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OPINION

My Seven Most Annoying Woke Storylines

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Richard Drew, File

Like the written words of yesteryear, television and movies have become the chronicle of our age, a window into what society deemed heroic, or evil, or normal, or strange, or even just appropriate to display on the big or small screen during that narrow snapshot of time. For example, if you watch something made in the 40s or 50s and compare the values emphasized to the insanity going on today, you’ll wonder if you’re living on another planet.

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Back then, heroes were, well, heroic. Good was good, evil was evil, and the values shared by the ‘good guys’ seemed a lot closer to the black and white on the screen. Sure, some of the conventions of yesteryear seem super corny now, like displaying a married couple as having separate twin beds, but they also speak to society’s unwillingness to even step in the general direction of corrupting children they knew would be watching the programs.

Compare that to the rampant sexuality displayed today, and the difference is astonishingly depressing. Leftists learned long ago that they could use the powerful medium to push boundaries in ways they likely never thought possible, and push they did. We’ve gone from a time when even an on-screen kiss was considered scandalous to openly airing and - even worse - seemingly attempting to normalize any and every possible deviance known to man. At the same time, the powers-that-be have also used the platform to push the nauseating utter wokeness that, in the absence of traditional morality, has become central to their twisted, cultish worldview.

As a lifelong television and movie fan (don’t judge me!), I’ve witnessed this transition firsthand. When I was a teenager and into my 20s, unmarried sex, babies out of wedlock, and even the beginnings of the normalization of homosexuality were commonplace on shows I loved like Frasier, Friends, and Seinfeld. Today, however, with a few exceptions the wokeified products put out by Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and the rest of Hollywood make those shows seem tame and even mildly based by comparison. 

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Here are a few of what I consider the most annoying woke trends in today’s programming:

The gay male sidekick

Seemingly every program fully or partially based in high school these days has one in proximity to the main (primarily female) character - a male best friend whose flaming gayness is so ridiculously out in the open that there cannot possibly be any mistaking it. This person is also always compassionate, always a good listener, always on the spot with excellent advice, and, of course, always has what every other character considers impeccable fashion sense. Sure, stereotypes abound, but it’s for the greater good, right?

The lesbian/straight love triangle

A female minor character is pretty, popular, and has a jock boyfriend. What she doesn’t yet have, but will by the end of the program no matter how absurd and unrelated to the actual plotline viewers want to watch, is the affection of some cool openly lesbian chick with a nosering, purple hair, and half-shaved head. The message? Try it, and you’ll probably like it. That jock boyfriend never had a chance, and he was probably a racist anyway.

Minorities in weird roles

When it comes to enduring roles and pure acting talent, it’s hard to beat the likes of Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Idris Elba, among others. But I wouldn’t want any of them playing George Washington in a historical drama about the American Revolution. Nor would I - or anyone - want Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise to play Martin Luther King Jr. And even beyond identifiable historical figures, casting minorities in roles which everyone knows would have historically been a white person - such as peasants, soldiers, or knights in medieval Europe - is not only absurd and condescending to the audience, it’s also a disservice to the talented actors who are tacitly assumed to be in the roles because of race alone and not merit. (I’ll leave this here for now, but unfortunately, the Diversity Mafia’s negative impact on recent show production has become a wide-ranging topic that I may cover more extensively in a future column.)

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Invincible gurl power

Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with portraying women as strong, smart, and not helpless. Women are certainly strong, smart, and far from helpless. But when on-screen heroines who aren’t superheroes in a fictional universe go about physically dominating males twice their size and strength, it at best defies belief and at worst portrays an unrealistic view of life, not to mention physics, to impressionable girls. And speaking of superheroes, why exactly do female ones need to outnumber the males? What are we trying to do here other than assuage the gods of political correctness?

Idiot dads & white males

I get that there was probably a problem in the past with over-representing white males as ideal fathers, husbands, heroes, etc. For every Father Knows Best-type dad, there was doubtless a drunken fool who beat his kids, cheated on his wife, and neglected to support his family. Additionally, minorities also need on-screen role models to look up to, so broadening that horizon was a welcome change. But do we now have to make up for the past by portraying almost EVERY dad or white male as a loutish, stupid boor who has to learn life’s biggest lesson from the wise, street-smart woman in his life?

All-white criminals

Sure, it’s everywhere, but the security company commercials really take the cake here with their portrayals of bumbling, always-white burglars who get caught in the act by their product. I mean, I could go into the demographics of actual burglars and other gangland types, but I wouldn’t want to be accused of racism. Instead, I’ll just leave this by saying that I can almost understand why they do it, but it doesn't make it any less ridiculous and they aren’t fooling anybody with half a brain.

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White dude gets woke

If I had a dollar for every Afterschool Special-style plotline where some white guy gets woke to some sort of “systemic” something-or-other because of some unrealistic nonsense that happens to his black friend, I might have enough to take my family to a nice dinner (you might have expected more but hey, it’s the age of Bidenflation).

The answer to all this is, of course, whatever your convictions tell you. Some have stopped watching and paying altogether and I completely respect that. For myself, I try to encourage and promote the good shows while mocking and avoiding the bad ones. For now, at least, there’s still enough good stuff being made (The Last Kingdom being a prime, recent example) for a Netflix subscription to be worth my while.

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