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09 May 2007 @ 01:42 pm
Self-reflection and poll on archetypes  
I'm in a chatty mood but have nothing to chat about! This NEVER happens to me. How very strange! Consequently, I'm overcompensating by drawing together various ideas that have been swimming around in my head recently.

I've been thinking a lot about archetypes recently and why we're drawn to certain characters or pairings. I'm sure most people have particular archetypes or relationship dynamics that they're continually intrigued by, but in fandom we spend more time than most analysing them and obsessing over them. I know for me this has meant that on several occasions I've had 'epiphany-like' moments where I realised what my interest revealed about my own personality or life. Am I alone?

The counterargument would say that fiction and reality are completely separate and what we find amusing for entertainment purposes has no connection to our own psychology or life circumstances. Maybe that's so.


This poll is rather vague, I know, but please feel free to share your more detailed thoughts and/or anecdotes in the comments if you feel so inclined. I have other thoughts kicking around too--like have you ever started liking a character you previously disliked when some new attribute was revealed to you? (an example for me would be River from Firefly who I found annoying as all get out until I saw Serenity ;)) Do you have characters you invariably dislike/find hard to relate to? What do those things say about you?

Personally I'm always interested by what my likes/dislikes reveal about me, though I can't say that the revelations have always been very comfortable. :-) I'm also pretty open about confessing these reasons once I know, but I wonder whether other people are more uncomfortable with doing so?

In the shows I write serious meta for (Smallville, BSG, FNL), I strive to think about each character 'fairly', while also admitting my own preferences. (I'm a bit more flippant with Heroes--everyone's fair game there, as far as I'm concerned!) But of course my views are still highly subjective and I often look to others in fandom to 'balance' my opinion: I always run to the Kara fans after a BSG episode; I learnt to appreciate Lana thanks to some very patient and well-argued responses; only last week toadstoolsmiles gave me a new perspective on Matt from Heroes, etc.

But despite all that, there are still always going to be characters I identify with more than others. And sometimes I do get self-conscious about that. Sometimes I worry that if (for example) I admit I like Lois because she's like me in being a bit socially clueless and awkward and overcompensating for that, then it will diminsh my opinion about her in the eyes of others. Or is that a good thing? Does that give me more insight into her character? And is there such a thing as overidentifying? Where/how do you draw the line?

Anyway, poll:

Are there certain character types you are drawn to on a repeated basis (e.g. the hero, the loyal friend, the villain)?

Yes, I'm aware that I'm drawn to certain archetypes.
136(73.9%)
I haven't really thought about it, but I think so.
23(12.5%)
No, I like all sorts of different characters depending on the individual show/actor/context, etc.
25(13.6%)

Which of the following statements do you agree with? (You can choose more than one.)

I'm drawn to characters who are like me (even if they're exaggerated/idealised versions).
5(2.7%)
I'm drawn to characters who are very unlike me.
8(4.4%)
My character archetype is similar to me in some ways but unlike me in others, but it does reflect my values.
17(9.3%)
I've thought about why I like certain characters and what that reveals about my psychology.
14(7.7%)
I'd rather not think about it, thanks!
2(1.1%)
Other: I'll tell you in the comments.
2(1.1%)

Are there certain relationship dynamics (e.g. in your OTPs) that you're drawn to repeatedly (e.g. best friends, unrequited love, enemies)?

Yes, I'm aware that I'm drawn to certain relationship dynamics.
138(75.4%)
I haven't really thought about it, but it sounds likely.
13(7.1%)
No, it depends on the context--I like all sorts of different relationship dynamics.
32(17.5%)

Which of the following statements do you agree with? (You can choose more than one.)

The relationships I'm drawn to have similar dynamics to my relationships in real life.
3(1.6%)
Hahaha--you've got to be joking, there is no resemblance at all!
18(9.8%)
The pairings I'm drawn to do reflect my interests/values in some way, but there's no direct resemblance to my real-life relationships.
38(20.8%)
I've thought about why I like certain relationship dynamics and how this relates to my own psychology.
17(9.3%)
I'd rather not think about it, thanks!
4(2.2%)
Other: I'll tell you in the comments.
2(1.1%)

Do you distinguish between characters you 'fangirl/fanboy' and characters you identify with?

Yes, of course!
123(67.6%)
No, not really.
59(32.4%)

Which of the following things make you more likely to identify with a character?

A certain family background/dynamic
3(1.7%)
Similar likes and dislikes to me
0(0.0%)
Looks: they're my 'type' (Note: not that they look like you, but that they're a standard type you often like--e.g. short people)
1(0.6%)
A certain personality trait (e.g. shy)
16(8.9%)
Similar behaviour patterns/psychology to me
15(8.3%)
Other: I'll tell you in the comments
4(2.2%)

Do you think it's interesting/worthwile thinking about the patterns in who you're attracted to?

