Gather around as we assert why Sweet/Vicious will live on in the hearts of Hypable writers for years to come.
It’s no secret that a handful of us at Hypable have been championing Sweet/Vicious from the very beginning. A show about a sorority girl who becomes so disenchanted by the lack of advocacy for sexual assault victims that she starts literally fighting back. Honestly, how could we ever resist?
It had so many things that internet pop-culture taught us to love. Superheroes, feminism, social commentary, an original voice. It seemed as though Sweet/Vicious had all the makings to become a kickass little show that would demand to be heard. And for the most part that assumption held up.
The show stayed true to itself from the beginning until the end. Which sadly, unless someone jumps in to save the day, will consist of a solid 10-episode run. Although Sweet/Vicious had the heart of a superhero, its voice couldn’t quite reach as many people as MTV thought it needed to. So last month it was officially canceled and taken from us far too soon.
To be honest, we’re still taking the news pretty hard. It would have been difficult to say goodbye to Sweet/Vicious at any time, but there’s no denying that the current political climate makes the weighty news that much harder to bear. So we thought that by taking some time to express why Sweet/vicious was so important to each of us, it might be a good way to decompress.
From the very first moment, I felt a connection to Sweet/Vicious that I had never felt with any other show (and I’ve been watching TV for 26 years). Sure, I’ve seen badass women on TV before, but they were always just that. Tough. Ruthless. At times, unfeeling. Other times, they’d fluctuate between hard and an emotional wreck with no in-between. They were never completely well-rounded.
Then Sweet/Vicious came along. As the show’s title insinuates, the women on this show were both. In fact, they were more than both. They were complex human beings with nuanced feelings and intricate relationships. I can’t think of a single other character on TV that is quite like Ophelia, my favorite character. She was chill, smart, hilarious, vulnerable, fallible, and totally badass. Her character was the truest female character I’ve seen on screen.
In my life, I’ve always striven to be better. To expand my mind and test my physical limits. To become a badass in both mind and body while also strengthening the other aspects of myself. Taking a self-defense/some sort of fighting style class is high up on my to-do list and rose even higher thanks to this show. Sweet/Vicious showed me what I could be capable of while still being true to myself and accepting all that I am.
I want that back. I want Sweet/Vicious back.
It’s hard to put into words what Sweet/Vicious has come to mean to me in just a little over a year. We can talk over and over again about how great the show is or what it means to have a program pulled like this from TV during this specific moment in time. But ever since the show was canceled, I can’t stop thinking about all of the loose ends and the lost potential behind the scenes.
Jennifer Kaytin Robinson became something of a hero to me in her own right this past year. As a 28 year old female who is completely fascinated by both the inner workings of the television industry and how our culture intermingles with that business, it’s hard to find creators to relate to. But over the past year Robinson became a prominent touchstone for me.
I think it’s because in my mind she’s this way cooler, more creative, alternative version of myself. Young and scrappy; making something she believes in. It’s not every day you get to see young women actually producing the stuff they themselves would want to watch. So when MTV ripped this project apart before it even really got started, it hurt. In a deeply personal way. One that’s, admittedly, a little unfair.
I trust in Robinson’s ability to dust herself off and make a game plan for what’s next. Whether it’s finding a new home for Sweet/Vicious or allowing her interests to take her elsewhere; I know she’s going to figure it all out. What I have less ability to trust in is an industry (or hell, a society) that will allow her the same freedoms to fail it allows her male peers to have. Sweet/Vicious should be the very first project in a long line of cool content Robinson makes in her career. But I dunno. It’s all so uncertain when cockblocking networks are so blatantly unfair.
Regardless of who you are, there are elements of Sweet/Vicious that are essential to everyone. It aired at a crucial time (the first three episodes became available to stream just after the 2016 election results) and really tapped into the outrage that came after.
Beyond merely tapping into such rage, Sweet/Vicious declared itself as a form of combat against injustice. By tackling sexual assault head on, Sweet/Vicious paid the issue the respect it deserves while spotlighting it in a whole new way. I found myself informed yet enraged that sexual assault is something we can easily all be doing more about. I’m forever grateful to Jennifer Kaytin Robinson for her unfailing emphasis on the prevention of sexual assault and ways to help survivors.
I also found a kindred spirit in the snarky and underestimated Ophelia, who is not only a master hacker but also hit her six-foot piece “LeBong James” without coughing. In all seriousness though, Ophelia is the ultimate friend. She puts herself before Jules and really makes an effort to truly see her as she is. She also breaks the stigma that smoking weed is unladylike and I can’t cheer enough for that. She’s a voice for loners everywhere and sets an exemplary example of embracing others and coming into your own. Taylor Dearden quickly became an all-time favorite of mine and even more so when she referenced her father’s show (Bryan Cranston — Breaking Bad) by suggesting to melt a body in a barrel of acid.
‘We can’t afford to let shows like ‘Sweet/Vicious’ get away from us’
The same can be said for Eliza Bennett, who proves you can be vulnerable and still kick some ass when needed. From sorority girl to victim to vigilante to survivor, Bennett’s acting range is nothing short of Emmy worthy. Episode 7, where we unpack that night everything changed for Jules, you as the audience get a firsthand look at her depth as an actress as well as another gut punch of eye-opening assault.
The cast and crew behind Sweet/Vicious are astonishing. From the meta, witty, and real dialogue, to the pivotal elements in racial and gender equality, real college campus hazards (hazing, drinking, sexual assault), and the satisfying side of justice served, Sweet/Vicious is wholly unique and victorious. I applaud Brandon Mychal Smith, Aisha Dee, Nick Fink, Lindsay Chambers, and Dylan McTee for their exceptional performances. Lastly, I want to personally thank Eliza Bennett and Taylor Dearden for bringing Jules and Ophelia so joyously to our screens and to Jennifer Kaytin Robinson for a truly unforgettable series. I’m really hoping you guys get the second season you deserve!
If you’ve been following Hypable’s coverage of Sweet/Vicious, you’ll know what this show means to me. It was a dark comedy, which meant it made you laugh about as often as it made you cry. The show was seriously funny, thanks in part to Jules, Ophelia, and Harris, all of whom had different personalities and different stories.
And that’s what really made me become invested in the show — it was different. It hit some typical beats, like with the weed humor and hilariously awkward situations, but it was also about overcoming fears, taking charge of your life, combating racism, and being strong in a variety of ways. There are other shows that have one or more of these aspects — and maybe a rare few that have them all — but never has a show felt so real and relatable for me. Never have I felt like I knew characters as intimately as I’ve known Jules and Ophelia.
I understand that MTV made the best choice for itself, and I understand that the network truly did love this show, but in this world, we can’t afford to let shows like Sweet/Vicious get away from us. I sincerely hope someone else gives the series a chance to grow into a second season or beyond. It’s not just that I love this show; it’s that I think we need this show.
Now it’s time for you to share your stories. In the comments below tell us what Sweet/Vicious meant to you and how it made a lasting impact on your life. The only way we’re going to be able to move past this is if we do it together.
And if by some chance you made it through this whole article without ever having seen Sweet/Vicious before (seriously, what are you even doing here) you can download the first season in full on iTunes or Amazon.
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