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A Conspiracy Theory About “Rubicon”

Fri, Aug 6, 2010

Pop Culture, TV

If you’re a fan of the first two episodes of AMC’s new conspiracy thriller series, Rubicon, what you probably like is what makes it different from your typical television drama: its slow pace, its subtlety, its intelligence, its lack of glitzy pizazz, even its muted colors. Well, that’s why we like it. And it’s why there was one element of the second episode that was so out of sync with this vibe we just couldn’t get past it: the assistant’s cleavage.

In the first episode, actress Jessica Collins plays a nice, sweet-looking, demurely dressed (consistently so in several outfits) character poised to be the main character’s love interest. Even her name — “Maggie Young” — is nice and sweet and demure-sounding. And in the first episode, she was styled to reflect this — not a hint of cleavage or skin anywhere. Which for television is refreshing; it’s actually reality-based. Most business offices — especially those filled with uber-smart nerds working on top intelligence secrets for the government, one imagines — aren’t filled with a lot of sexily dressed vixens; it’s just not professional.

So it was with great disappointment that we were bombarded with the over-the-top cleavage Ms. Young was suddenly sporting in episode two (which must have been created by the most high-tech push-up bra available and perhaps a little duct tape, for Jessica Collins is not what you’d call buxom). It was so incredibly distracting because it was so out of character for the assistant — and the office — we were introduced to in episode one.

So here’s our theory: The producers, after signing off on the pilot, were like “Great, let’s green light this project, but we’ve got to sex it up, get a little more skin in there. We don’t have too many female characters to work with, but how about the assistant — let’s tart her up a bit.” Buy why? Why, oh why?! Can’t we have a smart and subtle show without being force-fed a standardized quota of female sexual objectification that does nothing to further the plot? It’s so pandering, but to whom? Would hetero men really be inclined to cancel their Season Pass to this cool new show simply because it lacked any daring decolletage? It’s like the bullshit sexist theory that people won’t pay to see movies with female characters with names who talk to each other about stuff other than men.

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