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A Thanksgiving Special: TV Characters the Talk Nerdy With Us Team Are Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hope you all are feasting well and enjoying this day with friends and family around you.

Gooble Gooble!

For Thanksgiving, the Talk Nerdy With Us team decided to thank our personal favorite TV characters (from shows that are have aired or still continue to air right now) which have impacted our lives in some way.

AJ: 

I’m thankful for the Doctor. He has been an integral part of my life since my then-boyfriend (now husband) introduced me to him. We even each included references to Doctor Who in our wedding vows (without the other knowing!). I love his depth of caring for species not his own. The show has spunk and heart and elicits so many emotions. My favorite quote from the show has to be one from my favorite Doctor, the Eleventh: “Nine hundred years of time and space and I’ve never met anyone who’s not important”

Debbie:

I’m thankful for Sam and Dean Winchester. I’d watched the show for a while before I realized what a huge and dedicated fandom existed. I signed up for Twitter on a whim and began tweeting my favorite Sam and Dean pictures daily. Before I knew it I had over a thousand followers and talked to some of the same people daily.  We formed a small group, Lusty Fangirls and were soon planning to go to the 2015 SPN con in Vegas. During the planning I began talking to @scoutiegirl1 who has become one of my closest friends.  Denise encouraged me to write fan fiction after she read a letter I wrote to my younger self as therapy homework. I’d written when I was younger and had had a story published in a now defunct magazine called Cemetary Dance but a bad marriage and a lifetime of low self-esteem kept my writing a well kept secret.  Last fall I wrote a piece called Flesh for an open call at Greg Matter Press for an anthology called monsters. It did not get chosen, but my goal had been submission and that I achieved.
Our small group bought the lustyfangirls domain name and at first everyone was behind it. I interviewed Nicki Aycox, Rachel Miner, Briana Buckmaster, Ruth O’Connell and Ryan Curtis. Those interviews are still up. There was little support from the others and the site is dormant now.
Nicki and I remained friends and she published my story Flesh on her blog and Tracy Miller read it and reached out to me. We chatted and tweeted through the summer. Tracy encouraged me to send samples of my work to Talk Nerdy.
So, I am here today, writing regularly, meeting interesting people who work for TNWU or work with TNWU.
Sam and Dean changed my life just by existing and Jared Padalecki changed my life by being the kind and giving person that he is. Without J2, Sam and Dean I would have missed meeting some of the best people I know. I will always be grateful for the opportunities and experiences that they have led me to.  “Family don’t end with blood.”

Michelle:  

I am thankful for the TNWU team and to Jared Paladecki.  A year ago, I was at a job that I was frustrated with. I was going through the motions thinking this is how everyone feels.  I’m normally a happy-go-lucky person and when people told me that I wasn’t myself, I just brushed it off.  Since I also write books, it was to a point where I couldn’t even write.  There was this overwhelming sadness and I couldn’t  get past it no matter how much I tried.

