Since I was sick last week, I ended up re-watching 'Firefly' to stave off the crippling effects of boredom.
A few weeks ago, I re-watched both seasons of 'Dead Like Me'.
I'd have to say, I have quite the thing for irredeemable characters. Ones who know they could change but choose not to. Where you have to bribe (or threaten) to get them to do the right thing. Characters like this often have shallow relationships with the people around them, plenty of bravado, and usually a healthy (or overblown) dose of self-esteem.
And, like Cap'n Jack Sparrow from 'Pirates of the Caribbean', truly, it's better when they don't redeem themselves in the end.
Let's start with 'Firefly', since I'm assuming that show is better known than 'Dead Like Me'.*
Can you guess my favourite characters?
No contest. I love Jayne and Badger.
Jayne's a hired gun on the Serenity crew with (slightly) more brains than morals and Badger's a small-time criminal boss/middleman on Persephone. And I nearly kill myself laughing every time one of them shows up. The dialogue for these two is just so perfect. Especially how Badger mis-uses words. I totally wish he had more screen time in the series. I think he's only in two or three episodes, but Jayne... oh, Jayne. He's awesome. My favourite part about this character is that he's clear about the fact he'd betray anyone of the crew... if the price was right.
The first time I watched this series, honestly, I couldn't care less about Mal, Inara, River & Simon, or the other characters. I was only watching 'Firefly' for the moment Jayne finally betrayed the rest of the crew.
What's that famous line about writing... the whole, if there's a gun in scene 1, it better go off by the end of scene 3... or something like that?
And Jayne didn't disappoint. It's my favourite episode out of the series.
For the character Mason, from 'Dead Like Me', the actor who played him said (in an interview/extra in the season 2 dvds) that he worked with the writers because he didn't want Mason to ever evolve. Mason is a British grim reaper who died during the '60's by drilling a hole in his head (with a power drill) to try to attain a permanent high. I'm happy to say that... at the end of the second season, he hadn't evolved since his death. One of my favourite episodes is when he steals the tips from Kiffany (the waitress at the restaurant they regularly meet at) and she bans him from coming in. Even though he is eventually forgiven, it's clear that he didn't really learn anything.
Have you ever written a morally bankrupt character? Was it difficult, or did you love the freedom of it? I'm going to assume there's a hefty portion of people out there who have seen the 'Firefly' series... what do you think of Jayne? Who's your favourite character from the show, and why? Did you also find that character to be the most interesting?
...and if any of you have seen 'Dead Like Me', I'd love to hear your thoughts on Mason :)
*Incidentally, some of the actors in these two shows have ties to each other and to another favourite tv show of mine, Wonderfalls.
The character of Inara, from 'Firefly', was originally supposed to be played by Rebecca Gayheart, who was the grim reaper Betty, in 'Dead Like Me'
Jewel Staite (a Canadian actor who grew up... about 20 minutes from where I grew up), who plays Kaylee on 'Firefly', also played Heidi Gotts (the cheating wife of the love interest, Eric) on 'Wonderfalls'. She was also in one episode of 'Dead Like Me', second season, as a goth girl who hooks up with Mason in a music store.
I've only seen Dead Like Me. I couldn't get into Firefly for whatever reason.ReplyDelete
It's funny, because even my morally corrupt characters do have moments of change. And I've never thought about the implications of that before. I think one of these days i would like to try to write
Well sure, they do have to have SOME moments of change... but it's like they have to be wrestled to the ground first.Delete
You can't just shake your finger at them and say, 'that behaviour is bad.'
That reminds me of one of the more interesting episodes of the mentalist where Jane (coincidence) has lost the memory of his traumatic experience and goes back to acting like the selfish con he used to be. It was interesting to watch this different side of him, but I think if he was always that character and never would show any sign of change in the future that I would get bored with him. I don't like static characters, they need to develop (either for better or worse) for the audience to feel like they're growing with the character and sort of understand them.ReplyDelete
Though I'm not familiar with 'The Mentalist', I get what you're saying, and I probably simplified my post a little too much.Delete
I think I like the characters who go kicking and screaming into change. When they do change, it's usually not for noble reasons. They change slowly, with many false starts, slip-backs, or go sideways for a while instead of up or down.
They flail. They wander off the path and become mired in mud.
My devil concept is partly based on Dead like meReplyDelete
My only irredeemable characters were Chester and Priscilla who I stopped writing about. Says more about my head space than their personalities.
...that you stopped? Or them as characters?Delete
My favourite characters, other than Mason, are Reggie (Georgia's sister) and Crystal (the secretary at Happy Time).
Reggie definitely fits the profile I like of floundering/flailing/broken characters, and Crystal... well, there are a whole lot of reasons why I like that character ;)
I love Dead Like Me. I've never watched Firefly, but I'm sure I'd love it since I love anything attached to Joss Whedon.ReplyDelete
I've actually never watched any of Joss Whedon's shows, and I only got into Firefly after watching the movie 'Serenity'.Delete
I rented it 'cause a writer buddy said a character of mine was really similar to River (not really, but I see how she got that impression), and only after I finished the movie and was watching the extras did I realize the movie capped off the tv series.
I'm so surprised that there's this many people who are familiar with 'Dead Like Me'! I swear, only one or two people I've met in real life had ever even heard of it :)
...this makes me totally happy :D
I LOVE FIREFLY!!!!!ReplyDelete
And Jayne is so awesome, I love him. I love when they go to that planet where Jayne, unbeknownst to anyone, has become a hero, and they see that statue in the middle of the square, and Simon is all "This must be what going mad feels like."
"I'll be in my bunk."
"I'll be in my bunk."
...and the expression on his face in that moment...
I have not seen Dead Like Me, but I have seen Firefly. Looks like I have another series that needs to be watched. Thanks for mentioning it! :)ReplyDelete
Personally, I find the main character George (Georgia) a little annoying in the first season, but the show is great.Delete
Dead Like Me! so great it so exciting to watch..ReplyDelete
Especially since it was all filmed in my home city!Delete
There's this episode where Daisy flashes a guy in a BMW and steals his car... and she tells him she wants to get downtown... the funny thing is she IS right downtown at the time, literally across the street from where I used to live.
Whenever I'm homesick for Vancouver, I watch a few episodes of that show :)
Oops, posted the Firefly response under your bad taste post. Erm...ReplyDelete
Ha, no worries ;)Delete
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