Thursday, September 11, 2008

(Fully Fleshed Out) Characters Needed

So "Gossip Girl" is hot. I saw ten minutes of it and never went back. But according to Newsweek, lots of men are loving it (Dawn Ostroff wants proof of this, in the form of ratings.) Why? Because it has fully fleshed out male characters.

Well, duh. I don't like buffoons and one-note male characters any more than I like silly and one-dimensional female characters. Joshua Alston notes that the reason why the Sex and the City movie got thumbs-down by men is because the men were "pencil sketches", "a cavalcade of broken men" with a variety of hang-ups ill-suited for their ages. Hey, I agree! One of my biggest problems with that movie was that the men were so underutilized, and their sides of the story (specifically Steve's) needed to be told. Just like women want to see a female character hanging out with the boys (Seinfeld, see anything related to superheroes), men want a male character who doesn't suck in their chick-heavy entertainment.

I knew many males who liked "The OC" back in the day, too. Cause the friendship and the characters of Seth and Ryan was compelling and realistic; it was Marissa and Summer who were boring. Everyone agreed on that, and Seth Cohen's character became an icon for a certain type of male.

There's always a lot of talk about how television dumbs down it's audience. That's true, especially if you watch a lot of "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?", but in creating shows with compelling characters, it pays to make sure that they're interesting no matter the gender or genre.


petpluto said...

You know what? I have an odd love-hate with something like this. I love it because I think it is good that even a terrible show like Gossip Girl has fully-fleshed out characters. But I think it also kind of shows how a lot of time, men have to have other men to relate to before they'll grant something validity or even try it. I think it goes back to men being the norm. Women can watch movies populated with men and badly written women characters, and come out thinking that it was an enjoyable journey even if "what's her name" was just there for eye-candy. "What's her name" should have totally had a better story and actually been utilized, I'm not denying it. But a great deal of men disliking Sex and the City because it doesn't have a relatable man (and all of the women deal with those "womenly" issues) seems to indicate that a lot men don't have the same ability to see something of themselves in the opposite sex. If you couldn't tell, I've been reading The Second Sex again...

John said...

Is that really why guys are watching Gossip Girl? Those steamy posters are very misleading, then. At my most optimistic, I can concede that might be why they continue watching after one episode. That, or the implied sex is really steamy.

Perhaps the show got better over time? Metacritic shows a jump from 54 for season one to 71 for season two, with Entertainment Weekly now giving it a perfect score. Apparently it has reached the zenith of "rich, gorgeous teenagers doing things that we find reprehensible even when adults do them" television.

Emily said...

The girls at work talk about Gossip Girl every Tuesday. Every Tuesday they ask me if I watch it, I say, no I don't. They then say, OMIGOD you HAVE to watch it! It is SO GOOD! Hearing what they talk about, it sounds like a crapfest.