One day in March after talking to my supervisor, I just came to a point where I wanted more. I had a degree that I wasn’t using and I just had enough. So, I talked to my family and gave my two weeks notice . I was scared. I had been at my previous company for 15 years and now, this was a new chapter.  I initially thought I was going to feel better, but I didn’t. I felt worse.  Coincidentally, Jared’s 1st AKF camp was going on during all of this.  I saw the stories, heard his, but never thought that I had any issues with depression. One day in late May/early June, I received a call from my cousin. We’re pretty close and she noticed right away there was an issue.  She kept asking me, if I was ok and I just came clean and said, ‘I just feel bad and can’t shake it. I can’t explain it. I just feel bad.’  And she said,
I think you have depression, Michele.’ Since, I had a doctor’s appt anyway, I told my doctor and sure enough. I was told that I had depression.  So one of the things, I did was besides get into therapy, I also began to look things up (this is how I roll) and learned about all the different ways to help people. My therapist also got me writing again. I was so upset that I couldn’t write, she told me to write in a new direction. So slowly, but surely I did. Tracy Miller then told me about Talk Nerdy With Us and since I used to work in a newsroom,  I decided to try it out again.  Now, I contribute here and other places and found such an amazing support system. You all have been tremendous. Jared, you changed the course of my career.  Now, I am doing what I want to do with my career for the first time ever.  I am grateful to be here and fighting.
I am thankful for Veronica Mars and The 100.  Between 2006 and 2008, my entire world changed. It was turned upside down and then drop-kicked against a few walls until I felt like I was in some sort of pinball machine. I lived life in a haze, under a dark cloud, not knowing which way was up. I felt broken for so many reasons and I even felt guilty about some of those reasons, like it was my own fault that this or that had happened or that certain things were happening in that moment.  I was trying to dig myself out of the darkness, but I couldn’t. My husband was a restaurant manager and worked 60+ hours a week. I had a preschooler, a toddler, and an infant at home to take care of after a full day at my own 40 hour a week position. By spring 2008, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I felt completely alone.  I pushed everyone and everything away from me except the baby. She was my one constant and I clung to her.  One night after the other kids were in bed and I was sitting snuggled with the baby on the couch in the dark watching Netflix, I saw a show on my “recommended viewing” list that I vaguely recalled that someone had mentioned to me in the past. It was Veronica Mars.  I turned it on and within the first five minutes, my entire life had been changed.  You see, from the very first words that I heard, I could instantly relate.  “I’m never getting married. You want an absolute? There it is. Veronica Mars, spinster…”  See, I was married, but at that point in time, I was questioning every choice I’d made from one particular event in my life forward. And that included my marriage. It also included my kids. Then came the line that woke me up, made me sit up and listen.  The voiceover monologue said, “You want to know how I lost my virginity? (dramatic pause) So would I.”  The first thing in my life that I ever avoided dealing with head on and there it was, right on the screen in front of me. From there on, I was hooked. I needed to see how Veronica had dealt with her rape. How she would come to terms with it. Because it was obvious from that first scene that it was still a raw, open wound. But at the same time, she wasn’t going to let it control her.  It took Veronica finding out who her rapist had been and what had happened that night for me to realize that I wasn’t at fault in my own. That what had happened should have been a vivid memory and wasn’t. Nothing about that night was. I’d been drugged and it had never even occurred to me that was what had happened. That revelation was so freeing, so powerful that it allowed me to come to terms with that part of my life and move on to deal with the other things that were going on in my life that I’d been feeling guilty about and yet had no control over.
