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Comment Diversion: Who Was the First Character You Truly Identified With?

By Vivian Kane | Comment Diversions | March 11, 2016 |

By Vivian Kane | Comment Diversions | March 11, 2016 |

I know not all of you who frequent this site are a part of its unofficial Facebook community component, but if you’re looking for an extra dose of the kind of conversations (and Chris Evans GIFs) that break out in the comments sections here, it’s a good place to go.

Case in point: earlier this week, commenter extraordinaire Tatiana Torres posted an awesome question based around a Lin Miranda Manuel interview (which I tried to find, meaning I lazily Googled it but couldn’t find, so I gave up) in which he was asked “when did you first find a character in film or TV that you could identify with?”

Who was that first character you saw on a screen and felt like that person got you? Who made you feel understood, but also sometimes like you were being exposed? If you have a character who does that to you, it’s a strange, special thing, like your thoughts and heart and what you thought were secrets are now on display.

Or do you even have that character? I’d presume we all have those that we connect with, but how common is it to find a character we really feel is us. Also, coming up with my own answer to this question, I’ve come up with three:

Angela Chase

Lindsey Weir

Rory Gilmore

These three people all have two things in common. Okay, yes, more than that, but these are the two that honestly surprised me.

1. If I saw these characters’ shows today, I would absolutely not have the same connection. Now, when I rewatch My So-Called Life, I still love Angela, but am only slightly horrified to realize that I sympathize with her mother more than I ever thought possible. And Lindsey is maybe the least interesting character on Freaks and Geeks. And oh man, do I wish that I saw myself as a Paris Gellar or, even better, an Emily Gilmore.

And 2. I can’t ignore the fact that all of these girls look, at least in broad strokes, like me. If you had asked me before how much a character’s appearance, or even her age or gender, plays into how strongly I identify with her, I probably wouldn’t have thought those things actually had such a strong effect— that I would relate more to emotional or philosophical elements of a character. But, well… the visual is pretty tough to ignore. Take that, every mouthbreathing troll who doesn’t get why representation in film is so important.

All of that is a big long intro to what I wanna know about you peeps. Who was the first person you saw on a screen (or a book, ‘cause that’s how we roll) that made you silently scream “IT’S ME!”

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