Word of advice to television and movie executives: stop teasing people by casting actors of color in major roles, then tossing them to the side once you get us hooked. The bait and switch tactics, and Hollywood tokenism of yesteryear may have worked before, but they won’t now. There are far too many entertainment options for us and we no longer have to settle for less. Although there are many examples I can mention, right now I will focus on Iris West from CW’s The Flash. Not to worry, I’ll get to the other characters of color wasted on popular TV shows.
The past few episodes, and more specifically, the most recent episode, Enter Zoom, have taken a toll on me . . . and many other viewers, if I go by what I’ve been reading on the internet. This game of hide and seek, where Iris is concerned, the writers/producers are playing is not working for me. At all.
Since the beginning of this season, Iris has been pushed to the side and ignored. As an investigative reporter, with many resources, she is an important part of “Team Flash”. Now that she is finally aware that Barry is The Flash, she has some involvement–though not enough for my taste– in the various meta-human cases. Whenever something major happens, she’s already around, or brought in to the loop. So why the hell would Iris not be asking more questions about Dr. Light? Why is she not investigating . . . anything? Seriously, this woman; a woman that is a freaking doppelganger for her coworker, was sent from Earth Two to kill her “best friend”, killed her boss and tried to kill said coworker. But, Iris is not looking into this. What? Give me a freaking break. Why was Iris not a major part of the episode?
But newly promoted Detective Perky is on the case. That makes as much sense as…not a damn thing. Having Patty on the case is just a way to keep “Felicity Smoak 2.0” in the story. The thing is, Iris is being kept out of the story. I’m not here for that. No. Not at all. Why is Patty Spivot being placed where Iris should be? Romance aside, what is her purpose? I know she’s in the comic books. Okay great. We are all fully aware of Guggenheim and company’s commitment to the comic. Right? Am I Right? No? No. Just ask all the Laurel and Black Canary fans from Arrow. Canon is optional. For now, forget the romance, that can be (will be) discussed another time.
So, what does it take to get promoted to detective in the Central City Police Department? A) Be on Joe’s good side B) Crush on the forensics investigator C) Be an annoying twit that follows you around gabbing endlessly until you get what you want D) All of the above.
I’m not even going to get into the major question of the night – Why the hell wasn’t Iris at Barry’s bedside when he woke up? Barry gets the crap kicked out of him, had his back broken, then was dragged around Central City like an old rag doll, and Iris wasn’t there when he came to. Oh hell-to-the-no. Seriously? Wifey Iris wipes freaking ketchup off Barry’s face when they’re on a double date (not with each other), but she’s gonna chill at home when he awakens and realizes he’s probably paralyzed. Hahahaha . . . Lolololol . . . NO! NOPE!
This garbage wouldn’t be happening if the writers weren’t baiting ship wars. Yes, flipping ship wars; I kid you not. The writers are treating fans like a bunch of teenage girls fighting over Edward, Bella, and Jacob. Jacob, right? Oh thank goodness for IMDB. Anyway, the writers are pulling out all the stops to provoke a ship war. Well, not all the stops. They seem to be taking Iris out of the running. Well, okay. Good luck with that.
I am curious why the producers of The Flash went out of their way to make it known they cast an African American woman (Candice Patton) in the role of Iris West; the canon love interest for Barry Allen. Once the show started, they proceeded to push the lead to the side for Caitlin last season, and now Patty this season. Hold on . . . I can answer my own question. By virtue of The Flash being The Flash the big wigs knew the hubbub about casting a woman of color would get attention. It was almost a given, comic book fans would give the show a shot. Arrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and other DC and Marvel shows have had success on television. They knew people would tune in. Casting people of color in major roles (Joe and Iris) would get more people to watch. Comic book fans love their comic book characters but people of color love seeing people like them on screen. Bingo! It’s the 21st century; it’s past time TV shows started reflecting the diversity of the real world. Plus interracial couples are everywhere. The CW is progressive. Right? They seem to have more brown faces on their shows than the other networks. We can make this happen.
Psych, psych motorbike! Let’s just make them think this is going happen.
