While the lot of us break our necks trying to look better, I *love* fictional characters who show us the messy side of life–and the internal dialogue that goes along with it. They make it seem cool and awesome to be awkward. Terrible at karaoke. They show us what it looks like to be vulnerable in relationships, and how awful it is to get your heart broken. We love them because they have the courage to show us their flaws, while we are sucking in our guts and pouting for our selfies.
Image taken from http://blog.inonit.in/2013/08/13/how-to-take-the-perfect-selfie/#.UmDMDBY1Ay4
Here are a few awesome flawed heroes and heroines who remind us that a little imperfection makes us unique.
J, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv0ahGRkaKE&list=RD02nIVa9lxkbus
I love J. She’s awkward. But she’s awkward in such an awesome way that we must love her. She raps (badly). Her dating situation in the first season is a little messy. As she says in Season 1, Episode 8: “sometimes hoodrat songs inform my life decisions.” I, for one, can definitely relate.
Parrish, 12 Steps to Recovery http://www.youtube.com/user/12stepswebseries?feature=watch
At the end of a relationship, Parrish’s best friends decide to help him get over his ex by setting him up on 12 blind dates. Parrish is so cute. It’s rare to see a heartbroken man go out on bad dates, and it breaks the stereotype of the black man as player.
Bridget Jones, Bridget Jones Diary
I don’t know what I would do without Bridget Jones. She is a hot mess and I love her for it. My date night rituals include me playing ratchet music and watching the first film for good luck. Bridget is unable to speak publicly, quit smoking, give up emotional f-wits, or successfully lose and keep weight off, but we cheer her on anyway. I always feel better about my life when watching her navigate Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver. The third book is out right now, by the way. I can’t wait for it! But fans, watch out: Mark Darcy is dead! (yes, this is sacrilege! Fielding killed off Mr. Darcy!)
Stringer Bell, The Wire
Is there any other greater tragic hero in contemporary American culture? Stringer Bell attempts to transition from drug dealer to businessman, yet he misunderstands both worlds, which leads to his death. I am, by the way, madly in love with this character and waiting for him to magically come back from the dead. His intelligence, swag, business sense, ability to rock a suit or a t-shirt with grace…I could go on, and on, and on.
Carrie, Sex and the City
Oh Carrie. The American everywoman. She gets it right, then wrong, then right, then wrong, then right again? Her off and on relationship with Big is cringeworthy, but her friendships with Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte are admirable. I love her clothes. Her shoes. The fact that she can (unrealistically) always look fabulous on a writer’s salary. If SATC showed us one thing, it’s that looking perfect doesn’t lead to a perfect life.
Life is messy. And these characters, in one way or another, jump into the messiness of life and try to figure things out. I get to watch from the sidelines, yell at the television, and commiserate with them. They make me feel better about the drama of my own life.
As my friend Roxana says, “drama is a spectator sport.” These characters just make it fun to watch.