Friday, August 25, 2006

So I started a brief discussion concerning favorite villains at the end of my previous entry...

... and I thought, "Wow. What a great idea for an article. My Top Ten Favorite Villains. I love villains. All kinds of villains, from film, television, literature, cartoons, comics, you name it. I could actually write about something that gives me a modicum of pleasure whilst I while away my hours on this gradually overheating lump of space debris. I would honestly enjoy that."

Clearly, that idea was not going to work.

So I have decided instead to compile a Top Ten list of asscrackers from the flip side of the moral compass...

Heroes and Good Guys.

I have always hated heroes and good guys. And I can honestly say that this is not some retroactive cynical posturing on my part. Ever since I was a mere five-foot-tall kindergartener, I can vividly remember being bored spitless by the many animated arbiters of justice and righteousness that I was bombarded with throughout my formative years: Optimus Prime from "The Transformers," Duke from "G.I. Joe," Link from the video game "The Legend of Zelda," He-Man, Batman, Aquaman, Spider-Man, Wonderwo-Man, and countless others that I have understandably evicted from my cerebral warehouse. It seemed to me that adults had only two key traits they expected one to possess if one hoped to attain any level of heroic stature:

1.) You must be good-looking.
2.) You must be duller than a week-old loaf of bread.

Back in my day (a phrase I hope to employ with irritating frequency as I age. Very slowly), male heroes were generally tall, dark, broad-shouldered, lantern-jawed, and completely devoid of any physical or moral flaws. Female heroes were generally tall, wide in the breastfeedin' area, wide in the baby-producin' area, wasp-thin in the lower intestin' area, and completely devoid of any physical or moral flaws.

A pause now as we hail the Grand March of Progress.

"Why," I thought to that young version of myself with the unflattering bowl haircut and corduroy pants, "must the good guys be so goddamned perfect all the time? Always noble, always brave, always invincible, always brooding, always winning, and never, never, never saying or doing anything even remotely humorous?"

I mean, seriously, what is it with positive role models who can't regale us with a dirty limerick to save their lives? If we met these people nowadays at, say, a seminar for Proactive Mission Statement Creation, Implementation, Revision, and Reimplementation, we'd surreptitiously glance at our watches and make a polite excuse as we hurried back to the open bar to freshen up our Black Label Johnny Walker.

Maybe we can consult history to help shed light on this painfully dreary subject. The word hero, I have arbitrarily decided, stems from an ancient Greek word meaning "free of personality and facial blemishes." This definition is somewhat misleading as most Greek 'heroes' had personality to spare. This is evidenced by the fact that they were all, almost without exception, complete and utter cocksuckers. For example...

Hercules: A thick-skulled, third-rate circus strongman who beat women, tortured animals, bullied anyone weaker than him (which, naturally, amounted to everybody in the fucking universe), went mad, killed more people and animals -- including his wife and children -- and, for all of these various kind deeds, was granted demi-god status upon his long overdue death. Gee, I wish the king of the gods was my dad...

Achilles: A self-obsessed, attention-starved crybaby who died immediately upon being shot in the back of the foot. As most near-immortal uber-soldiers are prone to do.

Odysseus: This self-congratulatory wiseass had the bright idea to piss off Poseidon, god of the sea, at the beginning of his journey home from the Trojan War ... a journey that would carry him -- yes, that's right -- across the fucking sea. And this genius was supposedly the brilliant strategist behind the Achaean forces. Naturally, the gods (being so fair and just and all) proceed to decimate Odysseus's unfortunate and blameless comrades one by one over the next couple of decades before reuniting the cocky motherfucker with his by-now wrinkled hag wife and chip-off-the-old-block son. Father and son immediately bond by killing a large number of unarmed old men. It's a very touching story.

Perseus: Rode on a flying horse.

I guess this doesn't necessarily qualify him as a cocksucker, per se, but, Jesus Christ, who does he think he is, Rainbow Brite?* You're a mythical hero, for gods' sakes! Ride a fucking dragon!

