Tuesday, October 4, 2011

When Hate Turns to Love

Sorry, Xander.  Still hate you.

You know that one character on that one show that you just hate?  Who makes you cringe every time s/he comes on the screen and you just want him/her to die die die?

Yeah, you know the one.

And then somehow, by some strange turn of events, you have a complete emotional 180 and it's a brand new day.  You see him/her tear up and so do you.  S/he gets hurt and you're as devastated as the rest of the gang - or more.  It's weird how that works, isn't it?

Here are a few of my from hate to love characters.  (Spoilers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Stargate SG-1, and The Vampire Diaries within.)

Cordelia Chase - Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel
I hated her on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I get that she was the "there but for the grace of slayerdom" Buffy clone, a cautionary tale in fashionable shoes but ugh, I just wanted her to die.  I guess by around season 3, we were probably supposed to see her as one of the Scoobies but I never did.  I groaned when she showed up on Angel and somehow didn't die in the first episode.

Without warning, the Doyle thing happened and she was suddenly of some value.  I hated her slightly less.

Then the headaches started.  She was human, and Doyle's powers were too much for her.  When she went into the bathroom to hide the agony she was in and desperately groped for some pain killers, I cried for her.  Selfish, bitchy Cordelia was so determined to be useful to the team and to Angel that she hid the fact that her newfound powers were killing her.  How did she end up becoming this person I liked and respected and cared about?

Oh, Joss Whedon, you wascaly wabbit.

Doctor Janet Fraiser - Stargate SG-1

Man, Doctor Fraiser annoyed the ever-living heck out of me at first.  I just ground my teeth whenever she was on the screen because she was such a hard-ass and her manner irritated me something fierce.  She was supposed to be a 'strong female character' that just came off as grating, which irked me.  You don't have to be harsh to be strong, and it seemed to me they'd confused the two.

Then she fought so hard to save Daniel Jackson at the end of season 5 that I decided she was sort of okay.

Fast forward to season 7 and the shit has hit the fan.  One of the SG teams is ambushed by Baal's Jaffa on a backwater planet and it turns into a full-scale battle.  It goes poorly for the SGC and Doc Fraiser and her team go through the gate to care for the wounded.  She and Daniel Jackson come across a critically injured young soldier.  The kid is completely hysterical, sobbing that he's going to die.  Her tough manner and utter confidence calm him down enough for her to treat him, and I finally, finally understand why they wrote the character that way... just in time for her to take a stray staff blast to the chest. Shots are flying all around them and Daniel is screaming for a medic.  I had to pause the damn DVD because I was bawling my stupid head off.  For a character I had only grudgingly liked before. And she was gone.  Damn it.

Caroline Forbes - The Vampire Diaries

I turned off The Vampire Diaries in episode 3 of season 1 because I was tired of Caroline.  She was a yapper, a whiner, selfish, annoying, perky, and kind of hateful to Elena.  I didn't want to see her stupid face again.  And in fact, I didn't pick the series back up until season 3 was about to start.

By episode 4 of season 1, I was feeling sorry for her - she was Damon's lover, and also his juice box.  She had horrific, savage bites all over her body.  By episode 1 of season 2, she was my girl.  Yeah, I mean, she got murdered and rose from the dead and savagely attacked a nurse but she was really very nice about it.  Every one of us has had an off day like that, right?  Caroline is now my favorite character. She was kind of terrible as a human but she's a great vampire. She's still perky but she's stopped being a whiner and a hater and seems to feel pretty confident in her new life. I like the story of Damon, Stefan, and Elena, but for pure character love, Caroline takes the cake.

Who has transitioned from hate to love for you?  Or, like me with Xander, who never made the jump?

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  1. ohhhhh, I have a "never made the jump". I stopped watching Stargate:Atlantis mostly because I cannot stand Rodney. CANNOT. STAND. I went through university with hundreds of Rodneys and I can't stand them in real life, either. (You know the joke about these guys. "Smart enough to join Mensa, but not smart enough NOT to join Mensa." Yeah. Rodney was supposed to be a huge genius, but he joined Mensa; I laughed for a good 2 minutes at the scene about how Rodney's in Mensa and John says oh, Mensa, yeah, I passed the test but didn't join. And then I stopped laughing, and stopped watching the show. HATE.)

  2. (Please note: I'm not saying people who join Mensa are idiots. They're demonstrably not idiots. But it doesn't tend to attract the very, VERY smart -- people above the 97th or 98th percentile. It's full of people in the 95th percentile. Who are clearly extremely bright...but they are also fairly common, and not these radical hardcore super-geniuses like Rodney was supposed to be. Now, his _sister_, her I could buy as a super-genius. I was just absolutely sick of being told that this guy was a super-genius when I could find about 120 of him in a class of 140 freshman at a top-tier engineering university.)

  3. haha, McKay is one of those characters you either love or hate, I think. I ended up loving him after hating his guts when he was on SG-1. I should have put him on this list!

    I totally understand never getting past the hate part, though. I work with guys like that and they drive me INSANE.

    For me, Xander Harris was that character. You know how he knows Angel's getting his soul back but he decides not to tell Buffy because he's jealous of Angel and thus figures it's cool if Buffy unknowingly kills the man she loves!? Yeah, I never forgave him for that.

  4. I also never forgave Xander for the "Kick his ass" moment. What made it worse is that he never got called on it. Another character I never got over hating was Lana Lang on Smallville. It seemed like her sole reason for existing was to make Clark feel like crap.

    I dunno, does it count if you go from hating to loving a character in their debut apearance, 'cause that's how I felt about Donna Noble on Doctor Who.

    The only other characters that spring to mind are sitcom characters. Andy from The Office started off feeling like a weird fit for the show, but he's grown into one of my favorites. I also really didn't like April on Parks and Recreation at first; she had no discernable redeeming qualities, but as time time went on, a softer side of her was revealed.