Friday, December 20, 2013

Ask DanielleTBD: Trading Lives with TV Characters...

As you can see from my severe lack of entries this month, my inspiration has been dwindling when it comes to writing anything, let alone anything original or creative. So once again I took to Twitter to ask others for help-- to ask me questions or offer me hot topics they're currently buzzing about or even just tell me what works for them when they're similarly depleted. I got a lot of questions in response, most of them TV related. After all, that is how I made my living for the last few years and therefore how most people know me. One of the most interesting ones to me was from Jennifer Marie who asked, "if you could trade lives for a day with one tv character who would it be and why?"

Oh Jennifer Marie, you think you asking for a specific one would force me to be concise, but you'd be wrong. So here's the thing: I'm not going to be creepy and weird and build my perfect TV character out of all of the parts of other TV characters just to give myself the best possible (albeit fake) scenario because that would be cheating. But I am going to list a few characters (though I'll play by some of your rules and stick to TV characters) I'd want to trade places with because let's face it, when you're almost 30 and unemployed and living in the same apartment you've had since college, you need an escape. Almost any escape.

  • Liz Lemon. When 30 Rock first debuted on NBC Liz Lemon was basically me but successful. I, too, wanted to write and produce television (at one point I even specifically wanted my television to be on NBC but well then the regime changed and changed again). I, too, had terrible eating habits and neurotic dating ones. But none of her obstacles were obstacles, rather interesting pops of color that complicated her life and gave her that much more material. By the end of the show's run she even had the family proving that Yes, Virginia, women really can have it all. In fact, now I may need Liz Lemon's life (even if just for a day) more than ever: to shake myself awake and actually inspire me to do something other than snuggling under a slanket on the couch with my marathons of Top Chef and frozen pizzas.

  • Carol on Episodes. Here's the thing about this character: she blinked. I would want to be her but at the tail end of season two when she was basically offered the head of the network job. Because I would take it and never look back. Now, I don't want to spoil season three for you (because it's hilarious in that meta way it's always been only it goes a step farther to even have its characters attend what basically amounts to a TCA party in all of its own ridiculous glory), but Carol has yet to come into her own at the top of the food chain. She may make most of the decisions because the men above her are morons who don't even seem really understand the medium, let alone have anything past the most basic morsels of ideas ("We should do a show about gargoyles." "What about them?" "That's it, gargoyles!"), but she isn't really in the power position and she actually gets in her own way a lot. Now, I'd love to have the power and nobody's giving it to me in my life either, but if I were Carol, I'd be in a position where I could make some huge moves and then take the power. Also, I'd use the opportunity to green light some of my awesome friends' show ideas.

  • Awkward's Val. This may not be the "cool" answer, but I don't care. Val has her quirks and her oddities, but they are all part of her charm. And the best part is though she clearly wants to be "down" with some specific kids, she really doesn't seem to care what the majority of them think of her. Otherwise she would have burned her own fanny pack by now, right? Granted, if I actually was her for a day I would burn the fanny pack, but I would relish everything else she gets to do-- from doling out terrible advice to creating PSAs in the form of both plays and videos to getting to the bottom of whatever mystery is lurking the halls of Palos Hills. It would be nice to let my hair down and just be kooky for once!

  • The Tomorrow People's Cara. She is bad-ass plain and simple, and when the show returns in the new year she actually gets to step up a bit more front and center in the decision-making of things among her people. Reading minds and teleporting are cool enough, kicking the ass of those who give your kind a bad name (and those who want to do your kind harm) is even better, but her role expands into more of an acknowledged protector that must feel really nice, too. 

  • Any of the Bravermans. I just really want to be a part of that family! Family is therapeutic, and especially around the holidays it would be nice to sit at a huge table over a big meal, talking, laughing, passing potatoes and then presents.

  • Leslie Knope. Next to Liz Lemon, Leslie Knope is the character on television who I see the most of myself in with her hoarder ways that I, too, have recently shed to her very specific older man crushes (hers is Biden, mine has always been Stephen King) to her love of sugar and hatred of salad to her big dreams and big goals. The difference is that she has only had a blip or two of cynicism damper her sunny demeanor and when she gets blocked or down on herself she can pull herself out (with a little help from her friends) very quickly. Those are characteristics I would love to have and think I could learn from, even if only for a day.

  • Any of the Orange is the New Black ladies. Okay, I know what you're thinking: why on Earth would I want to be in prison, right? Well, true that I wouldn't do well with the communal showers or the religious babble or the bitches who want to fight me or anything, but there is something just so soothing about being told I have to take a vacation from technology. The stacks of books on Piper's shelf remind me of a simpler time in my own life, and I'd love to be able to just read all day without hearing the buzzing of my email or the questions from friends about what kind of job I'm trying to get. Plus unlike being stuck at home, in jail my meals would be limited and outdoor time would be a privilege I wouldn't take for granted. I might even exercise if I was surrounded by people who I don't know and who I could therefore reinvent myself for. And you know, they have dogs there, too, so...

  • Oliver Queen (Arrow). Felicia Day recently said that if she could switch bodies with anyone for a day she'd pick someone like George Clooney or Clive Owen so she could basically stare at herself in a mirror all day long. And I really think she was onto something with that!

  • And of course, Tami Taylor. That really should speak for itself.
But now had you asked me which characters I most realistically think I am, well, that is a whole other story entirely!

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