Saturday, February 18, 2012

Villains and Characters We Just Don't Like

Some characters we love. We even love to hate certain villains. Some characters are murky, and we don't know if we're supposed to love them, hate them, or feel ambiguous toward them. I believe when you create emotionally ambiguous characters that the audience is left to ponder their feelings about him or her, you have actually created a masterpiece. Most people are not black and white -- they're not all good or bad but shades of gray. As a writer when you've created a character that has so many shades and depth, it's not surprising if his or relationship to the audience becomes unclear. Do realize, though, if you create a completely unlikeable character who is supposed to be the protagonist in your story, you run the risk of losing your audience's rooting value altogether. As a writer you walk a fine line here. So, I'm going to go over the characters I've either loved, hated or just didn't know how to feel about.

Bill Compton in True Blood -- complete Bill fans will disagree with me and cry foul here. I don't like Bill. He doesn't possess traits I am the least bit attracted to as a fan. He is manipulative, controlling, conniving and dishonest. The final push for me came when he nearly kills our beloved heroine Sookie in the back of the truck in Season 3. While Bill rapes Sookie in the books, he fang rapes her in the series and she comes close to death. His relationship with Sookie has so much to do with her fairy blood, and Alan Ball never pulls away from the fact that their sexual relationship involves lots of blood letting. The fang rape scene didn't become an actual rape on the show, because in the commentary the writers felt they would not be able to pull him back from that act. I feel the opposite. When you very nearly kill your "lover," I'm not at all your fan anymore. Bill is also a consummate liar and even when confronted with the truth at the end of Season 3, he finally relents and confesses; but did he really confess all? We don't know for certain. Remember, he's a liar, and a good one. For all the accusations about Eric Northman being dishonest, Eric is actually far more honest than Bill ever is. The only time I felt a little bad for Bill is in Season 4's episode "I Wish I Were the Moon" when he sets Eric free to be with Sookie and realizes he's lost her forever. The reflective and sad moment on the patio of his home garnered some sympathy. Bill has lots of shades, but mostly dark shades, and for that reason, I don't like his character.

Justine in Melancholia -- this year Justine stood out for me. Maybe because I don't see that many new releases anymore. Melancholia is still getting quite a bit of coverage so it's still making some headlines. I liked Justine less and less as the film wore on. She starts off appearing normal on her wedding day, but as the day moves on she sinks into a depression and just can't seem to muster up any joy or happiness. When she urinates on the golf course that was just gross in my opinion. She rejects her sweet, kind husband Michael in favor of an unemotional, disconnected tryst with an underling. She mopes in the bathtub during her reception. She wanders out of the reception over and over again. She tells off her asshole of a boss, who does rightly deserve it. She foretells doom and gloom. She doesn't do anything to stop Michael's departure when he makes one last attempt to push her by leaving her at the mansion. Talk about the saddest wedding day ever. Yet my turning point of no return with her comes with that tryst on the golf course. It doesn't look sexy, interesting, romantic, enticing or any of the above. And even though she's obviously got a problem, that one act sends it over the top. The simple truth is you find it hard to connect and understand her. Depression is one thing. Disgusting behavior overall is quite another.

Lenore on Hung -- Oh, Lenore you skank! She's slightly crazy, driven and ruthless. You have to love Lenore. I can't even say I love to hate Lenore. She's too crazy and funny. Every season of Hung, Lenore delivers the great lines and taunts poor Tanya over and over again. She manages to best Tanya and then Tanya gets her back. My favorite taunt, "T-brain." She's deliciously sexy and gorgeous and such a fabulous foil to Tanya, who is unorganized and on the fringe of anxiety attacks nearly all of the time. Sometimes she's so pretty with those big eyes you get distracted from what she's doing. Lenore is a lot of fun and it's too bad that Hung got canceled.

Drew in California Girl Chronicles -- Oh, Drew you naughty, confused boy. My readers have said they don't completely dislike Drew. Reviewers have reflected the same thoughts. Drew is a messed up kind of guy that the girls fall for and regret it later. He cannot emotionally commit, and he shares such tremendous chemistry with our beloved Brea, who just can't manage to stay away from him even when she knows better. He's misleading, misguided in his own right, and hard to understand. He is fabulous contrast to the decent and loving Kale, and his relationship or lack thereof with Brea is another great contrast. In book two, I introduce yet another foil for Brea and Kale's relationship, and he is completely the opposite of Drew. His name is Ryan. While Drew's darker shades are hard to spot, watch out for Ryan. His darker shades hide in the shadows, and readers won't find out my true intention for him until book three. Sorry! Just know, Ryan is going to play a good game of manipulation.

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