Overheard: “Fitz isn't the reason Mellie has no dignity. She gave that away herself, when she, her daddy, and Fitz's daddy got together to whore her into marriage with a man she didn't love or even respect so she could get to the White House, she whored herself away from her career, she whored herself into parenthood she was never interested in THREE TIMES because it looked good politically, she whored herself to her rapist, she whored herself into staying in a marriage she was supposedly miserable in when she had multiple outs, and now she's whoring herself to her son's murderers. And the show tries to paint her whoring as love, selflessness, and ambition when it's really just prostitution of her soul and self-respect. Boning Andrew Nichols is actually the LEAST whorish thing Mellie Grant has done. Fitz never took her dignity or her life. She purposely whored them both away. No wonder her favorite word is "whore". It's what she sees in the mirror.”
“Cyrus, if Fitz goes public with this divorce, I will go nuclear. I will walk out in front of the press, and I will explain to them that my marriage is over because while I was pregnant with his child, my husband was having an affair with Olivia Pope. I will leave him, and I will take his children with me. I will take every penny he has in the bank and every dollar of political capital that he has in this town. I will court feminist groups and mothers groups and religious groups. I will bury him. And I will dance on his grave. And then? I will run for office.”
As you all know by now, I’m incredibly obsessed with Felicity Smoak and her backstory. If you have any doubts read this, this, oh, and this, too. It’s amazing how this character has evolved and all of the credit for everything that makes Felicity, well, Felicity, goes to Emily Bett Rickards. EBR has made Felicity irreplaceable, and we, as fans and through our voices, have further cemented her popularity and place in the show. I’m always puzzled when I see Tweets or blog posts that the studio and EPs are only paying lip service to the fan base, or that Felicity Smoak will eventually be phased out. I am even more puzzled by those posts that call Felicity a terrible character and EBR a terrible actress. I’m puzzled why these naysayers would think that the studio, or for that matter, the EPs, would keep a character and an actress on the show if they weren’t any good….Felicity Smoak would not be on this show if EBR had not played her one shot to perfection. If she had been a one dimensional character, Felicity Smoak would have made her appearance, there would have been no buzz, and we never would have seen her again. Instead, EBR took her limited materials, and created a multi-layered character in less than 5 minutes of screen time. And that, my friends, is talent. She set Twitter buzzing, phones ringing, and a fan favorite was born.
As you all know by now (and if you didn’t, where have you been????), Felicity Smoak was set to be a one-off character, bridging a gap in the storyline. She was created to help Oliver get from Point A to Point B and that was supposed to be it. Instead, when the dailies started coming, MG and AK saw the positive effect the character was having and started writing more scenes for her. She was different from any other character, and as they have said many times in multiple interviews, more representative of their sense of humor, their banter and was therefore great fun for them to write. She was brought back at different points during the first half of Season 1 and then, the day before The Odyssey aired (the episode when Felicity was brought onto Team Arrow) she was made a series regular for Season 2. From the beginning, the chemistry between EBR and SA was undeniable. They clicked in a way that was lacking on the show. They had a spark that made every interaction they had onscreen enjoyable and mesmerizing. While the EPs have said that Felicity was unable to have banter with Oliver like she can with Ray Palmer, I disagree to a certain extent. It certainly isn’t comedic or “geeky” type banter, but Oliver and Felicity do banter, it’s just different, more subtle and definitely flirtatious!
Fan favorites having an impact on a television show is certainly nothing new. The experts in television have long recognized that valuable commodity of a fan favorite character. In fact, as far back as the 60s, fan favorite characters have led show runners to sometimes completely change the course of a show because of the response from the television audience. For example, in the original Dark Shadows television show, the character of Barnabas Collins was introduced to help “boost sagging ratings” during the show’s second season. The character was so well-liked, that fans started writing (ah, the days of actual fan mail!) ABC, demanding more appearances. By the third season, the entire show (yes, the ENTIRE show) was written around this character.
Can you imagine Happy Days without the Fonz? Yeah, neither can I. But originally, the Fonz was supposed to be a background character. However, Henry Winkler’s performance changed the minds of the producers because fans were either pining for “the bad boy” or “wanted to be him.” So The Fonz was upgraded to a main character, and Potsie (the BFF) was demoted….Fonz even rated entire episodes built around him.
There are other fan favorite characters in television history that changed the dynamic of a television show. More recently, Supernatural changed it’s dynamic by changing from a two brothers fighting demons show to a trio by adding Castiel as a series lead. Played by Misha Collins, Castiel was originally slated for a six episode story arc in Season 4. At the end of the arc, fans wanted more, they wanted Castiel back. According to whatculture.com, the success of Castiel was how Misha Collins perfectly balanced an arrogant, holier-than-though angel who was broken and afraid of the world he found himself in. “Subtle vulnerability” was key to the success of the character and made him a major player.
But what about other comic book shows? Take a look at the Walking Dead. Fans of the comic intensely disliked the idea of the comic characters being replaced by new characters on the TV adaptation (sound familiar?). Yet Daryl Dixon (played brilliantly by Norman Reedus), who was supposed to be a minor background character, quickly became a fan favorite during season 1, even among the “nitpicky comic fans that scrutinized every point where TV strayed from the comic (again, sound familiar?). Norman Reedus became a series regular in Season 2, and despite a small minority of fans who “hate” Daryl, he is still one of the most popular characters in the show.
Other fan favorite characters that changed a television series include Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Spike was originally slated to be a three episode villain and then killed off. Yet, the character, as portrayed by James Marsters, became incredibly popular due to his evil charming self and was promoted to series regular. Even Scandal re-worked itself around a fan favorite - Mellie Grant. Yes…Mellie Grant was a fan favorite that was meant to only appear in three episodes of the first season. She ended up in every episode, became a main cast member by the second season and has been described as the breakout character of the show and often termed a scene stealer.
History shows us the impact a fan base can have on a television show. Positive promotion, feedback, and comments go a long way to cementing the stability of a character. While anything could happen in a television show, it’s without doubt that fan favorite characters are treated with the same intensity and care as original characters. I’m so glad that as Felicity Smoak/Emily Bett Rickards fans, we constantly show Arrow, the producers, the studio, and EBR, how much we love and value Felicity Smoak on Arrow.
Now this is what Mellie stans and Mellivia stans really want. Total erasure of the black lead character. This isn’t just about Mellitz, this is about having their fave be the main star of the show. They’ve always felt this way, now the promos have pushed them out of hiding because they’re pissed.
I find this fascinating. I hope the creator comes out and proudly claims it. I bet they don’t though.