1.03 - House of Cards

Rate every episode of The New Avengers.

Rate 'House of Cards'

10
3
17%
9
4
22%
8
5
28%
7
4
22%
6
2
11%
5
0
No votes
4
0
No votes
3
0
No votes
2
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 18

Lhbizness

Post by Lhbizness »

Frankymole wrote:
Lhbizness wrote:No, the joke, I think, is that "women are like horses." That's the joke. We're not meant to be confused, no until Steed's final sentence about selling Tara to an Arab Prince who tried to shoot her. Then we realize what he's actually talking about.
Can't you even see there's an alternative interpretation (one that actually makes the joke funny) - a misunderstanding?

What do you mean when you say "the camera shots compare them to horses"?

(Btw Steed is often compared to a horse - not least in your sig!)
The way the scene is visually set up reinforces the comparison between the three women and the three horses. Each woman is set-up both verbally (via Steed's dialogue) and visually (the visually similar arrangement of the photographs of the women and the horses, the intercutting of the dialogue with shots of the women's photographs) in comparison to one of his award-winning horses. The fact that Steed is in his riding costume further reinforces the visual implications - he's the "rider" who has broken them. The whole effect, cinematically, is to establish a relationship between the horses and the women that goes beyond the verbal misunderstanding - Steed might not be consciously comparing them to horses, but the episode itself is.

Steed being compared to a horse happens a lot, but you'll note that he's usually the one embracing that aspect - he has verbal command of the appellation in both The Golden Fleece (where my signature comes from) and in The Little Wonders ("the derivation is equestrian"). In The Golden Fleece, the joke is between Steed and Cathy, and one which Steed embraces; in The Little Wonders, it's a name he gives himself. What's more, comparing a man to a horse is usually viewed as complimentary in terms of a man's masculinity and sexual prowess, while comparing a woman to horse invariably references the idea of being "broken" by the male rider, or having the whip taken to them - as, indeed, this scene demonstrates.

But it really comes down to visual/verbal power or lack thereof. Steed is in control of the language used about him; the three women are not. They are absent, pictures on display, not characters capable of participating in the scene. The language is directed AT them, not to them. For instance: if Emma Peel comes in and says, "Oh, I'm one of your fillies?" and laughs, that's a very different scene than if someone else says, "Oh, she's one of your fillies?" and laughs. In the first instance, she's in control of the language being used and is making a joke about herself; in the second, she's the object of the joke, and cannot participate in it. This is the element that bothers me in certain TNA scenes, and not just in terms of sexuality - the jokes are fine as long as they are reciprocal, but so often the jokes are made about a character who is unaware or incapable of response (as in the scene in To Catch A Rat that also bothers me).

I see where this scene is interpreted as nothing more than a misunderstanding - which, on the surface, it is. But I also see that it is problematic, occurs early in the series and establishes a slightly nasty and dismissive attitude to all three original Avengers women. The fact that it's "just a joke" doesn't particularly excuse it from the sexism on display. It does bother me because of its implications - if this was TNA's only instance of casual sexism, I'd probably easily pass it over, but it's very much a part of a persistent problem untempered by greater narrative complexity. Call it overanalyzing if you like, it's still there in the fabric of the show.

Anyways, that's my basic analysis of the scene. You don't have to agree and you don't have to think about it that much or that way - it's just a scene that bugs me, especially as it's in an episode I otherwise enjoy.
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Post by shaunodan »

Another interpretation- Steed is having a bit of fun ; he's well aware that this girlfriend is not looking at the pictures of Steed's horses but responds for effect as if she is :!: Is this girlfriend totally unaware of Purdey :?: :lol:
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Post by Frankymole »

Lhbizness wrote: I see where this scene is interpreted as nothing more than a misunderstanding - which, on the surface, it is. But I also see that it is problematic, occurs early in the series and establishes a slightly nasty and dismissive attitude to all three original Avengers women.
By showing their pictures and acknowledging them, it's the opposite of dismissing them and the past, which the NEW Avengers had a perfect right to do as it's a reinvented series and such series (like new Dr Who) often distance themselves from what has gone before, to establish their own identity. I'm glad the previous partners were given an affectionate nod.

If they'd give the 4th original Avengers woman, Venus Smith, a dismissive/insulting gesture I'd have been cheering!
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Lhbizness

Post by Lhbizness »

Frankymole wrote:
Lhbizness wrote: I see where this scene is interpreted as nothing more than a misunderstanding - which, on the surface, it is. But I also see that it is problematic, occurs early in the series and establishes a slightly nasty and dismissive attitude to all three original Avengers women.
By showing their pictures and acknowledging them, it's the opposite of dismissing them and the past, which the NEW Avengers had a perfect right to do as it's a reinvented series and such series (like new Dr Who) often distance themselves from what has gone before, to establish their own identity. I'm glad the previous partners were given an affectionate nod.

If they'd give the 4th original Avengers woman, Venus Smith, a dismissive/insulting gesture I'd have been cheering!
I can only repeat what I said earlier, as to why I think this is a dismissive and semi-nasty way of going about it. The women are acknowledged in the same breath as they are compared visually and verbally to horses, their characteristics boiled down to the exact same language used in describing a trio of animals. Their importance, both to Steed and to the show, is initially lauded and then diminished, and the whole scene is indicative of a persistent issue in TNA.

At least they're shown as having importance to Steed by the presence of their photographs; to the show, they're objects to be made fun of. There's nothing positive (for me) in acknowledging a show's past in order to make it into the object of a bad joke. The affection is far more present in the brief return of Emma Peel, and the little nods in showing the names of Cathy, Emma, and Tara in The Last of the Cybernauts.
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Post by Dan »

Gave it a 6 - I usually like episodes featuring Cold War adversaries but the plot in this one has way too many plausibility problems.

As to the "women as horses" scene, my take is that Steed was aware of the actual pictures Jo was asking about but in order to avoid answering her question he confused the issue by talking about the horses instead.
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