Friday, February 24, 2012

Antiheroes: Characters We Love to Hate

Time to give you my take on the evil-doers. The purely evil, sociopathic villain can border on a cartoon character. You do not want to paint a black character with no heart or soul or motivation for his or her evil nature. A great villain is the one that is fully fleshed out, relatable and understandable. A one-dimensional villain is actually quite boring. What you really want is to write a great antihero. In fiction the antihero is generally considered to be a protagonist whose character, in some regards, is conspicuously contradictory to the archetypal hero. In some cases, the antihero is the antithesis to the hero. Some people believe the antihero could be classified as the antagonist or villain. An antihero, however, is not a strict villain and typically elicits sympathy or admiration. The antihero is sometimes the character you love to hate and love at the same time. So here are my favorite antiheroes:

Rev. Steve Newlin, True Blood -- I'm not sure we can find many redeeming qualities in Steve Newlin other than he's really a riot to watch. His energy is a little crazy and often unhinged. His passionate hatred for vampires, which stems from the murder of his family, motivates his rabid hatred for the immortals. Now, though, it's about to get really interesting. Steve showed up at Jason's doorstep at the end of Season 4 as a vampire. He has quite a malicious spirit so one can only imagine what kind of trouble the former reverent will stir up. Should be a scenery-chewing riot. I can't wait. 

Gregory House, House -- House isn't exactly your perfect hero. He absolutely qualifies for the category of antihero. He says and does things most of us would never do or say ... not out loud anyway. He breaks and hates rules, and the topper came in last year's episode when driven completely to despair and heartache, he drives his car through Cuddy's living room. You absolutely never know what the heck House is going to pull next. What you do know is that it will always be something self-destructive. Since this is the last season, I am very curious how they will leave our resident antihero. House defies what you would expect viewers to embrace, and the only reason he's so popular is that Hugh Laurie imbues him with a true sense of pain and humanity. Peel back the onion and we find a troubled, deep and vulnerable soul simply afraid of human connection and personal pain. We love House, because we know that underneath it all, he's okay.

Ari Gold, Entourage -- Ari is another fabulous antihero with a heart. He loves his family and his wife, and his love for his wife and children shows the audience he has heart. His ruthless treatment of others is an entirely different story. Ari has no sensitivity chip. He does and says whatever he thinks and it comes right out of his mouth. If Ari thinks you're a moron or idiot, you can count on him saying it. Anyone with any sensitivity whatsoever had better not go near Ari. But what we adore about him is love, loyalty and passion, and he always does the right thing even if it takes a few episodes. We're going to miss Ari now that Entourage is over. 

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