Friday, 4 December 2015

Strong in the broken places: I heart Jessica Jones

"SO there is this new show on Netflix about a woman who's not long out of an abusive relationship, and how she deals with the trauma of him coming back into her life, and how he manipulates everyone around her to get her attention and fuck with her head, and it deals with PTSD and self-medicating and the impossibility of getting authority figures to believe you, yet alone to convict him, and it discusses rape of the non-stranger-jumping-out-of-the-bushes variety AND doesn't even have a super-sexy titillating rape scene, and...

Oh yeah, and the two of them have superpowers."

You guys, I submit to the court that Jessica Jones is freaking amazing.

The classic superhero thing doesn't really appeal to me - it always seems to be all about fancy costumes and bombastic storylines rather than anything as humble as character. But Jessica Jones is about, well, Jessica Jones: this mardy, hard-drinking, casual-sexing, small-business-owning, abuse-surviving, fucked up, fucked off young woman. It's about how she got to be that way and what she's going to do about it. It contrasts her superhuman physical strength with her only too human emotional frailty; and, ultimately (spoiler!) it's the fact that she was so broken by Kilgrave that makes her able to defeat him in the end. ("Strong in the broken places": sometimes Papa Hemingway got it right.)

On my second viewing, I'm noticing other things that make its world seem vividly real. It's set in a New York that is not (as is so often the case in TV Land) populated entirely and inexplicably by white people. It has a load of ladygay characters whose ladygaiety is not the entire point of their characters.

It's like Veronica Mars and Buffy got together to talk about all the things they didn't get right and had a beautiful foul-mouthed baby.

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