Criminal Minds’ Penelope Garcia: The Oracle of Quantico

Criminal Minds is a show I enjoy watching, but don’t consider myself fannish about, really. It’s a formulaic crime drama about a group who works for the FBI’s Behavior Analysis Unit (BAU), and they pretty much track and catch all sorts of nasty people – serial killers, serial arsonist, terrorists, etc. It’s more a story-driven show than a character-driven one, though they give us teeny bits of character so we do care about the people, as well as know they care for each other.

I do find myself becoming fannish about one of the characters, though. Penelope Garcia (played by the awesome Kirsten Vangsness) is the behind-the-scenes tech person who the field unit call when they need information traced, tracked or generally hunted after. She’s super geeky, incredibly good at her job, and what I think I love best about her is that she knows all of that and doesn’t act shy about it. She’s confident in her skills, her intelligence and, well, herself as a valuable asset to the BAU as well as being valuable as a whole person.

She also gets the best lines: “Your friendly neighborhood oracle of all information, knowable and unknowable, at your service!” or “Office of Unfettered Omniscience – how may I help you, O fortunate one?” or “Oracle of Quantico – speak if you deign to hear truth!” They’re all said for comedic effect, and yet you know at the same time that Garcia knows she rocks and means every word she says. Don’t think that she thinks she’s infallible – she’s screwed up before, at least once in a very big way. (She was playing a game on her own personal laptop, which allowed someone to hack into the FBI’s system. Whoooooops.)

I also have to admit I really enjoy watching her with one of her colleagues specifically. She and Derek Morgan (played by Shemar Moore) have a nice, flirty way of interacting so that it’s pretty clear it’ll never go anywhere romantically, and yet it wouldn’t be terribly upsetting if it did. Hey, sue me – I’d really like to see a curvy, geeky woman get the hottie as long as the show didn’t suddenly become all about that.

Yes. I love Penelope Garcia. I love that she’s smart. I love that she kicks ass and takes names at her job. I love that she’s curvy. I love that she’s pretty in a non-traditional (lithe, long and lean) Hollywood way. I love that she’s unabashedly geeky. I love pretty much everything about her.

But I’m guessing you figured that out.

Comments

  1. Ide Cyan says

    I don’t watch Criminal Minds often, but Garcia is cool, and I was pleased when she was added to the opening credits.

    Her calling herself the Oracle is interesting, since there’s a comic book character who goes by that name too, and has been a computer wizard helping other super-heroes to fight crime long before that TV show began: Barbara Gordon. But she also used to be known as Batgirl.

  2. SunlessNick says

    I was pleased when she was added to the opening credits.

    Hey, that’s something to look forward to.

    And yes, I also love Garcia.

  3. sbg says

    Her calling herself the Oracle is interesting, since there’s a comic book character who goes by that name too, and has been a computer wizard helping other super-heroes to fight crime long before that TV show began: Barbara Gordon. But she also used to be known as Batgirl.

    I’m pretty sure it’s an intentional reference. :)

  4. sbg says

    Garcia’s a pretty strong incentive for me. She’s just so cool.

    And like Ide Cyan, I was really happy to see her become a featured performer instead of just a recurring guest.

  5. MaggieCat says

    Aw, I love Garcia. It’s great how the show has made her pretty well defined character, even before she was added to the credits. (Note: there is a rumor I may have “Woo!”ed the first time I saw that, but I can neither confirm nor deny such speculation.) So far they’ve managed to avoid falling into too many of the clich├ęs for larger-sized female characters or geeks, which is nice. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for characters that are at peace with their geekiness.

    And it made total sense that while she’s in control of her tech based world she’s completely confident, but the first time she was pulled into the field that I recall (to FL for the serial killers set to be executed) she was freaked out but thankfully not to the point of making obvious mistakes that put the case in jeopardy. Fine line there.

    They could totally make this the Reid, Garcia, and Morgan show and I’d still watch. :-)

  6. sbg says

    And it made total sense that while she’s in control of her tech based world she’s completely confident, but the first time she was pulled into the field that I recall (to FL for the serial killers set to be executed) she was freaked out but thankfully not to the point of making obvious mistakes that put the case in jeopardy. Fine line there.

    Yes, that was actually very nicely done, wasn’t it?

    They could totally make this the Reid, Garcia, and Morgan show and I’d still watch.

    Totally. I always have a compulsion to feed and mother Reid (I’m surprised how much I like him – I tend to not enjoy super-smart genius types as portrayed on TV), would love to hang out and shop with Garcia and…Morgan, well, yeah. Uhm. I have a compulsion with him, too.

    :)

  7. shanghai chick says

    thanks to the long-lasting strike, i was totally out of new epi of my fav shows, so i started dig out something else old to catch up with. I found Criminal Minds I, since then I can’t help glueing to it. Two words: SUPER COOL!! Sorry I don’t quite agree with the word “formulaic” that writer just used. For my apart, CM is way more eyecatching even than CSI. about characters, gosh I love Garcia the best! geeky but sexy, i love to see how she flirt with Morgan, and her funny-and-smart language is really what I wanna learn after. I wish i could talk like her. Garciai rocks!

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