Portrait of a Writer #3: Ms Perky

April 20, 2011 § 6 Comments

From time to time I like to explore the portrayal of writers in fiction and film. Previously in this blog series, we’ve looked at Karen Eiffel of Stranger than Fiction and Richard Castle of the murder mystery TV series Castle. The character we are visiting today has a small role in a highschool movie …

WAIT don’t go. This is a teen movie that is not entirely putrid. I admit that there is a prom involved. (If we are to believe film culture, it seems like American highschool kids do nothing but attend proms). However it has nothing whatsoever to do with transforming the ugly duckling into the swan so that she is allowed to kiss Freddie Prinze Jnr. On the contrary, the plot is based on The Taming of the Shrew, and moreover it manages to be pretty consistently funny.

The film is 10 Things I Hate About You, and the character in question is played by the marvellous Alison Janney. Good huh? Her name is Ms. Perky and she is a Guidance Counselor (see what I did there? I spelled it the American way. Oh yes. Doing well).

Ms. Perky is not a very good Guidance Counselor (!) because she is very, very busy writing an erotic novel. Here is a clip of her first appearance.

How many writers do this? Work on the novel at the office, I mean, not… the rest. Necessarily. (Anybody want to own up to any of Ms. Perky’s more original characteristics?) I imagine most of us are a bit more surreptitious about it than Ms. Perky. It’d be fun to get away with tossing everyone out of the office so you can have more quality time with the novel.

And it would be so amusing to be able to get away with that degree of blunt talking. There are definitely times when I want to be able to say you are a fatuous moron without creating a miniature world war three.

Instead I just admire pink-clad, straight-talking, erotica-writing fake guidance counselors from a distance. If I can’t be Karen Eiffel when I grow up, maybe I’ll settle for turning into Ms. Perky.


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§ 6 Responses to Portrait of a Writer #3: Ms Perky

  • Everything is better with Allison Janney in it…and I have always found her to be a very attractive woman.

    • Charlotte says:

      Hi Scott. I do agree entirely – Janney just lights up any film she’s in. I loved her in Drop Dead Gorgeous as well. Wish she had more great film roles!

  • Ellie says:

    Oh my…I love that film! Every single bit about it. Ms Perky I always forget until she pops up on the screen and i end up howling with laughter!

    Absolutely genius!

    • Charlotte says:

      Too true! It’s one I tend to forget about for months at a time and then suddenly I rediscover it and fall in love with Ms. Perky all over again (plus, as you say, the whole film.. it is a classic).

  • DarcsFalcon says:

    I haven’t seen the film (and YouTube didn’t want to play nice either, on one of these clips) but I have to say, I laughed out loud when you said, “There are definitely times when I want to be able to say ‘you are a fatuous moron’ without creating a miniature world war three.

    I feel your pain, Charlotte, I do, lol. 😀

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