When Is It Okay to Kidnap Someone?

Posted by on Sep 6, 2013 | Comments Off on When Is It Okay to Kidnap Someone?

I’ll give a hint for those who want to skip to the end: NEVUnder_the_Dome_intertitleER.

Before I start this rant in earnest, let me state that this doesn’t apply to consensual acts between adults where a person might enjoy being imprisoned. People like different stuff. Some of them like to role play. That is not what I’m here to rant about.

What we’re here to talk about today is why on Earth an otherwise-not-bad show like Under the Dome thinks kidnapping someone is ever okay. I suppose I should offer a ***SPOILER ALERT*** even though what I’m going to discuss plot-wise happens mostly in the first couple of episodes. I’ll even put in a jump to shield unwary eyes just in case…

A little background, for those that are unfamiliar with the show. Angie and Junior are a teenage couple in a sleepy New England town by the name of Chester’s Mill. The town is somehow surrounded by an invisible, impenetrable dome-shaped barrier (which doesn’t actually seem to be a dome because it goes underground but that’s neither here nor there). They have a fight, and Angie tells Junior that it’s over. Junior proceeds to kidnap and imprison Angie in an old storm shelter. She almost dies as a result, but is eventually released. That’s all well and good. Some tense stuff happens, it makes good story, yadda yadda.

What’s not fine? The fact that for some reason the kidnapping is brushed off afterwards. Junior repeatedly tells Angie that he only kidnapped her because he loved her and she was sick. Junior’s father, Big Jim, says he’s sorry about how his nutty kid acted, but mostly just offers to buy Junior’s way out of trouble. Big Jim promises Angie he’ll keep creepy kid away, but never follows up. Junior repeatedly bothers, stalks, even attacks Angie and Big Jim just keeps singing the same tune. Even though Big Jim doesn’t fulfill his promise to keep Junior away from her, Angie doesn’t tell anyone in authority what’s happened, even when the unstable Junior is made a deputy and given a gun. In fact, aside from a few hissy fits, which mostly pass after a few days, she doesn’t seem that angry. There have even been a few somewhat tender scenes between them. I’ve never wanted to smack my television so badly. The most revolting scene so far came when Angie accidentally tells her brother what happened and then talks him out of going to smash in Junior’s head. It doesn’t take much convincing. Maybe the dome is making them crazy after all because the way they’re acting doesn’t make a bit of sense.

The message seems to be that it’s okay that he kidnapped her, because he didn’t really hurt her and he was trying to “save” her. Everything is just fine and dandy now, because she’s okay. Guys, I hate to tell you this, but it’s not okay. Not in the damn slightest. It’s not okay that he kidnapped her, even though he LOVES HER SO MUCH. It’s not ever okay to imprison someone, no matter what you think is best for them, and I wish the writers of the show would make that point much more clear because right now it’s ambivalent.

Am I being over-sensitive about this? Possibly. The last month or so, I’ve become increasingly disgusted with the state of the Science Fiction and Fantasy community–slut shaming, bigotry, intolerance. Story after story of terrible things happening at conventions, in organizations, and in social media. I don’t know if it’s better communication bringing a reality that’s always been hidden to my attention or not, but I’m starting to lose hope that there will ever be an end to it. I wish I had some awesome advice on how we can fix this.

Actually, come to think of it, I do have an idea: TREAT OTHER PEOPLE WITH RESPECT. That’s all. No matter who they are. Even if they do something you disagree with, or they’re wearing different colored socks, or they play the ukelele, or they like brussel sprouts. You don’t have to like them. You can even actively dislike them, but treat them with respect. They are a person. Another thinking, feeling being and they deserve your respect. We’re all made out of the same stuff.

Also, don’t kidnap your girlfriends. It’s not cool, despite what the writers of Under the Dome seem to think…

Hearts and puppies,

-C

PS – I have not read the book by Stephen King, so I don’t know if the issue I’ve brought up is present in the book or not. I’m commenting only on the lack of addressing Angie’s kidnapping in the television show.

PSS – A shout out to John Wiswell for having the conversation with me on Twitter that prompted today’s rant.