‘Charmed’ 1×03 Review: More Than A Flag

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It’s only been three episodes, way too early to reach any kind of conclusion about what type of show this is and/or could end up being. There are many shows I love that started out rough – Brooklyn 99, Parks and Recreation, NCIS: Los Angeles, to name a few, but the thing about these shows is that they had a standout character or to, from the beginning, something that kept us watching till the shows could figure out who they were and what they wanted to do.

Charmed doesn’t have that, at least not yet, and so it’s hard to get away from the feeling that, right now, this show is just …average.

Not to mention it cares not one iota about me as a latinx and about presenting me with real and meaningful representation, but that’s not where I was going with this.

Looking back, there were many shows we enjoyed back in the day that weren’t actually THAT good. But they all had something, as I said, not a character always, but maybe a setting or a story-line, or hell, in the case of the original Charmed, badass female characters and a strong sense of family, that kept us watching.

They stood out.

Charmed 2.0 doesn’t do that. In a crowded TV landscape made up of so many shows, telling so many stories, the requirements in this regard are way more stringent than they were twenty years ago. And yet, so many shows do it.

Shows that are interested in telling stories in a different way, by giving voices to minorities to write, direct and otherwise control the storytelling. Shows that do casting right, and help people who’ve never seen themselves on TV, actually feel represented. Shows that are different, not just sell themselves as being different.

I don’t feel like I’m watching one of those shows. I don’t feel like I’m even close. And yes, we’re only three episodes in. This could change. But – will people who are not required to review a show, like me, even stick around for that?

We’ll see.

For now, let’s talk about the sisters, and their issues a presented in “Sweet Tooth”:

STOP OVERTHINKING

Charmed — “Sweet Tooth” — Image Number: CMD103a_0309.jpg — Pictured: Madeleine Mantock as Macy — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Macy’s problem is overthinking. She’s constantly in her head, which leads her to question everything. We’d seen glimpses of that before, but since this episode is about pointing out what each sister needs to improve on, and really, how, if they work together, they can balance each other’s issues; her tendency to think herself out of doing shit is the focus for her this hour.

Surprisingly so, this made me relate to her for what was truly the first time. We’ve all had that moment of overthinking, especially overthinking the good, and Macy hasn’t exactly had the kind of life that would allow her to be comfortable with herself and her choices, so that’s understandable, just as it’s actually real that the best way to get out of this cycle is to …well, act before you think, and adrenaline CAN help with that.

But Macy can’t rely on adrenaline, not completely. Life isn’t the same, and Macy isn’t alone. That’s what she needs to realize if she’s ever truly going to start trusting herself, and I’m betting she’s going to need to before this season is over.

 

DON’T BE RECKLESS

Charmed — “Sweet Tooth” — Image Number: CMD103b_0239.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Melonie Diaz as Mel and Ellen Tamaki as Niko — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Boy, is Mel reckless. This is the least surprising thing ever. But recklessness can, and is, in many cases, presented as a pretty admirable trait, and it can be handled in a way that makes you relate to the character. I know this sounds insane, but I promise you, recklessness is pretty much the norm for a lot of the characters you love.

See pretty much every Gryffindor in the Harry Potter series.

For that, however, there has to be some balance, and some heart behind it all, and though there have been flashes of this with Mel, in general – and this is concerning considering it’s only been three episodes – she’s starting to come off as a one trick pony, someone who will do whatever she wants because she thinks she knows better, each and every time.

Also, yes, we get that Harry is a white cis man, but he seems to generally mean well, so, like – listening every once in a while wouldn’t be so bad, Mel. It really wouldn’t.

Which, yes, she said she’d never do it again at the end of the episode, but that was pretty much her story-line for episode two, and then here we are.

PAY ATTENTION

Charmed — “Sweet Tooth” — Image Number: CMD103b_0007.jpg — Pictured: Sarah Jeffery as Maggie — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Maggie’s issue is that she’s never fully present, which I understand is social commentary on probably all of us and how we all really, really depend on technology and Millennial and all of that, but it basically just makes me not like her so much, because no one likes to be confronted with the idea that hey, this might also be happening to you.

At least not this way.

The thing about Maggie, though, is that despite all of this, or maybe because of the not so subtle message the show is trying to send through her, she is, in many ways, the most normal – or the one most likely to listen, to think and to care about others. Maybe that’s what the show is trying to show me, that she cares so much about everyone and how that can be a downfall, but sadly, so far, Charmed has done an uneven job of that, so half the time I like Maggie and the other half? I really, really don’t like her.

Considering she’s the empath, that’s a real problem.

WHAT CHARMED COULD HAVE DONE FOR LATINX REPRESENTATION IN “SWEET TOOTH”

Fake Latina GIF

As someone who was born in Latin America and has lived away from home, in different places, I can tell you there’s a specific kind of person who places a flag of their country in their room. And you know what Mel isn’t? THAT KIND OF PERSON.

Because that person is loud and proud. That person uses Spanglish. That person is as proud of the fact that she is latinx as she is of the fact that she’s a woman, and that person won’t shut up about what that means.

To think that a flag is the same as showing us Mel as a proud latina is almost an insult. To think that a whole culture can be reduced to a piece of fabric is a slap in the face. And to think that to have her spouting off feminist catchphrases and making her into a SJW of sorts when it comes to the disadvantages women face and NOT the blatant racism the President this show SO loves to mention has cultivated in the United States, makes her a role model, is next level absurd.

Because what this show has made Mel is the worst kind of thing she could be, as a latinx woman – a white feminist.

Add that to the fact that this was supposed to be a story about me, about my heritage, my roots, and instead it’s a fantasy, a white person’s idea of what being brown is like, and I generally just want to punch things.

We’re not the stereotype you make of us, and to sell this idea you have of minorities as real diversity is the most offensive thing in a show that, really, has nothing to make it stand out other than the diverse cast.

Que verguenza.

Things I think I think:

  • I hate agreeing with Harry, I really do, but I AGREE WITH HARRY.
  • Mel, when the girlfriend is sleeping in and you’re a witch, let your sisters know so the girlfriend doesn’t catch someone doing magic.
  • Common sense.
  • Mel casually using her powers is my aesthetic.
  • But, once again, I AGREE WITH HARRY.
  • Maggie and Macy talking about dating is a really good sign.
  • That Margarita thing which is totally personal gain is going to come back to bite Maggie in the ass, isn’t it?
  • Look, Harry IS already the parental figure. I don’t make the rules.
  • I’D DRESS AS RUTH BADER GINSBURG.
  • Mel’s journey of 0.3 seconds from I’ll do what I want to I’m so sorry to You were right Harry is the least believable thing in this episode, and that’s saying a lot.
  • Every time I think I can criticize this show for just it’s regular show failings, it goes an does something like the stereotypical all latinos have a flag in their room thing.
  • Newsflash: we don’t.
  • But the people who do, those people, they really and truly do more than have a freaking flag up. I can promise you that.

Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!

Charmed airs Sundays at 9/8c on the CW.




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