As you may know we do not own a TV license–for two reasons: 1) our one TV is American, and is not fitted out to receive BBC; 2) we are not big TV watchers anyway, mainly because we are skeptical of modern day TV’s potential for wholesomeness and positive impact in our lives. But, we have Netflix, and scrolling through its offerings last night we came upon the full season of Bodyguard! The show seemed so hot and popular when it aired some time back that we decided we had to check out at least the first episode!
The first thing that struck us about the first episode was the overwhelming domination that women had in positions requiring physical and psychological toughness, as well as in leadership. If you recall, the opening sequence of the first episode consists of war veteran and now police sergeant David Budd non-violently resolving a terrorist bomb threat on a train full of commuters.
As the opening scene develops, it is clear that the women are overwhelming: the leader of the counter-terrorism unit sent to board the train is a woman; the sniper looking for a clean shot at the terrorist is a woman; the explosives specialist sent in to defuse the bomb is a woman; sergeant Budd’s boss is a woman; the head of the metropolitan police is a woman; and of course the home secretary is a woman. Not only were all of these positions held by women, but Lillian was struck by the shear masculinity they exuded: they cursed often, they dressed mostly in slacks and wore short hair, they spoke loudly and over others, they initiated sexual activity, they initiated the end of marriages, etc.
In contrast to all these women-leaders, the male lead is depicted as emotionally unstable (though highly brave), looked physically diminutive, was abandoned by his wife, and seemed to be led into a sexual affair by and with the powerful home secretary. The contrast between male and female on this show struck us as twilight zone material–a different dimension of reality where women had truly scaled Mt. Masculinity and pushed men over the cliff. Although the show had positive elements–drama was high, the plot kept us on the edge of our seats, and the dialogue was decent–we could not watch more of it. Judging by how popular the show was, either the male/female dynamic depicted in the show is now part of the normal landscape of British society, or it is an ideal British society hopes to achieve. Either way, we struggle to relate to it as a traditional family.