Characterization: When the clothes make the woman.

(Originally posted on Writingscape V2.0 on 8/7/2011)

I got the greatest laugh ever when longtime ABC drama General Hospital pulled a terrific piece of characterization out of its trick bag last week for Harbinger of Death and longtime villainess Helena Cassadine.

You see, a veteran GH viewer already knows that Helena is one of the deadliest women on daytime TV, a crown she wears proudly. She not only constricts and devours her own young on the regular, but everyone else’s young as well. Any man, woman, or child breathing is at risk, whether they purposely cross her path or not, and her own family has always suffered the most (not that any of them have been paragons of virtue, mind you).

And so, when Mrs. Cassadine slithered into the scene wearing this…

ghhelenapythonsc3_srt… I cracked up and found myself applauding.

The beauty of this is that the newbie GH viewer who doesn’t know Helena yet will only see a very rich woman in her palatial manor dressed to the nines in a designer outfit from somewhere on Rodeo Drive. Only later, after they see this Burmese python in action, will they realize–to their horror–that they weren’t looking at her clothes, but at her SKIN.

Bwahaha. 😉

Love it.


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