Those so-annoying women: Kochanski and me

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by CrazyFanNumber8725, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. CrazyFanNumber8725

    CrazyFanNumber8725 First Technician

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    Disclaimer: this is a serious, analytical post. And what's worse, it has feminism in it.
    So if you're looking for my usual mad non-sense... “spin on! Spin on!”.
    Any joke found in this post is purely an accident.
    (including that one).

    When I started watching RD, bitter thoughts assailed me: you just can't make a show like this with women!
    You can't have a woman trim her toe-nails with her teeth like Lister! Such an act can generate income as a circus side-show, but not much else. And a woman like Rimmer? Forget about it! The first put-down she spoke would generate an insult about three letters shorter than “smeghead” -- from the audience! And that would be that.

    Which is why my jaw dropped open when I saw “Parallel Universe”. They did it! They bloody well did it! Not as a whole show, mind you, but the female Lister really was a female Lister (rather than a somewhat feminized version) and the female Rimmer was equally great with the attempted hypnosis and the outraged “on my sheets!”

    Holly, too, was great when he became a she. Although I did notice Holly stopped inventing things at this point... I would have liked to see the female Holly come up with daft inventions just like the male did.

    I'm not talking about strong leading-role women. Fiction today is full of strong women. Captain Janeway, all those ladies in Torchwood, etc.

    What we don't have, even today, is women with strong personalties.

    Here are all the women with strong personalties that I can think of:
    Female Lister and Rimmer
    Kochanski
    that mechanic lady from Firefly,
    Morticia Addams,
    Elvira (for those my age and younger.... Elvira had quite a sense of humor and joked about a lot).

    That's IT!

    There may be a few other women with strong personalties out there, but I haven't found any. And I'm not talking about “chic-lit” or movies that only girls watch but men just feel contempt for. The boss and main character in “Devil wears Prada” were both women with strong personalties... but only girls watch that movie so they don't count for me. What's the use of an interesting woman in fiction if she has to cease to be interesting to get any man to watch/listen to her?

    When Kochanski was stuck with Lister in the ventilation shafts (always with the ventilation shafts large enough to crawl through! But anyway...) I was expecting relationship smeg, if not outright snogging. Instead there was witty banter.
    Lister and Kochanski were actually joking about together!!! And Kochanski made me laugh!

    Sure it wasn't Lister and Rimmer, but still! It's not often a female character makes you laugh on TV.

    The reason for so few strong female personalties in fiction, is, I believe, the different standards women are held to.
    On one hand, a woman has to have better hygiene than Lister and much better social skills than Rimmer... on the other hand courage in a woman is a totally beside the point.
    While a courageous woman is now mostly acceptable, no woman is held to task for being cowardly.
    In fact, I think a little cowardice (by “little” I mean camera-time focused on it) on the part of a female character makes her more likable, rather than less, when there's a courageous man around.
    For that reason, too, you just can't have a female Rimmer as the main character!

    Now, I don't think women and men are exactly the same. I don't want to get into a discussion of their differences, but I will present an anecdote.
    I tried learning Karate a couple of times, but quit for varous reasons (none of which were my fault!!!).
    But I noticed an interesting phenomenon regarding the conversation I heard filtering out of the women's and men's locker rooms.
    The male locker room sounded like this: “I'm gonna beat you up.” and “No way, I'm gonna beat YOU up!”
    The female locker room also discussed the all-important topic of who was going to beat whom up. But the women's conversation sounded like this: “You're gonna beat ME up!”, “No way! You're way better than I am! You're gonna beat ME up!”

    Kochanski wasn't just like a man. Sure she was eye candy AND she was strong AND she was smart.
    Kochanski was all those annoying things that a female character HAS to be if she's gonna be more than just eye candy. (eye candy being absolutely mandatory for a female of course).
    But besides all that, she had a personality!

    The best bit was when Kochanski comes up with that brilliant way to catch the Simulants by flying away from them. It was then than I remembered, “wow, she really is a real officer!”
    And then Cat says: “wow, what a fluke!”

