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(Memolition)   What is less well known about Jim Henson's characters is the fact that nearly all of the seemingly innocent, loveable characters suffer from some form of mental illness or personality disorder   (memolition.com) divider line 54
    More: Obvious, Jim Henson, personality disorders, Sesame Street, mental disorders, tv talk shows  
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5069 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 22 Dec 2013 at 8:24 AM (34 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-12-22 08:03:59 AM
...which is why said characters are so relatable to us equally-damaged meatbags.
 
2013-12-22 08:32:45 AM
Done in one.
 
2013-12-22 08:33:57 AM
As do all interesting characters in anything, ever.
 
2013-12-22 08:35:31 AM
And now for a RIC ROMERO NEWS FLASH
 
2013-12-22 08:36:33 AM
If you lack a disorder a mental illness or an addiction of some kind then you are a boring c*nt and all your stories suck.
 
2013-12-22 08:37:28 AM
 
2013-12-22 08:40:21 AM

LonMead: monomania... sadism... homicidal sociopathy...


Monomania

Doo doo doo doo doo

Monomania

Doo doo doo doo.
 
2013-12-22 08:42:10 AM
This crap again? Is psychoanalysis of the Hundred Acre Wood not accepted for your degree anymore?
 
2013-12-22 08:43:57 AM
Jeez.  You can't say Big Bird is schizophrenic for imagining Snuffy, and then say Snuffy is depressed for being gloomy and lethargic.  Pick one, dicksmacks, you can't have both.

Elmo is a child.  Children believe the world is centred around them because in most cases, it hasn't kicked them in the teeth enough to show them otherwise.

Also... the Count is a vampire, not an obsessive-compulsive.  Obsessive need to count objects and engage in ritualistic behaviour is well-documented in vampire lore.
 
2013-12-22 08:44:13 AM

rjakobi: LonMead: monomania... sadism... homicidal sociopathy...

Monomania

Doo doo doo doo doo

Monomania

Doo doo doo doo.


+1 to you, sir!
 
2013-12-22 08:45:41 AM

Mr. Coffee Nerves: ...which is why said characters are so relatable to us equally-damaged meatbags.


They sure are...
 
2013-12-22 08:50:21 AM
just
like
us
 
2013-12-22 08:51:35 AM
One of us.
One of us.
 
2013-12-22 09:10:59 AM
All the characters on Sesame Street are on work release programs.

slightlychristopher.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-12-22 09:28:43 AM

jso2897: As do all interesting characters in anything, ever.


teenage mutant ninja rapist: If you lack a disorder a mental illness or an addiction of some kind then you are a boring c*nt and all your stories suck.


I don't know if you guys are serious or joking, but this does seem to be the go-to recipe for every goddamn writer these days.  And no, I don't mean Sesame Street.

Personally I think it's lazy writing; if a character is destructive, especially self-destructive, then the drama writes itself.  The plot can go on for as long as needed, or end at any time, because internal consistency is not a requirement for insanity.  It also means there's little challenge in thinking through plausible yet entertaining solutions, since there's no need to create tension via an elevated playing field when half the time the enemy is the protagonist's own failings.  On the other hand, that vast middle ground between a well-adjusted protagonist and Mary Sue sure seems elusive to professional writers these days.
 
2013-12-22 09:35:37 AM

dragonchild: jso2897: As do all interesting characters in anything, ever.

teenage mutant ninja rapist: If you lack a disorder a mental illness or an addiction of some kind then you are a boring c*nt and all your stories suck.

I don't know if you guys are serious or joking, but this does seem to be the go-to recipe for every goddamn writer these days.  And no, I don't mean Sesame Street.

Personally I think it's lazy writing; if a character is destructive, especially self-destructive, then the drama writes itself.  The plot can go on for as long as needed, or end at any time, because internal consistency is not a requirement for insanity.  It also means there's little challenge in thinking through plausible yet entertaining solutions, since there's no need to create tension via an elevated playing field when half the time the enemy is the protagonist's own failings.  On the other hand, that vast middle ground between a well-adjusted protagonist and Mary Sue sure seems elusive to professional writers these days.


