Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Benson v. Rizzoli: The Butch Off

So yesterday in my Rizzoli & Isles Subtext Recap for AfterEllen, someone in comments made the very bold statement that Jane Rizzoli was more gay than Olivia Benson. Hey, don’t blame the messenger. But it is quite a question. Which super-gay, non-gay fictional police detective out butches the other? Olivia, of course, has the head start. Still Jane has the fresh momentum. It’s kind of one of life’s unanswerable chicken or egg conundrums. But that doesn’t keep us from trying. So with that I give you a point-by-point breakdown of Benson v. Rizzoli: The Butch Off. Never let it be said that I’m afraid to ask life’s big questions.

Olivia Benson
Hands: On hips
Hair: Short
Belt: Chunky
Jacket: So many buttons

Jane Rizzoli
Hands: In pockets
Hair: Lustrous
Belt: Chunkier
Jacket: So Miami Vice

Her Gun

Benson: Points for aim.
Rizzoli: Points for forearms.


Her Girlfriend

Benson: Alex Cabot

Pros: Looks great in a suit, looks great in glasses, would make out with Tina Fey on request.
Cons: Will probably bail on date night by faking her own death.

Rizzoli: Maura Isles
Pros: Looks great in a dress, looks great in a bodysuit, would tell you the Latin root to every word in the dictionary on request.
Cons: Will probably offer you food from the dead fridge.

So, ladies (and discerning gentlemen), who takes it? Who is television’s gayest lady cop? And remember, this is so posterity, so be honest.

64 comments:

Nicky said...

omg! what a great and wonderful thing to read and see to start your day off right! this is like a dream debate because no matter which side wins i'll still be happy. with that said i totally have to go with Rizzoli. Maybe it's because we know more about Olivia. We've seen her emotional side a lot more and she's been rescued by her male partner a few too many times.

Lezlie Mac said...

damn.. Tough call.
I'm gonna have to vote Rizzoli, despite the conservative cuckooness of lady Harmon and despite the obvious hottie that is Mariska.

Because well, husky voice, superexpressive frown over those dark dark doe eyes, and uh well, all the rest..
Raaawwwrrr..

;) babs said...

my dream team would be benson + isles!

theliminalstate said...

...I don't think we've ever seen Benson in a softball uniform - this fact alone tips the scales so I'll have to go with Rizzoli.

TrueTor said...

that's a tough one... i'm a long time Benson girl :) but i'm gonna have to go with Rizzoli on this one because she had some serious Cathy DeBuono moments a few episodes ago. i did some double takes watching that episode. given the chance i would choose Cathy over either of them any day... of course if you added Jill Bennett in the mix it would be the best show ever!!!

oh, i also have to go with Nicky on the seeing Benson rescued by Stabler waaaaay too many times.

also Isles may spontaneously get shot in the head, so ya know... that's a date ender.

great post Dorothy!

CAB said...

In the early years of L&Q SVU I'd have picked Benson, but now I'd have to pick Rizzoli... but how would Rizzoli stand up against Sgt. Christine Cagney?

tomgirl said...

Benson, no questions. Can't do Rizzoli's flowy hair or get past her crazy conservative personal business. And Benson has saved Stabler plenty of times. Although I will take points away from her for how she handled herself in the Kathy Griffin lesbian episode this season. That whole episode was whack, so I'll blame the writers for that one. Plus, I think Olivia could hold her own against Christine Cagney. And I've seen Ms. Hargitay on the streets in NY a few times. And if you think she's hot on screen...mmm mmm mmmm...

lauwer said...

haha best post ever!!Olivia and Alex have been my long time (fanfic) crush, while Rizzoli and Isles are my current fav. tv couple (gay that is, if u could call m that).
Anyway Olivia in the earlier years (short spikey hair) is waaaay butchier than Jane because she dresses butch and never has a boyfriend/love interest. But the latest version of Benson (S11) is no match for Rizzoli. Then again I think the R&I writers put in sooo many lesbian stereotypes/hints, Dick Wolf (L&O creator) would never do that..

Anyway right now, Rizzoli wins, hands down!

Meschuggene said...

"I'd be the guy" ... even Rizzoli thinks that Rizzoli would win this ;-)

lookatthestar said...

