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The Hated - Part Two

Banes at 12:00AM, Jan. 26, 2017

The Hated, part two: Heroes we hate

Last week I blathered on a bit about villain Protagonists. These are evil, or “bad” characters who get to be Protagonists!

But what about more traditional heroes, or supporting characters are written to be the “moral compass” or “voice of reason”, or just good characters, but who end up being hated by audiences and readers?

This is bad news, and something we obviously don't usually do on purpose, unless we're going for some kind of meta or satirical thing.

I remember seeing a lot of hatred for Skylar, Walt's wife in Breaking Bad. Reading online comments can give a skewed picture of reality at times, of course, but the hatred of the Skylar character was so loud that the actress wrote an article in a magazine that tried to dissect the causes of that hatred. Wow!

As an aside, many of these complainers professed hate, and made threats to the actress herself during that time. Those people are morons. But that's another story…

Hated supporting characters seem to be those who get in the Protagonist's way, or drag them down in some way. Even if their position makes sense for the character, there is still the risk of drawing hatred if they cause extra difficulties to characters we do like.

Another trait that can lead to being hated is high and mighty, holier-than-thou attitudes. Many “good” characters have ended up despised by some for arrogance. Brian from Family Guy and Lisa Simpson have fallen into this from time to time. It's a danger to all opinionated “author mouthpiece” characters. Especially if they're always right, in story. That's getting into Mary Sue territory, there!

As far as Protagonists, one of the big pitfalls is to have a passive lead character. It's funny how many writers fall into writing these folks!

Who are the notable “hated heroes” in your opinion? What efforts have you made to avoid writing hateable characters?



KimLuster at 8:55AM, Jan. 27, 2017

Funny talking about the Rapey... I remember an episode of Red Shoe Diaries (episode is called, 'you have the right to remain silent'...hey, it was 25 years ago, sue me! ;))... In it, Denise Crosby plays this police woman who lusts after this guy but he doesn't seem to notice her, so she arrest him under false charges, takes him off, ties him to a chair, and... well... Double Standards I suppose...

Banes at 8:50AM, Jan. 27, 2017

you're mistaken - it was hot! QED! Banes out!

ozoneocean at 1:53AM, Jan. 27, 2017

The thing was that data was basically a child- in his way of thinking and reacting to things, so hat's what made it distasteful.

bravo1102 at 11:22PM, Jan. 26, 2017

It was very rapey. You never had a woman come on to you that? She was supposed to be beyond drunk so she wiggled her butt and found the best play toy she could. As Data would say "I hear it can be quite entertaining. " Voyager was made in the late 90's to 2002 a high point of emo and wangst. I just finished a Voyager marathon and honestly there were times I wanted to throw her out an airlock. But it did seem a great idea to pair her up with the happy go lucky Tom Paris. And then there was the Doctor on Voyager. He could be so arrogant and you hated.him but at the same time you loved him. Like Daffy Duck but much smarter.

ozoneocean at 10:35PM, Jan. 26, 2017

Torres did get over her whining to become a good character. All of the voyager characters had a whining stage I think, the writers must have been pretty shit, or else that sort of angast was fashionable in pop-culture at the time.

ozoneocean at 10:32PM, Jan. 26, 2017

Will Wheeton LOOKS like Bill Mumy! But as for Tasha Yar... she was hot in Playboy, yeah, but in the show she was dull and wooden, and not believable as a security officer. And when she got Data to have sex with her it was like she was forcing him or grooming him or something Felt very rapey.

bravo1102 at 9:07PM, Jan. 26, 2017

And there's the wonderful word "wangst" to describe such whiney angst.

bravo1102 at 9:02PM, Jan. 26, 2017

Speaking of Star Trek: Voyager, some say B'lanna Torres the half Klingon is a whiney unliveable protagonist. For me any protagonist with a trailer full of angst who whines about how he suffers is quite hateable. It's a subset of Mary-sue to load down a character with angst to make a Mary-sue likeable. Instead half the time you just wish they would stop whining and do everyone a favor and let the villain kill them.

bravo1102 at 8:52PM, Jan. 26, 2017

Funny you should be talking about ST:TNG. I am reviewing all the episodes! Wesley was too much like Will Robinson from lost in Space. Or any other show with the genius kid who always saves all the dumb adults. Tasha Yar was just too hot. I loved her and most fans I know regret her being killed off. She really left because she felt underused. Half of first season she was a Uhura stand-in saying "hailing frequency open"

Banes at 2:34PM, Jan. 26, 2017

@KL - Good point on the reasonable people who we need in real life but despise in fiction. Haha...that's an interesting contradiction, there!

Banes at 2:33PM, Jan. 26, 2017

@Ozone - Ah, Wesley! One of the kings of hated characters!

KimLuster at 11:41AM, Jan. 26, 2017

Excellent article! Kinda related: in movies where the abnormal (supernatural, demons, ghosts, aliens, Santa Claus) turns out to be 'real', they generally make the 'skeptic' characters (scientists, psychiatrists, doctors...) unlikable... Often, when these types don't 'just believe', they're portrayed as bull-headed and condescending... Sometimes they're outright working against the characters that 'know the truth' (putting them in psych wards, taking kids from them) and then they can really be detestable... But, in RL, these people are really heroes and we'd get upset if they DIDN'T offer a dose of reality to all the weirdos in the world!!

ozoneocean at 9:06AM, Jan. 26, 2017

Wesley from Star Trek The Next Generation was a hated character... Also Tasha Yar played by Denise Crosby wasn't viewed in a favourable light, but nothing compared to poor horrible Wesley, or weasely as I prefer to call him.

ozoneocean at 9:04AM, Jan. 26, 2017

A passive, cowardly, pathetic little shit...

ozoneocean at 9:03AM, Jan. 26, 2017

Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion!

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