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The treatment of minor female characters

nightshade

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So we're not talking about Cordelia, Fred, Darla or Lilah, but the smaller ones like Justine, Anne and Eve.

Did you feel that they were characters in their own right, or just plot devices to further the story?
 

Anyanka Bunny Slayer

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They were annoying plot devices. 😅

I didn't feel any sympathy for Justine. ("Grrr. I'm so angry. Grrr. I want revenge.") She wasn't very bright, there was no depth to her character, and I just didn't like anything about her.

Anne was even less watchable than Justine. Vamp wannabe, clueless runaway, champion of street kids. Meh. Boring.

Don't even get me started on Eve. Though I think the actress who portrayed her was the main problem here. Attractive, but stupid. She reminded me of Gen Padalecki, who couldn't act her way out of a paper bag either.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Anne was alright but I think she's a character that needs to be given in small doses. An episode here or there just to catch up on what she's doing but she's not regular material.

I would've liked to have seen more of Amy, especially her throwing Kennedy around.

Halfrek worked with what we had of her but I would've liked to have seen more of her.

Sunday was great and I wish she'd lasted longer.

Chao-ahn was underused. I think we should've gotten more scenes of her and Giles plus maybe a scene of Dawn teaching her English so that she can understand and communicate with others (although it seems she kind of understands English but just doesn't speak it eg she knows Giles is talking about ice cream because she says she's lactose intolerant.

We needed a lot less of Rona and Kennedy, they should've been killed off.
 

Myheadsgonenumb

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Justine - definitely exists purely to further the story along. Yes they give her the initial motivation (dead sister) but beyond that she doesn't make much sense. She not only sticks around with a man who drove an awl through her hand but she actually falls in love with him. And they don't really give that any space to develop in a way that makes sense to the viewer, or give her back story enough to understand why she would fall in love with her abuser (and no - dead sister, even a twin - isn't reason enough for that). I suppose she plays a vital role in the arc of the series in that it is she who slits Wesley's throat and forces Sahjahn into the urn ... but there was no character development that meant that had to be her. It could have been literally anyone and both tasks could have been performed by two separate people without the arc being harmed in any way. So yes - for me Justine is a (badly written) plot device. Though I do quite like the actress - and I have sympathy for her in the beginning.

Anne - is more interesting. She only appears in three episodes and two are MOTW during Angel's beige phase and one is a brief (but delightful) cameo in the series finale. Anne could have been a brand new female character, who ran the homeless shelter and happened to know Gunn. (And if she was, then she would be much less interesting and probably not included on this list.) If you only ever watch Angel then Anne is ... fine. She has her own thing, she has her own motivations and her actions make sense within that. But if you only ever watched Angel she is no different from any other female character who appears as a one off in a MOTW episode - like Tina in the pilot. It is the fact that she is actually much more than that - she is one of the best easter eggs in the Buffy verse - that makes her memorable. Because we know she is not only Anne but also Lily and Chanterelle then she is a brilliant background character. We actually know so much of her past and have a really good understanding of her motivations and can appreciate how far she has come. And when that background is added in then she is definitely a character in her own right and not there to further the plot. Choosing to use Julia Lee, rather than casting another actress to create a new role (which they could easily have done - because the fact that she was on Buffy is never really acknowledged beyond her telling Lindsey she already knows about vampires) was probably one of the best decisions the Angel writing team made in the course of the whole series (admittedly - some may view that as a rather low bar).

Eve - just awful. She's plot device and exposition and has no character beyond being Lindsey's bae - and her motivations are his motivations.

Virginia - I like Virginia, she's very sympathetic - she has her own story ... but ultimately the use of her is purely to develop Wesley. First for him to find his confidence in Guise will be Guise - and then for him to feel loss and despair and begin his path towards isolation (ultimately leading to him abducting Connor) when she breaks up with him.

What about Kate? Does she count as minor? Either way, she goes out of her way to make sure she loses everyone's sympathy, but if I can put disliking her aside for a moment, she is treated badly by the writing. She starts off as this confident, controlled woman in a position of authority with a good job and way to be useful for the team ... and they choose to turn her into a hysterical, paranoid, grieving wreck who can't cope with the supernatural, misplaces the blame for her father's murder and loses all the respect she had on the force as she fails to perform her job properly. They didn't have to do that to her - and it would have made no real difference to the story line. So perhaps she is an example of a female character who is written as a character, not a plot device, but falls into tired and cliched tropes of what female characters are like - overly emotional, unstable, irrational - and ultimately in need of saving by a man.
And - of course - Kate is half of the problem of what is wrong with Justine. Justine was never meant to exist, she was supposed to be Kate (thus I suppose proving that J isn't a character she's a plot device). If they had used Kate we would have had more background and build up for her ... but I think, as a character, she would still be being wronged by the writers. Pre 'The Prodigal' Kate wouldn't have turned into what she became - and certainly never into Justine. And yes the murder of her father was traumatic and terrible, but her reaction and the way it fuelled her obsession above doing her job, just doesn't sit right for me. Not comapred to where she started. That was a case of bad writing and bending her in a way that wasn't true to the type of person she was, and - as it turns out they did it for no particular reason. So I suppose - had they used Kate how she they had intended (to become Justine) then she would have been pure plot device as well.
 

Anyanka Bunny Slayer

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I liked Nina a lot. There was just something about her that interested me. And Sunday, of course! She was so bored, so evil, and so much fun. Kathy was unforgettable. And I can NEVER listen to "Believe" again.

And yay! The loan shark! Loved that character. 😅
 

Fuffy Baith

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Justine was a terrible plot device. Ugh, let's not talk about her. lol. I think Cordy started off as her own character but season 4 turned her into a Jasmine plot device. Fred was the plot device to get the gang to Pylea, but eventually became her own character and then turned into Illyria. Eve was just annoying block for Angel. Anne was fine, but only in a few episodes, basically just a call back character ,like "oh yeah, Anne, what's she up to?"
Darla is used for a plot device but is also her own character with her own arc on Angel. Lilah was such a fun antagonist, sometimes used as a plot device. But I don't think that it's limited to just female characters. Lorne was basically a plot device for season 2, any time the gang needed answers they went to "the host".
And yes the murder of her father was traumatic and terrible, but her reaction and the way it fuelled her obsession above doing her job, just doesn't sit right for me.
Oh I totally agree! I actually like Kate (a little bit) but EVERYTHING with her and her father was terrible to me. He need for vengeance or whatever, was so annoying. The only moment i like is when they are on the bench talking and he says to her, like 'hey that cute guy I met, go date him and have a life of your own outside of work' I'm paraphrasing, but of course she doesn't listen. Kate could have been a good character.
 
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