Fictional Characters and their impact on our lives

Out of respect for all those PPl who haven't (completely) watched/Read -Grey's Anatomy, Star Trek (The Original Series), Star Trek: The Next Generation -and- Harry Potter- yet: this article contains some minor-major spoilers!

That's THE statement, right there!
That's THE statement, right there!
McDonald's: "McChicken [x]; McFlurry [x]; McDreamy ... #ripmcdreamy"
McDonald's: "McChicken [x]; McFlurry [x]; McDreamy ... #ripmcdreamy"

PART I -The McDevastion Situation
Today I found myself filing a complaint to ABC Network for the 2nd time. First time I did it when they dared to kill off Lexie Grey on ABC's Top Drama Show "Grey's Anatomy", who was my very favourite character. After letting go of // killing off a few other beloved main characters (with exception of Yang's depature all heart-breaking and somehow unfair), they now did the unspeakable: Killing 50% of MerDer. Basically dumping eleven years of storytelling in the trash. I wasn't the greatest MerDer shipper (there were other couples I thought had great dynamics, like Owen & Chrisitina, or Lexie and Sloan -but hey, 75% of those characters aren't even IN THE SHOW anymore) -but their relationship carried the show from day one and was the stable constant, you'd expect to always somehow just hold it all together.

Since I decided to wait for the 11th season to be available on Netflix (Germany) I haven't watched most of this season's episodes yet. Of course one couldn't really get past the news of Shepard's passing last week, due to it being all over the internet and even newspapers.

Apart from getting the biggest spoiler of all time (and trust me, back in Ballett class in 2005, some kid did tell me that Dumbledore would die like two days after the damn book was released) -it felt like a punch in the face.

So here it is:

I do realize it must seem a bit odd to be this upset about a fictional character's death.

But first of all, I am able to tell the difference between RL and TV -so I did not stop eating, drinking, breathing, sleeping, taking a sh** or whatever.

The death of McDreamy hasn't affected my ability to live (yet, because I'm not sure if I'm actually going to continue watching the series ;) ).

But the point is: you spend years "investing" in growing to love this show, it distracts you from feeling lonely, or the bad day you just had or even the loss you endured.

Grey's Anatomy was (after One Tree Hill) on of the first shows I binge-watched (several) times in order to flee a very devasting experience in my own life. One of that kind, you just have to sit out. And this might sound crazy but watching TV shows really helped me feel better and take a vacation from some day's unplesant reality.

Naturally, Drama shows won't live without some drama -as in plane crashs, shootings, bombs exploding in ORs, drownings, earthquakes (all of which Meredith Grey had to experience), cancer (the surgeon's, not the patient's), friends dying, friends leaving, family dying (as for Meredith's: pretty much everyone, except for the newly found black sister, that was just written in out of thin air) ...and so on.

Sometimes it feels good to cry with your favourite characters, because you get in touch with your buried emotions and might even be able to process some of it, without having to access and re-live every detail of the initial incident.
TV shows are meant to be an escape from reality.

As long as you don't get out of it feeling worse than before.

You're supposed to bring your stuff and forget it, not to take the bad stuff from the fictional world into your life to think about it and just feel bad.

Loosing Derek Shepard is like loosing faith in your very appreciated and trusted therapist, the one you felt comfortable with, telling all of your worries and little secrets.

Because loosing Derek Shepard breaks Grey's Anatomy and just makes the past seasons look like Shonda Rhimes was trying to mock us all.

After all, we kept on tuning in, even though she made some very upsetting creative choices.

But there was one illusion she let us believe in -even if the world is literally falling apart, there's always hope and love.

["Update": Unless you're Meredith Grey, or a doctor, or on not-all-bubbly terms with a "show creator" described as the female pendant to George R. R. Martin.

Then you're screwed.]


PART II -Inspiring the People

There's another thing, some well written characters do.

They inspire.

That's basically all Greys is teaching us these days, isn't it?
That's basically all Greys is teaching us these days, isn't it?

I can't tell you, how many stories I've found on the internet about young aspiring doctors who state: "Grey's Anatomy got me here."

TV shows and movies do have a huge influence on our everyday life.

