I admit it. I have a character on World of Warcraft. Yes, my Blood Elf is a Horde character (the supposed bad guys), but that's only because the Night Elves on the Alliance side (the supposed good guys) creep me out to no end. That, and my college student sister (who talked me into creating my character) was complaining about hating Blood Elves because they're all paladins. She's right, there are a LOT of Blood Elf paladins running around, but there are plenty of other kinds of Blood Elves, too.
By now, assuming you haven't gone cross-eyed from all the parentheses, I'm sure you're wondering, "Where is she going with this?" Bear with me a little longer and I'll get there.
Back to my character. It's a male Blood Elf hunter (level 21...yay!) I affectionately refer to as Rach. That's a nickname given to him by another Blood Elf within minutes of his creation, so don't bother looking for Rach on the dozens of servers if you're bored and have a WoW account. You won't find him.
Anyway, aside from ridiculously long eyebrows that stick out past his pointy ears (all Blood Elves have those eyebrows) and the wrong hairstyle, Rach could pass for Gaston's twin. You know, Gaston from the animated Disney movie Beauty and the Beast. They're both conceited, think they're better than everyone else, and are obsessed with looking good. And it's comical on both of them.
In World of Warcraft, you can make your characters flirt and tell jokes, among other things. One of Rach's built-in flirtations makes me think of Gaston every time. I can't give you an exact quote, but it's something along the lines of, "You know what I love most about your eyes? When I look deeply into them, I can see my own reflection."
Can't you just imagine Gaston saying something like that?
All of this makes me wonder what the programmers at Blizzard (the company who created WoW) had been watching before they designed the male Blood Elves. One more reason for speculation is the male Blood Elf's laugh. It is eerily similar to Gaston's.
Of course, I have no evidence for any of this, or for the similarity of a lot of the dance moves WoW characters have to Michael Jackson dance moves (particularly those from the 80s and 90s). It does, however, bring up an interesting question.
Writers, how much do the things you watch, listen to, or read affect your writing? Readers, have you ever come across a story with characters or storyline similar enough to another book, movie, or TV show that you wondered if the author is a fan?