Let’s face it, 2016 was an absolute mess of a year. The only clear survivor to not be affected by all the death and impending destruction was television. It rose above all the nonsense and brought us shows like Westworld, Stranger Things, Preacher – it gave us the best it had to offer to remind us we can always numb ourselves to the pain of real life. Amongst all the amazing productions, one of the shows that has slipped under the radar is MTV’s Sweet Vicious.
Created by writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, the series is described by the MTV network as an “offbeat superhero story for the millennial generation.” And yet it is so much more than that.
The premise of the show centralises on female leads Jules Thomas (played by Eliza Bennett) and Ophelia Mayer (played by Taylor Dearden)—two college students that have secretly become vigilantes in order to take on rapists who have been terrorising females on campus.
Robinson told E! News back in November when the first episode aired:
“I really wanted to write a story for and about empowered women, and women who were strong but could also be broken at the same time and to showcase that on television so that other women didn’t feel alone.”
It’s because of this very reason the production stands alone as one of the most confronting and truthful accounts of sexual assault currently on television. Bennett’s character struggles to come to terms with the fact she is a victim of rape, trying to overcome her issues by becoming a role model for women at her college.
Dearden’s character witnesses the injustice happening around her and wants to be part of the solution even if that means getting violent. Despite their short list of accomplishments, Bennett and Dearden provide emotional and moving performances, bringing these issues to the forefront of younger generations. Interweaved in the show’s plot, police and campus officers are portrayed as the bad guys who stand by and do nothing about the growing issue.
According to CNBC, a report in September 2016 released by the Association of American Universities, nearly 1 in 4 college women say they’ve been sexually assaulted before they’ve even graduated. The alarming statistics were based on responses of around 150,000 students at 27 top universities.
Sweet Vicious doesn’t shy away from exploring the darkest aspects of rape culture, and the fact that it’s vastly becoming a synonymous issue in universities around the world.