No, it's a waste of time.
1(0.5%)
It's sort of interesting but I don't think it says anything very profound.
38(20.9%)
Yes, it's something I like to think about/discuss.
95(52.2%)
Yes, but sometimes I don't want to know. :-)
20(11.0%)
Other: I'll tell you in the comments
1(0.5%)

Has a fannish discussion ever prompted a revelation about yourself/your own life?

Yes (and the discussion was about a character I like).
58(31.5%)
Yes (and the discussion was about a relationship I like).
22(12.0%)
Yes, but the discussion wasn't to do with a character or relationship in particular.
26(14.1%)
Not sure.
60(32.6%)
No, never.
18(9.8%)

If you answered yes, did you see this revelation as:

positive?
47(40.2%)
negative?
5(4.3%)
neither positive nor negative--just incidental?
65(55.6%)

In general, do you think that character/relationship archetypes reveal things about the people who like them?

Yes, especially when someone's really passionately attached to a character or pairing.
23(12.5%)
Yes, but I can't always tell what.
34(18.5%)
Yes, but not in a really signifcant way.
8(4.3%)
Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
49(26.6%)
No, I think that's crazytalk.
0(0.0%)
Maybe but I don't see the point in overthinking such things.
8(4.3%)
Other: I'll tell you in the comments.
2(1.1%)
 
 
Current Location: work (sadly)
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
 
 
 
bradcpu: Warlowbradcpu on May 9th, 2007 04:39 am (UTC)
Pretty simple on my end: Fandom is my escapism, so the more unlike me and my reality the characters/ship/fandom are, the more I like it.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Aishwarya lanternbop_radar on May 9th, 2007 04:47 am (UTC)
Cool! Yeah, I think that's probably the case for many people--the freedom in that is really appealing.

I think I'm more a mix though--there are definitely characters I love for the sheer imagination of them, but there are also characters I like (sometimes despite myself) because they reflect an aspect of myself. I think the first category is more fun! ;)
wisteria: bsg - kara - i love kara thracewisteria_ on May 9th, 2007 04:59 am (UTC)
Hmm. I don't have too much to say here, but you've written some excellent questions! One thing I noticed is that I don't necessarily follow consistent patterns in the characters I "fangirl". For example, you know I'm a hardcore Kara fan, and I've realized along the way that I'm more like her than I expected. But though I've been fans before of similar characters to her (Spike, Logan, etc...), I didn't necessarily identify with them.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Kara/Lee dreamybop_radar on May 9th, 2007 05:12 am (UTC)
Oh, that's a good point. Redemption's big with me, so I'm often drawn to the dark-character-turned-good or dark-character-with-a-good-heart-underneath, but I only identify with some of them.

I guess there are different tiers of attachment to characters. Sometimes I may start out mildly liking a character but grow to really like them/identify with them when I find out more about them. I thought Waverly was cool when she first came on FNL, but she got way more interesting to me once we found out about her condition--since that's a personal interest of mine.

For me, I think it's also partly to do with how 'real' the characters are to me. The more realistic and layered the characterisation is to me, the more it's likely to hook me in.
serenography: KKmirrorserenography on May 9th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
This involves more thinking than I'm capable of right now. I will say that I believe I'm attracted to characters for all sorts of reasons, but in general I find that I like characters that I sympathize with for whatever reason. Of course this just leads to 'why do I sympathize with them' and that varies according to the character. So... I should probably stop rambling now and go to bed. I'm curious to read all the responses you'll get.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lois searchingbop_radar on May 9th, 2007 06:50 am (UTC)
It is rather thinky, isn't it? I found it very tricky to put together. I'm not very good at poll construction.

And it's true that it can be a bit Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole-like to contemplate one's sympathies to various characters. On the flipside, I've found it challenging to confront some of the reasons I didn't like Lana and Lyla to begin with, so sometimes who we don't like is just as revealing. Those discussions with you were very helpful on that front.
(no subject) - asta77 on May 9th, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on May 9th, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dianora2 on May 9th, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on May 9th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Parul: Eden - misunderstood spiesnakhrewali on May 9th, 2007 06:35 am (UTC)
I love this topic because I always keep thinking about the characters who I like/dislike in literature/fandom!

I have noticed that I alwyas go for either the villain who no one can understand why I like but always ends up with a redeeming feature or two (which gives me cause for smugness ha) or the minor characters.

I almost always never identify with the main character. Whoever is the main character seems to automatically disappear from my list of character to fangirl over.

