In a turn that has many adult viewers (and some of the more astute younger ones) rather disturbed, Teen Wolf showrunner Jeff Davis has portrayed one of the teenage romances as having an element of dubious consent and a bit of masochism.
Indeed, that is the strong implication in the relationship between semi-feral Malia (Shelley Hennig) and her apparent mate, Stiles (Dylan O’Brien). In the second episode of the season, titled 117, the supposed romance between Malia and Stiles is shown to have a distinctly masochistic tinge that also screams of a frequent lack of consent.
While the relationship seems to be presented as mostly comedic, the attempt not only falls flat, but ends up being quite to disturbing, to those who understand the implications of dubious consent, particularly when those in the relationship are still so young.
In one scene, Stiles is confessing a dilemma to Scott, explaining that Malia just shows up in his room in the middle of the night (for sex, is the obvious implication), and Stiles ends up with something on his back, marks of some kind that he shows Scott, whose eyebrows rise in alarm. Stiles continues and says after that, they end up spooning. Scott at this point says that doesn’t sound so bad (implying the rest certainly does). Stiles explains that he’s always the little spoon. He does not seem thrilled.
It seems that the writers are not quite sure what to do with this relationship, and to what extent to make it funny and versus serious. It would also seem that the actors aren’t quite sure what to do with the dialogue they’re given about it. The result is a disturbing creepfest.
What makes it so irresponsible is that this show is aimed at young people, who are impressionable when it comes to sex and relationships. It’s appalling that writers of a show airing on MTV would create a semi-masochistic relationship and have the characters appear uncertain about their consent to engage in all aspects of the relationship– all the while also trying to present aspects of that disturbing relationship as comic relief.
By all means, MTV, make a joke of dubious consent and a semi-feral teenage girl’s attempts to make an actual animal kingdom mate out of another teenager. Young viewers who have powerful crushes on the actors will spend years of their lives undoing the damage caused by this type of dangerously thoughtless writing aimed at kids who are known to have understandable fan goggles.
Badly done, Jeff Davis, badly done.--
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