I feel like the dialed up Korra's level of assholery so they can break it down as the season goes on. Or at least I hope that. After book 1, my confidence in the writing of this show is shaky at best.
The problem with writing the protagonist to be such an asshole is that sometimes, you dial up the asshole bit to such a fever-pitch that there's no going back for the audience. (Or at least some members of the audience.)
It's sort of like how in Mad Men, Don Draper has become such an unbelievable cheating, scummy, low-life dick that I personally don't give a damn about any possible 'redemption' of his anymore. He could turn into the Dalai Lama in the last season of Mad Men and I'd just scoff and think it's too much to swallow, given what a jerk he was for the past few seasons. And unfortunately, Korra is basically right at the 'too much of a jackass to be redeemed' point for me too.
I just... I can't really see many redeeming qualities in her that would make up for what a jerk she is to people who truly love and trust her -- people like Tenzin, her parents, and even Mako. (Who has somewhat redeemed himself for me from the Asami debacle by finally standing up to Korra. Heh, you still happy to dumped Asami for her, buddy boy?) I understand that Korra's life isn't perfect and that she's been alternately over-coddled and under-prepared for her role as quasi-diety in a world that seems to no longer quite understand her... but she's just dealing with everything with such poor grace and an almost completely lack of wits.
In the original series, the protagonists had to deal with plenty of horror and they generally dealt with it in a far better way than Korra did. Aang had to deal with the genocide of his people and the seemingly-impossible task of beating the might of the entire Fire Nation with just a few solid allies by his side; Katara and Sokka had to deal with the near-genocide of their water-bending people, the death of their mother, and the absence of their father; Zuko had to deal with exile, physical dismemberment, and the difficult choice of whether to embrace or repudiate his abusive father, and so on. And although Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Zuko made plenty of bad decisions, were flawed people, and sometimes did the wrong things for the wrong reasons (especially Zuko), I could still understand and sympathize with them because I knew why they did what they did.
Zuko, for example, seems to be the closest to a sort-of Korra analog because he also has a fiery (literally) temper and often takes impulsive actions that backfire spectacularly on him. Yet I feel a lot more sympathy for Zuko not because he's a male rather than female character -- but because I could understand why he did some of the horrible things he did. I wanted to kick his ass during the ATLA Season 2 finale, when he betrayed his uncle to join forces again with Azula -- but I understood that he did so because he wanted so badly to be redeemed in the eyes of his father/nation and regain his "honor" again.
But in the case of Korra, I barely have any idea why she does the stupid, impulsive, reckless, and even idiotic things she does. I can't sympathize with her because I don't know what there is to sympathize with. She didn't have the most idyllic upbringing but it's hardly as bad as the horrors Aang, Katara, Sokka and Zuko went through, so I really don't sympathize with her anger and rage at being controlled by her mentors. (Especially mentors like Tenzin, who have extended much sympathy and caring toward her and have mostly only erred because they don't kiss her ass the way villians like Tarrlok did.) And when she does things like freak out at Mako because he has evidence that her pet theories about a fire-bombing aren't correct, it just makes me think -- goddamn, Korra's such a horrible little brat. I feel goddamn sad for the Avatarverse if she's supposed to be the one who upholds the "balance" between the elements!
I'm sure the show is going to "redeem" her later in the season by making her realize the error of her ways, repent for her past stupidity, become a better person, and so on. But I'm at the point where I just don't care about her because she's gone too far, and too fast. And frankly, even if she does get "better," I don't really trust that it will stick. After all, she's shown little-to-no character development from Season 1 to Season 2 of LOK -- hell, if anything, she's gotten more hot-headed, impulsive, and reckless as time goes on. So what's to say that after all the drama of Season 2, Season 3 won't begin with her being a complete asshole yet again?
I'm mostly still watching this show out of morbid curiousity, like I'm watching the corpse of a person I once loved rot and molder in a glass coffin. If someone told me all the writers and creators of ATLA died and were replaced by a bunch of hacks for LOK, I would believe them -- this show has taken such a nose-dive in quality from the original that it's unbelievable!
Edited by Mariagonerlj, Oct 6, 2013 @ 4:52 PM.