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> Does it ever bother anyone...?, 'Main' character focus issues.
totallyAlex
post Jan 28 2015, 12:25 AM
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I never noticed this before, I guess because Sam was my favorite character when the show came out, but does it ever bother anyone else how it seems as though Sam is always the chosen one? Sam is almost always singled out for something or another, most of the tactical ideas come from her and usually the planning of how to complete a mission is left to her. It's as though Clover and Alex never do anything spectacular unless it's by accident.

Does this bug anyone else or am I just over-analyzing?
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TB74
post Jan 28 2015, 06:22 AM
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QUOTE (totallyAlex @ Jan 27 2015, 07:25 PM) *
I never noticed this before, I guess because Sam was my favorite character when the show came out, but does it ever bother anyone else how it seems as though Sam is always the chosen one? Sam is almost always singled out for something or another, most of the tactical ideas come from her and usually the planning of how to complete a mission is left to her. It's as though Clover and Alex never do anything spectacular unless it's by accident.

Does this bug anyone else or am I just over-analyzing?


Maybe you're over-analyzing a bit, but not by much, in my opinion.

Regarding how she's "singled out", I don't think it's that bad. Sure, she may have been singled out a bit more often because villains wanted to exploit her intelligence, a usually useful asset for a criminal. Jerry did choose her to go undercover alone in the Miss Spirit Fingers trilogy, too. But Clover also has been singled out quite often as well, sometimes for her beauty or her obsession about popularity (think of Stuck in the Middle Ages With You), but sometimes as "the chosen" one (think of this episode in which she earns the "Spy of the Year" award). Still, Sam has been chosen or singled out more often indeed.

I do agree that Sam is the one who most often has the best ideas and tactics, however. But her two friends do have some great ideas sometimes. You probably remember Sam saying "Good idea, Alex!" or "Good idea, Clover!" at least on a couple of occasions, which is proof she's not the only one to have the great ideas. (If I remember correctly, I think Clover is the one who got the idea on how to beat Senor Starchy, just to mention one example.) However, being characterized as the "brainy" one, Sam's bound to be the one who most often gets such ideas. That reasoning also applies to her being the one who most often does the mission planning. Hey! her purpose is to be the brains of the team, right?

Remember, Totally Spies is a very stereotypical show in terms of characterization of each girl's role. Alex is the sporty-kind-hearted-sweet-yet-not-so-confident-and-naive girl, Clover is the egocentric-maneater-popular-but-always-ready-to-help-a-friend one and Sam is... the intelligent-getting-good-grades-nerdish-but-confident girl.

As soon as those characters traits were established in S1, the writers stuck to them as if it was gold. At one point, I wondered if they were afraid making the girls act differently would scare away audiences. I don't know if it was out of laziness or because they wanted to be "consistent" from one episode to another, but somehow the girls got stuck into their stereotyped characterization. It's the one thing I really don't like about TS: it's too formulaic.

And indeed, with a few exceptions, each episode follows pretty much the same storyline. a19.gif

1. Opening credits.
2. Villain does some evil deed that triggers WOOHP to act.
3. The Spies get woohped from home, school or a public place (after B-plot is established) and land in Jerry's office.
4. Jerry briefs them and hands them gadgets.
5. Spies follow a lead and face minions, overcome a challenge, do undercover investigation or spy-related else.
6. Spies return to school or home for B-plot with Mandy or another schoolmate.
7. Girls investigate further, one of them or all of them get captured by villain boss.
8. Spies escape (or single Spy is rescued) through the use of a gadget or a good idea (usually provided by Sam) or true friendship.
9. Girls defeat the villain, Jerry swoops down on the scene in some aircraft.
10. Girls return home or at school for B-plot resolution.
11. End credits roll in.

No surprise the girls almost always get to do the same thing and act the same way one episode from another in such a formulaic structure! laugh.gif

Frankly, I wished the episodes (and the characters) were a bit more surprising. But then, what makes TS so predictable is also what makes it entertaining, in a certain way. People expect Clover to fall in love with a new guy every episode, Alex to get clumsy or clueless at one moment or another and Sam to get a brilliant idea at some point.

The questions we ask ourselves as viewers aren't "Will Clover fall in love with a new boy or not?" anymore, but rather "What kind of boy will Clover fall in love with this time?", and so on. The fun isn't in the surprises, but in how the expected will be played out. Also, since we don't bother about the storyline much since it's so predictable, we can focus on the other aspects of the show, namely the adult subtext (some sexual, some not) and the (often ironic, sarcastic, etc.) criticism of the American society. Clover's need for popularity as if it was the very air she was breathing is a good example of that. If it wasn't for both the subtext and the parodying look at the American way of life, I would find this show unbearable.