I went to my doctor. I saw a therapist. I started to take my life back and better still, I started to see the fog lift.  I’d never dealt with depression in my early life. But my adult life, my married life, my life as a parent has been filled with it.  Stress, tension, impossible choices, fighting to keep my family afloat, struggling to get everyone’s needs met, always putting myself last, taking care of my own physical and mental health only after taking care of everyone else’s. Which is where The 100 comes in.  I’d been engrossed in the Veronica Mars fandom from 2008 when I found the show, through the Kickstarter and movie experience, and then when that excitement was all over, there was nothing. I felt empty and lost. The show no longer held the same meaning for me. It would always be dear to me and I will always credit it for the massive impact it has had on my life, but that chapter was over.  I was restless. I could no longer relate to Veronica. I needed something more.  And I’ve found that in The 100. Particularly in Clarke Griffin and Bellamy Blake. There is no one on any show or even in real life that I can relate to more than Clarke Griffin. Smart, confident, caring, willing, able, and determined to make the hard choices, passionate, hard-working, the world on her shoulders, ready to take on the world to protect her people, her family. I am Clarke Griffin. Clarke Griffin is me. And Bellamy Blake is my husband. Me, the princess from the upper middle class background who had traveled the world and knew the politics of survival but had never really lived or been challenged until our lives together began. Him, the big brother who had fought against all odds to take care of his siblings when he shouldn’t have been the one burdened with that responsibility. The tough guy, rough around the edges, terrified to trust anyone, to let anyone in to see how broken and vulnerable he really was. Opposite backgrounds, different in so many ways, and yet we complement each other so well in everything that matters. We support each other. We work together. We understand each other like no one else ever has. And watching Clarke both find and lose herself on-screen reminds me that I’m not alone. That WE are not alone. That we’re in this crazy thing called life together and no matter how hard it gets, at least it’s not a post-apocalyptic earth  where we’re constantly and quite literally fighting for our lives. Someone, even if they’re fictional, has it worse than we do. And as silly as it may sound, I cling to that. I cling to it when times are rough and I’ll watch and re-watch all the insane CRAP that The 100 have to go through and I smile, I relax. Because if they can survive in their utterly toxic made up world, then I can survive in this one.
I’m thankful for the Doctor. I didn’t realize at the time, but I was suffering from depression when “Vincent and the Doctor” aired (it actually took another 4 years before I was diagnosed). It’s become my favorite episode, not just because of how accurately it depicts depression (some aspects, at least) but because the Doctor shows Vincent that he’s important and that yes, people love him.
I’m thankful for mother/daughter characters of Lorelai and Rory Gimore and  Xo and Jane Villanueva.  They are not only mothers and daughters but best friends.  Despite a 41 year age difference, my mother and I were as close as any two people could be.  We were best friends.  I was closer to her then any other person, even my twin.  We shared the love of old movies, of the 1930s and 1940s, Masterpiece Theater of the 1970s, shows like Poldark and Upstairs, Downstairs, Soaps All My Children, General Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful.
My mother got me into The WB shows like One Tree Hill, Buffy, Dawson’s Creek, Charmed and she was in her 60s then!  TV characters that show a close mother/daughter bond does my heart good.  Especially since I’ve been without my own mother since 2005.  I can smile when I watch these and it makes the pain less.
I’m also grateful for Jane the Virgin showing strong women raising children.  There are families who have lost their fathers due to war (I can relate and sympathize) and the only parent they had was their mother.  Strong women should be praised.  Strong, poor women who must struggle to raise their children should be given extra praise.  We were poor but rich in love.
Growing up I was always told girls shouldn’t show how strong or intelligent they are. It tends to intimidate boys. The sad fact is that I’m sure I wasn’t the only little girl who was told this. We’re basically supposed to stand there & look pretty. Girls who show they are intelligent or strong will never get married. They’ll never have a boyfriend. Basically “sit down, shut  your yap, & look pretty”. 3 things that were foreign to me. My own mother used to tell me this. Maybe not in those exact words but pretty close to it.

