2) Julia Hoffman
Yes, the strong capable woman who can handle Barnabas by driving him up the wall into urges of strangulation as he’s been so good at. Then again perhaps this need for a strong woman is there with Barnabas, as like in the prior case with Angelique Bouchard. Still, is this the woman of his longing and affection in the realms of passion or marriage? From what I’ve seen of Dark Shadows and studied, not bloody likely. And why? He’s too busy moaning and groaning over his lost Josette and trying to seek out a replacement copy of her. Julia Hoffman doesn’t fit the bill for him.
However, it is one of the most popular pairings in the Dark Shadows fandom as a whole, which I think is a secret reason many fans were beyond pricked with the 2012 film in ways I can’t begin to calculate. Unfortunately it looks that many writers will choose this pairing out of pity for Julia Hoffman and from the fact they see this popularity and want to appease their own fans regardless.
For me, Dr. Julia Hoffman is a BIG girl and can hold her own, especially if she found a man who was so interested in her she wouldn’t fuss with her best-friend, Barnabas Collins. To pity this woman and throw her into the arms of a man who only shows bare shreds of that kind of love for her at the tail end of the program puzzles me greatly. [Note: I’m saying puzzled, not made hysterical.] Many photographs conjured up for this longing rarely show Barnabas even smiling at her, much less getting his lips anywhere near her.
I have a rather grand ability to visualize things to the point where I sometimes would prefer I didn’t. I have made concerted efforts to visualize Barnabas and Julia together. It was very difficult to get anywhere close and after the tenth attempt I decided to give up. It was like pointing two magnets of the same polar direction at each other. He would lean in for her neck, or hug her, or kiss her forehead in friendship and that was the best I could do. The last time it came to me I was falling asleep and I saw her moving over him on a bed with a red velvet blanket. I thought, “Oh… am I finally going to see this?”
NOPE! As soon as she was about to reach the lips of Barnabas Collins he suddenly became Michael Keaton in full Batman regalia. It startled me so much I awoke with brilliant laughter at the scene.
With this pairing I often see a “Mommy knows best” attitude toward Barnabas, an authoritative take on how he should feel and what he should do. In my own life I’ve mainly seen the opposite in which someone is with a person who isn’t good for them. I haven’t been in the situation of wanting to force any relationship together, though. Still, there is also the idea of Julia Hoffman being an outcast or an underdog which also puzzles me. As well as the idea that she’s the only one for him from their friendship solely. One fan I asked explained it this way:
“I think Julia Hoffman represents the old maid type of females, or unpopular girl that many can identify with. They all have this dream that THEY are finally going to get the Choice filet cuts of men instead of the chuck steak that they would have had to settle for. So, in Dark Shadows they can live out their unrealistic fantasy and get the hottest guy no matter how unlikely that is nor the fact that Barnabas simply has no physical attraction to her. Poor guy – Cant he just be a loving friend to her? Nope, female ego insists he HAS to think the ugly duckling is beautiful to satisfy their unrealistic fantasies.”
Well… *I* would not have said it that way… and I did leave out a few harsher statements by her, but she did say I could quote her. I told her I saw it more of a conflict of personality than simply physical attraction.
A very knowledgeable fan gave me some good explanation on this and I’ll paraphrase it as a quotation wasn’t requested from me. I was told: it was probably that Julia fans may be living through the characters and hang on to the unrequited love aspect whether or not they’ve encountered it in their own lives. Barnabas cared for Julia deeply but not in that way and did not reciprocate her affections. So they may be aware or unaware that their focusing on that longing she has for him and want to make it right. [End of paraphrase.]
This would be a valid desire for this pairing and more so than the desire for him to be with Angelique as far as kindness might go. Although in the stories I’ve usually seen she is still bossing him around. So I’m wondering if it’s a desire to have the choicest cut with all that power and have him under her thumb. That authoritative requirement still rebounds in some Julia fans, but thankfully it’s not the koo-koo obsessive Angelique Bouchard.