Wow, so this was a difficult prompt for me. I really had to think about it and revisit a lot of my favorite books, TV shows, and films in order to remember my favorite characters as well as those I really related to. Digging deep into why I identify with these characters also taught me more about myself, which I found interesting. I think this has been my favorite 5 Fandom Friday yet.
Jane Lane (Daria, MTV 1997-2001)
Daria was one of my favorite shows as a pre-teen /early teen. I remember watching it when I was in middle school and discussing episodes with my friends on the bus rides to school. I actually secretly wanted to be Quinn, but always knew I was more like Daria’s best friend Jane. Jane was super arty and down to earth like me. She was definitely more of an actual artist than I was, but I did paint, write, take photos, and play music. She was sarcastic like Daria, but still had a look on the bright side demeanor even when she was being pessimistic. She was hip and pretty, but an outsider, which I have always identified with. I think Jane would have been more of a social butterfly provided there were actually other intelligent hip people at the school besides Daria. I really liked both Daria and Jane because they weren’t afraid to be smart or smart-asses and recognized how dumb most people were. Yep, me and Jane would have been buds in real life. That’s me in the photo above cosplaying as Jane at Comic-Con last year!
Alex Mack (The Secret World of Alex Mack, Nickelodeon 1994-1998)
Does anyone remember this show?! I loved 90’s Nickelodeon. I remember watching The Secret World of Alex Mack when I was at my Dad’s house in elementary school. If you don’t remember the show, Alex is almost hit by a truck from a chemical plant and is drenched in some sort of toxic sludge chemical. The accident gives her awesome powers like turning into a puddle of goo, telekinesis, and an electrical/heat charge. It was essentially the X-Men for tween girls. Alex Mack was a super hero and my role model for a while. I even dressed like her. I related to her because I always felt special and different. I was in gifted classes all through out school and was treated differently because of it. I liked to think my brain was my super power, but I wanted super powers like Alex had too. However, even though Alex had powers, she wasn’t a show off. She still stayed a regular kid and was even bullied by Jessica Alba’s character. I can definitely relate to that too although I didn’t experience bullying in the way that she did.
Echo (Echo by Francesca Lia Block, YA novel)
In high school, I was in a feminist club called Appreciating Women Everywhere. Our president, my lovely friend Kristyn, introduced me to Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block. I became obsessed with Francesca Lia Block’s books after that, gobbling up as many as I possibly could. They were short young adult novels, but the writing was so beautiful and emotional. Her books touched me in a way that fiction never had before. I read Echo in either my sophomore or junior year of high school. There was so much I related to in that book. Echo had a beautiful hippie artist mother (like me!) and a dad that wasn’t really there for her. Her father is diagnosed with cancer and eventually dies. While both my parents were alive, they were divorced and my relationship with my Dad was pretty rocky. My mom had cancer when I was about eight years old so I definitely related to that aspect too. Echo has issues with the men in her life because of her relationship with her father. I think a lot of us women have dealt with that. She does fall for a boy named Storm, but their relationship wasn’t meant to be at the time. I too experienced that with a boy I met in middle school, who would come in and out of my life for the next ten years.
Enid Coleslaw (Ghost World, 2001)
I love Ghost World so much that I had a hard time choosing between Enid & Rebecca. I feel like I have qualities from both of them. I identify with Rebecca’s practicality and how she wants so bad to feel like a grown up. I couldn’t wait til I was 18 and could do what I wanted. However, I felt like I identified even more with Enid. She’s really into music, especially 70’s punk and obscure stuff like Indian surf rock. I totally dressed like her in high school and embraced my weirdness. But Enid also has another side to her. She is so afraid of conformity and ending up like her normal, boring classmates. She ends up clinging to Seymour (Steve Buscemi’s character) out of sheer boredom and and loneliness, in addition to the social experiment aspect of it. In the process though, she gets in way over her head and ends up hurting everyone around her. Most importantly she hurts her best friend, Rebecca, which is further complicated with their mutual affection for Josh. I too had a situation like that in high school where my best friend and I liked the same guy and it turned into a big horrible mess.
Clementine Kruczynski (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004)
Eternal Sunshine is such an emotional roller coaster of a film, but it’s one of my favorites. It came out the year I graduated high school and what a year that was for me. I had been with my high school boyfriend for over three years, but had fallen in love with someone else while we were still together. Things got extremely messy as you can imagine and there were times when I wished I could have erased him from my memories completely. I love Clementine’s character because she is so free-spirited and fun, but I felt like that part of me was slowly dying along with my relationships with these two guys. At some point she discovers she has a mental illness and I also struggled with depression and anxiety through my teenage years. Luckily the film has a hopeful ending, which made me feel better about my own situation even if I wasn’t starting over with one of the men I loved.
What fictional characters do you identify with?