"She was her best self when she was trying to be the Supergirl within."
March 23, 2016 4:05 PM   Subscribe

An Open Letter To Supergirl Stars Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh, From An Adoptive Mom: "But it’s our oldest daughter that has gained the most from Supergirl. She identifies strongly with Kara Danvers. Like Kara, our girl has long blonde hair; she wears glasses; she was adopted. And just as Kara does, our girl misses her first family, and she struggles with feeling alien at times." (Spoilers for season 1 of the CBS TV series Supergirl.)

Supergirl's protective older human sister, Alex Danvers, is an original character created for the TV series. A sampling of season 1 Danvers sisters scenes (major spoilers ahoy):

1x04: Awkward Danvers family Thanksgiving
1x13: Alex tries to break Kara out of a utopian dream of Kara's home planet
1x15: Kara learns what happened to her aunt
1x16: Red Kryptonite-crazed Kara lashes out at Alex
The Red Kryptonite wears off

On io9, Alex Cranz discusses Supergirl and her famous cousin as immigrants/refugees: "Immigration is the whole point of the Superman story. And if you don’t keep that in mind, you don’t get Superman."


Next week, Kara / Supergirl is getting a cross-dimensional visit from fellow cheerful ball of superhero sunshine, Barry Allen / The Flash. (Previously.)
Here's a trailer! And a slightly different trailer!

Barry has a pretty darn great interracial adoptive family of his own—including the world's finest superhero dad, Joe West.
posted by nicebookrack (26 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
On the one hand, we'll no doubt have a glut of MeFi Superperson posts in the next week or so, and all I ever post is superhero spam anyway.

On the other hand, the adoption essay legitimately made me cry at my desk at work, and MeFi can always use more adorable puppies. Superhero puppies! Actual puppies!
posted by nicebookrack at 4:10 PM on March 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


I like Supergirl's radical approach of having colors in it.
posted by Artw at 4:43 PM on March 23, 2016 [21 favorites]


I like Supergirl's radical approach of having colors in it.

Zach Snyder cannot hear you from atop his dark tower of disaster-porn and snuff.
posted by The Legit Republic of Blanketsburg at 4:51 PM on March 23, 2016 [18 favorites]


What an incredibly sweet story. I so love the dynamic between Kara and Alex. ( And Hank/J'onn Jonzz). And I am going to be soooooooo disappointed if they do not include a musical episode because to waste all that talent should be criminal. Can't there be a purple paisley kryptonite that causes Supergirl to only be able to express herself and understand others through song? I need that episode.
posted by pjsky at 5:06 PM on March 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


All this dust is my kryptonite.
posted by KingEdRa at 5:15 PM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


Can we pull over Jesse L. Martin for the hypothetical musical episode? He's super charming, it'll be great.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:28 PM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


I have to admit, I've been marathoning the show the last couple of days and really enjoying it. Calista Flockhart has been playing Cat Grant as a take-no-prisoners media tycoon -- a bitch in the best sense of the word and entirely unapologetic for it. Melissa Benoist is really doing a fantastic job of portraying Supergirl in a way that's true to the sort of idealistic peachy-keen image of her from DC, and yet very much more shaded with layers of gray, including a problem with suppressed anger that's been really intriguing to watch. All in all, the series is a lot more than I thought it would've been and a great watch.
posted by WCityMike at 5:30 PM on March 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


I have been musing out loud to my wife lately about the use of characters in pop culture who are unambiguously identified as childhood adoptees. It's surprisingly common, and appears to stem from the mythic archetype of the changeling, most notably Moses. In comics , the adoptee is also usually an orphan, but not necessarily.

Superman, of course, and Worf Rodchenko are the ones that occur to me most readily. Peter Parker. Leia Organa. Paul and Alia Atreides, arguably. Luke Skywalker. Loki. Mowgli. Fox Mulder. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully's son. Dorothy Gale. Hellboy. Jon Snow (for some definitions of adoptee). Alexander Hamilton (stretching the point, since he tells General Washington "don't call me son").
posted by mwhybark at 6:11 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Kara's suppressed anger in the series is fascinating, especially as it's made explicit how much rage she's holding and how complicated her feelings are. Because on one level Kara is afraid to express her anger because she could literally destroy the world with her rage; on another level she's trying so hard to fit and blend in with this different human society, and human girls are socialized to be nice and sweet and devoid of rage; and on another level Kara's anger is her outlet for the bottomless pit of her grief, and putting aside the anger is less painful than dealing with the hurt.

At first glance it's mystifying why badass Supergirl, who can break steel with her pinkie, would ever put up with Cat Grant's egotistical bullshit. But then it grows readily apparent why Kara would vicariously idolize Cat, who never tries to hide or apologize for her personality; she wields power with total confidence; she never suppresses her anger, and channels it with ruthless precision.
posted by nicebookrack at 6:28 PM on March 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


I was having coffee with a friend and we were talking about how nice it was to have a fresh hopeful show after the glut of grimdark stuff, but how at the same time it's disturbingly close to the show that SNL's "black widow movie" sketch could've been a pitch for. In short I have mixed feelings, but that's comics/tv in general.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:14 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can we pull over Jesse L. Martin for the hypothetical musical episode? He's super charming, it'll be great.

Yes, yes we can.
No, we must make this musical a reality.

But then it grows readily apparent why Kara would vicariously idolize Cat, who never tries to hide or apologize for her personality; she wields power with total confidence; she never suppresses her anger, and channels it with ruthless precision.

That's brilliant.
posted by Mezentian at 2:09 AM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love how this show leaps the low bar that is the Bechdel test in a single bound. Kara and Cat. Kara and Alex. Kara and Astra. Kara and Siobhan. Kara and "Livewire" or Kara and "Bizarro." Kara and Lucy. Kara and her mom in flashback. Astra and her sister. Alex and Kara and their human mom.

