Given the content of this blog, one might think I was drawn to Supergirl because the show revolves around a badass, crime-fighting female. While being very true, it isn’t the full story.
I have to admit, I wasn’t too interested in watching a female-version of Superman. I mean, I wasn’t all that into Superman or the vigilante scene to begin with.
I actually started watching because I really like Melissa Benoist and enjoyed her in Glee. Hers is the voice I wish I had. While a good amount of the characters on Glee came from Broadway and have perfectly polished voices, hers is my favorite. Her tone is so pure and clear, and her voice has a depth and earthiness that makes it so unique. And her petite size belies the power of her voice!
Also, it’s like her time on Glee was foreshadowing for this show: Dynamic Duets anyone? She sang “I Need A Hero” while in superhero gear. So… the detour is justified!
SIDENOTE: Mechad Brooks (James Olsen), Grant Gustin (The Flash), Jeremy Jordan (Winn) and Blake Jenner (Adam Foster) also have stellar voices. Quite the talented cast! And so many Glee alums (another empowering show for so many without a voice). I wonder if there’s any hope of them spontaneously breaking out into song next season…
Anyway, after I watched the first episode I was hooked. So besides the obvious, here are a few more reasons why I’ve come to love Supergirl:
- She’s Supergirl, not Superwoman
While I actually think it’s a bit of a misnomer, I’m still happy with it. The show addresses this very issue head-on in the first episode: why Supergirl instead of Superwoman?
Kudos to the writers for acknowledging a question that most viewers probably had, however, I’d be pandering if I said I agreed.
Despite Cat proclaiming she’s a girl but also a boss and empowered and rich, I didn’t buy it. Cat is beyond the point of being able to claim girlhood and I think the same about Kara. I’m now twenty-nine and feel a very real need to correct anyone who calls me a girl.
I’ve touched upon the unique power and struggle our girls face today, and Kara and Cat are out of the woods on that one. However, even though Kara is more woman than girl, I’m happy girls have a Superhero just for themselves.
Especially since Supergirl is basically covered from head to toe in a practical supersuit and not bearing midriff in shiny black leather and chains.
- Female Leads: 90% of CatCo is owned by women, The President’s a woman, God’s referred to as female, co-head of the DEO is a woman
Supergirl has a bunch of female leads in top positions: a media mogul, superhero, lead undercover agent who occasionally tells her boss/alien what to do, and, for a time, Cat’s in-house council.
While there are also excellent male leads, the stacking of women at the forefront is so refreshing and promising to see. Growing up, I aspired to be like my dad: President and CEO of his own company.
But I never had the female equivalent of him to identify with. And being female in the business world is a very different experience than being male. Cat has discussed this a few times throughout the show and it’s very validating.
So cheers to Supergirl for placing so many women in positions of power and addressing the issue straight on about what it’s like to be a female at the top. It gives girls watching the show an opportunity to pictures their future selves as powerful and confident women as well.
3. “Let’s settle this like women. What? There’s more of you here than me.” – Flash.
I damn near broke out into applause when the Flash said this. For many reasons:
-he acknowledged he was outnumbered and framed his statement appropriately
-he said to act like women, and he meant come together to efficiently settle a matter (as opposed to acting ‘crazy’)
-he included himself in that, showing that acting like a woman doesn’t mean being weak or fragile but rather being a strong and even-headed person
Beyond that, it sometimes irks me when I’m referred to as a male (notwithstanding someone calling me “Dude.” I’m from CA, I totally understand). I almost wrote a post about using words like, “Hey, you guys” to a group of people that includes women, but lost momentum with it. It still bothers me though.
Just the other day, the only dude in a group chat of women said something like, “Ok, I’ll be a bit late but I’ll see you guys at the Echo tonight.” (Emo night LA. So much fun!)
I wanted to respond with *LADIES but bowed out. There are many female-centric fights worth fighting but that’s not one of them.
4. “I don’t normally inhale” when Supergirl saved agents and that guy from some fumes… funny!
In the realm of good versus evil, it’s expected of the good guys to stay on the straight and narrow. While I completely understand this, it gets boring and predictable after a while.
Hearing Kara make a joke about not inhaling smoke was like the equivalent of my Type-A nana banging her knee and saying, “SHIT!” It’s unexpected for something not so sweet and nice to come from someone so pure and good. Or in the case of nana, a curse word coming from someone so tightly strung.