Don't misunderstand, I think TS is a good show. But I don't think it can compare to some of my favorite anime series/western cartoons of a similar length. I say the similar length, because I've excluded series that didn't last at least four seasons in this comparison for one simple reason: it's easy to be original for a single season, but it's much more difficult to remain original after two or three seasons.

By the way, my favorite, lasting-for-more-than-three-seasons anime series is Maria-sama ga Miteru (aka Marimite) and my favorite lasting-for-more-than-etc. western cartoon is Archer (another spy-related parody biggrin.gif ).

Archer is bit like TS in a way: the characters don't grow up or change really fast in the course of the series, but they still do. And as stereotypical as they are, they surprise us with some totally out of character actions and comments. And in the case of Archer, the fact the main character (Archer) is so predictable being an egoistical, egocentric, macho and cocky yet skilled agent is the reason the show is so funny. That didn't prevent the writers from coming up with wacky and funny surprises.

Regarding Marimite, what I like about this show is how the characters, although very stereotyped in a way, grow up and change through the course of the series, and most important, how they surprise us by acting in a way that's not like them. That, I believe, sets this show in a class of its own — it's not only entertaining, but it's also surprising and touching, making it excellent rather than just "good".

I understand Totally Spies doesn't aim at being this kind of show, but a little progression in each character's personality (or the characters acting in a more surprising way more than just on occasion) could make it much more exciting and interesting. Like Alex being less clueless, Clover being less obsessed about popularity and Sam being less serious. Even if they do change in the course of an episode, the TS girls revert back to their old selves before the episode's over. As I wrote above, maybe it's what the fans expect.

So does it bugs me?

No, not much, for I got used to TS being predictable rather than surprising, but I would really like it if the show was more surprising, including having Alex getting great ideas instead of Sam, Clover being clumsy and clueless instead of Alex and Sam being obsessed with her popularity instead of Clover, and for more than just an episode. I wish TS would mess up things a bit just to surprise us and offer something different.




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Stasis Muffin
post Jan 28 2015, 12:26 PM
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When I first saw Totally Spies, I kinda just assumed that Sam was the "main character". Or the "team leader". So it doesn't surprise me.





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Ghidra
post Jan 28 2015, 01:15 PM
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As far as being the main character, I think it switches between Sam and Clover. Clover, for example, got that entire multi-parter with Blaine. I'd probably give her an edge overall actually. But Sam has more of the Leonardo natural leader position in the group as far as the nuts and bolts of doing their job goes.




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totallyAlex
post Jan 28 2015, 02:05 PM
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Eh I guess it just bugs me so much because I'm re-watching the series as an adult viewer and my younger viewer-self doesn't remember this kind of one-sided storytelling. I mean I know the other girls get good ideas too but, if you notice, most of the time it's by accident.

*shrugs* I'm sure I'll get used to it.

Thanks for the responses, though! It was really nice to see how everyone else viewed this. happy.gif
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Kira Yamato
post Jan 28 2015, 02:22 PM
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QUOTE (TB74 @ Jan 28 2015, 08:22 AM) *
Remember, Totally Spies is a very stereotypical show in terms of characterization of each girl's role. (...)

This.

I don't think that Sam suits into The Chosen One trope. She would have to be The Only One in first place, and this isn't what happens. Sam doesn't also fit into The Messiah category, since she isn't destined, for instance, to bring peace to the world (even though sometimes she intends to do so XDD). Sammie is just The Brains, for Clover's Beauty and Alex' Brawn. smile.gif
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beachbunny
post Feb 12 2015, 09:58 PM
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I noticed that too!
I wrote about it already in one other topic...
Sam always must be the one who solves the problem, who knows, what to do... And her orders make me sick.
She is just a modest, nice girl! Why does she act so harsh during the missions?
I truly don't like it and I wish Clover was again more in the center of attention. The first three series were much better with her in the foreground...




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TB74
post Feb 13 2015, 02:59 AM
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QUOTE (beachbunny @ Feb 12 2015, 04:58 PM) *
She is just a modest, nice girl! Why does she act so harsh during the missions?


Sam is a "good grades girl" who's looking for approval. Her way to deal with that is by trying to ace everything she does like if it was a math test.

Let's face it, all three Spies have confidence issues.

Clover seems like a confident girl, but she's often the worse, looking for approval through popularity extreme popularity and social success. She wants to be the most fashionable, have the best-looking or coolest boyfriend (rarely the most loving or best one for her), etc.

Alex also has such issues. They're usually well hidden, but they come out once in a while, and always do whenever Britney's around. She feels clumsy inadequate regarding both her skills (having Sam scorn her quite often is not helping, of course), her personal qualities as a friend, her grades, etc. Yet surprisingly, she's often the one who's the most independent, and she's usually the one who listens to her heart the most (especially regarding her love interests).

