Friday, June 15, 2012

Favorite Quirks of Fictional Characters

Sometimes in books and movies and TV shows a particular character will seem over-the-top or ridiculous or just plain unbelievable, but we like that character anyway. Here are a few of my favorites. The cool thing is that I’ve known someone in real life who exhibited the same quirk.

1) Michael Scott in the TV sit-com The Office – he says and does such embarrassing and inappropriate things that I can’t help but drop my head in shame for him as I laugh. (I’ve known a social studies teacher like this. He once showed up in a pink bunny costume to crash a ladies’ Tupperware party.)

2) Indiana Jones in my favorite movies – his hat never came off no matter what improbable situation he escaped. (A divorcee, a pastor, and a young man I’ve known can all tell the most interesting stories from their lives; whatever place, activity, or problem you mention, they’ve been there, done that, solved the problem with finesse.)

3) Russell Hantz from Survivor, now hosting a house flipping show– his hat was usually on, too, to hide his bald spot. Though he’s not fictional he’s a combination of Michael Scott and Indiana Jones with a dash of deception, arrogance, and ignorance thrown in which, strangely, makes him interesting. (I know a restaurateur who also hides his balding, continually lucks out in Vegas, flips houses and cars with alacrity, and leads a charmed life.)

4) Eddie Burling from my book Edge of Escape– teenaged hunk, but unaccepted, shy, awkward, emotionally impaired. (I had an eleventh grade student who got quite emotional over little things. He was tall and handsome yet the girls ignored him. He sat with the special education kids at lunch and seemed to be an outcast even with them. I based the character, Eddie, on him. I’ll never forget the time he came up to me after class with tears running down his face because he couldn’t understand how to conjugate verbs. I worked with him; he wasn’t dumb and eventually earned a B.)

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