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QUACKCAST 533 - Can Mary Sues be likeable?

Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, June 1, 2021

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We've done a few Quackcasts about how terrible Mary Sues are… well this is the opposite! Tantz postulated that they can be likable and GOOD for a story and then won us over easily by telling us why during our Patreon video. In the Quackcast Banes and I join in, having been convinced of the idea. We talk about how if the Mary Sue is a likable, good person, genuinely humble or altruistic and helpful then that can mitigate their Mary Sueness. Whereas if they're selfish, take their status for granted, take advantage of others or are just there to be marvelled and worshiped by the astonished onlookers (re: Rey), they can be unpleasant.

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to Erin’s Space: Racing on down to a slow, calm interlude at the seaside… Pulp fiction meets Café Del Mar. Gunwallce turned a balalaika into a surf guitar for the exciting intro. Then we relax to soft, smooth jazz

Topics and shownotes


Featured comic:
Necroblivion -

Featured music:
Erin’s Space - - by Pelta8d, rated T.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace -
Tantz Aerine -
Ozoneocean -
Banes -

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Ozoneocean at 12:32AM, June 3, 2021

Very good points everyone!!!!

Matt Comics at 5:31AM, June 2, 2021

There is a massive difference between 1) the universe bending over backwards to make a character look cool, at the expense of everyone else, making their enemies love them out of the blue, and 2) a powerful, talented, good-natured, lucky, or similarly admirable character. 1 is what I'd call awful writing. 2 goes back to the classical hero archetype and shouldn't be a problem. But the internet doesn't recognize this difference nowadays. Whenever someone gets to shine or has a personality other than "trendy and angsty mess", mainstream audiences complain, because they only want weak protagonists that won't overshadow them, even in non-realistic, non-underdog stories. I think such people have diluted the meaning of Mary Sue, and this is one of the reasons characters like Superman get such a bad rep. Anything that doesn't look and behave like a relatable everyman is written off as cheesy nonsense in the current anti-escapism culture, regardless of the quality or genre of the stories.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 9:31AM, June 1, 2021

Mary Sue or not, an awesome character is an awesome character if that is what we get. If the creator needs to have side characters praise or pardon or worship the protagonist without giving the audience any reason to do so themselves, then chances are the creator is just lazely compensating for a poorly written protagonist he or she couldn't be bothered to flesh out properly. This is why you must have passion for what you write above all else. Because if you don't, the audience will notice it and they will feel cheated and abused.

Hapoppo at 8:48AM, June 1, 2021

Abrams deserves more slack than he gets for his role in the sequel trilogy, IMO. He wrote The Force Awakens, then Ryan Johnson was given full control over The Last Jedi and basically cramped all over Abrams' story, and when TLJ turned into such a disaster they brought in Abrams again to basically try to patch up that mess with bubblegum and duct tape, and supposedly even then Lucasfilm stepped in after it was done and made their own version which is the one that made it to theaters. I agree that if she was handled right the second movie could have balanced Rey out and made her a solid character, but I take kind of andifferent approach in how I think it should have been handled - basically we find out she had been trained under Skywalker or some other unknown Jedi or Sith but had to have her memory scrubbed, so by the second movie she hits a wall in terms of her training only to overcome it by the third.

Furwerk studio at 4:59AM, June 1, 2021

A very common problem I see among writers is thinking making the main character a deeply flawed character is going to automatically turn a terrible story into a great story, ignoring the plot, theme, structure and piles of other stuff. A bad story will always be a bad story, regardless if the main character passes an arbitrary internet test.

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