This started out as an exchange between writers about some bad female role models always been used on TV and in movies, and eventually turned into what would happen if we tried to trash our own characters similarly.
BP: I think it'd be pretty dang cool- female leads who aren't drop-dead gorgeous and who don't constantly whine about being single. Which reminds me of another thing that ticks me off- whenever a show has a strong female lead, she's always a supermodel. Uh, what? Since when did being able to kick butt and take names have anything to do with appearances? Sheesh...
Ocean Elf: Oh, man, yes, that sucks! I think all this insistance on having women look like that in strong lead roles really damages the self-image of a lot of young people. Not to mention what the actors themselves actually have to go through to maintain that look. It's criminal, if you ask me.
We need average looking people taking the lead a lot more. It won't hurt the audience to start looking at the characters much more closely for distinctive features instead of relying on easy eye-candy.
BP: Exactly! It's not at all realistic, and it's not right. Very few people actually look like that, and brainwashing people into beleiving you have to look like that to be the hero is heinous. I can't stand it.
Ocean Elf: No kidding!
That's why our characters are so refreshingly real. Indy's definitely no supermodel, and I don't even list weight types in profiles, because it just isn't important.
really, we don't need every strong female - having a love interest - wishing she had a love interest - or looking like a model, or male heroes getting tempted by some silly Mary Sue either.
I tell you what, if I was ever producing a series, I would never insist on appearance taking anywhere near this priority. Just get the best person suited for the role, and if she has a feature that can be changed to match a character I.E. hair colour, then dye it. But none of this "You gotta lose 100 LBS, put on tons of makeup beyond the basic of what's actually needed, none of this taking clothing off or being flirty! Sure, if you have a character from a series who was specifically written as a certain body type, then go with whoever fits that already and can do that character justice. If not, then put the project on hold.
BP: Oh, heck yes. That really should be paramount. Whoever can play the character best should get the role, not whoever looks the most like a model.
Heh- can you imagine if some bigwig producer were to stumble across our lot? Probably run away screaming- he certainly wouldn't want Bez anywhere near the camera. After all, no one's going to drool over someone almost completely covered in scars. Which reminds me of another annoying thing movies and TV shows try to do- they try to make a character who has just been in a battle or otherwise horribly beaten up still look drop-dead gorgeous. Uh, excuse me? How does that make any sense? Regardless of what your character looked like before the battle, she's going to look worse after. Sheesh...and another thing- nine times out of ten, the female characters sleep in their make-up. I don't even wear make-up, but I know enough about it to know you don't sleep in it. *shakes head* Idiot producers trying to make their leading ladies look extra appetizing, all the time. It's sickening.
Ocean Elf: Yeah! and they only allow for scars if it's a male character, because men still look smexy after and because of their battle scars! But women are supposed to be "beautiful"! Argh!
They do this with TV commercials too, particularly when trying to sell, what else? Beauty products.
There used to be this one commercial that really bugged me to no end!
It had this man talking about his life over the past decade and more with, I assume his wife, Kate. He then went on listing several stressful things and excusing his own looks with "No wonder I'm getting wrinkles and gray hair, but Kate, Kate is more beautiful than when I met her!" or something to that effect.
The whole thing boils down to selling something that apparently makes Kate look "young and beautiful" because hamgod forbid she should be allowed to show her age! Only the men are allowed to do that, women have to stay "beautiful" for eternity!
It's time someone who is not a liberal or feminist, speaks out and says enough is enough.
Bad Gender Stereotypes
Yeah, get over gender and be the best you can be. Don't use gender as a crutch when things don't go your way.
