As an aspiring television writer and avid watcher, it is easy to get especially upset over a whack storyline on one of your favorite shows.
Sometimes you just think "well that wasn't well thought out" or "that was poorly executed." Many of these storylines can be hurtful and problematic for multitudes of reasons. What the writers of mainstream television need to do, is realize that they are at the center of a medium that has one of the biggest audiences in our nation. As media makers and influencers, we all need to do a little better in the messages that we are telling our audiences if we want a better world. Change does not happen without change!
1. The entire Aria and Ezra relationship on Pretty Little Liars.
I'm not going to lie to you, this show became a guilty pleasure of mine near the end of the series. However, it is a straight up soap opera that somehow has a target audience of tweens. Aside from the thousands of various plot holes it had, PLL had one huge issue through the entire series; statutory rape. From the pilot, almost every fourteen to seventeen-year-old character on the show dated someone that was well above the age of eighteen. This included but was not exclusive to your friendly, small town police officer, your not-so-friendly police officer, your older sister's boyfriend, your sister's fiance, your dead younger sister's best friend, your dead sister's other best friend's mom, and of course your "hot" high school English teacher. The couple "innocently" met and hooked up at a bar in the first episode--why a fifteen-year-old was sitting at a bar on a Sunday afternoon, I'll never know. They meet again the next morning in First Period on the first day of school. Come to find out years later that Mr. Fitz was actually dating Alison before she disappeared, and had spent the last year researching and starting a true crime novel about Alison. So yeah, he knew exactly who Aria was, how old she was when he met her that day in the bar. While the relationship was seen as taboo for a majority of the series, the reasoning was almost always exclusively that Ezra Fitz had originally been Aria's teacher and in a position of power where he could easily have taken advantage of her. Not that he had been watching her for a year beforehand, not that he manipulated and lied to her for years. This romantic relationship goes back and forth and in and out of secrecy for SEVEN SEASONS, and to top it off they actually got married in the series finale.
2. The big reveal of Dan being the infamous Gossip Girl.
Well since Dan was supposed to be the most "genuine" character on Gossip Girl, I guess one could say it was a good twist. More importantly, though, he wrote some really f*cked up shit on that website about not only his girlfriend and her friends but especially his own little sister. In the end, Dan turned out to be just another sad white boy, we really should have seen this coming from the start.
3. Olivia and Fitz on Scandal.
Excuse my french but I am so mother f*cking over Olivia and Fitz that I am almost glad that we will only have to watch this bullsh*t for one more season. I take that back, but I think you all can agree. Olivia Pope is dope AF but I wanna throw my remote at my TV every time her lip quivers at Fitz. Their relationship is dysfunctional, and also happens to take up a shit ton of unnecessary time away from both of them running the country. Fitzgerald Grant The Third is a whiny man-child, no wonder the only way he could become the President of the United States was to rig the election. BOY, BYE!
4.Ted Mosby and Barney Stinson.
How I Met Your Mother had some really good qualities but the entire nine season series was incredibly sexist, to state the least. The entire premise of the show itself centers around Ted who is the ultimate sad whiny white boy, as he tells his children the story of how he met their mom. However, we do not even see the mother, Tracy, until the last episode of the eighth season, but boy has he put her on a pedestal by the time we get to that. The whole ninth season is an honorary mention on the list when a few episodes in the audience learns that Tracy gets killed off. And then at the end, Ted ends up with his best friend Robin whom he has also put on a pedestal, despite her constant reminders that she is not romantically interested. Ted cried "friend zone" and I called bullsh*t. Prior to that, Robin had been married to their best friend Barney who had proposed to her by lying to her for months and making her life a living hell in order to make "one last play" at her to surprise her. Robin's character is used as a tool for these two f*ckboys to leach out all of their insecurities. Despite popular belief, women are human beings.
5. Dean and Rory's relationship on Gilmore Girls.
Rory Gilmore has especially bad taste in men but Dean is a super douche, so it was no surprise when late in Gilmore Girls he decides to get married, and then have an affair with Rory. When his wife found out, the show took the cliché route of her throwing all of his things out the window while screaming for everyone in Stars Hollow to see. Was anyone else wishing they could dance on all of his clothes when they were strewn across the sidewalk/front lawn?
6. Nancy Botwin.
At first, the show was fun; not a ton of shows were about marijuana at the time and the first couple seasons of Weeds were entertaining. The whole time you can't help but think, Nancy is stupid and selfish. Every decision she makes benefits her, while usually hindering or harming her family and loved ones. Nancy Botwin is one of my least favorite characters in TV history.
7. The last couple seasons of Dexter.
Dexter was a phenomenal show, until the last couple seasons when they took a headfirst dive into concrete. First, there was the whole incest storyline when Debra suddenly realizes that she's actually in love with her adoptive brother Dexter. They might not have been related but they were raised together by the same people from a very young age. ICKY. Then they decided to end the show by killing Debra off and then having Dexter abandon his child with Rita, leaving him with girlfriend Hannah somewhere in Europe all to become a lumberjack in like Oregon or something? Biggest letdown in TV history.
8. The overwhelming and nauseating white male gaze in 'Love.'
The production quality on this show might be great, but the story itself wreaks of misogyny, toxic masculinity, and our toxic monogamy culture. Gus' insecure, sexist attitude makes me want to punch him in his stupid face. Mickey's constant need for Gus to take care of her is problematic AF. Especially in the last couple episodes of season one when the writers decide to randomly have Mickey declare herself a "sex and love addict." First of all, this is a real thing and this blase approach to it is harmful to those individuals actually struggling with these issues to life. It also reinforces the harmful stereotype that if a woman enjoys sex and intimacy, that means she has a mental illness. Sex is actually fun for people other than straight cis men. On top of that, it validates the awful term of declaring a human being as "damaged." I HATE this title. We all have baggage, get over yourself.