Rachel Bellwoar reviews the eighth episode of Powerless…
Is it being oversensitive to find many of the jokes in ‘Green Furious’ cruel or troubling? Is this what edgy feels like — being made to feel prudish watching a network comedy, without the slightest idea how to set the record straight? Shows, like The Office, were racy in their day but with employees offended by their workplace. Wayne Security has a staff that might find their behaviors are mostly acceptable.
That ‘Green Furious’ is an episode about workplace sexism, and gender bias in the media, doesn’t help. Demonstrations of offensive behavior are necessary to give characters a chance to respond but the examples are caricature, internet harps. Van mansplaining. Teddy calling women stupid for not thinking highly of his outfit. Before he commandeered Ron’s focus group to talk about his fashion sense (Ron actually works and acts like a professional at Wayne Security) they were meant to be assessing the merits of a Scarecrow gas mask. Teddy’s need to shift his dating surveys on them is inappropriate.
His bosses might approve. They’re in the midst of rewriting Emily’s poncho ad campaign to make it demeaning for Green Fury to star in. Emily secured the hero with the promise that the ads would push her press away from being ‘The Olympiad’s ex-girlfriend’ (as hoped, Natalie Morales gets a lot more screen time this episode). People, especially fictional, aren’t required to make the ‘right’ decision at all times but Emily tries to convince Green Fury not to drop out. The impulse passes but it’s done in the first place without conviction. The half-hearted effort looks worse than had she picked a side and argued it.
But the primary trouble spot in ‘Green Furious’ is Wendy (Jennie Pierson) and Jackie, whose impromptu bring your daughter to work day is a front. Ruby (Willa Miel Pogue) hit another child at school and got suspended. Unwilling to share her motives for hitting the boy with her mother, Ruby gravitates towards Wendy, an adult she can twin with over finding Jackie lame, and pinky swear her secrets away. Their camaraderie is both sweet and concerning. Making a verbal joke to a child about emasculating Superman? Guess there’s a place where that could be funny. Making a visual joke about emasculating Superman to a child, where Wendy has a chainsaw and test dummy, is a lot for a young girl to witness.
Jackie has a right to be upset but she expresses those feelings in a cruel, verbal takedown that calls Wendy “a barely functioning human being.” Considering the women shares a personality, if not age, with her daughter, you don’t insult her likes and dislikes, and you don’t find it convenient to wait to apologize later. Then, to have that apology be so pathetic that Wendy has to ask, “Thank you?” not say it? That’s called being mean, right? Or is that supposed to be comedy?