In the first episode of Sweet/Vicious, a new MTV show, the green-haired, drug-dealing slacker Ophelia (Taylor Dearden) calls the blonde-haired, perky, sorority sister Jules (Eliza Bennett) “Batman.” And, really, she is. She maintains the disguise of a rich white person (albeit in a college sorority, rather than as a billionaire playboy), but at night, she goes out in all black and beats up bad guys.
These bad guys just happen to be frat boys who like to sexual assault women.
Sweet/Vicious, created by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, is a well-acted, well-paced, and surprisingly cathartic vigilante story. The very first scene is a black-clad Jules ninja-ing her way into a frat boy’s room, beating him up, and then asking if she has his “consent.” She forces him to admit that he raped a woman and then stabs him in the leg.
In contrast to Jules is Ophelia, who it happens isn’t just a slacker, but a hacker as well (nice how that rhymed). She floats through school without going to any classes, but one more infraction and she will be out — and, in attempting to run away from a campus officer who saw her with a joint, she finds Ninja Jules beating up another frat boy. Intensely curious, Ophelia eventually figures out who she is and asks if she can help with her mission.
Immediately, the show presents us with whip smart dialogue, but also an undercurrent of a feminist revenge fantasy. The reason Jules is attacking rapists is because she herself was raped — making it seem a little bit like the show is what I Spit On Your Grave would be like if it was written by a woman — but Jules herself seems like she is more than that one incident. She knows how to fight, even though she is traumatized by the one time she didn’t fight back.
Ophelia, on the other hand, seems just bored, but meeting Jules gives her a shot in the arm. And if they accidentally kill someone, well, he kind of deserved it.
Sweet/Vicious airs on Tuesdays at 10 PM on MTV.