meddow: Malcolm and Nicola from The Thick of It (Nicola)
[personal profile] meddow
I wanted to contribute to [livejournal.com profile] halfamoon and decided I would celebrate Nicola Murray, lead character and Secretary of State for the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship in the third series of The Thick of It. I'm not sure how well known it is, but The Thick of It changed last year from a show with a male lead, to a show with a female lead, and really, how often does that happen? That in itself is pretty awesome and that way, she is actually quite ground breaking.

But, really, what I love most about her in terms of being an awesome female character is that she is not the singular and not-so-funny female island of competency in a world of screwed up and hilarious males. No, Nicola is just a screwed up, hilarious and incompetent as all the men in The Thick of It. That sounds contradictory, but the above trope seems to be the norm in comedy these days and I think it's fantastic when women get to be funny.


































Date: 2010-02-09 08:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arathesane.livejournal.com
So beyond awesome I don't have the words.

I agree with everything you said about Nicola and I love the quotes you chose.

I love Nicola and Rebecca Front so much!

(Oh, by the way, the link you put in TTOI comm doesn't seem to work. I had to come to this comm directly to see this. Or rather I went to that comm and then linked into your lj!)
Edited Date: 2010-02-09 08:52 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-02-09 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
Crap. Fixed the link. Thanks!

I love her so much as well, and Rebecca Front who's back catalogue of work I'm working my way through at the moment. She's fantastic. I can't believe I hadn't come across her before she showed up on TTOI.

Date: 2010-02-09 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arathesane.livejournal.com
Hee, I(and some others on my flist)are doing the same thing! I'm watching anything that she(and Capaldi too)is in, that I can get my hands on. I had see her before, apparently, but in bit rolls that I didn't remember her from like AbFab. I am completely infatuated with her right now.

Doesn't really compare to yours in awesomeness but I recently was sick and did this massive picspam (http://arathesane.livejournal.com/612147.html) when I began to feel better. Toward the end of it there are a lot of caps of Peter and Rebecca. I love both of their faces! Their expressions are always so brilliant.

Date: 2010-02-09 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
I've very sadly pretty much run out of Peter Capaldi's back catalogue (that I can get my hands on) :( My love for both of them increases the more I see of them.

I love the pictures you've got of those two (and the activate Scottish Ninja's one make me crack up laughing). I must know - where are those first few pictures of Rebecca Front from?

Date: 2010-02-10 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arathesane.livejournal.com
The first ones of Rebecca are from Lewis which I plan to start this week.

Heh, that Scottish Ninja one is my personal favorite of the macros I've made. Every time I look at it, I can't help but smile!;)

Date: 2010-02-09 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] runawaynun.livejournal.com
I love this so much. I fell in love with her when her first answer to Malcolm was the crack about her daughter and heroin. :D

Anyway, I'm really happy that someone did something for Nicola for [livejournal.com profile] halfamoon. The Nicola love MUST spread.

And it's always hard to explain WHY I love her so much -- 'cause so many of the other women I'm fannish about are amazingly competent and down-right scary. And then there's Nicola Murray -- the bumbling cabinet minister. But I love that she gets in a male dominated arena and keeps fighting and swearing with the big boys. And while so many of the characters seem to be so focused on their OWN careers that she in 3x04 during her breakdown in Malcolm's office is worried that she's not helping OTHER PEOPLE. <3

Date: 2010-02-09 09:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
That was the moment I fell in love with her too :)

I actually struggled with picking Nicola for [livejournal.com profile] halfamoon, because like you, all the other women I tend to love are just amazing, such as Laura Roslin and CJ Cregg. Nicola in terms of achievements and general ability to do her job just pales in comparison.

But as you say, you've got to love her drive and that even though she has to fight to do anything and regularly is humiliated and taunted in the media, she keeps going. And within the context of the show, she shines as being rather selfless.

Date: 2010-02-10 12:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arathesane.livejournal.com
I think one thing I really love about Nicola, is that while she is flawed, she never really puts herself down. Others might(Ollie, the unseen James, Terri, etc) but she does not. There is a tradition in female comedy of being self-deprecating which is fine but it often taken beyond that. It can get into self-loathing and that I sometimes have a problem with.

