Agents of Shield vs Family Friendly

Marvel's Agents of Shield

Marvel’s Agents of Shield (Photo credit: evansonline)

It is now obvious to me that Hollywood agrees with my earlier post here (The Incredible Shrinking Genre) about the importance of Family Friendly entertainment.  I say this because they appear to be willing to tease folks with it…case in point, Marvel’s Agents of Shield.

Sorry about the mild spoilers ahead.

I need to go back and find the pre-release clip, where one of the folks involved in the project (producer or actor or somebody) calls this series “family friendly”, so that I know not to trust anything else that person says.  The first several episodes walked on the edge with some of the actions, clothing and dialog for the character Skye.  But in the latest episode they crossed that “here is what we are willing to do” line, showing way too much skin when she goes to bed with an old friend and hacker partner of hers, a character so shallow that I can’t even remember his name (he is a liar, even to her, as he risks outing her to S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to make a million dollars, then he uses their intimate relationship to distract her, then when they finally show her what he did he gives her the classic “it was all for us” B.S.).

Also, Agent Coulson uses a popular phallic euphemism to describe the personality of a certain flame-throwing and out of control superhero (another very poorly developed character) that is trying to kill them.  Then that super hero very vividly and explicitly torches the evil redhead from the first episode to a crisp.

I still like the show, in spite of my annoyance with their willingness to go so far over the top on sex, dialog, and violence after claiming to emphasize making the show “family friendly”.  The movie Avengers, from which the series is a spin-off, seemed to make an effort to stay within the lines and be a show that I could have in my home.  But Agents of Shield doesn’t seem to want to follow that winning pattern, but instead wants to go more the direction of the Iron Man movies…and maybe even a little bit beyond.

Now I know that Agents of Shield doesn’t want to be called a “Children’s Show”. I get that. Some people will say “Children’s Show” any time their preferred higher levels for sex and violence aren’t met. I get that too. But the producers of Agents of Shield are smart enough to know that children’s shows have child protagonists, solving children’s problems in child-like ways…and maybe talking animals ;-). The Agents of Shield story line is about adults solving adult problems in adult ways. This can be done in such that an adult can still watch show with a child in the room. Many very successful shows have done this.  Any adult who thinks that explicit sex and violence should be the only difference between children and adults never actually grew up themselves and “Adult Programming” as the world defines it suites them ill.
Agents of Shield; you released advertising material at the start of your series that used the words “Family Friendly”, but the episode entitled “Girl in the Flower Dress” was not.  No one should label what is easily PG-13 content “family friendly”.  You didn’t have to say, “Family Friendly” but you did.  Some viewers have started to question the quality of your writing and character development as well. If it isn’t family friendly, and the quality of the story is poor, then you will have no value.

Straighten up your act or I am through with you.


~ by Bill Housley on October 26, 2013.

One Response to “Agents of Shield vs Family Friendly”

  1. F.Z.Z.T. was great.

    Clark Gregg, if you’re listening, I’m one of fans not a hater. I want the show to be successful so I can see more. The networks will kill a show so shockingly fast if it looses business–then everyone, stars and fans alike, spend decades looking back. People giving negative feedback helps with that by looking forward and telling the writers and producers what they want. Episodes like “F.Z.Z.T.” and “The Asset” are what make a series live long enough to change the world. I hope there are many years of those coming up.

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