If you’re a regular reader of “Tina’s Groove” then you’re the perfect person to go to for questions about character. What I want to ask is, do you think Tina is too perfect? By “perfect” I mean flawless — lacking the types of imperfections that make characters, even cartoon ones, “human”. I’ve thought about this a lot and sometimes think that Tina’s imperfections, if she has any, are of the kind that are quirky, and therefore endearing. This is good for a cartoon character. I believe the main character of a comic strip should be one that’s likable. But does that mean the main character should be flawless? It’s the weaknesses, or fixations, that make characters interesting.
The other characters of the strip all have fixations that make them imperfect. Rob, the manager of Pepper’s Restaurant, is a misfit neat/control freak who hasn’t yet realized that it’s now cool to be a geek. Carlos is a sack of testosterone who must prove himself to be the manliest at any cost. Suzanne is a spoiled 30 something flake who has so many weaknesses she’s created a personality out of being less than perfect. And then there’s Monica. If you read the strip then I don’t have to waste my words on Monica.
Tina stands apart. One good reason for this is that Tina is what’s known in the comedy world as the “Straight Man”. She’s the only sane character in a world of insanity. In the strip she represents logic, the voice of reason, while every one else is crazy. This is where most of the humor comes from. But my question is this — can a “Straight Man” have flaws? If I were to give Tina a fundamental weakness (I’ve done this before during longer story lines, but only temporarily) would it make her an interesting, more relatable character? Do you think that she may already have a weakness, and I’m just not seeing it? Tell me what you think — I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this. I think your feedback may help me see things about my main character “Tina” that I’m much to close to discover on my own. Tell me what you think!