Most of the time I always wonder why my character does not seem to get as much recognition as the main one despite it being so utterly obvious he/she is the more competent one. And this makes me have some pretty disturbing conclusions about myself o_O

Huh reading all that above seems paltry but honestly back when I used to diary it out the good old way with a journal and pen I wrote reams and reams of stuff on this topic. I think my brain is too dead to construct a good argument today.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex purple evilbop_radar on May 9th, 2007 06:47 am (UTC)
Oh yay! Yes, I find it fascinating too.

the villain who no one can understand why I like but always ends up with a redeeming feature or two (which gives me cause for smugness ha)
I'm fond of that one too! ;-)

I almost always never identify with the main character. Whoever is the main character seems to automatically disappear from my list of character to fangirl over.
Ditto! What's that about, do you reckon? *frowns* It's definitely true of me.

I always wonder why my character does not seem to get as much recognition as the main one despite it being so utterly obvious he/she is the more competent one.
*lolz* Yeah, me too! I like the figure in the shadows! And I also have those kind of passionate attachments where I simply do not understand why my character is (sometimes) largely hated by others. Clearly they are superior!! :-) I do seem to end up with a lot of unpopular fannish opinions this way... the mainstream is not the way for me, usually, and maybe this ties to not connecting with central characters?

I think it's quite tough to sort through the maze of feelings we develop around our particular shows and characters. I can imagine writing about it (privately) would help articulate your thoughts.
Juxtoppozed: newdayhopejuxtoppozed on May 9th, 2007 08:10 am (UTC)
I love that you put all this into words, and a poll! I've always wondered why I relate to certain characters and/or why I love certain characters and it's always interesting to have those epiphanies, especially when discussing. For instance, I was randomly discussing issues of identity with a friend and suddenly realized why I relate to characters who struggle with their identities or have to constantly be on the defensive about their background/heritage or keep it low key because of the responses they've experienced or were warned about, what that entails, the effect it as, etc (and to me, before I realized this, it was always strange that people in online fandom rarely saw this as a legit thing for, say, Clark on Smallville to work out and overcome...especially since he's been in the "closet" all his life and made to think his secret [and by extension identity] is something to hide, be ashamed of, etc). There are little light bulbs that go off from time to time in that regard. Nathan Petrelli got more sympathetic to me when they elaborated on the burden he was carrying to succeed as the oldest. I relate to Lois' fear of failure and consequent, occasional self-sabotage, and thought that was a legit thing for a character to struggle with before striking out. Those little things. On the other hand there are characters I don't relate to at all that I find loveable (especially on FNL, though I have many eps to catch up on there).

I also notice that I fall in love with the idealist and selfless hero in practically everything I watch because it helps validate values that may not be as "cool" or in fashion in entertainment media. I watched the first couple episodes of Lost and immediately felt drawn to the doctor that put aside his own fear and started helping other and as many people as he possibly could. I just generally like selfless people--especially selfless people that despair for the predicaments of others, understand and are sobered by the gravity of it all, and genuinely want to help those people--and think shows/characters that glorify that rock.
Le courage ne craint pas le crime: Tom Welling as Superman.attaccabottoni on May 9th, 2007 09:28 am (UTC)
it was always strange that people in online fandom rarely saw this as a legit thing for, say, Clark on Smallville to work out and overcome...especially since he's been in the "closet" all his life and made to think his secret [and by extension identity] is something to hide, be ashamed of, etc)
*gapes* They do? Really? Then maybe their taking it for granted that Clark doesn't know like we do that he's to become future Superman and he's still figuring out what he exactly wants in life. Or was that what you meant?

Hey, that's an observation about Lois that I've never heard of before! It's so cool it helped me make sense of her character. (I should read more Lois meta.) It really is about the little things, huh? :D
(no subject) - bop_radar on May 9th, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Becky: I have a great fondness for this train.sadface on May 9th, 2007 09:12 am (UTC)
Ever since you pointed out how Matt fits my type (which I hadn't noticed) I was considering this with all the other characters I liked and yes, I do have a type and that, I guess the struggler, is it, also people with mother issues, I love them. (Mostly, I imagine because I consider the influence/opinions of parental figures the most ingrained and permanent things in life and so I project that onto characters and if one is trying/failing/attempting to live up to a parent's ideal then that is in itself a stuggle.)

I'm trying to think about OTPs and I think I've only really ever had two (clex and shigure/akito) that I cared about, like I can take or leave other parings, but I guess even in my lesser pairings I like, there has to be some epic scope and not like 'oh but she's dating his best friend :(' some ridiculous and insurmountable thing that means it could never EVER happen in reality, so er, tragic and doomed from the start. yep. (lol at me). How this reflects upon my personality I guess is actually to an embarrasssing extent. I'm one of those deeply romantic people, you know, that required several oppositions to any couple something to fight against! Something to overcome, you know, I'm one of those people who will actually go out of my way to create a problem, just for the purpose of defeating it and so it means more. hahaha, yes I'm a 12 year old who just read Romeo and Juliet for the first time.

