I went to see Avengers over the weekend. As a longtime Marvel fangirl I was totally psyched. I may be more of an X-Men fan, but I’m perfectly happy watching just about anything in the Marvel universe.
Except there was one line in the movie that offended me enough that I was thrown out of my suspended belief and missed a good ten to fifteen minutes of the movie. Since it was adoption-related, I ranted… uh, blogged… about it over on 73adoptee: Avengers: Why Is Making Fun Of Adoption Still A-OK?
“So there I am, forgetting my woes, laughing at the gang and drooling over Chris Hemsworth, when we get this lovely little tidbit: “He’s adopted.” … What bothered me is that this is a prime example of how adoptees are one of the last fair sources of discriminatory humor. We can have a black Nick Fury, we can have a female assassin, but the bastard remains the accepted butt of any joke…” (continued at 73adoptee)
This incident got me thinking about heroes letting you down. Of all the Avengers in the movie I admire Thor the most, so to hear him deliver this offensive line was disappointing. It got me thinking of what the Tenth Doctor said about Shakespeare: “You should never meet your heroes.”
When I was five I was utterly enamored with Buck Rogers. I thought Wilma Deering as played by Erin Grey was the pinnacle of female achievement. After all, she was a pilot, just like Buck, right? I drew pictures of rockets and turned an old refrigerator box into the best darn spaceship you’ve ever seen so I could be the universe’s greatest female pilot.
For years I had a pleasant rose-colored affection for Buck Rogers… until it came out on DVD. I re-watched it as an adult and was appalled as I witnessed my idol, Wilma Deering, drop all of her 25th Century feminism to fawn over Buck’s prehistoric machismo. Ugh! What the hell was I thinking?
Speaking of Doctor Who, I find it similarly difficult to watch 1977’s “The Talons Of Weng-Chiang.” The stereotypes and racism are disturbing to a modern viewer, as is the casting of a Caucasian as a Chinese person in “yellowface”. As with Avengers, it throws me right out of the story and back into a world where even our heroes aren’t perfect.
Sometimes it’s the story showing its age, as with Buck Rogers and Weng-Chiang. Sometimes it’s indicative of modern flaws, as with Avengers. However it happens it’s disappointing, and makes our heroes just a little less heroic.
Have any of your favorite shows, movies, or books disappointed you? Have you found yourself unable to suspend disbelief as a result? Share in the comments!