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The Female Perspective: Why I’m Disappointed in “Supergirl”

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.

Oh Supergirl, I had such high hopes for you. I was so excited during the first episode when you seemed smart and capable. When you seemed unsure of your power and how to use it for good. When it seemed like you were going to be a good show.

Now, however many episodes in, I’m bored.

Here is why I’m disappointed in Supergirl.

  1. She’s trite. With all the power and responsibility now at her feet, she carries a torch for Jimmy Olsen and obsesses about what Cat needs. She also spends a lot of time convincing those around her that she is smart and capable and that they are super duper people with great personalities. Gag.
  2. Her friends are boring and needy and I find Jimmy Olson boring as heck.
  3. I feel that the feminist angle is being literally shoved down my throat rather than just placed gently in front of me (ala Agent Carter). We DO NOT need to be reminded multiple times in an episode that Supergirl is a woman. It’s built right into her title, SuperGIRL. Leaves nothing to the imagination. Stop telling us that she’s a woman and that women have to be strong and powerful. What I mean by stop telling is to start SHOWING us. Give us a Supergirl that IS strong instead of her talking about it all the dang time.
  4. The fact that they can’t have Superman on the show is lame and her sharing cute little IM’s with him is just stupid. They need to figure that out STAT.
  5. The writing stinks. It’s trite and it’s extraordinarily lazy. When you have someone with super hearing that doesn’t hear her best friend being kidnapped in the hallway outside your apartment, that’s an issue.

The fact is, Supergirl is a show that has a lot of potential. I still have hope that they’ll figure out who they are before Season 2 because right now Supergirl is in the midst of an identity crisis. It wants to be a show about a kick-ass heroine but it also wants to appeal to teenagers and young girls.


Let me tell you something CBS, you can have a show about a woman that is both smart, fun AND appealing to young girls without making it suck for the adults who watch it. My boyfriend loves all the little nugget of Supergirl coolness that they add in for fans. We both detest the “love triangle” between Kara, Jimmy and her geeky friend who’s name I can’t even be bothered to remember. It’s boring. As a grown woman,  I find the fact that another grown woman (and SUPERGIRL no less) is clearly pining away for Jimmy. He has a woman, get over it Kara and do something with all your power, you know, save some people instead of eating pizza with your sister or getting food for Cat.

I know that Supergirl has to have human qualities, especially since she’s lived as a human most of her life but … Does she have to be so childish? So … bubble-headed? I long for the Supergirl created by Helen Slater, she was young and naive but she was also strong, smart and more than capable of saving her friends from the witchy Selena. I think Supergirl is having issues because it is on CBS and not the CW like it’s brother shows, Arrow and The Flash. Both shows are killing it on the CW. Both shows are about hero’s who are flawed, confused and longing for a normal life but also fighting bad guys and being smart. They have the formula down (but, to be fair, it took a season for Arrow to get really good), Supergirl needs some help and I hope she finds it before she gets the axe.

I need Supergirl to be...well, SUPER.
I need Supergirl to be…well, SUPER.

I also know that a show about a female heroine can be good. Agent Carter is the perfect example of that. Peggy Carter is smart, kind, strong and capable. All the things a woman should be who is used to taking care of herself. Supergirl seems like she’s never taken care of a houseplant, let alone herself, though we’re supposed to believe she’s lived on Earth most of her life, has an apartment and a job and yet, she’s still so … blah. I want more from my Supergirl and I’m willing to be patient because I’m a patient woman, but if Season 2 is anything like Season 1, this woman is going to start skipping Supergirl and go straight for Agent Carter.

What do you think of Supergirl? Is she “super” or is she boring? Sound off in the comments?

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The Female Perspective: “Supergirl” Is Indeed Super

Welcome! This is the weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog (and you should be) then you know that I have mad love for all things superhero. Man, woman, Hulk, etc, if it’s a superhero, I love it. One of my all-time favorites is Supergirl. Don’t get me wrong, Wonder Woman rocks my socks off but my very first superhero memories are of the Supergirl movie with Helen Slater and Peter O’Toole. That movie made me feel so many of the feelings and to this day I adore it and no one can talk me out of it!

You can imagine then that I turned into the new CBS adaptation of Supergirl with lots of excitement and a pinch of trepidation. Were they going to make her over-sexed and stupid? Were they going to make her kick-ass and awesome?

Oh CBS, you did not disappoint me. I simply adored the first episode of Supergirl this week. I can’t wait for more! I can only hope that the rest of the season is as good as that very first episode. There were a few times I got chills, always a good sign.

Supergirl Isn’t a Trollop Or a Moron (Thank God)

It’s so easy these days for female superheroes to be treated as nothing more than eye candy. Short skirts, up-skirt shots, tight outfits and … well, being a woman in a mostly (but not for long) male-dominated world can be a challenge. In recent years we’ve seen a wonderful surge in strong female superheroes (thanks Black Widow!) that gave me a lot of hope that this version of my favorite flying lady would be amazing.