:/
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: FNL Matt Saracenbop_radar on May 9th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
Cool! One of my things is people with father issues. That's a surefire path to my heart. ;-) Both Heroes and Smallville are heavy on parental influence and I think that is an area I'm fascinated by too--I agree with you that our parent's influence is one of the most signficant factors in our lives.

tragic and doomed from the start
I have the tragic and doomed thing too--it most definitely explains the Clex! :-) Though it's second to another OTP for me. I think I imprinted early on the relationship archetype of loyal/admirable, but perhaps slightly dorky/meek or otherwise dismiss-able guy helplessly attracted and devoted to smart/sassy/independent girl (who initially barely acknowledges boy's existence but eventually recognises his true value). Anne/Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables, Lois and Clark--they were my early OTPs and that dynamic still totally does me in anywhere I see flickers of it. And yeah, the day I held that mirror up to my own relationship was not a very comfortable day! ;-)

Don't be ashamed of the tragedy kink! It's a classic! :-)
(no subject) - nakhrewali on May 10th, 2007 11:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on May 10th, 2007 11:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
Le courage ne craint pas le crime: CEO Lex Luthorattaccabottoni on May 9th, 2007 09:14 am (UTC)
It seems I'm in a chatty mood too. ^_^

I know I instantly like characters who
1. for males: fit the archetypes that I'm drawn to (the nice guy, the cool and reckless rebel, the devoted family man or follower)
2. for females: those who have the same temperaments that I have (the intensely violent, the emotionally in-denial, the silent or chatty know-it-all),
and if their looks fit the type (except in anime/manga/video games), then they become insta-crushes!

So the guys have to fit my ideal criteria, and the girls have to me very similar to me for me to crush on them. (And now I feel self-conscious of my gender bias. :D)

Relationship dynamics: I can honestly say I've never really thought about relating the dynamics I like to my RL dynamics (even with characters I identify with), so I conclude that context is important in every relationship. (Which is probably why we have ship manifestos.)

It is in this part that reveals my extreme bias, because I may not join in the fandom debates, but I have firm and set (and almost religious) beliefs in this area. You know, the kind that makes you close-minded in superiority, and turn your nose up on pairings/sexual dynamics that you don't approve of. *winces*

Identification: Sometimes I get uncomfortable with characters who I could relate to (prime example would be Lana Lang's self-interested dependency). But could there be a difference with characters you relate to (i.e., have certain similarities with in terms of background or experiences or just some aspects) but not identify with (i.e., people you could claim are just like you, or play a role that you also do in life)? I'm pretty sure I don't identify with Lana even if we share a personality trait. Or maybe I'm just being emotionally in-denial as mentioned.

I usually identify with the angsty and tortured characters. I have a love/hate attitude with those who suffer in silence, because if I could I would advise them to get over it, but neglect to practice what I preach. Clark is someone I identify with, but I don't relate to because, you know, alien.

Fangirling: I have deep abiding love for people who are passionately and single-mindedly dedicated to a certain cause/ideal/representative person to the point that they neglect their needs or their relationships, and/or sacrifice any semblance of a normal life to devote it to what they fight for.

This usually applies to either heroes or anti-heroes (because that kind of commitment defies conventional means, and they clean up nicer than the villains), and an example would be Dr. House (whom I really don't like but can't help but admire).

I said usually, because Lex Luthor is an exception to this rule. He's obviously a villain, is more complicated for someone with a singular obsession, I don't approve of his methods, and he's BALD and totally not my type. However, I'm horrified to admit that if I could self-insert myself in his world, I would willingly become his minion, if only to understand his philosophy better and serve his cause (and for the chance to maybe have sex with him). That is the extent of my Lex fixation. *blushes* It's Michael Rosenbaum's fault!

So, this self-reflection has made me categorize my fannish attentions in order of increasing insanity. You're definitely not alone in continuously trying to understand what your fannish likes mean to you personally. ;-P
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex torturebop_radar on May 9th, 2007 11:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the long response!

You know, the kind that makes you close-minded in superiority, and turn your nose up on pairings/sexual dynamics that you don't approve of. *winces*
Hee! Well at least you're honest about it. It depends with me--most of the time I'm pretty open and inclusive, even if I don't really 'ship' a couple myself I'm tolerant of the shippers. But sometimes where a really passionate attachment springs up I'll be more defensive about an alternate pairing. And some pairings just squick me out and I steer clear.

