Discussing Beth as a character

Discussing Beth as a character

Postby allegrita » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:04 am

She was snatched out of bed by a vampire when she was four, and rescued by another vampire. She watched the creatures fighting brutally, watched as the house went up in flames, with her kidnapper inside. Returned to her family, she grew up feeling safe, watched over, protected... :chin: But as an adult, she kept having nightmares, snatches of memories from her childhood kidnapping. And she found herself drawn to a mysterious man who she kept running into, despite the fact that she had a very real boyfriend.

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Like all of the major characters in Moonlight, Beth has many layers, and her actions can be interpreted in different ways. I personally find Beth fascinating, and I've written quite a few stories about her, both as a child and as an adult. She's complex, difficult, impulsive, sometimes incredibly insensitive, often thoughtless, and just a teensy bit self-centered. :laugh: She is also brave, curious, compassionate, fiercely loyal, and determined.

Love her or hate her, she's one of the fundamental characters of our little show, and she deserves a discussion thread. :blahblah:
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby Fleur de Lisa » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:27 am

So in a nutshell, she's human.

And a woman. :snicker:

We are all complicated creatures and while I can understand where some people may not have liked her character, when it comes to her reactions re: Cora, I give her a HUUUUUGE break. Kidnapped by scary vampire lady. Years later falls in love with gorgeous vampire man who saved her, then finds out he was married to scary vamp lady who kidnapped her. Um, I think I'd have an issue with finding that particular -ex in my possibly/maybe/hopefully soon to be vampire boyfriend's home. And showering together, really?? With scary lady who kidnapped her as a child??? Okay, for a moment, let's forget the jealousy/showering/ex-wife issue. IT'S SCARY VAMPIRE LADY!!!!! That's enough reason to go a little nutso and stake a gal.

There is no amount of therapy to resolve all that.
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby r1015bill » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:32 am

I have an opinion but I'd like to wait until Kee copies his notes over here because my thoughts kind of build on his.
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby allegrita » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:52 am

Well, you KNOW I've got opinions. :rolling: :rolling: :rolling:
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby Kee » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:29 am

I did not watch this show when it was on the air. I only heard about it a few years after it was off when the nice ladies over at Hawaii Five-O fans kept talking about it. Finally I got curious and asked them about the history of the show and why it only was on for one season.

After getting a very detailed explanation about the show and how the writer's strike really hurt it, I decided to buy the entire series on Amazon to see for myself exactly what everyone liked about this show besides having Alex O'Loughlin in it.

It took me less than a week to watch all sixteen episodes and I ended up being a big fan of the show. After the last episode I was kind of upset because there weren't anymore. It was a great vampire show with a very interesting twist that allowed the vampires to be out and about during the day. Great concept.

While I watching the episodes I began to get more and more impatient with one particular character and by the end of the series I could not stand Beth. I still can't. I felt she over reacted too many times when she was with Mick and jumped to too many conclusions about him. For example the time that Coraline stayed overnight at Mick's place and when she got there and saw her she immediately assumed the worst and stomped off like a child. There were other examples of her assuming things and Mick would have to run and appease her. The part that I did not like the most is when she was furious with Mick because she didn't turn her boyfriend when he was shot and because he didn't he died. Mick tried to explain that he did not want the life that he had but Beth wanted to hear none of his excuses because she didn't get her way.

Hey, I may be wrong and people could probably explain to me why she acted like she did in those situations. And there also could be loyal Beth fans here that do not like what I wrote and will now consider me persona non grata but that's the chance I have to take because I am only talking about a character on a TV show and how I viewed her and nothing else.

Anyways, that's how I feel about Beth after watching this show. I liked everything about Moonlight except for this character.
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby r1015bill » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:18 am

Your points are well taken, Kee. I like Beth but she is a bit inconsistent. I have a theory on why this might be. (And please forgive me if someone else originally said this. I remember discussing it on some forum at some time but have no idea when or where.)

Paraphrasing Jessica Rabbit, "Beth's not bad, she's just written that way". In other words, the writers did that to her - like the wardrobe and hair people made Sophia look frumpy in the last episodes.

Why? For one reason, because Beth is human. From the vampire's general point of view, humans are flaky.

For another reason, I think the writers are trying to emphasize that Beth doesn't know what she's getting into. She really doesn't understand the vampire's world. This exchange from LLF gets at the heart of the matter.

