I'm writing this in front of the TV, where I'm anxiously awaiting the first episode of the fourth season of Homeland, one of my all time favorite shows. I don't watch much television – I can't deal with sitcoms or shows that feel formulaic or predictable. I also dislike characters that are simply "too too:" too good, too bad, too beautiful, too ugly.
Now I'm the first to admit that the characters in my novels are very good-looking and sexy, but they're imperfect all the same. Most of them have a past they're not proud of (kinda like all of us, right?), but they evolve and do the right thing in the end. That's what romance readers expect, and it makes us feel good.
Enter Carrie Mathison, the bipolar CIA agent (played brilliantly by Claire Danes) on Homeland who spends at least half her time on screen behaving unpleasantly (read: acting like a total b--ch), alienating her coworkers, exploiting her family and sleeping with the enemy. She insults people, yells and curses a lot, drinks way too much and has sex with strangers. She looks ordinary most of the time and downright ugly when she cries.
In other words, she's the real deal.
The most extraordinary thing about Carrie is her freakishly spot-on intuition. Lots of super intelligent, highly analytical people work for the CIA, but they don't have her gift for seeing what no one else is willing or able to see. She fully intends to save the world and will use any method—illegal or unethical if necessary—to do it. If Carrie were a real person I wouldn't want to put up with her snark or her craziness to be her friend, but I think she's an incredible woman.
If you're a Homeland fan I'd love to know what you think of Carrie. If you're not, is there a character from another TV show or movie you don't like but admire the hell out of?
-- Ana Barrons