Sweet/Vicious Demands Your Respect
This MTV show is singlehandedly the most important thing on television at this moment.
Warning: The show is centered around sexual assault and violence so I will be discussing that.
If you are able to watch a show on this topic I am calling this required viewing. I understand that if you can’t, you can’t. I don’t wanna force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do but it is imperative you watch it if you CAN. Do you hear me?
This groundbreaking MTV show stars Eliza Bennett and Taylor Dearden as Jules and Ophelia, respectively. Our protagonist Jules is a vigilante by night, attacking abusers on her college campus as a way of justice. Ophelia quickly befriends Jules and joins the ranks of the masked vigilante turned into a masked vigilante dream team fighting back the only way they know how. With their fists. The attacks always come with a warning, if they touch someone without consent again, things will not be so easy. Left with an assortment of cuts, bruises, sometimes broken bones, the abusers are definitely beaten up and terrified by these masked vigilante.
Show creator Jennifer Kaytin Robinson tells MarieClaire.com, “I wanted to write something that could be for this generation, and could be more than pretty faces and surface-level problems… Millennials are a lot smarter than entertainment gives them credit for. There’s no reason these subjects should be taboo and go un-tackled. It’s a no brainer.”
This level of respect given to the audience is clearly seen throughout the show. If you know anything about me it is that I believe millennials are amazing, driven, accomplished, talented, and intelligent individuals I will fight until the end for. When someone recognizes this and puts it into practice my heart sores and I openly weep tears of joy. Characters in Sweet/Vicious are complex — no more “good girls” and “bad boys,” but instead, a take on challenging the entire narrative you once knew. These characters are complex and messy. Layers are given to everyone and it is much deeper and heavier than you can imagine. The creator has extensively researched the topic, presenting it in a way that’s very evidently relevant to real-life situations, in the hope of bringing awareness and reality to such off limit subject matter. The show is plastered with trigger warnings and ways to get involved to help combat sexual violence at the end of the episodes — it is not all bark and no bite.
Although we have a vigilante scouring the campus to find their next target, there is another plot line — one even more important. The main character (Jules) is dealing with her own past as a survivor. She gives some incredibly moving and emotional scenes that blow me away. I desperately want to talk about Jules and her character development but I promise I won’t give anything away. The language used in the show is clearly thought out and incredibly impactful as are the performances from every character. Jules’ process of dealing with her assault is something she is learning to handle whichever way she can. She has support from Ophelia but is that truly enough? Jules faces backlash from the school and from those she reaches out to — is she misinterpreting what happened to her? Is this her fault? All clearly frustrating and insane ideals — but things that happen every day to survivors.
Sweet/Vicious are modern day superheroes and showcasing the stories that need to be told in a serious and self aware way. Our fearless vigilantes tackle some bumps in the road, some slower episodes, or doses of reality making this fictional show deeply relatable. Following the classic rule you learn in every screenwriting class — the characters have a want but they can’t always reach it.
Sweet/Vicious is opening the door and begging for the change of rape culture. It gives survivors a voice and a chance to be heard. It tackles difficult topics with such refreshing honesty and even some humor — Ophelia is a weed-dealing lost college student that befriends this perfect sorority sister. A match made in heaven, clearly. This show is going down in the history books, people! It is the greatest show you are not watching. I can’t make it through an episode without sobbing uncontrollably. This is a show that is bigger than the ratings and more important than what’s happening in Hollywood. MTV is giving a voice to the voiceless and it must continue. Let us pray for a second season, especially in this new political climate.