RACISM. I felt like starting this post off with the most electrifying word of the moment as it is what I would like to talk about. I have spent a good amount of my life watching television and movies, and as of late have found it near impossible to not watch hours of it every day. There is way too much on TV right now. Here’s a breakdown of what my Monday through Thursday looked like this Fall TV season:
Gotham (because I want it to work so badly)
Scorpion (great show)
TUESDAY (THE BIG ONE):
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (very annoying to type that)
Sons of Anarchy
American Horror Story
Key & Peele
Big Bang Theory
That’s off the top of my head. I’d have to check my DVR for more accuracy. But needless to say I watch a lot of TV. Last Tuesday (12/9/14) was the winter finale for many shows and the series finale for Sons of Anarchy. Out of my Tuesday shows, the biggest controversy and upset I watched that night came from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I stuck through the show since that awful first 3/4 of their first season and continue to tune in because it has improved immensely, I love Marvel, and I have a grand theory of the show’s purpose in the events to come. To sum up that theory, the event that sets off the Civil War in the MCU will happen on Tuesday on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and immediately be referenced in Captain America: Civil War that Friday. Picture Speed Ball setting off Nitro in the comics, happening on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
But I digress. In the winter finale, Agent Triplett was killed off. I don’t know why it is standard for the midseason finale of dramas to kill off a character, but anyone who was surprised by the choice of who would die is lying. When I heard we would be losing an Agent, I knew immediately it would be Trip because they introduced Mack. If you can’t make that connection I’ll be blunt, there were too many black people on the show. To be fair the cast features two Asian leads in Skye and May, but to be real they’re beautiful Asian women who appeal to a white demographic; this is why I do not consider the cast particularly diverse. There was also Deathlok in parts of season one, but he was never really part of the team. So when Mack came along, the token black guy spot was overcrowded.
I honestly do not believe, or at least want to believe, that the writers of the show intentionally chose to kill off a black character. I want to believe that the reason Trip was killed off was because they saw no more use for his character, but what I truly believe is that the formula of having a token black guy is so ingrained in our society that killing Trip off was a necessary balance. Because if any character is pointless and needs to be killed off, it’s Hunter. Other than getting shot by May he is pretty much pointless. Is it the accent? We already have Fitz and Simmons if that’s the case. Hunter is a cheap Johnny Lee Miller knock off without the the Sherlock witt and lacks any redeeming values. His character is good with a gun… big whoop, Hunter’s character should be one of the nameless goons who cleans up after the real characters handle business. He’s as memorable as any nameless henchmen who wears a mask. Trip had relationships with all the main characters, he was a legacy of the Howling Commandos, and he was funny. He had a rich history and showed potential for bigger things. Hell kill off Ward, is his redemption arch really going to be interesting? Are they really trying to force the “Skye and Ward end up together” aspect? Do we need close ups on Coulson when he begrudgingly realizes Ward is on their side?
I do not hate the show and I will not stop watching because of this. By that standard I wouldn’t be able to watch most shows. I just really needed to point out the major flaw in Hollywood. Let’s call this flaw, “The Minority Quota.” As long as the quota of having a minority on the show is met, a show is allowed:
– To add as many white characters to the cast as they like
– To kill off a minority character so long as a like or acceptable minority fills the quota
References: Television & Commercials in America after the Civil Rights Movement, but predominantly in the 90’s
I could go off and list examples, but I’m sure anyone reading this thought of a few immediately. But for anyone who wants an example, The Big Bang Theory. The Minority Quota has created the Black best friend, the weird Asian person, the Mexican gangster, the one Woman who doesn’t sleep with the protagonist right away and makes him a better person to be with her, the Gay sage of advice, and many more. The Minority Quota guarantees a splash of color in an otherwise homogeneous bowl of white rice. But I think we’re all a little tired of rice.
I really just needed to vent on the subject, it’s such an outdated trope that following it is insulting. People, and I mean white people, are able to love a show with more than one minority character; look at The Walking Dead, Community, and New Girl. Colored people on a show do not have to be limited. Groups can have more than one colored friend. There is no standard to which people are grouped. So please, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and all future productions, please disregard the Minority Quota. Most of the world has moved passed it, please do the same.