You can’t watch a single episode of NCIS: Los Angeles without knowing that Marty Deeks is a humorous guy. “Funny” is the first adjective most casual viewers would use to describe him. It’s also a characteristic that draws fan fiction writers to him. But Deeks’ humor isn’t always easy to portray. And it masks a different, darker side of his personality. We spoke with a group of fan fiction authors to find out how they see, and write, the lighter side of Deeks.
“So this is what a girl’s bathroom looks like. I always figured it would be more pink. Maybe with glitter. And unicorns.”
The fan fiction writers we spoke to definitely appreciate Deeks’ humor. It’s Bamie02’s favorite characteristic. She loves “…the way he uses it to deflect, ease tension, lighten the mood or to get a reaction out of Kensi and the team.” She also enjoys “how he was determined to help Kensi lighten up at the beginning of their partnership.” peanutbutter likes how his humor is just one side to his personality. “I think what’s great about Deeks is his layers,” she says. “On the surface he’s so carefree, making jokes and bringing light to every situation – frequently at his own expense. He’s the comic relief, the goof. But that’s not all he is. He’s a loyal friend, a dependable partner and great detective who knows when to switch into serious mode.”
ZeGabz just thinks he’s funny. “I love his simple sense of humor,” she says. “He’s not all wrapped up in metaphors or monologues, he just has these brilliant one-liners that have me cracking up… The good-natured attitude he exhibits is very refreshing for me as a viewer, and also as a writer.” Kadiedid first thought of him like DiNozzo from the original NCIS- “just irritating enough to be charming.”
In spite of himself, Sam snorts. “Okay, Columbo. Where to?”
“Dust off your spandex mini, Agent Blye,” Deeks answers, his eyes twinkling. “We’re headed to the hottest club in Hollywood.” He turns to Sam. “Do you want to be a crime lord or a starlet? Can’t be both. I’ll tell you which one has more comfortable footwear, though.”
“How do you know?”
“Well, typically women feel obligated to -“
“The club, Deeks. How do you know about the club?”
Kadiedid observes that “Deeks’ quick wit can always be counted on to ease the tension.” Jericho Steele agrees, observing how it rings true to his real world experience working in serious and dangerous environments. He says, “What inspires with Deeks is his ‘easy going’ attitude and that he brings a breath of fresh air into the world of NCIS:LA. During the first season, the show started off pretty good but it fell into the regular ‘serious’ crime show formula and started to feel like it had all been done before. Deeks… gave us a different take on all of the serious issues that plague the team and the world they live in. His ability to bring a sense of humor to almost any situation makes it feel real. I’ve served as an EMT and a firefighter… and there were tons of situations that were so dark and depressing that we thought we would lose our minds. A well timed joke or comment would often be exactly what was needed to help us keep some perspective and even helped us do our jobs better. That’s exactly what Deeks does… he keeps the ship balanced and when things get too harsh, he’s there to provide a relief valve for the rest of the team.”
“Mr. Herrera wants to see you,” the guard snickers as he holds his gun up to their faces.
“Good, because I want to complain about these accommodations.” Deeks raises himself up by grabbing on to the cell bars. The pain in his shoulder where he was kicked by a steel tip boot is excruciating. He has to place one hand over the other just to pull himself up to his full height. Deeks groans and stops to catch his breath. “I would like to request a really soft, cushy bed in my next room, yeah? Preferably with a Tempurpedic mattress and matching pillows?”
Deeks is dragged out the cell door and thrown up against the bulkhead by one of the guards. Deeks cries out in pain. Kensi rushes over to keep him upright and encircles her arm around his waist.
“Stop it!” she cries out. “Haven’t you hurt him enough?”
“I’m going to have to report this establishment to Michelin,” Deeks mumbles out loud as his head rests up against the bulkhead. “You’re going to lose a star for that.”
“Shut up, Deeks. Stop messing with them. They don’t have much of a sense of humor.”
“Just my luck. Columbian drug smugglers without a sense of humor.”
“Yeah, I know. Shut up, Deeks.”
The experience of writing Deeks’ humor differs for each author. For Belle Walker it comes readily. In fact, “His sense of humor is probably the only thing I write easily because it’s so much like my own.” Sweet Lu thinks her Deeks’ humor has a slightly different bent to it than TV Deeks. She says, “My Deeks is not as funny as on the show. He is a wiseass, but not one to come up with new age theories or weird beliefs and current obsessions.”
For several writers, the patented Deeks humor is actually the most difficult part of him to capture. “I’m always afraid of going overboard in the humor,” aslycsi1315 says. “I don’t want it to be unbelievable and too far from the actual Deeks.” imahistorian says, “I often think I know how he might react, but then the show writers have him react different than I would expect to certain situations and it makes me wonder if I really understand his humor at all.”
Jessica237 shares similar challenges writing Funny Deeks, saying, “I don’t think I have a problem with the angsty aspects of his character; no, what I think is most difficult for me to capture is probably the one thing that really makes Deeks who he is for most people – his humor. I love his humor; he’s hilarious. I just don’t think I’ve ever been very good at translating that into fic. I’m just not as funny as he is, heh. I find it much easier to make Kensi fail at being funny than to make Deeks actually be funny!”
“Lemme guess, you were the chatty smart-ass of the cool clique.”
“You forgot charming. And at Reseda, it was less cliques, more gangs.”
“It was fine. Another secret to having a great high school experience is to be on good terms with a person or two in each group. Add in the ability to make people laugh and being able to talk your way out of anything and you win high school.”
“You still think you can talk your way out of anything.”
“Not quite anything but a lot of things. Making people laugh works too.”
“For those who find you funny. Not that I find you funny or anything.”
“No, you’re the master joke-teller in this partnership.”
“I’m funny!” she objected.
“I tell everyone who asks that Kensi Blye is comedy gold.”
She glared at him.
To the casual viewer, joking Deeks may appear to be a shallow guy. In a 2012 interview with French TV, Eric Christian Olsen spoke about misconceptions about his character. “A lot of people say, ‘Well he doesn’t seem to care that much,’ and it’s not that at all,” he said. “I think he uses it as a shield. I think it’s a form of, kind of, self-preservation.” Next time on Writing Deeks, we’ll talk with our writers about how Deeks uses his wonderful humor to mask some of the darker aspects of his personality. What’s he hiding behind that sometimes silly exterior?
Want to Read More?
To find the stories quoted above, follow these links:
imahistorian, “Take Me Out”
peanutbutterer, “A Fork in the Road”
phillydi, “Statement of No Objection”
Tess DiCorsi, “Righteous”
We also asked each writer to recommend a short story they thought best represents their Deeks. Kadiedid named one with a strong element of humor. She describes “That Just Happened” (humor/romance) this way: “[It’s] funny but also portrays the loyal side of his character. [Deeks and Kensi] get caught by Sam and Callen and it goes downhill from there but the comedy part of it seems to me to be very close to the characters in the show.”
Go back to the previous Writing Deeks, The Voices of NCIS:LA Fan Fiction.
A special thanks to @thewingsofnight for creating the wonderful artwork.