Ok I know people don't like Messer for the things she says in interviews but is there a deeper reason that I just haven't been around long enough to pick up on? She seems kinda... hated (?) for just some poorly thought-out sound bites.
okay, a little history.
though erica has been with cm since the beginning, she didn’t become co-showrunner until 2010. you know what else started in 2010? season six. now, to be clear, no one blames her for all the shit that went down re: the ladies, that is 110% on cbs execs and pretty much everything that has gone wrong since 2010 can be traced back to their ~grand~ idea that was criminal minds: suspect behavior in some way or another.
she became a co-runner, presumably because ed bernero, the showrunner from the beginning of the series, was full timing for suspect behavior. chris mundy was also taken over to suspect behavior. they were argueably two of the best writers on the team (the fisher king 1&2, aftermath, sex birth death, profiler profiled, the big game/revelations, gideon’s exit episodes, legacy, penelope, lo fi, the instincts, masterpiece, demonology, to hell, and back, nameless faceless…to name a few lol) and from what i saw of ed during s6 (which is when i came into the fandom, lucky me), he was a good showrunner, in terms of talking to the press, though idk how much actual control he had over the show. considering seasons 1-5 compared with 6, i assume he had very little control. iirc, erica did not speak with the press or had very little contact with them.
when suspect behavior got canceled in 2011, ed and chris were fired. yes, instead of moving two of their best writers back to the main show - which, reminder, was suffering - they fired them. again, 110% on cbs execs and their ~grand~ idea for a spin-off that inevitably didn’t work bc they didn’t understand why cm was so popular.
BUT during most of this, i feel like fandom was somewhat comforted by the fact that they passed the torch to someone who had been there since the beginning (esp since they hired a handful of new writers for s6 who, btw, were not required to watch the prior seasons and the characters have obviously suffered for it) and who had, arguably, written a decent number of okay-to-good episodes as well. i remember a few of us looking up her eps during the summer between s6 and s7 and being like “okay, maybe it won’t be too bad.”
now. a quick reminder. a showrunner holds the “ultimate management and creative authority” for a tv show (thx wikipedia).
so. when a show takes a creative dive that appears to mostly be due to execs trying to ~stir shit up~ for shits and giggles instead of leaving a very profitable show in the capable hands of its original showrunner, reasonable people tend to put the blame on the execs. as such, i don’t blame her for a lot of the missteps that happened in season 6. even some of the stuff that was clearly the showrunners’ decisions is forgivable because it makes sense within the bts context. for instance, barely giving any characterization to seaver makes sense because they needed to focus on characters we already knew/loved who were leaving and they thought they could develop her character in s7.
but when the network execs stop mucking around where they don’t belong and the show doesn’t really turn it around, the blame starts falling rather squarely on the showrunner’s shoulders because they are in charge of the direction the show goes. it’s like when people talk about shonda in relation to grey’s or scandal. yes, she doesn’t write every episode, but she sure as hell is the one who plots out where the show is heading and she has final say. that’s erica’s role on cm. she plots. she has final say.
so when you get poorly plotted episodes (what the actual fuck was season 9’s openner and finale episodes???), episodes that don’t fit the tone or message of the show (THIRTEENTH STEP GE T OUT), poorly placed episodes (a ~fake rape~ case after morgan’s final confrontation with buford, route 66 being 2-3 seasons too late), characterization that doesn’t make sense…yes, a lot of that is on the writers, but ultimately, erica could veto that stuff. erica knows what good finale cliffhangers look like because she was there for all of the really good finales…and yet we keep getting shitty ones.
so. there’s that.
and i think “some poorly thought-out soundbites” is…an understatement, especially the…“some”…portion. three and a half seasons as full time showrunner = plenty of soundbites that could go horribly wrong. you have to remember too…all of the things she says to the media are things that are ultimately under her control, so it’s not just her missteps in wording. when she announces, for instance, that we won’t find out how prentiss feels about having to fake dead until episode TWELVE…that’s generally more about the content of said announcement (content that, again, she has control over), regardless of how she words it. when she says reid/maeve ~will be a relationship like nothing we’ve ever seen~ and then they fridge maeve…well, that’s a double punch (triple punch?) in the gut.
- drops just about every spoiler that the cbs promo’s don’t or drops them in tandem. not cool.
- girl shipbaits like no one’s business. thing is…rule has been from s1…no on the team is hooking up with anyone else on the team. literally a show rule. so her shipbaiting takes on an extra level of aggravation because she riles people up (many of whom do not know about this rule) only to have them be let down time and time again. not cool. also, the actors end up getting practically harassed by it as well. pretty much every interview, shemar has to say that morgan and garcia are like siblings. extra not cool.
- similarly, fanservice. my stance? i want the show to make me happy because the characters are in character, they are engaging, and the story is engaging. if that means i start squealing like a tiny child because morgan is teaching reid to hit a ball? COOL. if i’m seeing morgan half-naked in a towel for some ill-conceived and ooc drama (with a dose of shipbaiting on the side)? NOT COOL.
finally, a more direct explanation of reasons i was not okay with the latest announcement:
- i’m still aggravated as hell about last season’s “jj doesn’t have ptsd bc she’s a strong woman” and “that story is over with” (very) poorly worded soundbites
- which makes this feel like she’s only doing it because fans complained
- which i could maybe be okay with
- (because, really, the idea that someone could be waterboarded, beaten severely, and sexually assaulted and then be 100% fine is so incredibly unrealistic and is totally lazy writing)
- except between the things she AND aj said last year, i’m severely worried that things are gonna fall flat and just feel fake
- so i’m already not looking forward to this because i have very little faith in it being done well
- then you’ve also got erica saying jj and reid are gonna hash it out
- and saying she “loves” jj and reid’s relationship
- personally, in recent seasons, i haven’t seen that supposed love she has for their relationship from the way they’ve been written
- because reid doesn’t seem close to her at all
- and because jj’s reactions to reid come off as antagonistic and passive aggressive
- and i like the idea that their relationship never fully recovered from jj keeping the secrets she kept
- that’s interesting character development to me
- i think it’d be much more interesting to have her hash it out with hotch whose ptsd is more recent
- (since apparently reid’s near death experiences have happened so often that he is no longer affected by it!!!)
- and whom she used to have a closer relationship with before she was a profiler
- as it stands, it currently feels more like shipbaiting/fanservice than actual storytelling
- especially because 200’s massive plot holes make it feel like fanservice and basing fanservice on fanservice just seems like a downward spiral
- which is really disappointing
- so far, i’ve been pretty satisfied with this season and the idea that this is could crash and burn for even more reasons than before is disheartening
- so yeah
TL;DR - if you’re new-ish to the fandom or at least new-ish to the behind the scenes stuff, then yeah, i feel like there’s some stuff you’ve missed. clearly.