Photographer, free-lance writer, and long-time lover of a good coffee.
Agent Carter is one of the most beloved characters on television, and our Jenny Krohn is here to break down all of the reasons why.
There are many things to like about Agent Carter. The protagonist is a beautiful brunette with a British accent, fighting the good fight for women, science, and the triumph of good over evil. The fashions are absolutely gorgeous, and she has wonderful people alongside to help her in her pursuits, whether it be chasing a villain or finding a new place to stay. Not to mention the mix of real and comic-book science (did you know that the typewriter thing was a real communications device! I sure didn’t until Agent Carter).
For me though, the thing that truly makes this show, is the snark. She is deliciously sarcastic, especially when it comes to making jibes about Howard Stark’s character, but she’s not the only one who delivers amazing burns. For me, it’s the little throw-away lines which really give you a proper look into the characters who are giving them and the characters who the lines are about.
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I love absolutely everything she says about Howard. For instance, this wonderful exchange from Episode 3, Time and Tide:
Edwin Jarvis: Mr. Stark believed that the intruder had some advanced technological assistance.
Peggy Carter: Mr. Stark believes brushing your teeth requires advanced technological assistance.
We know she holds him in high regard from the fact that she is willing to hide Howard Stark and shield him (pun absolutely intended) from capture by the SSR, but the snide remarks show that she doesn’t see him as some sort of god-like genius or dreamboat playboy who needs to be reformed. Further evidence of the fact that she has no illusions about his character can be found in this snippet of conversation:
Edwin Jarvis: [Referring to Stark] He can be thoughtless. Inconsiderate. Vain. Childish. Unreliable. Arrogant.
Peggy Carter: You flatter him.
We actually don’t get a lot of time when the two are on screen together, so the entire relationship that they would have built during and after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger have to be shown through a few brief interactions. The comments made by Peggy and others about Howard and her relationship with him are essentially what give us a picture of the kind of relationship they have, but they also give the relationship depth.
Another wonderful example of snarkery in this TV series was Peggy’s friend Angie in Episode 6, A Sin to Err:
SSR agent: Did she tell you about her work?
Angie: Oh, the usual; complained about her fathead male co-workers a lot.
In this episode, Angie had just found out that Peggy didn’t work as a telephone operator, but she took it in her stride, acted her way out of the situation beautifully and threw a proverbial punch in for her friend, all without missing a beat. This late interaction firmly cements Angie as a steadfast, loyal friend who won’t take any crap.
One of the first rules of writing is “Show; don’t tell” and this show absolutely nails that aspect of it. We aren’t given grand flashbacks to how Peggy and Howard developed their relationship, but we are shown a great deal about how she sees him. She frequently defends his loyalty, but all we really know is that she worked closely with him during the War. It’s her willingness to make these sharp comebacks about him which show us that she is comfortable talking about him and knows him well enough to say these things while still trying to clear his name.
Such complex relationships are depicted so well and in such a short space of time, with so little interaction between some of the key characters, that the writing is clearly of an incredibly high standard, and I can’t wait to see more of it in season 2.
Jenny Krohn is a Contributor to ComiConverse: Follow her on Twitter: @NimthirielRinon