CBS did a lot of things right with this permutation of Supergirl, from her costume (which went through a couple of versions, with a funny nod to the boy shorts and crop top look she had at one point *shudder*), to Kara’s personality. They didn’t make her dumb or slutty. They made her a total nerd, which I LOVE. She’s goofy, she’s clumsy, she’s awkward but she also has this powerful side of her, this side that can beat bad guys and punch in the front of tractor trailers. How can you not love her?

Also, as a side note, well done on the new Jimmy Olsen, I can see why Kara went speechless when she met him the first time!

Kara and Jimmy Olsen.
Kara and Jimmy Olsen.
When Supergirl flies, there's real power behind it.
When Supergirl flies, there’s real power behind it.

She’s More Than Just Super

So often these days strong women are seen as bratty, as bitches and that’s so often very far from the truth. It’s an endlessly frustrating discussion, why can’t women be strong and be seen as strong rather than cranky or PMSing?

This Supergirl is strong without it being annoying. She doesn’t go around (so far) acting tough and doing strong…stuff just for the sake of it. She is learning how to be a hero and she wants to do right by her now destroyed world.

When we meet her, she’s conflicted about her strength and unsure if the world needs another Super-anything but when she gets a taste of her true power, she is addicted to it. She needs to help where she can. She needs to do the best she can by her adopted people. She needs to be a hero because she is a hero. Supergirl is born.

What I’ve always enjoyed about Supergirl is that she’s just as powerful as her cousin Superman and what I enjoy about both the 1980’s movie and the new show is that they let her fight and be beaten up. In fact, she’s punched into the sidewalk at one point, it’s pretty brutal and I loved it. They didn’t shy away from showing how strong she really is nor did they shy away from showing that being a superhero can be a tough gig. They showed her being beaten up just like Superman would have been. Like any male character would have been and the best part? She gave as good as she got.

Well done Melissa Benoist and CBS.
Well done Melissa Benoist and CBS.

It’s Not Perfect But …

So far, CBS did right by Supergirl and I can’t wait for next week. I know the show isn’t perfect, I wish they had connected this Supergirl to the current Superman movies or at least alluded to them in some way, that would have been really cool to know that people are used to or even perhaps a little weary of the superhero’s in their midst. The destruction their kind can cause when they are trying to do right. That would have been great. They also mentioned Superman A LOT. A LOT. I’m hoping that isn’t continued throughout the whole show.

It seems as though this Supergirl exists in a world where Superman has been around for 24 or so years so it’s long past the time of our current Superman (I think, anyway. The timeline was a little confusing) so fine, I can live with that.

I LOVED that they used Dean Cain (a former Superman) and Helen Slater (SUPERGIRL!) as this Supergirl’s adopted parents, the Danvers. I thought that was a clever nod to the past permutations of our favorite Super-folk.

Feminist TV?

I’ve heard some rumblings about how this is “feminist TV” and I thought about that last night as I contemplated my blog for today. There were the same rumblings when Furiosa kicked butt in Mad Max: Fury Road and it also made me pause, who cares if it’s “feminist TV”?

What IS “feminist TV”?

Is it regular TV with women as strong lead characters? If so, I’m okay with that.

So why is it said as if it’s a bad thing?

Oh, that’s right, because there are still men out there who are threatened by strong, powerful women who are their own hero’s. That don’t need saving by a man. That’s right. I forget that sometimes. Those guys can shove it. Give me more FEMINIST TV!

Regardless – I’ll take a good dose of feminist TV any day of the week over some of the more misogynistic, male-dominated fare that has dominated TV and other entertainment my entire life. Now, I just need to see that Supergirl toy and I can’t wait for Rhode Island Comic Con this year, I am hoping to see a few Supergirl’s running around!

Watch The Trailer For Supergirl Here!

What did you think of the new #Supergirl? Tell me in the comments!

I'll always love Helen Slater's version but CBS did a good job. Let's hope it continues!
I’ll always love Helen Slater’s version but CBS did a good job. Let’s hope it continues!
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The Female Perspective: Supergirl, Then and Now

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.

I was originally going to write about the new “Mad Max: Fury Road” controversy of men being angry about the movie being “feminist propaganda” but instead, I want to talk a little bit more about Supergirl – both the 1984 movie and the upcoming TV series on CBS.

1984 Supergirl. Rock on Supergirl, ROCK. ON.
1984 Supergirl. Rock on Supergirl, ROCK. ON.

First, we’ll start with the 1984 movie. I am going to state right up front that I LOVE this movie. It was the very first superhero movie I ever watched (that I recall) and not only that, it starred a female hero. My budding little feminist heart was thrilled beyond measure to see a woman kicking butt and getting stuff done with grace, ease and amazing strength and without looking like a hooker. I watched this movie a lot as a girl and I recently re-watched it as “research” for this piece. Though, to be fair, I didn’t need to re-watch it since I pretty much have it memorized.

