When we watch TV drama or comedy – from the humble soap opera via the sitcom to the megabudget one hour Christmas drama special – we like to identify with at least one of the characters.
Character empathy gives us an anchor by which we can involve ourselves with the plot and all of the circumstances of the script.
I’m not talking here about fancying a lead character – that’s a discussion for another time. Keep your puerile fantasies regarding Gillian Anderson to yourself this time. I’m talking about the character in a TV show you most identify with – be it for their attitude to life, their personal circumstances, their appearance (and people’s reaction to it) or their lifestyle choices…
Are you down on your luck what with the credit crunch and finding yourself breaking down every time Perry Fenwick as Billy Mitchell has a snivel?
Do you like to walk through the rough part of town on a regular basis, playing Robin Hood for the crackheads as you threaten scary folk with a massive shotgun, a la Omar Little?
Are you reading this from a desert island like a tedious goon from Lost?
Are you supposedly ugly, when in fact you look quite normal – attractive even if only you’d sort your clothes and hair out – and happen to work in the rag trade like that Betty squirt?
Which television character do you most identify with?