Strike Back: A Bromance of Epic Hotness

Sullivan Stapleton and Phillip Winchester 

What is it about hot, hot, super hot men running around in cargo pants, tact vests and thigh holsters that just gets my knees a-knocking? Or squirming with an uncontrollable aching need for… Ahem…. Did I mention that they were hot? Good lord, I’ve found my Mecca. Cinemax’s Strike Back has all of this girl’s favorite things: Special Ops super heroes, badass women in charge, terrorist ass-kicking, justifiable guns and violence and a shiny new bromance. Oh yeah, and it has some steamy, hair-straightening, toe-curling sex, IN EVERY EPISODE, but we’ll talk about that in a minute.

The heroes:

British SAS soldier, Sergeant Michael Stonebridge works for a highly secret, off books division of British Secret Intelligence called Section 20. The group is an anti-terrorism task force charged with high risk, priority missions around the globe. Stonebridge is the consummate soldier, the one who follows orders, always does what is right and never wavers from the mission. His clean cut good looks fit the golden boy, Officer and a Gentleman trope. He’s poised and polished under fire and takes the more respectful route when it comes to discussions with management. He’s not totally perfect. He cheated on his wife with a superior officer. And then she was blown up. Eeeps.

Stonebridge is sent to find and recruit…

Damien Scott, disgraced US Delta Force Operator, dishonorably discharged during a tour in Iraq. Of course he was set up to cover up a WMD plot, because he would never traffic the two kilos of heroin planted in his footlocker. He does have some integrity. There are lines that every good man at heart won’t cross. Yet, he IS the quintessential badboy. Where Stonebridge is sublime perfection, Scott is the grizzled, disillusioned badass who fights hard and plays even harder. He leaves a string of bullets, bodies and women in his wake and gives authority the finger every chance he can get. He doesn’t deny his personal demons but he struggles with atonement couched in revenge to find those who set him up.

Together they are a deadly force of precision fighting.

So what makes these two my newest favorite bromance? Aside from the fact I can’t decide which one I’d chose if we could stay in bed for a week. Would I really even have to chose? Who says I can’t have both, right? Sigh.

In the beginning, they hate each other. Scott is rude and arrogant and bucks authority like it’s in his DNA. Stonebridge is the play-by-the-rules, respect-your-elders kind of guy and Scott’s jagged edges grate on his last nerve. They fight and argue and call each other ‘asshole’ and ‘prick’. It’s the beginning to a beautiful symbiotic bickering foundation of all fine bromances. They question each other’s motives, second guess one another and generally dislike each other until they begin to save each other’s lives. It becomes a bro-hood forged in blood––theirs and those they kill in the name of freedom.

Over the course of the first Cinemax season, Strike Back:Project Dawn, they develop a deep and trusting friendship. Shared events of tragedy often does that to people, especially hardened soldiers. Now that they have a season under their belt, in season 2 Strike Back: Vengeance, they’ve switched roles in a way. It is Scott who’s the stable one and Stonebridge who is living life on the cutting edge of sanity and redemption. They still bicker, but now they squabble like brothers, nitpicking and teasing while they watch each other’s backs. I look forward to seeing how they play up this dynamic in season 3. Both men having purged their ghosts. Maybe Stonebridge will finally get a chance to get his groove on with a woman who actually gets to live. (He’s a bit of a black widow, poor bastard).

Which brings me to the sex. Oh my, get me a cigarette.  They don’t call Cinemax ‘Skinamax’ for no reason. This is soft core porn at its damn finest. I think in the twenty hour-long episodes that I’ve watched (and studied like I’m doing a dissertation) I’ve seen Scott’s bare ass more than I’ve seen my own husband’s. Not that I’m complaining because damn, it’s fine. He’s got just the right amount of dirty, scruffy sex appeal where he can slip any minute into that guy who looks really hot, but you know he’s got smelly balls so you wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole, let alone his own. But he’s got that cute, cute military boy haircut that sticks up like he just raked his hand through it when he rolled out of bed. And let me tell you, he usually doesn’t even use a bed. The boy’s got some stamina., Walls, tables, barns, interrogation room chairs, balconies. Hot damn the man will fuck anywhere, anytime, with pretty much any woman who’s breathing and has a hole. When I say he’s had sex in every episode, I’m not lying. He’s had sex in EVERY EPISODE but the last four of season 2, and I think that is pretty telling because it means he’s come to a decision about himself and his role within Section 20. He feels like he belongs again and he’s done racing against the world with his hair on fire. Not bad for a guy with a death wish.

