This simultaneous depiction of Laurie taking control of her
sexual desires while ultimately frightening Louie with them allows
the show to both empower and demonize her qualities as a female
character. Lisa M. Cuklanz and Sujata Moorti’s study of women in
Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit highlights this dichotomy
perfectly: they state that though the show’s storylines “thematize
and elaborate key elements of feminist understandings of sexual
violence,” they “condemn aspects of feminine behavior and
character, including empathy and intuition” at the same time (303).
They use part of Barbara Creed’s idea of the “monstrous feminine”
found often in horror films to assert that “often, women’s sexuality
is depicted as the underlying problem…revealing male fears of
women’s sexual power” (315). The fact that Laurie is so candid
about oral sex (especially for a woman her age; Leo was 52 years
old when the episode aired) initially adds a feminist tone to the
scene; she knows exactly what she wants sexually, and she engages
in straightforward behavior to acquire it. Her quick change in
temperament after Louie refuses to “return the favor” demonizes
that very tone it says that women with specific sexual desires will
go so far as to physically and sexually assault a man to get what
they want.
Later in the same season, Louie becomes interested in Liz
(Parker Posey), a whimsical bookstore employee, and he musters
up the courage to ask on a date after several clumsy attempts at
seeking advice about books for his daughters. He ends up giving a
beautifully endearing monologue, noting that she “is young and
beautiful and [he is] not either of those things.” Noting that though
her first instinct would be to say no, Louie maintains that he really
just wants her to agree to get a drink with him without
expectations. She agrees and is surprisingly charming, positive, and
energetic. On the date, some things go incredibly well, like trying a
variety of foods at a fresh seafood place, while others start out
Previous Page Next Page