Can We Just Retire the Mystical Pregnancy Trope Already?

So I decided to give the new Halle Berry Science Fiction show “Extant” a shot. It has a good cast, and I’m always willing to check out some new “genre television.” Much to my disappointment though, the series focuses on what is likely my least favorite trope in all of sci fi and fantasy television. You see Halle Berry’s character is Space Pregnant. That’s right, even though she’s been in space alone for 13 months, she’s come back with an alien bun in the oven.

And it’s stupid.

It’s the science fiction variation of Mystical Pregnancy trope. I hated it back when Star Trek: The Next Generation did it with “The Child,” and I hate it now. Maybe there was a point in its history where is wasn’t terrible, but we have long surpassed that point.

Did you know that any season of the TV series Angel where Faith Lehane shows up, Cordelia gets Pregnant? I was watching a TV show the other day where a woman lead on the show has a pregnancy manipulated by a mysterious group to create a human/alien hybrid.

Now ask yourself, was I talking about “Falling Skies” or was I talking about “The X-Files?”

Or the part-Alien kid grows up super fast. Was that “Falling Skies” or “Star Trek: The Next Generation?”

Or the now grown version of the kid has some sort of magic powers. Was that “Falling Skies” or “Stargate SG-1?”

Wow, Falling Skies is really lucky I like Noah Wyle.

We can talk about how it’s offensive, and how it reduces female characters to their reproductive organs. We can talk about how it’s damaging to women in general. All of that is true, and worthy of discussion. But most importantly, we should just talk about how it’s a really stupid plot device that’s been overused since the beginning of time. If your storyline was a cliche in the days of Greek Myths, it’s super cliched in 2014.

Whether it’s fodder for body horror or not, it’s stupid. Whether the child is the devil or the messiah, it’s stupid.

Dollars to doughnuts, when Halle Berry’s character gives birth on Extant, the kid will grow up super fast. Maybe it will be the savior of the world, who guides us to a brighter future. Maybe it will be the most evil thing that’s ever existed, and start drowning puppies right out of the womb.

The latter is doubtful just because the show already has ONE creepy kid, just of the robot variety.

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.11.10 AM

Yeah… he’s going to kill everyone, isn’t he.

Anyway, this is me begging hollywood to just stop. Stop writing these stories. They aren’t good. Even though a lot of them have happened on shows I otherwise like, not a single one of them wasn’t absolutely idiotic in its execution. If you’re in a TV writers’ room or pitching a script, and this is all you can come up with, you do not deserve to be writing television or movies. Just quit, get a job making eggs at Denny’s and consider taking up cross stitch.

This has to stop.

I think I’ll finish it off touching on how the trope is harmful too. But Anita Sarkeesian has said it better than I could – so I’ll just leave this here and go get some lunch:

Trae Dorn

Trae Dorn has been staffing conventions for over twenty years, and is a co-founder of Wisconsin’s longest running Anime convention No Brand Con. Trae also wrote and drew the now completed webcomic UnCONventional, and produces the podcasts BS-Free Witchcraft, On This Day With Trae, Stormwood & Associates, and The Nerd & Tie Podcast. This leads many to ask when the hell they have time to actually do anything anymore. Trae says they have the time because they “do it all quite poorly.”

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