Character Spotlight ~ Jack Carter

Picture courtesy of sharetv.org

Picture courtesy of sharetv.org

Jack Carter is the average-Joe sheriff in a town where everyone else is a genius. I’m quite used to seeing the opposite of this premise and being terribly unimpressed with it. The TV Genius is often a guy who speaks in sesquipedalian loquaciousness that hides simple but inaccurate formulas that if written in plain English could be disproved by a third grader.

I will admit that they have taken creative liberties in Eureka. However, they did this after showing their work and in cases where the plot hinged on it. They didn’t just throw out a “Reverse the polarity” in every episode to fix the problem.

I will admit, for some geniuses, they come up with some really horrible ideas but their genius is in their ability to execute the idea. Foresight is another area entirely. Foresight doesn’t get you an extra number on the IQ test. But Jack Carter isn’t one of these geniuses, he’s just the guy that cleans up after them, the sheriff.

Obviously, he is an audience stand in. I usually find these irritating. I prefer people just make a character. I’ve never seen an audience stand in I could relate to and it’s not because I’m black and female. It’s because I’m not there for other people to project their logic and opinions on to me which an audience stand in is frequently for. Jack Carter’s got his own opinions and his situation is relatable for me. I’m the below average child of “Mensa qualified” geniuses. Jack is a guy with an IQ score of 111 in a town where everyone else is Mensa level. (The Mensa cut off is 132.)

This is why Jack has trouble getting people to take him seriously as sheriff initially and when some part of their invention has gone wrong. He doesn’t understand their jobs or how most of the stuff works until you explain it to him in layman’s terms so people figure “Well if you don’t understand that much, you probably don’t know how it works,” or “I’m way smarter than you. How could you possibly correct me?” Fortunately, most of the main cast doesn’t act like that or it would make the show unwatchable.

In fact the characters that actually matter don’t see the intelligence difference as some huge divide between them understanding each other or being able to relate. They even treat him like a human being. And eventually they have a great deal of respect for him as he’s saved them from turning the town into a crater on several occasions with surprisingly simple solutions to the complicated problems they create.

My favorite example of this would be the time that Fargo accidentally set a nuclear bomb to head over to Russia via satellite and after spending the whole episode getting the answer out of the inventor who now had Alzheimer’s another one started up with a ten minute countdown. Cue the panicking. Jack might have been panicking himself. He rammed his jeep into it to change its course so it never reached the satellite that would have redirected it to Russia and started a nuclear war.

I probably wouldn’t have done that. I would have been under the impression that a bomb made to withstand exiting and entering the atmosphere before detonating upon its landing would have blown slam up from being rammed with a jeep. Of course, wording it like that might have dispelled the thought for me.

I don’t know the age of Jack Carter but it’s clear that his life didn’t just begin as the show started. He’s been in law enforement before. He’s been married and divorced before and he has a teenage daughter from that marriage who actually has her own character development and is a part of his life.

Even though she is a teenage delinquent in the beginning which must be embarrassing when you’re the sheriff, she’s just doing it for the attention and eventually shapes up. I saw a shift in her character when she refused alcohol from her aunt (the adult in the situation) on the grounds that it was illegal and she’d been taught better. It’s eventually found that she is every bit as smart as the others in Eureka and she gets into Harvard.

Of course the timeline for that may vary. Jack goes through several different timelines yet he always tries to create a safe place of semi-predictability. This safe, normal life is taken from him over and over again as inventions malfunction, people misuse power and their own intelligence and time pushes them in and out of the temporal paradox more than once.

Surely, by the end of the show he knows that he’s never going to find it, that things are never going to be normal that even when he settles down into one life he can wake up at the beginning of those four years or in an alternate timeline where Allison is still married to Stark and his daughter is in jail instead of college. Yet, in spite of this, he always keeps a spark of optimism that pushes him to keep trying even when everything he’e done can be snatched up from under him in an instant. Optimism is a good trait to have in a main character. 