It's been the "go-to recipe" for every decent writer or dramatist since Euripides. There is no modern character any more conflicted or neurotic than Odysseus, or MacBeth, or Don Qixote, or.....
Seriously, dude - this is not some modern fad. Mentally healthy, well adjusted, fully integrated characters run railroads in Ayn Rand books - and they are boring f**king people.
 
2013-12-22 09:43:43 AM
So stereotypical characters that are made to be easily relate-able for young children would appear to have mental disorders when viewed through the eyes of an adult?

When the frack did that become something news worthy?
 
2013-12-22 10:01:33 AM

jso2897: Mentally healthy, well adjusted, fully integrated characters run railroads in Ayn Rand books


I don't think this is true. Let me go through my recent readings:

* Year Zero, by Rob Reid - Main character is a perfectly well-adjusted lawyer thrown into an insane situation involving aliens and copyright law (this is a silly, light book- hardly ambitiously literary, but it's entertaining)
* "The Merchant Princes" series, by Charles Stross - Main character is a perfectly well adjusted tech-journalist thrown into an insane situation involving parallel universes and medieval nobility, and even after surviving situations which should have triggered serious PTSD, she still mostly holds her shiat together.
Rant, by Chuck  Palahniuk  - Okay, this one involves some overtly insane characters, yet at the same time, the insaner the characters are by rational standards, the more sane they are for the setting- the title character is probably the sanest person that ever lived.
Master and Commander, by Patrick O'Brian - Now, Aubrey is a borderline criminal and a definite scoundrel when it suits him, he has a problem with pride, but he's still well adjusted- he has pecadillos, not mental illnesses.


I could go on. Personally, I prefer stories about well adjusted people dealing with situations that they cannot reasonably be expected to handle. I'm not interested in reading about poorly adjusted people- I avoid these people in real life; why would I seek them out for entertainment?
 
2013-12-22 10:08:10 AM

teenage mutant ninja rapist: If you lack a disorder a mental illness or an addiction of some kind then you are a boring c*nt and all your stories suck.


Actually, lacking a disorder, mental illness, or an addiction of some kind is, in itself, a disorder, mental illness, or addiction.
 
2013-12-22 10:10:31 AM

jso2897: It's been the "go-to recipe" for every decent writer or dramatist since Euripides. There is no modern character any more conflicted or neurotic than Odysseus, or MacBeth, or Don Qixote, or.....
Seriously, dude - this is not some modern fad. Mentally healthy, well adjusted, fully integrated characters run railroads in Ayn Rand books - and they are boring f**king people.


Uh, wow.  OK, if you say so.
 
2013-12-22 10:13:52 AM

IlGreven: teenage mutant ninja rapist: If you lack a disorder a mental illness or an addiction of some kind then you are a boring c*nt and all your stories suck.

Actually, lacking a disorder, mental illness, or an addiction of some kind is, in itself, a disorder, mental illness, or addiction.


So, if you're crazy, you're crazy, and if you're not crazy, you're crazy.

That's crazy.
 
2013-12-22 10:20:44 AM
 
2013-12-22 10:20:49 AM

t3knomanser: I could go on. Personally, I prefer stories about well adjusted people dealing with situations that they cannot reasonably be expected to handle. I'm not interested in reading about poorly adjusted people- I avoid these people in real life; why would I seek them out for entertainment?


Heh, I was going to let sleeping dogs lie, but just off the top of my head:

Jean-Luc Picard (before the movies farked him up, which tips off the lazy writing)
Danny the Champion of the World
Han Solo
Goto the Razor
Rocky Balboa
Bilbo Baggins
Arsenne Lupin III
Indiana Jones
Portia (The Merchant of Venice)
Marty McFly
Jack the Giant Killer
Jeffrey Lebowski (The Dude)
Tom Sawyer

Note these characters aren't minor or from obscure works infamous for being dull.  Also note we're everywhere in the genres, from children's books to fantasy to comedy to adventure to sci-fi to drama.  This is just off the top of my head, but I could probably compile a list easily into the hundreds if it wouldn't be such a waste of time.  Now granted a lot of these characters have issues, as without there'd be no story, but they're not clinically insane.

I'll also concede some of the best stories ever told were about people with serious mental issues, but there's a difference between a well-told story about someone with inner demons vs. using mental issues as a storytelling crutch.
 
