Winifred Burkle

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Character
Name: Winifred Burkle, Fred Burkle
Occupation: geek
Title/Rank:
Location: Pylea, Los Angeles
Status: shell for Illyria
Relationships: romances with Charles Gunn & Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
Fandom: Angel
Other:
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Winifred Burkle, usually known as Fred, is a major character in Angel, introduced in the Pylea arc at the end of season 2 and played by Amy Acker.

In Canon

A physics researcher from Texas, Fred is sucked into a portal and ends up in Pylea, a demon dimension where she's enslaved, allowing Angel to ride to the rescue -- literally. The team bring her back to LA for a bit of demon-fighting PTSD therapy.

At Angel Investigations, she serves as technical genius & all-round geek, not to mention love interest for most of the men on the show. At first she yearns for the unavailable Angel, who's longing for Cordelia. Later, she creates a different love triangle when she hooks up with Gunn, just as Wesley decides she's the love of his life. She wakes up to Wesley's charms just in time for -- you've guessed it -- Joss to off her. Her body is hijacked by a blue-tinged goddess, Illyria, Amy gets to wear a lot of blue make-up, and Much Angst Ensues.

Fan perspectives

s.e. smith writes: Fred Burkle is simultaneously one of the characters I love and hate most about Angel. She's a science nerd. She's a walking trope. She's funny in unexpected ways. She's dependent on dudes for everything. She's innovative and creative in stressful situations. And she doesn't pursue a career until her memory gets altered by a spell. ... [S]he embodies the theme of fear of institutionalisation that crops up again and again in Whedon's work, and of course she's another example of the 'fragile' mentally ill characters that populate much of Whedon's work. ... [S]he's an object in the way that the male characters are not. We never see Fred and Cordelia fighting over a man, but we do see Wesley and Gunn fighting over Fred.[1]

Milla writes: Love her or despise her, but this woman has strength and character that was there long before Illyria appeared. When we first meet Fred ... we find a survivor. ... [T]here's one trait that's rarely acknowledged in Fred. She's managed to live five years in a world where Cordelia scrapes by on the virtue of her visions. How does she do it? By using what are Fred's favorite tactics-- a passive-aggressive approach, reliance on escape through fantasy, calculated ruthlessness, sheer will and incredible intelligence. ... As the seasons progress, events push Fred from her realm of secure passivity. ... Fred's journey is about taking back the power so she can pick and choose when to relinquish it. .. She’s faced her darkest side, her worst fears, and come out of it a grown-up version of the geeky, pot-smoking girl she was.[2]

Sockmonkeyhere writes, in the context of her relationship with Spike: Fred bears similarities to many of the beloved females in Spike's past: like Drusilla, she's a bit odd, and was cuckoo post-Pylea (she physically resembles Dru quite a bit, too); she's got the motherly, supportive nature of Joyce; she has Buffy's bravery in the face of danger; and there's an almost childish innocence about her like Dawn. If need be, she's quite capable of taking care of herself, but she seems the type who wouldn’t mind at all if her fella wanted to take on the role of chivalrous, courtly knight and treat her as his tender lady fair.[3]

In Fanfiction

While not as popular as some AtS characters, Fred got a fair amount of attention from fan writers who liked her loopy dialogue. Fred/Wesley is probably the most common het pairing, written well before the two got together on the show by fans who couldn't wait. The canonical Fred/Gunn wasn't particularly popular; a lot of fans shipped Gunn with Wesley, or thought Fred was better suited to Wesley, or that the way the relationship was portrayed in canon was eye-searingly cutesy. Various other m/f pairings have small followings, including Spike/Fred (aka Spred) and Angel/Fred. She was also a popular partner in femslash, being paired with most of the Buffyverse women, notably Fred/Willow.

The Illyria arc was popular with many fans; alternate universe stories did get written where Fred didn't die, but happy-ending fix-it fics are surprisingly rare.

Notable Works

  • Body Shots, by Minim Calibre -- angst-free Fred/Faith. Debra writes: Femslash that's funny, and hot, and actually gives Fred a narrative voice that sounds Texan.[4]
  • The Girl in the High Castle, by Mosca -- alternate universe. From Bright Shiny Objects: The Fred in this AU version of the verse is complex and fearsome and feels every inch the realization of the flashes of dark potential we glimpsed under her sweet demeanour.[5]
  • Lacerated Sky, by Jennifer-Oksana -- character study. Doyle writes: This is for anyone who was ticked off that Fred's madness was cured so easily.[6]
  • The Periodic Table of Wesley, by Dana Woods -- Fred/Wesley. Doyle writes: This is a 1000-word geekgasm from first to last, at least to somebody as in love with science as I am. ... Gorgeous.[7]
  • The Sky Has Claws, by Kyra Cullinan -- AU where Fred survives. Lakrids writes: One of the most poetic apocalyptical fics I have read.[4]
  • Splinter, by Rheanna & Yahtzee -- novel written after season 2 which includes one of the earliest fan characterisations of Fred. Vonnie writes: I especially love Rheanna and Yahtzee's Fred. If Minnear and Greenwalt can do half the job these two did in fleshing out her character, I will be more than happy.[4]
  • Survival Instincts by Jennifer-Oksana. Dark look at Fred/Gunn that explores both their backstories (2002)
  • How Tantor and Tarzan Became Friends by nwhepcat. "In the wake of the destruction of Wolfram & Hart, Xander runs into a diminished supernatural being with an enormous sense of entitlement -- and it all seems familiar somehow." Long fix-it of sorts; Xander/Illyria, Xander/Fred, NC-17. (2009)
  • Compelled - The Buffy/Angelverse Reshaped by Hotpoint. "The God-King of the Primordium decides to replay the game from an earlier level and shows the universe what an Old One with a grudge is capable of..." Illyria travels back in time - AU Buffy S7 and Angel S4-5. (Six stories 2007-2009, Long)

Archives

In Fan Art

A selection of fan art featuring Fred:

In Meta

Communities

Livejournal

Yahoo Groups

References

  1. Disability on Angel: Winifred Burkle and the Hot Mess (accessed 12 October 2011)
  2. Ship Manifesto: Fred/Wesley (accessed 12 October 2011)
  3. Ship Manifesto: Spike/Fred: Pi r Effulgent (accessed 12 October 2011)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Better Buffy Fiction Archive (accessed 12 October 2011)
  5. Bright Shiny Objects: Current Recs: October 2005 (accessed 12 October 2011)
  6. Ice Cream for Freaks: Fred (accessed 12 October 2011)
  7. Ice Cream for Freaks: Fred/Wesley (accessed 12 October 2011)