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.