Thursday 22 May 2014

OMG They Killed {Redacted}!! A Guide To Surviving Character Death

By Courtney Lockhart
Well, it’s happened again. That person you love, the one who never got enough screen time yet was so crucial to the very heart and soul of the show is now dead.  No matter how many times it happens, and in genre TV  it seems to be at least once a season,  it never seems to get easier.  
Too Soon? Source: Kotaku
The emotional connection that a fan feels towards a character can be overwhelming. I’ve been banned from watching certain shows while my husband is home after he walked in on me crying my eyes out over a character death on The Vampire Diaries.   If you find out one of your friends is mourning,  the best way to find out where they are in the five stages of grief is to check their twitter:

Anger: They did not just do that! @showrunner How could you? I’m never watching this show again!
Bargaining: Let’s send a message! Maybe if we get #bringbackcharacter trending they’ll listen!
Depression: #imnotover Character’s death.  Seriously… I just can’t..
Acceptance:  Time for another #tvshow marathon!

The fact that viewers can feel this strongly is a huge credit to the writers and actors on these programs.  They have created characters that resonate, that we care about.  If we weren’t gutted or shocked when these things happen it would mean they haven’t done their jobs. 
“But why do they have to die?!” I hear you lament.  There has to be a risk. There needs to be suspense and something to lose.  If you were promised that all the character would make it home from every single conflict or mission the show would get boring very fast.  Change is necessary to keep dramatic shows dramatic.   If the show is about saving the world, fighting a war or explicitly states “what we do is dangerous”, it’s even more obvious that eventually,  someone is not going to be on the cast anymore. 

So next time it happens, have a good cry and text your buddies to wallow together.  After that, maybe send the writers and actors a little note to thank them for taking you along for the ride. 

Courtney Lockhart lives in the west end of Ottawa with her husband and step-cat.  She is polishing her skills to pursue one of her dream careers as either a costume drama character, Torchwood operative or executive assistant to a billionaire vigilante. You can follow her daily mission to DFTBA on Twitter @corastacy.

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