    Now, ain't that just like life?
     
  2. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    I'd actually count all the female characters of Firefly as strong women in their own way. With the possible exception of River Tam, but she has problems poor thing. (Although she turned out to be the most powerful in her own way. Particularly in Objects in Space and the film Serenity.)

    You make a good point though about the way women are written, but I think it's changed a lot now. There have been plenty of strong female characters in recent years. You have Buffy (very strong woman) Tru Calling (Tru from Tru Calling, I didn't like that programme much, but the character was pretty strong), Max from Dark Angel. Then there are those two ladies who appear in those medium shows (again, not into them, as you can probably tell.)

    And if you want a good example of someone who from further back there is Ripley from the Alien Franchise. And she's not a kick butt macho woman either (not until the last film anyway.) Just an ordinary woman who ends up in extraordinarily horrific events. Then of course there is Sarah Connor from the Terminator films and series.

    I know what you mean though. I sometimes get the impression that when a female character speaks her mind, is stern, or has a bit of attitude, she often ends up getting disliked, slated as a [insert word here] where a man acting in a similar way would more likely be applauded.

    There are exceptions to that though. Plenty of male characters are disliked too, but I think women seem to stand out more for some reason.
     
  3. CrazyFanNumber8725

    CrazyFanNumber8725 First Technician

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    I'm not talking about strong women (there are plenty of those) but women with strong (possibly complex) personalities... even if that makes them a weak woman in some way. Provided they drive the plot rather than being eye-candy.
    The way Lister and Rimmer are both complex and have strong personalities -- even tho Rimmer is a total coward.

    I'm not familiar with most of those shows. I couldn't really stand Buffy (high school and all) but maybe if i run out of Monty Python's flying circus I'll try watching Buffy when i'm not in my right mind. Maybe Buffy will work for me when I'm drunk, but I can't watch that stuff on a clear brain.
    I'll look up those others on Netflix.

    I don't mean Charlie's Angels type strong women (which I assume Buffy is), but women with personalities that are as interesting, complex, and driving the story forward as any man's. Like Firefly.

    Firefly did a good job all-round. But the mechanic lady particulary impressed me.

    It seems that strong (fictional) women are so busy being perfectly groomed, intelligent, brave, and sexy all-at-once they seem to, well, all turn out the same in the end?!

    Gwen from Torchwood is a strong woman, and she is also normal (trying to keep relationship with fiance going, etc) yet she doesn't have much of a *personality*. She investigates and keeps the show going, but... what is she besides a police girl with a demanding job and boyfriend (read: *relationship*)? nothing!
    The only Torchwood person who has a strong personality I think is the womanizing guy, and I just watched him die in Series 2, so I wasn't happy about that. That one had the whole cynicism/womanizing thing going, besides that great cockney accent.
    (Catpain Jack only has a strong personality in the Dr. Who series! in Torchwood he's just... dominant captian dude. strong guy... one-sided personality.)

    Sure RD doesn't have too many women... but those it has had, so far, had strong personalities. And RD did it WAY before Firefly was around.
    And that's why I like Kochanski.
     
  4. OurJud

    OurJud Deck Sergeant

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    No, nowhere near as good as Norman. I put up with female Holly, but the show lost a good chunk when Norman left.
     
  5. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    Ok. fiar enough. I think many of the women fit that profile too. In the later shows Buffy and Willow certainly showed complexity.

    I wasn't too sure of Buffy to start with for the same reason. On watching it further though, it turned out to be much more than that. Best to watch it with an open mind if you're judging it purely on the first couple of episodes, or even the first series. (Not that you necessarily are. For all I know you watched lots of episodes and just don't like it.)