Faye Dunaway as Selena? She pretty much ate up the screen in her scenes.
Faye Dunaway as Selena? She pretty much ate up the screen in her scenes.

A lot of folks don’t like this movie for various reasons I simply don’t understand. Sure, it’s 80’s cheese in some degrees but it has an all-star cast, I mean, seriously, FAYE DUNAWAY as the villain Selena, how can you go wrong? Not to mention Peter O’Toole as Supergirl’s mentor and friend, Zalfar. It’s a pretty stellar cast if you ask me. Helen Slater nails the innocent power that is both Supergirl and Kara Zor-El from Argo City.

Kara, after an unfortunate accident that is equal parts Zalfar and her faults, finds herself on Earth. She has powers and can fly for cripes sake! She is also on a mission to find the Omega Hedron and save her city from certain death (by suffocation no less). She spends a few moments (during some really awesome wire work) flying around and getting used to her new strength and her new world before she gets back to work looking for the Omega.

What gets me most about this movie is the utter strength of the women in this film. Dunaway’s Selena is crazy as all good villains should be, but she is also powerful and confident in her power (with the exception of a few amusing fumbles), she doesn’t need a man and continuously tricks them to get what she wants. Slater’s Supergirl brings out the appropriate amount of gravitas and fun that Supergirl should have. Honestly, for me, it’s like watching a comic on-screen.

If you are a regular reader of my blog than you know that my favorite part of this movie is the ending sequences. When Supergirl has to escape the Phantom Zone with Zalfar, she loses her friend and has to go on alone. That moment is precious to me. It is Kara realizing her true power and strength. She has to keep moving and DARN-IT, that scene gives me chills every time I watch it.

To me, this is a perfect movie for young girls to see if they want to see a female superhero or even before they start watching the CBS show to get a feel for Kara Zor-El and the Supergirl universe. Not only is Supergirl not treated like a sex object, she is actually treated like an equal to the men around her (to be fair, the male characters are pretty much reduced to stumbling buffoons, funny but not my favorite part of the film). This is a feminist movie that isn’t trying to be a feminist movie. That’s what I love about it.

Oh Zalfar. "On Girl!"
Oh Zalfar. “On Girl!”

Sadly, it flopped in theaters and we never saw another Supergirl film. Lucky for us, the recent rise in the love of all things comics (Green Arrow, The Flash, The Avengers, etc) has brought Supergirl back to us. Later this year, CBS will launch their version of Supergirl for TV audiences. They recently released a 6 minute preview of the show and I have to admit, I am pretty psyched. Check it out if you haven’t seen it already.

It’s a long preview and it shows a lot of good stuff. It also gives us a lighter, more fun superhero show. it comes from the mind of the creators of The Arrow and The Flash which only makes me more excited. On Arrow the women are as strong as the men, they fight side by side with them. Not to mention, the action/fight sequences should prove to be beautifully choreographed. Besides all of that I have to say that I’m pleased with her costume, her attitude and oh, everything about it. It looks fun and kick-ass, a winning combination – if you ask me. I have the hope that it will be a proof to all those Execs out there that think a female-centric superhero show/movie can’t work, that lady hero’s are just as watchable as male hero’s. I mean seriously, look at Agent Carter! She was step one, let’s hope Supergirl will be step two to us finally seeing a female hero movie on the big screen.

Our new Supergirl. She looks very promising.
Our new Supergirl. She looks very promising.

I’ve read varying degrees of happiness and unhappiness about the trailer which is to be expected. I mean, you can’t please everyone, right? What irritates me is when people nit pick. For example, I saw one complaint that the guy playing Jimmy Olson isn’t wimpy or unattractive and is (gasp) being played by a black man and not a pale-faced ginger. Listen folks, it’s OKAY to change things up every once in a while if the story stays relatively true to the characters. I don’t care what color Olsen is as long as he’s a good actor. I’ve also seen complaints that they mention Superman too much. Sigh. Really? The 1984 movie talks about him a lot, they even go so far as to show a poster of him in Linda Lee’s dorm room. It’s allowed people, Superman IS her cousin and they share super powers! Seems to me that it would only be natural, as Kara finds her power, that she talks about her cousin who knows of what she speaks.

I personally am ready to check out this new Supergirl and I have high hopes for it, Lord knows I needed a win this week after the debacle that was the Jem and The Holograms trailer!

Time will tell and hopefully I won’t be writing another blog in a few months complaining about our new Supergirl.

So tell me, what do YOU think? Did you love the 1984 version of Supergirl? Did you love the comics? Are you excited for the new show? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!