by Doctor Science
When I wrote about what Teen Wolf has taught me about the TV industry, I said that the sloppy way Teen Wolf had introduced the character of Cora was a mistake even bad fanfic writers wouldn't make in telling a story, so I theorize that storytelling isn't actually what these professionals are trying to do.
But as I thought about similar problems with other characters, it hit me that I'd made a stupid, stupid mistake. I can't believe I forgot that women aren't people.
It's not that they're not interested in telling stories, it's that they're not interested in stories about women, DUH!
Cut for spoilers up to Teen Wolf 4.06 and beyond.
In my earlier post, I said:
The only explanation I can think of is that the Teen Wolf writers and showrunner (TPTB) aren't actually trying to tell stories. I think they're creating snapshots or brief scenes, little dioramas or vignettes, where the aim isn't to tell a *narrative* (= events in time) involving *characters* (=virtual human beings instead of hollow frames). Instead, they want emotion-laden pictures, where all that matters is how things look, how competently that hollow frame is painted, and how much emotion the actors can put into today's lines.This was about Cora, Derek Hale's long-lost younger sister.
But I also thought about how when Lydia encountered Peter in 3.11 they had almost no lines, and it's pretty clear that it was because showrunner Jeff Davis had forgotten Lydia's season 2 character arc. And I was reminded of this issue all over again when at SDCC Davis was asked why Malia has apparently normal mental development, despite having lived as a coyote for the past 8 years, and he replied:
We were hoping the audience would forgive us for that one.In other words, they have no explanation, it was just convenient for the plot, and the character is just a device.
It's like the table in this scene from 4.03:
Is the table really Italian? Does it make sense for it to be Italian? Does the table have an Italian backstory? None of this matters, because the table is a *prop*, just there to help out the human characters.
And Cora, Malia, and even Lydia are just there to help out the *human* characters, too -- mostly by serving as "love interests". There are probably hundreds of stories in which a Hale sister or cousin meets Stiles and they become romantically involved -- as Malia has, and as Cora was intended at one point -- but those stories are written by bad fanfic writers, so we say they're "Mary Sues" and look down on them. But at least Mary Sue Hale has a backstory that makes some kind of narrative sense -- because she's written by a teenage girl who's interested in the character, who thinks about her as a full and worthwhile person. Who doesn't realize yet that women aren't people, not when Hollywood tells the story.
This is extremely frustrating and discouraging for me, because a bunch of us have been analyzing Teen Wolf recently, and we're starting to think Jeff Davis may actually be doing something really narratively interesting: telling an unusual story, and telling it more through visuals and implications than through spoken lines. Davis can think outside the Hollywood box in some ways, but not enough to consistently think of women as people. All our culture is problematic.