One thing that I have to say that totally cracks me up is that Stonebridge, the Brit, is played by an American, Philip Winchester (his name even sounds like he should be British) and Scott, the American, is played by an Aussie, Sullivan Stapleton. Their accents are reversed . Every once in a while Sully’s will slip when he gets hyper emotional, but Philip’s, never. It sounds dead on with the rest of the brits on the show. I love it. It’s so ironic. Great testament to the quality of acting going on in this well-written, intelligent action fest.

Yes, it’s violent, bloody, unapologetically testosterone bent. And I love it. I want more. One day, I will have to do a post on the women of Strike Back because they are badass, brass-ovary women to the core. They are a perfect fit with the boys. They are not just decoration they are true soldiers. Each one is every bit as ruthless as her counterpart. It’s refreshing and believable. Strike Back got it right.

Cannot wait until Season 3.

If I’m every kidnapped by a raving group of terrorists, call in these guys. If I die, at least I’ll die with a fantasy in my head.
~Namaste

Photos courtesy of Cinemax, Sky 1 and TV Guide.

Overwatch Update

For like the two of you who have been waiting with bated breath about the status of Overwatch, you’re gonna have to wait a little while longer. Book 1: Proving Ground is essentially done. Yay, but Book 2: Exfil Point, ooofah… It’s in a major rewrite.

Nooooo!

Yup.

Exfil Point, after the mandatory fermenting period, SUCKS FESTERING MONEKY ASS. It needs a complete overhaul. I guess that’s what happens when you try to splice two attempts to start a book into one mash-up and fingers crossed, hope it works out. The only, and I mean ONLY, people who are good at mash-ups are the song stylists at Glee. They are the masters of it. Me? Not so much. While it seemed like it was a good plan and that things flowed while in the midst of a summer induced haze of long days of just writing and drinking and more writing, it didn’t fit together as much as I had thought. So it’s back to the drawing board for me.

I axed almost 10k words from the end. Shaved it off like a Russian woman’s armpits. The emotional content was limp, trite and I had already addressed the issues in it with a whole chapter insert about 6k words before. So chop went the blade. Then I reread it again from the beginning. And started hacking away at the stuff that sounded good but again wound up being forced and trite. Chop, chop. Pretty soon this thing started to look like an anorexic supermodel with a bad hair day. Good thing though? It had a great bone structure. The elements were there. Girl’s living in Boy’s house, pretending they don’t want to just sleep with each other and abstaining for the greater good of the world. They have a deep understanding and friendship that gets tested when they open Pandora’s box. (That Bitch Pandora should just keep her damn legs closed and save everyone from the trouble of her minefield of a box! and if you’re not getting the box reference, please go check it out at urbandictionary.com) Things gets dicey in relation to their relations and decisions are made that effect the incidents in Book 3: Cold War. The romance stuff I had all down. I knew where I wanted to go, knew how I wanted it to end, shocked myself a little bit with how far I went with it, but it’s good. Now that it’s bald and a skeleton.

What it needs is some meat. The meat of the Mission that is – they are Spec Ops soldiers and spies after all. Enter the action plot. Oh the goddamn mission… Bane of my existence. And I kick myself all the time for wanting to write love stories about awesome action figure super spies and soldiers because seriously, who gives a shit about them if we never see them at work? Otherwise they should be dog groomers and let call it a day. So I struggle…

I’m not sure if it’s because I live a ‘do unto others’ kind of existence. I try to live fair and equitable and don’t treat people cruelly  but I have a really hard time coming up with motives for bad guys to do bad things with. If I have a beef with someone who wronged me, I cut you off my Christmas card list and de-friend you on Facebook while you’re not looking. I don’t plot world domination and human traffic your sister and her best-friend’s cousin to get back at you. Therefore, I struggle with believable plots that would bring my sexy heroes and heroines out into the big bad world. Because again, who wants to read about kick ass spies if we neve see them at work?

