Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ringer, "She's Ruining Everything:" The Cult of Motherhood

The second episode of Ringer aired last night, and if you're here to find out whether it looks like the show is improving, I'm sorry to say that the answer is no. I mean, there was no awful boat scene this week, but neither the plotting nor the writing is getting any better, and the tone is still wildly inconsistent. The acting is possibly the best element - this cast is pretty solid - but even that doesn't elevate the show. It's basically pretty terrible.

But there's one specific issue that bothers me, above and beyond the general poor quality! It involves some of the last scenes in last night's episode, so read on to find out what it is . . .

It's too early to tell for sure, but "She's Ruining Everything" certainly suggested that it's heading down the all-too-popular road of asserting that the only really important thing for a woman to be is a good wife and mother, and therefore that this is her primary - if not only - path to redemption.

In the case of Siobhan, we know that clearly she's been up to some questionable things. She's running from hit men, and presumably that's not because she's cheating on her husband and doesn't get along with her stepdaughter. But neither Bridget nor the show seem particularly interested in exploring that aspect of things. Instead, the evidence used to convince the audience that Siobhan isn't the good girl Bridget expected revolves around her faults as a wife and stepmother. It would be much more interesting to see what has actually gotten Siobhan into trouble than to be told again and again that she's an adulterous ice queen.

And then there's the flip side - the mirror image? Sorry! - when it comes to the portrayal of Bridget. The show is determined to believe that we'll find it shocking that someone with a checkered past could be a sympathetic character - which is in itself a problematic assumption on their part - and they constantly use scenes in which Bridget is warmer to Siobhan's husband and stepdaughter than Siobhan is as their evidence. She's hiding a body in a trunk in the middle of a party? Whatever! At least she's making sure her husband's business event goes well!

At the end of the episode, Bridget has a perfectly good opportunity to leave and escape the entire complicated, dangerous situation. No compelling reason has been given within the show for why she should not have done so. But instead, the barest hints of "we need you" from Siobhan's husband and stepdaughter make her decide to stay - and make the viewer realize the show never saw the escape as a valid option in the first place. Instead, it was a hoop for Bridget to jump through as part of the Bridget Image Rehabilitation Plan. Sacrifice her happiness and possibly her life for a family that isn't even really hers? Check! I'm assuming that next week she'll bake a pie.

1 comment:

  1. All good points! And on the flip side of in-your-service womanhood, the tough, sexed-up businesswoman partner of the husband is EVIL and a threat and sees getting pregnant as a weapon.

    Remember the photo of the blond kid in the pilot? I wouldn't be surprised if there is some backstory there — Bridget accidentally responsible for her nephew's death — that fits into the ideas you're talking about.