The Importance of Character and Why Grimm Has a Grim Future

It feels so incredibly WRONG to be awake at 7:30 on a Saturday morning.  Wrong I tell you!  Except I passed out at 9:45 last night, so it’s not like I didn’t get a full night’s sleep.  And I guess with plot ideas pushing at my brain–stuff I actually thought of as I was going to sleep last night but was too sleepy to actually write down–it was necessary to get up.

After yesterday’s post about the whole creature/character divide between Grimm and OUAT, the issue of character has been on my mind.  We watched last night’s episode of Grimm and both hubs and I were rather meh about it.  Not that the blue beard goat thing wasn’t interesting or didn’t present a decent bad guy to go after.  In Supernatural there have always been random and interesting creatures killing folks.   But after watching last night’s episode, I have to say...I think Grimm has a grim future.  Why is that?  I mean, I’ve been talking about the extraordinary popularity and draw of this kind of show.  Don’t get me wrong–audiences WANT this kind of thing.  They want something NEW (and old, in a sense).  They love the concept of what Grimm is.  But there’s a major major problem with the show.

Nick is boring.

I was hoping that was just initial episode jitters and not falling into his character yet, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.  I don’t know if this is how Nick’s written, if it’s some kind of failure on the actor’s part, or what, but this is NOT GONNA CUT IT.  Audiences are only entertained by creatures to a point.  The mysteries are NOT good enough to sustain audience engagement from week to week.

The reason that Supernatural is so outrageously popular is because we love the characters.  They’re more than just a pretty, pretty face (ah, Jensen, those blue eyes).  They’re complicated.  Their relationships are complicated.  There are family ties, friendships, loyalties, hatreds, and all sorts of ingredients from the stewpot of human emotion that make Dean a character who’s totally rough around the edges but whom we love anyway.  Sam–well he’s had some issues what with this whole being soulless, then getting his soul back and seeming to have found some inner piece or some crap this season, but he’s still not a 1 or 2 dimensional character.  Even the supporting cast is generally awesome.  I love me some Bobby Singer and Ellen.  And don’t get me started on the failed romance possibilities between Dean and Jo or I’m just gonna get maudlin and bitter again.

Right now I don’t see how Nick needs to change.  I don’t see how he’s going to change.  At present, if he has a character arc at all, it’s so subtle, we’re not even aware of it.  So not only do we have a general failure to portray a quirky and interesting character who is something beyond your standard detective who could be pulled off of any of the million variants of CSI, but we have a failure on the writers parts to give him a character arc.

This is the kind of thing that spells DOOM for shows and books alike.  So writers, sit up and take this as a lesson to spend some time on character development.  Think about how you’re going to make your characters REAL, how they’re going to just step off the page and breathe.  Otherwise, you’re wasting readers’ time.

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11 comments

  1. I still think Nick has a lot to show us. Or, at the very least, I really hope so. I get the feeling that the writers are trying to slowly, subtly introduce more depth into him, though I agree that if things don’t start happening soon, it might be a little too late…

    It’s probably not a good sign that my roommate and I get all excited and point to the screen with hopeful cries of, “Look! There! A hint of personality, did you see it?”, is it?

  2. This is how I’ve felt from the beginning. I just don’t care about Nick. Part of this is his dialog, part is his lack of curiosity about what’s in that trailer, part is that he’s just so vanilla. Now this is based on only watching two episodes, since I missed last week’s and haven’t watched this week’s yet, but going by what you’re saying, nothing has changed. I see the concept of the series as good, but the writing just isn’t there. It’s pretty sad because there’s so much potential for his character. It’s like the writers are just lazy, hoping the plot will carry the show and that we won’t notice the lack of depth and likability. I hate that.

  3. I’m still up in the air on this one. I’ve been watching it because there just isn’t a lot of other great shows on the DVR right now…. but my interest is slipping. Still can’t figure out why sometimes he can ID the monsters and other times he can’t.

  4. This is too funny–I wrote a blog post last night DURING Grimm that says almost the same thing. (I’m going to go polish and post it now.) I think Grimm’s prospects are not good, because having a lead character with zero charisma and chemistry with the other characters is pretty deadly. It’s too bad. The show had a lot of potential.

    Maybe they can kill off Nick and Eddie and Hank can team up and have supernatural adventures together.

  5. I have noted that there seems to be no tension between Nick’s calling to the Grimm world and his relationship with his girlfriend. Yes, it’s a secret, but there isn’t much conflict there…and there could be. I think Nick could become much more interesting by developing more of his personal side and his family background. What about his murdered parents, for instance?

  6. Aw man. Based on the trailer, I was really looking forward to Grimm. It just seemed like My Kind of Thing. But – I tuned in for the first 10 minutes and was bored. So I’ve been berating myself, thinking I need to give it more of a chance. From the sound of this post, my first instincts were correct.

    This seems to be a trend in speculative television, IMO. Almost like, there’s this idea that in order to get the mainstream viewer to swallow the weirder concepts of a show, they have to make the characters are average Joe as possible. I’ve seen it over and over – V, The Event, Flash Forward, Terra Nova.

    When the characters are introduced, you almost get more of a sense of the audience they’re supposed to draw in than the actual character. Here’s the kid, for the kids! Here’s the teenager, for the teenagers! Here’s the middle aged man, for the middle aged men!

    Blech, I say. Blech.

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