Just a warning: this has a lot of spoilers for the TV show Eureka. If you aren’t up to date on the episodes and don’t wanna be spoiled, don’t read.
I’ve been a faithful viewer of the TV show Eureka ever since it started. This series has a small core of major characters who haven’t budged since its beginning, and one of the most unique characters is Deputy Jo Lupo (later Security Chief Lupo). Sadly, she’s unique because she’s one of the few tough, strong female characters on TV who isn’t a raging bitch, and we don’t have enough of those.
A friend of mine recently noted something interesting about Jo Lupo: she is everything that Laurell K. Hamilton tries (and fails) to make Anita Blake. Well, except freakishly busty. She’s a physically tough, somewhat masculine Latina soldier-woman with enormous guns, who has leet killin’ skillz, is incredibly attractive while also having issues and vulnerabilities.
But everything that LKH does wrong with Anita… the Eureka writers did RIGHT with Jo.
One of the things that Anita prides herself on is that she is basically a man without a wang…. or at least she thinks she is. See, LKH believes that one of the worst things you can saw about someone is to call them a “girl,” even if they technically are one. As in, she actually wrote in a scene where someone jokingly called Anita “girlie,” and she responded seriously by calling him a “dago.” And we are meant to see these as equal insults.
So of course, since manly men are awesome and women are all useless and pathetic wannabes who WISH they were men, Anita assures us regularly that she’s not a GURL. She’s not into girl stuff except miniskirts, whorey makeup and crying. She’ll regularly endanger herself because men are stupid. She will never show the slightest sign of common sense or listen to advice, because advice to act sensibly means that the other person thinks you’re just a girl.
At the same time, all the big strong manly-men – like cops and ex-soldiers – marvel at how tough and manly Anita is, because she’s rude, refuses to use common sense, needlessly aggressive and obsessed with killing shit to prove her manliness.
And what about Jo? Well, yes, she is kind of a manly woman. She has a lot of traditionally manly interests (guns) and has worked both as a cop and a soldier, where she is respected by the men she fought alongside.
In fact, when actress Erica Cerra jokingly said that Jo would “come out” in the second season, there were a lot of fans who immediately squealed about how they KNEW Jo was a lesbian, because of course no straight woman would ever behave as she does… even though Season 1 had her involved with TWO guys. Okay, one was a robot and the other was a total freak, but still, they had wangs. It turned out that what Cerra actually meant was… come out as a secret girly-girl. Like ballet, bridal magazines and secret fantasies about being rescued by Zorro. No, not kidding.
But unlike in the Anitaverse, this is not depicted as a bad thing. Neither the characters nor the viewer are meant to see Jo as weaker or less worthy just because she secretly likes ballet, and it doesn’t mean she doesn’t REALLY have cliche “manly” attributes like loving guns. She loves both guns AND ballet, and remains one of the most competent, tough and capable people in Eureka.