I mean, I adore Tina Fey and Liz Lemon but sometimes I hate how often Liz rags on herself. Jack builds her up more than she does herself. And while I love their relationship(and the show overall) that can be problematic. I wish that so much of the humor wasn't about laughing at Liz.

Date: 2010-02-10 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
That's true, and a really great point. And Nicola's belief in herself really is one of her great strengths since otherwise she would never get her forth sector policy off the floor what with not even Ollie and Glenn bothering to even pretend they think it's a good idea.

Date: 2010-02-10 12:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arathesane.livejournal.com
Yes, and she believes in herself in a really realistic way. She is by no means arrogant about it or self-involved. I just adore her character so!

Date: 2010-02-09 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icecrystal2k.livejournal.com
These are really nice! The quotes, too! Heh, the one about "I'm using fucking vanilla extract!" never fails to make me laugh.

I love your point about women being allowed to be funny.

Date: 2010-02-09 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
Thanks! I love how the show managed to find the comical value in the names of everyday items, vanilla extract being one of them (Ford Focus being another). Seriously, those two things make me smile whenever they come up in other contexts.

Date: 2010-02-09 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oddrid.livejournal.com
Oh my god I love her so much. That quote when she tells off Malcolm, about how male power obsession is making people despise politics, I LOVE her for that because it's SO TRUE.

I'm definitely bookmarking this so I can come back to it whenever I need cheering up. Thanks!

Date: 2010-02-09 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
Watching that scene for the first time, my jaw dropped because it is just the best, most cutting and true retort ever hurled at Malcolm and the way he operates in the history of the show. She had my eternal love for that one statement.

Date: 2010-02-09 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] serriadh.livejournal.com
This is brilliant, thank you. I love how there's no 'generic totty' characters on TTOI. There are quite a few women (Terri, Robyn, now Nicola and Emma) who are all AWESOME but none of whom are "conventionally attractive".

Date: 2010-02-09 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
I love that about it too. And same goes for the men, really. None of them are traditionally handsome (not like that stops me from having a massive crush on Peter Capaldi). The show has been cast on talent, which totally explains why it one of the best (if on the best) comic ensemble working on television today. Besides, I think having a 'generic totty' character would undermine the show mission to strive for realism.

Date: 2010-02-09 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] serriadh.livejournal.com
oh yes, it would - but that hasn't stopped other shows in the past ;)

And 'conventionally attractive' does not, of course, mean 'I do not have a massive crush on' (see: Alexander McQueen, PETER CAPALDI ♥, etc.)

Date: 2010-02-09 10:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
Peter Capaldi is a silver fox!

"Look, we're so real! Yeah, we don't have any women over the age of 40 and they're all tiny and look like supermodels, but we're so real" ;)

Date: 2010-02-09 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lynchgrrrl88.livejournal.com
I am seriously attracted to Rebecca Front! Guh, awesome spam, absolutely loved the quotes being added too. This show hasn't come out in Australia yet so I am patiently waiting. Thanks for posting :D

Date: 2010-02-09 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
I a girl crush on her. She's awesome! And I hope it comes out in Aus soon, it's a fantastic show.

Date: 2010-02-09 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cannibalcake.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for this. Made my fucking day.

Nicola's so AWESOME. And so's Rebecca Front. Funny women FTW!

Date: 2010-02-10 12:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
You're welcome :) They are both very awesome!

Date: 2010-02-10 12:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] grenadine.livejournal.com
Oh, Nicola. I do love her, and it did take me a while to figure out why, since like you I tend to be drawn to much stronger, more competent female characters. When I first started watching tTOI, she reminded me of a quote about Sam from West Wing:

"You know, it was a screw-up. But I gotta say, I love the way he did it full speed, bam. Like there's a Sam Seaborn-shaped hole in the wall."

And I think that's why I love Nicola, like, in front of her there's this giant wall made of her own inexperience, and her total lack of power, and the way the system is constantly working against her. But she's just going to keep running into the goddamn wall, because that is literally the only thing there is to do besides going and lying down in the street. Which is what I would have done, if I were her, like a million times over by now.

Plus, she'll do what Malcolm says, but she'll also tell him exactly how much he (his plan, the entire political system) can go fuck themselves. Which is her wringing some shreds of agency out of her own powerlessness, which is totally awesome.

