they say about opinions.

And I love Gwen so comparisons to Palin make me sad. :(

Though the right would LOVE the way CoE turned out, I bet.
bluetooth16 15th-Jul-2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
This right winger didn't approve of the CoE ending.
mylaptopisevil 15th-Jul-2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
There are no episodes where the Asian character laments how people don’t understand her culture, or where black characters complain about discrimination and band together to outsmart “The Man.”

I like how the conservative view of "is this nationality accurately portrayed" is based on "does not whine."

Oh, and in season three, she’s an action hero who happens to be pregnant. Sarah Palin would be proud.

In Children of Earth, Gwen will eventually decide that Torchwood is too critical of her abilities, and retires early.
apocalypsos 15th-Jul-2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
I like how the conservative view of "is this nationality accurately portrayed" is based on "does not whine."

My thoughts exactly.
apocalypsos 15th-Jul-2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
Despite their complaints, objections, and dislike for America and its policies, Europe ultimately needs us.

Yeah, God only know how they got through the hundreds and thousands of years of history before America came onto the scene.
buongiornodaisy 15th-Jul-2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
Well before we came along Europe was embattled in countless of harsh and terrible wars that never happened after the United States was born.
haruhiko 15th-Jul-2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
LOL yes Joss Whedon and RTD are sooooooooo conservative. This author needs to watch RTD's Second Coming.

This is as silly as when people tried to argue that Firefly/Serenity had some anti-socialist/anti-big-govt message.

And the only way Cpt. Jack would be a conservative would be if he was closeted. :D

Edited at 2009-07-15 06:20 pm (UTC)
kiri_l 15th-Jul-2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
When would that have been.. age 4 months?
roboplege 15th-Jul-2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
Holy shit no. And pro-life themes becasue of one comment about one pregnancy?

NO
buongiornodaisy 15th-Jul-2009 06:21 pm (UTC)
Given what I've heard about what Jack does in CoE I'd be reluctant to call it "pro-life".
dagnirovanaliel 15th-Jul-2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
And to think the reason I like it is BECAUSE it's so British.

I guess this American is doing it wrong :/
bluetooth16 15th-Jul-2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
I guess I'm doing it wrong as well. I didn't see the need to Americanize the show.
kitty0_o 15th-Jul-2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
I don't really get why the author of this article feels the need to connect Jack's character traits with "OMG AMERICAN!" when it's clearly a result of being really fucking old and involuntarily immortal. I agree that in the beginning, in DW S1, he was supposed to be like, the dashing American or whatever, but not by the time Torchwood comes around.

Also, it's not really pro-life. The complexities involved in the decision facing them is not some talking point, black and white issue, just like abortion itself.
kurthummel 15th-Jul-2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
On behalf of all British people reading this, I'd like to say that not all Americans are this dumb. A large part of us, yes, but not all of us. :[
kurthummel 15th-Jul-2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
Also, I'm a Torchwood fan. American. Love Captain Jack. But I have never identified Captain Jack as an American because [1] John Barrowman is Scottish, lives in London and Cardiff with his sexy husband, and only comes to America a few times a year and [2] Captain Jack is from the 51st century in a place called the Boeshane Peninsula. I could see if he grew up in NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNY, but he didn't. How the Boeshane Peninsula is America, I don't know.

/shows my true geek colors
kiri_l 15th-Jul-2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
Oh the ineptitude.. the lack of.. any understanding. it burns it burns..

make them stop.. someone please
ayewhat 15th-Jul-2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
There are no episodes where the Asian character laments how people don’t understand her culture, or where black characters complain about discrimination and band together to outsmart “The Man.”

um
These are not things people do on tv ever
zekkass 15th-Jul-2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid that I'm going to have to disagree with this. Europe doesn't need America, that's just American arrogance speaking.
blinkidybah 15th-Jul-2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
Is Jack ACTUALLY American? I thought he was from the future? I don't know, I don't watch Torchwood because it makes me vomit, so I'm going off of Who here :(
bluetooth16 15th-Jul-2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
He's not American. He comes from the Boeshane Peninsula, part of a planet that's definitely not Earth. The author drew these conjectures based off his accent.
schmiss 15th-Jul-2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
LOL this reminds me of a rant I read about how the love triangle on Lost was actually about liberalism vs conservatism. I was really offended because ew Jack representing liberalism? DNW.
bombazzinedoll 15th-Jul-2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
WAT?

just -- WAT?

D:
ninius 15th-Jul-2009 06:30 pm (UTC)


I think this is quite off base. The person who wrote this is thinking only in absolutes (Jack is always right, x is never acceptable, simplifying everything into good/evil) and so interprets any grey areas in TW according to their own black and white worldview.

Couple of points: According to this person, being American means loving violence? And ideally minorities would stfu and be nice and compliant?

And the less said about "Europe needs moar cowboys YEEHAW" the better. NO, thank you very much. We don't.

Also this person seems to have missed the way the US has been portrayed in the Whoniverse at times, recently - "Tell him he's not my boss, and he's certainly not turning this into a war."

Also also, this guy's interpretation of one British programme totally = what all of Europe thinks, apparently.
ninius 15th-Jul-2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
And it's Davison, not Davidson. Pleb. /petty
eyetosky 15th-Jul-2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
.... narcissist much?
apocalypsos 15th-Jul-2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
Seriously. What smug, self-centered bollocks.
theciz 15th-Jul-2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
Oh ffs, for the last time, Jack Harkness is not actually American! ARG.

And after all the things Harriet Jones said about the US President; the time Americans have been made to look stupid; the time the Master killed the President; I think it's obvious that was not RTD's intention.
bluetooth16 15th-Jul-2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the author seriously missed those moments. I've been struggling for a while to reconcile my politics with my fandoms, which is why I enjoyed the interpretation.
meran_flash 15th-Jul-2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
This pisses me off. Like, a hell of a lot.

Torchwood is not about America. Thinking it is is pure American centrism which is a tremendously gross thing to do.


Race and gender are portrayed in a clearly neutral fashion, true to the American “melting pot” concept and not the divisive “multiculturalism” that sits like a cancer on our society.

Fuck you. ...Yeah, that's the only argument I've got. Fuck you.


At least they figured out that Children of Earth shows Big Government at it's worst and has some pro-life themes as well.

Yeah, an overpowerful Executive branch overseeing the military sure was evil in Children of Earth, wasn't it?

There were no pro-life themes in CoE. Gwen quickly established that Rhys was not going to dictate what she does with her body, and the fact that she chose to carry the baby to term is still pro-choice. The fact that nobody wanted to kill a bunch of fucking kids in CoE isn't any more pro-life than it is pro-choice because the pro-choice movement isn't about killing children okay.

It wasn't anti-eugenics nearly as much as it was about classism and the ease with which advantaged groups will disregard disadvantaged ones.


For a while now, I thought Jack displayed Neocon tendencies.

Jack wanted to use military force to establish democracies in foreign lands? Wow, I didn't notice.
ceilidh_ann 15th-Jul-2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
Even though I'm still sharpening pencils to throw at RTD and the Captain Jack poster on my wall has gotten some dirty looks lately, I liked CoE a lot and thought it dealt with some interesting ideas. I don't think any of those were pro-life though. DW and TW have always had a common theme of limits and the jumps you'll take - how far is too far and would you be willing to sacrifice something precious for the greater good? I don't think Captain Jack is an all American hero, if John Barrowman had an English accent (or used his Scottish one) then it would work with the character either way. There's noone like Captain Jack on TV right now, that's why I like him (well, right now I'm in two minds about him - fuck you RTD!)
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