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Why do secret identities work

23 Nov 2015 20:33 - 24 Nov 2015 19:12 #45331 by shadar
Why do secret identities work was created by shadar
This picture is a nice illustration why secret identities work.

Start with two pictures of the same woman dressed two ways, split down the middle, and glued back together.

On one side, a slightly bookish, conservatively dressed brunette with glasses. Add in a demure, dorky personality and a insecure nature with overblown fears and anxieties, underlaid with a bit of shyness. Kind of helpless and prone to falling down and a general air of helplessness.

On the other side, a wildly colorful, exotic costume with a cape, bare legs, all that blonde hair, plus an assertive take-charge personality, courageous and extremely physical and demonstrative. Not to mention all those powers.

Here's Linda/Kara:



Here's the same model in costume:



And put together:

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Last edit: 24 Nov 2015 19:12 by shadar.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Random321, Monty

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24 Nov 2015 19:13 #45353 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Why do secret identities work
Tks, Fats, for getting attachments working again. Here are the picts I tried to attach earlier.

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24 Nov 2015 19:44 #45354 by TwiceOnThursdays
Replied by TwiceOnThursdays on topic Why do secret identities work
I'm pretty sure secret identities would work on me.

I watch Orphan Black and many times I can't believe that all the clones are Tatiana Maslany (though sometimes the bodies aren't all hers, which is true if you can't see their face). (I really like it when she's one of the clones pretending to be another one of the clones. A great acting challenge she pulls off making it look easy.)

Personality, behavior, and clothing over-ride my facial recognition, and do so regularly. Though I've never not recognized someone I know or anything. But I doubt any have honestly tried to do something like this.

There are times I look up an actor and go "no, that can't be that person". Though it's not 100% -- I'm generally good at recognizing that I know a face (bad with tying it to a NAME).

There were a few scenes in Supergirl this week (when right after she lifts and welds the building) when she totally didn't look anything like Kara Danvers to me. That's not 100%, but she's doing a good enough job that I could see people not quite getting it.

Though I've questioned a few times now if Cat Grant knows or not.

And not to spoil the latest iZombie, I twigged to the "hidden identity" in the last episode almost right away. I don't know if that means I pick up on other cues... I didn't recognize the person, I did recognize that another person was not who/what they purported to be quickly as they were in a disguise and then figured out who they had to be because of that. People who've seen it will have to tell me how good it was to other people.

So in some cases a full on disguise is deadly, as if the disguise slips for a second, people will try to puzzle out why someone is wearing a disguise. Why is Dinah wearing a WIG? But dressing/acting different plays into our normal "seeing what we expect to see". The only danger there is if you slip into the other personality in front of someone it might break the spell...

Though i maintain that Power Girl couldn't keep a secret Identity. Her body type is pretty singular/rare, and if she's around somewhere people would go "hey, wow these two women re tall/blond/stacked/have really muscular build... maybe...they're the same person". That would happen too many times and people would puzzle it out.

Just like if Superman were built like Joe Manganiello, it'd be a bit hard to hide Clark Kent. Joe Manganiello is muscular, and 6'5" (1.96m). (The werewolf from True Blood.) Being that built and being 6'5" is just too rare and even a mousy behavior would have a hard time hiding that extreme physical condition.

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24 Nov 2015 20:10 #45355 by castor
Replied by castor on topic Why do secret identities work
Well in fairness to this-i have met women with Power Girl like builds and will make the comment-it is suprisingly easy build to hide.

Wih out getting to graphic-big boobs + muscles can look like fat pretty easy with not to much work in terms of costuming-muscles in general are kind of easy to disguise, as well fat. In general yeah its not that hard to look...well homely plain etc if thats what you want.

I can certainly see someone who ilooks like superman pretending to be a slightly pudgy nerd fairly easily . Is it perfect-but well it doesn't have to be.

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24 Nov 2015 21:12 #45356 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Why do secret identities work

castor wrote: Well in fairness to this-i have met women with Power Girl like builds and will make the comment-it is suprisingly easy build to hide.

Wih out getting to graphic-big boobs + muscles can look like fat pretty easy with not to much work in terms of costuming-muscles in general are kind of easy to disguise, as well fat. In general yeah its not that hard to look...well homely plain etc if thats what you want.

I can certainly see someone who ilooks like superman pretending to be a slightly pudgy nerd fairly easily . Is it perfect-but well it doesn't have to be.


Until you bump into Clark Kent, and realize he's made out of sculpted steel. Same issue Kara had in the Pilot when she bumped into someone on the street, sending then reeling.

This is one of the challenges with Kara, at least in the comics, where she has relationships with men who don't know she's Kryptonian. She had a lot of boyfriends who were clueless about her other self. One would think that someone who knew her somewhat intimately would be struck by her phenomenal fitness.

That's assuming that Kryptonian muscles don't cause other problems. Without getting too graphic, its hard to imagine some guy having sex with her without discovering that she's a whole lot stronger than other women -- everywhere. Assuming the act was even possible in the first place.

