TV shows aren’t brave enough with their characters these days. They spend too long trying to perfect the creation of a loveable protagonist that everyone finds endearing and sweet, with that great mixture of charm and wit. But these characters are like no one I’ve ever met, and even though TV is supposed to be unrealistic (which is what I love about it) the characters have to have certain realistic/horrible qualities that relate to someone in the viewers life, otherwise they’re just another boring “nice guy”. Some of my favourite characters in TV shows are absolute knob-ends, but they relate to me much more because I am, in fact, a massive knob-end also. Much like Dr Bob Kelso in “Scrubs”, I too have two thumbs and don’t give a crap half the time, and other TV characters should be like this too. But the pain hit, when in the 8th season of Scrubs (the one where JD tried to leave at the end but couldn’t and was forced to do another 6 episodes in the new, and painful, 9TH season of Scrubs) they turned Bob Kelso into a light, warm-hearted Grandfather type character that started being nice to everyone and eating muffins in the same coffee shop for an entire year and saying “Hello” and “Thank you” to people. I couldn’t stand it. Scrubs had turned everybody’s favourite, loveable arsehole into this kind, friendly, Hawaiian shirt wearing sham of Bob Kelso. It was disgraceful.
The characters on TV that have related to me the most are people like Denholm Reynholm who originally ran Reynholm Industries in “The IT Crowd”, he was such an enormous bastard, but I loved him. I loved him like a TV father. I looked up to him, and everything he said was always priceless – “When I started Reynholm Industries, I had just two things in my possession: a dream and 6 million pounds. Today I have a business empire the like of which the world has never seen the like of which. I hope it doesn’t sound arrogant when I say that I am the greatest man in the world!”. And truly he was the greatest man in the world. But surely enough, within the same episode that he said that quote, he was killed off. I was so stricken with grief. It’s annoying that the arsehole characters have to die, because they are usually one of the main reasons why people watch a show. Much like Dwight in the office. He is a massive pain in everyone’s shitter, but people tune in every week to see what he’s doing this time. It’s inevitable. We, as humans, just relate well to people we dislike. We may not like them, but chances are, we don’t like them because they are entirely similar to us.
Shows like “Dexter” play huge roles in getting us to root for an absolute wanker. After reading the book that Dexter is based on (Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, try and read it, it’s quite brilliant) I began to grow a burning hate for Dexter, because on paper, he is a complete dick. He constantly screws people over and cares for no one but himself. He’s rude, arrogant and meddles in other people’s lives. But when I went back to watch the TV series of Dexter, I was astonished to find that my hate for the character in the book had not been passed on to Michael C. Hall -the actor who plays Dexter- in the show. It’s as if they were two completely different characters. Now I found this phenomenon extremely strange. Did the actor change the character? The answer is yes. The difference is, looking at Michael C. Hall we can see that he is no harm at all, sure he may go around murdering people and chopping their limbs off and putting them in bin bags at the bottom of the sea on screen, but off screen he looks like a nice guy. Whereas reading a book uses your imagination and you create this idea of a character who’s only purpose is to be that character, meaning that you forever think of that person in a negative way, because they don’t exist in any other way. Because we are all secretly cynical and believe that everyone is a terrible person, we make the mistake of making bad characters appear truly awful and sickening, and good characters with angelic halo’s above their heads and Gods light shining down upon them. But it is possible for horrible characters to be good, and for the good to be bad. In many cases, some of the nicest people I know are actually brutally horrible. It’s because we have this lasting impression that good people will always be good and nothing they do can be wrong, and they take advantage of this. Whereas with people we see as horrible, it’s always such a surprise when we see that they actually are nice, deep down. Like a serial murderer than does part-time work helping children in an orphanage, or David Cameron secretly liking the TV show “24”.
Speaking of “24”, that massive prick Jack Bauer is an interesting character. He always does horrible things, but for the right reasons. This made me kind of like him in a werid way and relate to him on a human level. Because we all do terrible things but usually for good reasons. Although sometimes we are just arseholes because we just are, arseholes. Jack Bauer is the man everyone wishes they could be. He’s a hero, he’s super manly, and he has a voice that could terrify 67 radioactive mountain lions. It’s quite easy to hate him, but you also can’t at the same time because he manages to put with his daughter being kidnapped 50,000 times as well as becoming a heroin addict and his wife being killed. So you kind of feel sorry for him and want to give him a little cuddle, in a manly way.
TV shows need their horrible characters. Without Berta the house cleaner, “Two and a Half Men” would have just been a show about Charlie Sheen living in a big house whining about sleeping with lots of women while his clearly gay brother whines about being poor and dying alone. Berta’s sharp tongue knocks the characters from their pedestals, and occasionally makes such an impact on them that they actually do something of importance. Without Sheldon Cooper, “The Big Bang Theory” would just be a show about a creepy scientist being obsessed with his neighbour. Sheldon is the funniest character in the show, he brings all the intelligence and the jokes, albeit terrible jokes, together. Without him The Big Bang Theory would have died out as a show long ago, the real theory however, would still be valid. Without Dr House, the show “House” wouldn’t even have a name. It would probably be called “Bench” instead. It would be about a bench that did its job as a bench, people would congratulate him for being such a useful and convenient seating arrangement, and at the end of every episode there would be a dramatic close up of the bench and then the screen would fade to black. Look out for “Bench”, it’ll be out on Sky Atlantic soon. Just kidding.
Now go and re-watch the TV shows you love, I can guarantee that your favourite characters are probably absolute dicks. But the great thing about that is, it means you are just a normal human being. It’s normal to like dicks, because we are all dicks.
Except for the vagina’s of course.