Thanks to the invention of websites like Netflix and Hulu, people have developed a whole new relationship with television than ever before. It has become too easy to lose hours of our lives in front of the moving screen. Instead of gathering in front of the T.V. once a week for our favorite show we have the ability to binge on our favorite characters in one sitting.
These characters start to feel like people I actually know; I’ve actually become sad when the last episode wraps because I can’t “spend time” with them anymore. I felt like I was saying goodbye to my group of college friends when I finished the last season of Parks & Recreation on Netflix. I’m trying not to think too much about the fact the final season just started…
I don’t have a wide range of shows that I watch (reality T.V. has officially been cut), but in the midst of what I have enjoyed, four characters have stood out to me as people I wish I knew in real life. These four people happen to be badass women who know who they are and answer to themselves. It’s not that I don’t have great friends and a wonderful mother to admire, but these four ladies take it up a notch:
Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) Law & Order: Special Victims Unit—Despite Olivia’s physically and emotionally demanding job, somehow she managed to stay insanely compassionate. After sixteen seasons of tracking down pedophiles, rapists, and the most horrible people you could imagine, she is still capable of believing there’s good in the world. Not many people can go to hell and back that many times and still come out seeing love.
No one knew what to expect after Elliot (Christopher Meloni) left, but Liv has risen to the top. She’s literally the new commanding officer, and she owns it. Even if she doesn’t always catch the bad guy, she will always fight for what’s right. A woman who dedicates her life to saving others deserves honor.
Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) Parks and Recreation—Type A, adorable, unstoppable, potentially annoying (according to some). I personally find Leslie’s quirks endearing, probably because she is a magnified version of me. We both have a strong work ethic, but I actually allow myself vacation and relaxation days. We strive to provide every problem presented to us, but sometimes we allow that problem to consume us which can make us a little crazy.
Leslie is similar to Olivia in that she has exceptional compassion; she will pin-point the most unique details about a person and surprises them somehow later. While having an anniversary for everything (the first time her and Ann ate waffles) may get obnoxious, Leslie will never forget you. Don’t be fooled by her goofy behavior because once she has her heart set on something she will fight to the death to get it. Maybe it is just a parks department, but she’ll create the best damn park a town could ever see.
Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) Scandal—First of all, how many African American women do we see in a position of power? On television and in real life, it is slim. I don’t like the double standard that says because a woman is the boss she’s scary or a bitch, but let’s be real, it’s kind of awesome the way Olivia P. can send someone running in the other direction.
It’s because she knows how to win, and 9 times out of ten she does. She knows how to get shit done, including winning a presidency. She also rocks a white pants suit better than anyone I’ve ever seen. While her aggressive rants can be a little much at times, it only shows her passion for whatever she’s working toward. She’s also someone you could actually trust to take your secrets to the grave. You have any sort of problem? Consider it, “handled.”
Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) Sex & the City—Compared to the other three women Carrie might get eaten alive, but she’s the one T.V. character that inspires my love for writing, fashion, and shopping. Sometimes when I find myself in a writing slump, I’ll marathon S&TC to spark the desire. The scenes of her typing away at her laptop while she stews relationship questions get me stewing on my own and want to type it all away.
Carrie may be the least sure of herself out of the four, but she’s never afraid of the journey to go figure it out. I may not agree with 85% of her fashion choices, but I appreciate her originality. She makes me feel better about my desire to keep my closet consistently updated. Her quote, “I like my money where I can see it, hanging in my closet,” speaks to me on a personal level. She’s honest, loyal (to her friends anyway), quirky, and untamable. While her wild heart may have broken some along the way, her intentions were always about following her bliss.
It’s not uncommon to see people portrayed in stereotypical roles, especially women. Very often we are portrayed as only sex symbols, not particularly smart, or desperately in search of a man. Despite the box Hollywood loves to package women in, the four that I admire break this mold and have made their own footprints in television.
While these women are still sexy in their own way and show a desire for love, they are more about what it means to be independent. It didn’t click until I started writing that all these women are career driven rather than on the traditional path that is imagined for us. They are a more accurate depiction of today’s modern woman, and we shouldn’t feel guilty from deviating from the idealized path.