The Female Perspective: Ode To “Agent Carter”

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*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


It’s been a few weeks now so I have been able to process my sadness at the fact that after only two (dynamite) seasons, Agent Carter was cancelled by ABC. I’m sure they have their reasons but to them I say, “You ABC people are a bunch of doodie-heads.” I know, I know, this is a family blog nd such strong language shouldn’t be used but I’m darn angry about the loss of Agent Carter so I just don’t care anymore!

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Joking aside, I am annoyed that ABC cancelled it. I wasn’t shocked, Haley Atwell had signed onto another show so it was looking as if Carter’s days were numbered, but I was sad. Agent Carter was really the first TV show to focus on a female character. Unheard of in the Marvel Cinematic (or TV) Universe. It was a story about a woman who battled tremendous grief at the loss of her love Captain America, along with massive waves of sexism as well as the pain of survivor guilt (not just because of the loss of the Captain, but also, as we find out in season two of the show, her brother’s death). Peggy Carter is the hero we ladies always wanted but never got. She didn’t have super powers, she was just wicked smart, incredibly brave and amazingly talented. She was the kind of “superhero” I want to be as an adult. When I was a kid I wanted powers like Wonder Woman or even Batman, I wanted gadgets and seemingly super human strength. With Peggy Carter, it was different. She was the kind of woman that most women aspire to be. Smart, sassy and respected.

“… [T]hat’s what I love about Peggy and why I’m not ready to let her go. She’s easy to relate to: Her spunk, sass, determination, brawler fighting style—all of it is special and everyday at the same time. Peggy is utterly human and completely wonderful, and it’s a state I both aspire to and am inspired by.” – AMY RATCLIFFE for The Nerdist

The fact is, when we first meet Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger we don’t really see her at first. We see a pretty British woman who seems smart and uninterested in Steve Rogers. We’re so focused on the Captain that we don’t see Carter right away. Then, when the poop hits the fan, we see a woman brave enough to stand in the street shooting at a car that is driving right at her. Then she shoots at Rogers’ shield in a fit of anger. It was both a funny moment and also one that is extremely telling of her character. In a world full of men, Carter wants to be seen as tough and above “typical” female emotions, but she likes Steve and doesn’t like seeing him kissing another woman. It’s a wonderfully human response, but in the best, most comedic way.

It’s a moment that makes her memorable. It’s that moment that I wanted to know more about Agent Carter.

Agent Peggy Carter has become a beacon of feminism for the Marvel Universe.
Agent Peggy Carter has become a beacon of feminism for the Marvel Universe.

Both seasons of Agent Carter are excellent, but season two of Agent Carter was hands-down some of the best writing I’ve ever seen on TV. It was a complicated tale of two women going up against each other, trying to find their power in a male-dominated world. One, Peggy Carter, chooses to do it by fighting against the darkness. The other, Whitney Frost, chooses to do it by becoming the darkness.

Peggy and Jarvis, what a wonderfully odd couple.
Peggy and Jarvis, what a wonderfully odd couple.

In the midst of their battle, people get hurt (Mrs. Jarvis almost died for goodness sake!) and Peggy and Jarvis are constantly at odds with one another as he fears that Peggy will do whatever it takes to take down the bad guys, without concern for her life or others, and Peggy desperately wants to keep Jarvis safe, even if it doesn’t always look like that.

Now that I’ve mentioned him, let’s talk about Jarvis a bit, he’s blundering and wonderful comic relief but the chemistry between him and Peggy is electric and wonderful to watch (as is her interactions between her and Stark). I could watch them put together a stereo and be highly entertained. It’s a marvelous dynamic because even though Jarvis helps Peggy in many ways, she ultimately saves him time and time again. Jarvis keeps her grounded in her humanity, he gives her a reason to survive the missions. That push and pull is part of what makes Peggy so compelling to watch. Like so many of her male counterparts, Peggy wants to do what is right and save the world, but at what cost to her life and her humanity? Peggy deserves a third (and fourth, and fifth!) season to work this stuff out. Not to mention, don’t we want to watch her found S.H.I.E.L.D? I know I do!

Bring Peggy BACK!
Bring Peggy BACK!

I don’t usually get too upset over the cancellation of TV shows, the exceptions being Firefly and Constantine, but now I have to sadly add Agent Carter to that list. It’s a big loss for women and for TV viewers to lose such a smartly written, engaging show. There’s been a lot of talk lately of Netflix picking up the show as well as Atwell herself saying she would do “whatever it takes” to bring Agent Carter back to the small screen, fingers crossed people!

Here’s hoping Netflix picks it up!

Did you enjoy Agent Carter? How do you feel about the shows cancellation? Should Netflix bring it back? Sound off in the comments!

 

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