How have a I fixed this problem? Ugh. I’m reading news articles and blogs from around the troubled hotspots of the world. Very depressing, man’s inhumanity to man. We are a disgusting species. The Earth has every right to rebel and get us fuckers off the planet. I’ve found some pretty disturbing things with regards to the undercurrent of terrorism and the battle to establish a foothold in Africa.

But you know what else this whole devastation of the horrid mash-up has done to me? I’ve become a plotster. Gasp! Swoon and sigh. I never used to have to plan. WTF? I used to pull rainbows and sunshine out of my ass and it was fabulous. Yeah, well that was fanfiction. And fanfiction while a great proving ground for confidence that maybe your ability to write doesn’t suck that bad after all, it’s not all that intolerant of dangling plot threads and meandering experiments with slice of life prose. It’s shit we wish we saw on our favorite television shows, but just didn’t make the cannon cut. In publishable fiction, it’s unacceptable to not have a plan. To not have a mid-point that doesn’t sag, and a dark moment that doesn’t actually give you the feeling that all will never be right again. Who am I using these terms? It’s like the moment you realize you have to actually send 95% of your paycheck to pay bills and that you’ve become a grown up. For the most part I’ve done this instinctually. But now, with these freaking missions… instinct isn’t going to cut it anymore.

This stretches my timeline out exponentially. I’ve got other series in the works that are begging to be written, one of which is a sequel series to Overwatch, another is a Sci-Fi Romance series. Not that I want to say goodbye to David and Jillie, but I want to publish this bitch and move on. Patience is not always my strong suit.

Alas, I will endeavor to try.

~Indigo

Irish Chic with a Chip on Her Shoulder

Ok it’s been a while since I’ve submitted another entry into the badass database but I was seriously lacking inspiration with the poor selection of badass women out there on television lately. But now that Burn Notice is back from its fall hiatus, I am once again inspired by the incomparable Fiona Glenanne.

She is the woman every girl dreams she can be: equal parts super hero, sassy, sexy, say anything, blow up things when you’re pissed off complete badass chic.

Since the very beginning of the guilty pleasure that Burn Notice is, Fiona has been once kick ass first and take names later kinda gal. She shoots from the hip, knows her way around household chemicals – not to clean the kitchen floor but to make a bomb that can clean your clock better than a small pack of C4. And lets face it, she’s a fashion plate. Half the outfits she runs around in make you wonder if they have to duct tape it to her body so those flimsy little shirts stay on. Nevertheless, her long flowing hair and her high-heeled wedges makes her one sexy babe.

One of the things I totally love about her is that she’s no spring chicken. Gabrielle Anwar is 42 and a mother of three. I don’t think I had abs like hers when I was 8 let alone after kids.  Even though she’s a tiny little thing, she’s a brick shithouse. She is rock-solid lean muscle, golden tan skin and lithe like a panther. She carries herself with such confidence that you can’t help but believe that her character used to be part of the IRA when she met the love of her life, undercover CIA agent, Michael Weston.

The best parts about Fiona is that she’s a maniac. She is a great foil for Michael in the sense that she adds a level of crazy to the already insane things they undertake in the name of justice. Michael’s crazy, there’s no doubt. Sam’s his crazy sidekick and now Jesse has an element of loco to him that adds comic relief to an already balls-to-the-wall funfest. The boys come up with some wild plans but Fiona’s often the one that wants to go in guns-a-blazing, hell on wheels, collateral damage be damned. The guys are the ones that have to rein her in. She’s an explosives expert. Knows her guns like she knows her shoes, maybe better. And has no problem walking right in a punching a guy in the nose to cause a diversion. She uses her sexuality as just another tool in her arsenal and wields it like a weapon. Heaven help the bastard who crosses her path.

