Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hopefully the last thing I'm going to write about Compulsive Love

I had blissfully forgotten about Compulsive Love until a notice for a free reading by the series author Adam Szymkowicz was sent to me last week. I almost didn't post the notice because Compulsive Love is so mind-bogglingly obnoxious.

I thought yesterday's post would be the last time I ever wrote about it, but then out of curiosity to see if the other episodes were as grotesque as episodes 1-4 and 8 I took a look at the Youtube site devoted to the series. They were pretty bad, although episode seven seems to be the most realistic - instead of wanting to have sex with the unattractive hero, the Girl of the Week just steals his crappy stuff. But nothing else was especially extra-horrific - until... wow, just when I thought this series couldn't be more repulsive.

There appears to be three videos called "The Melissa Files." Melissa is the office boss lady who represents the "bitch" in the bitch/slut/because...um girl triumvirate of female characters in a dude-bro media production. She's basically like Frank Burns on MASH, except in MASH Burns had Hoolihan as a partner and got to have sex. Melissa is crazy, lonely and sexless - a loser in every possible way, and the three Melissa Files videos seem to exist to mine all the humor inherent in humiliating the character even more. I suspect that Szymkowicz has seen 30 Rock and based the Melissa character on Liz Lemon - except Szymkowicz doesn't get that we are supposed to be sympathetic towards Lemon.

And this is how deep the misogyny goes - while the unattractive, weaselly man-baby hero gets to have sex with many women in the series, the Melissa character doesn't even get to lust unrequitedly after an attractive man. In the episode The Fake Limp she is seen eyeing the average ass of some pudgy balding guy. His character is billed as "the sexy co-worker" which I would normally think was meant as a joke, but you can't tell in dude-bro Bizarro World. There really are no attractive male actors used in this series.

I feel especially bad for the way a good actor, Amy Staats is misused here. She's probably the best actor in the series and far more attractive than Alex Anfanger, who plays the hero who gets all the sex. But that's pretty much the fate of female actors in a world dominated by dude-bro assholes. I will have to reach out to Staats for an audition the next time I'm working on a decent project to give her a chance to play a character worth playing. 

One day when the entertainment industry is less thoroughly dominated by men we can all look back on series like Compulsive Love and laugh. Until then...

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