Hook, Mon-El and Felicity: Ship Bias or Actual Problematic Characters?

Hook, Mon-El and Felicity: Ship Bias or Actual Problematic Characters?

To ship or not to ship, to like a character or not like a character. Sometimes, the two are intertwined. And yet, sometimes, the writers make characters into people you absolutely can’t root for, and that colors your idea of any possible relationship. Sometimes the problem isn’t that you ship something else, sometimes the problem is you just hate this particular character.

Here we try to examine the reasons behind the fandom division on three characters who were introduced as love interests to the main character on their respective shows: Captain Hook on Once Upon A Time, Mon-El on Supergirl, and Felicity Smoak on Arrow, and attempt to give their fans/and the people who don’t really like them that much, a chance to explain what is it about the characters (and the ships) that works or doesn’t.

To be fair, there is no definite answer on this – and the reasons for liking/disliking each character vary for every person. We’re not claiming we have all the answers. We’re just trying to start the conversation.

Joining me are Alyssa, Lyra, Charles, Lacey and Kayla, Fangirlish writers, and our guests, Rowan, Sue and Elle.

Let’s talk Captain Hook, From Once Upon A Time. Do you find him a problematic character? Do you ship Captain Swan? Explain your reasons.

Lizzie: Arguably, everyone on Once Upon A Time – perhaps save Snow and Charming, and even they have their moments, is problematic. Regina, the other character Emma is commonly shipped with is even more problematic than Hook. That’s a reflection of the writing, first and foremost. So has Hook in particular had problematic behaviors, yes. Problematic words, yes. Is he, in general, a problematic character? I guess I always like to judge that as trying to view who the character is – as a sum of all his parts. In that regards, no, the problematic behaviors are mostly outliers that prove that the writers, in many instances, do not recognize that they’re ascribing problematic behaviors/words to the character.

Do I ship Captain Swan? Yes. I don’t see the narrative that Hook didn’t take no for an answer – he stepped aside for Neal, and he basically continued to be there to support Emma, and yes, he made his desires known, but he never pressured her into having a relationship with him, he only tried to encourage her to let herself feel. Later he even set her let the pace for their relationship, and though he was certainly not perfect, no character on TV ever is, he genuinely cares for Emma, constantly puts her well-being above his own and treats her, not as a pretty accessory, but as a true partner.

Charles: Problematic is probably too strong a word here. I like Hook but I will be the first to admit that he has flaws. Some big ones on occasion. A lot of this I put on the writing of the character which changed on a dime sometimes. That being said, the last season or two, I thought Hook was a good character on the show. He had his bad moments but tried to overcome them like Regina or even Emma herself.

As for Captain Swan, yes I do ship it. Ship it like UPS – slow and steady. He never forced Emma into a relationship like Lizzie said, he was for the most part a respectable suitor. As their story progressed, you could see that theirs was a true love and one to root for on the show. Both Emma and Hook were better together than apart and made each other happier.

Alyssa: To echo what Lizzie and Charles said, I feel like singling out Hook as problematic is problematic in itself. All of these characters on this show have their flaws. But there’s this tendency to focus in on one particular character and his/her flaws and condemn them as “problematic.” If you’re going to hold Hook accountable for his mistakes — which he’s certainly made his share of mistakes — then you need to do the same for each and every one of these characters.

Do I ship Captain Swan? Is the sky blue? Is the grass green? Am I too obsessed with sports and fictional characters for my own good? The answer is hell yes to each and every one of those questions. From the start I was captivated by the potential of their relationship. But it was their journey — their journey towards finding true love with each other — that made it so satisfying as a fan. Because as fans know, it’s not necessarily about “is it endgame?” so much as it’s about how they get to be endgame. It’s all about the journey. And Captain Swan’s journey was always one that I could root for.

Rowan: I find Hook’s impact on the show to be problematic. I shipped Captain Swan at first, when it was framed as being about Emma and her happiness, but it seemed to turn into Hook’s story arc pretty quickly.

I really stopped shipping Captain Swan because of the episode where he got his hand back and began to hurt people. It showed that while he may have changed, he only changed for Emma. He didn’t genuinely care about not hurting others, just about not hurting others where Emma could see. I’m don’t remember where their relationship went from there, but I know that I didn’t like how all of a sudden Emma was dependent on a man.

I also dislike how their relationship started. He continued to hit on her while she was trying to save her family. That just seemed inappropriate to me.

Lyra: What Hook said about making women more open to his advances after a bit of alcohol was ill-advised, cringe-worthy, and a sign that the writers room is a little bit detached and unaware of how these words are problematic. That being said I don’t find Hook as the only problematic character on the show. For that I have to give them a bit of leeway for his actions. Every single character of this show has something that I wish wasn’t part of them and I’m sick and tired of people putting all the blame on Hook for the steady decline of this show without looking or acknowledging that their favorite characters are problematic as well. And this is all coming from someone who doesn’t even really ship Captain Swan.

They never really tickled my fancy or made me scream in excitement. All I knew was that my friends were really excited about it, I wanted to support them, and I knew that they were going to be endgame. That doesn’t mean that I just settled for them being together. Emma and Hook are imperfect characters trying to find their way in the world at each others side. Was it the growth that I always wanted to see? No. But could I see them trying to survive and accept the fact that they were loved for who they were by someone else who believed in them? Yes. At the end that’s enough for me.

Lacey: I agree with Lizzie, pretty much everyone has had their share of problematic moments on OUAT yet Hook seems to get the brunt of the hate. Did everyone forget that prior to her change for good, Regina LITERALLY ripped people’s hearts out and killed them?! Not to mention the situation with Graham? But of course, she’s absolved of all guilt; sure sure. That being said, I do not find Hook to be a problematic character and I also don’t ship Captain Swan. I don’t hate the ship, but they’re not one to get me excited and fangirling. I have many friends who ship them so I’ve heard the pros and cons of their relationship and they all seem to be happy with their outcome. I never found Hook to be an issue. Was he evil? Yes. Did he make some despicable decisions? Yes. But so did Regina and Rumple and I don’t see anyone nailing them to the wall. Hell, they get praised!

Hook started off as a villain much like he was in Disney’s original film, Peter Pan. But to me, that evil exterior Hook portrayed always seemed like it was just that, an exterior. Deep down, he was a man who just wanted love and to be accepted for who he was. Throughout his time on OUAT, Hook has grown and changed and become the man I think he was always meant to be. I think people are blinded by their hatred and dislike of the ship and therefore can’t see any of his growth or character development. In my opinion, the hate that Hook has received throughout his time on OUAT is 100% ship bias and it seems to be the same fans that hate on him, also hate on Mon-El for the same reasons. Hook has been called toxic and abusive towards Emma and never once have I seen that. Sometimes, I think I’m watching a different show than some fans because I just can’t fathom how anyone would see that.

