Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nikita Over Buffy

I remember that for the first writing assignment of the course, we had to write about our favorite heroines and how they affected our lives. For that assignment, I chose Claire Bennet from the TV series "Heroes." The reasons were that despite her supernatural abilities, she is very much portrayed as an ordinary girl trying to fit in and deal with an identity crisis. Also, I wrote that her ordinariness and gradual acceptance and learning of her identity not only as a mutant but also as a young adult with distinct characteristics made me able to connect to her more than other heroes, who were semi-divine.

After a semester of interactions with various heroines, from Wonder Woman to Buffy, however, my preference has changed. Although I still love "Heroes" and Claire Bennet, my favorite is Nikita. I was actually debating between Buffy and Nikita, but I chose Nikita for one reason: Nikita is more of a human than Buffy. 

Even though the last month of Buffy centralized class turned me into a Buffy fan, I have always thought that the one thing the Buffy series lacked was the focus on Buffy's personal life. Although there were numerous episodes of Buffy falling in and struggling with love, having conflicts with her sister and friends, etc., most of the episodes were somehow always "supernatural." The only episode that delivered a real girl Buffy, to me, was "The Body," the sound-effect-less episode where Joyce died and the entire episode focused on how the characters reacted to her death. Considering that Buffy is a show about vampires and a vampire slayer, having supernatural elements is inevitable, and I am not saying that Buffy lacked realistic elements. Throughout the show, Buffy forms very strong bonds with the Scoobies and Giles, and this relationship is as realistic as it could get. However, still, the show still has more of Buffy as the Chosen One and less of her as an ordinary girl. 

Nikita, on the other hand, is not born with a special fate as Buffy is. She is a trained government assassin who is forced to cope with a double life. The way that the movie "La Femme Nikita" portrays her is as realistic as it could get. Instead of focusing on her role as the assassin, the movie highlights Nikita as a woman who wants to be loved and is frustrated by love and ordinary life that she has to give up. The scene where she fills her cell with graffiti well-demonstrates her emotional vulnerability and the pain she is going through as she experiences loneliness (with others not being able to understand her or comfort her  about her unclear future). This human-side portrayal of her made me able to feel sorry for her, and throughout the entire movie, the focus on her emotional vulnerability allowed me to connect with her more. 

Although I have not watched the entire episodes of Buffy, I give Nikita lots of credit for delineating the girl side of the government assassin. 

1 comment:

  1. Nikita is more relatable in the sense that she doesn't deal with the supernatural, but more often than not, the "supernatural" in Buffy provides a way to make the show relatable to the viewers. For example, the first season was intended to show that high school is "hell" and the various demons and vampires they fought always had something to do with real life. Also, we can't forget that Buffy didn't choose to be the slayer. She always takes steps to become a "normal" girl, like blowing off plans with Giles to go on a date.


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