2013-12-22 10:45:39 AM

t3knomanser: jso2897: Mentally healthy, well adjusted, fully integrated characters run railroads in Ayn Rand books

I don't think this is true. Let me go through my recent readings:

* Year Zero, by Rob Reid - Main character is a perfectly well-adjusted lawyer thrown into an insane situation involving aliens and copyright law (this is a silly, light book- hardly ambitiously literary, but it's entertaining)
* "The Merchant Princes" series, by Charles Stross - Main character is a perfectly well adjusted tech-journalist thrown into an insane situation involving parallel universes and medieval nobility, and even after surviving situations which should have triggered serious PTSD, she still mostly holds her shiat together.
*  Rant, by Chuck  Palahniuk  - Okay, this one involves some overtly insane characters, yet at the same time, the insaner the characters are by rational standards, the more sane they are for the setting- the title character is probably the sanest person that ever lived.
*  Master and Commander, by Patrick O'Brian - Now, Aubrey is a borderline criminal and a definite scoundrel when it suits him, he has a problem with pride, but he's still well adjusted- he has pecadillos, not mental illnesses.

I could go on. Personally, I prefer stories about well adjusted people dealing with situations that they cannot reasonably be expected to handle. I'm not interested in reading about poorly adjusted people- I avoid these people in real life; why would I seek them out for entertainment?


It helps that crazy people see crazy people elsewhere.
 
2013-12-22 10:47:54 AM
Cinema would never existif populated with ourselves and our regular schmo friends. Chracters make it work.
 
2013-12-22 10:49:26 AM
Arthur wasn't crazy. He was going sane in a world gone mad.

and what's sanity anyway? It's just a one trick pony, all it gives you is rational thought. But when your're good and crazy the sky's the limit!
 
2013-12-22 10:53:49 AM
I really think Farscape could have done without all those episodes that had chrighton hallucinating. He was almost a feasible exception to this rule.
I don't remember Aeryn being all that nutty though
 
2013-12-22 11:02:22 AM

dragonchild: Now granted a lot of these characters have issues, as without there'd be no story, but they're not clinically insane.


It's not even that they have  issues per se. Like, they try and give Marty McFly Issues in the second film, and it doesn't work. All of the stuff about Marty overreacting to being called "chicken", something they make big plot points out of, is easily the worst aspect of the films and the biggest hint that the writers didn't know where to go after the first.

They all have desires and goals. One consistent element of the characters in your list is that they mostly don't want to play by society's rules.

edmo: Cinema would never existif populated with ourselves and our regular schmo friends. Chracters make it work.


If your regular schmo friends aren't characters, you need better friends. If you yourself aren't an interesting character, you need a better life.
 
2013-12-22 11:19:56 AM

dragonchild: t3knomanser: I could go on. Personally, I prefer stories about well adjusted people dealing with situations that they cannot reasonably be expected to handle. I'm not interested in reading about poorly adjusted people- I avoid these people in real life; why would I seek them out for entertainment?

Heh, I was going to let sleeping dogs lie, but just off the top of my head:

Jean-Luc Picard (before the movies farked him up, which tips off the lazy writing)
Danny the Champion of the World
Han Solo
Goto the Razor
Rocky Balboa
Bilbo Baggins
Arsenne Lupin III
Indiana Jones
Portia (The Merchant of Venice)
Marty McFly
Jack the Giant Killer
Jeffrey Lebowski (The Dude)
Tom Sawyer

Note these characters aren't minor or from obscure works infamous for being dull.  Also note we're everywhere in the genres, from children's books to fantasy to comedy to adventure to sci-fi to drama.  This is just off the top of my head, but I could probably compile a list easily into the hundreds if it wouldn't be such a waste of time.  Now granted a lot of these characters have issues, as without there'd be no story, but they're not clinically insane.

I'll also concede some of the best stories ever told were about people with serious mental issues, but there's a difference between a well-told story about someone with inner demons vs. using mental issues as a storytelling crutch.


Han Solo was a smuggler and all-around scoundrel.
Bilbo Baggins was a coward and cantankerous, who had to be goaded by trickery to even leave his house.
Lupin III is notorious high-stakes thief.
Indiana Jones - Second movie. 'Nuff said.
The Dude was shiftless and lazy.

