My fellow Moving Pixels contributor, Kris Ligman, said recently of Catherine that it is “not as misogynistic as I’d feared.”(”Catherine Is Fun to Play but That’s About It”, PopMatters, 8 August 2011). I’m not quite sure how misogynistic she expected Catherine to be, but it is definitely a game with a plot that is not especially sensitive to its female characters. A clear and stereotypical binary is established between the two female leads. Katherine, the protagonist Vincent’s longtime girlfriend, largely serves the role of “the shrew” throughout the story. While the younger woman in Vincent’s life, the succubus Catherine, serves the role of “the slut.” However, the plot falls very much into the tradition of farce, a form of comedy in which such extreme stereotype, is generally the rule. Farce is not especially known for its fully rounded characters, as it wants to include broadly drawn characters to allow for the potential for social critique as well as the most absurd humor possible. After all, such comedy is usually comprised of a parade of fools that we are intended to laugh at, not necessarily sympathize with.
The extreme negativity towards femininity extends into its portrayals of men as well, though. In this regard, the farce is often as much misandrist as it is misogynist in its portrayal of its cast. This seems to me to be the case with Catherine, as its distrust of women in controlling men (through nagging and ultimatum in the case of Katherine or through sexual manipulation in the case of Catherine) is—at least during the bulk of the story—equal to its distrust of men to basically be capable of getting their shit together.