Female Characters, Made To Suffer for Our 'Art'

By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 18, 2005

Women play an enormous role in the new television season.

They're paralyzed by venomous bites of exotic spiders that crawl under their front doors, after which they can put up no struggle as they're raped and murdered.

They're locked in the house for a couple of years by a husband who chains them in the basement in a dog collar.

They're impaled on the ceiling, where they spontaneously combust.

They have strange unnamed things done to them by aliens during a hurricane and wind up, in shock and naked (naturally), in a swamp.

They are abducted while test-driving a vintage sports car they saw for sale on the Internet, have their mouths and eyes covered with duct tape, and are tossed into cages at a remote shipyard, where their terror is monitored and recorded via video camera for about a week before they're murdered.

And the pregnant ones get pulled out of the shower at night by huge, hideous, wolflike creatures who rip the fetuses out of their wombs.

Yes, there's lots and lots of work -- albeit short gigs -- for actresses on new series this TV season.

And these great roles were created by -- two guesses -- men, the little dears.

Trying to get them to discuss the Season of Die, Women, Die! can be difficult. Because the men who made the shows, and the suits who ordered them, while not timid about slicing and dicing up the female characters in these drama series, go shy all over when asked about the trend.

"Is it a bad thing to be a woman on this show?" one television critic asked the panel of creative minds behind WB's "Supernatural" at the summer TV Press Tour in Beverly Hills.

(That's the one in which Mom goes in to check on little baby Sam and winds up stuck to the nursery ceiling oozing blood -- a spectacular feat she then trumps by bursting into flame. Fast-forward 20 years; Sam's live-in girlfriend suffers the same fate. Sam is not good for a woman's health.)

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