It all started with Rita. She was so mousy and annoying. Then there was Skyler… she filled me a disdain that I couldn’t even fathom. And finally Winona, who seemed incapable of saying anything without attitude. These leading ladies are the worst. They practically infringe upon my enjoyment of these programs (Dexter, Breaking Bad, Justified) because I have to spend so much time being annoyed by them.
After hating her on Dexter, I saw Rita (Julie Benz) play a perfectly palatable hot lesbian on Desperate Housewives. I had just thought that Julie was terrible, but apparently she wasn’t. She was just acting, which meant that they must have written the character of Rita to be that annoying. And it wasn’t just me, none of the fans liked Rita, and I think that’s probably why she had to die.
I don’t know what it was about Skyler. At first I thought it was her face. Yeah she was kinda bitchy. But the writers did that to her. And though she didn’t die, by the end of the series I hated Walt enough that I had to root for Skyler a little.
I haven’t finished Justified yet, but I’m nearing the end of the fourth season. After torturing us through Winona’s drama, she started showing up less and less on the show, appearing only in 43 of 61 episodes. They created a character so annoying that they had to cut down her role.
Natalie Zea (Winona) was a little annoying on The Following, but much less so, although that could be because her role was quite limited in that as well. Still, I don’t like the pattern that is emerging.
I’m not sure what’s worse: if they meant for these women to be annoying, or if they just can’t come up with any other way to characterize them.
And let me clarify, in case you haven’t seen these shows–these aren’t the characters you love to hate, they’re just annoying.
The men are strong, dynamic, and complex. They’re the center of their TV universe.
Did the writers just get lazy and use the go-to annoying-wife stock character? And why is that even a thing? Would it detract from multi-faceted male protagonist to have a wife that wasn’t just annoying 24/7? Sure, there’s a male sitcom cliche for a bumbling, sports loving, overweight male, but that’s lighthearted and also super realistic.
Why is it like this? Maybe it’s because these men aren’t supposed to be happy. They can’t have a strong marriage and good home life and still get into the shit that they do. I know it’s not that kind of show. Is this the only way? Could they have an unstable domestic situation with a less annoying/more relatable wife? It would be nice to see, because as it is, after watching my fave shows I end up feeling a bit misogynistic and a bit self loathing.
It is important to note that while there are worthy female characters on these shows as well, but it is the wife/girlfriend who we must despise. She just can’t be cool. She gets stuck being the nagging, shrewy, voice of reason. And the cool characters always murder people, too.