Kayla: I’m with Lizzie and Lacey here. Yes, I do ship Captain Swan, but I always try to look at the show without my shipper bias. Why would someone find a character problematic? I ship Captain Swan because I saw that Emma was like a ground rod for Hook. She made him rethink his actions. This eventually led to his character development into what he became. I’m all for redemption, especially when it ends in true love.

Do I find Hook problematic? No. With any character, he has flaws. He started as a villain. He had to learn a lot. Character development is something that can’t be ignored here, but often is. And as Lacey said, Hook’s actions aren’t the worst of it. Why judge him when Regina was ripping out hearts and casting curses? Both characters had motives behind their actions. Or worse, anything Rumple has ever done.

Jealousy. Revenge. Powerful motives that corrupted these characters. With help, they realized they could overcome it. With help from Emma, Hook realized that he could overcome his want for revenge on Rumple. Especially since Rumple is Henry’s grandfather.

Most of this hate comes from a NASTY double standard attached to male characters. I see it time and time again. As Lacey said, when Regina does something nothing is said, but when Hook did something he was hated. The double standards need to STOP. If we ever want equality, it has to start with how we perceive both male and female fictional characters. Because let’s be honest here, everything Regina or Rumple did was way worse than anything Hook ever did.

Let’s talk Mon-El, From Supergirl. Do you find him a problematic character? Do you ship Karamel? Explain your reasons.

Lizzie: Again, as with Hook, I find that we probably need to agree on a definition of problematic before describing someone with that word. Is Mon-El a perfect character? Not a chance. Was his background more than a little tone deaf, especially considering the male character he was replacing in Kara’s life is black? Hell yes. Was the frat-boy mentality needed for the OTP to work? No. Does that mean that I think Mon-El is the worst male character to ever exist and should burn in the pits of hell? No. Do I think he didn’t grow one bit and that his mere existence made Supergirl Season 2 the worst thing to ever grace our TV screens? No.

Do I think he’s grown and that, though his journey is still on-going, there was enough in Season 2 to make me like the character? Yes.

I think, if the Supergirl writers failed with him, they failed by making him too much of a stereotype, in many respects – and I especially think that when you contrast that with who he was at times, a literal space puppy, the contradiction is more profound. In general, though, I feel Supergirl writers have failed each and every male character they’ve introduced, probably because they ascribe the male characters with the roles females would have on any other TV show, and screw them up the same way.

With Mon-El, though, I see that the writers were trying to make him grow, and I like that he was not perfect, and he stumbled, and he tried. I see a lot of criticism surrounding the notion that he did it “for Kara,” which to me seems a bit like projecting. Sure, Kara was his inspiration, but people don’t change for other people. People change because they want to change – that’s the only way it sticks. As for the is he worthy of Kara argument, I just have this to say: We don’t fall in love with the people who deserve it the most, and that’s okay. We fall in love with who we fall in love, and if the people who we fall in love with are not perfect but are willing to try and learn how to be better, then that’s a good thing.

Charles: Again, problematic may be too strong a word but I am not a fan of Karamel or Mon-El. The problem I have with Mon-El is partly the character and partly what affect his character caused on the show. As stated, he did some awful things, especially in the Mxy episode. With the jealousy and his better than thou attitude, Mon-El just grated at me.

As for Karamel, I do not ship it for a few reasons. First, it takes away from Kara’s journey in general. Supergirl is supposed to be about Kara’s development in into becoming a hero and how she grows through working at the DEO and Catco. Instead, the focus became and has become “ Can Kara not cry abou Mon-El this week?” Instead of bad-ass Kara, we got a Kara that was yelled at by her boyfriend and reduced to a tv trope of a girlfriend.

Secondly, the writers made Mon-El’s storyline the focus so much that the show felt like his instead of Kara’s. Instead of having moments for Kara, those went to Mon. Sorry but when I watch Supergirl, I want to see Kara Danvers’s journey to being a hero not whether Mon-El is going to do something goofy this week. Not saying he shouldn’t be on there but don’t make the show’s characters always ask “ Where’s Mon-El” like he’s freaking Poochie.

Alyssa: There we go with that word again. Problematic is a word that people like to use in order to put down the characters they dislike. But there seems to be this perception surrounding Mon-El being this toxic character both as an individual and as a romantic interest for Kara. I’ll be the first one to tell you that Mon-El isn’t perfect. He’s made plenty of mistakes. He was a terrible person back on Daxam. But that’s where I draw my line in the sand: That was the past. Mon-El shouldn’t be defined by his past. That’s not how character evolution works. Mon-El has shown a willingness and desire to be better than the person he used to be. It hasn’t been perfect down the line, but he’s continued to fight to be the best version of himself. And that doesn’t make him problematic. Had his behavior continued in National City like it did on Daxam and there wasn’t any character growth, then, yes, I would consider him to be problematic. But that hasn’t been the case at all. Mon-El has taken steps towards becoming a better person. And the wonderful thing is that character evolution is ongoing. It’s never finished.

There are some pretty weak excuses for why people find Mon-El problematic and they’re washed up and overused and non applicable: He was a slave owner (which is canonically not true) and that he’s “emotionally abusive” towards Kara (which is also not true. Jealousy is not toxic. If it were, every single person in this entire world should be considered toxic and problematic.) They always seem to gravitate to those because it’s all they have: the past and lies. People seem to focus all of their hate on Mon-El and pretend like he’s the first person to ever get angry or jealous or do something moronic, when every single person has done that at some point in their life. Not necessarily our proudest moments, but it’s our decision to keep moving forward or let it define us that defines the person we are. And Mon-El has continued to strive for good. If you’re going to point out every little thing Mon-El does wrong, might as well do it for every single character on Supergirl. It’s only fair.

I like Mon-El because he’s flawed. I enjoy watching him face adversities and learn a little more each time. I enjoy watching his character evolve over time. It makes me care.

As for if I ship Karamel, if you’ve been coming here for even a little while, you know the answer to that. Like Lizzie said, people want to be quick to say that Mon-El doesn’t deserve Kara. First off, who are you to ask that question? And second, that’s not what love is. Love isn’t about “deserving” someone. One of the things I love about Karamel is how both Kara and Mon-El make each other better versions of themselves. They strive to be better. They provide something that they’d been missing. They’re a strong unit. I also love the realism of their relationship. Things have been presented as messy, because that’s reality. If you’re someone that believes that relationships are all sunshine and roses then you’ve been living in a fantasy world. Karamel was a relationship that caught me off guard last season. I saw it coming, but I never expected to be drawn to it as I was and continue to be. I love their innocence and their pureness. Their honesty and their struggles in learning what it takes to be in a relationship and learning what love is.

