Annies, Get Your Guns

The list of the Emmas of Pop Culture compiled by a couple of people who apparently don’t have a firm grasp of pseudonyms inspired me to focus on characters who share their names with my nom de plume.

Miss Anne Thropist might not be my real name, but there’s plenty of good Annes and Annies to pick from, which means that I don’t have to scrape the barrel by using soap operas and Spice Girls. And I get to do it without revealing my top-secret identity.

Thank fuck I didn’t decide to name myself Clarabella.

Ado Annie Carnes (Oklahoma)

Oklahoma is one of my favourite musicals, although I prefer the stage show to the film version which drags a little. Almost every song is a gem, and the characters are fantastic. Sure, Curly and Laurey are adorable, Aunt Eller is hilarious and Pore Jud is fearsome, but the real scene stealer is clearly Ado Annie. Quite frankly if her innuendo-laden flirtation-affirming song ‘I Cain’t Say No’ doesn’t make you smile, I’m pretty sure you’re broken.

Annie Edison (Community)

While Annie isn’t my favourite Community character (that’s clearly Abed, for everyone right?), she’s still very likeable. Although she’s the youngest member of the study group, she’s quite possibly the most emotionally mature and, as Jeff pointed out in the pilot episode, we need driven people like Annie. Otherwise the lights go out and the ice cream melts. She’s capable of guilting people into stuff simply by looking like a Disney character, is an integral part of my TV Jew Crew and turned out to be a badass at paintball.

Plus look at how pretty her face is.

“Anne” Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

When Buffy ran away to LA at the beginning of season three (after banishing her boyfriend to hell and getting kicked out of the house by her mother) she began living under her middle name Anne- possibly an intentional nod to the British sex shop chain Ann Summers, after all the show’s creator Joss Whedon is something of an Anglophile. Not only did Buffy make a very cute waitress, her experiences as Anne led to her reluctantly accepting her fate as the Slayer- which somehow involved her leading a worker’s revolution while clutching a hammer and sickle– and heading home to Sunnydale by the end of the episode.

She also gave her fake identity and life to Lily, a girl she’d saved from a vampire obsession  back when she was known as Chanterelle, who was now homeless and alone in LA. As Anne she went on to set up a shelter for homeless youths, and became a recurring character in the spin-off show Angel.

Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)

Although Anne of Green Gables isn’t my favourite of LM Montgomery’s books to feature this Anne by a long shot, it is where her story starts. Despite being orphaned at a young age she possessed an irrepressible joie de vivre, which was so infectious that it won around the siblings who adopted her- even though they’d wanted a boy and were planning on sending her back to the orphanage.

The entire series of books charts Anne’s eventual growth into a more measured, mature individual, the development of her relationships with friends and suitors, and the best and worst parts of being a parent. She comes across as an incredibly well-realised character, whose fiery temper is eventually modulated by a measure of happiness and stability.

Annie Tallarico (Treme)

Annie’s clearly one of the sweetest and kindest characters in Treme, and although times obviously weren’t exactly easy for anyone in post-Katrina New Orleans she also had to deal with an addict boyfriend and witnessing the sudden death of a close friend, not to mention the horrors of Cajun festivities. Things seem to be looking up for her, she’s found new love (even if most people who watch the show tend to recoil in horror at his face initially) and her music career looks set to take off.

Since she’s played by the classically trained child prodigy Lucia Micarelli it’s not exactly hard to believe, and the scenes of her playing (and singing!) definitely add to the rich mix of music that permeates the show.

Ann Perkins (Parks and Recreation)

At first Ann’s character seemed a bit bland- she was a nice, pretty nurse who seemed to mostly exist as a counterpoint to her idiot boyfriend Andy who fell into the pit (around which the major story arc of the first season revolved), and who continued to hang around the Parks and Recreation department far more than was necessary, or indeed logical. However, she seems to have developed in much the same way as Britta from Community, and become far wackier and imperfect. Her relationship, and subsequent break-up, with the ridiculously positive Chris allowed her to take on a sillier (and more likeable) role, rather than her constantly playing the straight (wo)man to everyone else’s capering.

I’ve also always enjoyed the fact that Leslie’s friendship with Ann has consistently been the most important relationship of the show. Even back when Ann could be a bit boring, it was nice to have a pleasant depiction of female friendship front and centre, given how rare a thing that is.

Annie (Thomas and Friends)

I’ll admit that I probably couldn’t differentiate Annie and Clarabel, Thomas the Tank Engine’s two coaches, in a lineup. But that just means that I love them equally and indiscriminately, not that I’ve not been paying attention. Besides, they’re a double act- Thomas’ two best friends who give him excellent advice (that he often ignores, leading him into trouble).

I’ve always loved Reverend W. Audry’s train characters, but perhaps I was especially drawn to Annie (and Clarabel) given the lack of female characters in the series. I wouldn’t brand it as sexist, though it is certainly a product of its time, but I do certainly support demands for more female train characters in charge of their own coaches. Obviously.

Annie Cartwright (Life on Mars)

While she might have, along with the other characters and the 1970s setting of the show, only existed in Sam Tyler’s addled mind, it’s hard to care given how simply adorable she was. Her generally cheerful demeanour, attempts to be seen as equal to her male colleagues and sympathy for Sam’s possible concussion/psychosis all made her seem as sweet as her winning smile would lead you to believe.

If you haven’t seen the American version of Life on Mars you simply must. Its badness is unintentionally hilarious, and Annie is played by Boardwalk Empire’s Gretchen Mol, which makes the awful dialogue marginally more palatable.

Annie Blackburn (Twin Peaks)

Vintage Heather Graham! Look at how young she is! Don’t you want to pinch her little cheeks?! That inclination is unlikely to be detracted from by her story of heartbreak, and her decision to go and live in a convent as a result. Her choice to leave that life, and work in her sister’s diner in Twin Peaks instead, led her to a tentative romance with the equally lovely Dale Cooper.

This Annie did also briefly feature in the prequel movie Fire Walk With Me, but that fact should in no way be taken as a reason to watch that atrocity.

Annie (‘Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy’)

Although you don’t necessarily glean all that much information about the titular Annie from this Kid Creole and the Coconuts song, it’s hard not to feel for her while she’s being told that she’s too ugly to be related to the narrator.

Also this song is awesome. You’re welcome.

So who are your favourite Ann(e) and Annie characters?

3 thoughts on “Annies, Get Your Guns

  1. I am SO glad someone mentioned they like Oklahoma (the stage show, not the movie). I watch this every time I get a little down/ill and feel like a mahoosive geek. And not the good kind of geek. The awkward kind.

    And, chuh, vintage Hugh Jackman as Curly. Yay.

    I want one from my name…I don’t think it’ll work though.

    • Anything involving musicals is automatically the good kind of geeky! I definitely think Oklahoma comes alive far more on stage, I only really pay attention to the songs in the film and the whole thing feels too long- although the stage version must be around the same length in reality.

      What about the best baristas of pop culture? That’s kind of doing it for your name!


    Check your facts. Life On Mars characters/setting didn’t exist in Sam’s mind, it was actually a kind of limbo world where dead police officers go before moving on to heaven (or its equivalent).

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