But could there be a difference with characters you relate to (i.e., have certain similarities with in terms of background or experiences or just some aspects) but not identify with (i.e., people you could claim are just like you, or play a role that you also do in life)?
I'd say definitely! I make that distinction myself. Sometimes I'll relate to a character for a certain period of time (Chloe late-season-one, early-season-two was very sympathetic to me), but lose interest later when their arc changes (she bores/annoys me now). Or I'll like one aspect of a character's personality but not others--and consequently I'll ebb and flow in my liking of them depending on how in evidence that trait is. For a character to be permanently sympathetic to me, or always my pov character, it requires a far more complete connection/set of characteristics.

I have a love/hate attitude with those who suffer in silence
Hee! Me too. I kind of love them most of the time. But it depends how easily they could get help and how useful/noble the suffering in silence thing is. Inactivity over a long period annoys me.

Clark is someone I identify with, but I don't relate to because, you know, alien.
Oh, that's interesting that you make that distinction! His alien nature isn't an issue for me at ALL. His character attributes are, and it's only in later seasons as he's become more proactive and introspective that I've really felt empathy for him.

I have deep abiding love for people who are passionately and single-mindedly dedicated to a certain cause/ideal/representative person to the point that they neglect their needs or their relationships, and/or sacrifice any semblance of a normal life to devote it to what they fight for.
Nice description! That kind of passion is definitely attractive.

It's Michael Rosenbaum's fault!
I know, I know! ;-) I think MR has an unholy ability to override people's natural inclinations.

this self-reflection has made me categorize my fannish attentions in order of increasing insanity
Heee! Increasing insanity is a good way to put it. I have my own list of 'increasingly insane' likes. I have several layers that hook me in:
- plot arcs (redemption, tragedy)
- characters (anti-heroes, mixed dark/light character with something 'special' about them, strong alpha female characters, angst/inner pain)
- relationship dynamics (smart girl/devoted guy, friends-turned-enemies).
And the more of these a particular story or show gives me, the more crazily it will hook me in.
Vicki: Duckmyownghost on May 9th, 2007 10:37 am (UTC)
good poll. i misread one question and had to correct my reply -- the revelations i've experienced have sometimes been about characters i disliked (e.g., lana) and how my hostility can mask similarities between me and the character. that kind of thing makes me say OUCH. heh.

i've been interested in characters as archetypes since i did some reading about Jung around 10 years ago. sometimes a male character will draw me in so fast and so deep, it's a little scary, like being struck by lightning. i understand now that it's to do with animus issues, or with the Shadow, and there's usually eros involved. it's always worth thinking about.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois Crimsonbop_radar on May 9th, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC)
the revelations i've experienced have sometimes been about characters i disliked (e.g., lana) and how my hostility can mask similarities between me and the character. that kind of thing makes me say OUCH.
Ohh, yeah! That's something I didn't accommodate in my poll (it was hard!). Very good point. I mentioned above that coming to terms with why I disliked Lana was a very revealing journey for me too. OUCH is right!

I honestly should read more Jung. I constantly refer to Jungian archetypes or to theories based on Jungian psychology and yet I have done only the most basic reading on Jung's original ideas (for uni). Clearly I'm interested by this. *marks on 'to read' list*
Spaced Out Looneyspacedoutlooney on May 9th, 2007 01:09 pm (UTC)
Interesting poll! For the "Has a fannish discussion ever prompted a revelation about yourself/your own life?" question, I would have answered both the first two answers, except that it was radio buttons instead of ticky boxes.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Ericabop_radar on May 9th, 2007 02:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I stuffed up on that one. Sorry! I would too. My bad. I'm not really very good at phrasing polls, but I'm happy to see lots of people gave this one a go anyway. *g*
amandajaneamandajane5 on May 9th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
I find that I tend to like the hero, the good guy, the Luke Skywalker. I look at my favorites on TV right now, and well: Clark Kent, Sam Winchester, Peter Petrelli.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that they're pretty!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: K Lexbop_radar on May 9th, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
Pretty heroes?! You sound like mskatej! *pokes tongue out in Kate's direction*

I have nothing against pretty heroes, but I have to work to find them interesting. I've definitely achieved that with Clark--I used to find him downright annoying, but I can't imagine not adoring him now. But I don't think I could have got there without the huge tragedy thing Smallville's got going on--because that's my access point. Heroes on other shows leave me pretty 'meh'.
(Deleted comment)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lois no morningsbop_radar on May 10th, 2007 12:00 am (UTC)
I'm endlessly fascinated by the fact that some people can detach themselves from their fannish behaviour and are comfortable nattering on about what it says about them. Others… not so much:)
Yeah! :-) Me = comfortable. To an extent. Generally I won't discuss these things until I've thought about them a lot myself and 'come to terms with' what it means. But I'm all about self-awareness and honesty, even when the self-revelations are unflattering, so I have no problem discussing things--especially as discussing them often helps me to clarify.

