Postmortem: Covert Affairs 1×03

29 Jul

I feel like it usually takes about three episodes for any TV series to make itself clear, so by that token, Covert Affairs last night established itself as a USA summer show par excellence:  not necessarily good, but watchable and fun.  Since I eat that shit up, I’ll be sticking with it all summer.  Unfortunately, last night’s episode didn’t have much in the way of plot twists to guess (they pretty much showed us the baddie in the first scene—not hard to guess), but it did furnish me with a few further predictions.

I predict that we’ll find out that Auggie doesn’t like Jai because he at least believes that Jai was opposed to Auggie rejoining the CIA after his accident.   This may or may not be a misunderstanding, depending on how much we’re supposed to end up liking Jai.  It’s hard to tell with such a charisma suck playing him.  Why?  First of all, Auggie is easily the most likeable character on the show, so for us to be introduced to a character with his dislike means that the offence was both serious and personal.  Secondly, we saw in this episode that Auggie misses active duty; clearly he cares a lot about his career, so doing something to jeopardize that is surely a good way to piss him off.  Finally, Jai sounded totally douche when he was all “did you think we would leave you with just Auggie for backup?” Eat a hot bowl of dicks, Mohinder, you’re boring and I hate you.

I do think that the character will be rehabilitated at least a bit, however, and eventually we’ll be supposed to like him.  Eventually there will be a bit of a love triangle set up between him, Auggie, and Annie.  I don’t see it lasting long, though, because the fandom will be 100% for Auggie (I’m guessing there are already a million fanfics about them.  I don’t even read or write fanfic, and I keep seeing clear fanfic potential. Someone hit me if I ever write one.)

By the way, it looks like I was proven wrong about Jai’s father being either a baddie or a bloviating politician.  I still predict that his and Jai’s relationship will be boringly complicated.

I also predict that we’ll see Annie’s ex-boyfriend/fling (seriously, a three-week vacation does not a boyfriend make) within the next three episodes.

My crackpot theory of the week:  The ex-fling brainwashed Annie.  Think about it:  why else would an otherwise strong and competent woman still be mooning over some dude she knew for three weeks several years ago?  Especially one who’s all about not putting down roots, as she put it?  It’s just stupid.  But not if he brainwashed her! Maybe that’s why the CIA is so interested in her/him—he developed a new brainwashing technique, and they want to study its effects on her.  That would be awesome.

And now, if you’ll allow me to take off my psychic cap and put on my activist stocking, I have a bit of an off-topic rant I need to get off my chest.  Chris Gorham’s ADA PSA was, I’m sure, done with the best of intentions.  For those of you who watched the episode online, here’s a link to it (can’t make it embed, sorry).

I have no real problem with the content of the ad (besides the phrase “just happens to be blind”, which bugs me for a reason I can’t quite put my finger on)—I appreciate that, unlike other ADA tributes, it points out that there’s a lot still to be done.  However.  One of the things that is still to be done, and which a lot of disability activists are fighting for, is more plentiful and complex roles for disabled actors.  Particularly, as we’ve seen in the backlash to Artie on Glee (as well as a couple different kerfluffles in Broadway shows, The Miracle Worker and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter in particular), there’s been quite the push to have disabled characters played by actors with disabilities.  Covert Affairs has been especially criticized for casting Christopher Gorham, an able-bodied actor, in a blind role (this is a good post on the topic, from an excellent blog that’s well-worth following).  For him to be making a PSA about increasing opportunities for disabled people in the workplace is just a bit rich.  He might as well be saying “People with disabilities have opportunities in workplaces across America… except for television, obviously”.   It’s a bit of a slap in the face.  Again, I’m sure they did it with the best of intentions, and it looks like from Twitter that Chris Gorham’s becoming quite the activist, which is awesome, but the whole thing still left me with kind of a bad taste in my mouth.  Be better, TV.  You have to give us more to cling to than the occasional Marlee Matlin guest role and that one guy on Private Practice (especially since that guy is literally the only watchable part of Private Practice unless Taye Diggs takes off his shirt). Disagree?  Feel free to argue with me in the comments.

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2 Responses to “Postmortem: Covert Affairs 1×03”

  1. rae September 13, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

    It’s really annoying that people keep calling Chris’ working on the show a slap in the face to blind actors. FYI – no blind actor auditioned, never mind one who actually fit the very specific role they had in mind. The most active blind actor I know wouldn’t have worked as Auggie because of his build and look. But he didn’t audition, so that doesn’t matter. I find it odd that so many people are up in arms over this whole thing when all of the blind people, and families of blind people I’ve talked to or even heard about are really happy with the show and Chris’ portrayal.

    Far as I’m concerned, completely ignoring the blind communities opinion in this matter is a SLAP IN THE FACE.

    • tvpsychic September 19, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

      I never claimed that I was representing the views of the entire blind community. It’s not a hive mind–there are different opinions. I am simply repeating and linking to views of some individuals within the disability rights community. The problem goes deeper than no blind actors auditioning. Because blind actors don’t get jobs, blind people are less likely to go into acting. Then there are less blind actors to audition, so it’s easy to blame the problem on no blind actors auditioning. It’s a vicious circle (also a gross oversimplification of the problem). There needs to be an active attempt to increase representation.

      Although, while I did admittedly do a bit of bitching when the series started, I’m pretty happy with Auggie as a character and Christopher Gorham’s portrayal. It could certainly be a lot worse. Just the fact that the guy who had gotten criticism for taking a job from a person with a disability made a PSA about giving jobs to people with disabilities seems, at the very least, silly. He couldn’t pick another aspect of the ADA to do a PSA on? How about one about accessible technology? That would fit with the show and not be cringe-inducingly ironic.

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