I think most of you know by now that I’m a great big geek girl, and proud of it. I love me some Trek, I can quote Stargate:SG-1 episodes from memory, I can name all the Doctors in order, and I’m all about Buffy slaying vampires. When my television is on, it’s roughly a fifty-fifty chance that there will be something to do with sci-fi or fantasy playing.
One of my current favorite shows is Eureka (SyFy Fridays 9/8C). In it, former US Marshall Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) is the one relatively average guy dealing with an entire town of super geniuses with high government clearance. Acting as their sherrif, Carter must untangle the latest messes caused by scientists using their knowledge for unfortunate ends, experiments run amok, and a host of gloriously quirky characters to get to the bottom of the latest mystery.
But I’m not here to talk about Carter, no matter how much I love and adore him (and I absolutely do). No, I’m here to talk about the unsung hero of Eureka: Vincent.
Vince (in the center of the picture) runs Cafe Diem, where whatever you want to eat is on the menu – or would be if Vince used menus – and the food is always free. Vince prides himself on the fact that he cannot be gastronomically stumped. Oh, and the entire town is fueled on Vinspresso.
In some ways, Vince fits way too many of the stereotypes of fat characters on television. He’s a funny guy, he never gets the girl (or the guy…we really don’t have that much evidence which way the door swings, or whether it’s only one), he’s mostly connected with food…yeah, all that is there. But I never looked at him and seethed. His humor is wry, Cafe Diem is a place that matters deeply to the town, and Vince is always treated as a valued member of the community. There has never been a single joke about Vince being fat, either. He’s simply a person fulfilling a needed role in the town. He’s appreciated for what he does, and when he’s the butt of a joke it’s because of something silly he’s doing. In Eureka, everyone gets ribbed for their behavior now and again. They do silly – or inexplicable – things on a regular basis. Fat, however, is something that just is. For the most part, nobody seems to care a great deal about it.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that actor Chris Gautier brings so much warmth, intelligence, and bitchy charm to the role. With Cafe Diem the center of town gossip and Vince purveying as much of that as he does of his famous Vinspresso, it’s vital that he be both willing and able to tell people where the bodies are buried as well as a welcoming, trustworthy figure. Gautier manages the balancing act with grace.
I love Eureka. It’s a place of wonder and acceptance of the bizarre. I love Vincent. He’s someone I would honestly want to be friends with if we met. Most of all, I love that he’s simply allowed to be who he is, what he is, and how he is in this wonderful little imaginary town.