The long-running CBS reality show Big Brother just began its new season last night and – to no surprise – the new cast is yet another formulaic collection of one-diminsional stereotypes: the stud, the nerd, the ditsy blonde, the sexpot, the mother, the old guy, the gay guy, etc.
While there are certainly uninspired stereotypes in paranormal fantasy, the same can be said for every other genre category. And, truth be told, these perceived stereotypes that so many haters talk about really aren’t that prevalent. The majority of paranormal fantasy that I read – and I read more than most – is original, entertaining, and decidedly not stereotypical.
Using this latest season of Big Brother as a rough model, I tried to find comparable paranormal fantasy stereotypes to create the cast for a theoretical reality show featuring paranormal fantasy characters.
I couldn’t do it. Square pegs in circular holes.
The characters were just too multifaceted, too well developed, too unique. But what I did come up with would most definitely make for one helluva show! This would be my cast for the first season of Big Other:
"White skin, glossy black hair, Cupid’s bow lips, Dante Prejean was beyond beautiful. Just the sight of him in a photo had made Merri’s heart race, filled her mind with delicious and naughty thoughts. He’s also looked very young – twenty, twenty-two… bad and beautiful.” – Beneath the Skin by Adrian Phoenix
The Old Guy
Ultimately, I'm almost certain that those who call the heroes and heroines of paranormal fantasy cardboard stereotypes probably don’t read much paranormal fantasy, if any at all.
And as far as the formulaic casting of reality television shows go, I would pay good money to see what happens when you put Ivy Tamwood, Dante Baptiste, Anita Blake, Bones, Cole Warnecki, and company in a house for a few months! Chances are good that the building would not be standing when the show concluded…
You want intelligent-insulting sterotypes? Don't read paranormal fantasy, watch reality television.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.