Do you ever watch a show or entertainer and smile? Have you loved a character so much you’d pretty much watch them stare at grass grow? (I have, and it was an hour of amazing content.)
There is just something about a “character” and that portrayal of that character that draws us in. The actor behind that character becomes someone we just really… “like.” I wrote about the “likeable” factor in another post I’d written on a show called, Stumptown. (You can go read if you’d like.)
Star Wars was Stars Wars because of Luke, Leia, and Han Solo played ONLY by Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. They made it iconic. It wasn’t a stellar plot: boy is called to his destiny, becomes hero, fights bad guy, and saves the world, and of course, saves the princess. It wasn’t an amazing plot with anything different in way of a story. It took place in an amazing universe but that wasn’t the draw. It was Luke, Leia, and Han Solo, and of course, Darth Vader. The characters made the story.
It’s why Columbo wasn’t Columbo without Peter Falk. Or, Charlie’s Angels was iconic with Farrah Fawcett (everyone owned her red bathing suit poster, am I right?), and when she left they could never gain the same popularity. Only Carroll O’Connor could play Archie Bunker in All in the Family. Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford grasping his heart in Sanford and Son made everyone laugh because we all had that crazy and infuriating relative that only he could play.
I’ve written this before but I used to watch variety shows back in the 70s. There was my favorite, The Carol Burnett Show, and Laugh-In with a very young Goldie Hawn as the go-go girl. Mac Davis had this show where he’d have a segment that you tell him anything and he wrote a song on the spot. That made me want to play guitar and become a songwriter. I’ve also said before that V-tubers are the new variety show hosts of this age. (I’ll get back to this in Part II).
There were so many shows back in the day. With the 70’s, TV really boomed with comedies that the family gathered around the set to watch because of the characters. Why else would you watch something so silly as The Brady Bunch or Partridge Family, or even Three’s Company? Who didn’t fall in love with Suzanne Somers (however, I had a thing for Joyce DeWitt)?
As the late 70s and 80s rolled around we had sitcoms and comedies being replaced with action-packed shows that mixed in comedy. They all had pretty much the same plots. But you didn’t watch for stellar plot lines. You watched these shows because of the “characters.” Starsky and Hutch, Dukes of Hazzard, or Charlie’s Angels, Miami Vice or Knight Rider. You kept glued to the set to watch your favorite team of actors fight off bad guys and come out on top. Somewhere in there, shows became a little darker with crime dramas. But again, you watched because you got hooked on a character.
Why am I writing all this about “characters?”
Because that keeps you watching, right? You find an “Oshi.” You find someone you really enjoy and you watch.
Today, shows don’t seem to have the same type of draw. I mean, is there a show today that you hear people buzzing about how it’s a “must-watch” show? There are just so many! I mean, we are inundated with streaming services and shows and its so that we have become numb to enjoy anything.
That is of course, my opinion. Please, let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments.
Now, this is why it confounds me so much that when they carry on a show they think they can remove the beloved character and just write anyone in the slot. Usually, people turn away. When they do a remake or do-over of something that was made popular because of an iconic character the fans leave. Why would they stay for something that is no longer what drew them in the first place?
Good writing and characterization make a story but when it comes to nostalgia you need something nostalgic.
This is why so many new-fangled ideas being pushed out in Hollywood are not doing that well. It isn’t because of man-babies or racists, or really anything that is political. The new Star Wars was rejected by the fan-base because they just shoved the characters aside for this new “idea” and back story that wasn’t the original story or characters. Instead of a slow introduction around the three main characters (who were still alive!) they just made it about this whole new person with no ties to the past. So… it had nothing to do with the original.
Why come back? It’s just a new thing. And, it only garnered new viewers. They weren’t attached. It was just another movie. Nothing special. And Hollywood scratched its head because they didn’t get it.
I know I’m harping on Star Wars but then I was a big Star Wars fan and so, its what I know. There are many other fanbases I could mention and you know who you are and were a fan of, and so, this might be relatable to you.