Her greatest vulnerability is Michael. She’s loved him since he broke her heart in Ireland. She’s only ever wanted to be with him yet he frustrates her beyond belief. His greatest desire is to find out who burned him. He never expects her to come along for the ride but she refuses to let him do it alone, no matter how much she tries to talk him out of it. He never sees her side and does what he wants anyway but her loyalty to him makes her follow him because if he died without her, she would never be able to live with herself. As the seasons progress, she matures a little, settles into her life in Miami and with Michael. She’s come to terms with her role in his life. It also helps that Michael’s finally realized he can’t live with out her and they are now in an official relationship. She’s even earned an upgrade in the teaser voice over from “trigger-happy ex-girlfriend” to “trigger-happy girlfriend”. Things are looking up in her world.

I think her letter to Michael as she turns herself into the authorities at the end of Season 5 sums up how she perceives their relationship best:

“I loved you. Before I should have, I trusted you. Because I’ve always known your heart. You do what’s right no matter the cost to you. And I’ve learned that when you love a spy, you have to be willing to make that sacrifice too. At times your job has made it hard to be with you, but it’s never shaken my faith in you.”

It’s beautiful and poignant and heartbreaking. The anguish in Michael’s face as he realizes she’s sacrificed herself for him yet again. I think it’s a turning point for him. He’s finally faced with just how much he’s taken her for granted and how much he needs her to be complete. Now that he’s rescued her in season 6, he’s still driven by the need to avenge, but he does it with her as his partner. He consults her and considers her family. She feels accepted and while she’s come to terms with his career she still hopes for a life without it.

While she’s clearly the love-interest-eye-candy to that hunk of man in the testosterone fest, Fiona’s a great example of a woman who can hold her own with the men, do it while still looking like a hottie, and not break a nail as she cocks her shotgun before she blasts you away. She’s a woman you want on your side in an argument, because you don’t want to be on the wrong end of her Irish temper. You might get a spark plug projectile in the eye.

~Namaste.

A Curmudgeonly Bromance

In my post about My Favorite Bromance, I forgot one adorable, fun and just delightful pair that make me laugh more and more as they get older:

Gibbs and Fornell on the ever-popular NCIS.

The episodes when Fornell visits should be called “Two Cranky Old Men”. They are so cantankerous and set in their ways, each one different and stubborn in their own right. Fornell while being the G-man from the often-maligned FBI (according to NCIS) is often the more sensitive of the two. In Tell-All (Season 8), Fornell prods Gibbs about the wedding invitations they’ve both received from their mutual ex-wife. Yep, you read that correctly. They share an ex-wife. Gibbs married her first. SHe dumped his ass and then Fornell married her. Their marriage lasted much longer and produced a daughter. But according to Gibbs, Diane was a real pill. Fornell… the poor bastard was smitten and though sometimes complains about her, he is still very much in love with her. He spends the whole episode trying to get Gibbs to go to the wedding, because he really wants to attend.

I think Fornell feels the need for solidarity, to be united front so he can gain a sense of closure. Gibbs doesn’t want any part of it. When he walked away, he tore the bandage off full steam and never looked back. Fornell still carries the torch and never felt the sense of finality. That is until he appears in Gibbs’ ‘Basement of Redemption’ with a tux on an no place to go. He says to Gibbs “I think i just gave away the bride”. Gibbs simply nods and the door bell rings. It’s the pizza man. Fornell asks “With pepperoni and onions?” and Gibbs says, “Yup.” Fornell smiles then and offers to pay. It’s a sweet scene where two men communicate between the lines over the ultimate in ‘single man’ food. You know they’ll have bourbon out of the dirty mason jars and talk shop, maybe even Gibbs will indulge Fornell’s reminiscing.

In the season 10 premiere, Fornell returns to aid NCIS in the investigation to find the arch criminal Dearing. There are some really great scenes between Gibbs and Fornell where they discuss famliy. Fornell is there to support Gibbs, he watches out for him, gives a buffer to his feelings which is done in a very nice subtle way. It has to be because Gibbs doesn’t like to be coddled. But the best scene is when Fornell brings him dinner. Gibbs is dressed in a pair of jeans and schlubby long-sleeved tee. Fornell dishes out the food and jokes, “You never dress up for me anymore.” It’s a joke of course, but it’s a testament to their friendship on a few levels. One, their whole dynamic centers around teasing jibes. Two, it implies the idea of a longterm ‘marriage’, Fornell being the ‘woman’ who nags at her inattentive ‘husband’ when the magic has died. But the third most important thing it shows is the true friendship they have for each other and the fact that Fornell cares enough to be there for his friend. The essence of a true Bromance.

