Amazon audiences still prefer traditional story lines featuring "straight, white, male leads" and often steer clear of woke programming, a new report says.
According to Bounding Into Comics, the shows that audiences have consistently panned are those with "queer" story lines. Perhaps the most notable example is "A League of Their Own," a series reboot of the beloved movie of the same name released in 1992. While the original follows Dottie Hinson and her sister, Kit Keller — played by Geena Davis and Lori Petty, respectively — as they try to make their way in a women's professional baseball league, the reboot stars a black woman who must constantly overcome racial obstacles to play.
There is also a strong lesbian subplot to "A League of Their Own," as some members of the Rockford Peaches — still wearing their iconic pink and red skirted baseball uniforms by day — engage in same-sex relationships off the field. Rosie O'Donnell, who acts as a playful and humorous sidekick to Madonna in the movie, guest-stars on the new show as a cross-dressing owner of an underground gay bar.
This sexualized mangling of a cherished film about feminine athleticism has been a big swing and a miss with viewers. In fact, the Hollywood Reporter called it one of the most "expensive disappointments" of Jen Salke's time as head of Amazon Studios. The outlet claimed that audiences found the "queer stories" in the show "off-putting," prompting executives to encourage "downplaying those themes" in show promotions.
The Hollywood Reporter also suggested that overall consumer disinterest in "A League of Their Own" could represent a larger disconnect between content creators and audiences. According to the outlet, many Amazon focus groups "tend to favor broad and less inclusive programming," creating a ranking system in the algorithm which often prefers "straight, white male leads above all others," even as some in the industry continue to push for "diverse and inclusive shows."
To demonstrate the conflicting demands of audiences and producers, That Park Place pointed to a focus group test case involving two different cop shows. The first show features a female cop who is both a racial minority and a lesbian. She moves to an unidentified southern town, where she struggles against "racism, sexism and abuse of power of her new colleagues." The second show is just a pastiche of old "Starsky & Hutch" clips adapted for a modern audience. The main characters are white, male cops, and they are the good guys who take on bad-boy criminals, often with mild forms of violence like fist-fighting.
The audience preferred the "Starsky & Hutch" redux by a "huge" margin, prompting That Park Place to conclude that "the marketplace of 'normies' is growing tired of tropes circled around tribalism, politics, geo-elitism, etc." and that those who promulgate those story lines "are poison to the well that is public good will."
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