I’m a hardcore Suitor. How can you not be? But as much as I love the show Suits, which just had its season finale, I’ve gotten super frustrated with it in the past few weeks.
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Suits has three strong female characters that I love: Jessica, Donna and Rachel. But this season, Rachel Zane, played by the gorgeous and talented Meghan Markle, has over the seasons, melted away. Not only is she no longer a star character, she’s not even a supporting role at this point. By the end of the season, she was nearly an extra on the show.
A lot of die-hard fans argue that the story and plot focuses on Mike, and so my grievances are unfounded. But if anything, this was the time for Rachel to shine. Somehow, with all the attention the storyline has on her, she’s faded away. Gone are the strong powerful characters we have seen grow and build her relationships, even with Louis.
Instead is a nauseatingly sweet Rachel, who has no independence or mind of her own. I was hoping it would change, but she’s just become a propped-up character who agrees and believes whatever Mike says.
“Sure, Rachel is in law school now, but even that arc has only served to illustrate how much she needs Mike: He encouraged her to do it, and he rallied for her to get time off so she’d be able to do it,” MaryAnn Sleasman notes in a season 4 recap at TV.com. “…Rachel’s law school storyline has simply continued Suits’ tradition of making every Rachel story a Mike story at heart.”
That’s not the Rachel Zane I remember. It reminds me more of TV from when I was young.
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TV shows in the 90s were dominated by male characters – Fraser, King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond. What followed was the pairing of male and female characters as lead characters – you’ll remember Friends and Dharma & Greg. Studies have shown that although the lead role was now shared, little had changed: women played more interpersonal roles, while men held jobs. You know, because even in the 21st century, man is a hunter-gatherer and returns with the bear for dinner.
This issue was rooted in the lack of diversity among writers, as studies have shown that female writers tended included women and men both in interpersonal roles. Hey, who knew cave men socialised at all?
But we’re not living in an age of Dharma and Greg, we’re living in the age of Scandal, the brainchild of brilliant brilliant Shonda Rhimes. We have Gina Rodriguez and Kerry Washington. We have Viola Davis in How To Get Away With Murder. In Suits, we have Gina Torres as Jessica Pearson – and we used to have Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane.
So Suits writers, listen up: this viewer is crossing her fingers for less Stepford wife-ness and more fierceness next season from Rachel.
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