After an episode or two of teasing the potential of Barry and Iris, they threw in some angst. Iris started dating dreamy Eddie Thawne. A real sweetheart and gorgeous, too. Hmm. Iris will still be part of an interracial couple, so it’s all good. The producers convince themselves they’re still progressive. Nevermind, the fact that Eddie is not Barry or a main character. Plus they kinda make Iris look like a superficial dillweed; foregoing the undying love of her geeky best friend for a relationship with the handsome blonde cop.
Iris you shallow bitch. Put Barry with Caitlin; she understands him and would appreciate him more. Who cares that she’s mourning the loss of her true love? Ronnie sacrificed himself so Caitlin could be with Barry.
Here we are in season two, Eddie is dead. He died a hero. But Barry and Iris can’t be together. It’s too soon. Iris has to mourn the loss of Eddie. Although, we haven’t seen any evidence of mourning. Well, she did have on a nice little black dress last night. We all mourn in different ways. I cry for a little while, Caitlin throws herself at Jay Garrick (Earth Two Flash) and Iris wears badass dresses.
So not only can Iris and Barry not be together, because she’s in mourning, but she’s also dealing with finding out her mother was never dead but is now dying, and she has a brother she never knew about. Didn’t you love that scene when Barry comforted her after finding out all this crap at once? No? Why not? Oh, because it never happened. What the ever-loving fu . . .fumbleberry! We’re not seeing Iris mourn the loss of her boyfriend, and to add insult to injury, we don’t get to see her deal with the emotional baggage her mother just dropped in her lap. What? But hey, Patty Spivot is quirky and cute.
Oh wait, there’s more. It’s time for Barry to sow his wild oats. I mean come on, Iris had her chance. Now it’s Barry’s turn. Enter Felicity’s annoying twin Patty “Talk Too Effing Much” Spivot. I don’t like this woman. Not because of the ship nonsense; because she’s an irritating version of Felicity. I really didn’t think that was possible, but apparently I was wrong. She’s all chatter, quirky, chatter; say something silly like Felicity did in the first season of Arrow. Been there done that. “Detective West, can I work with you? Do you want my number, Barry?” SHUT UP! What seemed cute and funny on Arrow a year and half ago, now grates like nails on a chalkboard on The Flash. Make it stop. Please!!
I see people saying she’s perfect for Barry. Why? Because she’s a geek or because she’s a pretty blonde? Now that Snowbarry is temporarily on hold because Caitlin has her nose wide open for Jay. Let’s go with Perky Patty. Yeah, whatever. I get it; Patty is part of the story. Right, okay. Again, I ask, why is she taking over the story?
A small part of me believes the writers and showrunners are going for the slow burn relationship between Barry and Iris. OOOOOHHHH. Let them see other people while always finding their way back to each other; the real endgame couple. This would be a pretty decent route to go, if the show was guaranteed to be on for a few more years and they knew that actors would be there for however long it takes for that burn to build into something significant. But those guarantees aren’t there. Are they? Did I miss the announcement that The CW was committing to the show until Marc Guggenheim and Greg Berlanti decide to pull their thumbs from their asses and put on the show the fans want to see? I mean, it is possible; but doubtful.
The writers and producers need to stop playing these games. The Flash is not the only game in town. They are not just competing with major broadcast and cable networks. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are coming up with some interesting original programming. Now, YouTube is trying to get a foot in with YouTube Red. I point that out because my son watches more YouTube than anything. Tobuscus, Markiplier and Pewdiepie have huge followings.
Plus you have people like me, who will turn off the cable box and turn on Funimation and Crunchyroll, play a video game or just read a book. Entertainment options are wide and varied. If The Flash is to remain one of my options, then the writers and producers need to stop playing games. Utilize Iris more, bring in Wally and tone down Patty. For heaven’s sake, please tone down Patty.
Marc Guggenheim and Greg Berlanti thought they were being bold when they cast Candice Patton as Iris West. I have a suggestion (a request); be bolder. Now that you have a woman of color in such a pivotal role as the canon love interest of major DC Comic character – use her. Write an amazing story for her and give her a chance to act her ass off. I have faith she can do it. Give her that moment to shine. You won’t be sorry and I bet your ratings will soar. Yeah, you may piss off a few small-minded fangirls, but it will be worth it.
Oh wait. I failed to mention Zoom is freaking awesome. Bravo, Tony Todd.