In Soapland, Passions included, there is the perception and image that
Basicly Good people are stupid and weak. This is something that we see
in other media as well. Years ago, I was very into the Fantasy Role Playing
games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, and I read the magazines for these
games. I remember reading along time ago an Article called 'Good is Stupid',
or something to that effect.
In it, the writer talked about the perception that many of writers and Game Masters had that characters, which were "Good" in their alignment, good in Character, were being forced to do stupid things. Such as, 'Good' Player characters were fighting to clear a land of Evil monsters. During their quest, they encounter a Evil Creature that can talk and so when the monster is on the verge of defeat, it calls for a truce, to make peace and the Characters are expected to, No Required to stop the battle and negoiate. They do this despite the fact that this is a monster that feeds on flesh and has been terrorizing the countryside, killing and eating people. That it is it's nature to do this and will only continue to do this if the Heros let it go free. Or the Heros are denied use of weapons and skills because a 'Good' Character wouldn't do this, or use this.
When I am watching Passions and reading the posts on this and other boards, I am constantly reminded of this article. How often do we describe Charity, Grace and Miguel as Dumb? Stupid? Weak? How often do we read these same things in response to ours and others posts? On the Show, Sam has described Grace as one of the most inherently good people in the world and yet he feels that she isn't strong enough to tell her about his past with Ivy. Why? Because he thinks of her as being as fragile as a hot house flower. Or Gwen, who is basicly a good and honest person, losing Ethan because she believed the lies that Ethan and Theresa told her. I remember a couple of posters saying she deserved to lose Ethan because she was so stupid as to believe these lies, or something to that effect.
Let's look at thses Characters. At Gwen, Charity, Miguel and Grace. For the most part, each is portaryed as basicly a good person. Although, Gwen needs to stay the hell away from her mother.
Gwen: Despite the fact that Gwen is by her upbringing, sort of a snob and the fact that she was constantly in bed with Ethan the first few months of the show. She is basicly a good and honest person. Honest in her dealings with others, with her feelings with Ethan and Sheridan and is willing to believe someone, take them at their word. She believed Theresa, at first, when she told Gwen about her boyfriend, but became suspecious of Theresa as she got to know her. She confronted Theresa and discuessed her fears and suspections concerning Theresa with Ivy, Ethan and Sheridan. Everyone kept telling Gwen not to worry and she stopped worrying when Theresa finally produced her boyfriend. Later, When Gwen's suspecsions were re-ignited, Ethan and Theresa lied to her repeatedly and made her feel foolish in her suspecsions about Theresa and because she believed these lies.... She is publicly humilated in the worst possible fashion by Ethan. It is Gwen's basic goodness and honesty that allowed for Theresa and Ethan to do this to her and because of this, Gwen was called stupid and was said to deserve what had happened to her by many posters.
Charity: Charity is the face of Innocence on the Show and is as interesting as a blank piece of paper. She is oblivous to Kay's lies and manipulations, trying to break her and Miguel up. Twice she has been brainwashed, once by Kay to fear Miguel and once by Tabby to kill Miguel. Then you have the time when the Angel Girl had her walking around like a puppet on strings, trying to expose Tabby as an agent of Evil. Charity has been portaryed has having little or not backbone, force of will, strenght of Character of her own. She is more controled by her powers then in control of them and thus is victimised by them. I once wrote an Email to NBC about this. In it, I pointed out that if Charity was so lacking in strenght, in identity, that anyone could use her and play games with her mind, like what had already been done, then she would never be able to fight evil. That evil would overwhelm her, because she lacked the strenght to fight back, to stand up to it or the wisdom to recognise it when she confronted it. Only now, are we seeing a more assertive Charity, but this more assertive Charity is a result of her powers showing and pushing her to confront Kay and Hecuba as they are seeking her and her family's destruction.
Miguel: Miguel is another innocent on the show and equally as clueless as Charity. How many times have we bemoaned his lines, 'You're such a good friend Kay', 'What's the matter Charity?', 'It's alright Charity', and 'You're just imagining things, Charity.' He is completely unaware of Kay's real intentions towards him and constantly miss reads, miss understands her admissions of her feelings towards him. He chooses to ingnore the supernatural occurances that he has seen and experienced and the threat that Charity has posed to him in the past. Too often he is portrayed as too love struck to see beyond Charity and his love for her. Nor does he question what he has seen and been through this past year and a half. At least not enough to show any real degree of inteligence.
