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The Ingenue Character - TV Show Review: Dexter vs. Boardwalk Empire Head-to-Head Comparison
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posted on Nov 2, 2011 at 5:26PM

TV Show Review: Dexter vs. Boardwalk Empire Head-to-Head Comparison

The Ingenue Character

By Jeremy Whitley
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H2H ROUND-3: The Ingenue Character

H2H USER SCORE
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The ingénue is a long running tradition in the world of Hollywood storytelling: the young female character who the men can’t help but fall in love with and the women can’t help but emulate. Audrey Hepburn made her entire career off of being that girl. The thing is, just like these two shows have unusual heroes, they also have rather unusual ingénues. While both of them function as the second main character for their series, even a second protagonist, they’re not the girl next door by any stretch.

 

BOARDWALK EMPIRE: Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald) 

Kelly Macdonald as Margaret Schroeder in HBOs Boardwalk Empire
(Credit: unrealityshout.com)

By definition, the ingénue is the young single girl who strikes out for herself and usually falls in love with our handsome hero. Well, Margaret Schroeder was undoubtedly that girl once. She shows all the spark and wit of the traditional ingénue, trading witty banter with our hero from the beginning. However, just as Nucky is not that handsome hero, Margaret is no longer that independent girl.

 

When we first meet Margaret, she’s a shy, reserved, and pregnant mother of two who has joined the Temperance League. Not only that, but we quickly discover that she’s married to an absolute scumbag. Her husband is out drinking and committing all sorts of debauchery at all hours of the night while she is trying to manage two kids on her own. As it turns out, that’s only the start of it. Soon, her husband beats her to the point of killing their unborn child.

 

Well, Margaret has the luck or possibly misfortune of meeting Nucky Thompson, who has taken a liking to her and is less than pleased to find out how she is treated. He does his best to make it up to her in the form of paying her bills and disposing of her good for nothing husband. While she does her best to imagine Nucky is blameless in her husband’s death, Margaret soon finds herself in the position of having to choose between being a working single mother of two in the 20’s or being a gun moll for a man who she knows is a criminal. During the first season, Margaret becomes the moral compass of the show, trying to figure out whether the man she loves is good or bad in a town where no one is clean. We see her finding her place at Nucky’s side as the first season closes out, but how deep will Margaret go and how deep will her conscience let her sink?

 

DEXTER: Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter)

Jennifer Carpenter as Debra Morgan in Showtimes hit cable tv show dexter, reviewed here in head-to-head review against hbo's boardwalk empire
(Credit: tumblr.com)

Debra is Dexter’s sister, but in the moral maze that is this show, she is so much more. As she relates to the ingénue character, Debra is indeed a young girl with spunk, wit, and ambition. She is a police officer who wants nothing more than to be the sort of detective that will make her father proud of her. However, Debra is also a hard drinking, violent, unstable, and foul-mouthed tomboy. While Dexter is responsible for most of the violence on the show, Debra could easily make the show “M” rated strictly for the number of f-bombs she drops. Her foul mouth is so rough, she even occasionally offends her male and female commanding officers.

 

Debra is, however, one of the best detectives in homicide. She employs a type of organic investigative work that would make Batman throw a fit, but would earn a big thumbs up from Columbo or Matlock. Though she often finds herself working the opposite side of the case from her brother, you never find yourself cheering against Debra. She’s impetuous, she’s never off the clock, and she almost never thinks out what she’s going to do next.

 

Perhaps the most important role Deb fulfills in the show is connecting Dexter to the real world. Dexter spends so much of his time tracking and revenging that he becomes machine like. While you’re not entirely sure that Dexter is capable of really loving people, it makes him angry when people mess with Deb. Deb holds memories of his childhood, of his father, and above all, Deb believes that Dexter is a good person. As often as not, it seems that Deb’s belief in Dexter is what keeps him sliding into the darkness and embracing the monster we know he has inside.

 

WINNER: While Debra is easily the more likable character, Kelly Macdonald holds an advantage in just being an amazing actress. At the end of the day, the writing of Dexter and the execution of Macdonald make this one a draw.
 


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The Ingenue Character - TV Show Review: Dexter vs. Boardwalk Empire Head-to-Head Comparison
BETA
HEAD-2-HEAD REVIEWS
Top Reviews>>
posted on Nov 2, 2011 at 5:26PM

TV Show Review: Dexter vs. Boardwalk Empire Head-to-Head Comparison

The Ingenue Character

By Jeremy Whitley
 

H2H ROUND-3: The Ingenue Character

H2H USER SCORE
View Official Scorecard

The ingénue is a long running tradition in the world of Hollywood storytelling: the young female character who the men can’t help but fall in love with and the women can’t help but emulate. Audrey Hepburn made her entire career off of being that girl. The thing is, just like these two shows have unusual heroes, they also have rather unusual ingénues. While both of them function as the second main character for their series, even a second protagonist, they’re not the girl next door by any stretch.

