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Why We Still Hate Laura Moon

Why We Still Hate Laura Moon

Written by: Jonita Davis 

I knew there was a reason why I hated that girl so much!

Laura Moon was the character I could not stand in the original American Gods book. She is a vapid, cheating, whining woman who later stalks Shadow out of what she thinks is love, but what turns out to be a mix of guilt, desperation, and compulsion from the coin raised her from the grave. This combination creates a savior for Shadow, which is perfect for the plot, but her pitiful refrain of “Puppy” cuts through the story like cat claws on a chalkboard. The mess she makes of the story’s hero isn’t much better. She is a dangerous person that we see in the book only about the man who loved her. She is a saccharine sweet treat with a rotted center.

I don’t know about you, but I wanted to choke that Laura Moon.

So, when Starz advertised an episode that would focus mostly on that so-and-so Laura Moon, I almost talked myself out of watching. I am so glad that I didn’t go with that thought. Bryan Fuller breathes life into the character Laura Moon, giving her a dimension we never see in the book—Laura without Shadow. The backstory and side-story works to help the audience understand how this character became the woman she was for Shadow and why she was so obsessed with him later.

The episode also helped me to understand that my hatred for Laura was valid. She is a garbage person when she is alive and is even more pathetic dead. Fuller’s Laura Moon embodies some white privilege, covered in Regina-esque Mean Girls, that’s laced with a little Ali Larter from Obsessed—she’s crazy as hell.

We get to see a Laura before Shadow in the show, which is a change. The Laura from the book is introduced through Shadow, so that sweet candy coating is always on her, despite the rot that is wafting from her center. Shadow paints a picture of a loving, doting wife, but we know she died giving his best friend fellatio. She loves and cares about Shadow, yet we find that she initiates the robbery that leads to his imprisonment. In fact, she offers him the robbery job because she is bored with their life together. This mirrors her life before Shadow. Laura is bored, depressed, and even attempts suicide using a can of “Git Gone” bug spray and a hot tub. Incidentally, “Git Gone” is the name of the episode.

She only engages with Shadow at their first meeting because he is something new in her dull life. She brings him home and then engages in a sexual encounter, again, to enliven her life at the time. I think she only lets Shadow stay around because he becomes another dull thing attached to her. She soon becomes bored.

It should be sacrilege for her to look as tired as she does while under that good-looking brown man. In one intimate scene, she looks as though she is having a pap smear and has waited all day in the paper gown to get it. The moment she sends Shadow out for bug spray, I just knew she was done with him. But she keeps him around, despite the apparent lack of love for the man. It’s like she feels compelled to keep him because he loves her so much. She does not have anything else like that in her life. Or maybe, like millions of other couples in America who stay in stale relationships, she simply does not know how to end things.

Eventually, she initiates the robbery to get that spark back. Well, that ends with another Black man in jail.

 

You see, Laura was broken long before Shadow and her zombification. Fuller gives the audience a full illustration of the extent of Laura’s wrongness, which fills the gap left in Gaiman’s novel. Gaiman’s Laura just seems wrong somehow. We know that we don’t like her, but are mostly unsure why aside from a few small points. She is also candy-coated thanks to Shadow’s POV, so her real self is distorted anyway. We needed to see more. That’s why episode four is so important.

In addition to being depressed and broken, Laura is not afraid to flash her privilege to get a pass in the face of danger. Interestingly, that privilege comes because she is one of the few characters raised without any relationship with the gods. She explains how, after finding out the Easter Bunny, Santa, and Jesus weren’t real, there was nothing more to believe in. She is the only main character in the book which is void of belief. I believe this is the reason for her depression and dissatisfaction. I also believe that this is the only way she would think that saying “Fuck you,” to Anubis would get her a pass on death.

But, it did. She is yanked back to the grave before the insult is even completed. It is so fast that Anubis is left figuratively scratching his head. Laura’s afterlife was going to be what she believed, her making—a can of “Git Gone” and a hot tub, which would send her into nothingness. Her reaction, however, is unorthodox, but she knew nothing about the gods and thus was not afraid of their power. Otherwise, she would have been as docile as Mrs. Fadil when her time came.

Laura exerts her white privilege over who she saw as just another Black man sent to determine the direction of her life. Why would she honor Anubis, when she couldn’t even honor Shadow by staying faithful while he was in prison? The coin yanking her out of the spiritual realm would be seen as a triumph over Anubis until she learns of the coin’s true origin. Until then, she will be empowered by the thought that she cheated death, not knowing what Shadow and Mad Sweeney sacrificed to give her.

The last place that made me understand Laura was the bathroom scene. This girl waltzes into her friend Audrey’s home scares said friend and then proceeds to tone police the friend while taking a shit in the woman’s bathroom. Let’s not forget that Laura cheated with and killed Audrey’s husband. Dually guilty, you’d think the woman would be humbler in her speaking with Audrey.

No.

