Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thoughts About Character

To pool together various things I have been reading, watching, and thinking about. I watched "Dirt" on Monday and found Lilly Julia not annoying - well annoying in a very different way so I was impressed. I thought there were good bones, and am willing to tune in next week. However, there is nothing in what EW said in their Snap Judgement that I can disagree with. Tying in with a recent discussion over at Smart Bitches about character I started to wonder.
In the snap judgment they talk about starlet Kira who, while a storyline of the week, probably has about five minutes of screen time. Kira we meet at a Hollywood party where she shares with a friend some ecstasy she got from "some guy". We then learn she had a fling with a player and, oops, ended up pregnant. Kira is distraught as the player is an idiot and she doesn't want to have his child but responds that she is "too Catholic" to have an abortion. Now of course we all know people, Catholic and otherwise, who hold onto certain parts of their faith or moral code or what have you and yet have no issue discarding others. So, Sure it does not make logical sense that Kira would be too Catholic for abortion, but not too Catholic to forgo extramarital sex (perhaps the lack of birth control was due to the too Catholic-ness also) and not too Catholic to do drugs while pregnant. (Although, I'm not sure the Bible specifically references drug use, I still feel sure there is a principle here.) The behavior may not be logical, it could well be in character except that we just met her (and she won't be back) so it just seems like our friend plot contrivance has come to visit making her too Catholic to believe in abortion so that her dilemna seems less easily resolved. (Not that abortion, even fictional abortion is easy, but you know what I mean). Part of my comment on Smart Bitches is that we as readers (or writers) understand that people do things that are not in character, but you need to understand the parameters in order to understand things that are strange. Since television views rarely have access to character's internal monologues we have only what we see to determine those parameters, and in a character of the week scenario, it wasn't enough time to really make those determinations so we are left with a really illogical starlet.