 

BOARDWALK EMPIRE: Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald) 

Kelly Macdonald as Margaret Schroeder in HBOs Boardwalk Empire
(Credit: unrealityshout.com)

By definition, the ingénue is the young single girl who strikes out for herself and usually falls in love with our handsome hero. Well, Margaret Schroeder was undoubtedly that girl once. She shows all the spark and wit of the traditional ingénue, trading witty banter with our hero from the beginning. However, just as Nucky is not that handsome hero, Margaret is no longer that independent girl.

 

When we first meet Margaret, she’s a shy, reserved, and pregnant mother of two who has joined the Temperance League. Not only that, but we quickly discover that she’s married to an absolute scumbag. Her husband is out drinking and committing all sorts of debauchery at all hours of the night while she is trying to manage two kids on her own. As it turns out, that’s only the start of it. Soon, her husband beats her to the point of killing their unborn child.

 

Well, Margaret has the luck or possibly misfortune of meeting Nucky Thompson, who has taken a liking to her and is less than pleased to find out how she is treated. He does his best to make it up to her in the form of paying her bills and disposing of her good for nothing husband. While she does her best to imagine Nucky is blameless in her husband’s death, Margaret soon finds herself in the position of having to choose between being a working single mother of two in the 20’s or being a gun moll for a man who she knows is a criminal. During the first season, Margaret becomes the moral compass of the show, trying to figure out whether the man she loves is good or bad in a town where no one is clean. We see her finding her place at Nucky’s side as the first season closes out, but how deep will Margaret go and how deep will her conscience let her sink?

 

DEXTER: Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter)

Jennifer Carpenter as Debra Morgan in Showtimes hit cable tv show dexter, reviewed here in head-to-head review against hbo's boardwalk empire
(Credit: tumblr.com)

Debra is Dexter’s sister, but in the moral maze that is this show, she is so much more. As she relates to the ingénue character, Debra is indeed a young girl with spunk, wit, and ambition. She is a police officer who wants nothing more than to be the sort of detective that will make her father proud of her. However, Debra is also a hard drinking, violent, unstable, and foul-mouthed tomboy. While Dexter is responsible for most of the violence on the show, Debra could easily make the show “M” rated strictly for the number of f-bombs she drops. Her foul mouth is so rough, she even occasionally offends her male and female commanding officers.

 

Debra is, however, one of the best detectives in homicide. She employs a type of organic investigative work that would make Batman throw a fit, but would earn a big thumbs up from Columbo or Matlock. Though she often finds herself working the opposite side of the case from her brother, you never find yourself cheering against Debra. She’s impetuous, she’s never off the clock, and she almost never thinks out what she’s going to do next.

 

Perhaps the most important role Deb fulfills in the show is connecting Dexter to the real world. Dexter spends so much of his time tracking and revenging that he becomes machine like. While you’re not entirely sure that Dexter is capable of really loving people, it makes him angry when people mess with Deb. Deb holds memories of his childhood, of his father, and above all, Deb believes that Dexter is a good person. As often as not, it seems that Deb’s belief in Dexter is what keeps him sliding into the darkness and embracing the monster we know he has inside.

 

WINNER: While Debra is easily the more likable character, Kelly Macdonald holds an advantage in just being an amazing actress. At the end of the day, the writing of Dexter and the execution of Macdonald make this one a draw.
 


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6 Comments So Far …

  1. Joey Boots Joey Boots says:
    Boardwalk Empire is the best show on tv in the last 20 years! I like Dexter, but it's kind of common. It's good, but B.E. is really unique. Steve Buscemi is also the best actor on tv!

  2. RitaS RitaS says:
    Thank god for dvr's... these two shows are the best on tv...great rivalry!

  3. PhotoCrater PhotoCrater says:
    Buscemi crushes it - but I think Dexter's a better show.

  4. Life In Melody Life In Melody says:
    Boardwalk Empire is by far my favorite show, with Dexter running a close second. However, I find Debra Morgan to be a more engaging, interesting, relatable female lead than Margaret. Especially in Season 2 of BE, where I felt Margaret's character was significantly weaker than in the first season.

  5. Ruyman Ruyman says:
    Great, great episode of a tferiric show definitely the best currently-airing show on television. Looking forward to another A+ season of Boardwalk Empire. I also missed the significance of the title of the episode, "21." Unless it has to do with prohibition/drinking age? But I don't believe there *was* a legal drinking age in most states before prohibition. Anyway I agree, I only wish this episode could have been extended, because I wasn't ready for it to end when it did.

  6. H.Dumansky H.Dumansky says:
    Hahah, My laptop crashed when I was browsing www.head-2-head.com last time I was here. And for the past 2 months I have been looking for this weblog, so thankful I located it once again! :D best regards!

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