Thursday, October 01, 2020

Gender Fuck Thursday: Ratched Edition

So, I finished “Ratched,” and for all its sumptuous aesthetic and lesbian relationships it’s ultimately an ungainly mess of a thing. Mind you, I absolutely loved the Technicolor candy-apple beauty of it all. And I adore the wonderfully authentic lesbianing between Sarah Paulson’s Mildred and Cynthia Nixon’s Gwendolyn. But the general nutso-chango storylines were impossible to overcome and ultimately made the whole thing a big meh.

Like, at first I was concerned the series would just turn into another “American Horror Story: Asylum” with its psychological torture of lesbians. But then the initial shock of the body gore of the first few episodes quickly gave way to an uneven earnestness and character continuity confusion. Like why hire such impeccable talents as Sarah and Cynthia and Judy Davis and Sharon Stone if you’re going to give them whiplash from their arbitrary and unearned personality changes. Ryan Murphy’s infamous narrative ADHD is plainly evident in even a short eight-episode season. In fact, through it all, instead of being truly shocking or truly thrilling or truly touching, “Ratched” winds up a mostly unmemorable and largely meaningless with its saving grace as always being some exceptional acting from some exceptional women.

And – while I am always grateful and excited for more queer women’s stories being told, especially by real-life queer women – the series still deploys the ever-present threat of the Dead Lesbian Trope (which was an explicit plot point not once, but twice – and the second time with breast cancer. Have we learned nothing from Dana Fairbanks?).

Still, goodness, don’t the ladies of “Ratched” look lovely in suits? And I guess that’s something.


Helena said...

Thank you for this insight into the series, and also for the suits. Have a good day Dorothy.

Unknown said...

Always love the visuals in his stories. I will watch this with the sound off.
Great casting choices.