Calling all Scullys, Buffys, and maybe Lana Coc-Kroft…
Desperately needed: Female character with kick ass attitude, kick ass haircut, kick ass line delivery and comic timing. Ability to kick majority of all asses preferable.
Must be able to have more than one emotion at a time, and convey this satisfactorily to the audience. Needs to have clear morals, yet be relatively enigmatic and able to follow an in-depth character arc where such morals may or may not be threatened.
Chemistry with one’s male counterpart goes without saying, although character must resist jumping into bed with said counterpart, as this makes audience lose interest once the thrill of the chase is gone.
Character must be able to stand up for their beliefs, cry, eat more than one salad per season, and keep an emotional scene interesting for longer than thirty seconds.
They must also have a sense of humour, make bad choices occasionally, feel guilty/sad/angry/betrayed/joyful/ambivalent/playful/hurt, have a crap day once in a while, and go absolutely off their nut at least once per season
for the obligatory out-of-character episode.
All characters possessing little or no intelligent thought, a larger than average cup-size, or a teeny-tiny rat/dog thing need not apply.
Okay, guys. Obviously, I’m having a rant. I’m also, from today, Out and Proud- I am an X-Files fan, know me before you judge me.
This week I got out the DVD collection. I watched an episode or two. And I realised, Scully was my last television role model. I have no one.
I mean, there was Buffy, when I was at school, followed by Dark Angel, Sydney from Alias and a slight obsession with Lois and Clark (although mostly with Clark, not so much Lois.)
Then, I discovered the X-Files on a DVD quest with my flatmate a couple of years ago, and became hooked from episode one. I loved the Mulder and Scully duo- Mulder was the one I (along with many other females and no doubt a few guys) wanted to sleep with, but the one I would have gone to brunch with, was Scully.
Studies have confirmed that although personally known role models are held to a higher importance, role models identified through music, television, movies and magazines often influence behaviour and encourage emulation, particularly by young women.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the power of these characters is being used for good, and not evil.
There are always aspects in a character that we recognise in ourselves- this is why Gillian Anderson’s Dana Scully was so popular- she was kick-ass, brainy as all hell, sexy, and could hold her own against the Boy’s Club- but also showed that she was capable of crying, whining, having a crap day, could cry on occasion, and even got tipsy- maybe Actually Intoxicated a couple of times. She was funny, and could do barely disguised sarcasm like nobodies business. She was also by no means fat- but not a contender for Miss Anorexia either, like some we could mention. She was so three dimensional that there was something for most people to like about her, despite her “straight-man” status.
Unfortunately, ones we now have- (the Christinas, the Shirleys, the Lynettes, the Addisons, the Cuddys, all strong, positive women)-are hardly a strong presence on our screens, and mainly utilized for comedic value. Sex and the City gets kudos for being a strong quartet- but the emphasis was on friendship and strength in numbers- and I never saw them eat more than a salad each per season.
Temperance Brennan from Bones is probably the closest we get to Scully, but even she has the emotional range of a goldfish- when Booth “died” in an episode this year, she cried for literally twenty seconds, appeared to be quite happy about the situation in the scene before the funeral, and then when she found out he was lying about the whole being dead thing, socked him one and then got over it, all between the space of the start of the episode and the first ad break. Granted, this is probably the writers fault, and not the actress’s, in which case- give me an episode to write and I’ll make up for all the bad ones (and there have been several.)
For New Zealand, the closest thing we have to a strong female character on our screens is Lana Coc-Kroft. Wait, she’s a person, not a character. Carol Hirschfeld?
Ah, I have it- Robyn Malcolm’s Cheryl West. Her, I can stand. But, guys, the Next Best Thing for us is Libby from Shortland Street, and I’m thinking this is a really sad state of affairs.
Now, I’m not saying I desperately need to find a role model from television or my whole world is going to collapse- happily there are several women in my life I’m glad to learn from, and aspire to the positive way they live their lives.
But wouldn’t it be nice, just once, to have a three dimensional representation of a female on our screens, instead of the comic relief, or worse, the flat portrayal of someone with “issues”, but who generally recovers from such issues by falling in love with her male counterpart- just once, I’d like to see a girl get herself out of her own mess without it taking thirty seconds to resolve or being “saved” by the guy. Please? For me?
If you want to know what I mean, click on this ode to Scully
from Salon.com- it pretty much sums up what we are lacking in television at the moment, and why, as one fan put it “there’s no one else like her.”
The best kinds of role models are the ones whose various aspects you can both recognise in yourself, and aspire to- the ones were you can go, “damn, I’d love to look like her”, and then, “hey, I have that exact same skirt!” Or the ones you can look at having a breakdown on-screen and think “I’ve been there”- and on those occasions when they are particularly strong, or brave, or smart- think “that’ll be me someday.”
Role models are there to guide- to help you understand who you are now and where you’re going- our current female characters on television might also, (in between sleeping with anything that moves and cracking joke after joke), want to figure out who they are and where they’re headed- although they also are required to wear at least three brand labels whilst doing so…
…Does anyone else miss Scully?