Thursday, August 20, 2009

Five Hits and a Miss

I watch very few tv shows seriously. But those I do, I throw myself into. Five shows I care about have awesome strong female characters. One show has a pathetic excuse for one. Five hits. And a miss. And please excuse my use of the Harry Potter Sorting System. It's just so useful.

Awesome Lady #1:
Olivia Dunham from Fringe rocks. Like, I want t
o be her when I grow up. The adorable thing about Olivia is that she is the one on the show who has the saving people thing, not her partner Peter, who cares of course, but spends most of the show feeling hopeless. Usually it's the main male character who has the hero complex, Jack on LOST for example. But it's Olivia who just can't let someone die and refuses to give up even if she's tried every resource available and then some. She's a textbook example of a Gryffindor, always noble, always fighting. Olivia is also cool because she is really good with kids, and loves them. Which is interesting because the kick-ass trigger-happy female lead usually doesn't have such a connection with kids. And Olivia doesn't just like kids in a "they're so precious!" way. She gets down on their level, communicates with them, and respects them. This is something that a lot of characters, male and female, on tv do not do. Olivia is professional yet personable and oh-so lovely, the farthest thing from those heartless female prats you find all too often on in pop culture.

Awesome Lady #2:
Chloe Sullivan from Smallville is pretty interesting. She is actually very normal. Maybe one of the most down-to-earth, realistic female characters I've seen. She's loyal, clever, a bit sentimental, and rides the line between the stereotypical female who likes chocolate and the independent ice queen incredibly well. Chloe is the sort of girl you could meet in real life. Despite being incredibly smart, she lacks ambition so hasn't gotten very far in life. And sadly, she gets the short end of the stick all the time. She's always getting into awkward or bad situations because she needs to keep Clark's secret, who she would die for, but he doesn't really appreciate her much in return. She works in for a foundation to help the mutants, but they don't seem to really want her help. Killer maniacs are constantly tricking her into helping them, she has a bit to much apathy which always gets her into trouble. Most recently, her husband died in her arms from a stab wound, and her best friend wouldn't even show up at his funeral. Her life stinks. Yet she, being the loyal little Hufflepuff she is, never resents it. Ever. She's a very good role model and she's very human. But please writers and producers of Smallville? Give her a little happiness this season? She deserves it.

Awesome Lady #3:
Dana Scully from the X-Files should go in the dictionary as an example of awesome. She may possibly be a Slytherin, but I am holding back judgement till I'm sure. She is a Devout Catholic and a Devout Skeptic. She is a bit of a loner; she doesn't have many friends, and keeps her social life limited to her immediate family members and, well, Mulder. Scully is also unfazed by all manner of things. She'll just raise an eyebrow at that decaying alien body covered in goo and start cutting it up. She doesn't get depressed easily, she just gets very serious. When it all gets to much for her, she doesn't break down, she just leaves for a while to recover, and gets back to work. She's ambitious, charming, and knows how to remain
dignified. I think she is what all us girls want to be. Scully has her set of faults too, which she is aware of, but seems helpless at knowing how to fix. She can come off as a an ice queen, she keeps her emotions bottled up, she can lack tact, and she knows all this, but she doesn't know what to do about it. She is refreshingly human, yet personifies what a decorous woman who is on top of herself should look like. I think I'm in love.

Awesome Lady #4:
Dani Reese from Life was really interesting. It's horribly depressing, because just when her character was beginning to change and develop, Life was canceled. (Curses) But while she lasted, she was quite the girl. Reese didn't really fit into any stereotype. She defied them in her differentness. First of all, she had a seriously troubled childhood. She had been a drug addict, had a drinking problem and was in an abusive relationship. But that was all in her past, and she'd gotten past it with flying colors. Of course, she still struggled with alcohol and put up all sorts of walls, keeping anyone from really getting close to her, but over all she'd conquered the worst parts of herself. What I love about Reese is that she doesn't really like people. At all. She just vaguely puts up with them. She dislikes her boss, tolerates her partner Charlie, ignores her father, is skeptical of Bobby, and even during her relationship with Tidwell, she doesn't really seem to enjoy being around him. Reese's extreme levels of misanthropy is really rare in characters, especially female ones. Whether Reese was always that way, or if all the problems in her life made her that way doesn't really matter, it's just the way she is. She dislikes humanity, she doesn't trust them, she doesn't believe in them. I loved watching that- I loved watching her evolve, and learn to trust, (because he is her partner after all, and trust is imperative), and maybe even like (I didn't say love, I said like) Charlie Crews.

Awesome Lady #5:
Olive Snook from Pushing Daisies was also a very interesting character. She was a little eccentric, very dramatic, very Ravenclaw. She was completely lovesick the entire show, hopelessly in love with Ned, who was in love with someone else. Yet at the same time Olive was very independent, and didn't like connecting herself to
anyone, except Ned of course. Over the course of the show though, she grew close to Chuck and Emerson, and finally gave up on Ned, letting herself move on. But when she realized she was falling for a guy other then Ned, she got all independent and fierce again, because really she was a little afraid of moving on. In the end though, she did. Olive just really interested me, because she was characterized by two things- her devotion to and obsession with Ned and her need for independence, which made her an adorable little oxymoron. Also she was the only character on the show who seemed truly religious, and her brief stunt as a nun was spectacular.

Unawesome Lady #1:
Kate Austen. Pretty much every female character on LOST is a failure. But Kate is by far their greatest achievement in fail. I adore LOST, I do. I adore the mythos and the tie-ins and culture surrounding it. I do not however, adore the character development, and the creators of this show definitely screwed us over with Kate. When we met her she was stand-offish, a bit cold, an outsider. She was capable, she didn't really seem to care for men much. She was a criminal, she could fend for herself. She also developed a bit of an unhealthy relationship with two men. (If I could change one thing about LOST, I would prevent them from jumping on the shipping bandwagon so early. It was too soon for it all. Every single character has had like three love interests. This is excessive and unnecessary.) Jack represented everything she wasn't. Normal, stable, all-American, successful. Sawyer represented everything she was. A criminal, some one who ran away, someone hardened. But he understood her, and put up with her. Jack loved her, but was constantly trying to change her and make her better. The Kate in season 1, 2 and half of 3 didn't want to be changed. Then something happened. And Kate wasn't Kate anymore. She sucked. She was whiny, wimpy and scared. She was pushy, spiteful and lashed out against everyone over every little thing. I have no idea what changed. I am still baffled. For the last two and a half seasons every move Kate has made has makes absolutely so sense. She has
no motive for anything she does. She took Aaron because she loved Sawyer she says. Really Kate? Cause you forgot him pretty fast to enjoy suburban sprawl with Jack. She left Jack because he changed she claims. Because her promise to Sawyer was more important. Really Kate? You must not have been very convinced of yourself, cause you bounced back. She would NOT go back she swore. Really Kate? Cause you did. I so utterly dislike saying I dislike Kate. I feel as if this can not be her fault. It's the writers fault. Not Kate's. Maybe she'll redeem herself. Maybe we'll be given a reason for her wishy-washy house-wife behavior. Maybe we'll find out it was really her evil twin. I don't know. I just know I don't like it.

P.S. Yeah, I only watch crime show, sci-fi shows, or sci-fi crime shows. Oh well.

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