Thanks again to Elana, Jennifer, and Alex for coming up with the Great Blogging Experiment. I'm still making my way through the list of participants; I hope to reach the end by this Friday. I'm now following a lot more blogs, and I'm amazed to see all the new followers I have. Welcome, everyone! To celebrate reaching 100 Followers, I'm going to announce a book giveaway on Wednesday. Stay tuned for more details.
In the meantime, I wanted to comment on something I noticed last week.
I don't have much free time for pop culture. Although I've heard of Glee, I didn't watch the first season. I have seen a couple of Lady Gaga videos, but I hadn't heard of Charice until last week, when my husband showed me this video and gave me a lovely earworm:
After watching this video, I kept thinking about Charice's character, Sunshine, and her appearance. The pigtails and big black glasses didn't suit her, to say the least. And she only wore them in this scene; I watched the entire episode online, and the rest of the time she had no glasses and wore a beret. I had come up with some reasons Sunshine would dress the way she does in the video (bad eyesight requiring heavy glasses to handle her prescription, poor self-esteem, personal taste, etc.), but they don't seem to fit the situation. The pigtails and glasses seemed like something put on Sunshine to make her an ugly duckling--or perhaps to make Rachael underestimate her. In other words, it seemed more like an author (or producer) decision than a character decision, and that pulled me out of the story.
I think that's something we authors need to be careful about in our own stories. It's not just about how we costume our characters; it's also about not forcing them to do something out of character for them to make the plot go a certain direction. In most instances, characters should show common sense and not do something that will hurt them--unless you've already demonstrated the character doesn't have common sense or has very good motivation to work against their own self-interest.
All that said, I did like the diversity of characters on Glee and enjoyed the plot twists. I told my husband we could watch the show together to have some couple time. Whether or not we can manage that with our three-year-old son's sleep (or lack-of-sleep) schedule is another story.
Do any of you have other examples from books, movies, or TV where the authors/producers obviously steered a character into doing something the character wasn't motivated to do?