Category Archives: Character Review

The Golden Girls Character Review: Blanche Devereaux

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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 The Golden GirlsRead 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 The Golden Girls.  to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In our world, there are certain ideas about women and sex. When we get to our golden years, we are not interested in sex and/or romantic relationships. On The Golden Girls, Blanche Devereaux (the late Rue McClanahan) was the exact opposite of the stereotype. A modern version of Scarlett O’Hara, Blanche had her fair share of dates. Widowed for a few years, Blanche often waxed poetically about the South of her childhood and the many young men who came calling.

But Blanche is more than just an old Southern debutante. She was devoted to her late husband and her late parents. Though her parenting skills were not as strong, she tried, as many parents do. She also attempted to accept that her brother was gay, though it took some help from her roommates to finally respect who he really was. She is also equally devoted to her roommates, who pay rent to her as the owner of the house they share.

To sum it up: Blanche is a great character because she is vibrant, she is full of life and is complicated like the rest of us. As both a fan and a writer, I love how complicated Blanche is. I also love that she represents that a woman’s sexuality does not diminish once she gets to a certain age. That is why Blanche Devereaux is a character that television viewers will not forget anytime soon.

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The Golden Girls Character Review: Sophia Petrillo

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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 The Golden GirlsRead 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 The Golden Girls.  to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to women of a certain age, the impression is that time have taken their toll. At this point in their lives, they are living quietly, without the excitement of their younger years. Sophia Petrillo (the late Estelle Getty) on The Golden Girls proved that women of a certain age do not lose their lust for life just because their younger years are behind them.

Sophia was born in the first few years of the 20th century in Sicily. One of three children, she immigrated to New York as a teenager. After the death of her husband and being hospitalized for a stroke, Sophia moved in with her daughter, Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur).

The stroke took away Sophia’s ability to censure herself. This often led to conversations that ended with Dorothy threatening to send her mother back to the home. “Shady Pines, Ma” was often heard out of the mouth of an exasperated Dorothy.

Though she openly mocks her housemates, Sophia loves them as if they all were her flesh and blood. It is that love that sustains her, especially after Dorothy re-marries and moves in with her new husband.

To sum it up: It would be easy to create a character of a certain age who has taken a back seat to life. It is harder to create the same character, especially if she is female, with the same vibrancy and joie de vivre as a younger woman. Fans of The Golden Girls love Sophia because she is sassy, she is smart, but most of all, she loves her daughter.

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The Golden Girls Character Review: Rose Nylund

*I apologize about the delay in posting. 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 The Golden GirlsRead 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 The Golden Girls.  to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

The dumb blonde has been a reliable character trope for generations. But it takes a smart writer and a smarter actress to take that character trope into new directions. On The Golden Girls, Rose Nylund (Betty White) appears to be the stereotypical dumb blonde. But she is much more than that.

At first glance, Rose appears to be far from the brightest bulb in the box. She says and does things that only a naif would say and do. The stories of her youth often reference her hometown, St. Olaf and the Scandinavian-American family that she was raised in. While she may appear to be a dumb blonde, Rose is much more than the archetype.

A widow whose husband died while they were making love, it takes Rose a few years to get back into the dating world. She is employed in a series of jobs after losing her late husband’s pension. Though she did have a long term relationship with Miles Webber (Harold Gould), the relationship ended after they broke up and Miles married another woman.

To sum it up: It would be easy to characterize Rose as a dumb blonde. But she is so much deeper than the innocent that she appears to be. Rose is empathetic, kind, loving, sensitive and sometimes, not all there. But we love her still, regardless of her lack of intellectual abilities.

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The Golden Girls Character Review: Dorothy Zbornak

The next group of characters I will be writing about are….characters from The Golden Girls.

*-I apologize about the delay in posting. Life as it does got in the way.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series The Golden Girls. Read 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 The Golden Girls.  to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

No one goes through life without challenges. The question is, is this person destroyed by these challenges or can they rise above them? On The Golden Girls, Dorothy Zbornak (the late Bea Arthur) has been through a lot in her 60ish years. Born to Italian immigrants in New York City, Dorothy grew up in a loud and complicated family. The oldest of three children, she has often been pushed aside for her younger siblings. In her late teens, after getting pregnant, she married Stanley Zbornak (the late Herb Edelman). After nearly 40 years of marriage, he left her for another woman.

Dorothy is known for her bookish ways, her sharp tongue and her grounded view of the world. She also has a soft side for her mother, Sophia Petrillo (the late Estelle Getty), who can also be a thorn on her side. Their verbal confrontations often end with the following statement: “Shady Pines ma”.

To sum it up: Though Dorothy has been through a lot in her life, she is able to rise above what has stood in her way. She may have her ups and downs, but the fact that she can rise above those downs is a testament to her strength and her courage. It is a lesson that we all can learn.

That is why Dorothy is a memorable and beloved character.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Katriona “Kat” Tamin

*This will be my last character review for Law & Order SVU. The next group of characters I will be reviewing is….you will have to come back next week.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read 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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There is a certain advantage to being the youngest and the newest employee. Unlike an employee who is experienced both in the job and within the company, this new employee may have an energy and an enthusiasm that overtakes their lack of experience.

On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the new detective on the squad is Katriona “Kat” Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder). A transfer from Vice, Kat is young, eager and takes her job seriously. Her first case is going undercover as a young actress who is nearly assaulted by Tobias Moore (Ian McShane).

As dedicated as she is to her job, she understands that a little delicacy is sometimes needed. When a transgender woman comes forward with a rape accusation, Kat gently pushes the victim to provide the information needed to close the case.

