This post is part of a new Girls Like Giants series, “How to Be Awesome Like…” in which we break down the steps necessary to become more like some of our favorite heroines. Whether it involves getting a sweet army jacket, brushing up on our archery skills, or mastering the art of French cooking, there are many ways to follow in the footsteps of these rockin’ role models. Got someone you’d like to celebrate? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. -ST
In the last year or so, I have re-watched all of Murder, She Wrote (and re-watched some of the seasons more than once). Then I told my mom it was all on Netflix instant and she re-watched it all. Seriously, it is just that good. And Jessica Fletcher (aka Angela Lansbury) is just that awesome. Although, I have had MSW moments where I thought perhaps Jessica was the killer. I mean everywhere she goes, someone dies! That said, part of what makes her so awesome many years after MSW has ended is that all those who have tried to fill her shoes are all male/female sidekick and detective pairings – a pairing that inevitably creates a narrative of sexual tension and romantic desire (see Castle, The Mentalist, Bones, Body of Proof, etc.).
So if you want to be a little more like Jessica Fletcher, here are some tips on what you have to do.
1) Be a retired English teacher (or I guess you don’t have to be retired yet).
2) Live in a small town in Maine (but it could be Monterey, CA as that is where MSW was filmed). So really perhaps just any small coastal town.
3) Write mysteries in your spare time on your old-school typewriter but then learn how to use a computer when the technology becomes available. I guess today’s equivalent might be, write mysteries on your computer, but then transfer to your smart phone once you make enough money as a mystery writer that you can afford one.
4) Have a best friend with whom you have romantic tension. Sometimes they will help you solve mysteries. Also, it is useful if he or she is the town doctor and thereby also the town coroner (oh Dr. Seth Hazlitt, you are the best). The best friend/doctor combo makes solving mysteries so much easier, but also filled with fun quips, witty remarks, and crime-solving dinners.
5) Always snoop around suspicious scenes and find clues the police missed. For example, the button on a Hollywood set that links the costume designer to the murder.
6) Be the best detective ever. I think Jessica trumps many of the newer sidekick types, for example, Patrick Jane on The Mentalist or even Castle on Castle (don’t get me wrong, I love Castle. But still). Although, Castle most certainly owes his existence to Jessica Fletcher.
7) Be over 50. Okay, so that makes Jessica a little less than accessible for the under 50 crowd, which I am currently part of. But, her age is part of what is so cool about her. She is one of the few women I have ever seen on TV that is over 50 (maybe even 60), independent (both financially and otherwise), smart, fearless, and with romantic prospects.
8) Be played by Angela Lansbury. Okay, so this last category is perhaps a bit difficult. But Angela Lansbury is also very awesome.