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November 28 2007

Buffy's a Real Woman (but we already knew that). Buffy makes a great list of the "most fully realized" female characters on TV.

Oh, so very, truly real...because first because of the brilliant writing...but, yes, she was so fully realized becaue of the acting, the directing, the whole glorious thing.
Mostly, it was the writing.
I think Sarahs comprehensive understanding of the character is probably on par with the writing.
Great concept. I think that really is the characteristic of BtVS that brought it all together. The drama, the superpowers, and the apocalypses all wouldn't have worked if the writing and acting hadn't realized Buffy's character to such a degree.

Kerry Weaver, Cagney and Lacey, and Buffy are excellent choices. Odd selections overall though. It seems like there should be more older shows on there. No Murphy Brown?
None of the female characters from "Six Feet Under"? Not Kay Howard from "Homicide: Life on the Street"? No President Roslin from "Battlestar Galactica"?

I don't really have an issue with the characters they listed, just an issue with the fact it's very centred on television still airing. And that it's only 12 names long.
Yeah, you could easily go twenty or fifty names, and I'd like to have seen them. If Firefly had gone on longer, I think at least a couple of the women would have been on the list. And Faith and Willow could have made it too.

I was happy to see my old crush Dana Delaney on there, along with Jenna Fisher.

[ edited by shambleau on 2007-11-28 08:58 ]
With Buffy, as with BSG, it feels like the unreality, (superpowers, apocalypses and all), ends up being the best medium to communicate 'real' themes. That's what I love about scifi/fantasy - great writers and thinkers make it more relevant to life than anything else out there.

Plus Weaver - yey!
OK, I thought for a second that someone had made one of those weird "Real Dolls" of Buffy that are apparently just like the "real" thing. Saw a documentary on them once. Creepadelic.

Yep, there's a lot of odd in that list which I can tell because I don't know about a third of the characters on there. Nice to see a shout out to PJ in "My Boys" though. Great little comedy that just appeared as if from nowhere (can't even remember why I decided to check it out now, glad I did though).
No Murphy Brown?

Honestly, whatever anyone might have thought at the time, I look back on Murphy Brown and I see not a "most fully realized" anything, but an attempt at "independent woman, hear me roar" that tried too hard to be important and emblematic before first trying to be real -- and therefore failed.
Saw a documentary on them once. Creepadelic.

Creepadelic is the best word I can use to describe that documentary. It was both laugh out loud hilarious and very worrying, often at the same time.
Bix, I just have to say that I completely disagree with you about "Murphy Brown". I'm not even sure where you're coming from. In my mind the first thing it needed to be was funny - it was funny. Then next it had to be smart - and it was. It needed to be satirical and witty - done and done.

The character of Murphy Brown was a smart, indepedant career woman - who was also abrasive and not always easy to like. Sure, there were "issue" stories, but first and foremost she was complicated and layered and... well, fully realised. The fact she could be smart and outrageous and annoying and highly strung and a workaholic and a mother and a sexual being and a lover - well, I'm not sure what you're definition of fully realised is, but it's obviously different to mine.
I don't recognise most of the list, but found it creepadelic that there was a character included with the surname Whedon!
Heh, I totally missed that MutantFriend, surely the hand of (now left the show) Marti Noxon at work ? The character's married to Joe Whedon BTW - Joseph is Joss' birth name ;).
Really don't like this list much, with the exception of Buffy. And it always annoys the hell out of me when she's referred to as a high school girl .... seven seasons and she was out of high school at the end of season three, and not exactly fully realized, at that point in the characters development.

I agree with crossoverman, .... no one from Six Feet Under? I adore Rachel Griffith & I've never seen Brothers and Sisters but it's hard to believe that her character could be as fully realized as Brenda Chenoweth. Or Claire Fisher. And no Laura Roslin is the final nail in the coffin of credibility for this list, IMO.

And how about Kim Delany's character on NYPD Blue, Det. Diane (drawing a blank on her last name ... Robinson??), a woman who survived childhood sexual abuse, alcoholism and finally the untimely loss of the love of her life.
How about Dana Scully? OK, just don't like the list, with the exception of Buffy, who deserved a much better description.
Kay Howard from "Homocide: Life on the Street" was so real and individual. Her character, and the performance, seem all the more outstanding when contrasted with the cookie cutter glamour of the entirely non-cop-like young women police on so many procedurals today. Or, for that matter, of Michael Michelle's (sp?)character, introduced to the end of the show's run, when someone was clearly tinkering with "Homocide" in an attempt to make it more commercially appealing.