Rowan: I do find Mon-El to be problematic, and I do not ship Karamel.

First of all, the jealousy. Of course I believe that jealousy is a normal emotion. Everyone experiences jealousy at some point, but when someone seriously threatens the person they’re jealous of with murder, going so far as to ignore and disrespect their partner’s wishes, that is toxic. No partner should go that far, but Mon-El did.I also am greatly uncomfortable with how they portrayed the arguments between Kara and Mon-El. Had he really been consumed by emotion, he wouldn’t have been able to tear himself away from her to greet their coworker. The way I see it, he was using anger as a tool. Anger is not something to be wielded against your significant other.

He was also manipulative. He used Winn’s thirst for approval to manipulate him into helping him leave the DEO. He used Eve’s attraction to him to get her credit card. Then he got Kara to feel guilty for yelling at him so she wouldn’t criticize him. That was incredibly manipulative.I didn’t like that he said “I love you” for the first time when she broke up with him, or that he kissed her while she was unconscious and unable to consent.

However, even more than all of this is his motivation for trying to become a hero. I truly believe that he only tried because he wanted Kara to like him. “I want to be a hero because I want to spend every day by your side” isn’t a good reason. If he thought he could be by her side without being a hero, would he take it? I don’t think he would.

He tells her that he doesn’t have an “innate desire to go leaping into trouble,” and yet he had left the DEO against instructions and broken someone’s arm, slept with his boss’s assistant, and beaten someone up for money- all of which is leaping into trouble. What he meant was that he doesn’t have an innate desire to get into the heroic sort of trouble. This means his motivations for becoming a hero aren’t intrinsic: he just wants to be with Kara. He ended up helping during the parasite episode only because Alex told him he was a coward and that Kara expected him to be better. She likes him for the hero she sees in him, but that hero is only there for her. That isn’t a relationship built to last. He’s also a hypocrite. He told Kara that she runs when things get tough, but then tried to get her to run away with him- away from her entire family and life.

Lyra: I like Mon-el, I ship Karamel, and honestly I think Mon-el’s introduction stunk. He was an alpha male frat boy that put everyone on edge and made every single action afterwards hard to swallow because they already had a first impression of him. He was also the opposite of the emotionally cheating but puppy eyed James and the cute as a button but entitled Winn. His mannerisms instantly made him the enemy and everyone forgot how James and Winn acted in the face of this other contender.

I still like him.

Why? Is it because I’m a young teenager who’s never experienced love and has had a slew of horrible boyfriends/girlfriends who have treated me unkindly and changed the way that I think a relationship should be like? (These reasons constantly float around Twitter as if they were the only reason we could like Mon-el or Karamel.) I am a sarcastic, master’s degree holding, bisexual who has had nothing but healthy sarcastic AF relationships with people that made me laugh and we’re willing to grow with me.

I like Mon-el because he’s not perfect, because he fucks up, and because he fumbles. But most importantly I like him because he tries. Some people can’t even do that and find it to be the most impossible thing in their lives to do. Mon-el proved that you can learn, grow, and be given a second chance at life by people that believe in you aka Kara and the rest of the gang. I ship Karamel because of this reason. They’re working together, not to fix the other, but because they enjoy each other’s company and believe in their respective abilities to grow.

Sue: I do find the character of Mon-El problematic and I do not ship Karamel. When the season started I was excited to see his character. As a fan of the comics I knew he had a lot to offer development wise both for the show and for Kara as a hero. I adored Season 1 of Supergirl so much and thought this would be a wonderful addition to show how she grows into a more mature and iconic symbol.

When he went to work, within half a day he had Eve in the supply closet. He lost his job shortly after and I thought okay, Kara is going to be more of a mentor and let him find himself. What he did was get a job as a sort of enforcer collecting money. When she confronted him on it he told her she was full of herself and was not a hero for anyone other than herself. That was a huge issue for me.

And then he used Eve for money…more issues. Lack of respect for women being a central theme. When Mon-El promised to keep their relationship a secret because she needed that, and a minute later he was telling the whole of the DEO. Then the Mxy ep where he belittled her in front of co-workers. I see a lot of people say this was cute, or it’s how married couples bicker. I am sorry, that is wrong. I am not a teenager or college student and can say with certainty that if my significant other treated me that way at my place of work in front of the people I see every day, I would be mortified.

Then when they broke up and he let himself into her apartment. A clear breach of boundaries. There is nothing romantic about that. There is nothing okay about entering someone’s space after they have asked you to leave. Another example of him not listening to her. Then when he told Kara, “this is the part where the girl forgives the guy.” What had he done to earn her forgiveness? He admitted that he wanted to be a hero to spend more time with her. That is not a hero to me at all. Which reminds me of the time in Supergirl Lives where he let her get tortured and did nothing about it. A clear indicator he did not want to be a hero for any reason other than to gain Kara’s affection.

I did not like that after Kara asked him to be nice to her father and let her have a family night, he chose to be rude and confrontational – and I know this is the part where people say but he was right to be! Yes, but do people realize that they dumbed down the entirety of the DEO, Alex, and Kara – to allow a man with a robotic arm into the building? All done to make Mon-El look smart. I think what made me dislike him the most was when she lost her job – Kara was willing to settle for Supergirl and having him. Throw away a job she loved, the person she’d become, Kara Danvers, to what? Be his girlfriend. What kind of message is that to kids watching?

The whole season was spent on him, his needs, their arguing, their “drama” and a result Kara had literally no development in her own show. I watch that show for Kara and the sister moments and S2 was lacking in development in both of those areas.It is not the hero’s job to baby-sit a man for the entirety of a season or help him grow up. It was sad to see Kara reduced to that kind of position in my eyes. She is better than that, and to be honest so is the character of Mon-El (in the comics) the way the CW wrote him was truly disappointing.

Lacey: I do not find Mon-El to be a problematic character, yet unlike Captain Swan, I most definitely ship Karamel. But the ship is only a small part of what makes Mon-El such a great character. Mon-El is a man who was raised on a planet where his parents were tyrants, slavery was legal (even celebrated), and everyone was in a drug induced stupor so they wouldn’t realize how truly unhappy they were…himself included! He has been called toxic, abusive, racist, misogynist, selfish and a slave owner. “He doesn’t listen to Kara…He’s abusive towards her…He’s selfish.” I honestly can’t wrap my mind around this mentality. Once again, are we even watching the same show?!