If Clover wants approval through social success and Alex is looking for approval in general, then Sam is in search of professional approval.

To achieve that professional approval, she's trying to be (or to become) the most independent and higher ranking Spy, with mixed success.

And as a matter of fact, she almost single-handedly completed a mission (as Miss Spirit Fingers). She wanted Jerry's approval, hoping to get a pat on the shoulder and a "you're a great spy" comment.

But on the other hand, when she entered Mali-U and ended up in Stacy's room, she reacted rather negatively to not being able to share her room with Alex and Clover, which isn't the sign of independence or maturity...

In the end, Sam's still a teenager-young-adult-girl who wants to be recognized as a successful-mature-adult.

...

Another aspect of Sam I speculated about is that she acts bossy because she secretly wants to be bossed around... but that was in an erotic yuri fanfic, so it's not like there's some basis behind that theory. laugh.gif




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beachbunny
post Feb 13 2015, 06:07 PM
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QUOTE (TB74 @ Feb 13 2015, 03:59 AM) *
Sam is a "good grades girl" who's looking for approval. Her way to deal with that is by trying to ace everything she does like if it was a math test.

If Clover wants approval through social success and Alex is looking for approval in general, then Sam is in search of professional approval.

And as a matter of fact, she almost single-handedly completed a mission (as Miss Spirit Fingers). She wanted Jerry's approval, hoping to get a pat on the shoulder and a "you're a great spy" comment.

Another aspect of Sam I speculated about is that she acts bossy because she secretly wants to be bossed around... but that was in an erotic yuri fanfic, so it's not like there's some basis behind that theory. laugh.gif


Thank you for your opinion, I also think that Sam - very nice, understanding girl - is looking for approval during the missions because it's the time for her to show up. She has a great mind and I think it's very comfortable for the other two spies to let her do the hard job.
I think no one of them is the "leader", both during the missions, and in the b-stories. Every of them has a special character and possibilites.
But still... I am not very happy to see all the time the same scenerio - Sam solves the riddle, Clover falls in love + tries to beat Mandy, Alex says/does something stupid etc. It should be variety! For example, once Clover is the most engaged in the mission and ignores a guy, sometimes Sam should fall in love and and and...
Uhm, nothing erotic I meant at all! laugh.gif




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TB74
post Feb 13 2015, 08:27 PM
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QUOTE (beachbunny @ Feb 13 2015, 01:07 PM) *
But still... I am not very happy to see all the time the same scenerio - Sam solves the riddle, Clover falls in love + tries to beat Mandy, Alex says/does something stupid etc. It should be variety! For example, once Clover is the most engaged in the mission and ignores a guy, sometimes Sam should fall in love and and and...
Uhm, nothing erotic I meant at all! laugh.gif



Some surprises in the scenario would indeed help give this series a breath of fresh air.

BTW, your DA Clover pics are really nice!




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stephdumas
post Feb 13 2015, 09:43 PM
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QUOTE (Kira Yamato @ Jan 28 2015, 09:22 AM) *
QUOTE (TB74 @ Jan 28 2015, 08:22 AM) *
Remember, Totally Spies is a very stereotypical show in terms of characterization of each girl's role. (...)

This.

I don't think that Sam suits into The Chosen One trope. She would have to be The Only One in first place, and this isn't what happens. Sam doesn't also fit into The Messiah category, since she isn't destined, for instance, to bring peace to the world (even though sometimes she intends to do so XDD). Sammie is just The Brains, for Clover's Beauty and Alex' Brawn. smile.gif


Now, I wonder where Britney fit in these categories? whistle.gif
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beachbunny
post Feb 13 2015, 10:32 PM
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QUOTE (TB74 @ Feb 13 2015, 09:27 PM) *
Some surprises in the scenario would indeed help give this series a breath of fresh air.

BTW, your DA Clover pics are really nice!


Yeah, maybe there will be someday 7th season of TS, I would like to see some changes!
Thank you for a nice word.smile.gif




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post Apr 2 2015, 05:49 AM
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Honestly, I love the monotony of the show. It's predictable, yes--and I like it. There are plenty of other shows in the world that mix it up and keep you on the edge of your seat. For me, TS is a welcome relief, a burst of fresh air--or rather stale air, since it takes me back in time. Nevertheless, they always leave me chuckling to myself when in the end, during the B-plot, Clover is dumped/gets a raw deal (or other personality-related endings that just... fit.)

Of course, I've only watched the first 30 episodes. . . the monotony could quite possibly wear out on me. But as of now, that's my opinion. It was interesting to read y'all's opinions as well!




