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This week I started watching The Mentalist (only on S1 so my judgement/opinions are incomplete and may well change) and I wondered if anyone had seen it and would care to discuss?

It’s a pretty easy watch whilst I’m getting work done or cleaning. The characters are fine. It’s certainly not groundbreaking or inspiring or intellectual or anything but 🤷🏻‍♀️ It’s entertaining.

Looking at it from a feminist perspective (because that’s pretty much how I look at everything now) several things are irking me...

  1. The main character Patrick Jane, though yes, very likeable, is too perfect, intelligent and miraculously (somewhat supernaturally it seems) gifted - it can get a little irritating how he is, single handedly, the closer of cases. Makes the other characters seem boring, two dimensional and frankly incompetent. BUT that is not the part about him that gets me...the part that gets me is that I’m nearing the end of S1 and I still don’t know the names of (or anything at all about) his deceased wife and daughter - these two female characters are literally a prop device to create depth for a man. I hate when female characters are used as no more than a tragedy to spur on the male protagonist.

  2. This point is even more irritating to me. It seems like 2/3 murderers on this show are female - like, I get creative license but come the fuck on, aren’t something like 90% of murders irl committed by men? Just seems weird to so badly skew statistics (and I know it’s a daft tv show, but people will watch it an internalise the message that men and women are equally violent - which is so far from the truth it seems a bit...irresponsible, maybe even dangerous) People who aren’t feminists won’t even know crime stats and it seems intentionally misleading for any tv series or film to suggest equal patterns of violence for men and women when the truth is male violence permeates every corner of society.

  3. Last observation...no woman would ever get away with the blatant disregard for authority displayed by the main character. She would be out on her arse. A little annoying when you notice how differently behaviour is perceived dependant on the sex of the person responsible for said behaviour. A woman as carelessly flippant, arrogant and disobedient would not be looked upon kindly on tv or irl.

Anyway, those are my thoughts thus far on some inane tv show from years ago 😅 I’d love to hear other opinions.

This week I started watching The Mentalist (only on S1 so my judgement/opinions are incomplete and may well change) and I wondered if anyone had seen it and would care to discuss? It’s a pretty easy watch whilst I’m getting work done or cleaning. The characters are fine. It’s certainly not groundbreaking or inspiring or intellectual or anything but 🤷🏻‍♀️ It’s entertaining. Looking at it from a feminist perspective (because that’s pretty much how I look at everything now) several things are irking me... 1. The main character Patrick Jane, though yes, very likeable, is *too* perfect, intelligent and miraculously (somewhat supernaturally it seems) gifted - it can get a little irritating how he is, single handedly, the closer of cases. Makes the other characters seem boring, two dimensional and frankly incompetent. BUT that is not the part about him that gets me...the part that gets me is that I’m nearing the end of S1 and I *still* don’t know the names of (or anything at all about) his deceased wife and daughter - these two female characters are literally a prop device to create depth for a man. I hate when female characters are used as no more than a tragedy to spur on the male protagonist. 2. This point is even more irritating to me. It seems like 2/3 murderers on this show are female - like, I get creative license but come the fuck on, aren’t something like 90% of murders irl committed by men? Just seems weird to so badly skew statistics (and I know it’s a daft tv show, but people will watch it an internalise the message that men and women are equally violent - which is so far from the truth it seems a bit...irresponsible, maybe even dangerous) People who aren’t feminists won’t even know crime stats and it seems intentionally misleading for any tv series or film to suggest equal patterns of violence for men and women when the truth is male violence permeates every corner of society. 3. Last observation...no woman would ever get away with the blatant disregard for authority displayed by the main character. She would be out on her arse. A little annoying when you notice how differently behaviour is perceived dependant on the sex of the person responsible for said behaviour. A woman as carelessly flippant, arrogant and disobedient would not be looked upon kindly on tv or irl. Anyway, those are my thoughts thus far on some inane tv show from years ago 😅 I’d love to hear other opinions.

6 comments

I have not watched the mentalist but I noticed the unrealistic high percentage of female murders in detective series. I guess people are bored by the classic "he got dumped/fired/stolen/bored/depressed so he killed her" because this is so common in real life that it is not interesting enough for a movie. Whereas a psychotic woman who kills in so much more entertaining. And I trully believe most of those scripts are written by men who hate woment (surprise) or sometimes by deranged women who think it is somehow empoworing for women to be the "bad guy". And as a result the normies who have no critical thinking are misled and believe women are as much violent as men. And I think it is intentionnal.

So many men cling on to their strange need for women to be as depraved and wicked as their fellow man. Even my own dad was like “women are just as evil, if not more” ... I brought up crime stats and he couldn’t refute that... when I asked for examples of how women are as bad as men he just couldn’t come up with any and stumbled over himself trying to change subject.

Men need to believe there is nothing fundamentally wrong with male humans, but there is. Women are nowhere like as violent, aggressive, angry, depraved, perverted...

I did think there must be some jaded male writers on this show.

I love The Mentalist! A lot of what he does is actually real, and only looks difficult if you don’t know how he is doing it. Similar to his former profession. I also don’t see him as “overly likeable and perfect” as much as “charming and manipulative.” Which doesn’t mean I don’t like him, I do, but it is portrayed as a very practiced act. Whenever there is a flashback, he is SUPER smarmy and slimy, which kind of informs how he is in the present as a scaled down version of that.

P.s.: I, too, always win at Rock Paper Scissors.

It's been years since I watched it, OP, but I enjoyed The Mentalist. If you stick with it, you'll see that Patrick Jayne is not as perfect as he seems at first, though he definitely is as manipulative as you've picked up.

The fact that you still don't know the names of his wife and daughter or anything else about them and the details of their deaths at the end of season 1 is all deliberate. I don't think it was meant to be misogynistic or to make them appear unimportant. On the contrary, I think it's to show how totally walled off Jayne is from his feelings about them and their deaths.

In ensuing seasons, the layers of Patrick's psyche will be gradually unpeeled like an onion. This is a deeply traumatized, very vulnerable sometimes even goofy man who has built enormous defenses to hide and cover up the crippling, crazy-making pain he has experienced because of the murders of his beloved wife and daughter.

I enjoyed the sexual politics in The Mentalist. I loved the unfolding drama of the relationship between Patrick Jayne and his superior at CBI, Elisabeth Libson, aka Libson, played by a tart Robin Tunney - who is often rolling her eyes at Patrick Jayne whilst recognizing his gifts and giving him lots of leeway. As the show progresses, you'll see that even as the layers of Patrick's psyche are peeled back to reveal the extent of his vulnerability and trauma regarding his wife and daughter, he tries to slap on new layers to cover up his growing affection and eventual abiding love for Lisbon.

I also got a real kick out of the two other officers in CBI who fall in love with one another over the course of the show and their constant bantering and jockeying for power. And the headaches their romance causes their boss, Lisbon.

Thankyou for sharing :) I’m definitely enjoying it and will stick with it!