I can take or leave the new Supergirl. As played by Melissa Benoist, Supergirl is a fledgling hero. She struggles with defining herself in the shadow of her famous cousin, Superman, and with balancing her secret identity with her other life as Kara Danvers, a standard-issue chick-flick heroine. The feigned geekiness that throws Superman’s heroics into high relief seems, in Supergirl, to relegate her to the kind of rom-com klutzy-but-cute role that we’ve all seen enough of by now. She drops things, daydreams in meetings, and gets tongue-tied around cute guys. It was a clever innovation for Superman. It’s just another stereotype for Supergirl.
But that’s okay.
Because Supergirl is clearly not the hero of the series Supergirl. Cat Grant is.
Power and influence are about actions and character, not about job title.
Grant is played by Calista Flockhart. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that Flockhart became famous playing Ally MacBeal, the same sort of hapless romantic female lead Kara Danvers reminds me of.
In Supergirl, though, Flockhart is all grown up. She’s “the most powerful woman in National City,” the head of her own media conglomerate, and generally recognizable as a clone of Miranda Priestly — the Meryl Streep character in The Devil Wears Prada. Her first entrance tracks her impeccably clad walk through the office as she complains about being forced to use the public elevator, an employee’s oppressive cologne, and the temperature of her latte, while instructing Kara to handwrite a series of termination letters for the employees of the National City newspaper, the Tribune.
There is obviously nothing to like about her.
And yet, I like Cat Grant.
I like her because she is precisely as irritated by Kara Danvers’s meek and awkward schtick as many of us are by the countless female characters we have seen presented the same way. (And what…