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Unseen Characters

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DrFrylock, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. DrFrylock

    DrFrylock
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    A common plot device in fiction is the unseen character. Many are famous: Maris from Frasier is a prime example. The accused in Twelve Angry Men is another. Felix Ungar, while a prominent character in The Odd Couple, is actually an unseen character in Neil Simon's first play, Come Blow Your Horn.

    Often, unseen characters are fictional, but some are real.

    Today I went out to lunch with some coworkers. For a couple years, I have been working one office over from a guy with whom I collaborate frequently. His wife came to lunch, and it occurred to me that I've known this guy pretty well for a long time, and I've never met his wife. She's a nice person and I wasn't too shocked by this.

    Another guy I knew for about 10 years through work, and we were quite good friends. He was about 15 years older than I was and he was married before I met him. However, over the course of those 10 years I never met his wife - never saw a picture, never talked to her on the phone, nothing. Neither did anybody else. It became a running joke, and many people began to wonder if she existed at all. Many of us met a few of his close friends from childhood and they confirmed that yes, in fact, she did exist. Then, rather unexpectedly, he got very sick. This threw everything in his life for a loop, and a select few of us finally got to come over and meet her. She was also a perfectly nice person, and I never really understood why he kept many of his friends and his family separated. I think they were just very private in that way, which is of course their prerogative.

    At the very end, everyone in his life basically came barging over to their house to help out, cook food, and try to make the best of a terrible situation. All the barriers came down in a bittersweet way. I was worried that this would be an overwhelming imposition, but apparently his wife and his family were grateful for the injection of distractions and normalcy in a bad situation. She moved away and I've lost touch, not that I ever really had it in the first place.

    FOCUS: Who are the unseen characters in your life? Did they ever make the transition to being seen? Did they live up to your expectations...or lack thereof?
     
  2. KIMaster

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    Not the best example, considering we DO see the accused in all three versions of the classic story. Anyways,

    Focus-

    Every "unseen character" I've managed to eventually meet has ended up being fairly drab and forgettable, despite high expectations. Whether it's the 4' 10", 90 pound Asian girl my 6' 4", 240 pound good friend was dating, or the people that contributed heavily on a pre-frosh forum for my college that I eventually met, all were fairly boring compared to the version I had subconsciously built up in my mind.
     
  3. DrFrylock

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    Is that right? You learn something new every day. I looked it up on IMDB and apparently an uncredited actor does play "the accused" in the Henry Fonda version. I haven't seen the movie in a long time, so maybe I've forgotten. I always thought the whole point was that the accusations about his ethnicity were left ambiguous. The accused is explicitly not listed as a character in the script for the original stage play.
     
  4. KIMaster

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    Yeah, and he looks utterly scared and innocent! In the Jack Lemmon, 90s version, the accused appears more impassive and mature, possibly being a hardened criminal. Not totally sure about the stage play; think they showed him too, although I could be wrong.
     
  5. Crown Royal

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    I was never more affected by any unseen character in life until....

    "The Gooch" from Different Strokes, of course. The dangerous bully Willis and Arnold feared but we never got to see him.
     
  6. lostalldoubt86

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    I work in a Dr. office and was hired by the office manager. He was in surgery for the first two weeks I worked for him, so the only idea I had of the doctor was through the other people who worked there. When I finally met him, he was exactly the person they told me about, but I imagined him being thinner for some reason.
     
  7. Ogee

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    You know, I hate to say it, but for most people I work with, I am probably the "unseen character."

    I work 90% of the time from home, which means I am always just sending documents out. I will get on a project, talk to the manager briefly, complete my portion and then distribute it to the team, who usually work together from the client site. I have never actually seen the group of consultants that I have spent the last nine months working with, and we very rarely exchange emails or IMs. They all know who I am, because I have been the one keeping this group together on a couple different clients since we have been doing pretty good.

    Weird.
     
  8. Harry Coolahan

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    I like to compartmentalize the people in my life, so to them probably everyone else in my life is an unseen character. There are probably 25-30 people I hang out with regularly, but as far as I can remember only about 5-8 of them have met each other. This is because I have a wide range of friends and I know for a fact they wouldn't really get along. So, I usually hang out with my friends in groups of like 2-3, or in the company of their other friends.

    Similarly, it's really rare that I introduce any of the girls I date to my friends, at least for the first several months. When I'm with a girl, I'm flirty and intimate—not the kind of person I want to be when I'm around my friends.

    I'm generally pretty private about my life (my thinking is, frankly it's none of your business to know and I am ambivalent about telling you either way, so I probably won't) and I definitely prefer to keep my social circle this way. It gives me much better control over who I see (never have to hang out with anyone I don't like just because they are part of a social circle), I avoid all the drama that comes with cliques, it's easy for me to expand my social circle when I meet new people or cut people out of my life if they turn out to be shitty, and best of all it exposes me to a much broader range of people than I would meet otherwise.
     