BETH: Because it's such a curse, I know. You tell me all the time.
MICK: You don't know. Beth, how could you know?


All of her actions are done from a human point of view. Unfortunately in the effort to show Beth's naivete and "outsider-ness", the writers made her seem childish.

Kind of going back to the first reason, I also think the writers painted themselves into a bit of a corner. They needed someone who could bend in order to create drama. Since vampires are old, their characters are pretty set. They know who they are. (Yes, I know Coraline looked like she was changing but a woman who could pull as elaborate a ruse as Morgan surely could manipulate Mick into looking like she changed.) Beth, as the human, had to be pushed and pulled plotwise in order to create drama.

Finally, we have no idea what would have happened with more episodes. :sigh: Oh, to know what would have happened when Mick found out Dean Foster's death was because of Beth. I suspect that Beth would have grown and Talbot would have acted more like the flaky human.

Edited to be clearer.
Last edited by r1015bill on Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby Fleur de Lisa » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:30 am

I agree with you, Rhonda. Beth is human, she is smart but has no real concept of what it means to be a vampire. How could she? I think a lot of the time she was just ticked that Mick wouldn't let her in to his world or share stuff with her. I think that's where a lot of her childish, annoying comments come from. It's like: "you keep telling me it's a curse, but you hold me at arm's length and give me scant details of your world, so yeah---you're right, I don't know what it's like"

And yes, more seasons might have shown us a depth to Beth that some thought was lacking. Remember, we had a short season as it was and the last 4 eps, the writers were, IMO, scrambling to get more viewers to tune in so they could get that second season.

Ahead of it's time, and not given enough time doomed our little show. :sigh:
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby r1015bill » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:45 am

You are correct, Fleur. The circumstances under which the writers were writing with the strike, endless show runner changes and all the drama behind the scenes that Alex hinted at probably did very little to develop any of the characters in a consistent manner.

If we have obvious "Moonlight math", there's probably a lot more "errors" around the characters.
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby francis » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:39 am

I understand your point, Kee. I too get frustrated with Beth from time to time.

One reason for her behaviour might be that she is still very young and finding her feet in the world in general, in her demanding and competitive job in special and with vampires.
She is 26 and from her POV she must be very mature and adult about things, and she is competent and confident. But from my POV (I'm 43) 26 isn't really that much. She's just starting to realize what the world is looking like.

And let's not forget she had some major trauma as a child that she hasn't been dealing with at all until she met vampires again. I can see some regression to childlike behaviour being caused by this. She trusts Mick but is generally afraid of vamps, and her personality is to go head-long into danger to find out how far she can go, and then recede and expect others to get her out of the situation.

I guess a lot of what's going on with her is subconscious. She's reliving her traumatic experience and tries out Mick if he will help her again. And he does, every time.
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby Kee » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:01 pm

Thank you r1015bill and francis. Both of you gave me a lot to think about as to how you both see Beth since you both brought up things I never considered. I appreciate it.
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby cassysj » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:29 pm

Beth was a character that annoyed me for a lot of the reasons you mentioned Kee. How she reacted at Mick not turning Josh, to stake first and ask questions later when Mick (vampire) was there to protect her. She drove me crazy through most of the series.

I did watch the show from the beginning and time has softened my stance on Beth. I can look at her now as really really young and given the trauma it's amazing she turned out as well as she did. Even if you take the kidnapping at age four out of the mix and seeing your kidnapper burn to death (which you can't that is something that would be burned into your brain and soul) It was a tough year for Beth. She was just starting her career, found someone (Mick) who would bring all that childhood trauma back to the surface whether he wanted to or not. Then throw in the world is turned upside down because vampires exist, you almost cheat on your boyfriend then he dies. :Mickangel: Guilt, pain, remorse, trauma.

I actually like Beth now but it took me a while to get there.
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby Kee » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:56 pm

cassysj wrote:Beth was a character that annoyed me for a lot of the reasons you mentioned Kee. How she reacted at Mick not turning Josh, to stake first and ask questions later when Mick (vampire) was there to protect her. She drove me crazy through most of the series.


Really? Wow. And all this time I thought I was the only one who felt like this towards her. :)



cassysj wrote:I actually like Beth now but it took me a while to get there.


Give me a few more years and maybe I can say the same. :D
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby allegrita » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:12 pm

I started out kind of ambivalent toward Beth, but much less so than many of my friends. It's funny--people seemed to really hit both ends of the spectrum where she was concerned, either adoring her and thinking she was perfect, or really disliking her. I never felt that strongly about her, although I tended toward the "pro Beth" side of the spectrum from the beginning. But then something really interesting happened.