Grace: Grace is the Face of Mature Innocence on Passions. With the first 20 years of her life missing due to amnesia, she lacks the edge that most of the Adults have. Some painful decision or memory that shapes their lives. Grace too, is portrayed as being oblivous to those around her with hidden agendas against her or that affects her family, like Ivy and Tabitha. She has a great deal of empathy and this empathy is often portrayed as weakness, as a lack strenght in being able to deal with emotional issues and crisises. Sam doesn't want to tell Grace about his past with Ivy because he thinks that she is unable to deal with it. She trusts Sam and so believes all of his lame explaintions concerning him and Ivy and some of the things that have happened to them. The same goes for Eve's lame excuses for her actions. Grace has powers too, but the amnesia that plagues her, is what blocks them as well. According to both Faith and Tabitha, Grace is as powerful as Charity is, potentially, anyways. Like Charity, Grace's premonitions and visions are met with skecptism and dis-belief. They are explained away as dreams and nightmares brought about by fatigue, stress and or improper diet. Many posters have repeatedly complained about how dumb Grace is, how she is so gullible and so bland and these are some of the reasons for them wanting Sam to end up with Ivy. While Grace isn't whiney like Theresa, she has appeared to be that way at various times in the past.
Each of these Characters, who are basicly good and honest people have been and still are being portrayed as weak, as stupid and easily used and manipulated by others. Gwen first by Theresa and now by her mother. Miguel and Charity by Kay. Grace by Ivy and Tabitha.
Before closing, I would like to point out just how wrong these portrayals are of these people.
Gwen is a competant business woman. Her father trusted her with sensetive negotions and she brought them to a satisfactory close. She has been a good friend to Sheridan and supported Ethan through some difficult times. She has good instincts about people and if she had followed them, Theresa would not have been successful in her pursuit of Ethan. Despite the pain, humilation and anger that she has been put through, Gwen remains a Class act and I find her forced descent into Bitchdom by the writers disturbing. Rebeeca is defintely a bad influence on Gwen and Gwen needs to keep out of Rebecca's schemes.
Miguel and Charity are still young and should not have to deal with many adult issues. However, we have been shown some adult / mature conversations between them. The one about sex for example. While a degree of innocence is expected it should not overshadow the strenghts of their individual characters. Miguel has shown himself to be brave and selfless, a hero, like his brother Luis and like Sam Bennett. Nor is he stupid, he has shown himself to be understanding and resourceful in some tight sitautions. Charity before losing her memory, showed alot more strenght and independance, but even after that, she has dealt with losing her mother, rebuilding her life and reclaiming her happiness with Miguel. Yes, she had the help and support of Grace and her family, but she still had to deal with her losses and problems. Then you had the time she saved Miguel, finding the strenght to pull / drag him to safety. Both Miguel and Charity can be and are better than they are being portrayed.
Grace is perhaps the most misrepresented of the four. While she is mocked for her meek and kind nature, by Ivy, Julian and others, and appears to be weak. She is perhaps the strongest of them. She is a successful small business woman, running two small businesses. Active in the community, she is one of the organizers of the Harmony Town Carnival and has organised and run succesful charity events. Although they were not in the same class level as what the Cranes and their peers engage in, they were successful none the less. These are things that a dumb person could not do. Plus she has built a life after losing the first 20 years of her life and raised a Family with Sam. She has very good instincts, or perhaps her powers are surfacing. Grace has recognised Ethan's true parentage, eventhough she doesn't know about Sam and Ivy's past and Chad's as well. (She gave Julian that odd look when Ivy asked Grace who Chad reminded her of.) Then there is how she was able to hear Ivy and then see her the night the Prom boat sank, it was Grace who spotted Ivy in the water, at night and later Ivy and Sam, as Sam was bringing Ivy to safety. Grace has all kinds of Strenght, but we are not allowed to see it. She is made to appear oblivous to what is going on around her, but continues to be more perceptive, showing flashs of insight and perception, then anyone expects her to be. I hope that the writers do not turn her into a basket case when Ethan's paternity comes out, but that she rises above her fears and troubles and becomes a Pillar of Strenght for Sam and her family. She certainly has the potential to be this and should be this.
What I would like to see is for Gwen to move on and find someone else and keep the HELL away from her mother. Miguel and Charity grow up alittle and show interests beyond each other. As for Grace, I want to see her kick some butt, Hecuba's for starters and then Ivy's. Also, I want her to start searching for her past, her and Sam together on an adventure. But most of all, I want the Good Characters to be played the way they should be, with inteligence, strenght, passion and more interestingly.
What do you think?