In recent weeks, True Detective has caught some flack (most notably from New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum) for its narrow single-white-male point of view: women are treated as objects; the female character with the largest role, Maggie, is one-dimensional at best; and young, hot, former prostitutes unrealistically throw themselves at over-the-hill, violent cops. Critics have been quick to criticize the show for its lack of female perspective and have even gone so far as to call the show itself misogynistic.
But it’s time that we all stop assuming TV writers endorse the bad actions of their flawed characters on television. Just because Rust and Marty are sexist doesn’t mean the show is too. In fact, the show has spent the last few episodes critiquing their world view, not glorifying it.
When we see “heroic male outlines and closeups of female asses” in the credits, as Nussbaum points out, we are seeing Marty and Russ’ worldview. They fancy themselves powerful saviors of women, when in fact they are sexist monsters. And they get their comeuppance: in the latest episode, we see Marty — who physically abuses his wife, daughter and lover — unsuccessfully browsing dates on Match.com and eating a TV dinner alone in his apartment. Rust, who simply ignores live women in favor of dead ones, has found himself drowning in a can of Lone Star.
Eliana Dockterman, Time (via knowlesian)