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Slaying the dozens

It has been requested that I post the six necessary archetypes for a heroic group of adventurers. Please note that this formula likewise applies to superhero teams, sitcom casts, and any other fictive group of multiples. It must be applied precisely lest someone miss the point that you are excitingly creative and enlightened by diversity but not some kind of crazy kook who will freak people out with, say, the presence of more than two Chinese people in a single room. Do not deviate or you'll never get your name mentioned on Wikipedia.

REQUIRED CHARACTER #1: Lantern-jawed, rugged tough guy. Must be white Anglo-Saxon American heterosexual Protestant male. Naming convention: short, choppy given name followed by longer, manly-sounding surname. Examples: Rock Slatman, Jut Huxley*, Beef Cookford.

REQUIRED CHARACTER #2: Hot, busty blonde. Must be white Anglo-Saxon American heterosexual Protestant female, but need not necessarily be romantically involved with RC#1. Naming convention: should sound like hooker, porn star or stripper. Examples: Kandi Liquor, Hotsy McDuff, Sindee Lace.

REQUIRED CHARACTER #3: Bad-ass but surprisingly intelligent black guy. Must be African or African-American (Caribbeans are too exotic) and have tremendous physical strength, but also above-average intelligence to prove that you're not prejudiced ("See, blacks are scientists too!"). Naming convention: Incongrous given name + prosaic last name beginning with 'J'. Examples: Copernicus Jones, Stradivarius Jackson, Prof. Linus von Jefferson.

REQUIRED CHARACTER #4: Hulking, charmingly stupid lummox. Basically the same as the previous character, only white and not smart. Must be Caucasian, but not Anglo-Saxon -- good place for Slavs, Mediterraneans or other "exotics". Naming convention: Jaunty abbreviated/altered given name with floridly non-WASPish surname. Examples: Tony Jablonksi, Charlie Beaumontaine, Rocky Caravello.

REQUIRED CHARACTER #5: Hot, non-blonde woman. Physically, must be incredibly attractive, but has some flaw (red or brown hair, smaller breasts, glasses) that prevents her from being the lead female. Good place to put exotic foreigners. Naming convention: stripper alias for given name, followed by ethnic-sounding surname. Examples: Sasha Della Monte, Whisper Wong, Drapes Mahoney.

REQUIRED CHARACTER #6: Emergency backup lantern-jawed, rugged tough guy. Identical in every way to RC#1, but less popular. Ready to stand in should it happen that the lead cannot perform his duties.

Should you cast more than six characters, here are the next-preferred archetypes, in the order in which they should be employed:

#7: Physically unattractive, quirky guy who will eventually betray the group and whose inner torment and morally suspect character is reflected in his physical imperfection.

#8: Physically slightly less attractive quirky gal who wisecracks all the time and who is possibly a lesbian or bisexual but is NEVER allowed to be male and gay.

#9-10: Blond(e) twins from American heartland who face death and danger with an indefatiguable sense of optimism, innocence and cheer, and whom the viewer/reader will wish death upon within 50 pages/20 minutes.

#11: Magical Negro.

#12. Old man or woman who hangs around with young people for some reason and is extremely wise in addition to having a potent sex urge, a 'hip' means of expression, and a keen grasp of current technology.

*: Indian Stabber!


Apr. 30th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC)
I think I'm #8. AKA Thelma.
Apr. 30th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
Actually, if you just used a different variant of your name (Say, Clarina Zulkovsky), you'd be a shoo-in for #5.
Apr. 30th, 2007 08:30 pm (UTC)
dammit, man, i can be 3 too! you frickin' bigot! i don't even have an accent!

