What is Gotham Trying to Say about Interracial Marriages?

Even though I grew up a comic book nerd, I’m pretty much over all the Marvel/DC Comics superhero movies. I used to watch them religiously at the movie theater – because if one must watch a big budgeted bloated bonanza of bombastic visual proportions, then it must be watched while on the big screen – however, I’m trying very hard to wean myself off of them. Key word: trying.

Despite the fact that I know without a doubt I’m going to be hugely disappointed at the movie’s end, I still find it hard to resist them. For instance, the buzz around the Black Panther movie is phenomenal so chances are pretty good I’ll make the trek to my local Frank’s Theatre and hope for the best… while still expecting the worst.

Fortunately, thanks to the likes of HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and the… like, the superhero genre has not been left behind during this amazing renaissance of television we’re happily going through.

As for there being any good content on broadcast television, I wouldn’t know. I haven’t watched anything on any of the broadcast channels, other than sports, since Happy Days went off the air… what has it been? a year or two ago?

Except for one broadcast show, that is.


I am off on a hardcore wide-eyed binge on that show, which should tell you that I don’t actually watch it when it’s broadcasted on Fox. No way. Never again will I be a slave to a network time slot.

I watch Gotham as any discerning 21st Century viewer would, at my leisure on that amazing little channel of an app called Netflix.

With all its dark, demented, hyper-violence, let me tell ya… Gotham is good. Real good. It actually feels like a comic book has been brought to life, making it exactly what a discerning 21st Century television viewer like yours truly wants…

And deserves.

Anyway, onward to the point of this overly prolific post…

Seeing how I’m an extremely white WASPy dude, with all the privileges those attributes typically afford me and others of my ilk, I have the privilege of not having to notice all the particulars of a show’s demographics because most of the shows I watch are written and directed by those of the same ilk as me for those of the same ilk as me.

However, one thing I do notice that perhaps others of my ilk don’t, are when interracial couples are portrayed on a show, or commercial for that matter. And the reason that I am attuned to this is probably because I am part (the lesser part) of an interracial couple.

So, with that in mind, as I was happily, and catatonically, binging along on Gotham Season 3 not too long ago…

**WARNING: Significant & Sustained Spoilers Henceforth**

…I noticed as one in an interracial marriage like myself would, that during Episode 3 when the evil and completely twisted supervillian Mad Hatter (I mean, this wicked dude is twisted to the extreme… in a very awesome kind of way) picks a volunteer to come on stage during his public hypnotist performance, the dude he picks as a volunteer is in an interracial marriage. The volunteer dude is white and his wife is black, or at least they appear so. We know the woman is his wife because, when the Mad Hatter is leading the volunteer dude to the stage, he asks if the beautiful woman he is with is his mistress, to which the dude, says no, she is his wife. We then cut to the woman oh so briefly to see her scowl at the Mad Hatter’s offensive assumption.

Well, long story short, at the end of the performance, right before the Mad Hatter snaps the dude out of his hypnotic trance, he secretly whispers an evil command into the dude’s ear, a command which, we learn 10 minutes or so later into the show, will allow the Mad Hatter to command the dude into first letting him, the Mad Hatter, into the dude’s house, then to kill his wife and bury her in the garden, and finally for him to kill himself, thereby, with the couple’s death, providing the Mad Hatter a lovely house full of nice things from where he can comfortably stage similarly demented havoc upon the poor citizens of Gotham.

Okay, I think, it’s cool culturally and all that the creators of Gotham thought to write in an interracial couple as part of the storyline, even though it’s bad that their role lasted all of fifteen minutes but, heck, it’s better than nothing and I expect their deaths will be for the betterment of my viewing pleasure, so I quickly forget about them and proceed on in anticipation of the mind-twisting suffering that the Mad Hatter will surely continue to inflict upon the sad city of Gotham.

And I quickly forgot about the poor, interracial couple from Episode 3…

Until I got to Episode 6, that is.

So, yeah, in Episode 6 we find the Mad Hatter, in his demonically relentless quest to torture James Gordon for past grievances, he, the Mad Hatter, creates a diabolical ploy where Gordon has to choose between rescuing a hypnotized newlywed couple from jumping off a rooftop to their death or a hypnotized little boy from getting pulverized by an oncoming truck.

Of course, Gordon chooses the little boy, and, of course, the newlywed couple who have been forsaken by him, jump to their doom while still clad in their wedding attire.

Yup, you guessed it, the newly and very briefly wed couple is interracial, where, once again, the husband, dressed to the nines in his black tux, is white, and the wife, dressed like an angel in her white wedding gown, is black.


So, what gives?

