POC of the Vampire Diaries: Sheila Bennett

Previously

The Vampire Diaries

Let's start with Sheila Bennett, whom Bonnie Bennett fondly calls "Grams."

First of all, Neo-Prodigy once asked why the hell Jasmine Guy was cast as a grandmother.  All I can say to that is...million-dollar question, boo-boo.

Anyhoo, Ms. Guy plays the powerful sorceress and professor Sheila Bennett who teaches occult at the local university, and whom everyone dismisses as a crazy, drunken loon.  Even Bonnie doesn't believe her Grams's stories about the craft...at first.  Later, Grams explains to Bonnie that it's better to let people think you're crazy, rather than know the truth.  She traces the family back to Salem, and when Bonnie asks how many of their ancestresses died in Salem, Grams scoffs that it takes a whole lot more than ignorance to kill a witch.

One of my favorite scenes with Grams is when the vampire Damon Salvatore stands on her porch trying to intimidate her.  Since he can't enter her home uninvited, and she basically tells him to go fuck himself, Damon unwisely taunts her, daring her to come outside and talk smack to his face.

And once he does...

"I am not Bonnie.  You don't want to mess with me."
Grams not only steps out of her home, but she also introduces the audience to the infamous "Pain Infliction" power, whereby a witch can drop a vampire with a friggin' look.

*nods*  I believe the word you're looking for is "bad-ass."

This isn't her only great moment, of course; in one scene, she makes a remark about how vampires always keep dragging witches into their mess.  Even though the audience has a good idea of what she means by that point, her comment really resonates later, because witches really do keep getting dragged into drama which they don't start.  And considering that most vamps tend to be white and most witches tend to be black on this show, Grams's comment becomes especially powerful because there's always some whiny, emo, angst-ridden vamp taking a big shit all over the town and making people's lives complicated for no damn reason.  And once they do, everyone immediately looks at the nearest Magical Negress to fix the problem.

So for Grams to just put it out there like that gave me shivers.  You know...the good kind.

But alas, this is the CW, and we can't have the POC getting too awesome or too interesting; it's bad enough Bonnie's storyline of mystical self-discovery is automatically more interesting than Elena and her weak, emo cliche of a burgeoning love triangle which we have already seen a billion times before.

So before the first season even ends, we have to witness Grams help cast one more incredibly powerful spell and become drained to the point of the inevitable:

RIP Grams
Bar patrons, when commenters talked about the long-ass list of dead Negroes on this show, trust and believe they were not exaggerating.

Comments

  1. Yes to all of this, especially this:

    "But alas, this is the CW, and we can't have the POC getting too awesome or too interesting; it's bad enough Bonnie's storyline of mystical self-discovery is automatically more interesting than Elena and her weak, emo cliche of a burgeoning love triangle which we have already seen a billion times before."

    Bonnie's storyline is the ONLY thing that's kept me hooked into TVD.

    "Bar patrons, when commenters talked about the long-ass list of dead Negroes on this show, trust and believe they were not exaggerating."

    You ain't lied yet.

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  2. By the way pay, close attention to the constant casting of white-washed Black women as Bennett witches. That trend just goes on and on and on....

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  3. Although I think Jasmine Guy hasn't aged well(I knew that but the picture above was almost unrecognizable to me), having her play a grandmother to a teen/young adult is still a stretch, b/c you know they don't "clown" similarly aged but haggard looking white actresses that way (and I think I read a comment once where someone thought it was crazy for 60 something Sally Field to be playing the mom on Brothers and Sisters-um whatever).

    But I've noticed how some black actresses do get cast as grandma and are playing "old" ladies when they don't really look the part. So for example, Anna Maria Horsford has been playing old ladies for a while, and I've seen other cases of middle aged or slightly older but smooth skinned black woman being put in a granny wig and glasses to play the part. Heck, I just saw the end of a movie where Regina King was playing the mom (I think) to a dude who was getting married.

    I think it's just part of the need to paint black women as asexual, matronly, and/or undesirable.

    Won't say anymore but thought I'd mention it in response to the mention in the post.

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    Replies
    1. Nope, Jasmine Guy hasn't aged too well. Makes you wonder what went wrong. She's almost a decade younger than my mom and yet she looks twice as haggardly.

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    2. She's not even 50 yet!!!!

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  4. @Nicthommi

    I've noticed that trend too. Somebody had the fucking gall on Jezebel to call Gina Torres's character Zoe on Firefly (my boo) an old woman in an article. Yet she's only a year or two older than Nathan Fillion and I think Adam Baldwin (Jayne) is older than both of them.

    I've seen that trend too in comics. In the series Next Wave, the black leader, Monica Rambeaux , was always dismissed as being an old woman by the white male characters while they lusted after the white female teammates.

    She's their frikkin age. I'm sure that's the new code phrase now. "She's too old." "They have no chemistry."

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    1. I'm sure that's the new code phrase now. "She's too old." "They have no chemistry."

      Always coming up with new ones, aren't they?

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    2. Leoprincess1/28/12, 5:30 PM

      "Somebody had the fucking gall on Jezebel to call Gina Torres's character Zoe on Firefly (my boo) an old woman in an article."

      removes glasses, gets a tub of Vaseline Where dat trick at?!

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  5. @Neoprodigy...bleah, Jezebel. That place is full of narcissistic white women who must always promote their "superiority." I saw someone mention this blog in the comments and thought that Ankhesen might be getting an uptick in hateful emails as a result.

    But I've heard the "too old" line thrown at the black actress on Grey's Anatomy (who is what, same age as her haggard white female cast mates and younger than Patrick Dempsey and maybe McSteamy too), as well as the actress on Community, where they have the actor who is her age make out with women in their 20's (and one of whom is supposed to be about 19 on the show).

    Yes, everyone finds smooth dark skin to be repungnant. I'd much rather pretend that an anorexic lady whose skin looks like a leather bag is youthful and appealing.

    @Ankhesen, Jasmine is a sister and she is every bit the sister but she does have a white mom, so I kind of blamed at least some of her aging on that. Bunny DeBarge looks about 20 years older than her own mother. I've seen some black folks that lived hard lives and STILL look young in their 50's. (e.g. check out episodes of Unsung), but some people with white parents age badly (not always, b/c Lenny Kravitz is as fine as ever and seems to be getting finer).

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  6. Yes, everyone finds smooth dark skin to be repungnant.

    Mm-hm. I think it's a direct reaction to the "black don't crack" line. Now that people can't deny how Black women tend to age better, white folks are responding by just calling all Black women "old", or at least, "too old" for whomever they're with.

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  7. I know I was like why is Whitley playing a Grandmother?

    Anyway I knew they were going to kill her off, she is a strong Black woman character and there can't be too much colour on the screen at one time. This ain't UPN they killed off Grams like they killed off all the other Black tv shows. (Funny thing is that Robert Ricard and Persia White had shows on UPN that were cancelled after the merge)

    Thing is that after Grams died where is Bonnie's family? No siblings, her mother is not around so where is her Daddy? They showed the minor characters family but not a main? Bonnie mentioned she was spending the holidays with her Father's side of the family so can we get a little glimpse? or even a "Bonnie get off the phone and go to bed!"

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    Replies
    1. I know!!!! She was a college kid just two short decades ago!!!!

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