Saturday, February 23, 2008

Terminator: Rise of the Soccer Moms

Geek fans of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles are a given. Action fans are a given (plus you've got two hot chicks with guns). But soccer moms?

The creators of the new series tone down the feminazi Connor lady into a tough but beautiful woman, a departure from the no-holds-barred she-warrior portrayal of Connor by Linda Hamilton in T2. Think about the premise: Connor feels that her son is the savior of the human race, and she has to save the world to protect him. Plus, the girl that is interested in him is really some alien/monster thing that secretly plans to destroy him, she fears. She drives a SUV version of Jeep she drove off in at the end of T1. Oh, and she might have cancer. That's pretty good marketing.

Just like how Angel on Buffy is this dark, mysterious older guy that does Tai Chi and broods, but as soon as you sleep with him he turns into a bloodsucking monster that only wants to consume you and leave you for dead. I wonder if any girls can relate?

Whereas before, Terminator was a commentary on the fear of our own military/industrial complex and technology, now Sarah Connor goes from half-crazed survivalist to capri-wearing Amazon-mom (portrayed well by the former Spartan Queen). She couldn't marry her boyfriend because her son's future comes first; the salesman that tries to pick her up may be the biggest threat to her family. She has to balance her over-protective nature with allowing her son to become a man and a leader, not to mention the last, best hope of mankind.

Some may express dismay at this apparent softening of Connor, but really it just reflects the times. A lot of soccer moms probably feel like everyday is battle, and, really, this version lends itself to longevity while the T2 character doesn't really fit on the small screen, week-by-week thing: "tune in next week as Sarah stockpiles more weapons and does more pull-ups." TV's Connor frets as she does her pulls-ups on a swing-set--the metaphorical fountainhead of "mommy and me." She's not a militant radical sickened by the male war machine. In a present/past that seems to be teeming with sleeper cells, she's a security mom fearful for her child of future attacks by an invisible enemy .

How many soccer moms do you think can relate to and therefore will watch a character like that? Genius.

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