Fictional Crushes and What They Say About Me

I spend a lot of time looking at the women of TV and they way various female characters have influenced and inspire me. But that’s not the only way TV can impact or reveal our beliefs and desires for ourselves. We can also learn about what we look for in a partner by the characters we develop fictional crushes on. We can start to recognize patterns (either physical or personality-based) and it can help us refine or better understand what it is we like. It’s a topic that satisfies my introspective nature as well as lets me focus on characters who I like because they make me happy.

My two current fictional crushes are Jack Hodgins from Bones and Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation. They have a lot in common, so I thought I would discuss them together and explain what makes me so drawn to them.

One of the traits that most defines both Hodgins and Ben is their passion and excitement for things. Nothing in this world, other than Angela and their son, will ever make Hodgins happier than a rare bug found at a crime scene or a new experiment he gets to try. His love for bugs runs so deep that only was he not grossed out by the fact that he was acting as a host for them after a bug laid eggs in his neck, but he was genuinely honored to have that privilege. It wasn’t a physically comfortable process but he recognized that it was necessary for the bugs and was happy and willing to be a part of it. He’s passionate about science and the work that they do about the Jeffersonian and it comes out in every scene he’s in.

Ben gets genuinely excited about numbers and solving problems with accounting. He’s also a huge, unapologetic nerd and he gets really excited about Batman, Game of Thrones, board games, Claymation and his Star Trek fanfiction. He embraces the things he loves and gets so much enjoyment out of them that you can’t help but love it.

Another defining, shared trait is that they are genuinely good guys who care deeply about the people around them. They would both do anything to help a friend and are very open with their friendship. Hodgins has taken many of the squinterns under his wing and helps them learn and succeed in the field. He always seems happy to be working with them and with Wendell in particular, their bond goes far beyond work.

Other than Leslie and Ann, the next most enduring friendship on Parks and Rec was between Ben and Chris and their friendship was nothing short of beautiful. For many years, all they had was each other and as they found Pawnee and new people to share their lives with, that bond was never diminished. Recently, Ben has also become the only person involved in the Parks and Rec department who genuinely likes Jerry’s company and considers him to be a friend and most importantly, isn’t afraid to admit it.

Finally, they are very much in love with their respective wives. They are in relationships full of mutual respect and admiration and are almost painfully cute in romantic moments. More than that, their relationships work because they just genuinely like the other person and spending time with them. Ben and Leslie’s saying “I love you and I like you” applies equally well for both them and Hodgins and Angela and that will always be my favorite type of relationship.

While it certainly doesn’t hurt that they are both played by attractive individuals (seriously, look at TJ Thyne’s beautiful eyes), that’s not what makes me love these two characters so much. I admire and am drawn to their passions, their love for their friends, and their relationships with their wives. Unsurprisingly, those are all traits shared by my actual fiance so I feel confident in saying that my real-life preferences strongly influence my on-screen preferences, at least as far as crushes go.

Who are some of your fictional crushes, past or present? What do you think they say about what you value in a romantic partner?



6 thoughts on “Fictional Crushes and What They Say About Me

  1. I am about to go off into the wilderness for the weekend, but I had to respond before I left! I love your choices, an I share them as well. I have always loved Hodgens for all reasons you mention (I definitely share his love of all things science). And while we are on ‘Bones’ I love Dr. Sweets as well, which was furthered after watching ‘Freaks and Geeks’. In my head I like to pretend that ‘Bones’ is a kind of ‘Freaks and Geeks’ spinoff.

    And of course Ben, aka the perfect man. And I already talked about how much I loved Larry Paul on ‘Ally McBeal’. He was probably the most flawed out of those I am going to mention, but I think that also made him feel the most real.

    Then there is my intense love of ‘Superman’, especially his Clark Kent side, which means I automatically have a crush on anyone who plays him. Dean Cain. Tom Welling. Henry Cavill. Even Tim Daly who was only superman in a voice capacity. I crush on the actors but its only because of this one character they have all played. Clark Kent is passionate, kind hearted, and selfless. And His devotion, admiration, and support of Lois Lane is one of the things I love the most about him. It’s easy to see why he fits with all the others mentioned.