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Kira Yamato
post Apr 4 2015, 04:17 PM
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QUOTE (stephdumas @ Feb 13 2015, 10:43 PM) *
Now, I wonder where Britney fit in these categories? whistle.gif

She is just the Fourth Ranger and Jack of All Stats. XD
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stephdumas
post Apr 5 2015, 12:43 AM
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QUOTE (Kira Yamato @ Apr 4 2015, 12:17 PM) *
She is just the Fourth Ranger and Jack of All Stats. XD


That's better then being "The Scrappy" (as reference to Scrappy-doo) or "Cousin Oliver".

Arnold, Mindy, Caitlin and Dominique seems to suffer from the "Chuck Cunningham syndrome". laugh.gif
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post Apr 7 2015, 12:53 PM
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QUOTE (totallyAlex @ Jan 28 2015, 02:25 AM) *
I never noticed this before, I guess because Sam was my favorite character when the show came out, but does it ever bother anyone else how it seems as though Sam is always the chosen one? Sam is almost always singled out for something or another, most of the tactical ideas come from her and usually the planning of how to complete a mission is left to her. It's as though Clover and Alex never do anything spectacular unless it's by accident.

Does this bug anyone else or am I just over-analyzing?


Well I think it's obvious.

Sam is very smart and charismatic and is the group leader.
And she is the favorite character of the people and producers smile.gif
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Kira Yamato
post Apr 7 2015, 01:16 PM
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QUOTE (Soloik @ Apr 7 2015, 02:53 PM) *
Well I think it's obvious.

Sam is very smart and charismatic and is the group leader.
And she is the favorite character of the people and producers smile.gif

Man, I can sense a wave of raged Alex and Clover Fans coming to you! laugh.gif

BTW, I think it is not so obvious, sorry to say this. As I said in my previous post, Sammie doesn't seem to fit into The Messiah stereotype. She may be The Leader, but not a messianic one. Besides there are a lot of episodes in which she had her ass saved by her teammates. LOL

I believe people created this messianic vision in relation to Sam after seeing episodes like Evil Valentine's Day (S3, Ep. 20) and especially from the so-called Jazz Hands Returns arc (S4, Eps. 15-17) in which she acts most by her own. On the other hand, I guess they aren't enough to justify The Chosen One achetype attributed to her, since there are a plethora of episodes in which Sam would not succeed without the support from Clover and Alex.

Well... this is my opinion though. LOL I may be completely wrong. tongue.gif
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post Apr 8 2015, 05:03 AM
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QUOTE (Kira Yamato @ Apr 7 2015, 08:16 AM) *
QUOTE (Soloik @ Apr 7 2015, 02:53 PM) *
Well I think it's obvious.

Sam is very smart and charismatic and is the group leader.
And she is the favorite character of the people and producers smile.gif

Man, I can sense a wave of raged Alex and Clover Fans coming to you! laugh.gif

BTW, I think it is not so obvious, sorry to say this. As I said in my previous post, Sammie doesn't seem to fit into The Messiah stereotype. She may be The Leader, but not a messianic one. Besides there are a lot of episodes in which she had her ass saved by her teammates. LOL

I believe people created this messianic vision in relation to Sam after seeing episodes like Evil Valentine's Day (S3, Ep. 20) and especially from the so-called Jazz Hands Returns arc (S4, Eps. 15-17) in which she acts most by her own. On the other hand, I guess they aren't enough to justify The Chosen One achetype attributed to her, since there are a plethora of episodes in which Sam would not succeed without the support from Clover and Alex.

Well... this is my opinion though. LOL I may be completely wrong. tongue.gif

And Mandy fans! ohmy.gif *sidesteps to avoid mob...of Syxx*

Lol, S1E5 "Child's Play" really creeped me out, along with S2E23 "Brain Drain".




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Soloik
post Apr 10 2015, 05:08 PM
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QUOTE (Kira Yamato @ Apr 7 2015, 03:16 PM) *
QUOTE (Soloik @ Apr 7 2015, 02:53 PM) *
Well I think it's obvious.

Sam is very smart and charismatic and is the group leader.
And she is the favorite character of the people and producers smile.gif

Man, I can sense a wave of raged Alex and Clover Fans coming to you! laugh.gif



Oh no. But Sam is my favorite character.
Sam is sometimes arrogant because it knows its capabilities. It is probably the most talented of the group but must learn humility.
Despite this, she is gifted for command, it always makes the right decisions.
I like Alex and Clover too but they do not have the qualities of a leader.
But I think if Clover had better mental capacity, it would make a good leader.
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Kira Yamato
post Apr 14 2015, 02:54 PM
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QUOTE (Soloik @ Apr 10 2015, 07:08 PM) *
Sam is sometimes arrogant because it knows its capabilities. It is probably the most talented of the group but must learn humility.

Funny. I would put Clover in the same boat. LOL Humility is not her forte. XD This is just a striking property of almost every The Fashionista character. laugh.gif
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Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 18th December 2017 - 03:13 AM
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