    This suggests to me you made a bit of a snap decision though, (not that I'm having a go at you.) Charlie's Angels it isn't. (Apart from the hot woman kicking butt thing.) To be fair, perhaps Buffy isn't the best example of complexity (I found the raunchiness of later series a bit unbelievable), but there are other female characters who are pretty complex. Cordelia for example, at the start appears as a spoilt shallow brat... and in many ways that is accurate. She turns out to be a lot more than that though. I mentioned Willow already, (particularly the later series.) Anya is a terrific example of a character who is very quirky and multifaceted and both strong and weak in her own ways.

    I agree with you there. Even when they put in her affair with Owen it felt rather out of nowhere. Just there for shock factor rather than showing another side to the character. And it didn't even go anywhere in the end, just fizzled out (which is probably a good thing in retrospect.)
     
  6. magnusgreel

    magnusgreel First Technician

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    I was just thinking about this recently. I'm deleting my answer though... maybe I can do better later. Anyway, I agree.
     
  7. CrazyFanNumber8725

    CrazyFanNumber8725 First Technician

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    Magnus, I read your answer... don't know why you delted it. I just went back to get that list of strong women you had with Kochanski on top -- i wanted to search for them in Netflix -- and saw that it went away! My response to seeing it go away is best translated as: "smeg!"

    I will give Buffy another chance. i'm sure there's ways i can watch that on-line without using up my DVD rental Netflix queue. I did make up my mind about it in college, way long ago. For all I know, further seasons of it did improve. and it's true, it is a chick-filled show that even guys watch...
     
  8. geekrock82

    geekrock82 Second Technician

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    I'm not really a fan of the show (I find it a little dull and overwrought), but if it's strongly-written, deep-in-character women you want, then you should be watching Battlestar Galactica. I reckon Kara Thrace and Laura Roslin both pretty much fulfil the criteria you're looking for.

    I agree that there's a dearth of decent female characters on TV, but I don't think there are *quite* as few out there as you make out. Funnily enough, though, I don't think Rob and Doug did an amazing job with the girls in Parallel Universe - I think they, like Douglas Adams, have always struggled to write convincing and compelling female characters. Rob tried it with Sarah Alexander's Rina in The Strangerers, but that basically just came off as wish-fulfilment.
     
  9. HelenW

    HelenW First Technician

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    If you really want to see a woman with a strong personality then check out Donna Noble in Doctor Who! She was brilliant in Series 4 and easily managed to carry episode 11 even though the Doctor was only in it for 10 mins.
     
  10. sanja

    sanja Supply Officer

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    Exactly!!!! Personality is what female characters need as said in first post... And when they will make female hero who doesn't look so good,
    Sad thing is they don't teach girls to have female heroes...
    Oughhhhhhhh It's so easier to man ;-)

    I love you fellow dwarfers you rule!!!!! :-D:-D:-D
     
  11. magnusgreel

    magnusgreel First Technician

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    Strange, I was thinking that might happen for some reason.

    C.J. Cregg, the Presidential press secretary then chief of staff from The West Wing is a very good 3-D character.

    Lorelai Gilmore from The Gilmore Girls is a great drama/comedy character with a lot of wit, who owns any room she's in, but not in an aggressive way, just because she's a cool person.

    Buffy's difficult for me. I can't stand the thought of being thrown back into high school for one thing, even fictionally... I got out and they can't get me back. Anyway, there's that quality I call "light unfunny teenage jokiness" lately, which I trace back to Buffy but which infects all of TV now...
     
  12. dgoods

    dgoods Third Technician

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    What about the bride from Kill Bill,she wasn't weak at all even before she was put into a coma.She definitely knew what she wanted,and went ahead and did it. After she came out she became very tenacious,even almost getting herself killed, in her pursuit of getting her daughter back.
     
  13. peas_and_korn

    peas_and_korn First Technician

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    The women in Scrubs
     
  14. geekrock82

    geekrock82 Second Technician

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    QFT.
     
  15. Cloud

    Cloud Console Officer

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    I have met the mechanic lady from firefly and have a picture with her. Do I win?
     
  16. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    At being a so-annoying woman? Or a well rounded woman?
     

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