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Old November 25 2012, 09:33 PM   #31
Arpy
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

Are you you because you're flawed or because you're flawed and not flawed and interesting and just plain there?


EDIT:

Also...
I guess I find some flaws tiresome. You know they're only there because the writer wants to make his life easier. Sure real people are racists, but Kirk, Scotty, Picard? Not all real people are racists even after a lot of trauma and you'd imagine people like these being like them.

Picard's breakdown in "Family" was great immediately after BoBW, but you'd figure by "I, Borg" he'd be over it, and certainly not bigoted. Stewart was dazzling to watch in FC as Ahab, but at the same time at another level, it was tiresome and I was glad it was over soon enough.

Kirk and Scotty being racists in TUC felt like a slap in the face. The magic of Trek was gone in those moments and I felt like I was watching just a movie.

Last edited by Arpy; November 25 2012 at 09:46 PM.
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Old November 25 2012, 10:10 PM   #32
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

Arpy wrote: View Post
Also...
I guess I find some flaws tiresome. You know they're only there because the writer wants to make his life easier. Sure real people are racists, but Kirk, Scotty, Picard? Not all real people are racists even after a lot of trauma and you'd imagine people like these being like them.

Picard's breakdown in "Family" was great immediately after BoBW, but you'd figure by "I, Borg" he'd be over it,
The reality of the situation is that people who are traumatized often relapse into traumatic states years and years afterwards. It's not something you just "get over."

and certainly not bigoted.
I question whether or not the concept of "bigoted" or "prejudiced" applies to the Borg. The Borg are not a people, after all -- the Borg is, in essence, a massive artificial intelligence that has brainwashed and enslaved numerous individuals.

Kirk and Scotty being racists in TUC felt like a slap in the face. The magic of Trek was gone in those moments and I felt like I was watching just a movie.
I don't know what to tell you -- except that people are not perfect, and often harbor prejudices of which they are either unconscious or of which they disapprove of in themselves; that's just a fact. And it's also a fact that Kirk and Scotty overcame their prejudices, even to the point of saving Klingon lives. They may not have been perfect, but they did the right thing, and that counts for something too.
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Old November 26 2012, 12:45 AM   #33
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

Okay, I have to ask: Is there such a thing as an unflawed character? And would anyone really want such a thing?

I mean, seriously, do we really want characters who are right all the time, who never make mistakes, never act rashly, never misjudge people, lose their tempers, fall in love (or lust) with the wrong people, always behave properly and honorably at all times, always get along with everybody, come from perfectly happy families, and don't have any blind spots, prejudices, or vices?

That doesn't sound very fun or intriguing to me, or like most STAR TREK characters that I can think of. You want characters without flaws, you might as well replace the whole cast with robots . . . and not the exciting, malfunctioning kind!
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Old November 26 2012, 12:49 AM   #34
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

Too many flaws and we would get a loser like Harry Kim.
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Old November 26 2012, 01:07 AM   #35
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

Interesting topic.

I would use the word "interesting" as opposed to great when talking about serious flaws.

Some of the most vile characters can be the most popular. It's so ironic, like a guilty pleasure.

Dukat was a rapist and sexual exploiter- no way around that one. Those women were rounded up and brought to him and his officers. It was made clear they were to show the proper "respect" or else.

Dukat was a very immoral person, he just covered over his actions by acting polite and genial.

The ones doing the exploiting, like Dukat, usually live in their own reality, totally oblivious to how immoral their actions are.

Hell, Dukat thought he deserved a statue in his honor, and didn't know why the Bajorans didn't build him one.
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Old November 26 2012, 01:10 AM   #36
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

Dream wrote: View Post
Too many flaws and we would get a loser like Harry Kim.
Or, you could argue, Kim could have used a few more flaws just to make him more interesting!
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Old November 26 2012, 05:24 AM   #37
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Dream wrote: View Post
Too many flaws and we would get a loser like Harry Kim.
Or, you could argue, Kim could have used a few more flaws just to make him more interesting!
Being a loser is the only flaw Kim has that matters. No other "flaw" will make him interesting to the people who hate losers. Not even Timeless will make up for that. The animus against identifying with losers is so powerful that people will hate Harry Kim despite the fact that he was a token who in seven years had maybe twice the episodes Reg Barclay got. Paris supposedly had flaws and was twice as boring in many times more episodes (much to the detriment of the Voyager series.)

And as a matter of fact the hero winning all the time is in fact quite satisfactory for quite a large number of people. It doesn't matter if the hero allows them to forgive themselves their favorite vices. That's merely a matter of personal taste and of no real interest.
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Old November 26 2012, 12:14 PM   #38
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

Sci wrote: View Post
Arpy wrote: View Post
Also...
I guess I find some flaws tiresome. You know they're only there because the writer wants to make his life easier. Sure real people are racists, but Kirk, Scotty, Picard? Not all real people are racists even after a lot of trauma and you'd imagine people like these being like them.

