Are you strong enough to be my man?
Are you strong enough to be my man?
So I’ve started putting together images and captions connecting Avengers and Autism $peaks’ annual trolling for contributions. I’m going to add
one every day them occasionally through the month of April. I won’t be making these separate blogs, just updating this one accordingly.
Off we go, then.
(Wondering why Autism $peaks is bad? Don’t take my word for it. Check this out instead.)
So hey, all y’all out there in blog-land: It’s almost April, so you know what that means! Autism $peaks is gonna be asking y’all to Light It Up Blue.
But why? you ask.
This is because
Don’t light it up blue.
We’re not colored lights.
We’re not puzzle pieces.
We’re not tragedies.
We’re not diseased.
We don’t need to be “cured.”
We’re autistic. Our brains work differently, that’s all.
And we’re just as human as anybody else.
When Avengers first aired, it was a show starring Ian Hendry as Dr David Keel, and John Steed (played by Patrick Macnee) was a secondary character. When Hendry quit after one season, the producers decided to make Steed the main character, and to give him a female partner. They hired Honor Blackman for the role, as Catherine Gale. Because they had a bunch of Hendry scripts left over, and because they didn’t have a budget to commission more, they ended up adapting scripts originally written for the male character of Dr David Keel to the female character of Catherine Gale.
The Gale era of Avengers was a watershed in television history. Catherine Gale was the first female character on television to be treated as not only the complete equal of her male partner, but as better than he was at some things. And not only that, it was done with utter seriousness: Steed was in no way threatened by Mrs Gale’s skills and strengths (in fact, he is regularly bowled over by her), and her character was not written either with lampoon of gender roles in mind or as any kind of misandrist.
Catherine Gale was a PhD in anthropology; a supremely intelligent woman who could think her way out of almost any problem; a judoka who could pummel the tar out of pretty much any opponent (Blackman actually learned judo for real for the role and did her own stunts); a crack shot and big game hunter; a freelance contractor who could do anything from help manage a charity to write essays about medieval couture to catalogue a museum. She helped Steed collar the bad guys on a regular basis, working side by side with him as his equal, not as his subordinate or sidekick. She never played the damsel in distress, and although Steed had to rescue her occasionally, she had her own chances to repay the favor when the baddies captured him.
Catherine Gale would become the inspiration for the character of Emma Peel, who maintained the relationship of equals and high level of badassery of her predecessor. Both characters have been a source of inspiration for generations of women audience members.
But it was Catherine Gale, PhD, a woman who took no shit and gave no fucks, who broke that barrier first.
So here’s to Honor Blackman and Catherine Gale, original badasses both.
“The Man With Two Shadows” hinges on an enemy plot to create doubles of various important people and have the doubles kill and then take over the lives and roles of their originals. Steed and Cathy find out that Steed is one of the people who is going to be replaced, and Steed admits that at one time he had been captured by the bad guys who are making the doubles but that he escaped after four days. They also discover that a man named Gordon who is at the holiday camp where most of the action takes place isn’t really Gordon, but is in fact his double.
After Cathy returns to London to see what Charles, Steed’s supervisor, has come up with, Steed is attacked by his double in an attempted murder that Steed manages to foil; the double is killed instead. But the possibility of Steed being a doppelgänger weighs heavily on Cathy, and by the end of Act II she has become uncertain that Steed is, in fact, real-Steed. She gets orders from Charles to kill Steed if she thinks that he could be the doppelgänger. But Cathy also is unconvinced that Steed is fake-Steed. So she engages in a tour-de-force of logic by which she convinces herself that Steed is who he says he is, and also outs one of the other doubles involved in the plot, a man posing as a member of Parliament named Cummings.