Their perseverance inspires to marshal on even when I want to give up. They remind me that femininity and strength never will be antithetical and that feminism has many guises.
Ohhh, that's a lovely articulation of what you draw from your characters! I think it's wonderful that you finally recognised the strength in the female characters in those arcs. Often we are, at first, preoccupied with who the love interests are--we fangirl them and that can blind us to what's going on with the main (female, in this case) characters in the plot.

The couple in question has to be made up of characters who are equal in strength, but that mostly are far different in personality. Throw in a bit of UST or seemingly unrequited pining, verbal sparring (swoon) and some humour… and I’m on board:
Oh, nice description again! There's a fair bit of crossover there with my relationship archetype/ideal, but you express it slightly differently to me. The 'equal in strength' thing is something which at first glance I didn't initially click with. I usually get sucked in by the (seemingly) unrequited longing and UST, and I tend to prefer pairings where superficially all the emotional 'power' is with the girl. But usually when you look at the pair they do have complementary or opposite strengths--e.g. Lois and Clark. Verbal sparring and humour definitely get HUGE points from me.

two characters who care enough to take the time to argue the finer points obviously love each other a great deal:) At least, in the Logic of Elle, it works that way. RL usually throws curve balls into this mix. LOL
Again, nice way of putting it! And I agree. I was a bit mortified at first to realise that I really do love that dynamic in real life too. But I'm coming to terms with it. RL is of course way more complex than the fictionalised explorations of such dynamics and one needs to compromise a great deal more. ;-)

I won’t hold your Lois-bias against you! And, BTW, I actually think you overcompensate by NOT playing to that bias.
Hee! Thanks. And yay!

I’m sure it MEANS something terribly anvilly about us. *cue Twilight Zone music*
Definitely! ;-) While I love thinking about these things I can also laugh at myself and the fact that if you look into it for too long anything can be read as having significance!
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(no subject) - bop_radar on May 11th, 2007 12:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - bop_radar on May 11th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - bop_radar on May 12th, 2007 12:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
deaver: Calli smilesdeaver on May 9th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
Huh. all interesting thoughts. Not sure that I've done a lot of thinking about why I enjoy certain character or can't stand others, except in the vaguest of terms.

Mostly, I recognize that I don't like characters with no moral code. I don't care if their particular moral code is completely different than mine, I just need to know that they will follow, to a certain degree, their own set of rules. Which is why I liked Spike in the early seasons (when he lived by the -pardon my language- "Fuck, Fight, and have Fun" code) but didn't like him much later (when he lived by the "Whatever Buffy Tells Me To Do" code).

I've never thought about the romantic relationship side, though, I don't think I have a particular type. Or at least not one I am able to recognize. But I'd love to see other's theories...
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lee thinking hmmbop_radar on May 10th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
I just need to know that they will follow, to a certain degree, their own set of rules.
Yeah, I can understand that. Though personally I'm fine with the 'love overrides my usual moral code' trope. I'm a sucker for insane, against-one's-will, self-destroying attraction. ;-)

I didn't initially recognise a pattern in the relationships I was attracted to either. And there are still some exceptions to the rule--relationships that have a particular nuance I like but which don't fit my standard 'type'.
katiebugs18katiebugs18 on May 9th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
This has the potential to be the longest post ever...but I'll try to be short. Bottom line for me is that while I do tend to 'fangirl' characters like myself I've been known to 'fangirl' characters who couldn't be more different from me. I guess there really is no rhyme or reason other than I either "am" them (ie. Lee, where the pretty certainly helps) or I "want to be" to them (ie. Kara, House) or at least parts of them. And that's why archetypes work.

And as far as relationships go, the more f*cked up, the more angsty, the more hopeless the better. I don't want to always ship that way because it's so painful as a viewer but I always always do, no matter how hard I try not to (Josh and Donna...7 years people! 7 YEARS!) I tend to like dark and ships like Kara and Lee don't get much darker. I should probably see someone about this but I won't. Oh and I should point out, none of this has any relation to my real life. Which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending.

