In addition to a lack of acknowledgement of POC character heritage, the POC characters themselves are underdeveloped. In keeping with the Magical Negro stereotype, Dr. Alan Deaton and Marin Morrell are almost completely lacking in terms of backstory, motivation, and character development. Danny, one of the fan favorites, was not even granted a last name until the prop department added it to his lacrosse jersey in season 2. In fact, beyond his popularity, his sexuality, and his lacrosse skills, the only personal information divulged to the audience is his criminal record. Kali is never given a last name or a backstory beyond a flashback depicted her turn to the darkside; she is aggrieved after the death of fellow Alpha werewolf Ennis but no explanation as to the nature of their relationship was made. However, despite these problematic POC character developments, the most egregious example is Vernon Boyd. As a recurring regular for seasons 2 and 3 present in 15 episodes, Boyd should by all rights be the most well-developed POC in the series, aside from the lead character. That, unfortunately, is not the case. Boyd is never given a home, a family, a backstory, or any level of human complexity. He speaks few words and, when he is present in a scene, he acts as the casting call requested: as an enforcer. By the time of his death, the audience only knows that he worked in an ice rink, joined the lacrosse team after being bitten, participated in ROTC with a victim-of-the-week, and lost his younger sister to a kidnapping. Jeff Davis tried to excuse Boyd’s lack of character development by saying “I have said numerous times in interviews that the new supporting characters are there to “support” the main characters. I have 41 minutes a week in which to tell a story. It’s not easy to service every character equally!” (Davis). However, under the same time constraints, white supporting characters Erica and Isaac were given three-dimensional histories and personalities. Overall, the writers are batting 1-8 in terms of POC character development and that is only accurate if Scott McCall is, in fact, being considered Hispanic.
In fact, the most notable development regarding Boyd’s character was his death. Boyd was killed in season 3 to further the character development of white male character Derek Hale, both within the context of the plot and within the machinations of the writers. It’s plain to see why the writers would consider Boyd disposable, considering his lack of personality and depth, but the rate at which the writers kill of POC characters is also cause of concern. On a show that often jokes about how many guest stars and extras are killed in a given season, it’s fair to say that characters of all sizes, shapes, sexes, orientations,and races are killed fairly regularly. However, as with most entertainment television programs, POC characters on Teen Wolf are generally cast as non-recurring guests and extras (largely deputies and victims, sometimes both); as such, POC characters, especially female POCs, die with more frequency than non-POC characters. In the first 36 episodes, the deaths of POC characters Kara, Deputy Tara, Erica, Boyd, Kali, Braedan, and unnamed deputy were featured. While this list is not exhaustive, it does illustrate Teen Wolf’s penchant for killing (especially female) POC characters to further the plot and increase the body counts.
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