My next character spot light is going to be on Rinoa Heartily from FinalFantasy VIII.

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Midna From Twilight Princess

310px-Midna02

Picture Curtesy of Zeldawiki.org

I didn’t like Midna when she first showed up. She was both smug and condescending, a great combination. My reaction to her was similar to my reaction to all of those “Sassy” types I encounter in Zelda games. “How dare you talk to me, the almighty Link that way?! You insolent cur!” I usually get over it but Midna was a special breed of sinister and potentially backstabbing. Then there was this whole “Slave” dynamic which really rubbed me the wrong way.

There were plenty of comparisons to Navi but I never had a problem with Navi. The fact that Navi dared speak to me from time to time about irrelevant or completely useless stuff didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I appreciated the company while I was running around in a mass grave left over from a recent genocide having taken place.

Midna was more useful than Navi. I hated to admit that. The game actually made you rely on her rather than question her existence. It took from being just my “glory” to save Hyrule so my sue radar went off shortly after my b!+c# radar went off. I had to share the spotlight with a “Tsundere” who seemed to have a resentment towards Zelda that while unstated was so obvious she might as well have had a neon sign over her during their first meeting.

I was especially suspicious when she referred to her as “Twilight Princess.”

The “Twilight” is definitely at odds with Hyrule. How is Zelda the level headed, non treacherous beauty of Hyrule their princess? She’s the Princess of Hyrule being held captive by their “ruler.” I subconsciously knew what was up then but it didn’t add up to what I saw. I figured she’d tell me the truth when she was stabbing me in the back.

My suspicions ran deeper when Larynu told me what kind power it was that Midna had me chasing after. I figured that after that temple it would be her time to betray me in some really underhanded way.

But they went a different route here. Zant, the villian who she’d been ranting about having a false power and not being the true king showed up, took the fused elements, turned me into a wolf and nearly killed Midna. Perhaps I’d come not to hate her a while ago, but it was that moment in the game that made me actually realize it. Despite how much I couldn’t stand her initially I had learned to appreciate her company and she brought an element of humor to even the worst of Zelda water temples yet.

Fortunately Midna was not randomly killed in the middle of the game as that would have taken away several really crucial elements of the game-play and story. Zelda gave her current form to revive Midna which also gave her the ability to go out in the sun. But it wasn’t just my end of the relationship that changed.

Midna actually became more trustworthy and less caught up in her own feelings and agenda. She was even up front and honest about the fact that she only intended on using us and dropping us like we were hot when she was done. So despite her animosity towards Zelda, I think she was somewhat humbled by this experience and more understanding of Hyrule not being a dog-eat-dog world. She genuinely changed for the better while still keeping her usual sense of humor about things.

Midna is a character archetype that doesn’t work nearly as often as she’s tried. I won’t say any names but andone who’s heard of this type already knows. The “tsundere” types are frequently aggressive but mostly self-loathing. They don’t always learn. They don’t always get over themselves.  They don’t always respond to kindness by taking a good hard look at themselves and saying it’s not up to the world to pay for their pain.

But Midna did that without becoming someone else in the process. She was still sarcastic, humorous and slightly mean-spirited but she wasn’t bitter and resentful. She  also stopped treating me like dirt. That really helped even though by then I didn’t really  expect it. So this type of character can actually be pulled of well, but I still think we should stop while we’re ahead. Not everyone can make this kind of character and pull it off well and it would lose a lot of significance if they could.

Next week I’ll try doing a character spotlight on a guy… Shioon Lee (might be spelled Shi Woon Lee) from the Breaker.

Note: for all intents and purposes let’s just say that Tsundere while having a deeper meaning for the most part translates to jerk who needs to say “It’s not like I’m doing it for you,” anytime he or she is not being a jerk. I’m not a fan of this type of character.

Inspiration Post I

Cactus Dahlia

I’m going with an October theme for the month… even though I’m posting these every Tuesday.

