Thursday, October 07, 2004

Villain Mania!

In recent years, I'm coming to enjoy the villains of fiction far more than the heroes. Villains get to have real character flaws, and they don't have to spend time apologizing for them, or trying to hug and cry and learn and grow. Villains are flawed, but they want to rule the world/enslave humanity nonetheless, and I admire their moxie. Let's examine some villains and why I like them.

Stripe: He's the lead critter from "Gremlins", and he rocks. Why? Because he thinks that wrecking stuff, killing people, and working on the side of chaos is funny. He doesn't apologize for thinking so, either, and he remains constantly "in the moment" and is at peace with his destructive tendencies. There's something almost Zen-like about his malice, and who among us doesn't want to be Zen-like?

Drusilla: In case you don't know, she's the insane clairvoyant vampire from the second season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." If she were a good guy, her insanity would only make her annoying, but because she's evil it makes her cool. You don't know from moment to moment whether she's going to like the flowers you gave her, collapse into a weeping puddle because they're yellow, or tear off your head because there's a bug on it. Best of all, she doesn't know either. Every day with Dru is the spin of a roulette wheel, with strangely accurate foretellings on one side and purposeless mayhem on the other.

Zim: He's the alien from "Invader Zim", who, like Darth Vader, nurtures the dream of intergalactic conquest. However cool Darth may have been, you got the feeling (vindicated in "Return of the Jedi") that he never really liked being a bad guy. Oh, he went through the motions, choking this officer, destoying that rebel base, but deep down you knew he'd really rather be playing volleyball. Zim, however, truly enjoys his work. He goes at his inventions and schemes with a zeal most of us summon only when planning how we're going to pig down that package of Tandy Takes. Admittedly, he's grossly incompetent and deeply foolish, but he has passion and a maniacal laugh. Be honest; if you could trade all your competence for total delight in your work and a maniacal laugh, wouldn't you do it and count yourself lucky? I rest my case.

One more thing: Villains get to take cheap shots at the heroes and not feel bad about it. Sign me up.

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