Benson all the way..Rizzoli is a lil futch for me though, hey i'm just saying! ;p

Anonymous said...

Neither of them are considered MORE BUTCH in my eyes because I have a new rule of not pretending people are gay on television until they kiss. So even though her kiss was a forced one: a resultt of an ambush by Kathy Griffin Olivia took the lead but then lost it with her stereotypically anti gay remarks.

In my eyes Rizzoli only has momentum because of her "husky" sounding voice, but for me it's hard to imagine Isles as a lesbian, after all she's the duaghter in-law of legendary actress Sophia Loren.

Noetic_Hatter said...

Nice Princess Bride reference.

I just downloaded the show on iTunes yesterday, so I am looking forward finally to watching it. I think ultimately it's win-win whomever you choose.

Anonymous said...

Benson all the way!

And I have to agree with tomgirl. Ms. Hargitay is just...mmm..mmm..mmmm...

Emz said...

Now that Angie has said she loves the gays I'll have to go with Rizzoli, but that's only because of Benson in season 11, ugh too femme, but can I have them together, pretty please with Tina Fey on top?

Anonymous said...

...I'm sorry - what was the question??

What? No pics of Benson and Abbie Carmichael, season 1 ADA?

buddyroe said...

Rizzoli comes off so flirty and confident (dominant?) with random women that it's tough to see her as 100% straight. Benson only seemed gay for Cabot and never vibed for me with anyone else.

Attitude: +1 Rizzoli

In a scrap, Benson would beat Jane to a pulp. But then she'd totally cry a river, because Violence Against Women!!

Physicality: +1 Benson

Meaningful Cabot/Benson interaction existed almost purely in fandom (thanks fer nothin' Dick!), while Rizzles get almost weekly hand-holdy, gun-teachy, wine-in-bed, hug-a-woman-with-my-legs-in-friendship moments.

Girlfriend: +1 Rizzoli

My winner: Jane "Stop this crazy thing!" Rizzoli

Anonymous said...

Olivia Benson is the hottest cop on tv. Add Alex Cabot, the hottest ADA on tv and you have a badass duo.

Mariska Hargitay and Stephanie March are gorgeous and had tremendous chemistry on the show. Too bad Dick Wolf couldn't see that.

EG said...

Rizzoli hands down! Sorry Olivia!

MormonLesbian said...

Rizzoli played field hockey. End of discussion.

lelenuccia said...

rizzoli! rizzoli! rizzoli! standing ovation from italy for rizzoliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

acidburn said...

If it was Benson from the earlier seasons of L&O she would win hands down. But since they've femmed her up quite a bit these past few seasons, I would say Rizzoli wins this time.

To make it more confusing, you should check out Emily Prentiss from Criminal minds. She's kinda butchy to and would give these 2 a run for their money.

Miss J said...

Always gonna go with Benson, and I have to admit it's simply because of Harmon's defense of Miss CA's anti-gay marriage answer and comments she's made in the past...what can I say? I hold onto a grudge like it's the last chocolate chip cookie in the world.

PLUS Hargitay is totally pro-lesbo, it helps with the fantasy when the reality isn't bigoted.

sue said...

i'm totally a benson lover..my dream is that she's a woman who would be 'gay for pay'...and alex was 'gay for fey' so that makes it even better..it keeps my dream alive ;)

Anonymous said...

Benson, hands down!!! (I like her girlfriend better than Rizzoli's too...)
While Rizzoli is badass and butch in her own way, Olivia is the BEST. No contest. This was such a fun little read and conundrum!

TaylorBoi said...

I have to vote Benson just because I've been following her for so long. Also? I have a huge thing for Alex Cabot. It's the voice.

Anonymous said...

Ignoring all talk of actresses politics and just looking at the butchness factor... Benson might seem butcher sometimes but Rizzoli is the one that always seems really gay.

Thusly, Rizzoli all the way for an actual butch.

+ The Voice
+ Actual gay subtext that make the LezYay so blatant my straight friends notice it within 5 seconds of being introduced to the show
+ Keeps calling Isles things like "honey" or "sweetie" and treating her like her totally femme girlfriend

Anonymous said...

