Sweet and Innocent: TV Shows Where Blondes Are Totally Wholesome

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Not too long ago, Cracked had a wonderful article about the clever ways that TV and movies use an actor's physical appearance to convey information to the audience. Even the smallest detail can convey a lot of information: a scar over the eye indicates someone is a villain -- but move that scar to the forehead, and the character is suddenly a hero.

Likewise, casting directors use other aspects of a person's physical appearance to convey information to the audience without having to utter a word of dialogue. One common way for a TV show to indicate that a female character is chaste, pure, innocent, and wholesome is to cast a blonde actress. Here are three examples of TV shows where blonde characters are routinely pictured as being paragons of virtue.

"The Borgias"

There are two very good reasons for Lucrezia Borgia to be blonde in the Showtime series "The Borgias." Firstly, because the historical Lucrezia was a blonde. Secondly, because when we are introduced to Lucrezia, she is an innocent teenager: virginal, sweet, and untouched by the darkness in the world around her. Her first marriage changes all of that, but Lucrezia basically stays pure at heart until the death of Paolo -- and then she gets mean.

It's also worth mentioning the character of Ursula Bonadeo. Granted, this young blonde goes astray a bit, but she then becomes the ultimate symbol of purity: a nun.


The main character of the sci-fi series "Sanctuary" is Helen Magnus, a preternaturally long-lived scientist. Modern-day Magnus has long dark hair, reflective of the long periods of darkness in her personal life. But when Helen is seen in flashbacks to the Victorian era, she has the hair she was born with: long, blonde, and curly. In the Victorian era, she was a happier, more innocent person. After learning her fiance is a murderer and becoming a killer herself, Helen's hair turns dark. Coincidence?

"Mad Men"

Blonde female characters are somewhat rare on "Mad Men," which makes the characters who are blonde all the more noticeable. The ultimate blonde character is Betty Draper. In the first season, Betty is almost childlike, despite already having two kids of her own. She is quite innocent to the point where she is oblivious to Don's "extracurricular" pursuits. Sally, too, is quite innocent, though she's starting to mature now. And Don's sometime girlfriend of Season 4, Bethany Van Nuys, was also a blonde with wholesome image. Perhaps it was that very appearance of innocence that made Don keep her at arm's length -- perhaps he didn't want to "defile" her.


No discussion of innocent blondes would be complete without mentioning Scarlett O'Connor. A lovely poet and songwriter with a heart of gold, Scarlett's two most outstanding qualities are her loyalty and her sensitivity. She sort of fell into performing, and as a result, her performances are exceptionally resonant. She has the kind of innocence that comes from simply loving music, and not chasing the fame and glory that so many other performers crave. Juliette Barnes is blonde, too, but she's nowhere near as innocent as Scarlett.

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