By Ben Pensant
There’s never been a better time to be a leftist. From Twitter to Facebook, progressive ideology is EVERYWHERE. But for all the great work done defending terrorists and indulging men in dresses – and despite the exciting prospect of Jezza seizing No.10 in time to cancel Christmas – the modern world remains a dangerous place. And nothing is more dangerous than US drama, an arena which should be brimming with more liberal values than a Holland & Barratts trolley dash. Sadly, despite living in a supposed golden age, American telly loathes the left. And recently two popular, critically acclaimed shows – one brand new, one mercifully finished – have grimly illustrated how intense this loathing is.
For anyone lucky enough to have avoided it, HBO’s The Affairs has been terrorising audiences since 2013. Over six seasons it followed the exploits of Dominic Cooper’s Noel Solloway and Kevin Pacey out of Dawson’s Creak as they wandered around the Hamptons drinking, fighting, and sexually assaulting mentally ill waitresses in sand-dunes. Women barely got a look-in – of the four leads only a derisory TWO were female – and the show never featured a single trans character. Indeed, to get an idea of how poorly it fared on diversity consider this: that the only penises in The Affairs belonged to men wasn’t even the tenth most offensive thing about it.
From episode one it deployed a crass framing device: splitting episodes into two and replaying the same events from different perspectives to explore the unreliability of memory. It doesn’t take Rose McGovern to tell you how problematic this is, and the swansong sixth season violently exploited the gimmick to stick two fingers up at #MeeTo.
But this was merely the show’s latest disgrace. From celebrating toxic masculinity to mocking campus culture the writers repeatedly courted fascists. They even promoted slavery by depicting privileged white Noel stepping out of his lane to date a black woman, though thankfully she came to her senses and dumped him for her militant ex-husband. I bet his cock was bigger than Noel’s too. (Of course it was: he’s black.)
The Affairs’ other crime was to suggest that adults commit adultery because they’re flawed and impulsive, when anyone with half a Gender Studies degree knows they do it because of the patriarchy or something. Especially women, who are so at the mercy of men they’re physically incapable of keeping their knickers on. Instead they’re brainwashed into casual sex and extra-marital trysts, forced to satisfy male desires on pain of death, divorce, or being made to wear a silly white bonnet. You thought being a Grid Girl or voting Tory was the epitome of internalised misogyny? Think again.
As well as making excuses for cheaters, the show also sneered at non-conforming relationships by promoting the outdated and deeply offensive concept of – urgh – family. So one minute it pretended it’s perfectly okay for men to plant their seed wherever they like, the next it suggested the world would be so much better if we were all straight and married with four white children. Cognitive dysentery much? Of course, such hypocrisy is commonplace in right-wing TV. Just look at racist sitcom Love My Neighbour, with its dishonest suggestion that an actual socialist would ever dream of ranting about “the sambo next door”.
Needless to say, the picture book Solloway clan – or rather, ‘klan’ – were as inclusive as a Tommy Robertson lookalike contest. The writing team pathetically tried to confect diversity by making one of the sons a noofter, blissfully unaware that no-one in the gay community wants to see themselves represented by a fat speccy kid. I’ll wager the privileged brat playing him was neither myopic, overweight, nor bent either. And people wonder why non-binary children get bullied. Contemptible.
But the final season was the most vile yet, the last three episodes dropping any pretence of liberalism and going all-out to promote a rabidly alt-right agenda. First it mocked #BelieveWomen, centring Noel in a storyline about historical abuse. Needless to say, it took potshots at internet outrage and cancel culture, siding with the abuser and demonising his victims. It did this by confirming that Noel had behaved in a creepy, abusive manner but also – shamefully – acknowledged that some of his accusers may not have had the best intentions. Disgusting.
The writers then insulted feminists everywhere by suggesting that while all accusations should be taken seriously, sometimes women lie. In 2019. Needless to say, one of Noel’s accusers was the ‘snowflake’ student who triggered him in season three. Sadly, she never got to say ‘screw you, Mr Rapeypants!’ as the writers instead punished her by suggesting she acted out of spite because he wouldn’t shag her and thought her writing was rubbish. Clearly HBO were desperate to claw back some alt-right cred after the attacks they received from nonce-apologists enraged by fictional Michael Jackson documentary Finding N$v$rland.
Which also explained their decision to fly in the face of science, reason, and James O’Brian by suggesting that traumatic experiences are inherited through DNA and this is why people behave badly. A shameful theory which conveniently ignores the much bigger role played by right-wing newspapers, right-wing politicians, and right-wing films about clowns. As you’d guess, the final season also saw the writers stick the boot into Hollywood and homeopathy, pausing briefly to mock the art and publishing worlds. Hmm, I wonder what it was about these staunchly left-wing industries that so bothered a gang of conservative hacks penning weekly love letters to fascism? It’s a fucking mystery.
Depressingly, the final episode ended with Noel’s ageing white male dancing on a cliff edge like a tit, consequence free, entirely ignorant of the damage done by his sex-crazed antics. So ignorant, in fact, he had no idea his old man make-up was about as convincing as the BBC’s attempt to smear Jezza as an antisemite by cropping the Thundercats sticker on his BMX so it looked like Eva Brown.
All in all, it won’t be missed. The Affairs is from a bygone era, before the world was destroyed by Trump and Brexit and put back together by St.Greta and Hannah Gatsby. A relic of the pre-woke world, its undignified climax was fitting for a show utterly devoid of dignity. Which made it all the more exciting that in the same week it ended Netflix launched its big budget comic book series Watchman.