* I honestly have no idea if Rainbow Brite ever had access to a flying horse. It just seems like something the dizzy little shit would do.

As you can see, the heroes of the Ancient World were real pieces of work in their own right. But this is beside the point, which seems to have escaped me for the moment, so I will now perform an awkward segue.

An attempt has been made recently by authors, screenwriters, artists, and sports entertainment entrepreneurs to spice up the dullard that is the typical hero with the creation of the anti-hero. The anti-hero is a no-nonsense, cynical, take-no-prisoners vigilante who kicks ass, deliberately avoids taking names, and does this all under the thin-as-grease-on-wax-paper veil of heroism. The best way to convey the major difference between the hero and the anti-hero is to place them in an oversimplified, unenlightening faux political context, as I will do..........


The hero votes Democrat. He refuses to permanently finish off his adversary, thus allowing said adversary -- who suffers from no such moral compunctions -- to continually escape/be released from the local insane asylum/massively underfunded prison and proceed to ruthlessly eliminate half of New Metropolis City before being subdued and incarcerated. Again. Until his next successful attempt at small-scale genocide.

The anti-hero votes Republican. He has no qualms about wounding, torturing, and dusting off his adversary by any means necessary. This "means necessary" usually translates to wiping out half the good people of Outer Gothamburg before bringing his adversary to heel. This prompts an immediate retaliatory attack from the deceased adversary's vengeful next of kin, who proceeds to wipe out the remaining half of the city's populace.

The supervillain votes Independent. This enables him to pursue his dream of murdering incompetent henchman, possessing volatile space-age weaponry, and telling large numbers of people what to do, while at the same time ensuring that he will be represented by the very sympathetic ACLU should he ever be apprehended and asked to pay for his heinous crimes against humanity.

Enough. Now, on to.........


My reasons for reviling these fleshy, bipedal versions of balsa wood are all fairly uniform:

> their bland, cookie-cutter good looks
> their notable absence of any signs of wit or humor
> their frustrating invincibility
> their unlikelihood of failure in achieving whatever it is they set out to do
> their ability to always get the equally bland girl (or guy)
> their smug self-righteousness

Every one of the following entrants possesses at least two or more of these traits ... and, in some cases, all of them. So I'm not going to repeat myself (for once). Instead, I'll offer up a little tidbit of 'unknown' insider info, or sample dialogue, or whatever the fuck I feel like to keep you lifesucking vultures happy.

And I should point out that these selections are by no means in order of revulsion.

1.) The Incredible Hulk

Not to be confused with The Uninspiring Hulk or The Nondescript Hulk. Now, if you're going to make a monstrous being capable of almost limitless physical strength, you really ought to make him cool-looking, too. Some horns, a set of scales, spikes, rows of slavering fangs... Simply coloring a giant gymrat green just isn't going to cut it, even if he does own the most extensive collection of low-quality purple slacks in the known universe.

CLEVER CYNICKITE: You just hate him cause he's always kicking the crap out of The Rhino.

Good call, dickface. Yes, yes, it's true. I must be the only person in the world who thinks The Rhino is cool. Oh, well. Oh, uh, and in the natural world, let me just say that Rhinoceros always trumps Gorilla, no matter what color the ugly ape is.

I also hafta add: let's all hope and pray that I never acquire the ability to gain god-like strength the angrier I get because, boy howdy, that would get real nasty real quick-like.

2.) King Kong

Why is this overgrown distant cousin of ours even treated like one of the good guys? He fucking eats people on a regular basis. When he's not busy wrecking things on a grand scale, that is. I hate this double standard we seem to apply towards mammalian versus reptilian mega-monsters. Godzilla (who doesn't eat people) gets disoriented -- as any tourist in downtown Mugsville will do --, flattens a few dozen buildings along the way, and gets painted as a public menace for his troubles (mostly by Democratic officials, who don't appreciate him stomping on their inner-city voting base). People, come on. He's not deliberately doing this to torment you. He's a 500-foot-tall fucking lizard.

