Face-off: One Name ‘Annie Walker’ = Two Characters…Ramble


USA has just renewed the spy series “Covert Affairs” (which first aired in 2010) for a fifth season. This is good news for me because I really, really like the show. I got to be in one of the planning meetings and USA is number one for a reason- they think of everything. Seriously. I  have never been so impressed with a planning deck before and I’ve worked at and with many cable channels.

Recently I saw the film “Bridesmaids” (2011), a comedy that shares the same exact main character’s name – ANNIE WALKER. That means it’s time for a FACE-OFF.

ACTRESS PORTRAYING ANNIE WALKER:

Piper Perabo is the star of ‘Covert Affairs’. Her acting career started professionally in 1997 in films, but her breakout role came in ‘Coyote Ugly’ in 2000. She usually plays a good girl, with a bit of an edge. One of the producers, Doug Liman, also has a film background, and in fact produced ‘The Bourne Identity’ and ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ so he knows a thing or two about great spy projects. Piper’s Annie is sweet enough to work her magic on turning assets, but when it comes to her thought process, sometimes her emotions get in the way and bad things happen.

Kristin Wiig became a household name for her work on Saturday Night Life from 2005-2012. I remember hearing a lot of buzz about her, and, when she first came on board I wasn’t even watching SNL on a regular basis anymore. For some reason her ‘Target Lady’ character really didn’t appeal to me. Then she played an annoying, jealous, conniving executive at E! in the movie ‘Knocked Up’, and then I too, became a member of Team Wiig, which only increased during promotion of ‘Bridesmaids’. Many of her interviews were done with co-star and close friend, Maya Ruldolph. They made the point that the film shouldn’t be categorized as a female comedy, because it’s just a comedy. This is exactly how I feel about my own manuscript, which is commercial fiction in my opinion, not women’s fiction.

WINNER: In terms of longevity, it, of course has to go to Piper, since she is going into season five and Ms. Wiig has said there won’t be a sequel to Bridesmaids.Though the roles are so different, both actresses have been nominated as ‘Annie Walker’ for Golden Globes so this would be a tie.

USE OF FORCE

‘Covert Affairs‘ is one of those rare basic cable channels where guns are used and characters actually die, both good and bad. There has been wounds and ‘good’ characters have been killed, as well as ‘bad ones.’ TV’s Annie Walker is a good shot. She gets the job done and she can also kick the crap out of someone. She was also shot in her sister’s kitchen and nearly died, which only adds to her character development and experience dealing with sticky situations.

‘Bridesmaids’ does involve a smack. It’s a smack given with love to Annie Walker, by a fellow bridesmaid, the sister of the groom, played by Melissa McCarthy. It looked like it hurt, but it did serve to give Annie Walker a reality wake-up call to stop wallowing and being a sad sack, and get her shit together. The cop who plays Annie’s love interest is a sweet and kind guy, but never has to pull his gun.

WINNER: TV. I’m a little shocked but it’s true.

EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE:

Piper‘s Annie Walker speaks a ton of foreign languages, part of why she was recruited early off of ‘The Farm’ where the CIA trains and placed in the field. She started the series lovelorn over a guy who turned out to be a fellow agent. She hasn’t really had too many qualms about turning an asset by becoming his lover, yeah, that didn’t turn out so good since he was killed and she almost died too.  When her sister found out she was a spy it destroyed their close relationship. Sadly, that was the end of her sister on the show, who was shipped off elsewhere. So you got: two dead former lovers, a whole bunch of kills, many flirtations, a hot but full of secrets affair with her handler Augie and killing off her identity of Annie Walker so she can go off the grid.

Kristin‘s Annie Walker is broke. She opened a bakery in a recession and when it went under, her boyfriend left her so she’s not exactly stable, happy or the best friend in the world. Once her BFF tells her she’s engaged, she goes on a downward shame spiral that includes her booty call boy toy telling her ‘you’re no longer my 4th favorite’, purposely hitting a fellow bridesmaid repeatedly in a heated tennis match, picking a cheap restaurant that gives the entire bridal party the runs (this scene totally could have been shorter, a sure sign of Judd Apatow’s involvement in the film), ditching the cop who is a sweet and decent man because he is basically a sweet and decent man and facing off with a popular teenage girl at her job in a jewelry store so she gets fired and has to move in with her mother.

WINNER: Does anyone really want to win in this category? Hands down it’s Kristin Wiig’s Annie Walker. She’s got more issues than a magazine hoarder.

LEADING MEN:

Covert’s Christopher Gorman has a twelve pack of abs. When he was on ‘Ugly Betty’ and he was shirtless, he became  ‘the talk of the town.’ He’s an undercover hottie with a body, but at the same time he plays a blind man. Never one to let that stop him, Gorman’s character Augie goes into the field, was a lady’s man before he and Annie finally hooked up this season. Smart, sexy and also a keeper of deep secrets that got both him and Annie into a ton of trouble this season.

Bridesmaids started out with Annie hooking up with her sex buddy, Jon Hamm. He is hot, a pig and won’t let Annie ever stay the night. Scoundrel! However, she meets Officer Nathan Rhodes, played by Irish comedic talent, Chris O’Dowd. He is an attractive fellow with a very nice accent.  Tall, caring and encouraging, this is a solid man a girl would be crazy to blow off, which Annie does and then realizes her self-involved mistake.

WINNER: Covert’s Chris Gorman. Annie Walker can take care of herself, but it’s the teamwork and trust with Augie that make Annie successful. He taught her well and together they are an unbeatable team.

Overall winner goes to USA’s Annie Walker on ‘Covert Affairs’, yet audiences win no matter which Annie they prefer.

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