|“||Live like you have nothing to live for.||”|
Charlie Terada is a shy, naïve new kid at East High with an cherubic, innocent face who moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Thrust into a world full of jaded people with fixed perspectives on high school status, Charlie stands out as a pure, untainted canvas; a canvas on which little has been painted due to his prior isolation from the world and its system.
At the same time, with his fresh, innocent eyes, his reactions to the corporate world at large act almost like a barometer against which we can measure right and wrong. Not right and wrong seen through the weary eyes of eroded morals, but right and wrong in as close to its pure state as we can humanly get, in this drama world. Charlie sees himself as a very ordinary boy, at least until Troy comes along. He is unable to identify those characteristics that distinguish him from the rest because he is constantly in conflict with the various facets of his life. He has several distinct roles that those around him expect him to play. This, he feels, will free him from what he feels to be his curse of ordinariness, and will make him into a person that both he and everyone else can accept.
At first, Charlie is an introvert because he has no friends and does not try to connect with people. At events, he is literally a wallflower because he stands off to the side instead of joining in. However, as the show progresses, Charlie learns how to be a wallflower but not a doormat. This enables him to gain the confidence he needs to participate more fully in his actual life. As Charlie continues to push himself to be part of life rather than using the coping mechanism of letting things wash by him, he discovers his own talents. Charlie realizes that he can become an artist such as a drawer in order to take advantage of his capacity for looking in from the outside while simultaneously being involved in the action from within.
Through his friendship with Troy and the gang, Charlie truly manages to find himself. But he is not simply dependent on Troy for this newfound sense of self; when Troy graduates, he eventually finds that he can carry on and continue in the path of personal growth Troy has helped him to find. Charlie is a thoroughly admirable boy on his way to becoming a man, and the story of his growth is the kernel of Season 1.
He died of a barbiturate overdose late in the evening of August 4, 2008, at his home. His body was discovered before dawn on August 5th. Charlie's death was officially ruled a probable suicide by the coroner's office, based on precedents of him overdosing and being prone to mood-swings and suicidal ideation. No evidence of foul play was found, and accidental overdose was ruled out owing to the large amount of barbiturates he had ingested. Beside his bed was a collection of sedatives, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills. Likewise, Charlie had emptied a bottle of barbiturates and had consumed a large quantity of Sherry (an alcoholic drink).
Charlie provides the conflict for the drama part of the story. His transfer to East High from Pilot will cause a ripple effect amidst being the main storyline and will be a major plot-point all throughout the show. Charlie has the most influence over the plot, the setting of the story and even the life of the protagonists; most often one of the primary antagonists.
He has the biggest role all over the story and without him there would be no story to begin with.
When first meeting Charlie, the first thing you might notice is his cherubic face. His cheeks hold a puffy tendency that are babylike, while his chin is more defined. His eyes, though hidden behind his glasses, are rather dark and some even consider them like doe-eyes with how big they can seem once he takes his glasses off. His skin is tan -- an olive complexion -- and he keeps his face relatively free of facial hair. His large eyes; his plump lips, and long eyelashes soften his overall image, making him appear younger and more innocence. Unlike his older peers who are known for being tall, handsome and hold a very masculine beauty, Charlie is known for his rather cute and innocent appearance. A small part of him has always wished he looked more like his peers, but Charlie isn’t unhappy with the way he looks. In fact, he often takes advantage of it. He’ll usually have his bangs messily swept forward and slightly to the left.
His physique is slender, making him appear to be underweight with the bone structure of his ribs and hips slightly more visible on him than any of the other male characters. His body shape is overall quite thin, making him around 95-pounds.
Charlie isn't a big stickler for fashion, but he does like keeping up with the latest trends. He is as comfortable in something formal as he is in a t-shirt and shorts.
Personality and Traits
When we first meet Charlie, as the new kid, he tries to find his way within the social networks of his new school, and seems content to make friends. He is a character who is known for being sweet and lovable, more comic relief than anything, who likes nothing more than to pet little puppies. He makes you adore him, root for him and love him. He is known for being very idealistic, cute and innocent. He even may act in a childlike manner to emphasize his innocence with an upbeat and positive attitude. Charlie also tends to be genuinely nice, loving, caring, and kind to whoever is with him. To the world, he projects a sweet, innocent boy without a drop of rebelliousness. He is the very essence of the young at heart, especially for others and represents the childlike quality in us all.
Possibly Charlie's greatest flaw is also his greatest strength. Due to his strong sense of kindness and goodwill upon others, the boy can at times be gullible and easily manipulated to rebel against the orders of others. Because of his youthful ignorance, he can be seen as rather mischievous, pretty gullible, over-trusting, and often lands himself into trouble, albeit unintentionally. This is seen several times throughout Season 1, and the trait, unfortunately, makes Charlie an easy pawn in the schemes or motivations of various antagonists.
