I’ve already made it clear my fuming hatred of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse; now I’m going to desecrate the Holy Grail of the Whedonite religion, Firefly. Before I continue, I should note that I enjoyed Firefly when I watched on DVD, immensely in fact, I also enjoyed Serenity when I watched it on DVD, however one overlooked element of the series made me throw all those DVD always: The comic Serenity: Better Days
So what was so horrible about this one comic that it negated everything that came before it? Let me summarize the plot.
The crew of Serenity finally gets their big score, and can now retire and live out their dreams, everyone except the captain is as happy as can be about this. What happens at the end of the story is that the crew comes back from a skirmish to find thieves have managed to find their secret hiding spot, all their loot has been stolen and their dreams are now shattered. On the last page the on board sex worker, confronts the captain about how strange it is that the bandits found their secret hiding place and accuses him of intentionally telling the thieves were to find it. She correctly surmises that he is already living his dream and if everyone else had their dreams come true his would be shattered.
His response: “This isn’t a ship of dream”
Her response: “Next time you do something so selfish. Try not to be so “sweet“
*Last panel deliberately framed to try to make us sympathetic to the captain*
In case you missed, it let me spell it out for you:
First, we have a male deliberately ruining the hopes and dreams of eight other human beings because their happiness would interfere with his happiness.
Secondly, We have the person that supposed to be the wisest about interpersonal relationship and is a trained legally sanctioned sex worker who has no doubt been trained to identify abusive and controlling behavior calling it “Sweet.”
Thirdly, that person calling it sweet is a woman.
Lastly, we have the author portraying the man guilty of this behavior as someone we should feel sympathetic towards.
Are we seeing problem yet!?
After I read that I immediately looked up the plot summery on Wikipedia. After all I had to be misinterpreting, no author in their right mind would write a scene like the one I described let alone a “feminist” one. I was wrong he did:
upon returning to Serenity, the crew find that they have been robbed. Inara tells Mal that she suspects he organized the robbery so the crew would remain together—unlike the others’ fantasies on how they would like to live, Mal is already leading his preferred life.
Read the underlined portion, if someone were to do something like this in real life would anyone call it sweet?
No we would call it what it is, abusive controlling behavior. Think, how is this different then, an abuser staging a robbery of his partner property so she is unable to leave him? Oh I know! Instead of doing it to one person he did it to his entire crew, that is eight other people 3 of them women. To make it even more disturbing the woman knows he did this and not only stays but calls it sweet; (tragically it is not easy for many to leave abusive situations). But what makes it most disturbing is that on some level the author expects us to agree with this assessment!
Is this feminist? No. This is glamorizing abusive, controlling behavior and it is downright sickening.