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  1. #151
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    But how do you KNOW the complexity is pointless?
    Good point, I suppose it depends on the character. For example there is a slight line between creating an outcast misfit who struggles with the ridgid uniformity and empty soul searching of modern life and who is induced to convey this in an interesting first person narrative....and a whiny, spoilt child who mistakes his or her inane...barely constructed insights for true profundity but who does so in an overly convoluted manner. Or rather the writer does.

    I suppose it really just comes down to personal preference and understanding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    This is true. Even in pieces where the protagonist has some moral ambiguities, rarely are all the characters similarly endowed. That's dull. A character's motivation should never just be "because he's evil".

    That said one of my favourite satirical comedies of all time is "The Thick Of It", which is exclusively peopled with absolutely despicable people (aka politicians). There isn't a redeeming trait amongst them, apart from the most vicious ones being hilarious and the stupidest, objects of astounding derision.
    Interestingly, the US spin-offs are insipid in comparison (Veep? + a movie) despite their having an embarrassment of riches in terms of source material. Americans seem to have a hard time dealing with unsympathetic characters. They have this nauseating addiction to niceness.
    Ah In the thick of it...I really ought to watch that series again....it's amazing. Also interesting point about the United States and dealing with unsympathetic characters, here it seems, (and of course I mean the UK), we have an almost...obsessive fascination with the dislikable underdog...probably because most of us are that underdog and can relate completely.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

  2. #152
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffirmitiveAnxiety View Post
    Good point, I suppose it depends on the character. For example there is a slight line between creating an outcast misfit who struggles with the ridgid uniformity and empty soul searching of modern life and who is induced to convey this in an interesting first person narrative....and a whiny, spoilt child who mistakes his or her inane...barely constructed insights for true profundity. Or rather the writer does.
    I always hated Mena Suvari's character in "American Beauty" -- I've never even thought she was pretty -- and for much of the movie she was a vapid empty-headed slutty superficial jerk. When Wes Bentley ruthlessly cut her down, I cheered... and then in the last ten minutes of the movie, I actually felt pity for her. In her own way, she was just confused and thirsting after attention like anyone else in the world, it leaves her open to be potentially victimized because she wants to be wanted so badly, and you just never see how screwed-up and vulnerable she actually is until that moment.

    To me, that kind of complexity is good writing. I hate the character from a personal standpoint, but I admire her in her complexity and from a writing perspective at that point. I tend to hate characters, instead, that have no complexity to them.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #153
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I always hated Mena Suvari's character in "American Beauty" -- I've never even thought she was pretty -- and for much of the movie she was a vapid empty-headed slutty superficial jerk. When Wes Bentley ruthlessly cut her down, I cheered... and then in the last ten minutes of the movie, I actually felt pity for her. In her own way, she was just confused and thirsting after attention like anyone else in the world, it leaves her open to be potentially victimized because she wants to be wanted so badly, and you just never see how screwed-up and vulnerable she actually is until that moment.

    To me, that kind of complexity is good writing. I hate the character from a personal standpoint, but I admire her in her complexity and from a writing perspective at that point. I tend to hate characters, instead, that have no complexity to them.
    That's a very good example actually of what a character appears to be on the surface being thrown open to what is underneath through a deeper exploration into her motives and nature. When they are exposed to the core, people show us who they really are and it's this that can make a fictional character engaging, whether we like them or not.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

  4. #154
    Senior Member Lightyear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffirmitiveAnxiety View Post
    That's a very good example actually of what a character appears to be on the surface being thrown open to what is underneath through a deeper exploration into her motives and nature. When they are exposed to the core, people show us who they really are and it's this that can make a fictional character engaging, whether we like them or not.
    I felt the same way about Kirsten Dunst's character in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". For most of the movie I just wanted to slap her character and then she turns out... to have a history. And suddenly I could empathize with her.

    One character that has spoilt a book (and film) for me is Jane Eyre's Mr Rochester. The book was going at such a beautiful, otherworldly pace and then he turns up and starts ruining it with his moody, pseudo-intellectual speeches. Blah.

  5. #155
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Rita Skeeter and Victor Krum (Harry Potter)
    Arwen (LoTR)
    Nancy and Bill (Oliver Twist)
    Kitty and Lydia (Pride & Prejudice)
    All the main characters in anything written by Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, or Thornton Wilder.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  6. #156
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    Horatio, csi miami.
    Batman, any batman.

  7. #157
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffirmitiveAnxiety View Post
    Good point, I suppose it depends on the character. For example there is a slight line between creating an outcast misfit who struggles with the ridgid uniformity and empty soul searching of modern life and who is induced to convey this in an interesting first person narrative....and a whiny, spoilt child who mistakes his or her inane...barely constructed insights for true profundity but who does so in an overly convoluted manner. Or rather the writer does.
    Sure. I hate the new-york-flavoured neurotic navel-fluff of Woody Allen & co.
    The Tree of Life. OMG, dire.
    In general though, I'm a fan of complexity.
    Ah In the thick of it...I really ought to watch that series again....it's amazing.
    New series has just started, you can catch the first episode on iPlayer. Sending up the coalition doesn't seem to be as fertile as the good old / bad old days. Maybe it will just take a while to warm up. Or maybe Iannucci is spreading himself too thin.
    Also interesting point about the United States and dealing with unsympathetic characters, here it seems, (and of course I mean the UK), we have an almost...obsessive fascination with the dislikable underdog...probably because most of us are that underdog and can relate completely.
    Really? You can relate? I can't relate to any of them (maybe Malcolm Tucker just a tiny wee bit - his frustration with retards, mostly, not his evil scheming, well, not especially). I just think it's bloody funny.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  8. #158
    Senior Member ZPowers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    That said one of my favourite satirical comedies of all time is "The Thick Of It", which is exclusively peopled with absolutely despicable people (aka politicians). There isn't a redeeming trait amongst them, apart from the most vicious ones being hilarious and the stupidest, objects of astounding derision.
    Interestingly, the US spin-offs are insipid in comparison (Veep? + a movie) despite their having an embarrassment of riches in terms of source material. Americans seem to have a hard time dealing with unsympathetic characters. They have this nauseating addiction to niceness.
    No? I think there's a handful of characters who aren't actually bad or conniving people, but are either incompetent or at least somewhat swept up by this broken system around them (sometimes Nicola, Mannion, Glenn can be okay on a good day, Hugh never struck me as that bad a person). At the end of season 3, they even managed to get me to have sympathy for Malcolm for a moment (though I don't hate Malcolm ever, he's too much fun. One of my favorite TV characters ever).
    Does he want a pillow for his head?

  9. #159
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZPowers View Post
    No? I think there's a handful of characters who aren't actually bad or conniving people, but are either incompetent or at least somewhat swept up by this broken system around them (sometimes Nicola, Mannion, Glenn can be okay on a good day, Hugh never struck me as that bad a person). At the end of season 3, they even managed to get me to have sympathy for Malcolm for a moment (though I don't hate Malcolm ever, he's too much fun. One of my favorite TV characters ever).
    Bad people, no. They are idiots though.
    Iannuccu should get a knighthood for Tucker.

    Heh. I just read that he got an OBE.
    Alastair Campbell's response to his appointment was "Three little letters can have more impact than you realise", to which Iannucci replied, via Twitter, "WMD"
    LOL
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  10. #160
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lightyear View Post
    One character that has spoilt a book (and film) for me is Jane Eyre's Mr Rochester. The book was going at such a beautiful, otherworldly pace and then he turns up and starts ruining it with his moody, pseudo-intellectual speeches. Blah.
    Yeah, I agree. I wanted him to go away most of the time.
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

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