An Open Letter to All the Characters I’ve Misinterpreted

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Dear all the characters I have misinterpreted,

There are points in your life in which you’ll watch something and think it to be the be-all and end-all of your existence. That character IS me! How many times have I uttered that? It’s because I see what I want to see. Bias is my enemy when evaluating character growth and development, and as a media student I should know better. Which is why upon rewatching series I thought I had pegged at some other point in my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that I owe you all an apology.

It may seem like it’s been awhile since we’ve interacted, I’m well aware. But there’s something I think you deserve to hear, and it’s that I’ve misjudged you. I saw your worth as indicative of the state in my life when I watched you, and not as the objective character you are. Choosing to see you through my biased goggles is an insult to your writers, who I’m sure spent hours and hours trying to make sure you were dynamic and memorable, and most of all individuals. There’s nothing less fair than being misjudged, I know that to be true.

As a lifelong and truly devoted consumer of television, I spent my formative years attaching myself to characters on-screen. I would obsess over the minutiae of multiple series, to the point of knowing what scene on the DVD disc to find a certain reference or quote (I’m looking at you, Gilmore Girls). I had absorbed characters’ speaking styles and to some degree, how they dressed.

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But in my, admittedly, fanatic attempts to feel a part of these worlds you live in, I lost sight of what the writers intended you to symbolize. I was so wrapped up in what you meant to me, that I completely overlooked your significance. As a content creator now, I realize the power my characters can have on others, just as they did me. Upon asking friends of mine about this phenomenon, clearly to make sure I’m not somewhat emotionally unstable, they said that some characters they’ve come across have entirely affected their personalities as they’ve grown, for better and worse.

There’s this romantic notion I had of all you TV characters that was instantly shattered once I rewatched your respective series. I look back on what I was thinking when I placed you on a pedestal and sometimes I shudder at the thought of what I’ll think of you in 10 more years. In a way, you’ve all served as a gauge of sorts of who I am as an individual. I guess I moved around too much growing up to have a doorway with dashes marking my growth over the years (side note: do people have these or is this something that only exists on family tv shows?).

Even though I was wrong to see you all as selfishly as I did, I don’t regret it- at least not entirely. Coming to this conclusion I feel like I’ve undergone a metanoia and now critique all of you much less and myself a great deal more. I see that I’ve been too fast to make judgements on you. But now I know. Writers always have another card up their sleeves, and I’ll be damned if I ever make the mistake of misinterpreting any of you again.

Hoping to see you all in a new light,

Ale

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About Alejandra Buitrago

TV addict, anglophile, and aspiring screenwriter currently seeking her "Great Perhaps". Moonlights as Staff Editor for Inconnu Magazine, though her romantic involvement with Netflix is a priority.

3 comments

  1. The only TV character I have truly identified with is sam weir which is inaccurate while also being painfully true.

  2. Nia Wesley

    I’m trying to think of characters that I misinterpreted but for most I’ve stuck to my original opinion even on repeat viewings or seeing the series or movie years later.

    There is one I can think of off the top of my head. Guinevere from The mists of Avalon. The first several times I watched it, I thought, “What is wrong with her? She got to have a threesome with Arthur & Lancelot! I’d be blushing for months after sharing a bed with a king and a knight of the round table.” But later on I felt so bad for her. She felt so much shame. She was just trying to be a good wife and queen and a good Christian. She was attracted to and had romantic feelings for Lancelot but she wouldn’t have given in if Arthur hadn’t of convinced her it was the best choice for their marriage and their kingdom. She ended up truly feeling like she committed a sin for the sake of motherhood and was getting punished for it (she didn’t know Morgause cursed her). I went from rolling my eyes at “Where? Where is my baby?” to trying not to cry in empathy.

  3. Pingback: Cakify TV

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