Friday, October 09, 2009

Complicated Heroines

I love a complicated heroine. The messier she is, the stronger she can become, and I love watching the climb from face down in the puddle to some kind of redemption. (For example, I loved Buffy Season Six. Yes, really.)

Right now I'm a little bit obsessed with the new television show Mercy. The main character, Veronica, is a nurse at a New Jersey hospital just back from a tour in Iraq. She has a messy marriage, a bit of an attitude problem, and no interest whatsoever in talking about her problems. She wants to do the right thing, but what is that, exactly? Is it staying with her childhood sweetheart husband, who slept around while she was away but is now determined to save their marriage? Or is it going with the man she fell in love with in Iraq, who knows her as no one in her old life could--and who, of course, has turned up to work in the same hospital?

Meanwhile, Veronica has to deal with condescending doctors and demanding patients--to say nothing of her raucous family.

I find that I'm spellbound each week, waiting to see what Veronica will do. How will she navigate her complicated life? Should she choose happiness or responsibility? Is the choice even that simple?

How complicated do you like your heroines, on tv or in books? What makes you sympathetic to her? What makes you impatient with her? Is there such a thing as too complicated?


Patti said...

I don't watch a lot of TV but this show sounds good!

Julia Smith said...

I love complicated. Have you seen Nurse Jackie? I find her fascinating.

Mari said...

I like complicated heroines, but I do get a little peeved when the heroines bring the complications onto themselves. That's when I want to reach through the tv sceen and shake some sense into the characters.
Though I love the show, sometimes I wanted to throttle Pam and Jim on the Office.

Mary Anne Landers said...

I too like complicated heroines, and wish there were more of them. But it's hard to find them. The powers-that-be in pop culture---producers, editors, entertainment magnates---disapprove of them, out of fear that they might alienate us viewers and readers.

Supposedly we demand a simple, totally sympathetic heroine in order to identify with her. And as long as the pop-cultural media can make money this way, they're not about to change.

Kristen Elizabeth said...

There's nothing I like better than a really well-written complicated heroine. I say "well-written" because I think that's the key difference between a character whose actions keep you interested in their story, and one whose actions make you want to push them off a cliff.

The writer has to make you buy whatever the character does and to do that, they either have to know the character better than they know themselves, or they have to be the world's best con artist and make you love the character no matter what.

Buffy had her season of ennui, Sara (CSI) came dangerously close to alcoholism, Lorelai (Gilmore Girls) slept with Christopher, Scarlett couldn't get Ashley out of her head, Bella...oh, don't get me started!

We still love them, despite their bad choices and complications. It's the mark of good writing.

Mary said...

I've been watching Trauma and liking it. I watched Buffy and loved that as well. Then I watched Angel and didn't think Cordelia would be a good leading lady but she really went far in that series. I like all their complicated storylines and character flaws, it makes it fun to watch.

Emmanuelle said...

Thank for the recommendation. I'm going to check that one out ;-)
Complicated heroines ? why not... ok maybe not too much complicated ok, lol.

Megan Crane said...

I think one of the issues is that one person's "complicated" is another person's "whiny!"

Linda Henderson said...

Yes I do like a complicated heroine. It makes the storyline a lot more interesting.