Monday, July 8, 2013

The Glades: A Report Card

 I'm slowly becoming convinced that there is no way to bring roller derby to the small screen without certain stagnant and trite tropes.  Ok won.  You can't do a TV show with derby in it without trotting out these tired ideas, and the Glades is no different.

Image found here
 The Trope List

1.  Five minutes into the episode....the abuse word is mentioned.  Whee!  All of the cop episodes that involve derby do this.  'The victim has bruises, she must be an abuse victim."  I don't know, maybe this is an indictment about women in general, but I'm tired of hearing it on shows with derby involved. On a personal note, I had bruises before derby, but that's because I rarely look where I'm going and I'm just plain clumsy.

2.   BY DAY SHE WAS A BANKER!  BY NIGHT SHE WAS A DERBY GIRL!  MUHAA HAA!  Lord, I'm tired of this.  By day I'm a graphic designer, by night I'm a graphic designer who plays roller derby. Hey, at least they showed one of the derby girls with a good and normal job. Of course, two of the derby girls were involved in some kind of weird girl gang before derby.  We're all violent, right?

3.  Team tattoos.  Ok, I'm sure there are teams that get tattooed together; I have derby tattoos, but they're mine and mine alone.  No offense ladies, I like you guys a lot, but I don't want to have the same tattoos that you do.

4.  Blood.  Fighting.  Ugh.  I am not thrilled when I see a knock down drag out fight taking place on these shows with derby, but once again I feel like TV producers don't think derby lives up to it's reputation, so they have to spice it up with fights and blood.  I know, I know, a lot of police shows like to spice up all sports with fights and blood, right?  Not as much as they like to do it with derby.  People still have an outdated vision of derby in their heads, so "Give the people want they want!"  Bleah.

5.  The nerd boy/girl always is the one into derby and has to explain it to the cool cop. Of course it's the nerd. Yea for the nerds!  The cool kids are too cool to know about derby, right?

6.  When derby parties, it parties hard.  The Glades might have outdone the other silly TV shows with this one.  They showed the teams getting together and drinking the night before a bout.  I don't know about your team, but my team won't do that.  We might go to a meet and greet, and drink a lot of water and eat together, but we won't drink alcohol.  Sorry television, we're athletes, and athletes are kind of boring if we're training correctly.

Things They Got Right

1.  Hooray!  They corrected the word game to bout!  Huzzah!  At least nobody called it a match.  (That's just a pet peeve of mine.)

2.   Yea mouth guards!  They were wearing mouth guards and made a show of taking them out before they talked to the cops.  Yea!

3.  One derby girl said about her team, "We fight our opponents, not each other."  I hope that's becoming true all over derbydom.  Start being a team.  Rely on each other, fight for each other, and don't talk crap about each other.  Be A TEAM!

4.   They had some good skating and real skaters and refs!  Hooray for showing real skating!  I saw some jumps and blocks and jukes and heard the correct whistles.  Accuracy like that helps to make the derby believable. 

So, all in all, I'd give the Glades a C.  It wasn't as terrible as the The Bones episode, but it wasn't as positive as the Hawaii Five-O episode.   After watching the three derby episodes in question, I'm pretty sure that it's impossible to bring derby into a cop show without turning it into a trip to the Side Show.  I would really love to have derby understood by the "mainstream" public out there, but we're going to have to be the ones to do it, not television or movies.

So get to it.


  1. My husband and I were just watching COPS. His exact words: "Look at the bruise on that woman's shoulder! She must be a derby girl, too." :) I immediately though of item 1 above.

  2. Did you by chance catch the "PSYCH" episode?