The same people who call him those terms seem to forget that he himself was criticized and discriminated against based solely on where he was from. The DEO locked him up because he was from Daxam. Kara automatically assumed he had to be evil and was the one behind the attempted assassination of the President because he was a Daxamite without even talking to him. To come from the world he came from and to have the cold, closed off parents he had and to still have such a huge, kind heart speaks volumes of the type of man he is. “He takes away screen time from the lead female” yet when it’s other characters (I won’t name names) I don’t hear a single gripe. It’s only because it’s Mon-El. Certain people only seem to care about Kara when Mon-El is involved and it’s absolutely ridiculous. I have never in my life seen a character get such disrespect and hate for no reason like Mon-El has gotten. Once again, his character development and growth is completely ignored. Like Hook, I believe the hate Mon-El gets is due to ship bias.

Elle: I do find Mon-El problematic. To be honest, I shipped Karamel during  an ep or two of season 2. I knew he was going to be a love interest from the beginning. Having an unpopular opinion of not James not being good enough for Kara because no one deserves to be just a second choice, I was hoping that Mon-El would be the love interest Kara deserves. But I was never more wrong.

It was understandable at first that he was confused and did all these mistakes because he just woke up from a long sleep right? But to continuously make mistakes after another? That’s not a choice already and he keeps choosing problematic decisions. He left the girl he slept with in Daxam just to save him and lied about it. All Kara tried to do was be the mentor to him that she was supposed to be to Clark but instead he wasted this opportunity. He took a job beating up someone and felt no remorse for it. When Kara confronted him about this he had the audacity to ask Kara “who’s really the victim here?”. Kara told him he can’t use his powers for money and he yelled at Kara NO and stated that Kara was missing a big opportunity for not using her powers for money. Isn’t that enough for people to see how problematic he is? If not, then let’s  add the fact that he basically called Kara self righteous and just saves people because she wants attention. “You’re no hero, Kara Zor-El” – that were his words.

He tried to be a hero not because he had the desire to help. He tried to be a hero because he wanted to be with Kara. He yelled at her at the DEO and acted like an egotistical jealous boyfriend over Myx. He wanted to leave those kidnapped people in the other planet they went to when Kara wanted to stay and wanted to save them all even without powers. He never listens to Kara and the only time he did was to save himself when he could have talked to her mom instead. He didn’t become a hero by sacrificing himself at the end. It wasn’t his choice to make. As a matter of fact, he had no choice. At the end of 

the day, no matter how they try to make him a hero, Mon-El didn’t change. He didn’t become one.

I am a Kara stan above all else, above all ships, and believe me, I wish he did become a hero he was supposed to be because Kara Danvers deserves nothing but the best. But he is not that person. So when I say Mon-El is problematic, I really mean he is definitely problematic. At the beginning  of the second season, I hoped for a better love interest, a better man than James, someone who deserves Kara but was given by far the worst. I don’t ship Karamel because I can’t have Kara or any girl to be with that kind of person. I’d rather have Kara single all series long than be with someone who doesn’t deserve her.

Kayla: I do NOT find Mon-El problematic and I ADORE Karamel. It’s my biggest OTP right now.

As I’ve said with OUAT, I’ll say here. I try to look through my shipper goggles and see what others are saying. In this instance, I couldn’t. Because what I saw is people judging a character for something that was way beyond anything he could control. Mon-El grew up as a rich, spoiled prince who didn’t know anything could be better. Coming to Earth, and getting away from that toxic lifestyle, made him aware of this. Falling in love with Kara, made him aware of this.

He has such a kind heart. He wanted to change Daxam when he realized the injustices that his parents were doing, but as the prince he had no say. This was proven in 2×17 & again in 2×21. Every time he tried to use his title to do good, he wasn’t listened to or was overpowered. It’s this part of the plot that I wonder if I saw the same show as others because it seems to me that I saw something else. Try overcoming being told you are worthless your whole life and then coming to a new planet (which learning a new language and new customs could be difficult for anyone) and found someone who told him he was worth something. It meant a lot to him. Did he have a lot to learn? Yes. However, what he felt were very normal emotions that anyone would feel. How many times have you been jealous in a relationship? Oh, and Kara got jealous too. Who’s calling her out, huh?

In my opinion, he had the right to be frustrated and jealous because just as he was about to get to be with the girl he loves, some jerk shows up trying to woo her. Mon-El also probably thought they would try to kill him if they knew who he was. Royals are trained to not reveal things like that to protect the monarchy. He did what he thought was correct, at that time.

By the time it all came out into the open, Mon-El hoped Kara loved him for the guy he’d shown her he was and that his checkered past shouldn’t have mattered, because to him it didn’t. Not until his parents showed back up, which he never thought would happen cause he thought they were dead. Should he had lied? No. Lying in a relationship is never good. Did he have a reason? Yes. Should he have said something sooner? Well, he tried in 2×07. After that, he felt it wasn’t needed.

Speaking of the double standard thing, I’m gonna use Lyra for example. As in why are you calling Mon-El abusive, WHEN HE’S NOT, but you do have an abuser right in front of you. She’s female, which is why it’s not mentioned. Abuse can go both ways. MEN CAN BE ABUSED BY WOMEN. Lyra abused Winn. I see a small portion of the fandom actually call it what it was. Mon-El did not under any circumstances abuse Kara, emotionally or physically. Lyra, however, did both of these to Winn. Do you see the injustice? Mon-El has shown time and time again to be loving, kind, caring, and supportive. How is this just ignored? He was there for Kara when no one else was. They connected about their planets and traveling to others. She could finally talk to someone and they understand her, because he went through it too. He lost his planet too.

The divide is shipping bias, just as it is with Hook. Unlike with Hook, where I could see where the issues were, I just have issues seeing where the issues people have about Mon-El come from.

Let’s talk Felicity Smoak, From Arrow. Do you find her a problematic character? Do you ship Olicity? Explain your reasons.

Lizzie: Not one bit. I find that the people who call Felicity problematic are, in their great majority, comic book fans who would have liked a more faithful interpretation of the comics, and therefore resent that an original character has, as they commonly put it “taken over” a show that’s meant to be a comic book adaptation.

But, that’s not actually being problematic, that’s just a matter of opinion. Those people have every right to dislike Felicity, but that doesn’t make her problematic.

As for Olicity, that’s …more complicated. Simple answer is yes. Not so simple answer is the show has screwed up with Olicity over and over again, and it’s taken me to a point where at times I felt like I didn’t care enough to ship it. Yes, Season 5 broke me. I became apathetic. Season 6 has done a decent job of repairing that damage, but I’m not ready to put my trust in the Arrow writers, not yet.

To be fair, though, before the bad writing did me in, I shipped Olicity, and I shipped it hard.