Rizzoli all the way. But I'd kill to see her with Cabot from the early years. I didn't like Alex as much when they brought her back recently, even if Stephanie March is still mighty fine.

Anonymous said...

Rizzoli! Her voice did it for me :) Also I think she walks butch.

kennedyismyhero said...

Oh my gawd, no contest. Rizzoli - hands down.

Benson, in her heyday, might have been a contender but now she doesn't have the butchy short hair, constantly wears inappropriate clothing for a cop, and if I have to see one more set up for her dating a dude, or making googly-eyes at Stabler just so the TPTB can show she ain't batting for our team...ugh.

And for all those who nitpick Rizzoli for Angie Harmon's past stances on the gays, Mariska Hargitay is just as douche-y. She's said over and over, not to mention vehemently, that there's no way Benson was gay, to the point where it sounds like she's taken offense to the implication.

Olivia Benson (circa 2003) vs. Jane Rizzoli (current), may be a contest but facts are facts. I'm with CAB, and would be more curious to see a match up between Rizzoli v. Cagney.

Anonymous said...

i never saw olivia benson as butch, just as a white hot, complicated, gun toting, ass kicking rapist catching straight woman i'd like to try (for as long as it takes) to flip. i was just too blinded by the hotness to overanalyze it.

but this rizzoli chick couldn't be more intentionally butch in such a manipulative way that it's a complete turn off.

as far as the women behind the characters, they don't get much more femme than marisa, nor much more ambiguous despite the political stance (hiding something?) than harmon.

Anonymous said...

Neither compare to Prentiss of Criminal Minds (and she had her girlfriend too - JJ and/or Jordan)

Anonymous said...

but this rizzoli chick couldn't be more intentionally butch in such a manipulative way that it's a complete turn off.

I think this is what really nails it for me. I enjoy the show and Angie is a gorgeous woman but the way the writers keep playing to the lesbian fans is a turn off.

I've always had a soft spot for tall, dark, brooding cops and Mariska pulls it off beautifully. I also like that the subtext between Olivia and Alex was never intended by the writers but it happened along the way because the actresses had a lot of chemistry.

Anonymous said...

Cagney had plenty of dates and they weren't with Cagney or Miss California. They were with guys. As for Benson and Rizzoli, I'm a big fan of the old Benson with the short hair and the swagger. I'm also a fan of Alex Cabot, but Alex is gone and rumor has it that Benson and Stabler are finally hooking up. As much as I hate Harmon's politics and the world of subtext, she and Isles reign supreme.

Natalie said...

Rizzoli, no question. Hair length has nothing to do with the butch quotient of these two women. Rizzoli is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more butch in everything she does. The end.

Liz said...

Stop this madness! Where is your loyalty, lezzies?!

Olivia Benson all the way!

Provocative Jane said...

I'd have to say, Angie Harmon. In addition to a GREAT NAME for a CHARACTER I think I would screw up moaning "Mariska" and then have to try and finish our female romp in giddy laughter.

Perhaps one day the producers will merge the two shows as they do every now and again...and we can have a subdued sexually undertoned foursome! My idea, I own the rights.

Anonymous said...

Olivia/Mariska, no question about it.

betsey said...

I have to go with Rizzoli just for that damn smokey voice. Also, I'd like to give bonus points to Anonymous @1156 for using the term "mighty fine." Also x2, I'd just like to say to Provocative Jane, Mariska is easy to say if you say it in a Russian accent like I do:) Ohhh, Mah-dee-skah!

Maxine Dangerous said...

BENSON, forever and ever, Goddess bless America. :D

Beatie said...

Have to say Benson. Not sure Rizzoli would look as good with short hair.

Maya said...

Definitely will have to go with Rizzoli.

Anonymous said...

As of now? Rizzoli...all the way.

I say up to Season 5ish of SVU it would be a hard call, but at this point hell, Abbie Carmichael could out-butch Benson ;)

Salicia said...

Rizzoli!
I don't even go for butches normally, but Angie needs to cuff me to something right NOW to show me just how much she loves the gay...
Rizzoli & Isles is just very slightly less gay than a TiBette sex scene.

Anonymous said...