Growing up I fell in love with the sci-fi genre. I spent hours upon hours watching shows like Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rodgers.  Everything my mother said was echoed in these shows. The men were always tough. The women were always weak, needing the man to rescue them over and over. They were also always very beautiful woman. These were the woman society gave us as role models. These were the woman we were supposed to emulate.

It never sat well with me. Why couldn’t a woman be strong & intelligent & still be feminine? Why did we have to always play the wilting victim?

So I went about trying to be what society wanted me to be. I’m not a genius or even close but I am reasonably intelligent. I never felt comfortable in my own skin. Inside I was at war. I wanted to be one person but I kept being told that was the wrong person to be. I went through a lot of trials & tribulations because of it. I went through depression because of it. All because I did my best to suppress who I was so I could fit into the mold that society & family laid out for me.
Which brings us to Samantha Carter of Stargate. She was the first female character in a sci-fi show who was strong, highly intelligent, & wasn’t afraid to show it. She also made no apologizes for it. She did all this while having an air of grace & femininity about her. Something I was told was not possible.
I fell in love with Samantha Carter. I wanted to be Samantha Carter. For the first time in my life I had a strong, intelligent woman to look up to. I had a new type of role model in a genre that I loved so dearly. Things started clicking in my head. Little by little I started to become the woman I wanted to be. Someone who was strong & independent. Someone who stopped trying to hide her intelligence. Someone who had an opinion and stopped apologizing for it. I started gaining confidence. For the first time I started feeling comfortable in my own skin. All because of a character on tv. Stupid, I know, but you know what I don’t care. I am happy to be the woman I am today and I am happy that Samantha Carter came into my life to show me a different path in life.
I am thankful for Topanga Lawrence (Matthews). I am thankful for a character on TV when I was younger that was not afraid to be herself. That she was quirky and weird. While when I was young I was too self-conscious to be quirky and weird, I always admired Topanga for being so and being so proudly. I loved that she was smart and was not afraid to show it. She was not arrogant, but worked hard and proudly competed with the guys to be the smartest and most successful. Mostly, I am thankful for Topanga because she did not have to choose between being smart and successful and being with the boy. So often female characters on television are either the smart but single one or the one with the boyfriend. Topanga proved that you can be both and that falling in love young does not exclude you from pursuing your dreams. As someone who got married young (not quite as young as Topanga), I often felt like people thought I was giving up my life, that I could no longer be successful or make a difference in the world because I was choosing a relationship.  While I did decide to be a stay at home mom once we had kids instead of continuing to work like Topanga, it is characters like Topanga that remind me that was my choice and that my particular choice does not determine my intelligence, ability, or the impact I can make. Topanga shows the world that being in a serious relationship and taking on the world are not mutually exclusive.
I’m thankful for Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. She is HILARIOUS. Pretty much everyone on that show was down right hilarious, but Leslie’s character was one of my utmost favorites. I almost always wound up pissing my pants from crazy laughter and her one liners. Her character is so optimistic and happy and fights for what she believes in no matter how hard it may be. She gave me a sense of hope, in a way. Even with her quirky and witty personality she was able to hold herself strong and fight for her beloved city, Pawnee. And hey, she even got a witty, nerdy guy, Ben, who’s perfect for her.
I binged watched Parks and Rec on Netflix so fast, it was insane. College is definitely a remarkable experience and I keep on pushing myself towards that degree. And many days were very…stressful, for a lack of a better word. If I wanted to just forget about my problems and craziness at school, I’d tell myself to watch an episode or two, or three (depending on how tired I was) of Parks and Rec. And pretty much NEVER failed to laugh my ass off. I loved that show so much I was so sad to see it end earlier this year. 
Leslie Knope is someone I’d love to have as a friend, how she was always there for Ann. Leslie is OBSESSED with waffles and I am too! Laughing is a great escape from reality for me. So Parks and Rec helped A LOT to have that “me” time I needed. It was therapeutic indeed.
“Hey Leslie. It’s Leslie. Hang in there. I love you. Bye.”- She even motivates herself. How can you NOT love her?!
I’m thankful for so many characters on television. I’ve always loved strong women on TV, starting with Beverly Hills 90210’s Brenda Walsh. But in recent years my appreciation has grown specifically for TV moms. Characters who give a real glimpse into the life of mothers and the balancing act that comes with raising a family and going after one’s dreams. Friday Night Lights’s Tami Taylor is the best example, with (pre-season-6) Parenthood’s Kristina Braverman as a close second. The Good Wife’s Alicia Florrick and Jane the Virgin’s Jane Villanueva are two other favorites who both add to the conversation of life and motherhood.
This Thanksgiving, I think of the television characters I am most thankful for. Supernatural’s Sam Winchester is at the forefront of my mind. Like my relationship with my twin sister, Dean is Sam’s only family. They argue and fight, but their love for each other is unquestioned. Sam harbors guilt and regret over his past choices, but he is willing to sacrifice himself for his brother and the world. Sam Winchester’s heroic actions inspire Supernatural fans.
I’m thankful for Buffy Summers and the whole Scooby Gang at the center of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. In the late 90s and early 2000s, my family was going through a lot of transitions. My parents got divorced in 1998, and my mom, my sister, my brother and I were trying to find our equilibrium after my father left the picture. It was a rough time. As a way to deal with the stress and uncertainty, I began watching a show that would eventually become my favorite show of all time: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. At first, I was merely amused by the witty dialogue, appreciating the humor that ran like a current through most of the episodes. However, pretty soon after I started watching, I began to see Buffy herself as inspirational. Here was this young girl forced to come to terms with this amazing responsibility, whose life was literally turned on its head by forces outside of her control. I began to see myself and my own struggles through Buffy’s. More than that, though, my mother and my brother also became avid Buffy fans, which not only allowed us to create a new bond but also helped us learn that the rifts in our family would heal over time. In the end, she gave me courage, clarity and confidence during one of my family’s darkest times.
 

Written by Shadia Omer

Shadia is a total nerd and a lover of all things pop culture. She watches way too much TV for her own good. She has a passion for writing about entertainment and when she's not writing or trying to figure out her plans in life, you can find her on twitter talking about her faves, one tweet at a time at @lolitsshads.

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