Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stereotyping "Caprica"

Muttering as she hacks up fresh meat. Cackling over the bones of jacks players past. Vowing to take vengeance into her own gnarling hands.

Until Friday night's episode of Caprica, I hadn't really thought of Willy Adama's grandma as a stereotypical crone. In a series supposedly careful about stereotyping gays and "Mafiosos," especially gay Mafia hit men, Grandma is a bit of a surprise.

She becomes the latest in a line of grasping witches (more early Into the Woods or Disney apple bearer than Witches of Eastwick) or curse-wielding gypsies. A part of me acknowledges that even Betty White doesn't always play sweet and kind older ladies any more, and stereotyping all grannies as benevolent blue-haired cookie bakers isn't any better than turning them into cleaver-wielding assassins. Still, there was something a bit over the top with the transformation from a quietly exasperated, behind-the-scenes, traditional Tauron matriarch into a bloody butcher.

This mutation was hardly subtle, unlike the casual references about domestic bliss interspersed into Sam's dialogue. I rather like his character, despite his night job. Perhaps it's because he knows exactly who he is. He kills for a living. He's good at his job. He's a professional much more so than his "respectable" brother Joseph. If his passion for his partner is as tightly focused as his passion for his vocation, I can see why Larry is a happy guy. The most recent allusion to Sam's partner--"Larry doesn't like me to come home bloody"--helps establish Sam's relationship and self-acceptance as the norm.

What's intrigued me about Caprica so far is its probably inadvertent insights into how and why Willy Adama becomes the complex, volatile, occasionally self-abusively maudlin, and thoroughly commanding presence of adult Bill Adama. Seeing how Grandma and Sam guide his adolescence explains a lot. I'm glad to have the familial backstory, even if I have to chuckle at how Lee would've been eaten alive by his relatives.

With all the hype leading to James Marsters' March debut, SyFy and even the series' creators seem to want audiences just to hang in there a few weeks longer for the exposition to settle and the action to begin. I like the backstory and character development to date. I just want to avoid the supersized helping of cackling crone so I can feast on the more subtle development of Sam.

1 comment:

  1. I take it then you havent seen much of this series then, and begun wondering as to why so much of it resembles the Roman Empire, corruption and debauchery runs uncheched, and glorified in the teachings for the young minds within the whole saga. Witchcraft, Devil worship, human sacrifices, blood and guts. What a waste of what could have been a good series. All this and not one story of explanation, to how, why, or even what we are to expect. Why kill off such a lovely caracature, then bring her back as a grotesque robot that bears no resemblance to either within the original time line, or as we are led to believe future timeline.
    All this and we are to be to think that the Cylons are ever going to become the powerful entity that we have already seen.
    Actualy the Cylons probably are the only honest bunch out there, at least they are not full of the joys we see the humans taking part in. Maybe the Cylons are the only constant in this universe, they have a purpose it seems, to put the world of man on a proper footing, man will have to re-assess his true footing, and heal from within.
    Is it any wonder that the Cylons have a bad attitude to humanity ?