Where Are All the Childfree Protagonists?


Tatiana Maslany speaking at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con. She plays a clone, and a mom, on the BBC America show Orphan Black. Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore  (via Creative Commons) on Flickr.

I’ve been looking for movies and TV series with compelling adult characters who aren’t parents. And mostly, I’ve been drawing a blank.

Seems like when a screenwriter wants to amp up the tension, a “Don’t take my baby!” storyline often is the go-to option. Even on an unconventional show like Orphan Black–a science fiction drama involving clones–our main character, Sarah, is driven by her desire to have access to her small daughter, who has been in foster care.

I was pleased to see a childfree couple, the ruthless and brilliant Frank and Claire Underwood, on the Netflix series House of Cards. The fact that they don’t have kids fits them well: they’re a driven pair, angling for political power, and for them, kids would be a distraction. Even though this contributes to one of the big stereotypes about childfree people–that we’re selfish–it’s a brave choice for the writers to make.

On the wonderful, eerie French drama The Returned (also available on Netflix), one central character, Julie, has no kids and winds up caring for a mysterious little boy. I liked that dynamic, but Julie is more childless than childfree–there is the implication (a few episodes in) that she physically cannot have children, rather than that she’s chosen to live without them.

Characters I identify with are often parents: Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife, for example. Even dark protagonists like Walter White on Breaking Bad and Don Draper on Mad Men are dads, and fatherhood is a key motivator.

Can you think of movie or TV characters who have chosen not to have kids, or are portrayed as content without them?

Seen and Heard in Vegas


Image credit: Girls Guide to the World.

Elevators rushing up 34 floors

like killer whales about to breach

Britney Spears in red sequins on my room key card,

on the elevator doors–

When the doors open they split her body in two–

I step inside

Fountains dancing, whirling dervishes of water

Turning to spray, to air

or going splat

A twilight sky painted on the mall ceiling

the perfect shade of periwinkle

Nothing real but the unreality

Spring Cleaning All Year Round

Image credit: Huffington Post.

Why limit spring cleaning to spring? I like to have one cleaning/purging action per month. It’s entertaining and makes me feel like the energy in my life is circulating freely.

Here’s my recommended schedule, from March through February (a one-year cycle). What would you add or take away?

March: Revenue cleanse. Do your taxes now, instead of waiting for the April rush.

April: Closet cleanse. Choose a closet that you haven’t been through in a while. Take everything out, and wipe down the floor and shelves. Then put back only items that you’ve used over the last year. Everything else, toss or donate.

May: Magazine cleanse. Look through your accumulated magazines and get rid of any that are more than two months old. If there are older ones that you’re holding on to because of one good article, clip it and start an articles folder.

June: Book cleanse. Same as May, but with books. Donate any that have been sitting around for a year unread (unless they have huge sentimental value). You can always get another copy from the library or Amazon if you need one.

July: Media cleanse. Go through your CDs and DVDs, and sell any that you haven’t watched or listened to in a year or more. You can use the money to buy new music and movies!

August: Clothing cleanse. Go through your clothes, and toss or donate any that you haven’t worn in a year or that don’t fit any more. Also toss socks with holes and stained underwear.

September: Lung cleanse. Get outside for a walk or a hike.

October: Reconnect cleanse. Think of a friend or relative you’ve been missing. Send them a note about your life, asking questions about theirs. Bonus points if this is a paper card you send through the mail.

November: Facebook cleanse. Go through your Facebook contacts and delete anyone you don’t have an ongoing relationship with. Random people you met at a party a year ago, and haven’t talked to or thought about since, get ruthlessly deleted.

December: Break from cleansing. The holidays are intense enough. Don’t try to purge or clean anything this month (unless your bathroom really needs it!).

January: Spice cleanse. Right around New Year’s, go through your spice rack and check the expiration dates. Most spices don’t go bad, but they lose their potency over time. Toss anything that doesn’t have a good date.

February: Friend cleanse. Who are the people in your life who drain your good energy? Who are the ones who replenish it? Write down the people who increase your good feelings, and contact them to make a plan to get together.

What kinds of cleanses are you into, springtime or otherwise?