Today, we hit upon a delicate intersection of subject areas: vulvas, science fiction, and Jenny Schecter. As is my practice, I’ll begin with vulvas.
There are many things that resemble the vulva. For instance:
Given the multitude of arenas in which vulvas appear, I suppose I should not have been surprised that in the first ten seconds of the new TV series Defiance, the Earth’s orbit was teeming with flying vulvas, replete with bright red clits.
The pilot for the new SyFy series premiered the other night, and I happen to be on the lookout for a new scifi show. Don’t get me wrong, I am still watching this season of Doctor Who, but a queer housewife can’t live on camp scifi alone. (Continuum‘s second season starts on Sunday, thank goodness.)
Without revealing too much (Warning: Some very minor spoilers), Defiance takes place on an alien-terraformed future Earth, 33 years after a variety of aliens have landed, fought and now live amongst humans. Alien Nation and District 9 aside, the show’s creators seem to have handpicked elements from other scifi series as well.
There’s the diversity amongst characters, in terms of both human race/ethnicity and its metaphors in alien race, with interspecies romance. Defiance spouts about “freedom,” perhaps a superficial gleaning from the more encompassing democratic ideals and practices set forth so famously in Star Trek. Humans use an alien swear word that sounds like the word “shit.” (Battlestar Galactica’s “frak,” anyone?) Even in the first episode, they seem to have given away much of the mystery surrounding both the main story arc and characters’ motivations, just like the failed series Terra Nova. The town of Defiance, where the series is based, has a Wild West theme to it, including a brothel named in pseudo-NewSpeak. The brothel is called the NeedWant and has a star madam/prostitute. Enter Jenny Schecter.
That’s right, Jenny Schecter. When I heard that Mia Kirshner was going to be in this series, I thought, “Hey, this is when I am going to be able to separate my hatred of Jenny Schecter from the actress who portrayed her. Jenny Schecter is not Mia Kirshner. Jenny Schecter is not Mia Kirshner.” Housewives, if you don’t know that Jenny Schecter is a character from The L Word , well, I don’t know if you can really call yourself a true housewife. I am totally excited at the opportunity to hate her again.
On Defiance, Mia Kirshner plays Kenya Rosewater, the dark-haired, straight-talkin’, presumably-straight-identifyin’prostitute who runs the town brothel. Her blonde-haired sister Amanda Rosewater, played by former Dexter star Julie Benz, is the town mayor. Both these women interact a lot with the show’s focal character, Nolan. (Nolan is played by Grant Bowler, known for True Blood and Ugly Betty.) Nolan calls Amanda “sweetheart,” despite her protests, and he pays for sex with Kenya. This sex part is the creepiest. The creepiest.
While in many ways Firefly dealt rather deftly with the complexities of Inara’s occupation, so far Defiance has made prostitution the funnest and least problematic money-earner ever. Kenya loves having sex with Nolan, and their romp is so hot that afterward Kenya says to him, “That was so fantastic I kind of hate to charge you for it.” Nolan replies, “I kind of hate to pay for it.” Later on, she offers him a half-off discount. Yeah, I always thought that that’s how prostitution works. At this rate, by the season finale she’ll be paying him.
Meanwhile, the whole time I kept forgetting that Mia Kirshner was playing Kenya Rosewater and not Jenny Schecter. I could have sworn it was Jenny on screen most of the time. I was certain that at any moment she was going to adopt a dog specifically to have him put down by the veterinarian girlfriend of a lesbian she despises.
Will I continue to watch Defiance? I’ll give it one more episode to see if things improve, if they add any more complexity to the characters, or make Nolan less of a dickbag.
One thing’s for sure: I hate Kenya Rosewater.
Update: By episode 4, Kenya Rosewater refuses to take payment from Nolan. Uh-hunh.