From the broadcast TV likes of Empire to the streaming likes of Transparent, the matter of diversity and representation has been a big sticking point for the small screen’s industry and viewership in 2015, and CBS’ Supergirl is no different. With a lead female character, the show seems to be under extra scrutiny to be awesome, but as we saw in the episode “Red Faced,” sexism isn’t the only issue being tackled by the series. Things like racism are also up for discussion, as explained by series actor Mehcad Brooks during a recent set visit.
“That’s a testament to Andrew Kresiberg, Ali Adler, Sarah Schechter, and Greg Berlanti,” said the Jimmy Olsen actor. “They come from a generation that understands where we are today in our society. So, I think that they have taken an incredible opportunity to talk about sexism, and an incredible opportunity to talk about human inequity, whether that’s race or gender or, knowing them, I think we’ll probably get into sexual preference. But, it’s just been a really incredible opportunity to be able to be subversive in a good way.”
Later in the day, co-creator Ali Adler added, “I just think that we’re talking about what people are talking about out there in the world, and we like the verisimilitude of mirroring our world with the real world, and as much as we can do that. As much as people can relate to who these people are despite superpowers, that’s our goal.”
Regarding the show being under added scrutiny since its beginning, Adler also explained, “I think… for example, [if] there were a female President, every move she makes will be scrutinized. But at the end of the day, she’ll just have been the President, so it really doesn’t matter. We hope people are watching, that they continue to, and of course when you’re the first of anything — and that’s just in the forty years since we’ve had a traditional female superhero on the networks — but it all just becomes part of the landscape. I think even our conversations are changing. That it’s less about [Supergirl] being female and more about her being Kara.”
The matter of diversity will not be leaving the storylines of Supergirl anytime soon. However, it’s also clear the show is not beholden to them either. When they fit, they fit. The writers seem to have no intention of forcing them into the show just for the sake of lesson-teaching. Story will always come first on Supergirl. That is apparent.
Check out our interview with Mehcad Brooks below. Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.