Picard's breakdown in "Family" was great immediately after BoBW, but you'd figure by "I, Borg" he'd be over it,
The reality of the situation is that people who are traumatized often relapse into traumatic states years and years afterwards. It's not something you just "get over."

Yeah but these are ubermensch from the 24th century - 21st century untraumatized or bigoted unbermensch to the nth degree. See them go through the process ("Family"), but see them get past it. Especially after nothing different shows in the portrayal of the characters for seasons until a Borg shows up again.

and certainly not bigoted.
I question whether or not the concept of "bigoted" or "prejudiced" applies to the Borg. The Borg are not a people, after all -- the Borg is, in essence, a massive artificial intelligence that has brainwashed and enslaved numerous individuals.

Except that the enslaved can still be saved.

Kirk and Scotty being racists in TUC felt like a slap in the face. The magic of Trek was gone in those moments and I felt like I was watching just a movie.
I don't know what to tell you -- except that people are not perfect, and often harbor prejudices of which they are either unconscious or of which they disapprove of in themselves; that's just a fact. And it's also a fact that Kirk and Scotty overcame their prejudices, even to the point of saving Klingon lives. They may not have been perfect, but they did the right thing, and that counts for something too.
No they overcame their prejudices to find out what skulduggery was afoot wanting to find both their own Federation brothers and Klingon devils who were participating in the assassination/coverup. More to the point, not till this movie, Meyer's second retrocon were any of these characters showing any problems with their old foes. Hell in the previous movie they were drinking and chasing after Klingons and Romulans. Nichelle Nichols was asked to say some fascist line like Yeah but would you want your daughters marrying one of them and she a 21st century woman refused because she saw that it was prejudiced today in the 21st century, let alone in the more sophisticated 23th. Retro-bigotry installed by Meyer trying to show the US-USSR rivalry and frankly, did we give a shit about the Russians not being human beings?
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Old November 26 2012, 01:06 PM   #39
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

Arpy wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
I don't know what to tell you -- except that people are not perfect, and often harbor prejudices of which they are either unconscious or of which they disapprove of in themselves; that's just a fact. And it's also a fact that Kirk and Scotty overcame their prejudices, even to the point of saving Klingon lives. They may not have been perfect, but they did the right thing, and that counts for something too.
No they overcame their prejudices to find out what skulduggery was afoot wanting to find both their own Federation brothers and Klingon devils who were participating in the assassination/coverup.
They overcame their own prejudice because they saw, with the assassination of Gorkon, what the ultimate result of that kind f bigotry would be: Violence and war.

More to the point, not till this movie, Meyer's second retrocon were any of these characters showing any problems with their old foes. Hell in the previous movie they were drinking and chasing after Klingons and Romulans.
This bothers some people. It never bothered me. Why not?

I never met my paternal grandfather; he died when my father was around eight years old. But I grew up hearing stories about him, and one of them was the apparent contradiction of his prejudice. He had a number of guys he liked to hang out with, repair cars with, and drink bear with; one of these guys was a black man. At the end of the day, he would invite all of them over for dinner, or vice versa -- everyone except this black man. Yet aside from this, they often hung out with each other and acted like friends.

Yet when the evening news came on and reported anything negative about anyone who was black, he would then begin ranting about how he couldn't stand black people, using the n-word, and generally behave like the unrepentant racist he was.

So I grew up understanding something: Racism and prejudice can live side-by-side with manners and etiquette, and with feelings of apparent conviviality and gregariousness.

Yes, Kirk and company were sharing friendly drinks with Klingons in Star Trek V. But the lessons of real life taught me long ago that this doesn't mean they couldn't harbor extremely prejudiced feelings.

Retro-bigotry installed by Meyer
Oh, I think there's plenty of precedent in TOS for concluding that Kirk and company have prejudices against Klingons. Chekov's behavior in "The Trouble with Tribbles;" Kirk's "you Klingon bastards, you've killed my son" scene in Star Trek V; his prejudiced ideas about what Kahless the Unforgettable must have been like, which the Excalibans based their re-creation of Kahless upon; etc.

trying to show the US-USSR rivalry and frankly, did we give a shit about the Russians not being human beings?
I mean, if you don't think that a film that's essentially about the difficulty of peoples who have been raised to hate each other as the enemy, learning to overcome their histories and end their conflict -- if you don't think the end of the Cold War -- if these aren't valid, interesting stories that are appropriate for Star Trek, I just don't know what to say.

