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'Alias' nostalgia react: Why aren't I dating a superhero?

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “So It Begins” | Aired Oct 7, 2001

One of the nice things about Alias, even 13 years later, is the way it plays with traditional gender roles. Granted, I’m only two episodes in, but as of episode 102, “So It Begins,” one of the things most captivating my attention is the very Superman/Lois Lane–esque dynamic of the relationship between Jennifer Garner’s Sydney and Bradley Cooper’s Will.

Sure, Sydney might not be a superhero in the most traditional, Marvel/DC sense of the word, but she is a super-spy, which is about as close as a series outside the realms of sci-fi and fantasy is going to get. And Will? Will is the Lois to Sydney’s Clark Kent. He’s an intrepid journalist ready to right wrongs and crack cases and … whatnot.

He also seems posed to step up as a love interest for the now-single Sydney.

Will isn’t just a journalist, though, he’s a Journalist. He’s the kind of journalist that exists mostly in fiction, which is to say he is a detective, but without the pesky ethics of the law to hold him back. Fiction loves to paint journalists in this light—and that’s not to say that these intrepid types don’t exist. They do … just not, perhaps, as commonly as film and television would have you believe. But for a superhero (or spy), the intrepid journalist as love interest is perfect. Her (or in this case, thankfully, his) profession gives the writers an excuse to drop her (or him!) into the thick of the action. They know a little more than the average citizen. They dig deeper. They get into trouble while digging deeper and need rescuing, preferably by someone in bright spandex (or a bright red wig).

By the second episode of the series, Will is already going Full Intrepid on Sydney, digging into the details of her fiancé’s murder and finding stranger little facts, like how Danny was booked on a flight to Singapore the night he was killed. Sydney is quick to pretend she knew all about it because #SpyTraining, but still, Will has uncovered details about a secret spy agency’s murder op. Now that’s Full Intrepid.

Sydney is clearly a little freaked out by Will’s discovery. She’s also probably a little intrigued and enticed by it because, like I said, he seems posed to be a love interest.

This brings me to a question that has been lingering since the end of the episode: Why aren’t I dating a superhero? The more I think about it (and the more I allow myself to indulge in delusions like the worlds of Superman and Alias being real), the more I have to wonder what I’m doing wrong. Are superheroes biased against entertainment journalism? Would I meet my CIA love interest if I worked a tough beat at a city paper? Am I just not sticking my nose in enough places it doesn’t belong?

Or maybe I’m already close to a superhero/spy/other awesome person with a secret identity and I don’t even know it yet. If I started using my investigative journalism skills to invade the privacy of my friends and loved ones, would I too discover strange travel plans and a series of loose ends that can only be explained by a secret life of crime-fighting?

If Jennifer Garner morphs into a more believable secret agent over the course of the series (although, I can’t say I’m hopeful—I did see Daredevil), maybe I’ll get lost in the Sydney character and find myself playing out daydreams of being a super-spy. In the meantime, though, it looks like I’ll be identifying with Intrepid Will, Boy Reporter. Family and friends: You’ve been warned. If any of you are hiding secret identities, put the hit out on me now.

What did you think of Sydney and Will’s relationship when you watched Alias back in the day? Am I way off target with my romance predictions? (As of now, I’m calling Will for the short game and Hot Teacher from Never Been Kissed for the OTP.) Sound off in the comments!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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