Some might be to our disadvantage -for example: Have you ever experienced one of these over-exaggerated relationship fights? When I was younger, I sure had my share of these and today I'm certain at least part of it originated subconcsiously in acting out scences of my favourite movies, books and most importantly TV shows.

But there are also a lot of wonderful stories about people feeling understood, motivated, comforted, inspired by the colorful display of all kinds of people and situations on tv.

One of my favourite female characters on television would be "Lt. Tasha Yar" of Star Trek: TNG's first season.

Denise Crosby portrayed a very modest, loyal and strong woman who served as the Chief of Security on board the Enterprise.

Contrary to most female roles on televion at that time she was neither rough and bitter, or "manly" -nor whiney and so desperate for some knight in shining armour to save her all the time.

Instead she was portrayed as a woman of integrity, who took her job very seriously but also cared about her friends and did not try to hide that she was in fact a woman.

Sadly she also died a pretty pointless death (actually even two times), but that was long before I was even born and as far as I

got my facts right, she explicitly asked to be written out in order to pursue a career out of Star Trek,since she felt stuck with the character's limited screen time & development.

Overall Star Trek is known to be one of the first television series to make diversity of race, gender and sexuality a subject of their story telling- one very remarkable scene showing the first interracial kiss on American network television, between Nichelle Nichols' Uhura and William Shatner's Captain Kirk, during a 1968 episode.

In this article you can read about Martin Luther King himself telling her about the importance of her role for African-American women, which led to her keeping the engagement with the show, despite prior to their conversation wanting to seek for new challenges outside of the Franchise's world -and how she kept on promoting rights for (black) women in collaboration with NASA and inspired other people to take on important challanges.

Quite a revolution! Kirk and Uhura getting all romantic ;)
Quite a revolution! Kirk and Uhura getting all romantic ;)

PART III - "Don't mess with Dumbledore's rights"

Coming to an end with this article, I don't want to miss the chance of saying a few words about character diversity in books and casting choices.

Since I opened with a picture of a young man holding a sign declaring that one must not mess with Dumbledore's rights (click on the picture to read the story behind it), we should take a look at Joanne Rowling's choice of embracing a variety of personalities and bringing us to understand, that there is more to a person, than our first impression of him or her.

Take Hermione, Neville, or, obviously, Snape, or even Fleur or Krum or maybe even the Malfoy's...

"J.K." has created so many very complex characters, coming from different backgrounds, having different beliefs (and even building very obvious second World War references without me noticing until I was like 18), that it is hard to imagine all of it just sprung from the "magical" mind of one single person.

Adding to the educational benefits from reading the Harry Potter series (such as: be kind to one another, as Ellen DeGeneres would put it -another very inspirational woman who, in my opinion, has her own take on the USA starting to be more open towards the LGBTQI-Community), it is hard not to find a character you can identify with.

For me it was a very satisfying experience to meet Luna Lovegood in book 5.

So much so, that I decided to audition to play her in the movie (well, I never actually got to do that, since I was too young and couldn't even speak any decent English at that time, still... I made my own Quibbler and everything).

She was the first character after Sailor Mercury in kindergarten ;), I felt I could really relate to.

Funny Fact: People used to tell me all the time, that I would remind them of Luna.

As a kid, finding someone you can identify with, is crucial to accept the changes you're going through, especially when you're that tad different from other people in your immediate environment.

Growing up, going through puberty and young adulthood you're more likely to search for rolemodels more present in TV shows and movies.

Television shows with a vastly diverse cast, such as Orange Is The New Black (which is so addictive on top of it, can't wait for the 3rd season!) are becoming more and more popular, which is a trend I'd give a two-thumbs-up and will help fighting prejudices in a midly-manipulative, but positive way and give those people, who feel misunderstood or singled-out a platform.

Tieing loose ends together: There's another noteable show with a very colorful cast, that's hugley popular and will hopefully get back to concentrate on those great aspects instead of staying on this potentially self-destructive path.

Any guesses?
Right on!

Let's hope, they come to see that Season 12 should be the last -and make it a great one.

Write a comment

Comments: 0