What’s With Fringe’s Sexist Dialogue?

We stayed home last night to watch J.J. Abrams’ new show Fringe and, happily, found it to be passable entertainment, perched even, on the precipice of possible excellence. We won’t give you a review, since our esteemed colleague already did that, but the pilot did leave us with one question. What was with all that sexist 1950s dialogue?

Unless we were watching Mad Men or reruns of Cheers we didn’t think it was possible to hear a grown woman called "sweetheart" or "honey" by her male colleagues on television in 2008 so many times. Yet there on Fox, on a television show that supposedly exists in present day America, FBI Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) was being derided at seemingly every turn. We swear she was called "sweetheart" or "honey" at least four times within the first half-hour! The clunky, antiquated dig stuck out like a sore thumb.

Maybe we don’t get out as much as we should, but do 30-year-old men like Joshua Jackson still really call women "sweetheart?" It seems so…Sterling Cooper. It got to the point that we were honestly surprised Lance Reddick (as Ms. Torv’s superior Agent Broyles), didn’t call her "toots" while asking her to take down a memo. We know that J.J. Abrams wanted a 1950s Twilight Zone vibe for Fringe, but sweetheart, we don’t think this is what he had in mind.

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