Thursday, April 14, 2005

[TV] Dualities

Joss Whedon likes to create backstories for characters that contradict how they currently appear.

Examples. Giles the librarian used to be a drug-taking upper-crust British wild child. In Firefly, Shepherd Book the mild mannered preacher is probably a recovering Bad Lieutenant type of ex-cop* and hired killer Jayne has a mother who likes to knit for him.

The point: if you want to dimensionalise a character, you can use their backstory to create dualities.

Why would you do that? Well, you’re creating story material to reveal and play with in later seasons if you want. One use for it is to easily change existing relationships between characters. That lets you introduce new tensions if you’ve played out tensions that originally drove the show.

* If anyone wants the evidence supporting that theory, I’ll be glad to expand.

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