To be honest, Supergirl is very – procedurally, formulaically, narratively, thematically – similar to The Flash. Both shows are made from much of the same Stuff, both contain very similar storylines and methods, both have a lot of the same draws like their humor and characterization. On the downside, both also tend to have a lot of the same drawbacks, like the periodic awkward dialogue and generally being about as subtle as a three-year old’s crayon drawings.
About the only major difference I can name is that Supergirl frequently lampshades its own status as a female-led superhero show, and all the double standards that come with such. And I get the impression that this often annoys a lot of viewers. Folks rag on how blatantly “meta” the show’s messages are, how
“Supergirl,” both the show and the character, is constantly complaining about having to prove herself in
ways others don’t and working twice as hard to be taken seriously.
the fact is…that’s kinda exactly what’s happening. Already this show
has been blasted a lot for things that I know others would get a pass on. The more similar that Supergirl is to The Flash – and it’s very similar – the more evident the double standard becomes.
People rag on Supergirl’s focus on romantic subplots and love triangles and relationship drama, calling it girly and forced. But shall we measure the amount of air-time that has been devoted to Barry Allen’s love life? ‘Cuz that’s not gonna be a small amount either. It may very well even surpass the amount of romantic focus Kara has had in the equivalent amount of time. But no one would ever call The Flash a girly show for all its requisite CW drama.
People complain about Kara being a soft character, how she’s constantly belittled at work and isn’t able to do her job well without her male co-workers stepping in, and can’t beat bad guys without someone else having to help her. They complain about her not being badass enough on her own, that she’s too vulnerable. Too girly.
And it’s like…the first five minutes of The Flash features Barry getting reamed out by his boss and needing a co-worker to cover his ass. “Captain Singh chews out Barry for something inconsequential” becomes a running gag for the rest of the season. And how many pep talks, per episode, does Barry Allen receive from every single man, woman, and child on the cast of the Flash
before he’s able to bring down the meta of the week? How many times has
he stammered some variation of the phrase “I can’t do it!” “I’m just
not fast enough!” “I’m failing you, dad!” “I’m failing you, mom!”
leading to [rolls six-sided die with supporting cast’s faces printed on
the sides] to have to talk him through whatever Flash-related
challenge he’s faced with this Tuesday on his earpiece?
It reminds me a lot, frankly, of the flak Black Widow receives whenever she displays some kind of vulnerability or fear in her appearances. Never mind that every single one of her male counterparts have filled up entire films’ worth of screentime of them being vulnerable and frightened and sad.
It’s not just centered on Kara, either. The latest episode featured General Sam Lane, who’s pretty much just a stock stereotypical military antagonist who spews nonsensical military bullshit ad nauseam, and folks are already complaining about him being a poorly-written nonsense character. Which may be all well and good, but where was this disdain when General Eiling – who’s even more cartoonish and nonsensical than Lane is – or even Amanda Waller were spewing nonsensical military bullshit ad nauseam on The Flash and Arrow? How come with them it’s all “Ooh iconic DC Comics characters are appearing on my TV screens!!!” and with Lane it’s all “This makes no sense and it is bad for not making sense”?
This show really is held to different standards on a constant basis, on nearly every aspect. I mean…folks don’t have to like it if they don’t like it, but they can’t possibly claim that they’re not taking it to task for things they wouldn’t even think twice about on other shows.