So many relationships and rivalries among women that are meaningful on their own terms. They have their own backstories and their own stakes. It feels really refreshing and different.

Also I like that, while my my three and five year old daughters may have vaguely heard of Superman, when they put a blanket/cape over their shoulders, they're playing Supergirl.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:31 AM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Reading the "Batman vs Superman" thread in another window is making me wonder what Sypergirl would make of Henry-Cavill-Superman... She gave an explicit "I don't kill people" speech, recently.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:02 AM on March 24, 2016


my my three and five year old daughters may have vaguely heard of Superman, when they put a blanket/cape over their shoulders, they're playing Supergirl.

Dawwwwww.
(I mean that. I was sold on Melissa as Supergirl when those pics and her of the Legion of Supergirls hit around the first episode airing. I can see why kids would love it. Although, as a boy I did the whole 'spin around to turn into Wonder Woman thing... so I have no idea what that means about kids and gender representation. I also loved the Helen Slater film back in the day).

Reading the "Batman vs Superman" thread in another window is making me wonder what Sypergirl would make of Henry-Cavill-Superman... She gave an explicit "I don't kill people" speech, recently.

Over in Fanfare I have made the point a few times that there are multiple moments this series when Kara or someone has basically, it seems, stuck up her middle finger at the Snyderverse.

Plus, Supergirl uses colour.
posted by Mezentian at 4:07 AM on March 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


Reading the "Batman vs Superman" thread in another window is making me wonder what Sypergirl would make of Henry-Cavill-Superman...


"Kal...get your shit together."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:51 AM on March 24, 2016 [4 favorites]


I made a comment to this effect in the Batman-Superman thread, but Supergirl really gets a lot of what I like about Superman as a character right now, so I'm happy to have it be the standard bearer for the Superman family of characters right now. The show itself has some rough edges, and I think Season Two will be a lot better constructed, but the characterization on the trio of Kara, Alex, and Martian Manhunter* is so great that I can overlook them.

* I just find his surrogate father thing so damn moving, I wasn't expecting it, but here we are.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:35 AM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


the characterization on the trio of Kara, Alex, and Martian Manhunter* is so great

Oh yeah, these guys hit me HARD in my fondness for the trope of found family / family of choice. Often within that trope is the (perfectly understandable and realistic) escapist feeling of "my birth family / life sucked, so I went out and chose my own new family." Which is great! But on the other side is the (also perfectly understandable and realistic) situation of the Supergirl trio, who had great lives taken from them. Kara and J'onn didn't choose to lose their families and homes, Alex didn't choose to lose her father and normal childhood, but they can choose each other as family. Like Carrie Goldman writes in the adoption essay, "Watching Supergirl has normalized our experience, where some parts of adoption are amazing and other parts are really difficult, but what never changes is that we are family, and we love each other."
posted by nicebookrack at 8:09 AM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


I haven't been watching this. I watched the first three seasons of Arrow and the first season of The Flash, but with those plus the announcement of two new shows this season, I felt kind of burned out on the DC/CWverse. I've only caught a few episodes of LoT here and there.

But it sounds like maybe I should be watching this.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:59 AM on March 24, 2016


If you don't count Netflix, I think Supergirl is the best comic book show on right now.
posted by ODiV at 6:41 PM on March 24, 2016


but Supergirl really gets a lot of what I like about Superman as a character right now, so I'm happy to have it be the standard bearer for the Superman family of characters right now.

I keep saying this, but if you want to see a grimdark character saved from Miller: Mark Waid and Chris Samneee's Daredevil.

I've only caught a few episodes of LoT here and there.

Damn. I forgot that was on.... I guess I'd better watch it.
posted by Mezentian at 12:24 AM on March 25, 2016


I love how this show leaps the low bar that is the Bechdel test in a single bound. Kara and Cat. Kara and Alex. Kara and Astra. Kara and Siobhan. Kara and "Livewire" or Kara and "Bizarro." Kara and Lucy. Kara and her mom in flashback. Astra and her sister. Alex and Kara and their human mom.

And how many men have lines that are exclusively them talking about a woman? It's pretty great.
posted by phearlez at 8:30 AM on March 25, 2016


BTW, folks, I'm not sure anyone's still monitoring this thread, but it looks like Supergirl isn't getting a season two. :(
posted by WCityMike at 9:55 PM on April 1, 2016


Source?
posted by ODiV at 10:05 PM on April 1, 2016


I just did some hunting, there was some talk about a week ago about cancellation, but today's Radio Times suggests no decision has been made, and if I read this website correctly, it is likely to be renewed.

I think we can hold off on the riot just yet, especially as they have been talking about a possible Arrow crossover in the past few days.

I think they'd be fools to cancel it just yet. The feminist/online backlash alone would be a headache, and they have an amazing talent pool they'd be fools not to give a further chance.

And, that might make Melissa sad. And who wants that? The Black Rose episode ending was, surely, proof of that.
posted by Mezentian at 10:29 PM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


The TV By the Numbers folks aren't infallible but they're pretty good at handicapping things. I really doubt, given the ratings numbers that Supergirl is pulling, that the show wouldn't end up over at the CW if CBS dropped it. The CW renewed everything on its docket, including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend which could double its viewership if they convinced a sports bar to change one of the channels to the CW when it's airing. While Supergirl is surely more expensive it also pulls way more viewers.

Then again, network execs are a cowardly and superstitious lot, so who knows?
posted by phearlez at 9:01 AM on April 4, 2016


I'm not convinced that wasn't a late April Fools' Day attempt since Mike didn't come back to elaborate.
posted by ODiV at 9:36 AM on April 4, 2016


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