Rooting for Root

Great thoughts by Cassandra on one of my favorite pop culture heroines! Thanks, Geeky Voyage!

Over the summer, I discovered a television series that blew my mind and changed my perception on modern television. Said series is Person of Interest.

Until I had subscribed to Netflix back in June, I hadn’t heard much about the series. I knew of the two main female characters, Root and Shaw (their portmanteau pairing name being the apposite “Shoot”) and that was as far as my knowledge on POI stretched. Sadly, the series receives next to no promotion in the UK so it is largely unknown to the majority of British audiences.

I had been fresh off an Angel binge at the time and I was dying for some more Amy Acker in my life. So when I saw an advertisement for POI on Netflix—its title card blown up in all of its deceptively subtle glory— I bit the bullet and loaded it up.

The first thing that I…

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Badass Women in Combat Gear: Valentine’s Day Edition, Or, Dorothy Parker Was Wrong

((For those of you who, like me, were not Math Majors in college, I apologize. But this particular blog post seems to need a ridiculous number of parentheses and a rather surprising number of braces {curly} and brackets [square]. Be warned.))

There is a fairly famous rhyming couplet by the 1920s Algonquin Round Table wit, Dorothy Parker, that has been widely anthologized (and it suddenly occurs to me that a whole slew [this is a technical literary term] of the editors anthologizing this were {white} men], which says, “Men don’t make passes/At girls who wear glasses.”

I have been thinking about this since Mike Allegra (heylookawriterfellow) asked me to add to my BWCG series some BWCGs who wear glasses. I thought of this most recently after viewing a teaser for this coming Tuesday’s Agent Carter, in which Agent Sousa (the delightful Enver Gokaj) says to (an injured and therefore unavailable-for-the-mission) Agent Peggy Carter (the even more delightful Hayley Atwell) that what they need for the coming mission is someone who can “blend in with the glamour and throw down in the gutter.” Damn, Spanky, I LOVE the writers on this show!

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Any Gentle Reader who has spent any time at all reading this blog will recognize that this is not only the dual nature of what I look for in my Female Leads of TV, Film, and Life, but also a micro-blueprint of who I would like to eventually be. I have to admit that the second part sounds much less painful to me than the first part, because as Agent Dana Scully admits in the most recent New X-Files episode, running/fighting in three-inch heels is no country for really anyone, but absolutely not Women, Older Men or Sane People of any Gender. Okay, she didn’t say that.

But as Jane Austen might have said, “It was nowhere said, but everywhere implied.” Come on. Amy Acker has said that at one point her only “stunt ability was running in heels” (Citation, as Wikipedia would point out, desperately needed. My guess? A ComiCon. San Diego? Maybe. Who knows?).

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My point here is simply that Dorothy Parker was wrong and Mike Allegra is right. (Full disclosure: I wear glasses. So sue me. {Twenty-odd years at MIT’s Writing Center (some of them more odd than others) has made me as blind as my cat Musashi, if not as a bat or a possum. [If M. were a little boy, he’d be wearing Coke bottle glasses and a bowtie]}.

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So in honor of a Sunday-facing Valentine’s Day (black Tuesday meets the Lord’s day), I offer you some of my favorite female actors (Nope, don’t call me a teacheress, professoress, editoress or martial artistess; I avoid calling them actresses for the same reason) in glasses.

 

I tried very hard to chase down the pics I have seen online of Lucy Lawless as herself, rather than Xena, wearing glasses, to no avail. Similarly, her soul-grandmother, Linda Carter (the always-and-everywhere Wonder Woman, despite DC’s brilliant work with Gal Gadot).

And because I believe it is important to look back and forward at the same time, I also give you Ingrid Bergman and Scarlet Johansson.

Also, the classic, brilliant, unimitatable Katherine Hepburn on a skateboard, because duh.

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To my pal, Mike Allegra, men and women who love women in glasses or, you know, on skateboards: YOU’RE WELCOME. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY. NOW WE WILL LET THE WEATHER BECOME WARM AGAIN.

Grr. Arrgh. More Writer’s Block

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, when the wizard Saruman, wears robes “woven of all colors” because he has fallen from the path of the wise, Gandalf (the Grey) says, “I liked white better.” This is Saruman’s reply:

“White!” he sneered. “It serves as a beginning. White cloth may be dyed. The white page can be overwritten; and the white light can be broken.”

Now here’s the thing for me a writer. Saruman is clearly evil here, because he is saying the white page can be overwritten like it’s a bad thing.

For me as a writer, constantly trying to produce, this is definitely not a bad thing. So this past week struggling to come up with blog posts, I have tried a variety of things, but today I actually just broke down and turned to Google Images to find pictures to express how I feel: tired, afraid, studious, interrupted. Clearly Person of Interest (and a little bit of Angel) are helping me out here.

 

Then I went and found pictures about how I want to feel: badass.

 

Well, it must have worked, because what we have here, children, is a blog post.

Psycho Sunday: Badass Women in Combat Gear #6

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Back to your everyday basic black combat gear (albeit with heeled boots—how do these actors run in these boots???), on the Minority Report-esque TV show Person of Interest, we eventually shift from the two male main characters, the quirky Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson) and the silver fox John Reese (Jim Caviezel). Starting at the very end of season one, the showrunners introduced the character of “Root,” a genius computer hacker who renamed herself after the root code in a computer program. She is pretty much psychotic, and nobody does psycho like Amy Acker, because even when she is preparing to torture you she is just so darn sweet.

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Starting in Season two, they also introduced Sameen Shaw, a former ISA assassin who self-identifies as having Axis 2 Borderline Personality Disorder and occasionally calls herself a sociopath. As she describes it to a little girl she is trying to protect, “You know that thing that makes you flinch? I don’t have that. I don’t do most emotions. Although I’m pretty good at anger.” Although once again we see women being badasses primarily because they are in some way kind of broken, it is also sort of refreshing to see mental differences being portrayed on television at all, and not entirely in bad ways, especially as we get to know the characters and they get to know each other and come to first respect each other and then eventually like each other.

Shaw and Root also have an interesting chemistry that appears most strongly when they are shooting people together. As disturbing as that is to think about, it’s also lots of fun to watch.

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Also, from earlier seasons, Taraji P. Henson as Detective Carter and Paige Turco as Zoe the fixer also make it work whether in uniform or little black dresses. La la la. Our definition of combat gear, like our definition of poetry, continues to expand.