*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.
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 of 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 Roseanne and The Conners to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
In an ideal world, our lives are planned out and we easily settle into those plans. We find the perfect romantic partner, the perfect job, have children and settle down to a simple and predictable life. But life is not always ideal. On Roseanne and The Conners, Jackie Harris (Laurie Metcalf) is Roseanne Conner’s (Roseanne Barr) younger sister.
Her life is far from ideal. Over the course of both series, she went through a series of jobs and boyfriends that never lasted. Lacking in self esteem and sometimes a little too flighty for her own good, she relies on her sister, who is jokingly perceived as a tad overbearing. Married briefly in the first series, the marriage started via an unexpected pregnancy and a one night stand. It ended in divorce, leaving Jackie as a single mother.
In addition to her dealing with everything else in her life, Jackie has a love/hate relationship with her mother. Beverly Harris (Estelle Parsons) is constantly harping on Jackie’s lack of romantic success and her inability to hang onto one career for a serious amount of time.
To sum it up: Jackie’s life is far from ideal. But that is what makes her character interesting. Boring and predictable does not hold the audience’s attention. Interesting and complicated not only holds the audience’s attention, but it keeps them coming back. The constant ups and downs in Jackie’s life makes her a unique character and why after 30 years, television viewers still love her.