But I do. I think that Star Trek had always used the Klingons as its USSR stand-in, and I think that it's completely appropriate for "the Wall comes down in outer space" to be the TOS crew's swan song. I think that it was true to the spirit of TOS, and I think it was a really wonderful film. When I think of a good Star Trek film and a good Star Trek story, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is one of the stories that comes to mind for me.
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Old November 26 2012, 05:18 PM   #40
Greg Cox
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

An observation: there are, I suppose, a few "flawless" characters out there. Doc Savage comes to mind, and maybe the Lone Ranger or Zorro or Emma Peel, but if you look closely those stories are often more about the people whose lives are effected by the larger-than-life hero (or heroine) than about the hero himself. The Doc Savage adventures are largely told from the POV of Monk or Ham or some more fallible sidekick, who presumably easier to identify with than Doc himself, who comes off as a rather remote, aloof figure.

In my experience, "flawless" characters are usually most effective when viewed from the outside--by awestruck spectators, damsels in distress, dumbfounded bad guys, etc. At least that's how I often like to write them.

That approach doesn't really work with Trek, where (at their best) the characters are more down-to-earth and realistic. Kirk drinks coffee on the bridge, is occasionally subject to anger or self-doubt, needs a vacation once and awhile, and even has a mid-life crisis or two. I like to think Trek is about smart, capable, but very human individuals doing a tough job in space, not pristine examples of human perfection.
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Old November 26 2012, 05:51 PM   #41
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

I can see a rebooted TNG with characters full of flaws...

Picard - Murdered his brother so he could control the family vineyard.

Riker & Troi - Riker raped Troi in the past which is how they know each other. Troi is constantly fucking around with his head.

Data - Has schizophrenia and murderous tendencies.

Worf - Is a practicing cannibal.

Beverly Crusher - Practices untried therapies on her patients, including Wesley who is autistic.

LaForge - Truly blind and doing dishes in the crew mess.

I thought it was a bold step for TNG to create characters that had upstanding character and didn't harbor flaws in the name of trying to make them interesting.
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Old November 26 2012, 05:53 PM   #42
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

^ I like to think there's a middle ground between "upstanding" and sociopathic!
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Old November 26 2012, 05:58 PM   #43
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

BillJ wrote: View Post
I can see a rebooted TNG with characters full of flaws...

Picard - Murdered his brother so he could control the family vineyard.

Riker & Troi - Riker raped Troi in the past which is how they know each other. Troi is constantly fucking around with his head.

Data - Has schizophrenia and murderous tendencies.

Worf - Is a practicing cannibal.

Beverly Crusher - Practices untried therapies on her patients, including Wesley who is autistic.

LaForge - Truly blind and doing dishes in the crew mess.

I thought it was a bold step for TNG to create characters that had upstanding character and didn't harbor flaws in the name of trying to make them interesting.
HAHHA

I think interesting characters are 3D characters, whether they have apparent flaws or not.
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Old November 26 2012, 07:17 PM   #44
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
^ I like to think there's a middle ground between "upstanding" and sociopathic!
Not sure that I'm that far off in this day and age. Just look at the last film.

Kirk - Alcoholic lowlife who spends his time hitting on women in bars, has a criminal record.

Spock - Sleeping with a student and goes into a violent rampages when you diss his Mama.

Uhura - Uses sleeping with the teacher as a way to get the assignment she wants.

Scott - Takes and tests his transporter theories on defenseless animals.

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Old November 26 2012, 07:26 PM   #45
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Re: Do flaws make good characters great?

Depends how you look at things. Consider the original series:

Kirk: womanizing loose cannon who violates the Prime Directive at every opportunity. Seduces Lenore Karidian just to get revenge on her father. "I'm a soldier, not a diplomat."

Spock: Cold-blooded Vulcan who belittles humans every chance he gets. Goes into murderous rages when under the influence of pon farr, or alien spores, or alien viruses, or time-travel, or . . . .

McCoy: Shameless bigot who constantly makes racist cracks about Spock's green blood and pointed ears. Questions Kirk's decisions and authority every other episode.

Scotty: Heavy drinker with a weakness for doomed belly dancers. Gets into barroom brawls with Klingons when they diss his engines.

You can make anybody sound bad if you work at it!

And, seriously, labelling nuKirk an "alcoholic" is really stretching things. He orders a beer at a bar once in the entire movie! I don't recall him showing drunk or hungover on the bridge. (Plus, you left out the part where enrolls in the Academy and turns his life around.)

I'll bet we saw Kirk consume a lot more Saurian brandy and tranya over the course of the original TV shows and movies. And does anybody really think that Original Recipe Kirk never hit on a woman before . . ?!!

Hell, even Jean-Luc Picard got into bar fights when he was young and cocky. Remember the Nausicaans? But he eventually got his life together . . . just like nuKirk.
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