Jul 30th, 2012 | By | Category: Columns

This is one thing that makes me smile. Despite the war on women, we are still a culture that is fascinated with tough old ladies. If art imitates and influences life, then one only needs to look to our novels, theater, movies and television shows to find examples of good old fashion female bad-asses. These figures are presented as righteous heroines, sardonic troublemakers, femme fatales, the voice of reason and in some cases, our most fabulous villains.

So, SFC Battle Royale exists for the ultimate strong female character. The idea is very simple – over the next few columns, these ladies are going head-to-toe to determine who is the wittiest, strongest and most adept at giving a backhand of justice to the likes of Daniel Tosh. And the best part – you can follow their progress and predict the final four and winner by filling out the brackets below. Come on, you know you want to:

Unfortunately, there were just too many amazing contenders to choose from and for the sake of simplicity, I pre-selected a Top 8 of my personal favorites. These ladies come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but for consistency sake, only fictional characters from a television show or miniseries were selected. Each SFC Battle Royale contestant has been ranked by four major attributes: Glamour, Rebellion, Savvy and Treachery. Each has been assigned a weapon reflecting her own awesomeness. (Note: weapons will bare no influence over victory/defeat. These fights aren’t to-the-death! There’s no point in losing awesome allies.)

The Contenders:

Violet Crawley
The Countess
From Downton Abbey
Weapon: Swivel Chair
Glamour: 3 Rebellion: 2 Savvy: 4 Treachery: 2

Let’s be quite frank, the Countess of Grantham is just full of snark and snobbery. But Violet’s main attributes lie in the fact that she is magnificently portrayed by Maggie Smith. I’m quite certain that Maggie Smith no longer acts – she just exists. It doesn’t matter what show she’s on. Storylines are written around what she chooses to do. Let this be a lesson to anyone, don’t mess with Dame Maggie.

Lady Dedlock
The Costume Drama Underdog
From Bleak House
Weapon: Spiked Lady Gloves
Glamour: 4 Rebellion: 1 Savvy: 1 Treachery: 2

For those of you not familiar with the Charles Dickens novel, Bleak House, Lady Dedlock was the beautiful but frail lady of the house, with a scandalous past including a secret daughter and a stake in the Jaundice vs. Jaundice case. She spent a lot of time wandering around in the rain, looking all mysterious, but eventually reconciled with her daughter before dying out of a self-impose sense of disgrace. Now she’s back and she wants revenge…

Jessica Fletcher
The Lady Detective
From Murder She Wrote
Weapon: Pen
Glamour: 2 Rebellion: 2 Savvy: 4 Treachery: 1

Jessica Fletcher was everybody’s favorite crime-solving, bicycle riding, murder-mystery writer. She was on everybody’s guest list and it didn’t matter where she went. Somebody always dropped dead with a knife in their back and despite any police presence, it took her to put the pieces together. Suspicious, no?

Servilia of the Julii
The Roman Vixen
From Rome
Favorite Weapon: Ancient Curses
Glamour: 4 Rebellion: 1 Savvy: 2 Treachery: 4

Though mostly confined to the traditional role of ladies in Ancient Rome, Servilia was a master of manipulation. Once Julius Ceaser’s scorned lover, she played a key role in his assassination, sent her son Brutus to his eventual death, and seduced Atia’s daughter before attempting to have her poisoned. Not enough badassery for you? Go watch the scene where Servilia puts a curse on both Julius and Atia and let the chills crawl up your back.

Catherine Martell
The Lady of Darkness
From Twin Peaks
Weapon: Deception
Glamour: 2 Rebellion: 3 Savvy: 3 Treachery: 4

Catherine was an epic villainess from David Lynch’s dark little show, Twin Peaks. A true backstabber, she fought for control of the lumber mill with owner Josie Packard, was having an affair with hotel owner Ben Horne and then faked her own death only to return disguised as an Asian man and almost left Ben to wrongly take the fall for Laura Palmer’s murder.

Mona Robinson
The Sexual Libertine
From Who’s The Boss?
Weapon: Razor Sharp Bra Wire
Glamour: 3 Rebellion: 3 Savvy: 2 Treachery: 1

Do you remember Tony Danza? It’s okay – a lot of people don’t. Anyway, when it came to his show, there was clearly one boss: Mona. I think it says something when the only episode I can remember is the one where Mona stumbles into the high school and somehow ends up giving a biology class a sex ed lesson. That’s right boys, this is what a cougar looks like.

Livia Soprano
The Manic Depressive Mobster Mom
From The Sopranos
Weapon: Hired Assassins
Glamour: 1 Rebellion: 2 Savvy: 3 Treachery: 3

Don’t get me wrong – I love James Gandolfini, but have you seen the size of him? For Livia to survive giving birth to him qualifies her as superhuman. Not to mention, this is the lady who was pegged as a borderline personality, convinced her brother-in-law to call a hit on her own son and then evaded his wrath by faking a stroke. Well played, Livia. Well played.

Dorothy Zborbnak
The Pragmatic Sourpuss
From The Golden Girls
Weapon: Ball and Chain
Glamour: 1 Rebellion: 4 Savvy: 3 Treachery: 1

As top Golden Girl, Dorothy brought to the table that luscious huskiness and penetrating sarcasm that makes her an ideal contender. In a house full of eccentrics, Dorothy was certainly the most grounded out of her roommates, with a stark frankness that would make Daniel Tosh piss himself.


Think you know who will end up in the final four and be the ultimate winner of Strong Female Characters Battle Royale? Email your answers to

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