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Welcome to My Official Web Page!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Compelling Characters- Sue Sylvester!



"...I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat. And then on some dark, cold night, I will steal away into your house...and punch you in the face." -Sue Sylvester

As a reader, I love it when a character plays with my emotions. We all know the type- the woman we love to hate, but really want to succeed (Scarlet O'Hara), the love triangle that has us all torn to bits (Katniss, Peeta, Gale), and the bad guy who we honestly like (Sue Sylvester).

I'm watching the first season of Glee on DVD. (I wish I could get the text to do the high pitched "glee!" from the beginning of every episode, but you're just going to have to imagine it.)

I love Sue Sylvester.

She's the cheerleading coach and an absolute b*tch, but she's hilarious. Like spit-my-chocolate-peanut-butter-ice-cream-all-over-my-white-couch kind of hilarious. You can't help but like her (although you'd probably never want to meet anyone like her in real life). She's not pure evil (but oh-so-close!) because she's got two things going for her.

1. She's funny.
2. She has a sister with Down's syndrome she absolutely adores.

Now you may think the latter piece is a cheap trick on the part of Glee's writers, but I'm telling you that it works. Just when I start to think Sue's becoming a cariacture of a villain, there's a scene with her reading a picture book to her sister. And then I get a little teary eyed.

That's the thing with characters- they have to be human. No hero can be too perfect and no villain can be too bad. They have to be a little bit of both.

Now, if you haven't checked out the rest of the Great Blogging Experiment, head over to Elana Johnson's blog for all the other links. Happy weekend!

40 comments:

Dominique said...

Excellent post. And so true. Villains are so much more believable (and so much more interesting) when they've got a little good in them. And Sue Sylvester is hilarious. :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

I love Glee and Sue is one of my favorite characters. She's just so awful and yet she does have a tender side to her too that she rarely shows.

VR Barkowski said...

Excellent post and absolutely true. Stereotypical bad guys (and gals) are a bore. They only become interesting once we see their humanity. Even Hannibal Lecter had his charms

Jessica Carmen Bell said...

So true!!! I always like characters better who aren't perfect. No room for eye-rolling then! ;o) I don't watch Glee, simply because we don't get it here in Greece, but I did watch the Madonna episode on Megavideo. It was awesome!

Lynda Young said...

Great take on the blogfest!! I like Sue too because she gets all the good lines.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I love Sue- and I think the writers knew exactly what they're doing. You gotta have a little grey area in everyone. Great job!

Katie Ganshert said...

You make me want to watch this show! I've never seen it, but it wins awards all the time. Anyway - great post! And so true! The human factor is key.

Vicki Rocho said...

I agree...adding the salt and pepper (figuratively speaking) keeps them mulit-dimensional and keeps you guessing because maybe they won't act predictably.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I just started watching the show. I didn't realize that was her sister.

Great post!

Jen said...

Sue was a fantastic example! I love your take on compelling characters!!! Very awesome! She is the perfect example for one compelling character!!

Thanks for joining the fun!

Jenna Wallace said...

Sue is one of the reasons I watch Glee! I just love her and I think the writers have done an amazing job making her real. Love this post!

Amalia T. said...

sometimes I like Sue a lot better as a character than the Glee director guy, honestly!

Laurel said...

So true--give an antagonist some redeeming qualities and she's much more rich and compelling.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

This was done brilliantly in true Stephanie style! I love the way you illustrated the need for human characters. :-)

paulgreci said...

I really liked this:

"That's the thing with characters- they have to be human. No hero can be too perfect and no villain can be too bad. They have to be a little bit of both."

Thanks, Stephanie!

Susan R. Mills said...

I totally agree! Great post.

Jennie Englund said...

I love Sue because she's smart, driven, and unpredictable. She's always been my favorite "Glee" star (I blogged about her yesterday), and I've loved her in everything she's been in.

Serious talent!

Elana Johnson said...

Sue is the ultimate example of a villain we love to hate. She's despicable, but still has things in her life that are important to her. Things that make her likeable--when we don't want to like her. Great post.

Carolyn Abiad said...

So True! Sue is a perfect example of a villain with redeeming qualities. The funny alone doesn't do it. We need to see the softer side of her to empathize.

Mark Noce said...

Nice:) But I gotta say I'd settle for a Scarlett O'Hara any day...but maybe I'm just the Rhett Butler type;)

Tere Kirkland said...

Okay, I'm probably the last person in the world who hasn't watched Glee... you've convinced me to Netflix it!

And what a great example for your post.

Thanks for sharing!

~Tere

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

What a fun example and a great point about flaws. Nice job!

Liza said...

You are so right. Sue has a thimble of goodness in her, which keeps us watching. You might, however, want to eat the ice cream elsewhere!

J.C. Martin said...

Great post! It's true: villains are so hard to write. Why are they dastardly? Why do they want to rule the world? What led to their ruthless decisions? Hard to make these believable, but delicious when you get it right!

Dawn Simon said...

Excellent post--and fun. :) Yes, we don't want our antagonists to be all bad or our protagonists to be perfect. Sue Sylvester is a cool character--I agree. I think the Snape character in Harry Potter was SO well done.

Have a great weekend!

Kittie Howard said...

Beautiful post. Yes, no one is too perfect and no one is all bad...

Melissa said...

Sue Sylvester really is a compelling character. She is so multi faceted and you really get her. (Or I do).

This is an excellent post. We are all gray areas, none of us are all one or the other and neither are our characters.

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm glad you took the spin of taking a character you love to hate. And incidentally, love to love.

Linton Lewis said...

One hell of a post young lady. You know something? You can really write. Writing fiction though is another whole can of worm but I'm betting you can write that too. Thornton is my mother's maiden name so unless you took that from your husband we may have some similar little genes running around inside us. If so I'd sure like to borrow a couple of those writing genes for awhile. Add me to your life long fan club.

~hewhomustobey

Talei said...

LOL! Love your example. Love Glee and Sue Sylvester is brilliant, can't agree more. She's funny, she can be evil but we can't get enough of her.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I love Sue too...she is soooo funny!

Jemi Fraser said...

What a perfect example! I've only seen 3 or 4 episodes, but the show is hilarious! Sue is a fabulous character :)

Elena Solodow said...

Very nice choice for an example. Thanks for the post!

Medeia Sharif said...

I haven't watched Glee yet, but Sue sounds wickedly amazing.

Lola Sharp said...

I have yet to watch a single episode of Glee (though every single person I know LOVES it)...but, I agree.
For me, nothing is better than I well crafted antagonist.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, Stephanie. :)
Love,
Lola

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

I totally love her too. What is it that makes her so great? Is it that she actually says what we're all really thinking? LOL Not sure, but she's a favorite of mine too!

Found you from Elizabeth Mueller's blog. I'm a follower. Oh, I love the look of your blog here. Very cool.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I've just started watching the show, so I haven't seen Sue with her sister yet. I'll keep an eye out for those scenes. Good post.

DLCurran said...

Haven't watched Glee, but you illustrated your point wonderfully in your post! I think I'll go check my character sheets. Thanks :) Nice blog... I'll come back to visit!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Award for you on my blog.

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