Deb Kelly wants to know who’s watching REVENGE.

Are you an Emily Thorne or are you a Victoria Grayson?

Well, hopefully you’re neither. But if you’re hooked on Revenge, as I am now that Netflix is instant streaming the ABC nighttime soap’s first season, you know which of these diametrically opposed women you’ve found yourself aligning with. If you haven’t seen the show yet, here’s what you need to know: Two characters, both alike in dignity, in the fair Hamptons where we lay our scene. character from the show RevengeOne, Emily Thorne, is the white witch. She uses her fabulous wealth and ridiculous beauty and wily brain to put wrongs to right (sort of). The other is the dark witch, who put all those wrongs to wrong in the first place, and has just as much wealth, just as much beauty, and just as many wily braincells of her own.

Turns out I am a Victoria Grayson. Played by Madeline Stowe, a woman for whom the word bodacious was perhaps invented, Victoria Grayson is my absolute favorite villain of the moment (not including politicians, of course). She slinks about her Hamptons palace being viciously backhanded, slandering her friends and neighbors, and launching positively Machiavellian plots against anyone who dares to cross her. I adore her down to her ridiculously pointy heels.The villain of the show REVENGE

Maybe it is because she has been drawn with a decent backstory. Maybe it’s because she looks so good in her luncheon chair (why don’t I have a luncheon chair?). Maybe it’s just because I love my villains like I like my lawn decor: campy.

Or maybe, it’s because she’s so perfectly well-matched in her rival, the blonder, younger, less-sullied version of herself, Emily Thorne. For just as a villain must be worthy of her hero to make a story work, the opposite is absolutely true. A villain isn’t interesting unless she brings out the best in the hero and speaks to the worst in us. And the absolute best villains are drawn with just enough humanity to creep into our hearts and make us wonder… could this be us? In any universe could I be Victoria Grayson? (and if I were, would I get to keep the chair?) So that when the hero does take her down–and she will take her down, that we know for sure from the moment she first crosses the stage–we feel a pang of recognition for that little part of us that wishes we too could be just a teensy itsy bit wicked.

So far in my writing, I haven’t created any villains. I don’t know many villains in real life, and those I have met are too real to be good fun to write about. But one day, I am going to come up with someone as deliciously perfectly evil as Victoria Grayson. And when I do, I just might let her win.

18 Replies to “Deb Kelly wants to know who’s watching REVENGE.”

  1. I was delighted to see your post title! I’m watching and loving Revenge. The Hamps, the couture (wardrobe must be having a ball!), and the deliciously juicy conflicts. It’s a lot of fun. I find myself contemplating if in a different life I would enjoy being an Emily Thorne… The answer is yes most definitely. But I will watch my back for you, Deb Kelly and your luncheon chair.

        1. Of course you’re pro- Jack! I don’t know why I even asked. I like Daniel this early in the show but I can see that he’s heading down a dangerous road. And you know what, I kind of love Declan too. He’s just so wee and idealistic!

  2. You know what’s crazy (other than that you MUST catch up on all of Revenge?) is that until I read your post, I’d never thought of Emily Thorne as a villain! I think of her as the victim even though she creates havoc (no spoilers from me) and worse. Is she really the bad guy when she is, as the title suggests, out for revenge? I look her as the protagonist, the one who makes things happen, around whom the story revolves. Can a protagonist be a villain? I don’t know, but I really still love the Emily Thorne character.

    And if you’ve had no villains in your life, Kelly, dear, you are a lucky lady. xo

    1. She’s totally a villain, Amy! Or at least, she is mid-season one. I cannot imagine her being redeemed at this stage in the game but you know better than me. Either way, I am enjoying this show enormously. Sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered to turn off your brain and tune into the Hamptons.

  3. I have not seen Revenge and I’m not sure what a luncheon chair even is. So when you get your chair, Deb Kelly, I want to see pics with you in it. Also? I will always be very, very nice to you. : )

  4. LOL! Haven’t seen this one yet, but it looks like I may have to add it to my Netflix queue, if only to find out what the heck a luncheon chair is. *grin*

  5. I have never seen Revenge, but clearly I am missing out! And I like what you said about backstory being important in understanding (and secretly liking) a villain. Yesterday I talked about Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty, but I never rooted for or liked her because she didn’t really have a backstory. She was just scary and evil, end of story. But word on the street is that in the Angelina Jolie movie, Maleficent is actually King Stefan’s ex-girlfriend. Now *that’s* a soapy backstory I can enjoy ;-).

    How many seasons of Revenge are there? And should I add it to my queue right this second?

    1. Dana, they are just starting season two now. I’m always at least one year behind on tv shows. Usually more. Have you heard of this show called “The Sopranos”? Yeah, still haven’t finished it.

      You might want to save it though. There is a lot of tv time in your future…

  6. Great post, Kelly – we’re channeling one another this week, for sure. You’ll see that tomorrow, when my little piece of villainy pops up. I’m in total agreement, incidentally, that the best villains are the ones who speak to us in ways we’re not always entirely comfortable admitting. Turn a well-written villain inside-out and you’re going to find a hero (if only in his or her own mind).

    Numerically speaking, I’ve written more villains than heroes (normal, because I’m writing a series, so I keep the same hero book to book while at least some of the villains change). Until I hit on my ninja detective, I found the villains more interesting to write – they tend to be more layered, and more complex. What I discovered, to my surprise, is that I only felt that way because my heroes weren’t layered enough – it just took a couple of ninjas to make me realize it.

  7. I heart Revenge! What’s awesome about that show is that everyone is a grey — there are no clear cut heroes or villains. And you’re right, Kelly, Emily herself is pretty devious, so it’s really hard to define her as the traditional hero. She’s almost anti-hero.

    BTW, one of my other favorite, uber-delicious, oh-so-misunderstood TV villains: Damon Salvatore on the Vampire Diaries. YUM.

  8. I love the show! Started watching because I am a fan of Madeleine Stowe (The Last of the Mohicans), but I have to admit that even though I am not an Emily Thorne, she is who I root for. I think she is redeemable — maybe you haven’t gotten to the episode yet involving the white haired man and Nolan, but that is the episode where I think she shows herself to be not-a-villian.

    1. I haven’t seen that episode yet, Michelle. I am getting close though… and softening towards Emily by the episode so I bet you’re right!

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