(wait. you might not know that my parents are jamaican. i assumed that left me out, but maybe it doesn't. if so, i recant my first-line yelling.
Apr. 30th, 2007 08:37 pm (UTC)
Sorry, man. West Indians can be wise, but they can't be smart; just like they can be deadly but not tough (see: Chris Partlow in The Wire. They're just too exotic for the rules of archetypical fiction. When was the last time a story featured a hulking Jamaican, or a Haitian scientist? (It is for the same reason that, despite its total lack of bearing on reality, you never see Arab scientists or computer programmers even though you often see Indian scientists and computer programmers. I don't make the rules, son, I just point them out.)
BLANK - picodulce - Apr. 30th, 2007 08:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
BLANK - thebitterguy - Apr. 30th, 2007 11:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 30th, 2007 08:35 pm (UTC)
This sounds like the Cast of Lost.
Apr. 30th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
It applies to almost every kind of popular fiction.




REQUIRED CHARACTER #4: Hurley. Although he's fat, not strong, he technically fills the role.



#7: Locke.

#8: Ana Lucia.

#9-10: Shannon & Boone.

#11: Walt.

#12. Mr. Friendly, I guess.

It's like clockwork.
BLANK - tritium - Apr. 30th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Trying this with The Wire... - blue_straggler - Apr. 30th, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
BLANK - adam_0oo - Apr. 30th, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
BLANK - tritium - Apr. 30th, 2007 08:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
BLANK - ludickid - Apr. 30th, 2007 09:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
BLANK - adam_0oo - Apr. 30th, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 30th, 2007 09:11 pm (UTC)
More 7 than 4, probably.
Apr. 30th, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
Dammit. I've gotta be #7.
Apr. 30th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
Okay, I think you and Austin are missing the point of this entry.
BLANK - oilyrags - Apr. 30th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
BLANK - thebitterguy - May. 1st, 2007 03:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 30th, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)
But where does the zany robot character fit in?
Apr. 30th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC)
Oooh, good point - this clearly does not apply to Star Trek (either the original one or The Next Generation)! Damn Gene Roddenberry and his progressiveness.
Apr. 30th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
Hey now, where's the Odious Comic Relief?
Apr. 30th, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC)
You're forgetting the brooding, anti-hero who claims to be a loner but will ultimately work well with the group...despite his tragic and possibly mysterious past.
Apr. 30th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
so you've been watching Firefly.....
dammit. I'm #6, but i want to be #12.

Apr. 30th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC)
Re: so you've been watching Firefly.....
This is going to turn into a meme quiz thing, isn't it?
unfortunately. - burket - Apr. 30th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 30th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
I suspect this thematic structure would be of great use in assembling a team to protect us from the Cavity Creeps.
Apr. 30th, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC)
the term "magical negro" makes me smile
Apr. 30th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
I'm having a difficult time determining what, if any, difference there is between #11 and #3.
Apr. 30th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)
So, strangely enough, I was at the gym while you were writing this, and was already thinking about the use of Progressive Rock in Children of Men when "The Supernatural Aneasthetist (sp? sp!)" came on my mp3 player, and I began to wonder if you could create a (necessarily for Vertigo) superhero team composed entirely of characters extracted from the inpenetrable symbolism of prominent prog rock stalwarts, aligned in the traditional team archetypes.


Extra level of difficulty: You cannot use The Crimson King because former fellow roleplayer and current state senator Tom Prezelski created him back in the seventh grade. Also, I had a villain called the Twenty-First Century Schizoid Man, so not that one either. I'm sorry to diminish the pool of potential inherent in King Crimson.
Apr. 30th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
For extra difficulty, also make a team of their teen sidekicks drawn entirely from Hawkwind and Marillion songs, but you're not allowed to use Moorcock characters or harlequins. OH MAN!
BLANK - ludickid - May. 1st, 2007 12:42 am (UTC) - Expand
BLANK - calamityjon - May. 1st, 2007 01:10 am (UTC) - Expand
BLANK - ludickid - May. 1st, 2007 12:41 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 1st, 2007 01:37 pm (UTC)
For RC #3, I've found the following naming convention to always work.

FIRST NAME: Roman Emperor
LAST NAME: One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

E.g., "Marcus Aurelius Washington" or "Augustus Hancock."