Sanity’s Other Side: Why Do We Love Jerks?

Today’s article is brought to you by the letter “G”!

I doubt anyone out there would openly want to consort with a real life Groose, so why do we love characters like him on the silver screen. Well, the short answer is it’s hilarious. Alright, show’s over, move along. But we’re not here for that. Why is the overly macho, overconfident memeatic badass such a lovable character? Here are a few ideas as to why.


1. We love antagonists and villains

There’s an article penned by an old blogger that’s sadly now offline which said that Batman is made great by his enemies. The rogue’s gallery of the Caped Crusader makes him and his stories more than just the escapades of some grumpy possibly insane multimillionaire. The bad guys are naturally fascinating, their lives make good drama and their twisted minds are curious things. And we all know, the best drama is the one you’re not a part of. Why do you say “why so serious” Heath Ledger? Antagonists are a source of motivation for heroes and the audience, “Gary was here, Ash is a loser”. You really wanted to pound that smirk off Green’s face when you first played Pokemon. He had a more effective starter than you, he got the badges quicker than you, and he hits you at the worst possible times. Kinda justifies killing his Raticate. Interesting antagonists make heroes more interesting as they climb to beat them, they serve to illuminate the protagonist via his or her trial or ideal.


2. They’re usually dumber than you

Certainly nobody you’d count among your friends has so much self-importance that they would seriously say, “I am the rules” and mean it. No one you’d like to be near would be that dumb. So when Gaston is attempting to read upside-down, we crack up. This is because we’re seeing someone that moronic from audience member standpoint. Since we’re observers of the story, we can safely engage and compare ourselves to the character without any attacks on our own masculinity/femininity. As a result of comparing ourselves to the comic relief, we get a rise. It feels good when you set yourself over an easy target of comparison, and lovable egotistical meatheads of fiction are the characters anybody and everybody can set themselves over.


 3. Confidence is sexy


Now I sound like a crappy self-help book intended to get otaku into the 3D romance thing, but hey, it’s true. Other than being tall, blonde, handsome, wealthy, and able to vanquish millions of people with infinite swords, what else does the likes of Gilgamesh have that makes him so irresistible? His confident attitude. If there is something that we want to emulate in our compare-contrast stated above, it’s the ability to be self-confident.  Angsty depressed emo kids were in vogue for only so long and even then they’re met with mixed reception, but strong assured characters that have the guts to back it up are timeless. That is the difference between Gilgamesh and Shinji Matou. Both are conceited but Shinji is the character you want to strangle because he’s the weasel who’d turn tail from a lion while Gil is the type to take such a beast head-on. If it weren’t for the whole evil thing, you gotta admit, it’s sorta admirable. So yes, do be inspired by the King of Heroes, he allows you to be.


That’s a bit of personal insight into why arrogant characters full of hubris are so popular. They’re archetypes of the medium that have been with us since the start, and they’re always a real hoot. Join me next time when I take you through the history of great ahoges.


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The Inverseman is an evil overlord from an alternate dimension representing humanity's anti-existence who wound up becoming a modest civil servant.


The Inverseman is an evil overlord from an alternate dimension representing humanity's anti-existence who wound up becoming a modest civil servant.

One Comment:

  1. The reason is simple, because heels are naturally "cooler" than faces. They usually have the power to get away with being mean and look either awesome or hilarious being jerks. They "usually" also have better attire than the heroes.

    If a heel is TOO annoying on the other hand, you wouldn't care that the hero beats him up because you've either changed the channel by now or do not care that the hero triumphs over an unlikable douche who has no pizazz behind his actions.

    Villains do not ALWAYS need to be sympathetic, just likable. A villain could have a simple "conquer or destroy humanity plan" and their only reason is having a superiority complex and still be the best character in the series.

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