Do opinions about characters on TV reflect our character?

homer simpsonOur moral compass with regards to our opinions of characters in series, or movies are usually faulty. We root for the bad guys, clasp our hands in agitation of them  getting caught doing whatever deed they’re doing, try to justify their actions based on some episode/scene and stick to it. Worse thing is, sometimes these characters are made to be charismatic, often incredibly attractive and are usually given the best lines in the movie/series; making the good guys look like wimps and really boring. Same goes for the good characters that do bad stuff occasionally and we try to justify why they do it so we can accept it.  We really just want to see what our ‘favorite’  guy would do next. Daresay, however, we met such a character in real life would we still root for them doing such a deed? No? Maybe in some cases, we may?Absolutely yes?. Which is why we love the illusion the series/movies give us. As long as it doesn’t seem it can ever happen in real life, then it’s okay to support a character’s actions. Supporting the deed does not speak so much of our character, or so it seems.

So it seems.

I read an article once some years back by Stephen King about Why We Crave Horror Movies. Rather, why some of us do. As a horror movie fan myself, I never really gave much thought as to why I loved watching them. I never understood what I liked about the gruesomeness, or why I liked some oddball character, I just knew I did. Until I stumbled upon the article, and for the first time I questioned my ‘love’ for them.

It would have been escapist to just assume “It’s because I find them interesting”, or  “They’re just movies for watching” that’s why I like them. It would have been lazy not to question my psyche, not to question why?. 

King starts the article with this sentence:

I think that we’re all mentally ill; those of us outside the asylums only hide it a
little better – and maybe not all that much better, after all

I neither refute nor give credence to his thesis, or  the basis of why he thinks people crave horror movies. Nevertheless, I like the fact he provides a room for us to think, and question our reasons rather than justifying them. He goes further to give some interesting points about how people watch these movies to purge the insane urges that society deems improper so that we don’t act them out. Hitherto none of his reasons have allayed with why I love horror movies, and it’s because I still don’t know why!

What is perplexing is, is it really our fault that we like/love these characters? Or the positions we find ourselves due to the way these characters are portrayed?. For instance you have movies like Aliens vs Predators(not a good example but it drives my point nonetheless) where you find yourself rooting for one bad guy(like you have a choice) against the other. Then there’s series like Dexter where the main character is a serial killer who kills serial killers(mind games anyone?). Then there’s my new favorite, Scandal where a man is cheating on his wife with the main character whom fans of the series love.

The lines are so blurred between what is right and what is wrong, I mean Dexter’s murdering the bad guys, but to kill without good reason is wrong(what is this?). In Scandal, Fitz no longer loves his wife but then again since he is still married to her, cheating is wrong. Nevertheless, the shows don’t really give you the time to think and analyze  that you find yourself actually rooting for things you wouldn’t root for in real life. It’s almost like they’ve sprinkled fairy dust on the sordid actions to make you comfortable with them. or something.

The dangerous thing about opinions of characters and their actions, however, is that we may start to apply them in real life. This walt disney quoteofcourse is not a new trend, and it doesn’t seem it will be dying anytime soon. An episode has justified why your favorite character does what they do, and you realize you have experienced something similar so you start to act that way too. It’s happening all around us, in people’s high expectations, in their low expectations, in their life-styles. In some way, acknowledging it or not, we  become tempted to mimic some actions because they look so darn good on set, and our favorite character looks so darn good doing it.

So have you ever asked yourself, why did I like that scene from that episode? Why do I like this character’s actions? Why do I find my favorite character so appealing? And when you have found the answer, depends on the character, does the answer scare you, or does it make you realize that there is so much about yourself you have to learn? Or is it really nothing?

Could it really be nothing?Really?

I believe there is always a reason behind every single thing we do,  accept or dislike. No matter how unfounded or well thought out these reasons are, they  shape us and our ideals. And until we understand why exactly we do some things, they will continue to control us and our ideals without us even knowing that’s the case.


Photo Credit:
Homer Simpson –
Disney quote –
The End –


One thought on “Do opinions about characters on TV reflect our character?

  1. They definitely do. First of all, we most often would choose the content which matches our taste and level of knowledge.

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