On paper this adaptation of Bobby Moore’s graphic novel ticked every box: multicultural cast, diverse writing room, a hard-hitting story of resistance and white supremacy. What could possible go wrong? Everything. Because five episodes in it’s painfully clear this show is nothing but a trojan pony: the most sneaky piece of alt-right propaganda since The Colbert Show. And while the titular Watchman is yet to make an appearance, you can bet your bottom dollar what colour and gender he is. Because this show is so in thrall to Caucasian males it might as well be called Whiteman.
Sure, lead character Amanda is a black woman but this bold move is cancelled out completely by the decision to give her white children. Adopted white children. Yep, in Damien Lindelof’s twisted universe, marginalised minorities regularly invite packs of white supremacists-in-waiting into their homes because well, that’s what black folks do. Things take an even worse turn when we learn that not only is Amanda a police officer but the milky brood are her murdered partner’s kids. Because as we know, black women are just here to wipe the arses of white orphans whose biological parents are too lazy and dead to do it themselves. “Dem white folks was oh so kind, I jus’ cain’t wait to work three jobs so I can bring up dem poor lil’ mites! Massa’ Lindelof’s gon’ be so proud of me!” That Emmy-winning star Regina Queen would agree to star in such offensive tosh is obscene. Her character is also a masked avenger who goes by the name Night Sister but they should have just called her Mammy Marvel.
Needless to say, no prizes for guessing which actor from Miami Voice was offered a plum role. Clue: it wasn’t the brown fella. He had his day thirty years ago, that’s enough gainful employment for one black lifetime. Netflix are happy to make glossy TV shows about African-Americans but they can’t be giving them meaty parts when a hunky honky like Ron Johnson needs a job. Predictably, the show’s craven cheerleaders claimed that Johnson’s character’s whiteness is an integral plot point because the is-he-or-isn’t-he-KKK? narrative would make no sense if he was black. Whatevz. Clearly they never saw BlAcK kLaNsMxn, which proved conclusively that black actors are more than capable of playing white supremacists, thank you very much.
They’re more than capable of playing cops too, a slap in the face to POCs whose lives were destroyed by the pigs, such as Roddy King, Jessie Smollett and OJ Simpson. So bravo Netflix, you create a black character then completely undermine her blackness by foisting bigoted white kids on her and making her a rozzer.
Elsewhere, the show features a gang of mysterious cop killers but warps reality by making them white racists rather than misunderstood muggers or proud Antifa streetfighters. Like the Joker’s green hair, the killers’ iconic Scream masks have already inspired copycat attacks, but don’t expect Lindelof or Netflix to take any responsibility when the assaults, dead bodies, and hysterical CNN articles start piling up.
As offensive as that sounds, it doesn’t come close to Watchman‘s ableist, transphobic supervillain Doctor Hollywood. The giant bald alien has so far remained offscreen, though his problematic presence looms large, as does his enormous blue cock. It beggars belief that not one writer on this supposedly diverse show considered how his superpowers and enormous blue cock would exclude those of us with neither superpowers nor enormous blue cocks.
We are yet to see Hollywood’s enormous blue cock but have been treated to the sight of his promiscuous ex girlfriend marvelling at a not-quite-as-enormous dildo modelled on it, which is arguably worse. Because not only does it promote rapey consumerism to film someone using a sex toy shaped like an enormous blue cock, but the very existence of dildos is deeply offensive to transmen with drawers full of fake penises. None of which are blue or enormous. Or cocks.
So, having shoved the bad guy’s space-knob in our faces, the writers then sink even lower by reimagining the hero of the original comic as a posh psychopath with a penchant for birthday cake and mass murder. Alan Veidt – AKA blonde explorer-cum-crimefighter Ozymandela – successfully brought peace to the world by dropping a giant octopus on San Francisco and killing millions, a brave act admired by leftists as it confirmed our principled belief that the best way to bring people together is to slaughter them. But the TV show has sold Veidt out, making him in a privileged lunatic who spends his days riding horses, fishing for babies, and stabbing his servants to death. Yep, this is how Netflix repay the genuinely committed leftist who saved the planet: they turn him into a nutcase. Slow hand-claps, pricks.
And on it went, offending progressives, putting minorites at risk, and pissing all over the legacy of the book, which I haven’t read but know for a fact is waaaay better than the series. Luckily, this appalling adaptation is unlikely to endure as I’ve heard that among comic geeks the TV the show isn’t considered canon. It’s not even Ball.
Though considering the sorry state of US drama, don’t be surprised if it runs for seven seasons like The Affairs. No doubt Lindelof was emboldened by Dominic and co’s vile misogyny, his embrace of far-right ideology currying favour with President Pussy-Grab to ensure he personally greenlights another twenty seasons. And make no mistake, the white male TV scribes of the future are paying attention: taking notes, typing by tiki-light, and admiring Doc Hollywood’s enormous blue cock. The puffs.
In the meantime, like Watchman’s misunderstood socialist Roy Shark, all we can do is warn the world about the dire consequences of allowing these programmes to continue. Though fingers crossed that unlike the masked tramp-crusader we manage to tell humanity of its awful fate before before being vaporised by a giant blue Nazi. Or alternatively we could just tell Twitter how rubbish the show is and call anyone who likes it a Nazi. Yeah, let’s go with that.
‘Who watches the Watchman?’ Alt-right shitbirds, that’s who.