Charles: Felicity is not a problematic character by any means. Not however is she a perfect one either and that’s just fine with me. Yes there are time where Felicity might do or say something wrong to me or some fans but that’s ok. I like how she can make mistakes and learn from them. For example , some comic fans get on about Havenrock and how she is a “murderer”. That is a bunch of crap and they know it. She made a tough decision but those fans will still rant and rant about it. Now the writers have done Felicity no favors sometimes but I put that on writers that forget character’s development sometimes.

Yes, I do ship Olicity though not as hot and heavy as I once did. I do love Oliver and Felicity as a couple but after some dumb decisions, I took a step back. So far season 6 has been really lovely for them and I hope the writing staff doesn’t ignore this again.

Alyssa: Felicity Smoak is in no way a problematic character. We don’t even need to discuss, again, that word. Even the perceived definition of it doesn’t relate to Felicity in the slightest. Like Lizzie said, those that call Felicity “problematic” are comic book fans that crave their comic canon. But they fail to understand that, like Arrow, comic book canon is constantly evolving throughout time. And I’ve shipped Olicity from the beginning. Duh.

Like Mon-El and Hook, Felicity isn’t a perfect character. But in different ways, as they’re all individuals that have gone through their own experiences. But just because Felicity isn’t perfect doesn’t make her problematic. Felicity is a character that is disliked — shocking — by comic book fans that don’t like that Olicity is something different than the canon they’ve been fed in their comic books. Like Mon-El, they have very few things to try and hold against the character. It’s the same old, same old. A popular one last season was that Felicity killed several thousand people. They fail to put that in context, with Felicity redirecting a missile to save a more-populated area of millions. They also fail to realize that Felicity wasn’t responsible for that missile. Damien Darhk was responsible. Her haters are looking to glom onto anything and everything to attempt to paint her in a bad light, which most of the time is out of context.

I do feel as if the writers have failed Felicity at times. Where they haven’t really allowed her character to respond in the way that fans that know her well, could tell you. Or that they didn’t feel her reaction to certain things was warranted, like her paralysis or stance of gun violence.

As for Olicity, I’ve shipped it like UPS from the very beginning. It’s one of those life-changing ships for me. But I’ll be honest, season 5 was a huge blow to that relationship and everything those characters had been through and everything they stood for as a unit. It was unrecognizable, both their dynamic and the characters as individuals. So far, season 6 is doing a good job of rebuilding that trusting foundation that made this a relationship to love from the very beginning. But now, my trust has been broken. I can’t say I’ll ever truly have faith that they won’t ruin them again. But Olicity has always been one of my all-time OTPs.

Rowan: I only ever saw Felicity in the crossovers, but I really liked her. I didn’t ship  Olicity because there wasn’t much of that in the crossovers, and it takes more than a few episodes to get me to ship something.

Lyra: I do not think Felicity Smoak is a problematic character and if we exclude the mess that is season 5, then I do ship Olicity. Also I can’t ignore what was said above about Oliver’s behavior towards Felicity. He couldn’t make up his mind about how he wanted to treat those in his life and his relationship with Felicity suffered because of it.

Setting all over a side let’s talk Felicity. I love her because she doesn’t have to wear a mask to be a superhero. She is capable, strong, and more relatable than any of the other characters despite her crazy as hell hacking skills, which I really can’t connect to. She’s always got a plan, doesn’t get everything right, and doesn’t stand still just because Oliver and the writers of Arrow don’t want them together. Girl is going to live her best life and keep hustling forward on to bigger and better things that can save and change the lives of the people of her city.

I do ship Olicity. I like how they compliment each other and what they bring to the table when they set aside Oliver’s stupid brooding moments where he can’t be with her because it’s too dangerous. And they light up when they’re around each other and have this chemistry I just clear to everyone in the room or general vicinity. Here’s hoping that season 6 fixes the mess they made in season 5 and that they don’t take steps backward…again.

Lacey: Unlike Hook and Mon-El, I personally do not care for Felicity nor do I ship Olicity. That being said, I can honestly say that my dislike for her has nothing to do with the ship. Laurel and Oliver were literally only together for one season and while they may be canon in the comics, the show is quite different. As a person that has been watching since the pilot aired, I’ve had time to accept that Lauriver isn’t going to happen and I’ve accepted it and moved on. For Felicity, during the first two seasons, I liked her character. I thought her humor and awkwardness was enjoyable and she brought a nice light to the show. But as time went on, she started to develop this sense of entitlement and I didn’t care for it.

At the beginning of season five, I saw the old Felicity that I enjoyed. She seemed less burdened and not as high strung but as the season went on, my view changed once again. And while I understand that her work with Helix was her way of finding her independence outside of Team Arrow, the way she went about it didn’t sit well with me. While my reasons for disliking her have nothing to do with a ship, I do feel that a lot of the hate she gets is ship bias. Arrow fans are very passionate and they love their favorites and I fully support that. I just don’t get down with the bashing of fans/actors over fictional ships.

Kayla: I also don’t think Felicity is problematic. I don’t ship Olicity. I can’t say why. I just don’t. You don’t have to have a reason to ship or not ship. It has nothing to do with Felicity or my bias for a ship. I don’t ship anyone on Arrow. I watch it for plot.

My belief with Felicity is that the writing failed her. This show has a lot of viewers who don’t want romance or want it to follow the comics, which Felicity isn’t even in. I believe a lot of the hate comes from that. Then there’s the shipper hate.

I love Felicity. I feel empowered by her quite often. Did she get annoying? Yes! Problematic? No.

Why do you think these three characters have garnered such a strong response. Is it the same reason for the three of them or does it vary? Can you understand the criticism?

Lizzie: Not the same reason, AT ALL. The hate against Felicity has a lot to do with sexism, and, as we discussed previously, with the idea of being faithful to the comics. So, really, from what I’ve seen, there’s very little merit to the hate – it’s all based on, well, I would have liked this better, which, of course, is the right of everyone, but isn’t exactly a reason to hate a character.

Hook and Mon-El, however, are probably hated for similar reasons. I’m not even going to say it’s because they’re the love interests of the main characters, though that might be a reason for some, I’m going to say it’s because the writing has failed them at times and people haven’t been able to let go of that.

In this respect, however, I have to differentiate between Hook and Mon-El. The writing has failed absolutely EVERYONE on Once Upon A Time. Regina canonly raped Graham. Zelana canonly raped Robin. Rumple treated Belle as an object to the point that he trapped her in the Jolly Roger against her will. That, of course, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call out the writing issues with Hook, it’s just that we should recognize they’re part of a bigger problem in the show.

