Mix Arrow, Broad City, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a dash of You’re the Worst, and a sprinkle of Dexter all together, and you might just have Sweet/Vicious, the new dark comedy that just premiered on MTV.
It’s about two college girls who spend their nights taking down the rapists on their college campus, and somehow, it’s poignant, cathartic, hilarious, and still never makes light of the very real problem of rape and sexual assault. It also feels particularly timely.
“I think now, more than ever, we need this story,” creator Jennifer Kaytin Robinson tells E! News. “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 so alone. That was so important to me, and now with what is happening in our country, I think now more than ever.”
That quest to tell a story that holds true to real life and real women is also part of the reason that the show is hilarious, despite its subject matter.
Just in the pilot, we got Ophelia (Taylor Dearden) smoking from a six foot bong named Lebong James, Jules (Eliza Bennett) suffering flashbacks to her best friend’s boyfriend attacking her, Jules and Ophelia murdering a rapist in self defense, and then Jules and Ophelia totally killing it at “Defying Gravity” with the dead guy in the trunk.
“I think that dichotomy is life,” Robinson explains. “Life is really sad and heartbreaking, and life is really funny and warm and full of romance and full of fun, so we wanted to tell a story that felt as nuanced as anyone’s life felt. But when we are talking about and dealing with sexual assault, it’s not funny, and we take it very seriously.”
Robinson and the show’s writers worked hard to make sure that the show felt true to life for the millions of people who have dealt with sexual assault.
“We read everything we could read, we watched documentaries, we listened to podcasts, we talked to survivors, we talked to title IX officers,” she says. “We did so much, anything and everything we could, to make sure we prepared to tell this story.”
Of course, just because the problems that the students of Darlington College are facing also happen to be real-life problems, that does not mean the show or Robinson are suggesting vigilantism as a real-life solution.
“I do not think violence solves violence, so this is a heightened environment,” Robinson says. “Don’t go out there and kick anyone’s ass, but get out there and fight injustice however you can.”
So what did you think of Sweet/Vicious? Sound off in the comments!
Sweet/Vicious airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on MTV.