Around this time last year, I wrote about how Supergirl had never given Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) a good romantic storyline. This season, she has fortunately not been forced into another cringey relationship, but that’s only because she’s been hung up on her most recent ex, Mon-El (Chris Wood), who never deserved her in the first place.
From the beginning, Kara and Mon-El, aka “Karamel,” were set up as literally star-crossed lovers. Like Kara, he was one of the only people to survive the explosion of Krypton. It destroyed his nearby home planet, Daxam, an enemy of Krypton. He escaped in a pod that crash-landed in National City at the end of the first season.
The tension between them essentially arose from the fact that Mon-El was an obnoxious, inconsiderate jerk, and Kara was not, which is a set-up that I can label only as quite poor. Sure it’s a trope that brought drama and attempts at comedy, but it mostly just caused frustration.
Kara had a crush on Mon-El almost immediately and started trying to reform him and make him superhero material since his powers are similar to hers.
Eventually, she gave up because he refused to take direction from her in the field. Then she literally apologized for trying to help him because, of course, women are supposed to apologize for everything.
However, as soon as Mon-El evolved a little and confessed his “love” for Kara, they were suddenly supposed to be this great couple, even though he continued to disrespect her. The audience needed to invest in their relationship to make the season two finale work.
After a Daxamite invasion that, to be fair, Mon-El was not involved in, Kara was forced to choose between staying with Mon-El and letting the planet suffer and making the atmosphere poisonous to all Daxamites, thereby forcing Mon-El to travel back into space.
She chose the latter, obviously, but was devastated and haunted by her decision for months. I was quite happy to see him go. But now, through the magic of space-time travel, he’s back from the 31st century with a wife of seven years.
Granted, the writers haven’t tried to get Kara and Mon-El back together, at least not yet. I guess the one thing they’re unwilling to let her become is a homewrecker.
And on a positive note, Mon-El finally apologized for how badly he treated Kara in the past, which prompted Kara to realize that she has a right to be mad, really mad, about it.
In last week’s episode, Kara epically lit into him about every way in which he sucked as a boyfriend. Naturally, she later unnecessarily apologized. It’s also highly likely that Kara’s rant was only the result of the showrunners realizing how badly they screwed up last season. *sigh*
Anyway, the actual inspiration for this column was my recent epiphany that Kara and Mon-El remind me of another couple. They are the unfunny version of Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) and Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) from Parks and Recreation.
The reason why Ann and Tom worked was because they didn’t work at all. In their few months together, they were pretty much on the brink of breaking up the whole time.
Their relationship consisted of Tom pathetically fluctuating between being way too extra and way too serious in his attempts to be a good boyfriend.
Ann gave him a chance, a few even, but she never demeaned herself. She always called him out and told him to shape up, putting the onus on him to change himself rather than placing the burden on herself. Eventually they both realized they were just too different.
Kara and Mon-El were aware of their incompatibility but not aware enough. Tom considered breaking up with Ann because she committed one of his “Oh-no-nos” by “not loving 90s R&B.”
Mon-El committed several, very real “Oh-no-nos,” but Kara never really called him out before last week. She always gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Since its premiere in 2015, Supergirl has taken on the responsibility of presenting empowering female role models for its young viewers, and in many respects the show has succeeded.
This season, for example, focused much more on female friendship with storylines revolving around the heartwarming and badass quartet of Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh), Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), Samantha Arias (Odette Annable) and Kara.
But not counting “Sanvers,” the inspiring relationship between Alex and Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima) that tragically ended this season when Lima chose to leave the show, Supergirl has failed its female characters and its viewers miserably in the romance department.
Since this is my last column, I’m wrapping up with some shoutouts. First, I’d like to thank my friends Liz Winkelhoff, Lauren Fogelman and Diva Parekh for getting me into superhero television. Without you guys, none of this would have been possible.
Second, I would like to thank my friend Meagan Peoples, who was an amazing Voices Editor over the past two years. Without your support, I never would have discovered my passion for this kind of writing. And I am very proud to now call you my Neatures great-grandchild.
Finally, I’d like to thank anyone who’s ever read this column. It’s been real, y’all.