Category Archives: Character Review

Grantchester Character Review: Leonard Finch

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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 Grantchester to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

No one wants to be different. We all want to fit in and be accepted. In our time, being different has become the new normal. But it was not so long ago that being different was if not illegal, considered to be immoral. On  Grantchester, Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) is gay. In his world, Britain in the 1950’s, he is essentially illegal. He faces two daunting choices, neither of which are ideal. He can either come out and potentially go to jail. Or, he can stay in the closet and pretend to be someone who he is not.

On the surface, Leonard comes off as the enthusiastic man of the cloth who clings ferociously to the ideals of his profession. But underneath all of that is a man who is struggling to accept who he is. On top of accepting who he is, Leonard is unsure about his attraction to Daniel Marlowe (Oliver Dimsdale).

In an effort to appear “normal”, Leonard asks Hilary Franklin (Emily Bevan) to marry him. She accepts his proposal, but the engagement does not last very long. This results in a botched suicide attempt. After surviving the suicide attempt and found out by Mrs. Chapman (Tessa Peake-Jones), he realized that even in the constricting 1950’s, it was better to be himself than hide who he is.

*I would normally include a clip, but there are none to be found.

To sum it up: In the lens of 2020, no one (well hopefully no one) would blink an eye when encountering a gay character. But, in the lens of the 1950’s, the view of this character is different. He lives in a world that at best denies who he is and at worst, criminalizes who he is. But, in spite of what seems to be insurmountable challenges, Leonard is able to find a way to be himself and fall in love.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, History, Television

Grantchester Character Review: Geordie Keating

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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 Grantchester to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In the world of TV detectives, there is a certain perception of the character. He or she is hard bitten by life, excels at their jobs, but personal issues sometimes get in the way. Detective Geordie Keating (Robson Green) has seen it all. A veteran of World War II, he has seen the darker side of humanity from his time during the war and his job as a police detective. Married to Cathy (Kacey Ainsworth), they have four children and a very busy life.

The ying to Sidney Chamber’s (James Norton) yang, Geordie understands the criminal mind and is sometimes willing to break the rules to bring them to justice. This naturally creates tension with Sidney who is more intuitive in his methodologies than his partner. But, they balance each out in a way that bring out the best in both men.

On the home front, Geordie has another set of challenges. He had a mistress for a while, which obviously did not make for a happy marriage. After he broke it off and finally returned to the arms of his wife, Geordie had to face up to the fact that his eldest daughter, Esme (Skye Lucia Degruttola) was growing into a young woman. Ask any father and they will tell you that it’s not easy to admit that your little girl is growing up.

To sum it up: The character of the hard boiled police detective is one that has been seen many over the years. It is therefore, the job of the writer(s) to ensure that their version of the character is not only flesh and blood, but stands out from the pack.

Geordie Keating stands out because even though he is a hard boiled TV detective, he is so much more than that. He is thoroughly human, with flaws and mistakes. But he also knows when to make amends and tell those who he loves exactly how he feels.

That is why Geordie Keating is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, History, Television

Grantchester Character Review: Sidney Chambers

My character review from Roseanne and The Conners has reached its end. Onto the next set of characters.

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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 Grantchester to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to clergy people of any religion, we expect them to act and think in a certain way. We expect them to be buttoned down, conservative and living as close to the tenets of their faith as they can. In Grantchester, Sydney Chambers (James Norton) breaks all of those rules and more.

A World War II veteran and a man of the cloth, Sydney Chambers’s life is more than the Church. Drawn into the world of crime fighting, his ability to read and understand the human condition puts a new spin on his extracurricular activities. Paired with veteran policeman Geordie Keating (Robson Green), Sidney is the ying to Geordie’s yang.

When he is not doing his clerical work or fighting crime, Sidney can be found with a drink in his hand and a jazz record playing in the background. He can also be found with his best friend, Amanda Kendall (Morven Christie). Sidney is in love with Amanda. But according to the rules of 1950’s England, a woman of Amanda’s stature does not marry a clergyman, especially one whose parish is in the country.

