Friday, 24 August 2012

Goth-spotting: Abby Sciuto, NCIS

I wonder if any of you, like me, love spotting 'token darklings' and darkly-inclined characters in films, books and other media? I don't know if it's because I find I can relate more to characters who obviously have something in common with me (even if it's just fashion) or because I can scan for style inspiration, or even in some cases because I like to either a) roll my eyes at a poor representation or b) giggle with glee at Gothy in-jokes or satirism of the subculture. Or all of the above, most possibly.

Either way, for your amusement (hopefully) and my own (most likely), allow me to rate, slate, present and dissect assorted spooky types from popular (and not-so-popular) entertainment. Beginning with a well-known perkygoth figurehead, played by Pauley Perette in the US TV show NCIS.

I first came across Perette's character, Abby Sciuto, when a friend of mine bought me an NCIS box set specifically so I could set my eyes on a Goth forensic scientist who thinks nothing of wearing black lipstick and a spiked collar with her lab coat. I was not the only one who adored kooky, quirky, fun-loving Abby - the character has reportedly made Perette the most popular actress on American TV.

Abby is a rather endearing mass of Goth stereotypes; she sleeps in a coffin, carries a parasol whenever outdoors and her lab is decorated with BEGoth dolls and toys. Often in 'Abby's lab' scenes, pounding Industrial or electronic music can be heard; much of this music is just on loop rather than being real songs, but the sharp-eared Goth will also spot Android Lust and Collide being played throughout the show. (Perette is apparently a Collide fan in real life and recently Tweeted a photo of herself wearing a tank top made by vocalist and frontwoman kaRIN.)

Abby is a tattoo enthusiast; some of the tattoos seen on screen are Perette's real tattoos, but some, such as the large spiderweb on her neck, are transfers which have to be applied each day for filming. Despite being an exceptionally good forensic scientist, Abby believes and has a strong interest in the supernatural.
Whilst being a relatively minor character in the show, Abby is undoubtedly one of the most popular and has had a larger role in several episodes, including being the victim of a kidnapping, flying out to Mexico to teach students, fending off a stalker and rescuing a dog believed to have killed a man. There are rumours that Abby might be killed off at the end of the current season, but hopefully no truth in them!

Perette describes Abby's character thusly, "“[NCIS creator] Don Bellisario told me that when he created Magnum, P.I. he wanted to introduce a Vietnam vet who defied the negative stereotype. So with Abby, he wanted to take an alternative-style person with tattoos and make her someone who is happy, totally put together and successful. All the script said about her was: black hair, caffeinated and smart… She's completely unaware that anybody thinks she looks weird. She thinks she looks pretty and never calls herself anything other than happy. And I fight for that."
Abby loses some Goth cred when the show's creators pointed out that her entire wardrobe is sourced from Hot Topic, and there are many, many Goth girls with straight bangs who are sick and tired of hearing that they 'look just like that girl off NCIS'.

Not every Goth is a fan of Abby (many find her TOO perky and not a little cheesy), but as NCIS is quite a well-known show she does provide a positive example of Gothdom for worried friends and parents.

Goth-ness: ****
Style: *** (I like Abby's look but would love to see some more vintage or thrifted pieces thrown in there by the stylists.)
Personality: ****
Humour: ****
Scene Cred: ***

P.S. This is a scheduled post, as I have day tickets to Reading Festival to see THE CURE. <3


Ria said...

I wouldn't worry too much, Gibbs won't let anything happen to her ;)

Laura Morrigan said...

I started watching the show because of her. I love the positive portrayal, which is rare. I agree, I would like to see more different styles of clothing. I sometimes find just tees and minis a little bit bland.

They usually treat her really well, but there was this one episode where she asked why they didn't have an animal mascot like other teams and he said she was their mascot, I cringed because that was like denigrating her down from the level of human to some sort of pet.

I don't really watch the show anymore, I think it's gone downhill, but I might watch a montage of all her scenes :P

Anonymous said...

I love everything about her, wouldnt watch the show if it wasnt for her,dont get me wrong its a good show be she rocks,

Shannon Rutherford said...

I'm one of those people who were told they looked like her :D and I swear I DON'T, not even close. Even our dressing style was different, but we both had black hair and black clothes, so we had to be the same thing :°D.

Dani DeathBiscuit said...

Too perky? Pssh. That's stereotypical of /others/ to say.

Are we meant to be mopey when mentioned in tv shows? Bleh.

Good post.

Anonymous said...

I am in college for a degree in Forensic Investigation and I ALWAYS get the Abby comment. "OMG You are just like Abby!" *rolls eyes* She's a forensic scientist silly fools.

Anonymous said...

Abby is really a lovely character, even though the writers made her appear more and more strange and weird, no longer in the adorable way... but nevertheless, thanks to Abby, my family learned to accept my style! :)

Traicetrak said...

I'm a fan of the show and the character. It is mostly industrial played in her lab, but I've also heard The Cure's "Lovecats" played before. (I believe it may have been the dog episode.) It's like a game for me now trying to figure out what band is playing. I was mostly clueless about most of the scene's music when I started watching the show, so it's fun now being able to identify stuff. I like her style quite a bit. If you notice, her work clothes are more Hot Topic, but when dressed up for nice events, she goes the more traditional Victorian lace route. I understand the stylist and Perette herself do some modifications on the clothing. That adds a little street cred, I guess. X^D Have you seen her car yet? Hilarious.

Insomniac's Attic said...

The spouse watches NCIS religiously, and I have to say that I like the Abby character a lot! It would be nice to expand her wardrobe a little though, as you suggested. With all the available stores to pick from in the U.S., you'd think they'd be able to find clothes from somewhere besides Hot Topic! ;o)

gothified said...

I always liked Abby because she's one of the few goth characters thats not just a collection of clich├ęs. I think the character made a lot of people look differently at goths.

BellaDonna said...

As an Abby fan, I love this post! I can definitely see the "too much Hot Topic" in her wardrobe, but then it's probably easier for the wardrobe people to find stuff that way. What I love most is that she really did study all that "science stuff" before becoming an actor, so she actually does know what she's talking about, which promotes the idea that goths ARE intelligent prople. I think that's my favorite thing about her character, besides the shoes, of course... ;-)

linnea-maria said...

I think that caracter brings lots of positiveness to goth culture even if she's just a caracter. Of course a goth can be happy and smart. And she wouldnt dress like that if she didn't like the style so of course she thinks she's pretty :).
Johan calls me Abby sometimes, not for looking like her but because I dress in black, wear a lab coat at work and talk like her sometimes.

KatSaw said...

Yo AMy =) Just thought I'd share this:

/shallow desires

Methos said...

I love goth characters in movies and tv, I've always love them, since I was a child and had no idea of a goth scene existed... Abby is amazing, I got to know her when android lust announced that stained was going to be played at one of the episodes

Goth Dating said...

I specially like her style and the natural way how she act. I didn't see the movie, I hope I have the change soon

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