Oh, but noble old King Kong does it and everyone's like "Oh, he has such a deep soul" and "Oh, he loves Fay Wray so much" and "Oh, let's film a shitty remake starring Jeff Bridges." If gorillas are supposed to be so fucking smart, he should know better than to toss around street cars like so much confetti. You don't see giant dolphins pulling that kind of crap.

And what's with all these fanboys getting excited about the exploits of the Hulk and King Kong? These are just big, heavily-muscled humanoids. For adult geeks to get all worked up over how muscular and strong their heroes are seems kind of, oh, I don't know ... latent?

And for the record, outside of Hollywood, the Tyrannosaurus wins. Suck it up, fanboys.

3.) Hulk Hogan

Ahhh, the days of my youth. Many a night the family gathered 'round the picture box to watch some good old-fashioned sports entertainment before it was recognized as either a sport or entertainment. The WWF (not to be confused with the WWF) was (and, I suppose, still is) the male version of the soap opera. Follow-the-rules Good fought Do-everything-but-follow-the-rules Evil in a weekly struggle for domination of the square circle. Sometimes Good prevailed and sometimes Evil overcame, but one thing never changed year after year after year after year ...


My entire family hated Hulk Hogan. "Take your vitamins." "Say your prayers." "Rip your shoddily-made tank tops in half." Hey, Hulk, here's a suggestion: "Don't take your performance-enhancing drugs." Nothing drained the suspense out of a match like knowing that Hulk Hogan was on the title card. He always won. Always. He was the WWF Heavyweight Champ for like, I don't know, 85 years running. And how did he achieve this prestigious title? The powers that be at McMahon headquarters thought we'd buy him defeating Andre the Giant in physical combat.

What. The. Fuck. Is. Wrong. With. People?

I would have a hard time believing a fully-grown bull elephant would overcome Andre the Giant in a test of strength, much less Captain Handlebar. Still, they set Hogan up as their golden boy (as evidenced by his preferred color scheme) and we were stuck with him. For years.

And years.

Until the Ultimate Warrior beat his ass that one time. Without cheating.

Now that -- that was a good day...

4.) Luke Skywalker

T.C.I.'s MEANINGLESS BRUSH WITH QUASI-FAME #23: I took a theatre class at college with Mark Hamill's niece. She talked about how they'd see him at Thanksgiving once in awhile.

I have discovered that it is physically impossible to tell a story involving the guy who played the most boring character in all of science fiction and make it even remotely interesting.

Still, he's pretty kick-ass as the voice of The Joker in the TV cartoons.

But really, how could you not root for Darth Vader? Or the Emperor? Or Jabba the Hutt or Grand Moff Tarkin or Boba Fett or the abominable snow-whatever or that slimy thing in the onboard garbage disposal...

5.) The romantic leads in a screwball comedy

Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Katharine Hepburn, Claudette Colbert, Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Katharine Hepburn, Carole Lombard, Cary Grant ... these are just some of the names of Hollywood's Golden Era of actors who played the exact same boring-ass roles in the exact same boring-ass 'comedies' that the exact same boring-ass moviegoers flocked to in the 30's and 40's.

For those of you who don't know, screwball comedies were not nearly as fun as they sound (and if you're hoping that "screwing" and/or "balls" come into play here, well, pal, you are in the wrooong section of Family Video, let me tell you). The hero and heroine were supposedly charming and intelligent and playful and lively. In actuality, they were none of these things. They did, however, hate each other on some poorly-thought-out pretext that enabled the viewer to bear witness to their "witty," deprecating banter over the next two hours. At the close of this time, the combatants suddenly decided that they, in fact, loved each other all along, something the average audience member could have told them after a quick glance at the marquee.

DASHING MALE LEAD: I find you charming but insufferable. I shall tame you like the feisty philly you are.

FEISTY FEMALE LEAD: I need a stud to do that, not a jackass.