  9. Guy Fawkes

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    I have one "work" friend that comes into my personal social circle on occasion. I've known him for 20 years and we were much better friends then than we are now.

    My boss's wife is an unseen character. Known as "Liz", I've worked with him for 10 years now and have never met/seen her. It was a running joke about her being real or not until a few years ago when she actually came into the office. I happened to be out of town at the time so she's still the unseen character to me.

    I don't find it odd though because I can't imagine mixing work with my social life very much at all either.
     
  10. Nettdata

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    Most of the work I do for clients is done remotely.

    In the past 5 years, I've probably dealt with 30 clients without ever meeting them... only talking to them on the phone, on email, and MSN.

    There was one time when a client made a surprise visit. I was doing a ton of work for Wachovia Bank back in the day, and they sent 2 people to knock on my door to be sure that I was actually a real person at the other end. We're talking about flying 2 guys from New York to Vancouver just to ensure that the cash they were spending was going to a legit entity.

    I was in a small apartment in downtown Vancouver, and it wasn't quite the downtown office they were expecting. The look on their face when I answered the door in sweats was hilarious.

    One of the guys was someone I dealt with almost daily for close to 6 monhts, and he basically opened the door and said "hey... it's Chris. Nice to meet you. Can we go fishing?"

    He was a huge fishing fanatic, and almost killed people to be part of the "surprise visit" squad, and he brought his fishing gear with him.

    So yeah, we went fishing for a couple of days, and Wachovia's new online credit card processing system went online shortly thereafter.


    Banks are fucking weird.
     
  11. scotchcrotch

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    Alt foucs- How abut characters that should've remained unseen?

    How about most villains in a Stephen King adaptation. They couldn't just leave Tim Currey as the villain in IT? They had to use some awful CGI spider that looked like claymation.

    And don't get me started on the Langoliers monsters. I'd describe that Sci-Fi Channel looking shitfest as Pacman on crack.
     
  12. Frank

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    Not totally unseen, but good enough

    [​IMG]
     
  13. audreymonroe

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    I was convinced for about a year that my friend's stepdad didn't exist (who I just posted about yesterday, so it's weird I'm bringing it up again, but it's been a joke between us forever). Whenever I'd go to his house, the guy had always "just left" or was "up in his room" but I'd still never see him. I can still remember the time I first saw him. I was sitting at the kitchen table eating a sandwich and I could hear someone walking upstairs and then he started coming down the stairs. It was an open staircase too, so first I saw his feet, then more and more of his legs, then his torso, and then he was right there in front of me. I made it super dramatic in my head, like my heart was racing and everything. He intimidated me. He looked really quiet and harmless, if not somewhat surly, but I knew what he was like when I wasn't around. I didn't see him much after that either, but that was by my own doing.

    On a less exciting note, I have never met any of my bosses or coworkers for one of my jobs. I work for an iPhone app and it's based in California. Most of the other people live there (although I think they haven't met each other either) and only a few are here in New York. We've talked on the phone and online and we're friends on Facebook, but I don't know anything about them and will probably never be in the same room as them. I'm fine with that. (It's funny, though, I've still managed to form the same opinions and attitudes towards them as I would normal coworkers and bosses.)
     
  14. Juice

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    I've been on this board since the beginning (just lurking until recently) and RMMB before that. To me, you're all unseen characters. Thank you.
     
  15. Czechvodkabaron

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    Dr. Kahn from Salute Your Shorts. He was hard over the intercom but never seen.

    Also, Principal Buttsavich from Doug. He was never seen on the show, and Doug and Roger missed out on seeing him when they hid during graduation, if I remember correctly.
     
  16. Ogee

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    Also, Steinbrenner on Seinfeld.
     
  17. hoju

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    I could be wrong, but did we ever see Kenny's ("Bud") brother on The Cosby Show?
     
  18. Juice

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    What about Bob Sacamano or Lomez?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENY7qCkDYL0

    (Its a link, cant be embedded)
     
  19. Dr. Gonzo Esquire

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    The Russian premier from Dr. Strangelove.

    Dr. Claw from the old Inspector Gadget cartoon.

    Any adult from the Peanuts comic strip.
     
  20. DrFrylock

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    When did this become the "name all the unseen characters you have encountered in fiction" thread? What, are we writing a Wikipedia list here? Look, I know you're all just itching to enumerate every instance of crucifixion in anime or some nerdy shit like that, but you go do that on your own board.

    Wait wait, did I fuck up the FOCUS?

    Oh, phew, no. No, I didn't. Back on track, people. The cornfield is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.