Behind the shy and bubbly persona, however, it is revealed that Charlie had been dependent on amphetamines, barbiturates and alcohol, and he experienced various mental-health problems that included depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and insomnia. This would result in his tragic downfall.
Role in Series
Charlie Terada stared in the mirror, a small smile on his lips. His eyes traveled up and down his body slowly, taking everything in. With a self-satisfied look in his eyes, he twirled lightly. He had a wistful smile on his face as he looked at himself in the mirror. Charlie smoothed his shirt down self-consciously as he walked away.
Charlie sat on the overstuffed chair in front of the large desk, his milky-brown eyes taking in every detail the expensive office had to offer. He could hear a man’s voice in the background of his mind. Suddenly, the voice in the room seemed magnified. “Well, Mr. Terada, since everything hasn’t been signed yet and everything seems to be out of order, you may want to look through this with your parents in order to sign this. It’s the policy form for what we expect our students to understand here at East High.” the man said with a cheerful smile. Charlie looked at the man for what seemed like the first time. He looked to be in his mid-forties, with short black hair that seemed to be thinning rapidly atop his head. Charlie wondered if his hair was thinning because of genetics, or the amount of grown men running around the large school. “Okay.” Charlie said. Warm brown eyes looked over the boy and he let a small smile grace his lips. This man didn’t seem so bad. Charlie blinked before looking down at the papers. Matsui just nodded. “My assistant, Theodore, will have you fill out papers and all that. It’s very simple since you’re eighteen.” Matsui said. He then got a confused yet blank stare from Charlie. “You are eighteen...?” Matsui said. “Not exactly.” Charlie said. “It says eighteen in your file.” the man explained. “That might be a mistake.” Charlie said. Matsui grinned, knowingly. “Stay right there.” Matsui ordered calmly. He walked out of the office. “...I need a parental consent form for a minor. New kid... You guys can go...” Charlie heard the principal say. “Um... Welcome to East High, Charlie, if you have any problems with the other students please don’t hesitate to let the other staff know.” the man began, looking from Charlie to the door then to Charlie once more. “My door is always open as well.” he said, giving another sympathetic smile. “I’ll have a student come by tomorrow to show you around.” he said, nodding while Charlie stood up. “Thank you.” Charlie said, his voice barely above a whisper. REST IS TBA.
Troy or any of the others came onto the scene -- Charlie had truly been alone. He was sixteen, carrying weights far too heavy on his shoulders for a boy his age. Life was a battle between self-esteem and mental-health issues and many days he went without being truly happy, just so he could be like everyone else. Even then, however, Charlie was constantly reminded that he was just a boy scavenging for love and acceptance, and that he was too weak and too foolish to get anywhere further than where he was. Troy Bolton and the gang fixed that for a while. For as long as they lived, Charlie’s life was going to be okay too. And now they were gone. A light silenced shut. As time dragged by agonizingly slowly, Charlie fell into a hysterical stupor until he found his bed and his pills, sleep dragging him down by the hair. Charlie turned his head towards the alarm clock on his bedside table, the red numbers displaying the time of 3:13 A.M. His plump lips parted as he sighed quietly before lying back down on his side, pulling the blankets up past his ears. He lazily extended his arm out towards his phone that resided on the table, checking to see if he had any new messages. His hopes, however, were crushed as he discovered no one had messaged him. He sighed once again, placing his phone on the table once more before rolling over and pulling his pillow closer to him, embracing it tightly. Before he had fallen asleep he felt fine, lively, happy even. Now it was a different story. A feeling of numbness and helplessness had filled his hollow self. His heart aching and beating forcefully. He felt empty once more. Charlie's lips upturned slightly in a small smile before tightly creasing into a frown. Up until two weeks ago when Charlie stopped taking them. He felt fine, the drug still going through his system up until it had stopped that night. It's effects wore off, Charlie's helplessness and depression returned. He gulped before grabbing his phone once again, opening his messaging. He scrolled down to his messages with Troy, the last one sent the day after graduation. Charlie sighed once again before outstretching his arm, with the phone still clutched in his hand. He pulled his blankets over the lower-half of his body, still holding his pillow close to his cheek. He inhaled deeply through his nose, taking in the faint scent of the pillow.
From the bedroom doorway, officers could see Charlie lying on the white sheets of his bed. His head is placed upon the pushed up pillow and his limbs are loosely spread out to the sides. There was no tension in his body, his eyes turned in the direction of the windows that showed the house next door.
Season One (12/12)
Season Two (1/12)
- During the course of the first season, the naïve and innocent Charlie struggles with bipolar disorder and alcohol addiction -- secretly -- from his friends.
- Unfortunately, he made the fatal mistake of leaving the door open in his life for alcohol and his toxic thoughts to enter, which ultimately destroys him.
- Charlie had suffered from mental illness and substance abuse for several years prior to his death.