As for character casting, Ameh looks nice enough, but she's four-foot 9 at the most. NT is five-foot something but she rarely smiles, dresses very conservatively, and is ghostly pale. Capri Monroe is tall enough and she has the Mary Sue black hair, but I don't imagine her face to be something that's designed for men to go gaga over or girls to be jealous of. She's not ugly, not "pretty", just, well, normal. Indy, before the Tonya ordeal anyway, was no skinny-minny, which is enough to put her on trial for appearance crimes against humanity according to the appearance-obsessed shallows that run the media. I haven't worked out whether or not Tonya scarred her face. On the one hand, I can imagine Tonya not wanting to do that because she couldn't bear to mar the looks of the face of her "beautiful" idol. On the other hand, there's no telling what she would've done in a rage at another rejection from Indy. But Indy has some serious inner demons from that ordeal that I think will be manifesting themselves in subsequent stories. Like, she'll flip out suddenly and no one will understand why at first. The moodswings, the all out quarrelsomeness that goes beyond the normal Indy-sass other characters know and love.
None of my regular created characters primp themselves or would qualify as super-models, that is for sure. :)
BP: Heh! Oh, that all just gives me a funny mental image, of what would happen should someone actually try to cast them in such gag-worthy roles...
Everyone is out for a picnic or something, just minding their own business, when suddenly, a soap opera crew swoops in on them, cameras rolling, lights blazing, some hot-shot director blaring orders.
Capri M: just stares.
Indy: Hey, what is this? You goons got the wrong party!
Director: No, ma'am, you're just right for the show we're producing.
Ameh: Oh I can't believe this!
Director: A dream come true?"
Ameh: More like funky nightmare.
BP: They all get pushed into a tiny casting room, the script writers bellowing their oh so deep story ideas.
Ocean Elf: This results in various people rolling their eyes and expressing their unimpressed disbelief.
BP:Bez gets shoved off camera almost instantly- six-foot something, scar-covered, looks fit to kill- certainly not the ideal *cough cough* leading lady. Ameh and NT are accosted by some pushy wardrobe nasty, who tries to convince them to wear some seriously trashy and skimptastic 'dresses', trying to get them 'in character'.
Ameh: What? Hang on, who do you people think you are?"
NT: I wouldn't be caught dead in that!
BP: And what are their characters? Well, the flirty jailbait younger sisters of the main 'lady'.
Ameh: *Rolls eyes* Eeeeeewwwaaaaarrrrrrrghhhhh.
NT: No way, I'm not playing that! *Fists up in fighting position*
BP: Who do they have in mind for this oh so important role? None other than Capri Monroe!
Capri M: *Eyes going wide, horror-stricken expression*WHAT!? Are you people out of your freaking minds!? *looks frantically around for an exit, but finds herself hemmed in on all sides*
Casting director: No really, just give it a chance, it will be epic, they'll love you!
Capri M: I'm not interested in winning any popularity contests.
Casting director: Muttering under own breath* Oh, dear, this isn't going so well. *Aloud* Could we get our leading lady in costume?
BP: Yet more wardrobe crazies attempt to get her into a trashy dress, all the while trying to convince her it's 'classy' and 'elegant'.
Capri M: *Scowl intensifying into a glower the whole time* Forget it, I'm not some brain-dead ditz you can talk into this trash! The only thing preventing me from ripping this piece of skank into shreds is the cash you'd want me to cough up for the damage!
Ocean Elf: Wardrobe management exchange worried looks.
Ameh asks to try a script before they do anything else, then she pretends to be absolutely horrible at reading a script sample, and utterly flipping out when muffing a line. They have to spend much more time reassuring and calming her down than anything else. NT in the mean time, has gone tensely silent but for the odd shout, and she flatly refuses to cooperate. She shoves everything violently away, new wardrobe sample, try-out scripts, and even the people around her.
BP: Indy gets pushed aside, assigned the 'dowdy neighbor' role.
Indy: *Tsks and shrugs* Epic my foot. this is so overkill it stinks.
BP: But now they're scrambling, trying to find a main man. They descend on Thande, Matrix, and Criter like vultures. Thande is assigned the moody, misunderstood foreigner with a dark past role, Matrix is the mysterious nerd who is really pretty cool, and Criter, well, they're not sure what to do with him, so they make him the male version of the 'girl next door' type- with a killer twist. And naturally, all three of them are competing for fair Capri Monroe's attention.
Capri M: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Anybody got a barf bag?
BP: When they finally get around to Sigma, they make her Indy's roommate. Both of them naturally wish they could be as amazing and beautiful as Capri, playing on Indy's experience with Tonya to make the role so much more 'juicy'.