    And I might as well throw Hook from ‘Once’ on my list. He deviates a little from the others because he kind of had that reformed bad guy thing going on, but Killian Jones shares all the same traits you and I already mentioned. Passion, patience, and incredible devotion to the woman he loves. What I love most about Hook is his ability to be tough and honest when he needs to be. I identify so strongly with Emma, and its amazing how many of Hook’s traits I can see in the people I have dated. Some see Hook’s persistence as “stalking”, I see it as necessary, because I needed that persistence before. Some see Hook’s challenging of Emma as rude and mean, but again, I see it as a perfect balance to Emma’s denial and stubbornness (again, I know from experience).

    I think it’s interesting that if you took away each one of these character’s female counterparts, I don’t know if they would be on my lists. Each of these men help elevate their female counterparts into being their best selves (one of ‘Once’s’ favorite themes) and vice versa. Who doesnt want a partner that complements them and brings out their best self? So when I see that shown on TV, I will crush every time.

    1. It’s so interesting that so much of our crushes are based on the ladies in their lives. I think it says good things about us and what we want in relationships. We want someone to bring out the best in us and to bring balance and a new perspective into our lives. That’s really the best trait we could ask for in a partner and I love that it’s a recurring theme in your fictional crushes.

  2. I love your connection to your crushes and could so visualize each of them even without anything more than casual knowledge of the shows they originate from. My television crushes fall into three categories — quick-witted, sarcastic with a deep sense of loyalty and noble, humble flawed men. And then the less proud one – deeply flawed but deeply crushable.

    Working backwards flawed and crushable – Mr. Big and Harvey Specter. Mr. Big on Sex and the City may have come around to goodness, but he was undeniably sexy and no matter how badly he dragged Carrie through the emotional mud I was always rooting for him. He was magnetic and like Carrie I didn’t care that he was self centered and deeply flawed. Harvey on Suits ranks as my current crush in this category for all those reasons but mostly because his closing scene this week was perfection.

    Over the years pound for pound, I love the sarcastic guy on any given show. Throw a dart at a show I watched and you would find one. Chandler was my favorite friend. However for all the bravado, posturing and jokes there was a quality that this type held that made me adore them. Loyalty. From Josh Charles Dan on Sports Night to David Addison on Moonlighting I am a sucker for the sarcastically loyal guy. And as I was reminded once again today watching a repeat of Castle’s Kill Shot, my current crush de’jour remains Rick Castle. Castle is a great many things, passionate, with a love of life and an insatiable curiosity the is fueled by an unending sense of what’s possible. It’s an intoxicating combination. But what makes him so unbelievably appealing to me is that in a life of surface living and cavalier attitude there are a select few people and things that he is deeply invested in and you know it the moment he is, he wears it on his sleeve from his daughter to Beckett. His loyalty and love isn’t given lightly and when he invests it that investment runs deep. It is why whenever he utters the word ‘always’ it is melt worthy. He is the perfect fantasy and for me possesses some of the best qualities of the men I have loved in my real life.

    There is no crush that I love more deeply than that of Coach Taylor in Friday Night Lights. Noble, humble, flawed, handsome, passionate, principled and inspiring. For as great as his character was in the realm of the school and community of young people he guided he was never more passionate than his commitment to his wife and family. He could be ego driven, he could be insensitive and he could be boarish but there wasn’t a moment in time during the series that you did not believe that while football may be his first love, Tammy Taylor was his true love. I adored how he always found ways to show it and tell her in all the little ways that felt emotionally honest and vulnerable in ways that men are not traditionally allowed to be vulnerable, especially in places like small southern towns where Friday Night Light’s takes place. Coach Taylor for me is the man I’ve been looking for all my life.

