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On October 22nd, 2010, actresses Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer embarked on a cross-country motorcycle ride taking them 2,500 miles from Los Angeles, CA to New Orleans, LA to raise awareness for the BP Oil Spill Disaster in the Gulf.
Titled ‘The LA La Ride’, it was the very first under the Acting Outlaws brand -- a charity company started by Katee and Tricia to raise money and awareness for various charities and causes. Joining them on this trip was a film crew who documented the entire event. This footage was edited together to create a documentary film which follows these two as they ride from city to city, raising awareness and experiencing an adventure unlike any other.
To which I can only say—exactly! And: isn’t this remarkable? Two parallel realities! Men who see nobody at all and women who see the next Faith (without the crazy, I mean). Don’t tell Disney, or they’ll be marketing the film as 4-D.
Jokes aside, how to explain this blanket amnesia?
If I were to be optimistic, I’d say this brand of blindness is about change happening too fast. Change is weird, scary and disorienting. And TV’s a great place for incremental change because it shows slow transformations occurring over time.
At first, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer was, literally, a joke. A cheerleader fighting the undead! Hilarious! And she’s so unthreateningly cute! But over time, people came to believe in the take-charge slayer, until someone in Season Four’s “A New Man” [sic] episode could remark to Buffy that “You're, like, make the plan, execute the plan, no one giving you orders,” and instead of intimidation, there was a shrug. Because it was true.
And so over time people weren't alarmed when Alias’ Sydney Bristow nicked bits of the 007 crown. Or when a female Starbuck showed Han Solo-level energy in the new Battlestar Galactica.
But The Avengers moves so fast, with so many zingers, tiffs, explosions, turnarounds and implications that I’d like to think reviewers simply didn’t have time to process just how radically and playfully Whedon (whose mother co-founded Equality Now) cedes yards of traditionally male genre property and space to Black Widow.
Some part of the male unconscious, down there where The Hulk lives, just didn't go for it.
Who else could possibly cap this list? Not just one of the finest anti-heroes committed to celluloid, but also one of the finest characters full stop, Starbuck and her story are a true testament to the quality of the story-telling on show in this science fiction epic.
Battlestar Galactica is already a post-feminist show - see unisex bathrooms, women holding positions of power. Despite the initial, entirely unjustified reservation of the fans when the casting was announced, Katee Sackhoff not only holds her own, but utterly shines, imbuing Starbuck with an amicable cockiness that’s edged by a deep sense of sadness and regret.
Given what we learn of the character’s history, it’s incredible that Sackhoff nailed this aesthetic of the character from the go - though this also down to the writers evolving and adapting the character to her performance. Her final story arc is boldly emotional, tying her fate to that of humanity inexorably, and the payoff at the end magnificently tows the line between beautiful and tragic.
There’s perhaps the argument that her femininity is ostensibly the root cause of all her problems, which may or may not undermine her status as feminist icon, but in truth, it’s rare that you get a female heroin [sic] in sci-fi that has had as much care and attention put into her creation as Starbuck.
Memorably feisty, cocky yet incredibly human, and above all, uncompromisingly moral, she’s one for the ages.