Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Misfits Christmas Special

I was a little disappointed by the Christmas Special of Misfits, after whole-heartedly embracing Season 2 as a TV triumph. I think possibly my expectation was too high. I expected the 'special' to top the season, and how could it - the season was a coherent narrative, the special was a bauble. Also, I need to come to terms with shock-television. The shocks in season 2 were validated by being part of a meaningful story, which was quite redemptive and beautiful. The Christmas Special occupies an awkward position - the characters have each reached a contingent redemption, before a new cycle begins.

But because it's outside the compelling story-arc of Season 2, the Special has made me think about how Misfits uses shocks, deliberately offensive bum-showing. Like Nathan stamping on the placenta because he thinks it's The Alien, and the blood going in Simon's face. It reminds me of when Monty Python was first shown. I don't want you to think I am saying 'Oh boy, this is great because it will piss off my parents' (I am my parents) or 'Hey look at me, I am really down with the kids'. And I think that self-consciousness about 'what do I look like, that I like this' is part of what I struggle with.

But, nevertheless I think the shocks in Misfits continue to be A Good Thing, and the handling of sexuality and gender is - you know, not perfect - but positive. Much better than it was at the start of Season 1, and better than in most British shock-television.

For instance contrast the treatment of a woman peeing herself, in Little Britain and in Misfits. This is still quite a shocking thing to show in a comedy program I think. In Little Britain the humour is entirely directed at the woman - David Walliams as an old lady - she is ridiculous. In Misfits, a pregnant girl pisses herself because the baby is settling in her pelvis, an hour or so before she gives birth. She's not made ridiculous by this. The joke is not on her. Nathan continues to kiss her, Simon is discomfited, but that's his problem. Female physicality is not portrayed as inherently disgusting, but neither is it softened even one speck.

The issue of Alisha's sexual power - is it coercive, does it make her a rapist or a victim - was dealt with quite decisively and effectively, and we saw Simon developing his sexuality by learning from his woman.

I think an issue I have is that the creators of the show, the writer and the actors, probably everybody, have come to care for the characters. And I totally sympathise, because I care for them too, but it makes me worry about where it can go next. Season 2 showed them starting to grow up, and if the show undermines that, making them regress for the sake of a new season that would make me sad. But on the other hand, a third season where they are mature and effective would be a very different show. So where does it go next? Perhaps they need an arch-nemesis and he or she needs to be a wonderful character.
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