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A Short, JE-inspired Rant on Sour Hens


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We were playing JE, and as the game progressed, the characters started to join in, and I found myself thinking: 'That male is funny, and that one is just *hilareous*', while both female characters sounded serious and I am sorry to say, very sour/boring. My husband yelped "Wow, he's funny' about three times and we shared a laugh on more than one male lines. And the only female so far... all she does is purses her lips after each sentence she says and goes on and on how everything is unnatural. Gah. It became particulary noticeable when the game started to gain momentum and more and more dialogues full of good humour started poping up. JE *is* wonderful in that regard.


So, I started to think back, and it occured to me that not a single Bio girl had a sense of humor that appealed to me. Viconia was deeply revolting, and Imoen... well, let's say I didn't picke her from Spellhold after my first run. Hmm... is it just me who feels that there is a certain luck of comic leading ladies?

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I unexpectedly got Gaider to comment on it:


You know what's a bit strange? At one point we actually did sit down and tried to think of how we could write a comedic female character -- and the problem we encountered is that, while there are indeed some comedic archetypes that work for female characters there are less of them than work for male.


Specifically the slapstick archetype just doesn't seem to work as well. Any character that requires a degree of self-deprecation (Minsc comes to mind, or Xan) just seems less funny if he character is female. Perhaps it's a cultural thing? I'm not sure. Everyone might not feel the same, but I know we writers did -- and that's really the important part, because if we don't find it funny then you sure won't.


In the end, we did come up with a few female comedic idea -- characters that were funny either due to their wit or simply because of how they played against type. Even so, they weren't the knee-slapping variety and we ended up abandoning the notion because it seemed a bit forced.


Anyone has any comments on that and what do people generally think a real funny girl concept/archetype would be/would work? Okay, aside form Keto ???

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DG could just be right with it being a cultural thing; most Western males don't seem to like funny girlfriends in case the girlfriend shows them up. Male on top and all that. They're quite happy with funny girl friends, though.... having said that, I wouldn't like to try and write an Irish character male or female, because our sense of humour is so sharp and black it'd get you up in court in any other country.



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Dry, understated wit works well for ladies. And never underestimate the value of comic timing. Sometimes, things are funny not because of what was said, but when. You've got to be careful with the latter, though, because it's easy to turn her into the queen of the putdown.


Innuendo can also be effective, but there, too, subtle is good.

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I agree with berelinde regarding funny women.

Although, slapstick can work too. After I walked headfirst into the underside of some stairs, my husband laughed heartily.(well he also checked that I wasn't bleeding or concussed, so I forgave him ???)



Edit: I also agree with Domi that there need to be more funny women in games. Dawn Star does have one funny line regarding a merchant in Tien's Landing which is good but she could have been really improved with some gentle humour (or even some black humour regarding spirits). She was ,way, too serious and Silk Fox was too, sterotypically, mean.

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Good gosh, I could go off on this one for years. My wife is a bloody riot. Yes, I'm probably biased to a certain degree, but I'm not the only one that's said this.


I have also noted that typically in gaming, female NPCs tend to not get the more comedic lines. I don't think it actually needs to be that way.



I recently played most of the way through Morrowind (MW) with a ton of mods added. There is a specific mod that is very popular for MW called "Constance, thief companion", created by a woman named Emma. Has a huge amount of dialog in it. Very entertaining and of ultra high quality. I suppose you could say that Constance is as popular for MW as Minsc is for BG. So, agreeing with berelinde, I think it's the situation that the NPC/person is in, that dictates how funny they can be.

Might not be a bad idea to contact Emma and get some input.


Just a suggestion. Cheers all,



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I think the problem is most RPGs now, seem to have a lot more slapstick ,in your face humour, there's not much subtlety. Like NWN2, all the 'humour' (I didn't find it funny :p ) came from Khelgar. Bioware seem to give the male characters the funny lines, while the female characters fold their arms and roll their eyes. (Elanee, Bastilla, Visas, Handmaiden, Dawn Star).


Then again, Kreia was wonderfully sarcastic, but subtle. Rather like the Queen ??? .


I disagree on Viconia and Imoen though, Viconia had me in stitches, and I adored Imoen. *hugs Imoen*. Probably cause I thought the mix of humour and drama worked well with Immy.

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Does seem to be true in adventure/sci fi/fantasy movies as well that the comic relief typically comes from males.


But when you think about it, how is the humor going to manifest in adventure tales? It's usually in the form of either zinging one-liners or a zany/clownish figure. Nothing difficult about writing a female character as such. It is curious that we don't see them more often in movies and games--there's certainly no shortage of hilarious female stand-up comics in real life.


As to the BG games:


I enjoy BG1 Immy's ditziness, I find her endearing. I don't like her nearly as much in BG2 where she becomes more of a haunted, tortured, serious figure.


Alora's sugary, ever upbeat personality is pretty funny. Not as funny as Xan's deadpan nihilism. But as comic relief I think Alora succeeds, especially given that she's a thief.


Safana's over-the-top vixen schtick is actually a bit funny.


Skie's rich girl slumming doesn't quite come off (a character concept saw a reprise with Nalia in BG2). She is well voice acted though.


BG1's female comic relief characters are either out of the way or available so late in the story that few players bother to use them. BG2 doesn't seem to have any at all. Viconia didn't strike me as having much comic value in either BG1 or BG2.

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Actually in my initial post I meant since BG1, because BG1 has very good character concepts, but let's face it - next to no development ???


BG1 Imoen is much funnier than BG2 Imoen. BG1 also had some good play on stereo-types with Shar-Teel that was easy to develop into funny by exaggeration, and Alora who was the same bubbly type as Imoen. Dynaheir, when she opened her mouth streamed not bad humor either. Skie was an attempt to make a funny girl also. So, yeah, it's after BG1 when BioWARE females turn rather humorless.



Didn't they change writing team between BG1 and BG2?

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Since Black Isle did a lot of the BG writing, I'd say the team did change for BioWARE's following games. Perhaps to some extent they don't want to be seen to be mocking females in the games (making them serious, important characters), or maybe it's true that Gaider and Co can only write grumpy women. Neeshka in NWN2 might have worked as comedy, if she'd been given more development.

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