On Supergirl, however, the writing has failed mostly Mon-El. It failed Winn in Season 1, and then the writers tried to jedi-mind trick us into forgetting that by making Winn a different person. But Season 2 gave us a brilliant Lena Luthor, a great arc for Alex, some depth to J’onn, and then Mon-El, fulfilling every stereotype known to man. It’s basically like the CW doesn’t know how to write females – and on this show, since there’s a female lead, they’ve basically treated the male characters like females and just screwed them up.

So in that respect, I understand some of the criticism against Hook and Mon-El, though I find that it’s, more often than not, skewed to show the point of view that benefits the person making the argument, instead of taking the full picture into account. But I think we should ask for better, more realistic, healthier relationships depicted on-screen. We should call out problems when we see them. And we should all want better for us, and for the characters we love.

Charles: For Felicity, it is definitely sexism and some comic book fans who just can’t let it go that she’s the main female character now. Like I find some of the things they get on her for to be so out there but then it gets more personally when they start taking actors. Being faithful to the comics isn’t completely necessary. If you want it to be exactly like the comic books, read the comic books then.

Hook, I’m not sure to be honest. I guess they think he detracts from Emma Swan’s story but I just don’t see that at all. Once is always and will be forever about the story of Emma Swan. Hook may play a big role in that tale but it is Emma’s tale.

Alyssa: Mon-El and Hook are disliked for the simple reason that their female leads aren’t allowed to be in love because that makes them weak. Not to mention they’re two characters whose pasts aren’t exactly sunshine and rainbows. They were both bad people in their pasts. They’ve accepted that in the present. But they’re also two people that have fought to be better than their worst selves.

Felicity is disliked because she’s not a character that is written in comic book canon. Also because she’s a woman. Once Arrow started exploring her as more than comedic relief in season 3, people began to complain that she was “whiny” or “annoying” all because she showed emotion. Whereas it’s okay for men to show emotion, that’s considered strength. Sexism is the simple answer, ladies and gentlemen.

Rowan: Hook and Mon-El are strongly disliked by many because they derail the focus on the lead character (a woman) and generally are interpreted as bad people by fans. I can’t speak for Felicity, but I highly doubt any hate toward her is motivated by the same reasons. I’m not going to say sexism because I haven’t heard the other side, but in my experience, when a smart, independent female character is hated…

Lyra: Hook and Mon-el are disliked because any female lead that falls in love is seen as weak and double standards are alive and real. Love is a liability and according to those who hate these two men, we have to fit into this little perfect box where we make the right decisions every single time, unlike our male counterparts who can get away with anything and still be given praise. News alert, women aren’t perfect, we can fall in love, we can fuck up, and we are not an ounce weaker because we are capable of love.

As for Felicity, she receives a lot of hate because she wasn’t initially comic book canon. I would have loved for the Green Arrow and Black Canary to be together as an iconic couple on TV. But that didn’t work out. Oliver and Laurel’s chemistry was flat and they couldn’t accept the fact that they had changed. Introducing Felicity in the midst of trying to sell us this couple made it so she was enemy #1 and the one person that Lauriver shippers could blame for the obliteration of their ship.

P.S. I applaud the women and men that are asking for smarter and better written relationships between men and women. This is what we need in books, on TV shows, and the movies we consume. Better and more realistic relationships.

Sue: I can only speak for Mon-El. I think the reason there has been such a strong response against him is a lot of people see the negative aspects of him and know that nothing good comes of a boyfriend who acts that way or a woman who constantly excuses his behavior. That a woman can have a relationship, yes, but a healthy one and they were not written as healthy.

Lacey: Like I said before, fans are super passionate about their favorites and even more passionate about the characters they hate. Being a fan of a show and shipping couples is all based on opinions. You can love who you love and hate who you hate all day, that’s fine. But the issue is when you start to attack others because their opinion differs from yours. That is the main issue that these three characters (and sadly, actors/actress) have had to deal with. I think all three of these characters have shown immense growth throughout their arcs but people tend to overlook that solely based on their preconceived hatred/bias.

I’ve had many conversations (if you want to call them that) with “fans” trying to show examples of Mon-El’s growth and character development and am always met with the old “he’s toxic” bit. It doesn’t matter what you say because people have their minds made up about how they see a character. They could cure cancer while simultaneously saving an orphanage from a fire and someone, somewhere would still say “well, they didn’t save the sheets from the orphan’s beds soooo, THEY’RE TOXIC!”

Elle:  The strong reaction probably comes from women having enough of it. We’ve come to the point that women just don’t  stand by and just sit keeping their mouth shut anymore. We see what we see in TV and we recognize it as what it is but gone are those days that we just let it pass by because we have no voice. We have a voice and we’re choosing to speak, to fight for what we believe is not a healthy representation to show the viewers especially the young girls who could be greatly influence with they see in TV.

Kayla: With Felicity, as Lizzie said, it’s sexism. She’s an incredibly smart, empowered woman who can do everything for herself. Does that make the male viewers intimidated to see? Probably? Especially since Arrow has a male lead. If you’re watching a comic show, cause you think it will follow the comics they are based on word for word, then stop. They don’t. Much of Felicity’s hate comes from that comes from that.

With Hook, he’s very masculine. He was a villain. He was very over the top. Also, with what Lizzie said OUAT’s writers failed with a lot of their plot. Including much of Hook’s. They could’ve done better research. This is a show about fairy tales, and they have a character magically rape another? WHAT? And no, that wasn’t Hook. I just think that in this case much of it was writing.

Same with Mon-El. They could’ve done this plot in many ways. Did they have to make him a selfish party boy? No. Because the way he was portrayed in present doesn’t show this past. They say it, but the sweet, kind hearted guy who tried to fix his planet is not that guy. Was he selfish at first, definitely. Did he have to learn? Yes. Did they try to show his frat boy ways? Yes, but it didn’t take long and those ways were gone. He began having character development within 3 episodes. He began changing. I get they had a plan to get him to a point by season’s end, but I would’ve actually loved a longer character development on him. Made that party boy more believable if that was how they were going to do it.

I get that he has a hero’s journey, but (and I say this as a lover of Mon-El) his development was rushed. If they had slowed it down, he should’ve began developing without being in a relationship. Let him learn. I get they wanted him as Kara’s love interest. The chemistry is amazing. Best I’ve seen ever. They could’ve made this be a much slower burn and it would’ve still worked. I would’ve still enjoyed it and shipped it. The payoff would’ve been worth the wait and probably not as much backlash on him, as he would’ve been through a few trials and tribulations by then.

A lot of this is writing and nothing more.

Writing-wise, is there anything you would have written differently for them and their arcs?

Lizzie: Not for Felicity, no. Not even the Havenrock crap that people love to bring up against her, because what in the world was she supposed to do? For Hook – I would have shied away from making him this representation of the stereotypical big bad pirate, complete with over-the-top insinuations all the time, though, really, that is not the actual problem with Hook, the actual problem is – and obviously, the number one thing I wish I could fix in Once Upon A Time.