But I suppose that line of thought is mostly reserved for "off-line consideration". The comics never addressed it for obvious reasons, nor do I expect Supergirl to. But... Smallville touched on it. When Lana briefly gained superpowers, she and Clark suddenly had a degree of freedom they hadn't known before and went off to celebrate. The earth tremors kind of celebration. I suppose given the many varieties of sex, they worked something out when she wasn't super.

I suppose there might be low-grade Kryptonite devices that could help.

When it came to Velorians, my workaround was the suppressing effect of gold on the pituitary gland, which controls metabolism, both normal and Orgonic. A designed-in feature to give the Galen an OFF switch. With the gold choker on, Orgone metabolism is suppressed, which leaves only human muscles and metabolism at work. Might not be the best gimmick, but a gimmick of some kind is needed.

I'm enough of a SF nerd that I can't accept "super self-control" or "magic" or any of that stuff. As anyone who has tried abstinence as a birth-control technique knows, self-control is way over-rated, especially for the young.


Shadar

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25 Nov 2015 03:42 #45360 by Random321
Replied by Random321 on topic Why do secret identities work
Great illustration Shadar. I agree with a persons ability to hide their physical and even mental assets from Q public. When it comes to closer friends and family I enjoy giving a suspension of disbelief to writers.

I have a few Facebook friends, men and women, where they have posted gym pictures and I've done the "wait what?" double take.

The double life people present between work and personal is a great example too, and a good reason why I do social stalking on possible new hires. Motivated people can be chameleons and it makes for fun stories even if some of them are a little worn/loved.

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25 Nov 2015 10:04 #45368 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Why do secret identities work
I think that the big issue isn't why secret identities work, but how they work. Even without going into CSI level (a.k.a. unrealisticaly competent) lab analysis and so on, there are issue that might come into play over time that people close to the character might notice. I'm not saying that being close to someone would make you automatically aware of certain details -- if anything it might even make you less aware -- but you're in amuch better position to notice that something is off. In general I think that a secret identity is more about shielding someone from the general public, than from close friends.

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25 Nov 2015 13:22 #45376 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Why do secret identities work

Woodclaw wrote: I think that the big issue isn't why secret identities work, but how they work. Even without going into CSI level (a.k.a. unrealisticaly competent) lab analysis and so on, there are issue that might come into play over time that people close to the character might notice. I'm not saying that being close to someone would make you automatically aware of certain details -- if anything it might even make you less aware -- but you're in amuch better position to notice that something is off. In general I think that a secret identity is more about shielding someone from the general public, than from close friends.


Both Woodclaw and Random make a good point about the public versus close acquaintances. The problem is that the secret identity concept (at least when it comes to the two Kryptonians) supposedly works over long periods of time with people they work with and socialize with every day -- in both identities. Either we accept that as a bit of comic book magic, or the two Krypts need to be extremely good actors. Physical appearance alone won't do it. And they can't associate with the same people in both identities.

Of course, the last would ruin the basic premise of the show.

But the bumbling fool of Clark Kent in the earlier Superman movies tries to address this. He's incompetent and a bumpkin and basically an idiot, afraid of everything. Someone everyone looks down on him (foremost Lois), assuming they notice him in the first place.

You'd need a consistent performance on the level of Charlize Theron's "Monster" character (as contrasted to her sexiest, most exotic character roles) to pull it off. Profoundly ugly, nasty and crude in one role, and over the top beautiful and sexy and intelligent and caring in the other role. With different gestures and mannerisms and speech.

Of course, that would not fit into the DC universe at all.

In the current show, the Kara/SG characters are WAY too similar to actually fool someone like Cat Grant. Police detectives, intel agents and, tellingly, hot-shot investigative reporters are very good at seeing behind the mask. It's what they do.

I would enjoy the Supergirl show a lot better if they were serious about doing the two identity thing properly. Instead they like to tease it at the fringes. This week's episode was the worst at that. About half way through I said "this is stupid". They aren't respecting the character and are relying on comic book magic. Not really surprising, but I'd hoped for more nuanced writing and direction.

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25 Nov 2015 14:46 - 25 Nov 2015 17:52 #45381 by castor
Replied by castor on topic Why do secret identities work

shadar wrote: [

I would enjoy the Supergirl show a lot better if they were serious about doing the two identity thing properly. Instead they like to tease it at the fringes. This week's episode was the worst at that. About half way through I said "this is stupid". They aren't respecting the character and are relying on comic book magic. Not really surprising, but I'd hoped for more nuanced writing and direction.


I personally like that honestly. There is something to Benoist performance that says "There is no way this should work...huh" thats really quite funny.

And yes, Yes the show is stupid. Gloriously so.
Last edit: 25 Nov 2015 17:52 by castor.

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25 Nov 2015 16:44 #45384 by jimbob
Replied by jimbob on topic Why do secret identities work
They're probably not trying that hard because almost the entire main cast already knew her identity from the first episode.

Cat is the only regular character that doesn't know.

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