*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Will & Grace. Read at your own risk if you have not watched either the previous series or the new series. For the purpose of this post, I am only referring the narratives in the original series, not the reboot.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Will & Grace to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
It’s not easy dating, especially when you live in a city that millions call home. But then fate rears its head and that special someone enters your life. In Will & Grace, that special someone for Grace (Debra Messing) is Leo Markus (Harry Connick Jr.). After years of so-so dates and boyfriends that were not the greatest, Leo is the perfect guy for Grace.
Leo is a Jewish Doctor (aka every Jewish mother’s ideal mate for their child). He is handsome, funny, charming and is willing to put up with Grace’s craziness. But Leo, like anyone of us, imperfect. He cheated on Grace with a colleague, effectively ending their marriage. After a brief time apart (and a short visit to the mile high club), Leo and Grace got back together and found their own happily ever after.
To sum it up: A good romance contains barriers to the potential couple’s happily ever after. Whether that is a physical barrier or an emotional barrier, something has to keep them apart. Though Leo is the romantic lead, he has a humanity to him, which not only makes him endearing to Grace, but to the audience.
For many, the allure of running your own business and being your own boss seems like a dream come true. But underneath that allure is hard work. It has been said that more than half of all new small businesses close within a year of opening.
Tabatha Takes Over (originally titled Tabatha’s Salon Takeover) aired on the Bravo network from 2008 to 2013. Tabatha Coffey, a successful hair stylist, originally worked solely with the owners of hair salons in the first three seasons before expanding to other small businesses in the final two seasons. Her goal is figure out what is keeping the business from being successful. Working with the owners and the employees, the hope is that by the time Tabatha is finished, the business will go from floundering to successful.
Some might have said that Tabatha is well, a b*tch. She is direct, in your face and has no problem telling a business owner what they need to do to keep their business from going under. But, the format worked. About half of the businesses are still open today. Unlike other programs of this nature, it didn’t feel like the average reality show. I think that is because Tabatha was playing a character or a version of herself, she was being who she is and made no bones about it.
For some, the opportunity to achieve success in the entertainment industry comes via reality television and a competition program.
Since 2011, The Voice has aired on NBC. The Voice is reality show/music competition program that follows the format of other programs of a similar nature.
The premise of the show is as follows: wannabe professional singers audition for the judges/coaches who have succeeded in the music industry. As the show goes along, the number of contestants are whittled down until the winner is announced.
Unlike that other music competition program, The Voice feels like a mentoring program. The judges/coaches genuinely want to see one of their men-tees win and want to work with them to get them to the finish line. It also helps that the judges/coaches love to tease each other while on set. It breaks the tension and makes both the audience the contestants laugh.
The Voice is currently on its 15th season. It airs on Monday and Tuesday nights at 8pm on NBC.
The 2014 novel, The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, is set in 17th century Amsterdam. Petronella Oortman or Nella as she is referred to, is a young woman from the countryside who is newly married to Johannes Brandt, an older and wealthy merchant. Leaving her widowed mother and younger siblings, Nella travels to Amsterdam to live with her new husband. She discovers that while the house itself is beautiful, it feels emotionally cold. While Johannes does not mistreat Nella, he does not act as newlywed is expected to act. Johannes’s unmarried sister, Marin, runs the household. Deeply religious and not afraid to speak her mind, Marin treats Nella with as much warmth as her brother does.
Johannes gives Nella a doll house as a wedding present. Made to look like a miniature of the real thing, Nella starts to order objects to fill up the dollhouse. Then things get weird as unexpected additions to the doll house are added that reveal truths that some would like to keep buried.
I loved this book. Nella is the eyes and ears for the reader. As she grows and discovers the truth about her new family, so does the reader. I very much appreciated that despite her initial shyness, Nella is a bright, inquisitive and empathetic character who is stronger than she appears to be. I also appreciated that Johannes, Marin and the other characters were brilliantly written and full of everything that makes a great character.