Jessica Jones

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Controversy or Consciousness in Marvel Netflix?

Comic books, back in the day, were the dose of tiger balm to the congested chest. They were painful narratives that made us think, that put our problems into the perspectives of a false world so a hero could show us they can be solved and the villains of our lives vanquished. Unfortunately, the solutions are solely on the page or on the screen, now with the Netflix series’ of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, but does that erase the effect they have on us as viewers and readers?

Do the shows take some issues too far? Present them too blatantly or too straight-forward for escapism?

Are they too real and too relevant? Or exactly what we need?

  • Something else to consider would be whether or not the intention of comic books is still escapism. As entertainment becomes increasingly politicized, the escapism aspect may sit on a balance with a desire to provide political commentary. If you wanted to do that more broadly, too, you could look at the balance of escapism and commentary in modern comic books or their adaptations (like Daredevil/Jessica Jones/Luke Cage), which I feel like is what you might be trying to do. There's an excellent article about Ta-Nehisi Coates discussing his run of Black Panther which touches on this --> – Sadie Britton 7 years ago
  • I think the subjective nature social consciousness makes this a hard question to answer. Comics have always run the gamut from utterly ridiculous to uncomfortably real but a lot of that is in the personal interpretation. Most comics aren't going to be as clear in their messaging as Captain America punching Hitler in the face. The X-Men arose as an allegory for the Civil Rights movement but not every white comic reader in the 60s was thinking "I see, this is like how we treat black people". However black comic readers may have connected with the story in a different way. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage both seemed overtly political but technically were recreations of plot lines that were decades old. When Brock Turner is making headlines, Jessica's inability to consent holds more weight. When Black Lives Matter plays a large part in the political sphere, a bulletproof black guy (in a hoodie) holds more weight. Your environment and your gender/racial/sexual identity change whether you view it as a nice work of fiction or a very political one. – LC Morisset 7 years ago
  • Whoever decides to write a piece about this topic, must keep the line about comic books being "the dose of tiger balm to the congested chest." Otherwise, no success will be achieved. – T. Palomino 2 years ago

Apathy and Television

Explore the idea of apathy when it comes to engaging with certain TV series. This was something I particularly felt with the recent third season of Jessica Jones, a show I was only still watching out of a sense of loyalty and completion, having worked through the previous two seasons.

Do we now remain tethered too long to TV shows we otherwise would have apathetically abandoned due to a feeling of commitment? If we travel so far with a show, should we stick with it, come what may? Or if a show just isn’t working or has lost its way, should we be prepared to abandon ship even close to the end, forsaking the cathartic feeling of completing a journey with a TV series?

  • This is a fascinating psychological question. It brings to mind series that have gone on for over ten seasons, like The X-Files and Supernatural. What keeps people watching--is it loyalty, or a more concrete sense of identity, like fandom and community? – Eden 5 years ago
  • Nice topic. The advent of binge-watching certainly helps or hinders, depending on how you flip that pancake. I wonder what role that plays in apathy and TV. – Stephanie M. 5 years ago

Jessica Jones and Kilgrave as Mental Illness

Netflix’s Jessica Jones was released in November 2015 and has had a great response over the past few months. Mental illness is something the protagonist struggles with in the form of PTSD. The villain, Kilgrave, has the power to control the minds of others. He is also the cause of Jessica’s PTSD and haunts her through just the knowledge of his existence. To what degree is Kilgrave representative of various forms of mental illness? Can the metaphor of Kilgrave=mental illness be extended to depression, anxiety, attachment issues, schizophrenia, etc.? Are certain aspects of mental illness shown in the show through him? (I.e. No one believes in his existence=mental health stigma, people who have been "kilgraved" constantly fear his return, etc.)

  • I'm very interested in your point about how people don't believe his effects are possible/exist, and it's true he can damage people's minds. However, I think that even an extreme extension of mental illness would not have the word-for-word control that Kilgrave has, or be quite so exterior to the victim/survivor. However I think that the therapy group touched on how it unsettled them that he sometimes made them indulge in their unacceptable desires. – IndiLeigh 8 years ago
  • Perhaps not. However, I actually have severe depression, and I found that the show spoke to me on a very personal level, which is what prompted this topic. I feel like I lose control when I'm depressed, and it's a bit frightening, because I don't know what I'll do. I can try to stop the downswing, but sometimes it's impossible, and suicidal thoughts are hard to ignore. It's a bit like having a little Kilgrave in your head. – Laura Jones 8 years ago