by Sarah Long
On the surface, the two shows seem to have so much in common. They’re both from a comic book universe, both revolve around a female superhero who is orphaned and both rely heavily on secondary characters to support the hero’s plight.
That, I’m afraid, is where the commonalities between Supergirl and Jessica Jones end.
After a weekend of binge-watching the new Netflix series, it’s been awfully hard to get back in the frame of mind to try and appreciate Supergirl, which I’ve been trying really hard to do. However, now that Jessica Jones is in the picture, there’s not really a point in even trying with Supergirl anymore.
And I’m not alone in my sentiment.
1. Jessica’s day job is way less demeaning
I get that not everyone is going to be a badass while working their day job, but it’s kind of hard to swallow that Kara Zor-El takes the amount of abuse on the job that she does while performing menial tasks, like fetching coffee and making people switch desks.
And, sure, Jessica’s career as a P.I. — which consists mostly of tailing cheating spouses — isn’t the most wholesome job in the world, but at least even when she isn’t fighting forces of evil, she’s still kicking ass and taking names out on the mean streets.
One of the first cases we see Jessica take on in Jessica Jones Season 1 Episode 1 involves serving a summons to a strip club owner who thinks he shouldn’t have to pay damages to an exotic dancer who is suing him for brain damage after hitting her head when she fell off a faulty pole. Considering Kara turns into a blubbering pile of mush every time her coworker/friend/love interest, James Olsen, enters the room, we can only image what the phrases “strip club,” “exotic dancer” and “fell off her pole” would do to the caped avenger.
2. Jessica has real flaws
Jessica Jones is plagued with real, human problems that make her a relatable, sympathetic character. Besides her obvious trauma and PTSD, she’s also plagued with alcoholism, which she is well aware of, owns and even jokes about.
Besides the obvious kryptonite, Supergirl’s flaws seem to be boys, her boss at a publishing company and her adorkableness. In other words, self-confidence is not always Supergirl’s strong suit.
3. Jessica Jones isn’t full of faux feminism
Jessica Jones is full of strong women characters other than Jessica, like Jeri, Pam, Trish, Wendy and even Reuben’s crazy twin. We know these characters are powerful through their lives, jobs and actions, not because they verbally have to say it likeSupergirl‘s Cat Grant, Alex Danvers and Supergirl herself. That’s not to say thatJessica Jones doesn’t address the fact that society is innately sexist, but they don’t deal with sexism with blatant lines like, “Why can’t she do it? Because she’s a girl?” as Supergirl has done in every single episode of its first season.
Jessica Jones‘ writers show that women are strong, without having to say it — a feat that Supergirl hasn’t come anywhere near accomplishing.
4. Supergirl’s relationship problems are lame
As Alex points out in Episode 5 of Supergirl, Kara is constantly being friend-zoned, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what’s annoying about Kara/Supergirl’s awkward romantic problems. She’s twitterpated over James Olsen, which takes away from Supergirl’s power onscreen, and it’s hard to even watch scenes between the two characters.
On the other hand, flirting for Jessica is about showing off her intelligence, not twirling her hair and fluttering her eyelashes. She’s proud that she’s strong and independent and isn’t afraid to be who she is or own her job. It’s powerful and men are attracted to it. “I don’t flirt, I just say what I want,” Jessica says — and her tactics land her in bed the with the unbreakable Luke Cage.
5. Jessica Jones doesn’t wear a silly costume with a skirt
Not only does Jessica fight crime in jeans and a sweet leather jacket, but the show also took the opportunity to make fun of superheroes’ silly costumes. Jessica is disgusted when her best friend, Trish, creates a “mock-up” outfit for her to wear while she fights evil.
“If I wear that thing, you’re gonna have to call me camel toe,” she tells Trish.
Let’s face it, between the flowing short skirt, nylons and over-the-knee f***-me boots, Supergirl’s costume is just plain ridiculous.
6. The Jessica Jones fight scenes feel so much more real
Man, you can see those punches land and feel the pain that Jessica feels with every blow she takes. Supergirl takes some hits, but the fights are wimpy and are over before they start.
7. Kilgrave is terrifying
It’s hard to get into the suspense of a show if there isn’t at least a little bit of tension created by the bad guys, and so far, Supergirl‘s weekly villains have been about as scary as little girls having a tea party. Jessica Jones‘ Kilgrave and his ability to control minds, however, is bone-chilling.