After the episode "Click" aired, a fellow Moonlight fan (not a member of this site) started a Facebook page for Mick. I had resisted the urge to get a Facebook page till then, but knowing "Mick" had a Facebook page, I just had to get one so I could see what he was up to. :laugh: Well, it became evident very soon that the person behind Mick's page was creating a really interesting sort of "fanfic" via Facebook--she was making stories, using Mick's Facebook statuses. So I decided to ask if I could play along. My friend asked me if I would like to create a Facebook page for Beth, and I said yes. That was the beginning of an amazing experience, in which I "lived" as Beth on Facebook for 18 months or so. Every morning, I woke her up and started her day, and every night I put her to sleep. Mick and Beth had amazing adventures together, some very tumultuous. Their relationship was tested many times. They almost broke up more than once. And eventually, Mick proposed, and they were married on the one-year anniversary of the airing of "Sonata." It was like living in the middle of a fanfic, a sort of parallel life that was both fun and exhausting.

My part in the Facebook experiment eventually ended because of creative differences between Mick's creator and myself. It was a very painful experience for me to leave Facebook Beth behind, because I had grown to love her so much--I really felt that I understood her after walking in her shoes, virtually speaking, for so long. I have no illusions that "my" Beth is the right one, or the only way to interpret her. But by "living" her, I grew to appreciate her, warts and all. Her impulsiveness, her generosity, her peculiar habit of stuffing her traumas into little boxes in her mind and trying to forget they exist, her tremendous bravery and her tendency to put her foot in her mouth, all add up to one of the most interesting, damaged, gallant characters it's ever been my pleasure to know. So it's from that perspective that I developed my personal analysis of Beth.

Beth, to me, is a classic case of PTSD, complicated by the fact that she suppressed the memory of her childhood trauma so successfully that she never processed it. And during the course of the 16 episodes, we watched her beginning to cope with the emotional baggage of her abduction, complicated by the hugely shocking discovery that there's a whole shadow-society of vampires living right alongside the ordinary humans in the world. Beth was drawn to Mick in a way that made no sense to her at first. And as her attraction to him grew, her relationship with Josh, already apparently in a bit of a stall ("sleepovers" after a year together??), began to deteriorate even more rapidly. But Josh was safe, handsome, kind, undemanding--everything she'd told herself she wanted in a guy. So she waffled. I think that's a pretty normal response, actually. The pull of excitement, danger, mystery, vs. the safe haven of love, solidity, comfort. Was she kind to Josh OR Mick while she did that little dance between them? Nope. But I think her actions were pretty understandable. And in the end, when Josh died, I think a great deal of her anger at Mick was actually anger and guilt and remorse at herself.

In the four final episodes of Moonlight, Beth's character was changed greatly--more than any other character (well, with the exception of the ones who were eliminated entirely, like Coraline and Carl Davis). I really think the massive shakeup in Moonlight's producing and writing staff that happened during the writers' strike had a lot to do with that, as did the increasing insistence from CBS that the show change its style. But since it is what we got, it's canon, and we're stuck with it. :snicker: I try to see Beth in those final four episodes in terms of a woman coming to grips with the loss of the "person" she thought she was, and trying to become something--someone--new. In a short space of time, she learned that becoming a vampire can leave you in a hideous limbo; she lost her steady boyfriend in a horrifyingly brutal way; she confronted her childhood demon and struck back, only to discover she'd almost killed someone who was human, not vampire; she saw the other man in her life go through massive emotional and physical changes, and had to process the fact that he sacrificed his dearest wish--to become human again--in order to save her; she lost her beloved editor and then voluntarily gave up the job she loved in order to protect Mick; she had to re-live her own childhood horror again, as a result of the Fordham kidnapping; she made that "deal with the Devil" with Josef and deliberately chose to have a threat "eliminated"... this stuff all took place within the space of a few weeks! :dizzy: So I tend to give her a break when she acts like an idiot. :laugh:

Beth's not perfect--she's not even close. That's one of the things I love about her--she's an amazingly full, rich character with many, often competing qualities, good and bad. That's the amazing thing about Moonlight. Somehow, in the space of just 16 episodes, despite huge problems that plagued the show from its inception, they created a big, complex, fascinating world, filled with multidimensional, complicated, interesting characters who defy simple characterization.
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby librarian_7 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:39 pm

So, while I was writing this, alle posted a very insightful analysis. She's coming at it from a slightly different direction, so I think my comments are still relevant.

