In Praise of #ThreeFictionalCharacters

by Todd Foley

There are lots of Facebook trends. They’re all fun to watch and follow. For example:

  • Ice Bucket Challenge
  • Love Your Spouse Challenge
  • 30-Day Thankfulness Challenge
  • “If you agree with this, share it. If you don’t, you’re not supportive of [insert cause]

These are all awesome and trendy, but I never really have been enticed to participate. However, there’s a recent one that I can’t help but love: #ThreeFictionalCharacters.

This is a call to post a photo collage with three fictional characters who, when combined, describe you as a person. When I saw the first of these posts in my Facebook timeline, I didn’t think much. Then I started looking for similar posts and totally got why my friends chose their respective collections. I loved it!

What really struck me is why we all can identify with fictional characters: they let us see bits of ourselves reflected on paper, on screen and on stage.

C.S. Lewis once said, “We read to know we’re not along,” and this is why we watch as well. This makes me feel less guilty about my binge-watching habits. Come on, Netflix, you know you don’t need to ask “Are you still watching?”

I recently read a great piece in the New York Times called “The TV Cure.” Here’s the gist:

“Television is a drug to be taken in moderation, sure, but it’s a drug that, more and more, is prescribed specifically for you. Not only are people connecting to these flawed characters, but TV is so good and so specific now that people are connecting to the show itself as a way to cope, because they feel as if the show was made for them. It doesn’t replace relationships, or intimacy, or make us cold strangers to one another, but it can shine a light on our darkest, loneliest corners. It can help us find communities of people who like the same stuff we do, even if we’re not quite sure why it’s speaking to us. Almost anyone can see themselves reflected onscreen, or see other possibilities for their lives. Or watch and just think ‘yes, me too!'”

That being said, I finally joined the trend and posted my three fictional characters. Subtle quirks of Jim Halpert, unintentional awkwardness of Ross Gellar, and unabashed grumpiness of Carl.

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Who are your #ThreeFictionalCharacters? Why?

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