    1. Everything you wrote about Coach Taylor is perfect. He has so many great traits and was a great coach and mentor to so many kids but his relationship with his family was always my favorite part of him. He wasn’t a perfect husband but you could never doubt his love for Tami.

      I also love everything you said about Castle. He cherishes the people he loves dearly and it’s evident in both his actions and his words toward them. I’m a big fan of any time he and Beckett say “always” but I think one of the most touching moments of his came before Caskett got together. His whole speech about her being a “mystery he could never solve” was said with such care and respect and admiration and you could really see the emotional depths he keeps hidden around most others.

  3. I could listen to you talk about Ben all day, just so you know. 😉 And it gives me endless joy that you’re engaged to your own Ben Wyatt because you deserve that.

    I think about what my TV crushes say about me all the time. As a single girl in her mid-twenties who has kissed more than her fair share of frogs over the years, I often fall back on TV characters when people ask me what I’m looking for in a guy or in a relationship in general. I know that no one will ever be exactly like a TV character, but I’m happy there are certain examples for me to look at as general guidelines for good men because it gives me hope that they still exist somewhere out there.

    My all-time greatest TV crush is Chuck Bartowski. Chuck’s nerdiness is the heart and soul of his charm for me. There’s nothing cynical or apathetic about him. He loves with his whole heart—from his sister to his best friend to his wife. Part of what drew me to Chuck was Zachary Levi’s insanely expressive face because it’s a trait I share as well as I trait I find very attractive in guys. I’m over “mysterious” men. I love being able to see how much a guy cares about something just by looking at the way he smiles or the way his eyes widen when he’s talking about something that matters to him. Chuck was the king of open facial expressions, and that went hand-in-hand with his inherent sincerity. Chuck didn’t play games; if he cared about you he told you, and if he loved something he loved it openly and completely—from Star Wars to Sarah Walker. And Chuck was the kind of guy who would go to the end of the Earth for you if he loved you. He didn’t just talk the talk; he walked the walk when it came to protecting the people he loved. He knew that Sarah was more than capable of protecting herself, and he respected and loved her for that. But it was always beautiful to see that when Sarah needed someone to fight for her, she had a partner and later a husband who would do anything to make her feel safe and happy.

    So many of those traits are shared by my current TV crushes: Ben Wyatt from Parks and Rec and Charming and Hook from OUAT. All of these characters are defined by their ability to care deeply about things—from Ben’s nerdy pursuits to Charming’s dedication to his family to Hook’s unwavering devotion to the people he loves. Apathy is the most unattractive trait in the world to me, so I’m drawn to characters who are shown to love things deeply and not be afraid to say how much they love the things that matter to them. I always say that sincerity will get you a place in my heart faster than anything else, and all three of these characters won me over with moments of total sincerity: Ben telling Leslie that he loved the moments in his day when he got to spend time with “the town” (aka her); Charming telling Snow “What’s 28 years when you have eternal love?”; and Hook telling Emma that perhaps he would like to get to know who she really is.

    And that brings me to the final thing these men have in common (and it’s another thing they have in common with Chuck). They love strong women; they aren’t intimidated by the strength, stubbornness, or complexity inherent in the women they love. As someone who’s been told since childhood that she “intimidates” boys, there’s something so inspiring for me about male characters who acknowledge and appreciate things about the women they love that would push away a lot of other men. Leslie, Snow, and Emma are strong personalities, and Ben, Charming, and Hook never try to diminish their strength. In fact, they foster their strength. They form partnerships that help the women in their lives become even stronger, and that makes these men even stronger, too. They never give up on the people they love, and they make sure that the people they love know that.

    1. I love that you’re looking for the trait that most defines you in a guy. You feel and experience things so deeply that it’s only fitting that the guy you end up with would do the same.

      I also love that you recognize their love of strong women and the fact that they are never intimidated by them. It says such great things about you that you want someone who loves your strength and will encourage and support it rather than want you to hide it.

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