Throughout his journey, it is Sidney’s heart that both helps him and gets him in trouble. When a pregnant Amanda walks away from her marriage, she goes to Sidney. The “will they or won’t they” questions hovers above their relationship, but ultimately becomes a won’t they as Sidney chooses the Church over Amanda.

In the end, Sidney’s heart chooses his fate. Falling in love with an African-American woman, he leaves England, his chosen profession and his friends for a new life in the States.

To sum it up: Sidney Chambers is one complicated character. Though he is a man of the cloth, he is far from the stereotype of a clergy person. As an audience member, I personally find the contradictions to be interesting. As a writer, we look for ways to break molds in characters and allow them to stand out.

Sidney Chambers stands out, which is why he is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, History, Television

Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Harris Healy

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series  Roseanne and The ConnersRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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.

It is often said that women become our mothers, whether we like it or not. On Roseanne and The Conners, Harris Healy (Emma Kenney) is nearly a mini-me of her mother, Darlene Conner (Sara Gilbert). Born premature, Harris survived her first few months in the hospital before coming home to a loving and chaotic family.

While most of her is a miniature of her mother, there is also a little of her aunt, Becky Conner (Alicia Goranson & Sarah Chalke). After spending most of her life in Chicago, Harris was not pleased when she had to move back to Lanford. To be a teenager is hard enough, but to be uprooted and move to a new town at that age is especially difficult.

Though Harris does make friends, they are not the sort that her mother approves of. They tend to lean toward not so legal activities, creating a rift between mother and daughter. Like any good parent, Darlene is just looking out for her daughter. But in Harris’s eyes, her mother does not understand how she feels.

Her one wish is to move back to Chicago. She hopes that her wish materializes in the form of her estranged father, David (Johnny Galecki). But like many hopes, it never became reality.

To sum it up: We all remember how hard it was to be a teenager. It’s one of the most tumultuous, life changing and sometimes heartbreaking experiences that anyone will ever go through. What I like about Harris is that she is an ordinary teenager. When your that age, it’s nice to see yourself reflected on screen.

Which is why Harris Healy is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Mark Healy II

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series  Roseanne and The ConnersRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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.

One could argue that art is about representation and giving voice to those who are voiceless. When it comes to the LGBTQ community, art has a way of opening minds, doors and hearts. On Roseanne and The Conners, Mark Healy (Ames McNamara) is that voice. The son of Darlene Conner (Sara Gilbert) and David Healy (Johnny Galecki), Mark is artistic, sensitive and polite. Named after his late uncle, Mark prefers feminine clothing and is out to his family.

Though his grandfather Dan Conner (John Goodman) initially expressed some concern about Mark’s identity, his love for his grandchild eclipsed his concerns.

To sum it up: It takes courage to be yourself, no matter how old you are. In being himself, Mark speaks to and speaks for those of us who are different. He encourages us to not be afraid of standing out from the crowd. Though he is young, the lesson he teaches is timeless and ageless.

That is why Mark Healy is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Television

Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Beverly Harris

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series  Roseanne and The ConnersRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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.

The image of the grandmother in the sitcom world, is usually one of two things. She is either the kindly, loving grandmother who gives advice, loves her family endlessly and cooks like nobody’s business. Or, she is the mother/mother-in-law whose has good intentions. But she comes off as pushy, opinionated, judgmental and thinks that she knows better than her children.

On Roseanne and The Conners, Beverly Harris (Estelle Parsons) is not exactly the ideal mother/mother-in-law. But to be fair, her life has not been easy. Her marriage was far from easy or loving, used as a cover to legitimize the birth of her eldest daughter, Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr). In addition to being a former alcoholic, Beverly left her husband after discovering his twenty year long affair and watching her husband abuse their daughters.

Known for being pessimistic, negative and over-controlling (especially toward her younger daughter Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), Beverly is not the easiest of mothers. Being that Jackie is in and out of relationships (and jobs), her mother tries to act with motherly concern. But it comes out as critical.

