Monday, July 2, 2012

Rebuilding Elmer Studios – Rebecca

Rebecca was in many ways the “flagship” character of the Elmer Studios MSTings. She appeared in the most episodes (Missing only a few “special event” casting moments) as well as being present for various crossover episodes as the Elmer representative.

Unfortunately, looking back in retrospect, she also needed the most work.

What worked?
At her core, there were a lot of things about Rebecca’s character that worked well. Her ‘I’m smarter then you’ attitude was a great foundation, allowing us to throw in some rather clever riffs at times. She was a great excuse to do things that were obscure and often morel iterate then the usual material we’d use (the “farewell to arms” joke in one episode comes to mind). It made for a fun contrast, especially to Rick and Dan.

As noted before, her history with Dan and their shared antagonisim was great stuff that provided us with a lot of material; the pair of them bickering and playing off each other worked fantastically. Likewise, the sense of menace inherent in her was great stuff, causing a degree of tension and allowing her to get away with a lot more then she should have, though the latter was helped by her position as the ‘token girl’.

What didn’t work?
Looking back at her, in many ways, Rebecca is embarrassing. She represents beliefs and ideas and the like that I held some 10-15 years ago that I don’t hold today and certainly feel more then a little shame over. At times, some of the stuff she says and a lot of how she acts becomes cringe-worthy to the degree that I’ll go “I can’t believe I wrote that”. Not easy to deal with.

Related to that was her trigger-happy nature. It was funny at the time, but again it got old quickly and really, really outstayed its welcome in addition to adding to the cringe. A lot of my “hey look, I said something wrong/bad” humour that she used quickly stopped being any good, and certainly has not aged well.

Finally, Rebecca, like Dan, had an odd case of role confusion. Originally, Dan was meant to take the role of the ‘pervy’ riffs. Instead, Rebecca hijacked it and wouldn’t let it go, which not only a) didn’t fit her but b) was hurting Dan. Instead, her originally intended role was diluted and would take time to reassert itself.

What’s changed?
For Rebecca, the answer is quite a lot, actually. Her background has been completely rebuilt, replacing her ‘crazed gun-toting pilot’ thing with a more ambiguous ‘secret agent’ background. The result is that she’s swung around from ‘ambiguously backwoods-y’ to a university education, degrees and a pile of somewhat esoteric qualifications. This is tied into a better definition of her role; Rebecca is smarter then you and wants everyone to know it. She makes clever, sly jokes and obscure references. A bit of the ‘pervy’ has remained, but now it’s aimed at more terrible gay innuendos. Finally, she gets to make ambiguous comments about her past, which gives her a ‘I know something you don’t’ attitude that makes for some interesting material.

Her appearance has also changed a lot, possibly the most of any of the regulars. Gone is the spy catsuit thing; instead is a sort of smart casual look that suggests sophistication and smarts rather then the ‘kick you in the teeth look at the boobs’ that she had before. However, he artificial arm is still there (and has been used as a source for material), but as to what accessories it may have, be they a gun or something else… well, that’s still to come.

What’s stayed the same?
She has black hair in a braid and grey eyes?

Ahem. Rebecca’s still smart, a bit arrogant and definitely full of herself with a tendency to ‘talk down’ to others. Likewise, her antagonistic relationship with Dan is still there, and it’s being milked for all its worth. However, what exactly happened between the pair of them, rather then being fixed before we started, is now open for explanation; we know how it ended, but we don’t know how they got there.

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