Strong Characters

Since I’m on a “talking about work” kick, here’s a cool analysis of dual female leads in Hollywood movies. Definitely worth a look.

This is related to the day job since one of my networks, TNT, airs two dramas that have as their centerpiece, amazing women leads: The Closer (Kyra Sedgwick) and Saving Grace (Holly Hunter). There’s even a long-form piece airing in Regal Cinemas that talks about these “Real Women”. Sorry, I have to shill a little bit. 😉

The whole thing got me thinking about characterization and gender roles and fictitious (acting) roles. What makes a good character? Who decides which qualities are ultimately favorable, remarkable and memorable? Why do some stereotypes and archetypes endure while others flounder?

Tough philosophical questions to be sure and likely too deep for the likes of me OR this blog, but I was thinking. And my thoughts turned to the best/worst character in pop culture: Superman.

Love him or hate him, Supes is a polarizing, singular character in pop culture. Iconic and enduring but also flat and stagnant. He’s great if you’re 8 and need some kind of never-failing, always-right hero but when you’re 28 you see that’s he’s basically a stunted 8-year-old himself: a dude who dons PJs and tries to save the world.

So, clearly, I’m not to keen on Clark Kent’s alter ego. I like my heroes (and my villains) more real and accessible. More like actual 3-dimensional people. More like Ben Linus on Lost!

The above link is an interview given to Ain’t It Cool News and it’s worth the read.

Lastly, I wanted to point out that I really connect with Joss Whedon’s characters despite the fact that I’ve been exposed to so little of his work. Sure, I’ve watched the occasional episode Buffy or Angel or Firefly; even read some of his Astonishing X-Men run, but it was always drive-by.

Maybe his characters are *too* real. Or too quippy. Or too tied to being ensemble as opposed to individuals.

Anyhow, his new series Dollhouse is getting some good advance buzz.

I don’t know what my point is here other than the fact that real people make the best characters? The truth is more interesting than fiction?

Points to ponder for my next Ficlet.