Deviant Art           Black Dragon by Sandara

Subject                 The Sedlec Ossuary

Song                      Show Me Love (Not A Dream) by Utada Hikaru

It’s on Youtube (for now) but if anyone knows

where to buy it please tell me.

Manga                   Cradle of Monsters by Sanbe Kei (Poseidon with zombies)

Plant                      Cactus Dahlia (In bloom June through October)

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the king’s privilege to uncover it.”

Proverbs 25:2

About Consumption

I got eight hours of sleep last night so I had some time to realize that stuff you think is good while you’re sleepy doesn’t always turn out to be good while you’re well rested. The cover, as grueling as it was to make, was very misleading about the premise of the story.

consumption is a story about Identity, waking up and finding you weren’t who you thought you were and having to adjust to being someone else completely even though you know you aren’t this person. However my main character “Kaseko” switched between being two different people in two different realities and only having the identity of one of them. The cover however looks like some tragic love story to the tune of Romeo and Juliet.

Consumption

 I still haven’t learned to throw useless stuff out so I posted it anyway. See that? We can’t have that! Kaseko is a soldier from a futuristic world where a war is heating up. Senna is a girl from modern times with nothing good going on in her life. So I scrapped the cover.  Hmm, this is awkward. I can’t really think of anything else to say that isn’t either a spoiler or whiny. I do have a cold though and it’s slowing down progress quite a bit. My immune system isn’t very useful. But it’s not really too hard on my cold to sit at a desk.

Uh…

I wanted to post the first chapter of Consumption today but I found my time consumed by drawing the cover picture. I haven’t finished it because the main character wears cornrows and it’s really hard to draw. It’s been hours and to add insult to injury, the parts aren’t even. In this time I could have learned how to cornrow and done a head or two full. I’m not used to drawing for an extended time or challenging myself. My avatar picture took me about ten minutes.

Anzu

 Her hand is missing, but I guess you noticed that already.

In any case I posted the first chapter of Fortune. It’s overhead and I started with a very cliché plotline for this chapter. Yeah, start my first chapter of my first post with a cliché plotline. That’s how I roll. 

Unfortunately Anthony looks for trouble and while he doesn’t usually find it, Julian’s about as lucky as Eugene from Hey Arnold. (A kid’s show in which something bad happened to Eugene in every episode he dared to show his face in) Julian’s changed a lot from the character I intended for him to be. I was going to have him be a homeless drunkard who’s a few years older than Anthony. He seems to pretty much do whatever he feels like doing.

I’m going to post Consumption tomorrow because it’s nearly 3:00 AM and these late night post when I have to wake up early are not adding up. Next Monday I’m putting up a Character Spotlight.

Welcome

 This is a blog about writing and all aspects of it that concern me.  That includes:

  • Topics about finding “Inspiration” which usually happens while I’m bored
  • Technical stuff that I’m trying to learn the nature and processes of
  • Character spotlights on characters from published works
  • Writing prompts
  • Stories I’m working on
  • Character work from stories I’m working on
  • Commentary or questions about writing trends and what’s popular
  • Stuff I draw… I’ve seen better but I still believe a picture’s worth 1000 words.
  • A random Haiku at the bottom of each post

I’m not sure if I’m going to be much for book reviewing. I have a very short attention span and prefer to read textbooks and manga. I really like anime and manga but I’m not young anymore so I want my blog to have a mature look to it. Stories are updated on the second and third Friday. Some posted things might be revised. I’m always revising. I’ve read that it’s a bad idea in many places but that cannot be helped.

So, I’ll post one of the stories I’m working on tomorrow. Tomorrow for sure.

Self portrait I drew two years ago. I didn't have a mirror and I knew the eyes were off but my erasor wasn't having it.

Self portrait I drew two years ago. I didn’t have a mirror and I knew the eyes were off but my erasor wasn’t having it.

Another delay

Another chance lost to say

What I really mean

Why are they recommending I put a Fruits Basket tag on this page?