Take a look at this little clip from “Short Fuse”, Season 8 episode 3.

Can’t help but love them. Tough guys with wounded souls. The best kind. Because they’re interesting.
~Indigo

My Favorite Bromances

I have been a fan of the bromance for a while now. I ‘m not really sure how far back it goes because I really can’t pinpoint a favorite until the ultimate bromance (and I believe the duo who coined the phrase) House and Wilson. But it seems to be a new trend, at least in the shows that I frequent.

The bromance is a deep friendship relationship between two men. There can be sexual undertones if you squint real hard, but I think that usually comes from the fact that these relationships tend to resemble the close connection between an actual romantic couple. Like that of good marriage. Caring, banter, angst and humor. A true bromance will be tested––not in a Bros before Hoes kind of way––but in a way that tests the bonds that brought the two men to the friendship in the first place. The ties will stretch but the ultimate trust in one another will overcome no matter how thinly it is pulled.

Lets take a brief look at some of my favorites:

One of the main reasons I watch Hawaii 5-O is because of the McGarrett/Danno friendship. Ok, not gonna lie, if I could just be alone in a room with McGarret, I’d climb him like a tree and set up a wood floor treehouse. Who wouldn’t? But I love the dynamic between the two. When they argue in the car (the ‘cargument’ too cute,  I swear), it’s like watching an old married couple bicker in that adorable, annoyingly endearing way that makes you either want to hit them or squeeze their cheeks.

While Steve and Dano bicker, House and Wilson had blistering arguments. There were many times you just had to wonder why, oh why, did Wilson remain friends with him? House was so awful to him. But, there was no denying that they had a strangely symbiotic and dysfunctional relationship that took so many turns and evolutions as the show progressed that I’m sure a psychology student could do an entire dissertation on their codependency.  It was entertaining yet painful to watch sometimes. Pure brilliance, as with a lot of things in that show once upon a time.

White Collar‘s entire premise revolves around the bromance between Neil Caffrey and Peter Burke. They started out as nemesis and foe, cat and mouse, law man and the con man. Opposites to the core in their nature and their character role. Yet, what happened was interesting––they morphed into a true and genuine friendship. They respect each other’s abilities and feelings. And they do legitimately talk about their feelings. It’s actually quite refreshing and downright sentimental.

My favorite by far, is the mentor/protege, big brother/ little brother dynamic between Harvey Specter and Mike Ross on Suits. I cannot wait each week to watch these two. They deliver their lines in such quick-witted jabs and quips that you almost miss the subtle affection in the the blatant undertones of sarcasm. They are so very reminiscent of the fantastic verbal sparring of Tracey and Hepburn or Rosalind Russel and Cary Grant in His Girl Friday. Mike makes Harvey remember his humanity and Harvey challenges Mike in a way that utilizes his genius-like abilities. Harvey’s the pitbull and Mike is the puppy that runs along side of him. It will be interesting to see the puppy grow up and what the Alpha dog does.

I think that this type of relationship, one between two male characters who share a mutual respect and caring, can help us as writers to understand the character dynamic more. Study how they talk with each other, what they discuss and the patterns of their speech. Some of it pertains to the main plot and how they interact with the given situation. Most of it is isolated personal stuff that flows outside of the story plot but lends itself to the main character arc. It gives you insight into the character’s personalities and a deeper understanding of who they are as layered people.

So what about you? Do you have a favorite bromance? What makes them special?

