Question of the week: do you need to be in it?

As if HBO’s Girls wasn’t annoying enough people this week, one of its writers (presumably white, upper middle class, etc) has complained about the movie Precious on the grounds that “I didn’t see me in it”. Now leaving aside the issue of whether she was, as she claimed, being ironic (bloody hipsters), that leads us nicely into this week’s question:

Do you need to be ‘in’ a drama to enjoy it? Does there have to be a point of identification for you? And in more general terms do you feel the need to be represented in drama in general – if not in every drama, at least in some?

Personally, I’d cringe seeing someone like myself on screen. But how about you?

Answers below or on your own blog, please




  • benjitek

    Seeing aspects of yourself or your life circumstances in a book or on a screen isn't necessarily a bad thing — but it shouldn't be what limits viewing patterns. �Sometimes it can cause you to look at yourself as a bystander, possibly make some changes in your life.

    You'd be missing out if you only watched material relative to yourself, seeking out characters in your age group with similar personality traits and life circumstances — there's a lot of good storytelling out there, and it's not all about you 😉

  • Mark Carroll

    No, I don't need to see myself at all; indeed, I usually don't. Though, what are most interesting are characters that I can see myself possibly becoming in some different world. Of course, humour that fits mine, or whatever, never hurts.

  • �I think it's about characters you relate to & whose story your interested in.If you're only interested in characters like yourself, that's a tad egotistical! I enjoy watching all sorts of different types on the big screen, not sure I even have to always like characters if their dilemmas are interesting enough.

  • bob

    Usually I would say no… There are so few characters I relate to, I'd never enjoy tv if that were the case.

    But I don't think I will be watching Girls for essentially that reason… I don't see me in it. Or indeed anyone. I can't believe in these characters.

    So I don't need to see me in it… But I do need to be able to see something I recognise there or I just watch bemused at the incomprehensible motivations and not enjoying it.

  • Toby O'Brien

    When I was a kid, I wanted to be in 'Lost In Space' – stowaway friend of Will's, a chance to date Penny (I was about their age).� Since then it's not so much I have to see myself in it, I would like to be able to relate to a few of the characters, but there must be somebody I like.� Otherwise why am I watching?� This is why I don't bother with “Breaking Bad” – I can't stand anybody on that show.

  • Toby O'Brien

    When I was a kid, I wanted to be in 'Lost In Space' – stowaway friend of Will's, a chance to date Penny (I was about their age).� Since then it's not so much I have to see myself in it, I would like to be able to relate to a few of the characters, but there must be somebody I like.� Otherwise why am I watching?� This is why I don't bother with “Breaking Bad” – I can't stand anybody on that show.

  • Toby O'Brien

    When I was a kid, I wanted to be in 'Lost In Space' – stowaway friend of Will's, a chance to date Penny (I was about their age).� Since then it's not so much I have to see myself in it, I would like to be able to relate to a few of the characters, but there must be somebody I like.� Otherwise why am I watching?� This is why I don't bother with “Breaking Bad” – I can't stand anybody on that show.

  • Lisa Rullsenberg

    I don't think characters have to be sympathetic or like me for me to enjoy watching (urgh – characters like me) – but they DO need to have character, purpose, shape.� I really do like to see strong women characters – though it could probably be argued there are too few strong characters full stop (too many drippy pointless men as well: cardboard furniture some of them).

    Scott and Bailey has great female leads, all three of them.

  • I have almost no interest in male characters so I don't know what that says about me…

  • Lisa Rullsenberg

    That you're the best kind of feminist male perhaps?

  • Aw, thanks!