NCIS: Goth Girl Magic!
By Margaret Curtis, PhD
Has a Gothic character ever touched America’s heart like Abby Sciuto? Yes, she uses the short form of the adjective, a bow to current English usage, but this female leads in popularity because she comes directly from the Middle Ages. Her respect for mortality heads the parade of traits identified with that time misnamed The Dark Ages. Was the screen ever dark when Abby appeared? Hardly.
Her mastery of forensic science perfectly parallels the attention that medieval people gave to magic, beginning with turning lead into gold—and any script writer can count on Pauley Perrette, who plays Abby to a P, to charm her way around heavy verbiage with light humor. Her fondness for music also demonstrates how close her alliance is to the Middle Ages. What would a cathedral be without Gregorian chant?
But her costumes seal the deal for this medieval creation. Her braids become a peaked hood, swaying rhythmically around her cherubic smile. Her bangs lead the viewer immediately to her eyes, which snap with mischief, like a leprechaun’s, troll’s, or elf’s. If Gibbs didn’t have Abby to play his Tinker Bell, what would he do with his morbid self? Every skull she wears turns into a design, signaling the Gothic period’s profound inspiration from glorious Art.
Her respect for the human body verges on that attitude which considers it a temple. Her perfectionism when handling its remains defies the seamy side of life. Her positive spirit speaks for the best of rituals which transform the darkest moments into life-affirming exercises. She doesn’t need to roller skate, although she sometimes does. Her blithe spirit protects her from excess gravity, ill befitting a woman who recalls the excitement of that moment—
that moment when a little girl heads for a Medieval Fair. Abby’s is underground, but so what? She’ll bring all her candles and icons, if needed, just to celebrate life gone merry. We’re alive. Isn’t that always, always more than enough? Hang around long enough, and the discoveries always turn up. It’s just one miracle after another in the Middle Ages with the Abbess Abby.