I would have gotten rid of the lines in the show that indicate the writers have no freaking clue what the word consent means, though those are not just Hook’s lines. Just get rid of ALL of them.

For Mon-El, I would have probably shied away from the stereotypical cocky prince thing, as well. The bad boy with a heart of gold trope is overdone. Viewers are smart, I promise, they can like a couple even if it doesn’t fulfill this trope.

Charles: I’m not sure to be honest. For Mon-El I think I would have made him more humble in his debut. I get going for the redemption arc but that has been done to death. As for Hook, honestly his arc has been as good as I think could have been considering where it started. And I also know I said the redemption arc has been done to death but when Hook’s started, it felt fresh and fun. However, I can see where people would see similarities between the two characters.

Alyssa: For Felicity, I don’t think I would’ve changed her portrayal. For Hook, as Lizzie said, I would’ve shied away from that stereotype of Hook being this pirate. For Mon-El, I’d have changed his introduction and shied away from the arrogant prince stereotype.

Rowan: First of all, I would have made Mon-El’s arrival about all the feelings that Kara had about not being there for Clark. This narrative was really shoved aside despite Alex’s “does he understand he abandoned you? Do you?” line, and it seems like the focus was much more on Mon-El’s supposed “hero’s journey” rather than on Kara.}

This is the same reason I didn’t like Hook. I would not have made Hook initially sexist, and would have continued to have Emma’s arc be about her and her feelings of abandonment and being scared to love. She was the main character at that time. Everything should have been about her.

Also, I feel that the “you’ve already made your mind up about me” arc about the prejudice Kryptonians had for Daxamites and vice versa would be much more effective if his planet did not actually end up invading Earth- or, if when they had attacked earth, some Daxamites had rebelled against Rhea. Painting them all as villains didn’t work narratively, because it proved Kara right, in the end. They owned slaves, drank a lot, “objectified women,” and went along with their queen without complaining. I loved M’gann’s arc. If they really wanted Mon-El to be redeemed, I think they should have given him a similar one.

Lyra: Sweet buttery Jesus, their introductions. Let’s change that. Not Felicity’s because hers was perfect. I’m talking about Mon-el and Hook’s introductions. No one likes douchebags and if you’re trying to sell a love interest we’re down for other types of introductions that aren’t as cocky as many writers believe we want. Most of us don’t like that. Plus cocky characters take longer to work through and you risk alienating a huge portion of your viewers when you leave them with a sour taste of the person you hope to pair the lead with. Who would want that?

Sue: I would have made Mon-El with more powers, not just brute strength. I would have had him try to at least understand humans and why the Kara Danvers, reporter, is important to her. I would have had him make some friends and perhaps do some small hero things on the side…instead they saved it all for a 30 second fight in the finale which was sad…too little too late for me. I would have had a true slow burn, have them become friends and then learn to be heroes together, work as a team and then let that blossom – but the CW rushed it and to me that ruined it because now it will be together, broken up, together, broken up, and I do not think that is good at all – for the show, for the people watching…

I also would not have had Kara reduced to a love interest in her own show – so many times during this season I felt like I was watching his show and not hers.

Lacey: I think that both Hook and Mon-El’s arcs were written well (minus the typical frat boy mentality for Mon-El, which I thought was such a stereotype). They both started off as these selfish characters that then grew to be selfless, both even sacrificing themselves for the greater good.

For Felicity, I feel it went the opposite for her. Like I said previously, I enjoyed early Felicity and I’d like to see more of that. I think throughout season three, she became very judgmental in places she didn’t need to be. I enjoyed her finding her independence from Team Arrow, much like Thea and Laurel had done, but the way it was done wasn’t the best, in my opinion. I hope with season six, we see the old Felicity return, much like early season five.

Elle: Honestly, if they wrote Mon-El better, even if I ship another ship, I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of Karamel. The writers should have just strengthen Kara’s and Mon-El’s relationship as friends first. They should have let Kara be the mentor she was supposed to be to Clark because that’s actually what drove Kara to take care of him at the first place. They should have let Kara fulfill that desire and had a slow  burn Karamel. They should have let that goofy and caring side of Mon-El surface like what they did in the episode “Ace Reporter” than the egotistical behavior he had shown all throughout the season. Mon-El should have just been written better in general.

Kayla: With Felicity, her development went backwards. So, yes her writing could’ve been done better. At first I loved her because I found her empowering. As the show progressed, she got more annoying than anything. I blame the writers for it all because they certainly haven’t thought through much of how a relationship is actually supposed to work. Do they know how one works? Or is it how to write an empowering female character?

With Hook it was his over the top pirate behavior. They could have done so much better.

With Mon-El, again his development was rushed (shocker from a Karamel shipper). Mon-El has this sweet, caring side they brought out later in the season that I noticed early on, but because of plot they often didn’t let it fully come out. I love sweet Mon-El. Cuddly Mon-El. Funny Mon-El. His humor is what made me adore him. That’s the side of him often covered up with bad lines that made him sound unlike the character that we knew him to be. Also, again learning the ways of Earth and being a hero without the relationship attached would’ve definitely helped. Let them make heart eyes at each other for a while. He needed to find himself before he was in a relationship. So, yes he could’ve been written better. Can you believe one of the biggest Karamel shippers ever just wrote that?

Shipping – and even liking a character – is a matter of interpretation. Why do you enjoy these characters and/or relate? Alternatively – why do you dislike them and what makes them a no-go for you?

Lizzie: I enjoy Felicity because I think that she’s proven that leather and capes do not a hero make. I enjoy Hook because I think he proves that, no matter how deep you’ve fallen, you can change if you set your mind to it. And I enjoy Mon-El because he keeps trying, even when he doesn’t get it right.

Charles: Felicity and Hook are favorites of mine just because they are two characters who have grown and advanced their shows stories forward thanks to them.

Alyssa: For me, I enjoy flawed characters that are always aspiring to be better versions of themselves. While Felicity isn’t particularly flawed, I admire how from the beginning she aspired to make a difference in the world. That was something that I really connected with. Also that she’s representative of heroes don’t need to have a costume or superpowers to be super. Felicity has been a superhero for a long time, and she doesn’t need a suit to prove it. One of the central reasons that I love Mon-El is because he’s a representation of people in general. He’s flawed, he messes up, but he’s trying. We’ve all been there. He understands that he wasn’t a good person before. But he’s also made the active decision to strive to be better. I admire his personal growth. I enjoy Hook much for the same reasons in terms of redemption. Like Mon-El, Hook is someone that’s not necessarily proud of his past. But he’s made the willing decision to define himself in the present. He’s become a better version of himself.