I my mind its Benson. I have imagined her and Alex in so many ways its scary. But facts being facts, Rizzoli is actually really really butch and gay on tv and not just in my imagination. And despite Mariska supposedly being more left than Angie... Angie sure seems to embrace the gayness in her roles (not just this one... I mean did you see Womens Murder Club... if she wasn't a republican I would swear Angie was the best lesbian ever) So, while Benson has lead to alot more imaginations being peaked, Rizzoli has actually just been really gay so she has to win. Maybe SVU can go out with a bang this season and finally do something worth while with Benson and Cabot.

crazylikeafox11 said...

Totally commenting before reading the post, but I'd like to say that the chicken or the egg mystery was recently solved.

[spoiler]The chicken came first.[/spoiler]

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/14/tech/main6676542.shtml

Anonymous said...

It's no contest Rizzoli, hands down. I was never a Benson fan or a LOSVU , for me if you've seen one you've seen them all. I also resent the we can and we will walk all over civil rights but; don't be alarmed it's for the good of all, brain washing crap.

Rizzoli and Isles is silly and fun. I'm over Harmon's political stuff, so I just laugh and enjoy the heck out of the constant flirting, a whole lot more then watching constant civil rights violations.

Plus Harmon has to be the hottest repugnit on the planet. It's ok I slam Democrazy's too.

Anonymous said...

I mourn for the Benson and Cabot of yore, even if they never benefited from blatant hoyay! R&I throws out consciously and exuberantly by the fistful. And both characters have been desecrated by their creators over time, whereas R&I is shiny and new (like the Loveboat!). SVU was gritty NYC, tense and closeted, Boston is a place where murder is evidently not so messy and even kind of fun, a place where you can flirt crankily with your girlfriend over the corpse. I think we're dealing with apples and oranges. But just for 'butch', I think early Benson for the style and the attitude. Rizzoli has long flowing locks, so maybe she's just more of an overgrown tomboy.

Tinsoldieress said...

My vote is definitely in Rizzoli's corner. Olivia didn't have the same kind of disdain for all things feminine like Jane seems to be showing.

Great post, as usual. I especially loved the quote from "The Princess Bride".

Anonymous said...

Well, I have a thing for Alexandra Cabot and only her...does that count?

Seriously, if I were to choose, I'd go with Rizzoli; mainly because of Mariska's homophobic hot @ss. And for the record, Benson is SO not butch nowadays! Have you even seen the last 5 seasons?

Anonymous said...

Okay, that's not a very flattering photo of Alex Cabot.

Here http://l.yimg.com/eur.yimg.com/i/fr/tv/s/convi11.jpg

*swoon*

And please! Benson butch?! Now? Um..no! Don't think so. She's now more femme than Dr. Isles and her shoes!

Anonymous said...

Great post! But to leave out the hottest ultimate Mossad assassin, Cote de Pablo, who plays Ziva David, on NCIS...! Not only can she shoot 2 guns at once, but she can also throw a knife through a heart at 30 paces...Oh My! Such an omission...! ...well it is only excusable if you don't watch it! ... maybe it's time to start! But if I had to pick between Benson and Rizzoli...I'd pick Rizzoli for plain HOTness.(that voice alone) I know Hargitay is the offspring of one of America's legendary pinup girls...but then came Harmon. Enough said!

ysubassoon said...

As for the Butch Off, I stand by Olivia Benson. Short or long hair, it doesn't matter (clearly, since Jane's hair is longer than Olivia's has ever been. Butch women are still human; they are allowed to ask for help. Sometimes we all need a little saving. Being tough is one thing, but let's not ask butch women to keep themselves bottled up until they explode, like we have asked men to do for millenia. Olivia is now, after several years of asking for and receiving help, beginning to understand that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Jane and Maura are cute and fun and make a great pairing for femslash, but my heart remains with Alex and Olivia, who have survived so much death and pain and trauma, who have broken the bond of trust several times, while working feverishly to repair it. To have gone through so much, and yet to still be drawn together, is a testament to a deep, unshakable love. I am compelled to root for them because such love is rare, and it gives me hope that I may find it myself again someday.

Gia said...

Honestly I'd call it a tie. All the signs are there for Benson but the writers for Rizzoli and Isles are just more upfront about it.

