Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on the geekilicious women who inspire us. Our crushes range from fictional female characters in our favorite genre shows, movies and books…to creators in geeky media. We celebrate you, oh women of geekdom!
DISCLAIMER: The following contains spoilers for Deadwood. If you missed the boat on this series, you are in for a brutal, foul-mouthed, deep-hearted, incredible wild west treat! Go to HBO and binge all 3 seasons now! The Deadwood movie premieres on HBO on May 31st!
Calamity Jane was a real person. We’re focusing on the fictional version, with a little bit of real person context. But, if you’d like to read up on the real Jane, you can do it here.
Martha Jane Canary a.k.a. Calamity Jane (played by Robin Weigert) was a hard-living, whisky-drinking, fast-shooting, Wild Bill-loving, foul-mouthed brawler frontierswoman. She could do anything the men could do. And, she did.
In HBO’s Deadwood, we meet Jane as she’s coming into the Black Hills with Wild Bill Hickok’s (Keith Carradine) wagon train. Bill is looking to settle down, and Jane goes where Bill goes. She finds an immediate enemy in Al Swearengen (Ian McShane), saves a little girl, and thanks to Doc Cochran (Brad Dourif) learns about her gift for patient care. After Bill’s death, Jane’s alcoholism takes more of a hold on her than ever. She exiles herself, drinks, helps nurse small pox patients, fights, curses, drinks, passes out, fights, drinks, mediates disputes, drinks, fights, curses and we love every f@#*ing minute of it.
The Real Deal:
Though she is flawed by her pain and alcoholism, Jane is the absolute truest, most honest and loyal characters in the world of Deadwood. The series takes all of the things that we know about the real Calamity Jane and makes them flesh and blood and so much heart. She is brave enough to care for small pox patients, fierce enough to walk into dangerous situations ready to fight and/or shoot, and hurt enough to crumble when the pain of her life can’t be dulled by a bottle. None of it stops her from being a loyal friend and champion of those who can’t defend themselves.
Why She Matters:
Jane is a flawed and complex female character in a historically based show. History doesn’t always lend itself to acknowledging the flaws, complexities or details of the women that lived through their time. Calamity Jane is the wild west and she has still been damaged and constrained by the time and the men in it. Deadwood and Robin Weigert spend their time portraying Jane as the multi-faceted human being that she likely was. That’s why she matters. She’s emotional, reactionary and volatile. She’s compassionate, nurturing and heart-sick. She is a drunk, a frontierswoman, a nurse, a friend, a victim, a hero, a problem and a solution. She is all of those things.
Calamity Jane in life, and in the show, bucked social norms and lived her life as herself to the best of her ability. So, be like Calamity Jane. Be true. Fight for what you believe in. And, tell everyone that gets in your way to f@#k off.