Presently, Beverly and Jackie live together. They are doing their best to tolerate each other, in spite of the the decades long sniping between mother and daughter.

To sum it up: Beverly may not be the perfect mother or grandmother, but she is the perfect comedic character. Though her comments come from a good place, the reaction does not always match the intent. But that is why she is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Mark Healy

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series  Roseanne and The ConnersRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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.

From the time we are very young, women are told that we are to find some version of prince charming (in whatever shape he takes), fall in love and happily ever after. While that sounds great in a fantasy world, in the real world, relationships and romantic partners are much more complicated.

On Roseanne and The Conners, the late Mark Healy (the late Glenn Quinn) was married to Becky Conner (Alicia Goranson and Sarah Chalke). Mark is a bad boy in every sense of the word, causing the parental hackles of Becky’s parents, Dan and Roseanne Conner (John Goodman and Roseanne Barr) to rise. He is not exactly the man they pictured their eldest daughter marrying.

Forced out of his house at 16 by his alcoholic parents, Mark is not exactly book smart or sensitive, but he is street smart. That street smart and his devotion to his wife eventually wins over his in-laws, though they do take the opportunity every now and then to make a joke at his expense. He is also protective over this younger brother, David (Johnny Galecki), but like any good big brother, he does give David the occasional ribbing.

Like the actor who played him, Mark died young. His nephew, Mark Healy (Ames McNamara) was named in memory of his uncle.

To sum it up: Mark may not be prince charming and may not be the first choice when a parent thinks of a future partner of their daughter. But he is reliable, he is steady and does the best he can to support his wife. I would hope that at the end of the day, that is what any parent wishes for when think of a future son-in-law.

That is why Mark Healy is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Television

Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: David Healy

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series  Roseanne and The ConnersRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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.

On Roseanne and The Conners, David Healy (Johnny Galecki) is not the most forceful of personalities. He can be sweet, loving and polite to those around him. He was also susceptible to being pushed around by his girlfriend/wife Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and his older brother Mark (the late Glenn Quinn).

Like many sensitive and quiet men, David often loses out on potential partners because of his personality. He also has an artistic streak, but he lacks the educational experience that others have. Having come from an abusive home, he finds an ally in Darlene’s mother, Roseanne (Roseanne Barr). Though David is often compliant, he is no pushover and will tell Darlene exactly how he feels when he needs to.

Years later, David and Darlene have married and have two children, Harris and Mark. Their marriage has crumbled and David walked away from his wife and children. He comes back after meeting another woman and wants a divorce from Darlene. Eventually, David ends his relationship to get back together with his wife, but she has moved on with her life and is ready to move back to Chicago.

To sum it up: David is a nice guy. There is a saying: “nice guys finish last”. But I don’t think David finished last. He may have messed up every now and then, but he did the best he could as a boyfriend, a brother, a husband and a father. He finished in exactly the way he was supposed to finish.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Television

Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Jackie Harris

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series  Roseanne and The ConnersRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: DJ Conner

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series  Roseanne and The ConnersRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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.

Sometimes it’s hard to be the youngest child. On Roseanne and The Conners, D.J. Conner (Michael Fishman) is the youngest of Roseanne and Dan Conner’s (Roseanne Barr and John Goodman) three children. As a child, he was precocious, curious and not as worldly as his elder sisters. His encounters with Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and Becky (Alicia Goranson and Sarah Chalke) usually end with names that only come from an older sister to a younger brother.

As he matured, D.J. began to deal with the same issues that every young man deals with. Unsure on how to deal with his burgeoning sexuality and feeling initially squeamish about the opposite sex, the adult D.J. is not the simpleton he was perceived to be as a child. As an adult, both he and his wife joined the military. While his wife is serving her country, D.J. is home with their daughter.

To sum it up: Being the youngest child is tough. But D.J. gets through it and as an adult becomes a responsible and mature member of society. Though he is remembered as a chubby-faced child teased by his sister and the young man going through puberty, he is known today as also the responsible father and husband.

Which is why D.J. Conner is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Television