Date: 2010-02-10 12:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
Yes! Those are thing I love about her as well. Except I couldn't think of how to express them, so thank you for doing that.

And that's a really good point about the powerless thing. Unlike other women in positions of power in things I've watched, Nicola's 'power' is really just a lie, so she only do so much, and it's the very act of trying that makes her admirable. I love how after the disaster of a policy launch in 3x06, she's right back at it with another policy launch at the beginning of 3x07.

And I love that Sam quote XD

Date: 2010-02-10 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whyoffry.livejournal.com
HOT DAMN. Now there's a picspam! Thanks for the giggles!

Date: 2010-02-10 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
You're welcome!

Date: 2010-02-10 09:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seren-ccd.livejournal.com
Oh my GOD!!! I love Nicola! I love this show! It's absolutely cringeworthy sometimes, but I get so hypnotized by Malcolm Tucker, I can't look away!

And yes, I love everything you say about Nicola's character. As much as I love for a female character to kick arse, I like her inexperience and her foibles. How deep down, she wants to make changes and realises that she has to play the power game, but really doesn't like the taste of it. She and Malcolm are fantastic to watch!

This was awesome!

Date: 2010-02-10 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
Ah, the Peter Capaldi effect. He's got a wonderful understated charisma.

Yes, I really like that about Nicola too, that she's doesn't really like mechanics of politics at all, but unlike some of the other characters who don't like it, seems to stick with it to attempt to do some good, rather than just to stay in power. Nicola and Malcolm are my favourite on screen duo at the moment.

And thank you :)

Date: 2010-02-10 11:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lathaina.livejournal.com
LOL, love all the quotes. btw, what font did you use? it looks great.

Date: 2010-02-10 06:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
Thanks! I used Popstar Autograph (http://www.dafont.com/popstar-autograph.font). Although I had to use '0' as a capital O as I didn't think a heart-shaped letter would really suit Nicola.

Date: 2010-02-10 04:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lucinatrivia.livejournal.com
I totally agree with Nicola not being the Competent Woman Surrounded By Comedy Men - Rebecca Front wrote somewhere about how she had to play that role in an early show and she was determined not to get into it here. But as a character, one of my favourite moments is when the useless conference press officer is being useless, to which Nicola replies something about 'not to be rude - fuck it, let's be rude: it's your job.'

Date: 2010-02-10 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
I really hope that we get some behind the scenes stuff in the DVD release as to how Nicola was developed as a character, because it appears that Rebecca Front had a huge hand in it, for which I adore her so much.

I really love that Nicola doesn't attempt to be nicer than the guys. One thing I noticed when doing the quotes is that Nicola really holds her own with the swearing. With Jamie no longer on the show, I think it's between her and Ollie as to who is the second most foul-mouthed character.

Date: 2010-02-10 07:35 pm (UTC)
ext_41681: (Nicola - and there you go)
From: [identity profile] catslash.livejournal.com
This is a brilliant picspam. :D You did a great job compiling the images and quotes, and reminding me of how much I love Nicola! I can't wait to get to series three in my personal journal rewatch. I have missed series three, especially Nicola.

Date: 2010-02-10 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
There is something special about series three. I love everything that came before it, but series three is just when the show went one step further and earned my fannish devotion and Nicola has a lot to do with that.

Date: 2010-02-11 12:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] patsch.livejournal.com
Awesome! Great picspam, and I agree: what I love about Nicole (/Rebecca Front) is that she's just as hilarious as her ale counterparts and predecessors - if not more so.

Also: your header is the Best. Thing. Ever.

Date: 2010-02-11 04:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
I'm so, so glad the writers did not freak out at the thought of having a funny female character the lead.

Thanks! I'm really proud of that header and you're the first person to compliment it.

Date: 2010-02-17 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] britfan1013.livejournal.com
A bit late but I had to say "Awesome picspam." :)

Date: 2010-02-25 05:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] murphy987.livejournal.com
I was sadly out of commission when this was posted, so I'm just seeing it now, but this is OUTSTANDING!

I have mad love for Nicola and for her really earnest desire to make things better. But, like you said, I love that she gets to screw up and be funny and swear with the big boys.

Thanks for this!! :D

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