Those are the rebuttals I can think off the top of the head.
 
2013-12-22 11:21:30 AM
No mention of Bert's pent up sexual frustrations from being a raging closeted case? This would explain the outbursts of anger, Doc.

Also, step off Snuffy and Big Bird. Muppets gonna have to cut somebody.
 
2013-12-22 11:27:24 AM

LoneWolf343: Han Solo was a smuggler and all-around scoundrel.
Bilbo Baggins was a coward and cantankerous, who had to be goaded by trickery to even leave his house.
Lupin III is notorious high-stakes thief.
Indiana Jones - Second movie. 'Nuff said.
The Dude was shiftless and lazy.


That doesn't change the fact that these were all well-adjusted and successful characters. None of them were grappling with inner demons or suffering from mental illnesses.
 
2013-12-22 11:38:03 AM

teenage mutant ninja rapist: If you lack a disorder a mental illness or an addiction of some kind then you are a boring c*nt and all your stories suck.


I get what you're saying, and I don't disagree, but I must emphatically state that there's no one *more* boring than someone who constantly talks about their mental illness:

- sitting in a crowded shopping mall wearing a Napolean hat eating a bag of live dew worms: interesting
- blathering on about how long you've been on Prozac or about your eating disorder: more boring than watching paint dry
 
2013-12-22 11:39:28 AM
i264.photobucket.com

Oh no! They forgot me! Why would they forget me?!
 
2013-12-22 11:46:12 AM

t3knomanser: Personally, I prefer stories about well adjusted people dealing with situations that they cannot reasonably be expected to handle.


I finished Infinite Jest the other day. I think the only well adjusted person was the homodontic club limbed midget. And when the book just ended I was left poorly adjusted. I know it's a thousand pages, but it's a thousand pages and then nothing.
 
2013-12-22 11:48:32 AM
t3knomanser:  One consistent element of the characters in your list is that they mostly don't want to play by society's rules.

I wouldn't go that far.  Danny and Rocky are unconventional, but not in a social sense.  OK, Danny's father is a poacher but otherwise it's just a romanticized story of poverty by Roald Dahl.  Rocky's an enforcer but that's really just because he can't get a job otherwise.  Both would happily fit in if given the chance; the stories are interesting because they weren't given that luxury.  Picard and Goto are quite procedural; it's not that they deliberately go against the grain so much as they were put in crazy situations to bring things back to order.  Bilbo was all but dragged out of comfort, and the same could arguably be said of Marty.  You're obviously paying closer attention to names like Han Solo or Portia, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a pattern.  It's certainly not a necessity.

My favorite stories are those where characters are revealed to be, or develop into, remarkable by being put in unusual situations.  Bilbo Baggins would be the story of a boring old pudgy suburbanite if Gandalf hadn't dragged him out of his comfort zone.  Marty would be just another loser if the Doc didn't invent time travel.  Rocky would've been just another never-was amateur fighter if Apollo hadn't inexplicably decided to use him.  Han Solo would be just another smuggler if Ben didn't find him.  But most importantly, none of these stories would've gotten very far if the protagonist was too dysfunctional.  Rocky was stuck in a rut but if he was depressed he wouldn't have trained.  Bilbo had enough brushes with death to conclude how he'd have turned out if he was poorly-adjusted.  It was only because Picard was who he was that enabled the Enterprise to escape the very first episode of TNG.  A lesser leader (like, oh, Abrams' Kirk) going up against a whimsical omnipotent being would've very easily said the wrong thing and gotten everyone killed.

When I say "issues" I'm referring to weak but arguable cases that some on the list aren't quite "well-adjusted", at least by society's conventions.  Lupin is a career criminal, The Dude is a loser by definition AND admission, and Indiana Jones isn't a particularly realistic character.  But at least you don't get those scenes where a character does something irrationally self-destructive just to move the plot along.  Also, like the non-conformists, this isn't a pattern or requirement either.

