The Returned - Channel 4
It started brilliantly enough when a young girl, who had died in a motor accident several years ealier, walks into her family home and goes up to her room (which had been kept by her mother as a shrine) as if nothing had happened. The moment of bizarre reunion between the girl, her mother and, now much older, twin sister had the hairs on my neck standing upright.
I don't speak French, but I have no problem with subtitles and love cinema from around the world.
But by the fifth episode, however, I had turned off and wasn't going to watch any more.
The fifth episode is when I realised that, almost without exception, every male character is typecast as one of the following:
- Serial sex killer
- Wife batterer
- Child batterer
- Abusive thug
- Peeping tom
The one exception being, up to the point where I turned off at least, a seven year old boy called "Victor". (Although, it had been touch and go in the series as to whether this boy was really a sadistic killer or not.) Remember - little boys don't stay little — past the age of 15 or so, they are "fair game".
In contrast, the female characters in The Returned are portrayed, without exception, as brave heroines who are victims of male violence.
This kind of gender-stereotyping is old now, but toxic nevertheless.
While adult males with healthy childhoods may be able to "brush it off", young minds can't. It is dehumanising poison for any young boy to be made to behold himself through a prism of shame and perversion during his formative years.
I no longer tolerate anti-male propaganda. Nor should you.