Indy: *Throws hands up in air* Epic FAIL!
Capri M: I want out of this train-wreck, now!
Bez: Oh, enough with it already! We get it! Sheesh, can you imagine if that thing actually aired?
*Collective shudder from several characters*
Sigma: *shudder* You should be grateful. You didn't get assigned a role in that. I get to be 'dowdy neighbor number two'.
Indy: I suppose the bright side of it is we got the best of the rotten parts in this pile of sick.
Matrix: Uh, at least you aren't a mindless man-drone, fueled only by hormones. *apologetic glance in Capri Monroe's direction*
Capri M: *Returns the glance and blushes* Getting stuck with this role makes me want to shoot myself.
Thande: Indeed. I fail to see the appeal in such a display of idiocy.
Sigma: Yeah, but...come on, drooling over someone or pouring all your effort into wishing you could be her? Equally creepy and pathetic.
Bez: Heheh! *smirk* What, you don't do that Sigma? And here I thought you always looked up to me! *chuckles to self at the not so funny pun*
Sigma: *deadpan tone* Ha ha, Bez. So funny.
BP: Well, I think I better cut in before this gets messy.
Bez: Cut in? This is your fault!
Ocean Elf: Urh, yeah, it is, sort of.
BP: No need to get snippy. I was merely pointing our the sort of crud your typical trashy TV would inflict on you all.
Capri M: Point taken. Ugh!
Sigma: Did you need to make it so...creepy?
BP: Hey, I don't make the rules...you watch TV- no doubt you've glimpsed the sort of trash I refer to.
Sigma: *shudder* Unfortunately.
NT: *Nods* So, this was our writers putting us through an experiment? It didn't actually happen. Whew! Next time you plan something like that could you please give us some warning?
Ocean Elf: Hehe. We'll try.
BP: Well, now that that's out of the way...there's one last thing I'd like to hit.
Indy's episodes could definitely be interesting- and they could make for some very interesting conversations with Bez. She could certainly relate to Indy's ordeal. And, Bez not exactly being very good at comforting or directly relating to other people's traumas, despite her efforts and wishes otherwise, well- definitely room for some good scenes.
Ocean Elf: True. I definitely agree.
Ocean Elf:Unless of course Bez and Indy, who has a crush on Matrix, decide to hatch a plot to kill Capri Monroe for being too beaut -
Indy: Eeewwwwwww! No!
Capri M: Don't even! DON'T - even - go - there! *Scowl*
Indy: *Laughing* No, let's not. Ugh! Wow! What an ordeal.
Ocean Elf: Hahahaha! No, we wouldn't really put you characters into a serious story like that.
BP: Heheheh! Oh, gosh, wow- I was actually thinking of a scenario OUTSIDE of horrible soap opera land.
Ocean Elf: Oh! Yes, *spluttering and trying to regain composure* Carry on.
BP: As in, were we to actually write a serious story in which Indy did have a bit of fit, and how she and Bez would interact.
Ocean Elf: Hehe, I like it, we should keep that idea, it could definitely make for some fun character interactions. :)
BP: In trash-TV land, though, it'd probably play out just as gag-worthily as Miss Capri described. You guys have nothing to worry about- we'd certainly not stick you in such a mess of a 'story'.
Ocean Elf: Scouts honor!
Characters: *expressing relief*
Capri Monroe: Well - that was a nerve-rattling experiment, and we never did get to finish our picnic. Anyone else care to go out for a bite to eat and drink, and treat themselves for surviving it?
Ocean Elf: Oh yeah, *whooshes picnic supplies into view* Carry on, we won't interrupt again.
Indy: *Rolling eyes* Urgh. You writers are unbelievable.
Ocean Elf: Hehehehe.
Ameh: We can still stop at an ice cream stand after this for dessert, though.
NT: *Beams* Yes!
Capri Monroe: Rollo cone, here I come. Need..It…Badly…
Characters happily resume their picnic, then head off to an ice cream shop for some much-needed comfort food. Ocean Elf: Moral: Mangling memes, cool. Mangling characters, not so cool.