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The Flash and His Impulse

By: William De Bruce

Photo from Flickr

I was going to write an article reviewing the CW Network’s The Flash, a show about DC Comic’s superhero Flash and his struggles as alter-ego Barry Allen whilst fighting villains and quasi-soap opera drama with his friends. The article was going to be titled, “Flash: Why it’s the worst show”. I was going to tackle various problems I found in The Flash’s first three seasons, such as too many feelings and Barry’s bad decision-making. Then I was going to write about Barry’s relationship with Iris, his lifelong crush and pending wife. I’m sure we all realized that Barry’s attraction to Iris clouds his decision-making (as if it was not bad enough) and how it gives him the power of tunnel-vision. Then I realized something. I asked myself, “Myself, isn’t Barry objectifying Iris and treating her as something to attain?” I replied, “Great Scott! You’re absolutely right! It seems like her only purpose is to be a romantic impulse of the fastest man alive!” Iris doesn’t fight, doesn’t solve problems, sometimes becomes a plot device, but usually procures spoken language.

Although she’s the female lead, Iris West is a really annoying character. She makes Barry feel bad for lying to her in many scenarios. I would blame bad writing; the CW Network overuses the “I lied to protect you” cliche. Ultimately, she is an emotional plot device for Barry, especially in the third season. The CW should have modelled her character closer to Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender female lead, Katara of the Southern Water Tribe. Katara is mostly a motherly figure over the other characters in Team Avatar. She is very loving, understanding, can fight, and contributed to the progression and defense of the series’ plot. Katara had a very active presence in the storyline. Iris, on the other hand, is very passive. She stands in the scenes and says some stuff during each episode’s “time to get into our feelings”moment. Iris always has to encourage and comfort fellow characters, especially Barry. Iris could easily have been given another attribute such as analytical intelligence or survival skills or being repulsive to villains or anything non-liberal arts related.

I still love the show. Iris West could just use some adjustment and a more active purpose, instead of being the object of Barry’s desires. This would make The Flash much less of a bad show and create better character development to enjoy. Her name is Iris West and she’s objectified by the fastest man alive. To the outside world, she’s a regular emotional support character. But secretly, her character feels like it was developed at a moment’s notice, no development or depth. Her name is Iris West and she belongs to the Flash. Bazinga.

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