Gay Girl’s Goggles: “Prime Suspect” SnapCap (1.02)

 
 

When only four percent of scripted TV shows feature LGBT characters, what’s a gay girl to do? Why, strap on your gay goggles and watch TV along with us, of course! Our handy appraisal scale is better than any old letter grade. Other sites A+. We say, “What about our lezzy-lady feelings?”

OK, I’m in. I’m 100 percent in. Save me a seat. Book me a reservation. Just don’t both me at 10 p.m. Thursdays, ‘cause I’m watching Prime Suspect. Last week the overt and oppressive sexism in the pilot made the show difficult to watch. This week, the sexism has been dialed down as promised. But while more subtle, in a way it was more insidious. But that also makes it infinitely more watchable. Also infinitely watchable? Maria Bello. Man, is it nice to have that lady back on my TV on the regular.

AFTERELLEN BAIT (What enticement did the episode use to reel in gay lady viewers?)

Those glasses, heavens, those glasses. With those simple, thick-rimmed specs, Bello’s Det. Jane Timoney has set herself apart as one of TV’s most uniquely stylish lady cops. Far from wearing just the standard-issue black or gray pantsuit, her Timoney has real flare. From her vests to her boots to her copious neck scarves, she’s different. And, yep, I still love the hat. Now if only they would give her another full-time female character to interact with, this show could be certified Bechdel Test kosher and everything would be perfect.

FEELINGS, FEELINGS, FEELINGS! (Did the episode give you a lot of feelings?)

The toned down sexism not only made the show more fun to watch, it gave it time to explore its characters more. Jane’s relationship with her boyfriend and her seeming ambivalence to the motherhood role accompanying it is an interesting one for TV. Women are usually shown as one or the other – loving nurturers or clueless singles. She is really neither. It also looks like they might begin to explore Jane’s vices more, particularly drinking. Of course in the original UK Prime Suspect, Jane Tennison was a raging alcoholic, so we’ll see.

My other feelings were about her boyfriend, Matt. Actor Kenny Johnson has made a career out of playing the love interest to tough, complicated female detectives – Det. Lily Rush’s boyfriend on Cold Case, Det. Grace Hanadarko’s on Saving Grace and now Det. Jane Timoney’s on Prime Suspect. I think it’s because it looks like he’s the kind of guy who could build you a nice set of kitchen cabinets. Perhaps TV thinks strong women need a somewhat uncomplicated man to balance them out.

HATITUDE (What made us tip our hats to Det. Timoney this episode?)

No additional comment needed.

THAT GUMSHOE THING (Well, this is a crime drama, so how did the detectives do?)

This isn’t an average crime procedural, that’s for sure. The story is as much about the interplay between the detectives while solving the case as it is solving the actual cases. Also, unlike average crime procedurals, the show doesn’t ends as soon as the case is solved. In fact, after Jane found the missing little girl I looked at the clock and realized there were still 10 minutes left much to my surprise. And even more surprising, in only its second episode Prime Suspect asks us to make complex moral distinctions – like does a convicted former child molester deserve any of our sympathies. Yeah, not your average crime procedural.

I like it, I really do. I hope this show and Maria stick around for a good long time. So, how about you? Did the second episode make you a believer? And, really, how about those glasses?

 
 

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