I do get that this whole Sesame Street psychoanalysis was done just for humor value, but it's largely because jso2897's take on fiction is very prevalent.  Given the massive number of counter-examples I think it's laughably stupid, but in all fairness it is very common.  A great many people actually use mental instability as a litmus test -- if the protagonist isn't crazy, the story must be boring.  This mindset has dug roots into pop culture to a downright annoying extent.
 
2013-12-22 11:55:18 AM

dragonchild: When I say "issues" I'm referring to weak but arguable cases that some on the list aren't quite "well-adjusted", at least by society's conventions.


But at that point, we're really diluting the meaning of "issues". The Dude is a loser- but a happy loser. He has close friends, he has a life that satisfies him. The bookend narration makes it clear- the Dude is a hero. An absurd hero, but a hero who lives his life according to his own will. Career criminals, like Lupin, Han Solo, etc., are almost universally  welladjusted characters. They flout society's conventions, but they can get away with it because they are so comfortable with their own position. Contrast that to your more "gritty" criminal, like the characters in "The Wire". These people are driven to crime because they see no other option for themselves. These characters are the ones who we could make a stance that they have  issues.

The Dude is never going to be a suicide watch. Han Solo is never going to have a long conversation with his therapist. Bilbo Baggins is never going to start doing smack to escape his humdrum existence. Without the events of the plot, these are characters who wouldn't have an arc. They'd just keep doing what they do. That's life, that's what life's about. The challenge for an author is to make life  interesting, and you make life interesting by disrupting the routine.
 
2013-12-22 12:12:57 PM
I agree with the posts saying it isn't rare to have a troubled hero:

img.fark.net
 
2013-12-22 12:20:21 PM
Elmo is a pedophile.
 
2013-12-22 12:20:35 PM

t3knomanser: The Dude is never going to be a suicide watch. Han Solo is never going to have a long conversation with his therapist. Bilbo Baggins is never going to start doing smack to escape his humdrum existence. Without the events of the plot, these are characters who wouldn't have an arc. They'd just keep doing what they do. That's life, that's what life's about. The challenge for an author is to make life interesting, and you make life interesting by disrupting the routine.


Oh, I agree.  I was just pre-empting LoneWolf343's rebuttal; I saw it coming a mile away but I couldn't get the post out in time.  I think the Dude is quite well-adjusted, but if you look at it from the Randian hyper-religious wingnut point of view (among others), some twit is inevitably going to totally miss the point and argue that the Dude is insane because the guy doesn't have a job, a wife, 2.5 kids and a dog. . . even though a shocking number of those people IRL watch shows about crazy people while mixing antidepressants and booze.  They consider "well-adjusted" to be someone like Chief Marge Gunderson, who DOES have a spouse and a house and a job and a kid on the way.  Huh, Fargo must be a real piece of crap.

There are borderline cases like Luke Skywalker's daddy issues and Ripley's PTSD, but again, in these cases the characters aren't crazy to start with and at key points their impaired judgement doesn't cross into irrational or irresponsible.  Ripley's nightmares were a plot hook for the second movie; when awake she was hardly a prisoner of her own trauma.  Hell, in the first movie she was just another crew member.  Luke had quite a bad day in Empire Strikes Back, but when it finally came time to confront the Emperor in Return of the Jedi (which was an ordeal of itself), not even the traumatic truth had compromised Luke's morality to the point that Palpatine could sway him with something more than vague threats that kinda sorta temporarily worked before completely failing.  It's not like the story suffered for it.
 
2013-12-22 12:28:58 PM

dragonchild: Ripley's nightmares were a plot hook for the second movie; when awake she was hardly a prisoner of her own trauma.


To the contrary, her trauma is her fuel for the second film. Like all truly well adjusted people, she turned her adversity into her new strength. That's what the people who succeed in life do.
 
2013-12-22 01:08:53 PM
This is the Muppet the Henson Creature Shop made of me. As far as I know the only Muppeteer to ever operate it was Kevin Clash. And for the six minutes he did every single personality quirk and budding mental disorder I have was clear in seconds. It was an absolutely effortless transformation. Those people are really farking good at their jobs.

img.fark.net
 
2013-12-22 04:39:34 PM
All the muppets in this town are CRAZY!
 