Plus we all know Benson and Rizzoli had a fling back in Angies Carmichael days on SVU. ;)

I'll always be a Benson girl, so much to the point shes tattooed on my leg.

perfectflaw75 said...

A Butch Off! Brilliant!

Hm. Apart from the fact that Olivia's watch is chunkier than Jane's, I am missing her short 'do.

While Alex and Olivia oozed natural chemistry (without Dick adding to it), Rizzoli & Isles's writing team seem to be adding to it.

Jane has the voice, but Olivia has the girlfriend...

The verdict's still out on this one ;)

sally said...

Thank you so much for talking about this show! I'm addicted, cheesy as it is. I love the chemistry and the relationship and the subtext.

I usually am more attracted to feminine women, but damn I love Rizzoli. I think I do want Isles even more, but AH is so deliciously hot and sexy when she's butch.

And here's one for your next SGALGG-http://wimheitinganl.wordpress.com/category/angie-harmon/

Check out the first two. I love where SA has her right hand! I can't say that I blame her.

Anonymous said...

rizzoli all the way! :)suph

Ellen said...

Rizzoli....I mean she SHOT herself to get the bad guy...hot hot hot

Anonymous said...

I've watched L&O SVU since the beginning and I use to think that the creators meant for Benson to be gay but then backed out when they realized how popular Mariska was. Now, I'm just confused watching Benson because truthfully, it doesn't seem like even she knows what she is.

That said I have to go with Rizzoli as more butch. The walk, the physicality and that voice- panty peeler.

I'm waiting for the L&O SVU R&I crossover event.

Diamond Grrl said...

I'm going straight up Rizzoli on this one. Benson used to totally own it, but ever since Cabot left AND she didn't try to get her back when she was subbing for SVU, I'm a little done with her. Rizzoli has gone speed dating in a lesbian bar and hello, multiple sleep-overs with Isles in the same bed?! Yeah, she totally wins.

To be fair, though, I think Kate Beckett from Castle should be tossed into the running... We just have to get her an available Manhattan ADA to date...oh wait, Cabot is an available Manhattan ADA. Hmmm....

Alex said...

So I'm a little late to the game, but I loved this and had to add my thoughts.

I have been crazy about Olivia for years, and when she's got her butch on, it is some serious sexiness. Without Alex, though, she seems to have lost some of her spice.

Rizzoli - well, she's a lefty. I know that's really due to Lady Harmon, but you know what they saw about the left-handed ladies. It kinda sealed the deal for me.

I'm going Rizzoli because we actually get the cuddling and hand holding, and even better eyesex than we had with Alex and Liv. It's all about the gratification of the butchiness.

But I will take either one with Tina Fey on top! :D

Anonymous said...

How bwt we put Rizzoli & Benson

Anonymous said...

How bwt we put Rizzoli & Benson

Candice said...

Even with all of the gay undertones in Rizzoli & Isles, it seems pretty clear that Jane and Maura are just best friends. I act the same way with my best friend, so realistically, I feel that the characters are straight.

Jane and Olivia are both quite tough, but I'm going to have to go with Olivia. Not much has been said about her personal life over the years, and I think that femininity has nothing to do with being gay.

So in my opinion, Olivia is definitely the gayer of the two.

Plus, Mariska Hargitay is THE sexiest woman to ever walk the planet, so there's that.

Cabson said...

No doubt about it. Detective Olivia "Badass" Benson.

I like R&I but I love SVU.

Even the blind guy on the stairs of the courhouse sees the Chemistry between Alex and Liv.

Olivia would kick everybody's ass that comes to close to Alex.

With Jane and Maura it is more bff's.

Alex and Liv goes way beyond bff.

A small example: The look in Alex's eyes in epi "PG". Alex looks at Liv like she wants her for breakfast, lunch, diner and dessert all in once. Not to mention the closeness between them in most of their scene's.

Jane said she doesn't know if she would die for Maura but that she it comes close.

Olivia will give her live any time for Alex if it's safes her live. Without a doubt.

So definantly Olivia.

Plus she has the most stunningly beautiful girlfriend ever: Alex Cabot with and without those damn sinfully sexy black glasses.