Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two Studies in Alignment

Some people hate the standard D&D system of alignment—the morality rubric you assign your character. I’m not among them. As a shorthand for the attitude of a character in an epic fantasy game, that nine point grid is pretty effective, giving a general idea of your character’s attitude, and letting you fly from there. It’s not realistic, they say, but whatever, it’s a fictional construct applied to a fictional construct, helping me express how that construct feels about stabbing ogres. They say it’s not nuanced, but we’re talking Epic Fantasy here, with capital letters. Once we start talking about raising armies of the dead and whatnot, doesn’t the grey area go away? It’s a worthy system to quantify a character’s attitude and as such, it’s become its own sort of meme, with people assigning the Lawfuls and Chaotics to beloved casts. Just this past week, I came across two beloved by me, one pretty good, the other problematic, one for Community, and one for The Wire. So why not take a look at both?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Earnt that Bump: Felicia Pearson as Snoop

    I ended my post on The Wire noting that among its legacies is proving that mainstream media lacks for quality roles for African-American actors. Too many talented, memorable actors who portrayed vivid, beloved characters have gone on to far, far lesser roles, struggling to make their way in the acting game. Felicia Pearson, I noted, seemed to have found her way by turning her hustler skills to building a cottage industry around her own story. It seems, however, I may have spoken too soon.
    I envisioned this series some time ago, after writing a separate piece on The Wire, where I felt I was unable to fully pay tribute to the actors, a cadre of artists who never failed to entertain me, move me, or provoke thought. My first choice was Andre Royo as Bubbles, but events compel me to focus on Felicia Pearson, who brought a distinctive and singular presence playing a character based upon herself. Whatever happens next for Miss Pearson, her work as Felicia “Snoop” Pearson will remain. Spoilers for seasons 3 through 5 follow.