Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Favorite Thing About Pitch Perfect 2... (SPOILERS)

I realize this post has an inane title; it's basically because I couldn't come up with a more specific title that didn't include spoilers. And now I'm rambling about that fact in order to give a little buffer space here, because yes, some spoilers for Pitch Perfect 2 are below, so if you care about that you should click away now!

I liked Pitch Perfect 2 a lot in general, but my favorite thing about it was really the lack of something. I loved the way they handled Skylar Astin's character Jesse. I liked the development of Beca and Jesse's relationship in the first movie, and I was so afraid that they would break up and get back together in the second just for the sake of drama - partially because I hate the idea that happy, functional relationships have no place in fiction, but also because it seemed unnecessary and like it would pull focus from Beca's story.

I was all ready for the movie to try to give Jesse his own story, or to make Beca's story about him - to make him jealous of her success, or to suggest that her busy-ness was making him feel neglected. But they avoided all of these easy, traditional options. Instead, he was just there, clearly proceeding with his own life but, for the purposes of this story, present as an interested, supportive boyfriend, popping up to yell "That's my girl!" whenever Beca did awesome things but never making the audience think about him other than in relation to her, because it wasn't his story. And that was just so refreshing.

This partially jumped out at me because of recent discussions on Tumblr about the character arc of Andrew (the male lead/love interest) on Classic Alice, in which show creator/writer Kate Hackett said this:
1. This is Alice’s story, not Andrew’s. She’s our focus and always should be. Even within the story, this is Alice’s story & not Andrew’s. He’s focused on her within the narrative for the story you guys get to see. But bigger picture, I didn’t want to write a story about a dude. I wanted to write a story about a lady human.
There are so many stories about dudes. So, so many. And there are so many stories in which ladies exist purely to support or service the dude's story. And yet when a story revolves around a female character, it's so common to see almost automatic reactions of "But what about the guys?" With their treatment of Jesse, the writers of Pitch Perfect 2 make it clear: This is not a man's story, and that's okay.

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