Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Imperfect Teenage Dream

Break out the flannel and grunge rock! Let's rewind to the 90's for an example of the imperfect teenage dream.

One of my favorite flawed fictional teenage love interests was Angela Chase's major crush Jordan Catalano in My So Called Life. The guy definitely had his hang-ups and was no where near perfect.

He was one of the "cool kids" who played dumb (academically) to compensate for his illiteracy. He was bored with the same ole' same old, but did it anyway because it was expected. He denied his attraction to Angela, even to himself. When he did finally admit it, he hid it from his "cool" friends because she was "weird". And he often let his hormones rule the day. After all, he was a teenage boy.

But... The writers still managed to redeem him in a realistic way for a teenager. He finally went public with their relationship by simply holding her hand in the hallway. When he messed up in a BIG way (uh, hooking up with the best friend is definitely not my idea of prince charming), he worked hard (for him) for forgiveness. He tried to pen a love letter. And, though he bailed the first time (he was so not the "meet the parents" kind of guy), he met her mom and confessed his mistake.

Despite his issues, I wanted to see them together and happy (though the show was pulled on a cliffhanger).

So who's some of your favorite love interests? And how did the writer make the character flawed, yet redeemable?


Callie James said...

I loved Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This character had so many flaws it was difficult to list them all. BUT, he had a raw honesty about him that was a breath of fresh air, especially when the other characters in the series were always going through some kind of denial like the rest of us. I would say Spike's constant honesty is what saved him, at least for me.

Great post!

Kat said...

Spike is a great example! He definitely had his issues too. But, I agree, honesty, even brutal, can help redeem a character.

M.V.Freeman said...

All right, I LOVE Damon from Vampire diaries--he is so bad and admits to it. But there is something irresistible about him. I so want him to win the girl!

What will redeem him? His love. Because he will be willing to lose it all for her--and has put himself in this position. Granted, he's willing to sacrifice EVERYONE for her...but that's Damon.

The fun part--its fantasy, you can see this play out on the screen and its not real life. So you can do things (even in print) you couldn't do in reality and I like that.

(Callie, I loved SPIKE from Buffy as as well. Although, I liked Angel too...*sigh*)

Louisa Cornell said...

I don't get to watch much television, but I LOVE a flawed hero in a romance novel!

Kylemore from Anna Campbell's Claiming the Courtesan comes to mind. He really is the most arrogant, overbearing, brutal and unfeeling man at the beginning of the novel and by the end he'd learned that to love someone you have to let them go even if it breaks your heart into a million pieces. Of course she can't stay away, but that is what I love about the story.

Carla Swafford said...

Classic: Mr. Darcy. He was cold and standoffish. But we realized later he had a heart of gold.

Current: Anne Stuart's Viscount Rohan is certainly an anti-hero, but I love how he redeemed himself in the end. Be aware, Anne's heroes are not for everyone. But I keep reminding myself it's only a story and go with it. They always end happy.

Lexi said...

Snape from Harry Potter. I knew from the very first book that there was more to him than a villain. His story in the last book broke my heart.

M.V.Freeman said...

Lexi, I have to agree with you there. I forgot about him.

Kat said...

Funny! I picked up Vampire Diaries a while back, but haven't read it yet. This has definitely added it to my "to read" list!

I agree though M.V., the fact that it is fiction makes it fun and easier to forgive a character when he/she messes up big time. This post actually came to be because I'd read several things recently that the teenage boys in current YAs weren't realistic enough. Being new to the genre, I haven't read enough to comment one way or another. But Jennifer Echols certainly created a realistic hero in her Boys Next Door Series.

Anna's books are awesome, but I would agree Carla that her heroes aren't for everyone. But, again, this is fiction.

And, I'm ashamed to admit it (though Lexi already knows), I've not read Harry Potter... yet. I know once I pick it up, I will be sucked in and unable to put it down. :-)