Did you get that play on words there? Kick-ass character? Kick Buttowski. You see?
Okay ... Let's get back to the character stuff.
Here's the deal. I have a two-year-old and six-year-old and got to the point that if I were to see another saccharine character that was the perfect friend and always nice with an always nice family that always had an educational or moral message to shove down my throat, I was going to choke on the too-expensive Cheerios I justify buying for "my girls" even though they don't eat them (I know. I buy them for me using my daughters as an excuse. Something you won't see in freaking Princess Sofia) and give up on animation all together. It's like they've all become these interchangeable characters with nothing remarkable about any of them. This weird homogeneity of kindness and goodness and ... GAH!
"Where are the falling anvils?"
"Where are the ACME explosions?"
"Why is everybody so freaking nice?"
Then ... I stumbled upon THE ultimate of ultimates, the best of the best, the amazing of the amazings, the biggest pain in the ass of the pains in the asses: Clarence "Kick" Buttowski.
Pay attention, guys, this kid BURIES Doc McStuffins and Princess Sofia and Rolie Polie Olie and the damned animals on wheels in the jungle. I won't go on. (And, please, do not make this a reflection about me watching too much TV with my kids, okay? Yeah. Yeah. Brain damage aside. Focus here, people.)
Rules of characters. (Yep. All great characters need to follow some basic rules to make them great characters.)
1. A character needs to want something:
- Kick wants to be the world's greatest daredevil, Evil Knievel-style.
- His height (he's short). He has to shop in the "short and squat" section of the store. LOVE this.
- He lives in Suburbia, America.
- He's not popular.
- His family -- he has a bully big brother, princess little sister, pansy dad, and mom (a retired speed boat racer ... which is a cool surprise in and of itself.
- Kick never gives up. He's determined and will do what it takes to get what he wants.
- You can trust Kick. He won't tell anybody's deepest secrets (like how Dead Man DAve is still alive).
- Kick is a good friend. His best friend is the afeminate son of the Viking family that owns Battlesnax -- this insanely macho Viking food place. His name is Gunther Magnusun, and he always wears Crocs and will do ANYTHING for Kick. As Kick will do anything for him.
- Kick is a good brother. When it comes down to it, he'll help his sister out at her beauty pageants and his brother (who is a total loser) at his lame parties. And when it comes to a crunch, they're allies. They usually don't get along. They fight like mad, but they're siblings that know that they've got each others' backs.
- Kick is a good son. His dad totally embarrasses him.His mom is pretty absent. Both parents spend their time taking Brianna, the little sister, to pageants. But at the end of the day, he doesn't want to hurt them or their feelings. Though he finds them completely irrelevant at times.
- Even though he's only 10, he sounds like he's been a pack-a-day smoker for the past fifty years.
- He wears the SAME Evil Knievel outfit every single day. I've seen him change the outfit once or twice but wear the helmet, always.
- As do the other characters wear their same clothes every day. Magnus' Crocs kill me!
- He's completely reckless and resourceful and irreverent.
- He blows it. He says the wrong thing, does the wrong thing, and is completely human about it. FAR from perfect.
Um. Nope. So, back to work, write? (Get it. How I changed "right" for "write." Yeah. Okay. I need to get back to work, too.