Get out your bat and balls. Delve into the fantastic dynamic of the bromance.
~Indigo

WIP: Proving Ground Update

Proving Ground is close, oh so very close, to being ready to e-format and publish on Amazon. It has been scoured and polished by my fantastic critique partners, Karen and Amy and beta read by Jes and Stella. (They totally get my vision!!) I’ve had nothing but good constructive criticism and positive responses. Dearest Stella said she even had some tears in her eyes, in a good way of course, and that just makes me want to get drunk on mojitos and dance on tables. No, not really, I want to be badass, but I’m so not! But it does mean a lot that both Jes and Stella have had such an emotional response to Jillie and David. My book is way better because of these ladies and I owe them tremendous thanks for their efforts.

It’s been a long road for this book in it’s various incarnations but I have a clear plan in sight now. It’s an epic love story now that will span five books. I’m currently in Book 2: Exfil Point and working diligently to beef up and clean up the plot. Yeah it seems long. Five books you say? Well… Look at it this way––How many times have you watched a movie or been involved in a book and want to know what happens after the book ends? How many of you want to see how after all their stuggles to get together they actually ARE together? What happens when the lights go out and everyone goes home? Well, that’s what will happen in the Overwatch Series. Each book is another episode into Jillie and David’s relationship and their evolution from colleagues to friends to deep and ever-lasting love.
So I need a blurb. One that lets you know it’s the never-ending story, but also gets you intrigued by Jillie and David enough to follow them into the great unknown.
Here’s what I have come up with so far:
The last thing Colonel David Vaughn needed on his anti-terrorist task force was another beautiful badass woman. They were his weakness. He had a job to do.
Burned CIA agent, Jillian Craig didn’t want back into the game. But there was only so much sun, designer shoes and hunky Mediterranean men a girl could take.
When a mutual interest brings them together to fight the war on terror, it’s no surprise––sparks fly. Can the two ignore their attraction or is the personal sacrifice too much?
The Overwatch Series follows the epic love story of David and Jillian as they try to balance duty, desire and self-sacrifice to protect the world from terror.
Book One: Proving Ground. See how it all begins.

Feel free to chime in and let me know what you think. Too much? Too little? Too cheesy? Never want to be cheesy… Discuss.

I’m going to post an excerpt of Proving Ground, Chapter 1 soon. I’m also putting my actual professional skills to use and working on a cover(s). I’m torn between paying for the royalty-free image rights for some images, which is a couple hundred dollars vs. working in Poser (a 3D art program where I can make Jillie and David actually look like I see them in my head) Too cool, but WAY more time consuming, considering I’m still learning how to use the program. But, that could also be a couple hundred dollars if I want to use pre-existing morphs to build my characters because that wold make them look badass. And you know me and badass. Since my wallet is decidedly NOT badass, I’m waiting on that issue until the cover is the very last thing that needs to be done.

See you soon,
~Indigo

Guest Post: Stella MT

Here’s a guest post from my friend and sometimes critique partner (when she’s not working on her doctoral program – sheesh, can’t she just find a few hours to squeeze little old me in?) Stella MT from The Great Big Jump. She’s been a great supporter of this blog and has some wise “You go girl” insights. I’m honored that she wanted to dabble in the badassery and examine when some femme characters fall short of that right. But, she changed her mind midstream and this is what she came up with. Please enjoy!


Stella MT’s Post:
Originally, I had set out to write a funny article about network TV procedurals and their lack of convincingly bad-ass female characters, which could be attributed to several different factors that affect TV and film writing in general. I had it all planned out: who to snark on, who to blame, what could have been.

Then the news of Nora Ephron’s death broke out all over the Internet.

I admit that, outside of her most popular movies (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, even You’ve Got Mail and Julie and Julia), I’ve never really considered Nora Ephron as a “girl power” icon; all I know is that she’s a superb writer with a lifetime’s worth of snappy anecdotes to share, and I wish I had been able to truly develop my appreciation of her work before she passed away.

And yet, as the news of her passing flooded my timeline on Twitter, I found myself reading Ephron’s commencement speech at Wellesley College in 1996, where she spoke as an alumna of the school:

Many of my classmates did exactly what they were supposed to when they graduated from Wellesley, and some of them, by the way, lived happily ever after. But many of them didn’t. All sorts of things happened that no one expected. […] The women’s movement came along and made harsh value judgments about their lives—judgments that caught them by surprise, because they were doing what they were supposed to be doing, weren’t they? The rules had changed, they were caught in some kind of strange time warp. They had never intended to be the heroines of their own lives, they’d intended to be—what?—First Ladies, I guess, first ladies in the lives of big men. They ended up feeling like victims. They ended up, and this is really sad, thinking that their years in college were the best years of their lives.