The thing is, Audrey isn’t Shadow. She sees right through Laura. They trade barbs reminiscent of Regina and her Plastics, building until Audrey’s, “Fuck your feelings,” outburst while she is sewing Laura’s arm back into the socket. As if the intrusion into Audrey’s life wasn’t enough, Laura asks to borrow Audrey’s car. This side of Audrey is a new invention by Fuller as well, and I must say that I like it. The woman does not back down, but out of duty or shock, she still helps her friend, clapping back at the meanness every step of the way.

In the end, I figure out what it is I hate so much about Laura Moon. Yes, she saves Shadow from the lynching and if the book is the indicator, from a few other scrapes. However, she is the one who put the man is the position to be dependent on the gods. Remember, she initiated the robbery. Yes, Shadow still loves her after finding out about her death. Unfortunately, Shadow is grieving and can’t be trusted. And Laura’s love is probably the luck of the coin compelling her to be there for Shadow. Her love of him, more an infatuation of the light he generates in her world full of dull grayness.

Fuller’s Laura is still cold, and void. At least now, I can hate her for specific reasons.

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View Comments (18)
  • Great article! I like when people known how to being emphatic with someone with a mental illness but never excuse their shitty behavior and personality.

    But I disagree with 2 points:
    However, she is the one who put the man is the position to be dependent on the gods. — ehhhhhhhh… Not really? You read the book so you have to remember that this wasn’t the case at all.
    And Laura’s love is probably the luck of the coin compelling her to be there for Shadow.
    ehh, not at all 🙁

  • so on point! I knew I didnt like her, she felt so empty. While I read shadows pov of her, it seemed like he truly cared, but could not see that she didnt love him or didnt love him the same.

  • Laura’s love for Shadow in her undead state likely has absolute nothing to do with the coin. You read the book so you know that but you are more interested in this interpretation in order to be more dismissive of a character you hate. Hey, Laura is fucked up. But that was largely because of her state of depression, That may not excuse her actions but it helps explain them. She wasn’t stringing Shadow along. He decided to not see the signs. She was actually brutally honest with him about her not being happy. He probably should have let her but he did not. She could have been a better wife but at the same time in her mental state I’m not certain she ever could truly achieve that goal. She’s an unapologetic asshole but I can still sympathize because of her condition. She was a person who should have been crying for help but had no idea how to do so.

    As for her relationship with Shadow he was the one person she seemed to actually tolerate for an extended time. He is likely the only long-standing relationship she had with any man He is the only person she could see herself being married to. She had true feelings for the man but they were not enough to overcome her issues. Despite her destructiveness these flaws of hers nonetheless makes her a complex ad compelling character and easily one of the most fascinating and three-dimensional people on the show. If she was a black female character with the same traits who treated her man just a shitty would you have a greater appreciation for this complexity? But because she is white lady though you decided to wear out the “privilege” argument which is saying something in a day and and age in which that word is already played out to death.

    Oh, and what sacrifice did Mad Sweeney make for her? Maybe you have had the pleasure of seeing future episodes. From what I’ve seen so far the idiot gave his coin away by mistake. A sacrifice requires actual intent. Mad Sweeney wasn’t doing any intentional favors for Laura when she ended up with the coin.

  • Laura DOES suck but what hell is it with you and this “white privilege” nonsense? The story has NOTHING to do with race, but evidently you’re one of those people that’s incapable of NOT making race a big issue.
    I’m amazed you read the book – it was written by a straight white man, y’know. An ENGLISH straight white man. ENGLISH…the MOST colonial and imperialist of White Peoples.
    But if we MUST speak the language of “white privilege”, you need to stop this cultural appropriation:
    Books, the alphabet, computers, the internet, novels…all of these things were created by White Culture, and appropriating them is insulting and racist.

  • Novels alphabets and the internet were decidedly NOT created by white culture.
    The first alphabet was middle eastern and derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics.
    The oldest novel is Japanese and the internet was the work of several scientists. Most of them were white, though so I guess that is arguable.
    So the computer and possibly the internet stemmed from white culture but language and novels didn’t so I guess by your logic you should stop reading and writing?

  • THANK YOU. It doesn’t matter what Shadow did or if the robbery worked because that wouldn’t have been enough she always would have needed more (when what she really needed was a doctor & a therapist). I’m really happy that she didn’t fall into the “love fixes depression trope” b/c as someone with severe mental illnesses that makes me want to break things.

  • Well then in that case ‘whites’ should also stop ‘novel’ coz first ever written word was Sumerian language. Also stop using the blood bank, touch tone phone , caller Id , call waiting, laser contract surgery, mailbox , closed circuit tv, three signal traffic light, 3D special effects, car couplers list goes . Guess who invented or should I say ‘culturally appropriated’ black people. I was agreeing with you about the whole race thing and white privilege although the last one does exist. But on this show Laura has clearly mental illness and not some self entitlement. Ever seen narcissistic person try to commit suicide? Hell no…these people love life (themselves) too much to want to kill themselves. So get off the old bullshit excuse that white people looove to use whenever someone mentions the words cultural appropriation. Both of you black and white Americans builted America and invinted a lot of the technologies that you guys enjoy.

