New! The Bridge:Transcript of my comments on Vicky Frost’s Guardian Blog on the Bridge:final two episodes:chat posted on Blog an there 27th May 2012:See also main write up of Last two episodes here will be in the list on left

  • http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/hard-acts-to-follow-ballsy-tv-heroines-keep-on-coming-7771213.html

    link hasn’t worked for some reason:see this article in the Independent, called ‘Hard acts to follow:ballsy TV heroines keep on coming’ dated 27th May 2012
    where the creator of the Bridge describes how they deliberately swopped gender stereotypes:making Martin a woman and Saga a man:
    “We wanted to get away from a Swedish cliche’ of what middle aged Police officers are like..
    We put more female characteristics on him”
    the writer of the article, Gerard Gilbert (just to be clear) continues:
    “You don’t have to be a feminist to ask why, for a woman to be single minded and very good at her job, she has to be somewhere on the autistic spectrum”
    indeed-you don’t have to be a feminist..
    “We didn’t diagnose Saga” says Rosenfeldt (the creator of The Bridge)
    “but then when we aired the show it turned out that we’d created an Aspergers personality”
    so:as i have pointed out before on here:the fact that they made Saga a male stereotype led people to diagnose her as as having a condition!
    Just like with Sarah Lund, such a woman must have to be ‘odd’ when she is just acting like a man!. Cue the plenteous patronising and incorrect statements declaring that Saga has Aspergers and that this has been said by x member/writer of the show..
    Oh, and isn’t she doing well , considering
    When it is simply not true. Saying it is so doesn’t make it so!
    What are the show creators meant to say when asked? of course they have to be diplomatic as above. Otherwise they could be seen as being tactless or unkind to people with Aspergers or autism. When all that has happened is that people have projected this condition onto the actress who is acting ‘male’!
    as the article says:
    !”The modern television heroine is increasingly likely to act like an anti-social, obsessive male. or as Danish actress Sophie Grabol famously said to the writers of The Killing when they tried giving her workaholic detective Sarah Lund a love life;
    “I am Clint Eastwood..he doesn’t have a girlfriend”
    i find it a fascinating phenomenon that the condition of Aspergers has become, along with autism, irredeemably attached to these female heroines simply for displaying the exact same qualities as time honoured and respected poker faced Male Detectives/heroes who likewise are and entirely unbothered with social niceties or touch feely stuff. Clint Eastwood being a classic example.
    The words Aspergers and autism are memes, or rather a dramatic memes that have become projected and then transposed onto these women characters who are only acting like a male detective. Upon whom nobody would ever pathologise a condition or even mention their behaviour as being in any way an ‘oddity’..
    teaching us a lot about gender stereotypes and our rejection of a male stereotype only when enacted by a woman along the way..Oh and such behaviour whilst admitted in the show as ‘odd’ was never meant to mean anything more than that.
    Interestingly:such behaviour is considered to be a bit more than odd and must derive from an actual disorder only when displayed by a woman. Not when a man is doing the very same thing. So similar behaviour in a man is not seen as a symptom of any condition nor is it even remarked upon or excused by any label, the mildest apparently being ‘odd’..
    Presumably the alternative gender stereotype of a woman must have to include her being necessarily sympathetic, empathetic, caring, touchy feely and all lovey dovey. So any stepping outside this restricted area gets alarm bells ringing! the poor thing, she must have a
    condition since she’s acting just so unwomanly...
    So:such behaviour in a man is all hunky dory but taken out of a male context is now seen as socially unacceptable & even a little cruel? the level and amount by which the exact same behaviour is ceaselessly diagnosed & pathologised in a woman shows up the glaring and restrictive stereotypes of what must be considered to be womanly behaviour..
    & just how far we perceive the woman to have strayed from her gender stereotype & just how terribly unwomanly it is of her to have done so.
    Whilst at the same time: strangely and unfairly having to classify her as necessarily passively suffering from a condition to have done so. eg. she can’t just be like that, like Clint, like Bruce Willis, like equally unsmiling & uncaring James Bond, like each & every other male Detective except for bumbling and shambolic Martin, whose female characteristics were acceptable.
    It also shows us just how very traditional the gender stereotype for a woman still is. if this is what happens when it is traduced..
    So:male stereotyped behaviour is seen as odd, cold, cruel & necessitating a diagnosed disorder only when displayed by a woman! Otherwise, it’s all cool!

  • clarissima

    26 May 2012 3:02PM
    hi@pdboxer, Yes, i agree with you. i also found light and humour when i think about it, in The Bridge, however what humour there was in The Bridge, was precious and sparse..Charlotte mainly for me!

    That tis true re The Killing, it was indeed harrowing, however that may well be put down to it’s realistic treatment of actual death and murder. Plus there was only the one murder and we were spared the requisite (mostly) close-ups and autopsies. ok i don’t watch them anyway…

    Perhaps it is the cumulative effect for me of having watched so many of these murder dramas now (there are not many other dramas are there?!) that did for me in The Bridge.

    Too many murders. Too much detail:especially the Bjorn blood-letting slow torture/hostage/horror/bondage/slow-death scene with everyday objects like plastic rinsed out milk bottles:hey, you too can do this at  home! that resulted in saturation murder overload for me.

    i loved The Bridge mostly. However with my critical hat on it was tantamount to a giant tin of celebration chocolates someone threw up in the air. Myriads of different flavour were bouncing around (&ridiculously up in the air) and after a chocoholic feast fest you are bound to feel over full..

    i just felt depressed and repelled by the, to me, seemingly unnecessary and extraneous deaths of Anja and Auguste. i know, i know, i probably shouldn’t watch such things in the first place and i had warned myself after Those Who Kill (never mind Wallander before that boo hoo) not to get attached to characters in a drama again..

  • 26 May 2012 9:20PM

    • Fair enough, yes it is a thesis, isn’t it?! but where is your, and other poster’s actual proof?

      i suggest to you as below discussing with Guardkatt, that it is a meme that once mentioned for whatever reason and most likely by people with autism/aspergers themselves, becomes attached and is henceforth stuck to it like glue.

      it is not scientific though, is it? since there is no direct proof. Those people with those conditions will naturally see those symptoms in that character. Then they declare the character as having that same condition because of this opinion. When, as above, the creator of the show himself states”we never diagnosed Saga”.

      all i am pointing out is this process as a phenomenon. it is chicken or the egg really:which came first. of course it is not patronising to say she is autistic if she has been diagnosed as an autistic character.

      However it is patronising to assume this because of her character traits which are, yes, odd, but much more subject to value loaded judgements and even perusal in the first place:because she is a woman. How can we say for sure that our natural stereotype of women as soft/caring etc. does not predispose us to noticing and diagnosing when she is not?

      for some reason autism and aspergers have become memes attached to and declared as conditions on a regular basis to any supposedly ‘dysfunctional’ character who is a bit ‘cold’ lately. From whence or where i do not know for sure.

      the same thing happened with a book recently too, not exactly sure which one. However i read the author as saying he had no idea why his character was now being declared as having aspergers.

      like i said, chicken or the egg..i suppose it must be coming from groups associated with Aspergers and autism. However there is a principle in science and medicine that you only find what you are looking for…

      and then this blinds you to everything else
      Hey, nobody ever declared Clint Eastwood or even Dr. Spock his venerable self as having such conditions, that is why i still believe this mostly only happens to woman characters and is derived from our innate subjectively held stereotypes.

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