Sunday, January 31, 2016

Drawn Together Picked Apart: Why Clara is My Least Favorite Character

Source: The Drawn Together Wiki
Like all shows I enjoy, there are some characters I like more than others. In the case of Drawn Together, my least favorite character would be Princess Clara, the Disney princess parody. Now usually when I have a least favorite character, I don’t really think about why I hate them. Usually it doesn’t require much thought, as they’re hateable or unlikable for simple reasons. However, there’s actually a more complex reason to why I dislike Clara. The short answer is that they derailed her character when they had something good. This post is meant to be the long answer.

When you think about Disney princesses, or at least the princesses before Tangled, they all have a few things in common. The two biggest are a sense of naivety and innocence. This was the basis of Clara’s character in the first season, and it worked. Clara was very naive, having little knowledge of how the outside world worked, and her innocence meant that she has no idea what she’s doing or what she’s saying might be offensive. This is actually good satire, as it understand the source material and adds a clever comedic dimension to it. It would allow Clara to say things like “can’t you just stop being gay” to Xandir not out of spite but out of naivety, not realizing what she’s saying is offensive.

This was a great basis for a character, and it felt like they actually put thought into it. This is what makes the next few things unfortunate.

By the second season, Clara dropped the “innocent” part of her character in favor for something more malicious. Whereas early Clara said offensive things because she didn’t know any better, later Clara said offensive things knowing that they were offensive. Her character went from being offensive but well meaning to basically being a fundamentalist Christian. Here, she began saying and doing offensive things knowing fully well they were racist/anti-semitic/homophobic/whatever, rather than saying the offensive things innocuously. They abandoned something clever for something lazier.

And this leads to my biggest reason I dislike Clara: they turned her into the show’s villain. In a show like Drawn Together, where every character has something wrong with them (Wooldoor’s need to seek approval from everyone, Xandir’s extreme promiscuity, etc.), it seems pointless to have Clara be the one acting out the most. Yet several plots of the show revolve around Clara kickstarting the plot by being an antagonist. This is a lazy route to take with a Disney princess parody; turning someone who is supposed to be pure and making them evil is not clever or insightful. Her general behavior as the villain is also reprehensible, and out of all the characters, her jokes miss the most for me.

Clara started as something that had potential. She started as a character with an actual clever twist on the Disney princess, yet the show abandoned that for a lazier charactacure. Clara is my least favorite character on Drawn Together because her potential was never fully realized.

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