Thursday, November 05, 2015

I Adore Shantel VanSanten's Patty Spivot; She Makes 'The Flash' Much More Delightful

The Flash isn’t free of dumb moments, but it’s nevertheless the most awesome show on TV right now.  It’s a lot of fun and massively endearing.  And if the recent episodes of season two are any indication, it’s only going to get even better.

One of my most favorite things this season two, if not my most favorite, is the addition of Shantel VanSanten as Patty Spivot.  Prior this, I’ve never heard of both the actress and the comic book character before (I don’t follow the current, new 52 The Flash comics – it isn’t nearly half as good as the show.  Moreover, I grew up on Wally West as Flash, so I’m not much familiar with most of Barry Allen’s supporting cast), but I find The Flash’s version of Patty Spivot immediately likable right at her very first scene (episode 2) – and, now, three episodes later, I have grown to adore her.

Patty is basically The Flash’s answer to Arrow’s Felicity Smoak.  The parallels are there.  Both are based on some obscure comic book characters; transmuted into the small screen as well-written, extremely lovable characters – smart, attractive, full of charming personality, and wonderfully geeky.  Now, Patty stands as a terrific character by her own.  But what makes her very appealing is – like Felicity – she has this effortless romantic chemistry with Barry.

When Felicity visited Central City during season one’s fourth episode, she and Barry displayed this charming, nerdy rapport with each other.  They make an infinitely more interesting couple than Barry and Iris.  This was very apparent to fans.  Iris had improved much as a character in the latter episodes of the first season, but there’s just no spark between her and Barry – it’s impossible to root for them to be together.

But now that we have Patty, we can finally see the Barry-Felicity pairing that we’ve always wanted but won’t ever get to have now, since, you know, OlliCity happened.  

One of the things I love about The Flash’s rendition of Barry Allen during the pilot was his Peter Parker-esque nerdiness and wise-cracking.  But with each passing episode – though Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen remains nerdy, terrific, and lovable – the Peter Parker-esque element seems to have faded.  Can’t remember him making notable wise-cracks anymore (“Lightning gave me abs?”) – most of the humorous quips are being made by Cisco for some time now.  And his nerdiness has been minimally explored – again, most of the nerdy enthusiasm has been supplied by Cisco.  Barry’s charming nerdy aspect only felt active again once he began interacting with Patty.  And I love it.  I love how they feed on each other’s nerdiness – their great interest on science, the witty conversations they exchange, the nerdy pop culture references they make.  The part where they referenced Monty Python and the Holy Grail (season two episode two) was simply fantastic.  I want more of this kind of stuff – much, much more – than the cheesy romantic angle on Barry and Iris.

So I hope the writers of The Flash would opt to the pairing that works – that is, Barry and Patty (“Batty”?  “Parry”?).  Sure, Barry Allen and Iris West married in the comics, but The Flash isn’t required to follow suit.  Heck, in Arrow, the writers didn’t push for Oliver and Laurel to be together – considering that is what’s comic book-accurate – but instead, they went with OlliCity.  Likewise, The Flash can make – should make – its own liberties with the love interest.  Besides, if I get it right, in the New 52 comics, Barry’s girlfriend is Patty anyway, and Iris isn’t in the picture at all.

Simply speaking, Patty Spivot makes The Flash much more delightful.  I hope that she’s going to be permanently staying around for further seasons; hopefully being Barry’s ultimate love interest.  And, I’ll say it now, if the writers actually fail to use this character properly, I will be mightily sore.

Gotta admit it.  Their "blind" date in Ep. 5 kinda made me swoon...

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