I think, overall, what this says about me is that I spend way too much time thinking about these things. Way too much time. But as long as I'm in such good company then I don't care. Also, like you said, it's escapism.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lois duhbop_radar on May 10th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
This has the potential to be the longest post ever...
Hee. My record response (received) is five comments. So the bar's set high! ;-)

I don't want to always ship that way because it's so painful as a viewer but I always always do, no matter how hard I try not to
Oh god, yeah, me too. I always fall for the long drawn-out, epic-length, angsty ships. And there's not always payoff at the end... though I get damn cranky if there isn't! I too like dark ships. Gee, big surprise there since we met through Kara/Lee! ;-)

Way too much time. But as long as I'm in such good company then I don't care.
Hee. Don't worry--I think I've confidently got you beat on this one. Fandom's good that way--there's always someone more obsessed/crazier than you out there! ;-)

(And apparently I'm in a winking mood because I ended every sentence with one--huh!)
(no subject) - katiebugs18 on May 10th, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
slinkling: my boobs read proust (1)slinkling on May 9th, 2007 06:27 pm (UTC)
This is a really interesting post, and it's got me pondering my habits of watching/reading characters. I've tended, thus far, not to spend much time analyzing my own response patterns to the people and relationships that attract/repel me in media I obsess over. I can come up with a few reasons for that -- I watch this stuff for escapism, not to think about me; I mostly just fangirl one show, so there's not that much material for me to investigate; I'm new(ish) to fandom and haven't gotten around to this yet; I fangirl a show that my more highbrow side thinks is trashy, so I don't want to look that closely at why I love it -- and some of those reasons hold more water than others. Yet the very fact that I haven't given it thought is interesting to me, now that you point it out. In literature, the thing that particularly obsesses me is the narrator's agenda: who is telling me this story, and why? What are they choosing to emphasize or de-emphasize, and what do those decisions tell me about the person making them? So you'd think that, when I'm fixating on a show as a fan, and my attention and sympathy gravitate toward certain people/situations and not others, I'd automatically be interested in what's drawing it to those people/situations, and what that says about me. But nope, I hadn't really thought about it at all until just now. Huh.

With regard to archetypes, I don't think it's a specific character type that draws me (though maybe if I mull this over some more, I'll spot something to convince myself otherwise) so much as an archetypal conflict. A character who is divided against him/herself is almost always compelling to me. A character who feels called upon to take on a task/responsibility much larger than what s/he feels capable of, likewise. In the media I look to for escapism, these inner conflicts are writ so large as to verge on cartoonish -- but if you ignore the scale and just focus on the conflict itself, it's something I completely identify with. I kind of view life like this, now that I think about it. Complete certainty about anything important is a shiny fiction; reality involves inner struggle, and tough decisions, and the kinds of ambiguity that can keep you arguing with yourself forever. And it's hard; life is just really hard. It's also often beautiful and great, but it's always massively challenging, and stories of fictional characters facing something that's way beyond their ability to grasp -- these just ring true for me in a deeply comforting way. (Especially because, by and large, in the stories, these characters succeed. For at least some definition of success.)

Okay, and now I'm going to spend the rest of the day thinking about this one, and seeing what else I dig up. ::gazes deeply into navel::
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex golden fieldbop_radar on May 10th, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
Hello sweetie! I'm so glad you responded. I knew you'd have good thinky thoughts to share. *g*

I watch this stuff for escapism, not to think about me; I mostly just fangirl one show, so there's not that much material for me to investigate; I'm new(ish) to fandom and haven't gotten around to this yet; I fangirl a show that my more highbrow side thinks is trashy, so I don't want to look that closely at why I love it
I relate to ALL of those reasons! Though I'm at a different stage than you because I'm now poly-fannish, and it's definitely only once I had several shows that I started really thinking about this. Then I was able to also trace patterns in my reading interests as well, which outside of fandom would be where I invest most of my recreational energy. And movies to a lesser extent.

the thing that particularly obsesses me is the narrator's agenda: who is telling me this story, and why? What are they choosing to emphasize or de-emphasize, and what do those decisions tell me about the person making them?
Oh, I totally obsess about that in literature too! Lately, especially so. It's probably partly been triggered by my work as an editor, because I've become very conscious of how deliberate these decisions on an author's part are. And a writer that does interesting things with perspective or uses their narrator in an innovative/subversive/unexpected way gets huge points from me.

an archetypal conflict. A character who is divided against him/herself is almost always compelling to me. A character who feels called upon to take on a task/responsibility much larger than what s/he feels capable of, likewise.
Oh, nice! What I'm noticing about these responses is that everyone has a different way of expressing what they're attracted to. Even when we're describing something similar. I would never have come up with 'archetypal conflict', but it definitely resonates with me now that you've defined it. Internally conflicted characters TOTALLY sucker me in. In fact, I'd say that's one of my primary attractions. (Hello, Smallville! *waves*)

Complete certainty about anything important is a shiny fiction; reality involves inner struggle, and tough decisions, and the kinds of ambiguity that can keep you arguing with yourself forever.
YES! *loves you* 'Bright shiny futures are overrated' (to quote my favouritest TV character ever!)

