What Would Olivia Dunham Do?
Prior to writing this, I thought about the heroes I’ve had in the past and, apart from Disney’s Ariel, all the action characters that have inspired courage in my backbone and made me long for adventure were, I’m sorry to say, men.
Until I met Olivia Dunham.
I came across Fringe almost by accident and, at first, there was something about Olivia that seemed a bit off. (Forget the fact that Anna Torv looks too much like my mom in her early twenties, when she used to iron her hair.) There she was, this gorgeous woman, terribly pale, wearing elegantly boring clothes and looking very somber most of the time. She also kicked some serious ass.
Then it hit me: where’s the make up? What do you mean she’s not wearing heels? Everyone knows female agents – FBI, CIA, CSI, you name it – bounce around in high heels. Because they’re so comfortable when you’re running after bad guys. A female agent will also have layer after layer of make up and everlasting gloss. If, however, she’s too tough to be girly, she’ll be half naked.
Sure, you can find characters just as tough, good looking and credible as Olivia. But they are seldom women.
It is my firm belief that we choose our heroes not only for the qualities we wish we had but also because we see something of ourselves in them. Half of us relates – the other half wants to copy.
I know her burden. Our tragedies are different but came too early in life and we had no option but to keep going. The difference is now I indulge. Since the shoulders feel so heavy and I’ve already had to put up with so much responsibility, when given the choice, I’ll play before I work. The unconscious notion that, if don’t do it, no one will, is also buried deep in my psyche – but, unlike her, I’ll leave it for tomorrow.
So, thank you Abrams, Kurtzman and Orci – and Torv – for the inspiration and occasional wake up call. I may not have military training or the ability to cross universes, but I can try to practice a little more discipline. And maybe some high kicks.