Sam Levinson and Thomas Astruc Mirror Each Other.
Ever since I saw a tweet that went along the lines of “Miraculous Ladybug is the kid show equivalent of Euphoria,” I couldn’t help but compare the two as they are polar opposites. For starters, one series takes place in a suburb of California, the other in Paris, France; the atmosphere of both projects is different because of its geography. One focuses on supernatural events, magic doesn’t exist at all in the other. The ratings are on different sides of the system, TV-Y7 and TV-MA. Now what exactly is similar about these pieces of media? They both have lackluster writing. The main thing the two series have in common is that when they are good, they’re great, and when they are bad, they’re terrible; it’s very clear to see.
Miraculous Ladybug was created by Thomas Astruc, and Euphoria was created by Sam Levinson. While the shows are nothing alike, their fan bases tend to overlap. Many adults enjoy Astruc’s series that is appropriate for all ages. Euphoria is intended for people in college and older, but is well liked by high schoolers. These two men both have a television series that has fans all over the world. The downside of this is the fact that Miraculous Ladybug and Euphoria are trending topics for a bad reason. Two words, terrible writing. Why do so many people have complaints about the writing for the shows, and continue to watch them? In view of the fact that they’re too invested in the storyline to give them up. As I continue to watch Astruc and Levinson’s shows, I get more irritated because of the ongoing issues with the storytelling. The writers room for these series are what’s stopping them from being the best they can be.
While Miraculous Ladybug has more than one writer, the one that speaks the most, Thomas Astruc, has made it clear when a part of the script is his. He gets defensive when anyone points out the flaws within the words used to create episodes. Astruc tends to give it away that it was his creative decisions on those parts; he goes off on fans and the numerous blocking sprees when anyone says anything about the sloppy writing. Sam Levinson does not use social media, which is particularly interesting because filmmakers often have accounts simply for the sake of talking about their work. We do not know how he feels about his audience not liking his writing. That being said, it is obvious that these are Levinson's creative decisions. When you look up the Euphoria episode list, you will see that Levinson is the only writer for all with the expectation of one. We can tell he is the only person writing this series for sure. Astruc and Levinson frequently bring interesting aspects within their shows for them to be mostly forgotten as time passes.
When we are introduced to the main character of Miraculous Ladybug, Marinette Dupain-Cheng, we learn that she is an aspiring fashion designer. That would be great if we actually got to see more of her pieces! Marinette’s fashion designer journey is something that the series often struggles with because it feels as if they do not know how to fit it into the storyline as the plot progresses. Along with us not seeing her be involved with fashion all that much for the first three seasons, it was only addressed once in season four. Miraculous Ladybug season four has twenty-six episodes. We see Marinette helping her with her family’s bakery more than we see her being involved with fashion overall. There’s a band called Kitty Section in Miraculous Ladybug that had one major episode, and is never brought up to be important again. This is an issue because we see the band quite often and they only had one gig; inviting their friends over to watch you play is not a show. This series makes it obvious that Kitty Section wants to get their music out there but, we rarely see the effort of them doing that. The city of Paris was destroyed in the Miraculous Ladybug’s New York special, the series just brushed it off like it was nothing because the main characters were not there when it happened. The reason everything goes back to normal most of the time in the series is because magic is used to fix it, along with the people who were hurt at the time being healed just as well. No magic was used to fix Paris in this special and the nature of the universe just acted as if what happened was no big deal. No one even questioned why the superheroes did not save the day. Paris, one of the world’s most major cities, was ruined and the show pretending like it was just a false alarm along with no injuries.
With Euphoria, there was a romantic storyline between the main antagonist, Nate Jacobs, and Jules Vaughn that is an important factor in season one. In season two it is never addressed until the episode before the finale. There was a recurring character within season one named Daniel, that numerous main characters interacted with. He was completely forgotten in season two. Rue Bennett owes someone ten-thousand American dollars for drugs, and the way the show tried to resolve this is very lazy by having a new character, Faye, lie for her. Rue owned a drug dealer the amount of my college tuition, someone who owes a person that much funds will not let them off the hook that easily. Cassie Howard is a talented ice-skater. This is not mentioned at all in season two. Kat Hernadez being a camgirl was an important factor in season one; it’s brought up once in season two with a scene of a girl portraying her, twerking in lingerie. The season two got the most complaints for including a sexual relationship that devloped between Cassie Howard and Nate Jacobs. There was no kind of build up to this, it was just shock value used to progress the plot.
Astruc and Levinson both struggle when it comes to writing for girls, along with people of color. They rely heavily on racial stereotypes for their non-white characters. WIth Levinson, with the exception of one main character of color, the non-white characters are either sidelined, or stereotyped to the max. Maddy Perez from Euphoria is literally the walking definition of the spicy Latina trope. She is loud, mean, violent, wears revealing outfits, and curses like a sailor. Chris Mckay, another Euphoria character, was treated terribly by white people a majority of his appearances in season one, was the token black friend to the white lead Nat Jacobs, made one appearance in the beginning of season two, and is never seen or addressed again. Bobbie, a new character in season two, is the darkest cast member of the series and was only there to help her white friend with her play. Also, Bobbie barely said much of anything, nor did she have many appearances. Alya Césaire is the black girl we see the most in Miraculous Ladybug who speaking with a blaccent, uses a lot of slang, and suffers from the magical negro trope. Most of Alya’s storyline has to do with her helping out Marinette, a white-passing bi-racial Chinese girl. Mind you, Alya is not voiced by a black woman, nor is she written by one. Like I mentioned earlier, we can tell. Alya’s boyfriend in the series Nino Lahiffe, is also black; his character is just the boy version of her. There is not much of a difference. They both have a non-black friend that they dedicate so much of their time to helping which, results in them putting their issues aside.
As I am an aspiring filmmaker, one thing that this journey I am on has taught me is that you are not going to execute your work in certain ways by yourself. It takes a village to make a series. It’s ok if you need help. No one is perfect at everything. All writers know their strengths and weaknesses whether they want to admit it or not. Creatives then have a sense of pride to them where they feel as if they are struggling with something, that they should not ask for help and try their best. This is the downfall for plenty of creators, not wanting to own up to the fact that they’re bad at their craft sometimes. Thomas Astruc and Sam Levinson really could benefit if they get assistance on the aspects of their shows they are having a difficult time with. Bringing women of color to their writers rooms would benefit them because as I said earlier, the girls and non-white people in their series suffer the most because its white men writing what they think their experiences are.
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