[ edited by toast on 2007-11-28 14:00 ]
Right there with you, Bix, on Murphy Brown. "Hear me roar", indeed...just about everything that came out of that character's mouth was loud, insistent, angry, demanding, derisive, whatever, but definitely loud.

Terrible writing. Worse acting.
George in Dead Like Me is one of my favourite characters. As real as a dead person can be. I also think Joy and Reggie are marvellous too.

I sometimes think that Sarah Michelle Gellar is actually underrated as Buffy.
Yeah, Moley75, the women of "Dead Like Me" were great characters. I especially loved the wonderful actress who played Ms. Herbig.
I loved McMurphy, flaws and all. Very glad to see her on this list! It would have been nice to see early-seasons Maggie O'Connell, too - there was a lot about her I identified with (and I was the same age as her as well), before Fleischman left and I did too.
Buffy is the gold standard against which I'd measure any character for being "fully realized". I loved her, but boy could she piss me off.
Hello where's Roseanne?
I'll take your Roseanne, Simon and raise you a Lorelai Gilmore....hmmm. She should be on this list.
Saje, gossi ; Do you recall if that documentary had any information on where those items can be ordered?
I feel like there are a bunch of names kicking around in my memory that will keep popping up. Like Roseanne. And C.J. Cregg, who I think would be at the top of my list, with Buffy at #2.

Honestly, whatever anyone might have thought at the time, I look back on Murphy Brown and I see not a "most fully realized" anything, but an attempt at "independent woman, hear me roar" that tried too hard to be important and emblematic before first trying to be real -- and therefore failed.

Yeah, she didn't have as many dimensions as characters that have followed. But I think she paved the way for female characters who aren't immediately likeable in a similar way to how Mary Tyler Moore paved the way for single female characters who aren't defined by a search for a boyfriend or husband. So, in retrospect, neither would pass for "fully realized" on tv today. But they both realized new aspects of female characters that were groundbreaking at the time, and they were both fairly round characters with other things going on besides the new traits, even if those traits were really strong. I don't think Murphy Brown failed, because she paved the way for Kerry Weaver.
Roseanne...exactly what being white trash is like, except way more funny.

And hubby and I were just commenting on how Pam from The Office is cute and pretty, but in a 'real woman' way. Not glamorous or crazy hot, but very believable as the 'pretty one' of the office.
Not glamorous or crazy hot ...

True. Of Pam that is. Jenna Fischer on the other hand ... Yowza ;).

Personally I always found Roseanne pretty one-note as a character which I guess probably makes her realistic not sure if that's the same as "fully realised".
Personally I always found Roseanne pretty one-note as a character which I guess probably makes her realistic not sure if that's the same as "fully realised

I'm having a hard time with they way they use the phrase 'fully realized' too...I mean, do they mean...as a character they are 'self actualized'? But I think they're meaning realistic, because they say how they can't believe other character's back-stories and such. I mean, I guess we can accept Buffy's life as realistic...ahem.
Yeah, it says more "well rounded" to me (which Roseanne was only in the literal sense ;) but some of their choices seem inconsistent in that regard.

'Realistic' of course, doesn't mean likeable or even interesting (unlike Buffy who was, for the most part, both).
Without Roslin and C.J., this list is seriously flawed. And what the heck is "My Boys"? But Pam! Yay!
Even without Firefly running more episodes, Kaylee deserves a shot at this list - she's natural, warm, beautiful, and they managed to make her sexual without making her sexualised.

Would Willow and Faith get a spot on that list? Willow for her crippling shyness and awkwardness that she struggles to put behind her, masking her self-perceived failings with her partners or her powers? Faith, for feeling like she deserved more than she was given in life, and taking it (because hell, noone's going to hand it to her and she learned that the hard way), but ulitmately turning back to the right path?

What about Joyce? I love that part when Giles reminds Buffy how Joyce managed to get through adult life without the benefit of super powers. Reminds you the strength that takes!

I would've liked to see Dana Scully too, and also Patty Chase, from My So-Called Life. Re-watching that series recently for the first time since being an angst-ridden teenager I find the adult characters extraordinarily sypathetic as well. Maybe I'm just getting old.

[ edited by lone fashionable wolf on 2007-11-29 00:34 ]
I'm not sure what you're definition of fully realised is, but it's obviously different to mine.

My definition would be "not contrived".
I didn't really watch TV until Joss turned me into a couch potato, so I don't know any of the other characters except for Pam.
But I would add Tammy Taylor from Friday Night Lights.
lfw - I have to disagree about Kaylee. I loved the character, but "natural, warm, beautiful" can only be a partial description of any person. She needed a couple of episodes where she showed her not-so-good side. I'm pretty sure they would have come with another season or two. I do agree about Willow.

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