Sunday, March 20, 2011

One of the most excellent blog posts on the douchebaggery of contemporary male playwrights ever

This Nice Feminist is brilliant.

Here is her take on RED LIGHT WINTER but you should go read the entire post and the unusually articulate and thoughtful comments:

Lastly (and most infuriating, to me): Red Light Winter. Matt is in Amsterdam with his best friend Davis. Davis brings a prostitute, Christina, back to their hotel - as a gift for Matt, though he (Davis) already purchased her services earlier. The three of them hang out in an overlong scene where it's clear that Matt is Awkward and Davis is an Asshole. Then Davis leaves, Christina and Matt have a heart-to-heart, have very brief sex, and Christina skips town. Then Act 2, a year later (or is it longer? I don't have the script next to me), Christina shows up at Matt's door looking for Davis. Matt's been pining after her since they met; she doesn't remember him at all. Actually, she's been pining after Davis because, why again? Because he was "sweet" when he was dicking her, even though he was clearly an Asshole when he was hanging out with her and Matt. Oh, and also maybe because he made her orgasm 3 times. Anyway, she's got AIDS now, so Matt says she can stay with him, confesses his love for her, and goes out for food. Then Davis comes over, trashes Matt's apartment, is an Asshole to Christina, and then fucks her because she literally throws herself at him. And then! THEN! He leaves, and SHE FUCKING KILLS HERSELF. Does anyone else see a problem here? A prostitute follows a client to America and kills herself because he doesn't remember her, even though another dude just offered to put her up and help her out? Quoi??????

This is, to me, the most toxic of these plays (though that first scene where Christina and Matt are alone together is gorgeously written). Like Phil in The Shape of Things, this Douche lacks any charm whatsoever, I mean, ANY charm. Yet this girl - who seems plenty savvy and independent in other ways - follows him to America and kills herself when he, y'know, acts like a Douche?? Being willing to make out with a Douche for an artistic statement, or bang a Douche because you're not happy in your relationship, is one thing. But the Nice Guy is gonna sleep on the floor so you can have his bed and ya kill yourself? This is DEFINITELY a situation that could have been avoided if Christina had a Sassy Gay Friend. Second City, get on that, wouldja?

So why am I bitching and moaning about these plays? Well, because it seems to reveal a collective neurosis that worries and disgusts me: the fear that, if you're a Nice Guy, your Hot/Quirky lady love will fuck you over and go get it on with your Douchey Best Friend. Is this a thing that happens often enough to warrant mass alarm on behalf of our male playwrights? 'Cause last I checked, none of us Hot/Quirky ladies were looking to bang a Douche. We may not always be into the Nice Guys, but generally it's because of something other than their Niceness (like, if they're boring or insecure or have no social skills or no sense of boundaries or what have you). Niceness, in itself, is actually pretty damn ideal.

But! If you're a Nice Guy and your girlfriend HAS left you for your Douchey Best Friend (or brother) and you're sad about it, rather than writing a play that depicts the one female character as a slave to the Douchecock, here are some tips:
-GET RID OF THAT DOUCHEY BEST FRIEND. Every Nice Guy character in every movie has one and I still can't figure out why, but if you have one, DROP HIM. Not only might he fuck your girlfriend, he's just a bad person. Kick him to the curb and meet some other Nice Guys at a coffeeshop or some shit.
-When you meet girls, don't obsess over them, especially not immediately. That seems to be a mistake made by all 3 protagonists in these plays.
-And if you absolutely must place this particular plotline in one of your plays, maybe don't have that girl be the only female? Jenny in The Shape of Things doesn't count - she's a bland little Girl Next Door who just can't resist Adam when he gets all Hawt. That - much like a prostitute following you across the ocean because you made her orgasm in triplicate - just seems like a bullshit male fantasy that gives your bros a bad name.

All right, I'm done. Thanks for listening. But seriously, boys, STOP WRITING THESE PLAYS. I'm sick of 'em, and I'm not the only one.

Thank you NF.

I have a theory for why these Douche plays don't work. NF makes the point that the douche characters, as written, don't have anything going for them, with the implicit point that the reason women like them is for the douchebaggery itself.

The tale of the production of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE in which the hideous John C. Reilly was cast as Stanley Kowalski should be a lesson for all casting directors when approaching RED LIGHT WINTER or any of the other the-lady-loves-a-douche plays. The director has to inject something into the douche character that is not IN the script - the director has to cast a REALLY HOT GUY as the douchebag. Then everybody understands what the woman sees in the douche. Certainly any man can understand the principle - how many men admit - hell BRAG - that their sexual attraction for a woman is strictly based on what she looks like. Of course there are still plenty of doucebags in this world who would deny this privilege of being "shallow" to women and don't see the double standard.

As Elyse Sommers, one of the still-rare female critics puts it:
Rather than attempting the impossible feat of casting another Brando... Edward Hall has opted for a totally against the grain Stanley. Not that Brando wasn't a beer-swilling slob but that rippling torso and gorgeous profile made you understand Stella's overlooking Stanley's abusive behavior with "there are things that happen between a man and a woman that sort of makes everything else... unimportant."

How not to cast STREETCAR.

No surprise - the director of the Reilly STREETCAR, Edward Hall is a straight man.