Our crew profile series continues with one of our Character Designers (and charcuterie fan), Kat Ketchum!
Ketchum – Character Designer
• When did you become interested in
animation and why?
I’ve always loved drawing, and I’ve always loved
watching cartoons. In high school, I started looking into different art-based
jobs — comics, illustration, video game design – but it was actually my dad
who suggested animation to me as an actual career option. In hindsight, it
should have been more obvious!
• What was your first job in animation?
I had a few freelance gigs through college, but
my first full time job was as a storyboard revisionist on Star vs. the Forces
• If you could befriend one animated
character, who would it be and why?
Probably Lisa Simpson. I’ve always appreciated
how wise and passionate and sensitive she is, and I think that would translate
into a really rewarding friendship. But if Freakazoid threw a party I would
have to attend. Obviously.
• What is the best piece of advice you’ve
ever been given?
Wear sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy.
• If you had to eat one kind of food every
day for the rest of your life, whatwould you pick?
Does a well-rounded charcuterie board count as
one kind of food? Whatever, it’s my answer.
Ok, so something that’s always bothered me about the Phandom is how divided people are over Sam. I’ve seen tons of people who hate her or reduce her character to a bitch in fanfics.
One of the main reasons people hate her ( from what I’ve seen) is that she’s a “special snowflake”.
Sam is goth, vegan and very vocal about being an individual. Does she come across as a special snowflake? Honestly, yes. But we have to take a step back and look at the other DP girls- specifically the ones at Casper High. A lot of the girls at Casper have been portrayed as shallow, manipulative, materialistic and superficial. Sam constantly voices disapproval of the shallow behavior of Paulina, or things like beauty pageants which she sees as a superficial competition to determine who’s the prettiest girl- which the other girls view it as too. But Sam cares about inner beauty, intelligence and kindness more than outer beauty or popularity. With the girls in her school, Sam’s view of them is relatively justified. The girls are often portrayed as bitches- which is a fault that should be placed on the writers, not Sam. It’s not her fault that most of the girls in the show are written off as superficial stereotypes nor is it her fault that she considers them as such- she’s reinforcing what the show has already labeled these characters as. The problem lies in how the writers viewed these girls, not Sam.
The second complaint I see is how preachy/hypocritical Sam is. If she’s so hooked on individuality, why does she try to force her beliefs on others? She does this when she changes the school menu to a vegan menu. Guys, this is called a character flaw, and every good character should have one. The fact that Sam can be hypocritical is not a reason to hate her. And for her to be truly hypocritical, she would go back on her own beliefs (in this case- veganism) which she never does. She’s passionate about what she thinks is right, and gets carried away sometimes- but so does Tucker (he makes a big deal about meat, and tries to restrict the vegan choices on the menu)
Speaking of Tuck- some say Sam is selfish, because of Phantom Planet. She was so hung up on Danny choosing to become human again, that she abandoned him. So other than the fact that Phantom Planet was a steaming plate of shit that made nearly all the characters OOC, there’s several reasons this doesn’t sit right with me.
Tucker has almost the same reaction, yet very few people gripe about that. Besides, we see that in Memory Blank, Danny chooses to become a ghost again. Sam doubles checks that he’s ok with being a halfa, and he CHOOSES that. So not only does she show that she cares about Danny, but we also see that in Phantom Planet, It’s very odd and jarring that Danny would risk the safety of Amity Park just for his own comfort. So either
A. Phantom Planet is just OOC for everyone
B. Sam is justified in her reaction
And finally, phans have an unhealthy rivalry with those who ship Danny with Sam and those who ship him with Valerie.
Look, I love both of these girls, and I’m fine with Valerie×Danny, but it ridiculous that so many shippers of Valerie×Danny write off Sam as a bitch or heartbreaker. The whole reason Sam is so important to the series is that she loves both Fenton and Phantom. Valerie was interested in Fenton, and Paulina was interested with Phantom. But from the very beginning of the show, it was Sam who loved Danny unconditionally and was always there to support him. Even in Phantom Planet she admits that she’ll always support him even though she’s disappointed in the choice he made.
In conclusion, yes- Sam is flawed. But she is a passionate, intelligent and kind girl who truly cares for her friends, no matter what. If she isn’t a good person, I don’t know who is.