Two Dimensional Characters
We are repeatedly told our characters must have depth. No one is just good. They must have faults to be human. By the end of the novel, our hero must transform into a better person. Not so for James Bond or the Pink Panther.
These guys never transform. If they did, they wouldn’t be James Bond or the Pink Panther.
James Bond is a ruthless killer without a conscience. If he got in touch with his feminine side, if he became sentimental, or was haunted by the people he killed, he’d stop being James Bond.
There are fourteen novels, nine short stories, and twenty-three films. In forty years, you never see an old James Bond. He doesn’t get old! Instead there have been six different actors. But every character is the same.
He is a ladies’ man. No woman can resist his charm. He can ski backwards downhill while shooting at the enemy. Ten men can be shooting at him, not one will hit him, but he is a dead aim shot. He never misses.
Once you’ve captured him and have placed him in a deadly situation, never take your eyes off him. He’ll have a secret device, up his sleeve, in his watch, shoe, or pen that is perfect for freeing him. Can’t kill James Bond.
James’ has no friends. He has M his boss, Q his gadget guy, and Miss Moneypenny. They are his only constant. Every helpful intelligence agent is different. Every female sidekick is different.
The plot is always the same. An evil mad man wants to take over the world. He always has a female who works for him, who falls for James Band and helps him defeat the evil one. James Bond always ends the movie with a woman in his arms.
He did fall in love twice, but both women died. Can’t have a happily married James Bond with children hanging on his legs. It wouldn’t be the same.
There is a charm about the British Spy. Change any part of him and he no longer works. The whole point is, he never grows old, he can do any and every physical feat well, without getting killed or hurt. Nothing stops him. Nothing confuses him.
The Pink Panther’s charm is being a fool who can barely stand up straight. If he matured and became intelligent, well organized and physically coordinated. He would no longer be the Pink Panther. He’d no longer be funny and there’d be no reason for his movies.
James bond knows and has the ability to be the best in the world. We believe it. The Pink Panther also believes he’s the best in the world. We know better.
They are both a ladies’ man. We believe James Bond is, but we laugh at the Pink Panther.
Both perform amazing feats. Any live person would be dead or seriously injured. We are awed at James Bond’s abilities. We laugh at the Pink Panther’s attempts.
Not all characters have to be three dimensional, they do not have to transform into better people, but serious or funny, these characters have to be larger than life. No one acts like they do and lives to tell about it. That’s why they are so well loved.