Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blind Date

I am a huge fan of Mark Oshiro's Mark Watches blog, where he posts reviews of a series as he watches it and commenters get to laugh at how unprepared he is. Currently, he's in the middle of Buffy and Angel. I never finished Angel, so I've been haphazardly watching it with him. We had sort of differing opinions on Angel episode "1x21" so I thought I'd post my thoughts here, as spoiler free as possible.

Mark argues that the episode's villain, Vanessa Brewer is a total badass. This is true. She's a trained assassin. She's also blind. Angel should get points for this. My problem is that she is less developed than many demons on Buffy and Angel--but she's not a demon. She's a human who has chosen to blind herself.

I don't have a substantial problem with disabled villains if they're done right (see: Long John Silver), and she's at least cooler than Blind Pew. But I do have a problem with underdeveloped disabled villains whose sole goal is to kill three children (who are also blind. Not sure if this makes it better or worse) and who have their sob story made up by a lawyer (On the other hand, acknowledging this trope could be a point in Angel's favor).

I think I'd be much more okay with all of this if complimentary characters existed on the side of good in any show, Buffy, Angel or otherwise. The disabled villain exists because people tend to consider the abnormal to be frightening or unsettling. The skills the disabled gain to counterbalance their disabilities are mistrusted--something that's over-exaggerated on this episode of "Angel"--and there is nothing out there to point to to provide a positive image.

So, I would totally love this character, if she wasn't all that is portrayed on TV.


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