Now, because much of Hollywood is now pushing its own political agenda they think we, the viewers, are similar. But no, we’re just fans that wanted our fan-love to be fed. We don’t really care about politics when it comes to our old shows, old comics, or our beloved characters. We just want our characters back.
Maybe, just maybe, we love to watch who we just love to watch.
Characters and those who play those characters make a show, and movie, and book.
And so, this brings me to something I didn’t think I’d ever do: I joined a few V-tuber memberships. I’m not going to tell you what three I joined but I think you could probably guess….
I realized, it really is the price of a couple of cups of coffee. I love coffee. I’m supporting their content that I’ve enjoyed for free for so long. It was something I needed to do. I also happened to see a fellow blogger friend who writes on mindless and wonderfully mindful things also at those chats. That’s kind of cool. Probably just have her on the background (like I’m listening to Pomu draw Arboks, at the moment) like me. Say “hi” if you see me. (My avatar is hidden within one of these photos.)
The next post will be the second part: V-Tubers, Our Beloved Characters – Part II.
And as always, I hope you the best in finding what you seek and search for in this life and love – lots of love.
Hi Gracie! 🙂 ❤
P.S. See? I wrote a blog post finally!
4 thoughts on “The Importance of Characters in Life – Part I”
Of course I agree with you completely here, especially as far as the “VTubers as variety show” point goes. I’ve felt that way since I started watching Hololive in 2020 — even though I wasn’t around for the period they were really popular aside from SNL (and then it wasn’t popular with my generation in any case, not as much as it was in the past probably.) But I’d heard my mom talk about Carol Burnett and the Smothers Brothers, and even though I grew up in the 90s of course I saw the Muppet Show, so I was familiar with the idea, and VTubers feel like a fresh and new form of an old style.
Great points you make about characters here as well. I agree that certain franchises have fallen flat thanks to either disrespecting old beloved characters or failing to create new compelling ones (or a mix of both.) That ties into VTubing as well with the rise and sort-of-decline of Kizuna Ai — I still remember when the agency managing her brought in new VAs and what seemed like their shock at fans being offended that the “real Ai” had her role greatly diminished. I think they really didn’t understand that the appeal of the VTuber was in the character — maybe understandable since it was still a very new concept at the time, and since Ai is the godmother of VTubers after all.
And yeah, I will admit I’m in Pomu’s membership as well, along with a few other VTubers’ (and not very hidden, I guess, but I don’t mind that.) Pomu is still my oshi, though I still have to put Pekora and Okayu both in their own personal shrines. And Okayu’s channel is one of those other few I’m a member of — worth it for the ASMR, and she’s the only one I’ve ever heard who makes me completely understand the appeal of it. Nijisanji EN is still my place in the end, though. Funny, since their initial debuts totally passed me by and I didn’t bother watching any of their stuff until a bit before the second wave showed up.
What is so silly, is that now that Niji EN has 20 members I have zero time for the other company. I simply unsubscribed and removed those old blogs (for personal reasons) and havent felt like I have missed anything. It just removed a lot of clutter from my life.
Your points on Kizuna AI were spot on. I hadn’t even thought of that. Great point!
Pomu is also my Oshi and I absolutely love what seems to be genuine kindness from those like Millie (sometimes I want to give her a big hug), Selen, Elira, and Enna. Fulgar has also been someone I adore. His tea kettle laugh is hilarious. But I’ll stop to write on “all that is great” in Niji EN in my next post.
Thanks for the comment AK. 🙂
As you were bringing up very valid points I started visualizing random people playing the different characters. Jim Carey as Archie Bunker? Reese Witherspoon as Chrissy (I also like Joyce much more!), Willie Neslon as Chewbacca etc
As entertaining as it was to envision it, I would never actually watch it. I always get so frustrated when a show just replaces a loved character thinking no one will notice, or changes the entire storyline! I boycotted Dukes of Hazzard after that horrible remake of a movie came out because the characters were so far from the ones I knew and loved.
Anyway, hope all is going good for you Val!
Hey Angie, I so agree with you. Thanks for checking in and I realize I need to go see what you’ve been up to. I hope you are also doing well. We’re all okay. 🙂