  • We should hate her because she’s awful, but still love how she’s written. She’s not worst than Wednesday, which a lot of people adore. Most people hate Laura because she’s a woman, plain and simple.
    However, she is the one who put the man is the position to be dependent on the gods.
    So you’re ignoring Wednesday’s machinations? Why?

  • Maybe in the books Mr. Wednesday is worst than Laura. But in the show, Mr. Wednesday hasn’t done anything to warrant that kind of ire just yet. That’s not to say he won’t do anything just downright despicable in the show, but he hasn’t done anything YET. We can’t punish Mr. Wednesday for something that he hasn’t even done yet that may not even happen in the show. Because we all know the writers have changed quite a bit from the books to our screens. Since some people haven’t even read the books, you can’t necessarily claim that people hate Laura because she’s a woman when she’s just blatantly awful in the show. Laura sat up there with a straight face and told Shadow she resented him because he was happy and she wasn’t. But because she’s a woman, we’re supposed to just accept this? Okay, that makes a LOT of sense.

  • Laura Moon is a White woman who’s allowed to be awful because she’s a woman so I’m going to say that she absolutely benefits from White privilege. Mainly because we have people justifying how she’s treated Shadow, and the fact that people have already demonized Shadow & Anubis for treating Laura like ‘crap’ when that’s not accurate at all. Anubis was sent to deliver her to the darkness because she’s dead, but some people saw the way he treated her as ‘mean’ and ‘crappy.’ And Shadow’s done … what exactly to ‘deserve’ Laura being an awful person to the only person who ever cared and loved her in spite of how imbalanced their relationship was? But I’m sure you’re going to say that has nothing to do with White privilege either. Am I right? Did I land in the wheelhouse at all?

    You’re White, aren’t you? I’m assuming that’s why you refuse to believe that White privilege exists. I’m sorry to break this to you and I’m sure your parents should have taught you this lesson a looong time ago – but White privilege exits. There are certain things that White people will never experience or have to worry about experiencing because they’re White. Your ignorance and ability to be tone-deaf is astounding, my friend. Read a book.

  • You’re extremely tone-deaf, and I really hope you educate yourself on the ways of the world one day. It’s astounding how people get on the internet only to pretend like certain things don’t exist.

    Laura Moon is awful. But the simple fact that everyone’s supposed to celebrate and root for her is why she’s benefiting from her Whiteness. Plain and simple. Because if Laura weren’t White, there’s a good chance no one would be fighting and arguing that other people should defend her in the face of how downright awful she is.

  • You hit the nail right on the head, my dear. I even wrote a meta about this on my own blog a little while ago.

    But the fact still stands – Laura Moon’s status as a White woman is why people are so angry and irritated that other people hate her guts. Laura Moon is an awful, despicable human being. But her status as a White woman has somehow turned this into a conversation about misogyny that just doesn’t exist. She’s just awful and she gets away with it. Technical Boy is a racist White man but he’s punished repeatedly in the narrative because of it. Laura is never punished for her crap, and THAT’S why people are angry. I don’t understand how this simple concept is flying over some people’s heads. It is so simple. Yet, the ignorant and tone-deaf are so confused and combative about their confusion that they have to say it loud and proud.

    There’s something to be said about people who are loud and wrong, but it doesn’t stop them from letting this crap fall from their lips. Or in this case, from their fingertips. Laura Moon is an awful White woman who gets away with it because she’s a White woman. That’s why there are all these thinkpieces about how we need to rally around her and defend her. Why? She’s a despicable human being that treats everyone in her life like shit, and we’re supposed to love her? No, thanks. Laura’s a selfish person who only wants to get to Shadow because it’s obvious that he’s the key to bringing her back to life. She didn’t care about him when she was alive, and she definitely doesn’t care about him now. Laura herself told Anubis when he & Mr. Ibis were fixing her arm that it wasn’t love when she was alive. She spoke those words out of her own mouth, so I don’t know why people are revising canon mythology by saying she cared for him and loved him when she verbally admitted that she didn’t.

    Fortunately, I think Shadow is well over Laura Moon. Or at least he’s on his way to being over her. Something tells me he’s on a journey of forgetting all about her and letting her go. Their relationship and marriage is over, and maybe now Shadow can move to a better life without this toxic White woman around sucking all the life out of him. Hopefully, Anubis can come and suck her back into the darkness; it’s time for her to go, because she’s worn out her welcome. I know she has her mission, but let’s hope this mission doesn’t take long to complete because I’m sick of her and her attitude.

  • i totally understand your point of view, but for some strange unexplainable reason, i don’t hate laura. it confuses me too because i hate everything she’s done, but i don’t hate her

  • I totally see your point of view, but for some strange, unexplainable reason I don’t hate Laura. Which confuses me too because I hate everything she’s done, but I still find myself rooting for her.

  • laura makes me angry beyond what is reasonable. If she doesn’t die in a satisfying fashion…I mean, I can just skip past all of her parts. I do that already. she’s the least worthy character I’ve ever seen on a show or movie, she shouldn’t be on this show. She’s egregiously terrible. Not her acting, the character. The character should have been consigned to darkness like Anubis said

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