Monday, June 13, 2016

How Preacher’s Tulip Is Shattering the Mold for Female Characters in Prestige Dramas

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An article on Tulip's unadulterated badassery...


Preacher debuted on AMC as a critically lauded, decently well-rated television show...but nowhere has the show’s remarkable success in adaptation been clearer than in its treatment of Tulip O’Hare, Jesse’s on-again, off-again love interest.

The acting certainly helps: As Tulip, rising star Ruth Negga manages to be maternal and flinty, tough and sensitive, antagonistic and loving all at once, effortlessly capturing the complications of her relationship with Jesse. 

And, more than maybe anyone else in the cast, Negga is clearly having fun with the material, tearing into each smirking monologue like it’s a rack of ribs from a Sunday cookout. But Negga is only part of the equation. Preacher has been careful to position Tulip as the show’s breakout character, because it gives her by far the best material.

This is no easy competition—nearly every role on Preacher is a meaty one. Jesse commands people with his voice and gets into bar fights. Cassidy is literally a vampire, cuts off a guy’s arm with a chainsaw, and runs over the same guy with a van. (This man returns from the dead, repeatedly.) But none of that comes anywhere close to Tulip building a bazooka out of coffee cans, engaging in a fistfight in a car careening through a corn field, or kidnapping Jesse, donning a gas mask, and pretending to be a terrifying monster set on interrogating him. In all of these endeavors, Tulip is consistently active, in sharp contrast to the trapped Cassidy and inert Jesse.

Tulip’s confrontations with Jesse are consistently some of Preacher’s strongest moments, because they reverse the usual relationship dynamic of prestige TV. For years, the height of televised drama was a show where a man wanted to do something ethically suspect but extremely cool, and a woman (usually his wife) tried to get him to stop. Carmela Soprano, Skyler White, Betty Draper—all variously hated by fans and defanged by writers, because their primary motivation was persuading their husbands to quit doing narratively interesting things. Instead, here, Jesse is the one trying to stay on the straight and narrow, while Tulip is trying to push a gun into his hand. As she puts it in last night’s episode, “You’re boring the shit out of me right now, so let’s talk about my stuff.”

Tulip is driving the show, literally—in Sunday night’s episode, she uses her genuine love for Jesse to talk her way out of a speeding ticket, then tears off down the open road—in contrast to most of the women in similar situations on TV, and her own source material. If Preacher continues to follow the comic, Jesse will be off hunting down God soon enough. In the meantime, we should all pray for our televisions to fill up with characters like Tulip O’Hare.

Read the full article at Slate (they mentioned the awesome 'Americans', one of my favorite non sci-fi/comic/fantasy related shows):

Text from Slate

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