Netflix show about women-only town features dialogue from mostly men

That is... less than ideal.

November 24, 2017

You’d think a show like Godless, Netflix’s new drama series about a Wild West town populated entirely by women due to a mining accident, would definitely be the show to ace the Bechdel Test and feature an unprecedented number of roles, storylines, and dialogue for women – but you’d be wrong, at least going by the first episode, where 73% of the dialogue is spoken by male actors.

Twitter user @moth_dad has done the needful, painstakingly counting each line of dialogue in the first episode, “An Incident at Creede” :

His methodology? “I used the subtitles to determine what constitutes a new line. I’ve included [speaks in Paiute] as best I could as women’s lines. I did not include the [Grunts] or [Sighs] though believe me, this would only have dramatically increased the count for men.” Also: “It also seems relevant to note that, as a plot point, the leading male character spends half the episode unable to speak. And yet.”

Just because most of the lines are spoken by male characters doesn’t necessarily mean the show has to turn in its feminist bona fides – such as they are, “I wasn’t interested in making a giant feminist statement” Godless creator Scott Frank said in Variety interview from last year. After all, the show has a lot of  gun-focused action, the bulk of which is perpetrated by female characters — but it’s still disappointing to learn the show leans way more heavily on its male stars in the dialogue.

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