It's also often beautiful and great, but it's always massively challenging, and stories of fictional characters facing something that's way beyond their ability to grasp -- these just ring true for me in a deeply comforting way. (Especially because, by and large, in the stories, these characters succeed. For at least some definition of success.)
Again, a huge WORD to this. I'm not surprised to find that you and I are drawn to the same dynamics, since I've already felt that to be true. And you realise Smallville is all about this--it's the fact that Smallville's been framed as tragic and everyone's destinies are so overwhelming and cause them so much internal conflict that totally suckers me in. Had they made it less internally angsty, it would bore me.

Since you've shared so many insightful observations already, I'll share one I had about Clex recently. I am a sucker for redemption arcs (perhaps because they automatically involve internal conflict?) and I was thinking about how this fit with Clex. Lex's journey is a promise of redemption unfulfilled. But just at the point where you realise Lex has stepped too far into darkness, Clark shifts into light and starts growing as a character. As a pair, Clark provides the hope--and my sympathies shifted from Lex to Clark at a certain point. So the Clex is an unusual situation where it's not one character but the pair as a whole that satisfies me. And that helps explain (to me) why despite the 'doomed' nature of the ship, I still draw satisfaction from it at some level.
Nora Norwich: Gorgeous Glovernorwich36 on May 9th, 2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
It's hard for me to generalize, because I have been in a lot of fandoms and liked a variety of different characters types and pairing types. We've talked in the past about how I love villains--Lionel Luthor, Lucien LaCroix, Arvin Sloane, Lindermann--and I do sometimes wonder about my "bad dad" fixation and what it says about my own relationships, not so much with my dad in particular but authority figures in general. But I am also interested in them because I like redemption stories, and that explains my interest in former (or not yet fallen) villains like Xena and Lex and Methos and Spike and Faith and Lilah and Snape and Nick Knight. In fact, I do think it's really my interest in the possibility of redemption that actually drives my interest in the character type, and not so much the reverse.

But I'm also drawn to a really wide range of other character types, too; some heroes (like Buffy and Clark and Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon and Benton Fraser), sometimes the sidekick who acts as the brains, like Chloe and Giles and Wesley and Coreen and Willow)--and I could go on. Actually, making this list makes me realize that I love ensemble shows, especially ones where I like the majority of the characters. The only show I can think of that I stuck with where I consistently disliked one of the main characters was Angel.

And as for pairings: I do tend to have a preference for enemy slash, probably because it is the last real obstacle existing for romantic pairings that can actually be insuperable, and I do have a soft spot for "their love is so strong it can overcome any opposition." But I've also spent a long time in buddy or partner-pairing fandoms: Due South (Fraser/Kowalski and Frasier/Vecchio), Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon), early SV Clex, etc.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lois no morningsbop_radar on May 10th, 2007 12:26 am (UTC)
I like redemption stories, and that explains my interest in former (or not yet fallen) villains like Xena and Lex and Methos and Spike and Faith and Lilah and Snape and Nick Knight. In fact, I do think it's really my interest in the possibility of redemption that actually drives my interest in the character type, and not so much the reverse.
Yup. You and I have talked about that before and we definitely have that in common. I suspect that to be true of me too. Villains without hope of redemption don't suck me in, no matter how 'fun' they are. Sylar, for example--no interest beyond the superficial 'he works as a villain' for me, because I really don't believe he's redeemable. (I know some would argue!)

Unlike you, I rarely go for heroes or sidekicks. Though I can enjoy them, they are more likely to fall in a kind of 'middle tier' of characters who I like a lot but don't really 'get' or don't really empathise with regularly. But I do like ensemble shows. I'd rather a show had heaps of middle tier characters and no standout character than only one character who happened to suck me in.

Enemy slash + buddies = Smallville fills both needs! :-) It's funny. I like the partner/buddy thing in het ships, but not so much in slash. Or maybe I just haven't really explored it yet? I'm not sure. But I have thought before about why I'm so drawn to enemies slash and I think it's partly because there's not many good examples of het enemies dynamics. Why is that?! Slash does enemies so very very well. Yet I'm struggling to think of a good het enemies pairing... meh, perhaps I'm just needing more coffee. It is morning, after all!
(no subject) - norwich36 on May 10th, 2007 06:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on May 10th, 2007 06:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - norwich36 on May 10th, 2007 06:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on May 10th, 2007 08:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - norwich36 on May 10th, 2007 06:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on May 10th, 2007 08:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - norwich36 on May 10th, 2007 06:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on May 10th, 2007 08:04 am (UTC) (Expand)