2013-12-22 04:44:59 PM

dragonchild: t3knomanser: The Dude is never going to be a suicide watch. Han Solo is never going to have a long conversation with his therapist. Bilbo Baggins is never going to start doing smack to escape his humdrum existence. Without the events of the plot, these are characters who wouldn't have an arc. They'd just keep doing what they do. That's life, that's what life's about. The challenge for an author is to make life interesting, and you make life interesting by disrupting the routine.

Oh, I agree.  I was just pre-empting LoneWolf343's rebuttal; I saw it coming a mile away but I couldn't get the post out in time.  I think the Dude is quite well-adjusted, but if you look at it from the Randian hyper-religious wingnut point of view (among others), some twit is inevitably going to totally miss the point and argue that the Dude is insane because the guy doesn't have a job, a wife, 2.5 kids and a dog. . . even though a shocking number of those people IRL watch shows about crazy people while mixing antidepressants and booze.  They consider "well-adjusted" to be someone like Chief Marge Gunderson, who DOES have a spouse and a house and a job and a kid on the way.  Huh, Fargo must be a real piece of crap.

There are borderline cases like Luke Skywalker's daddy issues and Ripley's PTSD, but again, in these cases the characters aren't crazy to start with and at key points their impaired judgement doesn't cross into irrational or irresponsible.  Ripley's nightmares were a plot hook for the second movie; when awake she was hardly a prisoner of her own trauma.  Hell, in the first movie she was just another crew member.  Luke had quite a bad day in Empire Strikes Back, but when it finally came time to confront the Emperor in Return of the Jedi (which was an ordeal of itself), not even the traumatic truth had compromised Luke's morality to the point that Palpatine could sway him with something more than vague threats that kinda sorta temporarily worked before completely failing.  It's not like the story suffered for it.


dragonchild is correct, part of the reason folks can't see this readily is that we have well-adjusted people being put in extraordinary circumstances in fiction. People can confuse the logical reaction to a dramatic event, and the internal fallout from such as mental illness in our character. But if the writer is skilled, and the character is intended to stay well-adjusted, you are going to see them process their issues then return to balance.

It falls into the category of: "Not every one who is sad is depressed."

A good example of this would be Buffy, the girl definitely had her issues, but the show always gave her the space to work through them. She constantly ran the normal human cycle of pain, healing, and growth. But given what the character went through over the course of the series, she comes out well-adjusted and whole. Now some folks would say Faith was a more interesting slayer, but she really wasn't when she was being all wild-eyed and crazy. It was in dealing with the consequences of the crazy the character actually became a person instead of a cartoon.

Contrast that with Starbuck on the new BSG, who did crazy things because she was crazy, and crazy people do crazy things. She never grew or changed as a character. Freaking Baltar is more well-adjusted and shows more evolution than she does.
 
2013-12-22 04:50:04 PM

LoneWolf343: Han Solo was a smuggler and all-around scoundrel.
Bilbo Baggins was a coward and cantankerous, who had to be goaded by trickery to even leave his house.
Lupin III is notorious high-stakes thief.
Indiana Jones - Second movie. 'Nuff said.
The Dude was shiftless and lazy.

Those are the rebuttals I can think off the top of the head.


Rocky Balboa -- Multiple concussions due to years in the ring.
Tom Sawyer -- Pathological liar.
 
2013-12-22 05:31:53 PM

IlGreven: Rocky Balboa -- Multiple concussions due to years in the ring.


At no point would Rocky have been considered an intelligent character. While I stopped paying attention to the series a decade before the latest film, last I checked, he showed no signs of CTE or other sorts of cognitive decline.

IlGreven: Tom Sawyer -- Pathological liar.


He was just a liar, he was not pathological about it. Sawyer knew the difference between lies and truth, and chose to use lies to further his own goals.
 
2013-12-22 07:28:47 PM

serial_crusher: I really think Farscape could have done without all those episodes that had chrighton hallucinating. He was almost a feasible exception to this rule.
I don't remember Aeryn being all that nutty though


You get Pivot, too?

Honestly I'm seeing a lot of people confusing somewhat malajusted as bug-eyed whacko. Everybody's got basic issues on some level. "Mental illness" would be the Joker. Notable psychosis would be pedophiles. The characters from Sesame Street and the Muppets aren't anywhere near that. The entire article is exagerrating basic character traits that are already exagerrated for the purpose of storytelling for children. The root problem with this goes back to overdiagnosis. The author might as well be cackling about how it plans to destroy Scientology once and for all.