To sum it up: To be young and enthusiastic about work is a unique experience that only comes during a certain time in our lives. Though we may become dejected or cynical later in life, it is this time that teaches us about the workplace. As a character, Kat stands out because of her youth, her energy and her dedication to her job. It is a lesson about work that should not fade, regardless of how long we are in the working world.

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Law & :Order SVU Character Review: Casey Novak

*I apologize about the late post. Life, as it sometimes does, got in the way last night.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read 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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

For many of us, the first few years in our careers can be defining years. They can also be challenging, forcing us to submit to the idea that the reality of our job does not match what we thought it would be. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Casey Novak (Diane Neal) is one of the many District Attorneys who assist the SVU team with putting away criminals. Young, ambitious and serious about her job, Casey keeps her emotions and her private life to herself.

Her job would be simple if she worked for another unit within the NYPD. However, she works with SVU, where the crimes are often physically and emotionally messy. This leads Casey to lean on the steady and reliable law, especially when the case she is trying verges into a morally grey area.

Though she tries to keep her emotions and private life separate from her work, both inevitably bleed into her work. A previous relationship with a mentally ill ex-boyfriend nearly cost her life and affected her judgment when she purposely sabotaged a case involving a schizophrenic child rapist.

Though her work ethic is admired by the SVU detectives and her supervisor, her zeal nearly ruins the professional relationships with her colleagues. But in the end, there is a mutual respect that develops from her drive and her ability to open emotionally to her colleagues.

To sum it up: It takes courage and time to come out of one’s shell, especially in the workplace. But Casey does it in a way that does not feel forced or unnatural. She remains dedicated to her work, but she also bonds with her colleagues in a way that allows them all to do their jobs. That is why, as a character, Casey Novak stands out.

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Late Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Brian Cassidy

*I apologize for the delay, life, as it sometimes does, got in the way.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read 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 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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Finding one’s path in life is not easy. It requires one to take chances, not knowing if your going in the right direction or you have taken a mis-step. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters) is just trying to find his way. Like many who are trying to find their way, he makes a few mistakes.

Cassidy is one of the younger members of the SVU squad. Though he is dedicated to his job, he has a long way to go before he is the ideal SVU detective. The gravity of the cases he works on often stretches him emotionally, sometimes forcing him to react inappropriately. It takes his older and experienced partner, John Munch (Richard Belzer), to calm him down and teach him to become a better detective.

If the pressure of work was not enough, Cassidy’s long time crush and one night stand with Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) does not end well. This leads to an explosion in which he realizes that working as an SVU detective is not the right path for him and asks for a transfer.

But this is not the end of Cassidy’s time with SVU. He comes back 12 years after the transfer and nearly sends his former boss, Donald Cragen (Dann Florek) to prison for prostitution. He also starts dating Olivia secretly and it seems like everything is settling down. But then an accusation by another prostitute forces Cassidy to take stock of his life and reveal his secret relationship with Olivia.

The next time we see Cassidy, he and Olivia realize that they are different people and they break up. Later, Cassidy accuses Olivia abusing her adopted son, Noah. When it is revealed why he made the accusation, Olivia says that she never wants to see him again.

The last time we see Cassidy, he is in court, facing the man who abused him as a child.

To sum it up: Life is never a straight path. It is a series of curves with potholes, brick walls and challenges, forcing us to adapt and change. Like all of us, Brian Cassidy has to adapt. Though it is not easy, he does and finds the strength that he didn’t know he had.

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Law & Order SVU Character Review: Mike Dodds

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read 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 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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes time to choose a career, some of us choose to go into the family business. This may lead to taking advantage of a family connection to move up the professional ladder. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mike Dodds (Andy Karl), is a second generation policeman. His father is Chief Dodds (Peter Gallagher. He got the job with SVU because of his father.

Dodds temporarily becomes second in command and then the head of SVU when Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is removed from her post. Though he does not get to his position by merit alone, he proves his worth as a policeman.

Like many police officers, Mike Dodd’s dies a hero’s death. He is fondly remembered by his colleagues as a top rate cop.

To sum it up: Though Dodds receives a hand up from his father, he still earns his stripes and the respect from his colleagues. It’s one thing to get a leg up because of your family, however, one must still earn their stripes. As a character, Dodds stands out because he knew that his father helping him only went so far. He had to go the rest of the way himself.

For that alone, I think that makes him a memorable character.

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Law & Order SVU Character Review: Declan Murphy

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read 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 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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Some jobs require everything from us. Nothing else matters, except work. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Declan Murphy (Donal Logue) is first introduced to the characters and the audience while undercover. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) is at the height of her gambling addiction and is unaware that Declan is undercover. After that case is closed, he is moved the SVU where he is temporarily assigned as the commanding officer.

During this time, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is caught up in her finale battle with William Lewis (Pablo Schreiber). By the time the battle is won, Declan has decided that his skills are best used in undercover and Benson rises to the commanding post of SVU.

To sum it up: In the annals of SVU, Declan Murphy is one of the most intense characters. Though fans have seen or heard of some part of the home life of most the characters, Murphy is a character whom we know only of by his work life. By that alone, his work ethic is respected, even if his methods are unorthodox. But even unorthodox methods cannot undo a work ethic the results in getting cases closed.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Melinda Warner

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read 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 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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to criminal investigations, science may provide a clue that otherwise may remain buried. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Dr. Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie) is the medical examiner that the SVU squad turns to when all other avenues have been traveled upon.

A veteran of the Air Force, Dr. Warner is often the rational face of science when emotions and messy human behaviors prevent the detectives from closing the case.

To sum it up: when human emotion and human messiness gets in the way, science provides a way out. Dr. Warner’s knowledge and medical abilities are the logical science that works hand in hand with the humanness of crime fighting that helps to put the bad guys or girls in jail.

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