Required Reading: The Problem of Trinity Syndrome and 48 Jump Streets

By  · Published on June 17th, 2014

Warner Bros.

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“We’re losing all our Strong Female Characters to Trinity Syndrome” – Tasha Robinson at The Dissolve delivers a barn-burner that looks critically at the storytelling advancement that’s taken female characters to the 50-yard line.

“The Lego Movie is the year’s other most egregious and frustrating example. It introduces its female lead, Elizabeth Banks’ Wyldstyle, as a beautiful, super-powered, super-smart, ultra-confident heroine who’s appalled by how dumb and hapless protagonist Emmet is. Then the rest of the movie laughs at her and marginalizes her as she turns into a sullen, disapproving nag and a wet blanket. One joke has Emmet tuning her out entirely when she tries to catch him up on her group’s fate-of-the-world struggle; he replaces her words with ‘Blah blah blah, I’m so pretty.’

Her only post-introduction story purpose is to be rescued, repeatedly, and to eventually confer the cool-girl approval that seals Emmet’s transformation from loser to winner. After a terrific story and a powerful ending, the movie undermines its triumph with a tag where WyldStyle actually turns to her current boyfriend for permission to dump him so she can give herself to Emmet as a reward for his success. For the ordinary dude to be triumphant, the Strong Female Character has to entirely disappear into Subservient Trophy Character mode. This is Trinity Syndrome à la The Matrix: the hugely capable woman who never once becomes as independent, significant, and exciting as she is in her introductory scene.”

“The awful, wonderful integrity of Plan 9 From Outer Space” – Also at The Dissolve, Matt Singer praises the great work of Ed Wood by looking at its history and its place among a larger body of work.

“Here Are Our Ideas for 23 Jump Street Through 32 Jump Street” – Evan Saathoff at offers a slew of adventures in the event of inevitable franchising.

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector [email protected] | Writing short stories at Adventitious.