I am obsessed with "Eureka". I was late to the party, but diligently watched three and a half seasons of episodes to catch up. There are so many rich, fun characters in the show- to me, that's what makes a great show. But the one character I am increasingly enjoying is Jo Lupo. She is a great role model, something increasingly seen in sci-fi's female characters. (WARNING: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOST RECENT EPISODES.)
Jo is such a complex character. She's a 'real' woman, not a stereotype. While she may have started as a single-note - gun-crazy, hard-ass, special forces - she's really developed over the four seasons. I am sure a lot of the credit for that goes to Erica Cerra.
What do I love about this character?
First, she is strong, both emotionally and physically. She was an Army Ranger and can kick serious butt. We've seen her take on several opponents and win (or at least hold her own). We've also seen her deal with pain, loss, and heartbreak without turning to a weepy pile of goo. There are so many female characters on tv and in movies that turn into the stereotype of the helpless woman when a man is involved.
And that brings me to her relationships. She has them (both romantic and platonic). She's had several boyfriends throughout the series, but isn't defined by her relationship to them. Her relationship with Taggert brought out a new side, with her sunbathing in the buff, something unexpected for a character seen as tight-laced up until then. I think that's when I really started noticing that she had more dimensions.
She and Carter are friends. Period. They lived together briefly after her house was destroyed and nothing happened. How cool is that? Because a lot of shows would use a set-up like that to force sexual tension. Having her be just friends with men is what real life is like. (Really, being alone with a man doesn't mean anything happens.) The ease of their friendship, their trust, their occasional arguments, those are what make it 'real'.
And then there's Zane. I admit, this is my current favorite story arc. We've seen Jo flirty, vulnerable, angry, pissed off, deliriously happy, devastated, and a whole range of other emotions with Zane. She hasn't changed herself for him (big feminist point in her favor there) and even gave him up when the paradigm shifted (I'm so glad he is trying to find out what they were). He's a good match for her since she's such a strong character. He challenges her and she brings out the best in him. He knows she can beat him to a pulp and finds it sexy rather than intimidating. She was briefly insecure about his intelligence until she realized she has a different kind of smarts.
And those smarts, let's talk about that. She is a very able investigator, especially in a town like Eureka. She may not know all the science, but she knows how to ask questions and put the pieces together. She's creative (note the season 4 episode "Liftoff" for an example; she gets around pretty well when the town loses all power). She wouldn't be a good deputy or head of GD security if she was just brawn; she has the brains to back up her position.
So, we have a woman who loves guns, knows how to fight, has relationships, can think for herself. And let's not forget beautiful, because sometimes the price to pay for a woman on tv having brains is to be mousy. Pretty well-rounded, in my book. I increasingly look at characters from a feminist stand-point; I think a lot of that has to do with feminist ideals in characters matching more with well-rounded characters. I think Jo Lupo wins on both counts. She's someone young girls can look up to and someone who would make a great friend. She can fall in love and talk about more than men.