Rowan: I personally think neither Captain Swan nor Karamel have chemistry, but more than that, they are for the way Mon-El acts, in general and around Kara, and the same goes for Hook and Emma.

Lyra: I enjoy these characters and couples because they’re not perfect and they’re doing the best they can with the writing The CW gives them. Well The CW and ABC. We need diverse writers rooms and people to double-check that the work being created doesn’t navigate away from the character we know and love or alienate any of the viewers. I know it’s virtually impossible to not alienate some viewers but we can try to do better.

Sue: I think I made it clear why I dislike him above.

But to summarize, he did not listen to Kara, manipulated her, belittled her, and in the end I did not feel like he was good for her in any way – supporting her in giving up her career was so sad to see.

Lacey: If it isn’t clear by now, I’m a huge Mon-El fan. What I love most about him is how relatable he is. Well, not the whole being an alien from another planet thing but the making mistakes and learning from them part. He was basically like a child when he first landed in National City. A new world filled with new things he’d never seen before. He had to learn everything over. He learned to respect other’s choices and decisions even though he may not have always understood why. Unlike when he was on Daxam, he finally found his voice and fought for what he believed in. It was great watching that growth and watching him learn and become accustom to earthly ways and terms.

For all three characters, I think they remind us all that not everyone is perfect. We all make mistakes, we all have missteps and get lost along the way; but it’s what we do to learn from these issues that defines us. How you overcome obstacles and problems says more about you than what you’ve done.

Kayla: I enjoy each of these characters for many reasons.

Felicity because I see a lot myself in her. No, not the computer genius. Just how smart, fierce, and independent she is.  That part never faded about her. That’s why I love her. It gives me a female character that isn’t all about capes and gadgets to root for on a show with many male characters.

Hook because he learned from his mistakes and atoned for them. He realized revenge wasn’t the best idea after all, despite having every good reason in the book to want it.

Mon-El was his humor. His wide eyed childlike demeanor. He learned from his mistakes (and apologized for them) along the way and realized that he could be a hero. That he could make a difference. He had to have inspiration from Kara to see it, but he realized it. He became a better man because of it.

In real life, just as in this roundtable, we won’t all agree on everything. What message do you want to send to the people participating in fandom today?

Lizzie: Be kind. Your truth is important, and it is yours, but you don’t hold the ultimate truth. Don’t try to impose your way of seeing the world on others. And if you see something that you think needs to be changed, by all means, speak up, but don’t be a dick about it. Even if you’re right, who’s going to listen to you if you are?

Charles: Tone it down a notch or ten. And this is for every fandom out there as I see it from multiple sides that take it way too far. Like whether you like or hate Felicity, don’t make it about Emily. She is a real person. Felicity is a created character. Same with Colin/ Hook and Chris/ Mon-El. they don’t write these shows so don’t get upset at them for what their characters do.

Alyssa: Be respectful and kind. We all have different opinions on what we feel about characters and ships. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to put others down because they have a different opinion than you. But that also means that it’s okay to voice your own opinion even if it’s different from someone else’s. Voicing your opinion and attacking someone for their opinion are two different things.

Rowan: Be kind to people. If you don’t understand someone’s point of view, ask. Don’t assume you’re always right. Discussion and critical thinking is what makes fandom so fun. You can always learn something from another person. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Be critical of the media you love. And death threats are never okay. Don’t do that!

Lyra: Do not dismiss others because they don’t share your opinion or like your ship. We are defined by so much more than who we want to see cuddle or ask the writers to improve on.

Also, leave the actors alone. They don’t write or control their characters journeys. They’re paid to do a job and that’s it. They are not the characters they play on TV.

Sue: I wish people could understand that actor and characters are different. That there is no need to send hate to anyone – it solves nothing. I wish people didn’t get so nasty and toxic at one another, the things I see people do in the name of “ships” is so sad. And it is no wonder that many celebs steer clear of social media. I know that no fandom is perfect, and that people can get intense and excited about the things they love but at the end of the day it is fiction and to assume, judge, or label real people based on who they ship is pointless and does not further any conversation in a positive direction.

Lacey: Boy, that’s a loaded question. At the end of the day, these are FICTIONAL characters on a FICTIONAL television show. Chris Wood, Emily Bett Rickards and Colin O’Donoghue are actors. They read from a script and act out the scenes as directed; they aren’t their characters. Last I checked, Chris isn’t an alien with superhuman strength from another planet, Emily isn’t the IT genius of a clandestine vigilante unit and Colin doesn’t have a hook or steal gold. You don’t have to like their characters or even the shows they’re on, but my goodness do you have to respect them! They are human beings like you and me. While yes, it steams me up at the hate characters get on shows, what’s worse is the disrespect the actors/actresses get. My final message to the people who don’t enjoy these characters is to just be a decent human being and stop harassing the people that portray them, the writers that created them and the shows that debuted them (or at least do it in the privacy of a DM like a normal person). “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” Take a step back and realize that there’s more to life than hate and unwarranted biases.

Elle: Fandoms nowadays have become toxic no matter who you ship. I hope that people would not be so hateful towards each other. If you don’t like a person or a character, fine. Just don’t go around spewing hate towards other people who obviously like them especially if you don’t know how much that person or character have helped them. Defending characters or actors is fine. It makes sense but purposely spreading hate is not. Sometimes people forget that we all have different opinions, different point of views, different faves and that we all exist. So why can’t we all co-exist? I really do hope that we find it in ourselves to co-exist with people who have different stand points from ours and just let each other enjoy things that make us smile throughout the day.

Kayla: I will reiterate what everyone else is saying. BE KIND. We all may not agree, but you can respect another’s opinion without bullying and calling names. And as Lacey said, please let the actors be! Stop sending hate to Chris, Emily, and Colin. They are not their characters.

They are human beings with feelings and they have all taken breaks from their social media because of this exact behavior. Show them respect for the art that they work so very hard to bring to our TV screens.

As Elle says, can we all co exist? Shipping is supposed to be fun. Watching TV is often an escape from life for many people. Let them enjoy a character, for whatever reason they may enjoy it. Same goes for the other direction.

As I’ve pointed out, I try to see the other perspective on things, often times I can. Sometimes I can’t.

Agree? Disagree? Have another other pressing thoughts on these characters? Share with us in the comments below!

Lissete Lanuza Sáenz

Senior Managing Editor

Lawyer. Dreamer. Geek. Eternal optimist. Fangirl since the dawn of time. Hates the color yellow, olives and cigarettes. Has a recurring nightmare where she’s forced to choose between sports and books. Falls in love with fictional characters.

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