I love dick is a show where virtually all of its characters pivoted around one guy, Dick, the epitome of alpha male artists whose status seems to say more than his actual work. By the end of the last episode, all characters started writing love letters to him, explaining how their desire or motivation towards life is connected to him in some explicable ways. Silvere, the husband of Kris, the central character whose obsession for Dick constituted the flesh-and-blood of the show, said instead of writing letters to Dick, they were really writing letters to love. But why Dick? Isn’t it some metaphor that our notion of love is even dictated by some patriarchal ideology that our minds only speak towards the ultimate manifestation of male privilege?
And that is exactly what the show is trying to tear down — females being suppressed under this ideology while being only the subject and not the initiator of sexual desires. Collectively women’s desire has been lost in mainstream films or televisions, only surfacing recently in some shows such as ``my crazy ex-girlfriend'', which lost most of its strength by characterizing the main character as a stalker. Emily Nussbaum, whose writing makes me want to become a TV critic, objects to this effort of fabricating a ``female gaze,’’ as if all women peer through a collective pair of tinted lenses. But the notion of ``female gaze’’ exists exactly because of the lack of works in this genre, that anything slightly off the mainstream male gaze get squeezed into this category without subdivisions. If films and television serve as the journalism for human psychology, then the collective voice of female desire has been limping with a crutch of pretending to be the subject of male desire projection, even when it is depicting strong female characters that seem to be dominant in sex.
The surrounding characters are carefully constructed and resemble our daily acquittances that seem like our allies in fighting agains patriarchy: Silvere started sex with Kris by observing her own desires, which may be a metaphor that Kris found her voice by having him as the audience, but there is always a lack of raw sexual appeal in him. Ruby is that hippie that we all know in our lives, who we couldn’t tell is a true genius or a complete fake, and in one instance as pointed by her one-time lesbian lover, used her white middle-class privilege to invade other people’s lives in the name of art. But the true deal breaker comes from Kris herself, by confessing her desires, not to just Dick but to the public, she carefully removes that unspeakable layer of shame that has been forced upon female obsessors, and Dick loses his leverage. He has nothing to gain from refusing anymore, no joy in the game of watching your prey trying to offer herself as dinner. The joy came from the taboo itself, that someone desires you so strongly that she would endure the shame, which shouldn’t exist to start with.
At the ending scene Kris left Dick’s house, walking towards the unknown in Dick’s boxers, with her menstrual blood dripping down her thigh. Her expression is not that of disappointment, or exclamation, but a little confusion with a deep dedication of whatever that is to come. It is the expression of someone who has been barricaded by a giant puzzle and thought solving it was the ultimate goal of life, only to see the bigger maze behind it after tearing it down. I believe true art will follow.