What does this passage have to do with good writing? 

Put it simply, a good story often begins with the choice that must be made by a character in response to an unexpected and difficult situation.  In the case of most female protagonists, the “unexpected” could be as simple as a bad breakup (see: Rachel Green in Friends and Jess Day in New Girl) or as overwhelming as working for an office that might as well be a frat house (see also: Brenda Lee Johnson in The Closer and Ziva David in NCIS).  These moments are filled with the realization that things will never be the way it used to be: all of the sudden, there’s no going back to the old house, the previous branch, the trust that was broken by that lying piece of shit.  Survival, in one form or another, becomes the name of the game.


And yet, not all female protagonists get to become heroines in their own stories.

I look again at all the characters I set out to mock, and it becomes clear to me that they were intended to be strong and sexy in their own way: handy with a gun, easy on the eyes, tough enough to turn the tables on a perp yet sensitive enough to do everything they can for the ones they truly love, be it their messed-up families or the team of crime-fighters in their squad. Yet, as time went on, I found that they’ve only become less compelling as time went on: sure, it may be “realistic” to show our heroines not getting their way, but does it always have to happen on a regular basis? It’s already bad enough to be stonewalled by bureaucrats and left in the dark by lovers and family members… but do they also have to be tortured by psychos every other season, too?


It’s as if the creators of their respective shows are trying to tell us, over and over again, that any woman who chooses to take the bad guys down has chosen a life of martyrdom. Choose that journey, they say, and you will be doomed to a lifetime of trust issues, bad sex, substance abuse, and abandonment from nearly every single person that you’ve ever loved. You may be strong enough for this, they’ll say, but you’ll never be a hero… not even to your own self.

 

In a way, characters like these are marks of lazy storytelling – and the writers are partly at fault for the inconsistency – but, from my point of view, the repercussions may be more serious than we think. At a time when the entertainment industry has gone completely global, these shows are now shown all over the world, in different cycles, and in every possible language. And not only that, but there is a major chance that these shows – and stories – are being watched, right now, by viewers in countries where women don’t have the same rights and privileges that we have in our comfortable corners of the world.

Is this the message we want to send to the rest of the world: that, even in a democracy, there is no point for an educated woman to stand up and lead the charge against injustice? Is it fair for everyone else to think that the only stories we have to tell about our women – all women – are the ones where they have to do only what is expected, if they want to survive without being victimized?

http://kidculture.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/the-best-countries-for-women-girls/

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to think that a true heroine would never choose to live her life like this.


A true heroine, in my opinion, does not need to blame “the system” for her lack of initiative. She doesn’t have to dress up and go to work: she chooses to dress up and go to work, every day, because choosing otherwise would only make her more restless. She doesn’t always make the best decisions, but she takes responsibility for all of them, and finds a little humor in every situation. She may have to work a little harder to get some respect, but she will earn it – win or lose – and the guys in the office better recognize if they knew what’s best for them. 
And while it may be possible for her to “have it all” – good looks, great job, wicked skills, maybe a family and/or a nice house – a true heroine knows where the reallines are drawn in the first place. Cute shoes are a luxury, the right connections are a privilege… but truth, love, justice, peace of mind? Those are non-negotiable rights, and our heroine will fight for them, to the bitter end.

Which then brings us, once again, to Nora Ephron, and her message to the Class of ’96 at Wellesley:

Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim. Because you don’t have the alibi my class had—this is one of the great achievements and mixed blessings you inherit: Unlike us, you can’t say nobody told you there were other options. […] Did I say it was hard? Yes, but let me say it again so that none of you can ever say the words, nobody said it was so hard. But it’s also incredibly interesting. You are so lucky to have that life as an option.


Right or wrong – and regardless of who gets to run “the show” – a true heroine gets to choose her own destiny. And that is always a story worth telling, for all time. 

~Stella