I mean, am I reading too much into the fact that there are the deaths of two interracial couples at the hand of the same villain in the same season?

And it’s not just that it’s interracial couples, which are still pretty much a rarity throughout society, who are getting knocked off so easily in Season 3; it’s that, as far as interracial couples go, the couples consisting of a white male and a black female are a rarity within a rarity… at least by my own observations of life they are, where it seems that most interracial couples I see are either of a black man and white woman or a white man and Asian woman*.

So, does that make it any more significant that the interracial couples that are killed so far during Season 3 (so far because I’m only on episode 9 out 22 so who knows how many more deaths of interracial couples are coming my way) are of a white husband and a black wife?

And is it significant that both episode 3 & 6 are written and directed by men, who, by the sounds of their names, I guess all to be white (I know it is ignorant of me to make assumptions of someone’s race based on their name, but, hey, that’s what stereotypes are for, right? For those like yours truly who are too lazy to do the work needed to get the facts straight (which, I would guess (guessing – another act of laziness) is the basis of much of the world’s ignorance…laziness that is))?

I mean, maybe I am just being a temperamental snowflake because it’s not like there aren’t any lasting interracial relationships throughout the series.

There are.

In fact, the main character James Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie and who appears to be white, has been in two interracial relationships so far: one is with a character played by Morena Baccarin, who is identified as Brazilian-American, and the other is with a character played by Jamie Chung, who is identified as a Korean-American.

And I guess the only other interracial relationship I can remember is a brief fling between two female characters, one played by Jessica Lucas, who appears to be black (although I couldn’t find any site during my brief research where her race is identified, I did find, for what it’s worth, that she is in an interracial relationship with some dude who appears to be white) and a character played by Erin Richards, who appears to be white.

[UPDATE: I remembered after posting that Jessica Lucas’ character has an on again/off again relationship with Drew Powell’s character, another dude who appears to be white]


I don’t know what all this prolooooonged observation means, or if it means anything at all.

I just know it struck me as odd that two interracial couples, both of a white dude and a black female, were knocked off in very short order.

That’s it.

Besides, I don’t want to dig too much deeper into it by speculating how either consciously or unconsciously the writers and/or directors feel about white dudes being involved with black women, seeing how I, like most white dudes, I suppose (“suppose” …yet another word to identify my laziness/ignorance), get nervous when the conversation gets too close to the matter of race.

So, draw your own conclusions about what all this means…

If anything at all.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

*While I was too lazy to try to find out the race of the writers and directors for episodes 3 & 6, I decided I better at least try to get the facts straight about the demographics of interracial relationships. My observations of life, I’m happy to report, have proven accurate, thank you very much.

12 thoughts on “What is Gotham Trying to Say about Interracial Marriages?”

  1. Interesting! And valid! Although you could lose your mind riding on that train of thought. As a black woman who has dated interracially, I do pay attention such relationships in movies and on TV, including commercials. For one brief shining moment—during the Christmas holidays, there were several lovely families/couples featured. They’ve since disappeared, alas. I guess they’ll be back.

    • Yeah, I agree this train of thought can mess with the mind if ridden too long; however, I find it hard to believe that no one involved with the production of the show thought it odd… Anyway, thanks for reading and providing your interesting insights, as always, Jackie.

  2. As a white man who dates Black women and hopes to one day be married to a Black woman, yes this raised a lot of red flags to me. Everything you said here ran through my head (statistics, probabilities, cautious optimism and then a return of cynicism, etc). I’m highly tuned to portrayals of interracial couples in media (and like when any coupling is displayed positively). I found this a little off-putting that the two dramatic killings were of WM-BW relationships. I’m so glad I found your article, I thought I was the only person who noticed or became unnerved.

    • Thank you for the interesting empirical insights, Jonathan. I’m glad you found the article, too. Let us know when you finally propose and the engagement has been set with your someday-to-be lovely wife.

  3. I literally googled ‘why does Gotham has black girl and white guy a couples’ just to see if anyone else has noticed 2 interracial couples dying because of the Mad Hatter….I’m sorry, but I thought it was weird, and left me with a nagging feeling. So I am super happy to see someone else has noticed too!

  4. The call for diversity everywhere leads to mindless interracial couple scripts. I get your point. Sounds sort of weird the way these couples are dismissed on Gotham. It could be a cruel inside joke or, most likely, writers mindlessly following the diversity guidelines they were handed in some meeting. Didn’t you get the memo? That sounds about right.

  5. for you to be in an interracial relationship your “analysis” had no substance nor depth. what was your point in bringing this matter to light without showing any taste of immense disdain at what you uncovered? and now after five seasons, what more have you to say of your ilk “mr. privy”?


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