Well, I think I qualify as sort of "Beth-neutral," being the Kostanista that I am. That said, one of Beth's roles as a character is to be the one the audience members relate to--she's the one human, mortal character who consistently appears, thrown in among this cast of vampires who are mysterious and deadly, despite their obvious attractiveness. We sympathize with Mick, turned against his will, and regretting his life as a vampire, but we--like Beth--can't really understand the decades of his vampiric experience. And for Coraline and Josef...it's centuries. The vampires are very complex characters, and we were only scratching the surface of that world in the 16 episodes we got. This is especially true, since there were some significant changes to the standard vampire mythos in play in the ML universe.

So we learn about ML vamps through Beth's experiences. Both her early exposure and trauma at the hands of Coraline, and her rescue and subsequent protection by Mick, have surely shaped her attitudes, even if she had no idea what the events she witnessed really signified. I think it did give her a subconscious trust of Mick, a willingness to rely on him for information, even if what he told her was at best incomplete, and sometimes just untrue. (There's not a club, Mick? Really?)

It may be important to remember, also, that Mick is, in effect, our narrator, and sometimes his narration is at odds with what we observe on the screen. So some of Beth's apparent inconsistencies and childishness may be colored by Mick's perceptions of her behavior.

On the other hand, as someone observed above, she's really still quite young. Now, I know that I considered myself quite adult in my 20s, but looking back decades later, I realize that was a skewed perception. Beth is probably the same way. She does have an independent streak, and a real tendency to blaze in where she probably shouldn't go. And why not? All her life, she's had a guardian angel looking over her shoulder. The fact that she didn't realize he was there, would only have reinforced her belief that her actions were sensible and safe. After all, everything always turned out well, right?

With the jealousy, well, she's a passionate young woman, and although she knew intellectually that she was not Mick's first love, he was also telling her that he hadn't been involved romantically with anyone in a very long time. I think it only natural that she would be jealous of Morgan, for apparently drawing Mick's romantic attention, and of course when it became clear that Morgan was Coraline...yeah. Don't blame her one bit for that staking. She was not only taking revenge for her childhood kidnapping, she was also fighting for Mick's affections. And because of what Mick had told her about his evil ex, the one who had caused him this immortal misery, who had made him a monster, she was unaware that Mick's feelings for Coraline remained ambivalent.

One reason that people are here, after all these years, still discussing and writing on this series, is that the characters we were given were marvelously complex. Josef, for example, first presented as a hedonistic playboy, was revealed to have other aspects...the tragic romantic, caring for his comatose love for decades. The leader and guardian of the vampire community, willing to be utterly ruthless to protect his people.

Next to the vampires, Beth is a relatively simple character. She hasn't had time to build the nuanced and layered facades that Mick, Coraline, and Josef have developed. And with her youth and human mutability, she does provide that contrast between transient mortality and the unchanging self-knowledge of the vampires.

Yes, in her persistance and her tenacity, Beth can be annoying. I think, as the representative of humanity, that's exactly what she's supposed to be.
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Re: Discussing Beth as a character

Postby Emerald » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:52 pm

Probably not a huge surprise, but I'm not a fan of Beth. Although not for the reason most people probably think. I don't care that she's 'in the way of my OTP' - as far as I'm concerned Josef/Mick exist in another universe all together. There's just something so...annoying about her. I don't trust her as far as I can throw her (which isn't very far), I don't like how she emotionally played Josh while they were still together, when she clearly had feelings for Mick, I don't like her butter wouldn't melt in my mouth appearance when you can sense she has the knives out for anyone who crosses her. Now some people see that as strength, me, personally, I saw her as a character I just couldn't warm to or trust. Complicated, yes, but far too many times I got the feeling that the complicated side of her was an excuse to get away with stuff most people would have been called on. At least with Coraline you knew what she was up front, you saw her coming, Beth seemed more the sort to wait until your back was turned before plunging the knife in.

I dislike her to the point that I find it hard to rewatch Moonlight episodes in full without just skipping ahead to avoid any scenes with Beth in it. Everytime she appears on screen I want to metaphorically punch her in her smug little face. It's like watching someone trample all over people's hearts and lives and then expect a pat on the back for it.
Last edited by Emerald on Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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