*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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 Nanny. 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. Every rom-com heroine needs a best friend to bounce off. On The Nanny, Fran Fine‘s (Fran Drescher) best friend is Valerie Toriello (Rachel Chagall).
The Ethel to Fran’s Lucy, Val is as loyal as a bestie can be, but she is not the brightest bulb in the box. On the occasion that they have a disagreement, Fran knows that the best tool in her toolbox is Val’s lack of intelligence. Both perennially single, they sometime get together with C.C. Babcock (Lauren Lane) and make a promise (which never comes to fruition) to stop looking for a man. At the end of the series, Val is the bridesmaid at Fran’s wedding to Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy). She and her boyfriend are also expecting their first child.
To sum it up: The best relationships, whether they are romantic or friends, have yin/yang feel to it. What one person lacks, the other has and visa versa. Fran and Val work are believable as friends because they have this balance and knowledge of each other that is organic and natural. Val is also not just a copy of Fran, allowing her to stand on her two two feet.
Which is why she is a memorable character.
P.S. It takes a smart actor to play a dumb character. Chagall is clearly one smart cookie.
When it comes to love and romance, it has been said that opposites attract. However, that does not mean that compromise and putting in the hard work to make the relationship last can be put aside.
In the 1997 romantic comedyFools Rush In, Alex Whitman (Matthew Perry) and Isabel Fuentes (Salma Hayek) are as mismatched a couple as you can get. Fate brings them together in Las Vegas. Three weeks after a one night stand, Isabel discovers that she is pregnant. Before they know it, Alex and Isabel are married. The ceremony was the easy part. Now they have to learn to live with each other and get along with their new in-laws. Which as many married couples may tell you, is a battle in and of itself.
This movie is cute. It is the type of rom-com I would watch on a day that I needed to relax and get out my head for a little while. The comedy is also helped by the cultural differences between the main characters. It would be easy to present Alex as a typical uptight suburban white guy and Isabel as a saucy and spicy Latina. While the stereotypes are there, they are merely the backbone of who Alex and Isabel are. They are given ample room to grow well beyond the expectations the audience has for who they are and where their story will go.
Dating, as we know it to be, is not as simple as it appears. Though some may find their potential love/spouse/life partner early on, others have to go through several relationships before finding that person.
Soon By You premiered in 2016. Taking place in New York City, it is sort of an Modern Orthodox Jewish version of Friends. The series follows a group of twenty somethings who are trying to find their bashert (soulmate) while juggling every other aspect of life.
Written by Leah Gottfried (who is also the series’ director), Danny Hoffman, and Uri Westrich, this YouTube web series is charming and entertaining. While it uses the rom-com narrative tropes and characters are used as the backbone, they are flipped in a way that does not feel predictable or boring.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
For two centuries, writers have tried to capture the magic in Jane Austen‘s novels. She is one of those authors whose writing seems easy to replicate. But, upon further inspection, the discovery often is that it is much more difficult than it seems to be.
Yesterday, the trailer for Modern Persuasionwas released. It is basically the modern rom-com version of Persuasion. Playing the 21st century Anne Elliott and Captain Frederick Wentworth are Alicia Witt and Shane McRae.
I’m willing to give this movie a shot. However, two things immediately come to mind. The first is that the title feels incredibly lazy. It’s as if it was the working title for the first draft of the screenplay that the writers didn’t bother changing. It is possible to create a modern Jane Austen adaptation and be creative with the title.
The second is that based strictly on the trailer, it feels like the standard romantic comedy. Granted, the trailer is not the move in its entirety. But, the only initial connection so far that the film is based on an Austen novel is the mention of the Laconia (scroll down to the bottom of the page in the link for the reference).
Only time will tell if the film is a success or a failure. Either way, it will be a point of contention for the Janeite community for years to come.