I’m a big fan of ABC’s Castle, but there’s one thing about it that’s had me concerned for a few years – Alexis. The overly-mature, parenting-the-parent, awesome-at-everything, super child. We’ve seen this character before – remember Rory Gilmore? Sure, these teens are wonderful. Who wouldn’t want a child accepted to every Ivy League school? What’s better than a kid who goes to a store to pay for an item that her friend shoplifted? The problem with perfect characters is that they get boring – you can only succeed so often before people start to resent you (characters and views/readers included). Poor, perfect Alexis hit her wall this season.
This once-spotless character needed to do something – anything – interesting, so the writers decided to have her bring a random guy home from her trip to Costa Rica. Let’s ignore the fact that this young lady was recently abducted and flown thousands of miles from her home (an event that not only left her unscarred, but apparently inspired a solo trip to Central America) and focus on the result – Pi. She’s rebellious enough to invite a man to live with her in her father’s home, but not smart enough to realize that it might upset the other people in the house.
Listen, I get it – you want Castle to look to his inexperienced, not-quite-educated daughter for advice and friendship, but she is no longer acting like a human (much less an adult). Nothing phases this girl. For a few seasons it was admirable, not it’s just irritating. I’m waiting for her to cause a five-car pile-up and make her dad feel guilty about it. We’re now expected to side with her character because she’s always been right, but I find myself wishing she’d gotten a few more spankings as a child.
No one is perfect. When you try to write a perfect character, you write yourself into a corner and the only way to get out is to take your character from perfect to unbelievable. Unfortunately unbelievable can translate into uninteresting (and if the viewer/reader isn’t interested, there’s no reason to keep watching/reading). Do yourself a favor – don’t strive for perfection. Give everyone flaws and you’ll create characters that your readers will enjoy and follow.