It also makes the lead character a bit more relatable and realistic. We can all be good human beings constantly trying to be better, but we are bound to fuck up every once in a while.
C’est la vie.
5. Good wins out.
There are plenty of shows dramatizing unfortunate things that happen all over the world:
-The Wire: narcotics and law enforcement in Baltimore
-Law and Order SVU: really messed up, sick, and disturbing crimes
-House of Cards: vengeful politicians cheating the law
-Breaking Bad: teacher turned BAMF meth dealer
-The vast majority of reality TV: junk food for the brain
Now I know I’ve listed a few holy grails there but please don’t hate me just yet. A lot of these very popular and successful shows depict the darker side of our world but also highlight the humanity in it.
And that’s nice.
But sometimes I just want good to win. Period. Those shows exist because messed up stuff like that actually does happen. The last thing we need is even more of it streaming through our various devices and glamorizing an awful reality.
I know Supergirl and Once Upon A Time and Vampire Diaries are all fantasy but I appreciate how much the good triumphs over evil. It’s not real but at the end of the day, after reading cases on rape or assault for law school, I want nothing more than a fantastical show where the good guys win.
We have enough depressing reality. We need more shows that promote positivity and truth and love. In my humble opinion, of course.
6. It’s passes the Bechdel Test!
And it occasionally turns the test on its head.
If you’re unfamiliar, the Bechdel Test is as follows:
- The movie/show has at least two women in it
- Who talk to each other
- About something besides a man
One of the first things I noticed was that Supergirl knocked the Bechdel test out of the park. The show has a ton of women in it who speak to each other occasionally about men but also about work, life in general, and flying around National City without being seen.
But later I also noticed that the show turned would have violated the test had it been between men and not women! For a while in the beginning, the dudes didn’t have much to talk about besides Kara. Obviously that didn’t last long but it was interesting to see that turned around.
7. Despite being an alien, she’s very human
Supergirl isn’t unattainable in terms of being like her. Well, minus her super powers of course. Desipte her impeccable timing and saving many lives, she’s not completely perfect or invincible.
She is obviously vulnerable to kryptonite, especially the red kind that makes her into an evil person. But even on a human level, she messes up occasionally. She has no idea how to speak to men she’s interested in, and she feels real pain when she and her sister are not getting along.
Occasionally she needs to ask friends to help her, which shows that it’s perfectly fine to ask for help. Our society seems to place a lot of pressure on the individual to do everything themselves since needing help is a sign of weakness. But that’s bullshit and Supergirl knows it.
8. New spin on old story
This is a favorite theme of mine: expanding on tried and true stories. I loved the sequel to Alice in Wonderland because it continues, but doesn’t really change, the story. And I sincerely hope Once Upon A Time goes on forever expanding on stories from my childhood.
Perhaps it’s just me but I appreciate the creativity and thought put into continuing a story that generations for years have loved. And Supergirl seems markedly different from all the superhero movies being put out, that seem to be on some necessary rotation where they MUST come out with another one in 2-5 years (I’m sure it’s legal in nature…)
Supergirl isn’t just another remake but a continuation of the legend that is Superman. She allows us to continue to enjoy the morals and messages Superman started years ago. And most importantly, we get to see this timeless story in the eyes of a female.
I’m really glad Supergirl got approved for a second season because I can’t wait to see what she does next! In the meantime, I’m keeping myself busy by binging on the domino effect this show has had on me: Dare Devil, Jessica Jones, The Flash, Arrow 🙂
Added after season 2:
9. The introduction of non-heterosexual characters
While I identify as straight, I really appreciated watching Alex’s self-discovery. I clearly have no idea what it’s like trying to be straight all my life and then finally finding out I’m not. But I think this plot line might help those who don’t understand what it’s like living in a society that assumes you’re straight and taking that assumption as a self-truth.
My aunt and uncle still don’t believe my cousin is pan because she’s had boyfriends in the past. What’s more, her mom ‘has a lot of experience working with lesbians’ and ‘cousin just doesn’t come off like they do.’
As with most issues, I think it boils down to communication and empathy and letting go of unfounded fear. Having more shows that include characters who are not straight is important because it opens a world to people who have a very narrow, biased opinion of non-heterosexual people.
(And for anyone who’s scared of the non-heteros due to the threat it poses to their person beliefs, don’t tell them Glee exists, SHHHHHH!)