Ok, so – GOD THIS WAS HARD. I’ve limited it to just TV shows (sorry movies and books) and then to just one character per TV show (which was the worst because quite often if a show has one lady I love it has multiple ladies I love and if I hadn’t I could’ve made an entire list from Parks & Rec and Brooklyn 99 alone). So – one character, one show, and I’M CONSUMED WITH PAIN OVER ALL THE LADIES I’VE LEFT OUT.
10. Eleanor Shellstrop, The Good Place
Oh Eleanor, sent to the bad place when you really deserved the medium place at most *lol* She lived her life like most of us lived ours, if we’re honest enough about our balance of bad and good, but she’s using this time to learn how to be a good person AND to pull a fast one over everyone keeping her and her new friends in the bad place. All while being super supportive of her new found family. Also, ‘fork’ has made it into my vocabulary.
9. Mazikeen, Lucifer
It was a tough choice between her, Chloe, and Linda, but Maze wins out because girl did not want to be where she is, but she is making the best of it. Plus, her affection for Trixie and friendship with Linda and now Chloe is just a delight. She may have come just because she felt loyalty to Lucifer, but she’s found her own family and she has a purpose all her own now. Plus she can kick your ass with two hands and a leg tied behind her back. She. Will. End. You.
8. Elizabeth McCord, Madam Secretary
I love this show so much. It scratches my ‘West Wing’ itch because it’s showing competent people doing good things in public service. And Elizabeth is the most competent of them all – an ex-CIA spy turned Secretary of State and she leads her department, and US diplomacy, with intelligence, heart, bravery, and not a small amount of wit. She’s honestly who I want to be when I grow up, and she’s one of those people who you feel is making decisions on what’s best for the whole. Plus she gets to go home to her husband played by Tim Daly and y’all… I enjoy him. And her husband is supportive of her! None of this ‘if you loved me you’d give up your high powered job’ shit that we see far too often in media depictions of powerful women.
7. Claire Fraser, Outlander
How would you handle things if you got thrown 200 years in the past? Probably not as well as Claire. She’s competent (can you sense a theme in the type of lady-types I enjoy?) and devoted. And also a bit selfish. AND I LOVE THAT ABOUT HER. She selfishly wants her hot Scottish husband back, and she tries to make it work with her present day husband, but she’s still bitter. And I don’t blame her one bit. We get to see her want, and choose, Jamie over her daughter, and that’s not something that we get to see a lot in media. They never allow women to choose ANYTHING over their children without presenting them as misguided harpies who are just waiting for their comeuppance. Claire openly and unambiguously chooses Jamie over Brianna and I love that she’s allowed to narratively make that choice.
6. Liz Lemon, 30 Rock
Oh Liz. For someone who feels like she doesn’t have her shit together, she actually does have her shit together. I mean, she runs her own TV show and oversees 200 employees (and was willing to do naughty bang bang *fistbump* stuff to help them keep their jobs). She has a whole speech about not needing a man but wanting to be loved, which resonated so fucking much with me. And who among us haven’t had shitty co-workers that got away with things that us mere mortals couldn’t? We’ve all had a Tracy or a Jenna to deal with. And she comes out on top. Plus, we get a mentor/mentee relationship that doesn’t devolve into sexual tension, which again is rare.
5. Peggy Carter, Agent Carter
AGENT PEGGY FUCKING CARTER. We only got two seasons of the show in addition to the movies, but god I love Peggy Carter. Competent as fuck, and she’s not breaking glass ceilings as much as bulldozing through them and daring anyone to stop her. Rampant sexism but she knows her worth and she keeps going forward until it turns out that she is the brains and the organization behind the creation of SHIELD and is basically responsible for the entire MCU that y’all know and love. Add in that she wears a great red lip while kicking ass too. And did I cry at her finale (for now) in Captain America: Civil War? Damn straight I did. (Still hoping we see her in Infinity War or more likely Avengers 4, but I have my own headcanon about how that will work :D )
4. Martha Jones, Doctor Who
Hands down my favorite companion. Martha Jones, training to be a doctor and decides to go on an adventure with the weird man who shows up in a phone box after she gets transported to the moon. She’s the woman who walked the earth and is responsible for saving the Doctor and the entire world through a long game plan and nothing but her fucking words. And when she isn’t getting what she wants out of the adventure and the Doctor, she walks away. She leaves on her own terms, which is rare for a companion. Yes, she pines for the Doctor, but c’mon, who among us wouldn’t in that sort of situation? I would. But she doesn’t let it consume her, and she makes her choice and she leaves with the statement ‘Yeah, I am that good’ because she is that fucking good at what she’s done. I love her and I want everyone else to love her too.
3. CJ Cregg, The West Wing
CJ is the queen of ‘on top of it’. She’s navigates both the presidency and the press and that’s a job that’s hard as fuck. She’s smart and charismatic and who among us hasn’t imagined walking out of a shitty job to go work for the president (no? just me?) and she has so many balls in the air but keeps them all going. As Press Secretary she is nothing if not quick on her feet, and it is hard to trip her up. She is another who I want to be when I grow up because she is just so capable. Plus, her Secret Service code name is ‘Flamingo’ and who doesn’t love that? Of all her great scenes, the one on my mind recently is the press conference where she starts listing gun violence victims and lord it just makes you yearn for competent people in the white house again.
2. Amy Santiago, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Do you know how hard it was to pick only one character from B99? Like, the fight between her and Rosa for queen in my heart? HARD AS FUCK. But Amy wins out. Amy who is so driven that she doesn’t take no for an answer, who wants to be the youngest police captain in the NYPD, who makes binders for everything, who gets excited about paperwork, and is competitive as fuck. She could come off as irritating, but she doesn’t. She’s eager to please and a bit of a suck up, but it’s because she just wants to soak up all of the knowledge and wisdom she can from her mentors. Plus, she’s allowed to be all of these driven things even when dating/engaged to the lead character on the show. The show doesn’t make her change to deserve love, but has Jake fall in love with her BECAUSE OF all of these aspects of her. It’s canon that Jake always knew he’d work for her and loves her for it, and I love her for that too.
1. Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
There is no list of characters I love that is complete without Leslie Fucking Knope. She is driven to make people’s lives better, and she does that in any venue she’s given – be it the Parks department of a small city in Indiana all the way up to the Presidency. She’s TOO MUCH a lot of the time, but it’s presented as a good thing. She just cares a lot and she works hard to get things done. She doesn’t take no for an answer and she’s always striving to be better and to make the people around her better too. I want to be her. And even being TOO MUCH she is shown to have friends who love her and make themselves better to live up to her standards and has an uber supportive husband in Ben, who is shown, like Amy and Jake, to love her BECAUSE of her too much-ness and not inspite of it. The things that would annoy people are the things that attract him to her. And honestly, as someone who is TOO MUCH a lot of the times and has been told that I’m hard to love, seeing someone like Ben love that about someone like Leslie is really empowering to me. I. Fucking. Love. Her.