/Yes, I just painted Scientology as the good guy. That's how irritating the article is.
 
2013-12-22 07:44:30 PM

IlGreven: LoneWolf343: Han Solo was a smuggler and all-around scoundrel.
Bilbo Baggins was a coward and cantankerous, who had to be goaded by trickery to even leave his house.
Lupin III is notorious high-stakes thief.
Indiana Jones - Second movie. 'Nuff said.
The Dude was shiftless and lazy.

Those are the rebuttals I can think off the top of the head.

Rocky Balboa -- Multiple concussions due to years in the ring.
Tom Sawyer -- Pathological liar.


Ah, crap, knew I forgot somebody.
 
2013-12-22 08:40:18 PM
 
2013-12-22 10:42:53 PM
You'd have problems too if somebody stuck their hand up your ass all day long.
 
2013-12-22 10:56:02 PM

Boudyro: dragonchild: t3knomanser: The Dude is never going to be a suicide watch. Han Solo is never going to have a long conversation with his therapist. Bilbo Baggins is never going to start doing smack to escape his humdrum existence. Without the events of the plot, these are characters who wouldn't have an arc. They'd just keep doing what they do. That's life, that's what life's about. The challenge for an author is to make life interesting, and you make life interesting by disrupting the routine.

Oh, I agree.  I was just pre-empting LoneWolf343's rebuttal; I saw it coming a mile away but I couldn't get the post out in time.  I think the Dude is quite well-adjusted, but if you look at it from the Randian hyper-religious wingnut point of view (among others), some twit is inevitably going to totally miss the point and argue that the Dude is insane because the guy doesn't have a job, a wife, 2.5 kids and a dog. . . even though a shocking number of those people IRL watch shows about crazy people while mixing antidepressants and booze.  They consider "well-adjusted" to be someone like Chief Marge Gunderson, who DOES have a spouse and a house and a job and a kid on the way.  Huh, Fargo must be a real piece of crap.

There are borderline cases like Luke Skywalker's daddy issues and Ripley's PTSD, but again, in these cases the characters aren't crazy to start with and at key points their impaired judgement doesn't cross into irrational or irresponsible.  Ripley's nightmares were a plot hook for the second movie; when awake she was hardly a prisoner of her own trauma.  Hell, in the first movie she was just another crew member.  Luke had quite a bad day in Empire Strikes Back, but when it finally came time to confront the Emperor in Return of the Jedi (which was an ordeal of itself), not even the traumatic truth had compromised Luke's morality to the point that Palpatine could sway him with something more than vague threats that kinda sorta temporarily worked before completely failing.  It's not like the story suffered for it.

dragonchild is correct, part of the reason folks can't see this readily is that we have well-adjusted people being put in extraordinary circumstances in fiction. People can confuse the logical reaction to a dramatic event, and the internal fallout from such as mental illness in our character. But if the writer is skilled, and the character is intended to stay well-adjusted, you are going to see them process their issues then return to balance.

It falls into the category of: "Not every one who is sad is depressed."

A good example of this would be Buffy, the girl definitely had her issues, but the show always gave her the space to work through them. She constantly ran the normal human cycle of pain, healing, and growth. But given what the character went through over the course of the series, she comes out well-adjusted and whole. Now some folks would say Faith was a more interesting slayer, but she really wasn't when she was being all wild-eyed and crazy. It was in dealing with the consequences of the crazy the character actually became a person instead of a cartoon.

Contrast that with Starbuck on the new BSG, who did crazy things because she was crazy, and crazy people do crazy things. She never grew or changed as a character. Freaking Baltar is more well-adjusted and shows more evolution than she does.


Just my $0.02, you can have a good story with either a warped and twisted set of characters (Fight Club, Man of La Mancha, The Odessy) or a couple of regular characters put into extrodinary circumstances. What I just can't say is that Bilbo without the quest or Marty McFly without the delorian make a good story. Something has to stand out, something has to be a challenge. Something has to happen otherwise you just get Babbit and god was that a boring book.
 
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