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The Chair worked overtime to make Jay Duplass' character a victim and the show's main focus, despite having Sandra Oh as star

  • "Unfortunately, series creators Amanda Peet and Annie Julia Wyman don’t possess the range to make a show that concentrates on women of color, opting instead to make everything about the grown 'crumpled' man who is the architect of nearly all of his problems," says Kaleena Rivera of Duplass' professor character Bill Dobson. "Even (Oh's) Ji-Yoon, the series lead who has a range of issues—her struggles with being a single mother to her unique and inquisitive young daughter, Ju-Hee or 'JuJu' (Everly Carganilla), and the challenges of transracial adoption is the most emotionally gratifying aspect of the show—centers most of her life around Bill. After receiving a number of frantic messages and missed calls from Bill’s teaching assistant, Lila (Mallory Low), Ji-Yoon finally gets around to calling her back, only to immediately cut her off and hang up the phone when Bill storms into her office. Lila (who is, it’s worth noting, also a person of color) clearly had something extremely urgent to say, so the fact that her emergency is set aside for whatever it is Bill wanted to say is the first of what winds up being Ji-Yoon’s many bad decisions throughout the series." Rivera adds: "I would say this is when the show betrays itself, but with the kid glove handling of Bill the whole way, it’s clear that the series never intended to make him an example of what’s wrong with university culture. In fact, the writers work overtime to portray him as a victim of that very environment. For a moment, I believed that after his termination, Bill would find himself in another profession, becoming an editor or something publishing adjacent, living with the consequences of his actions, but ultimately being fine. He insists his continued fight is due to his love of teaching, despite his willingness to walk away from the profession without hesitation several scenes ago. This isn’t just inconsistent, it’s in direct opposition to the message the series spent so much time trying to convey." ALSO: The Chair was spot-on about David Duchovny's academic history.

    TOPICS: The Chair, Netflix, Jay Duplass, Sandra Oh