DASHING MALE LEAD: You're an obnoxious, self-obsessed proto-feminist, and I find that irresistible.

FEISTY FEMALE LEAD: I have no reason to be attracted to you outside of your transitory good looks, so I love you.

DASHING MALE LEAD: Oh, oh, uh, already? Hmm, I must have overcome my easily surmountable obstacles in the third reel, so let's kiss.

The End. Until the next entirely predictable, love-hate formula picture is trotted out to the brainwashed masses.

When will screenwriters learn that true romance (unlike false romance, which involves cads and villains and qualifies as perfectly acceptable entertainment) is only interesting when it takes place in the real world and involves one directly? For some reason, directors seem to want to pigeonhole me into this type of thankless role lately. But even if I wanted to play it, I couldn't, as it is beyond the scope of my acting ability to deliver tired, lovelorn drivel convincingly or pretend to find a constantly-bitching feminist attractive.

6.) Peter Pan

Recently, Peter Pan was voted Fictional Character Most in Need of a Major League Ass-Kicking by the T.C.I. Institute for Voting for the Kicking of Asses of Fictional Characters.

I hate this smug, hateful little twerp. I haaaaaaaaaaaaate him. I mean, Jesus, really, how can anyone respect this vile, irritating, pint-size version of Errol Flynn? I swear, outside of Wile E. Coyote, Captain Hook has to be the most sympathetic villain in the pantheon of evil entities. That guy could firebomb an orphanage while gutting a kitten and he'd still earn our pity for having to suffer implausible defeat at the hands of this scrawny, megalomaniacal terrorist.

Few people know this, but Peter Pan is generally portrayed by an actress on stage for the simple reason that a woman is far less likely to get set upon by pissed-off theatre patrons after the show. All the same, she still may want to have an exit strategy in place after the curtain call.

7.) Romeo (also goes by the name of Cassio, Ferdinand, Orlando, Sebastian, Orsino, Edgar, Claudio, Claudio [no, that's not a typo], Bassanio, Lysander, Demetrius, Lucentio, and a number of other clones that no amount of money could convince me to play.)

Once upon a time, there was a very gifted and ingenius playwright named William Delbert Shakespeare who decided to write what would become the template for romantic tragedies. He entitled it The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, and the two young lovers have been boring the ever-loving shit out of schoolchildren ever since.

THE GOOD NEWS: He dies in the end.
THE BAD NEWS: He talks for five hours first.

Let it be known here and now that I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for Shakespeare, one of my three most revered idols. Let it also be known that I loathe Romeo and every comatose character he ever descended from or inspired. Yes, I'm well aware that the stock pretty boy romantic hero with no discernible personality is not limited to Shakesepearean provenance (Marlowe, Sheridan, Wycherley, Middleton, Jonson, Congreve, the Grecian bores, et al. are just as guilty) and I also realize how important this type of character generally is to the plot of such a story.

Knowing all this, however, does little to quell the urge to amputate my left leg with a rusty chainsaw during The Balcony Scene.

And wouldn't it have been nice if the greatest dramatist who ever lived had the inspired vision to seriously and sympathetically present a pair of lovers who were -- gasp! -- not young, conventionally attractive, or in top physical condition? You know, like the majority of society?

8.) Disney Princesses and Heroines

If you happen to be one of those dumpy femi-ogres who bitch and holler at the media, the movies, the magazines, and the toy marketing departments for continuing to perpetuate an unrealistic feminine image for young girls to feel pressured to aspire to, you better not also be one of those cut-from-the-same-wide-swath-of-cloth soccer moms who lets her little girl collect garish Disney Princess memorabilia.

Because aside from the inherent, ludicrous hypocrisy of such a stance, the world has quite enough spoiled little fucking princesses in it already, thank you very much.

Sample dialogue:

CARDBOARD DISNEY HERO: I will rescue you!

STYROFOAM DISNEY HEROINE: I don't need a man to rescue me. I'm empowered and spunky! (trips and falls) Eek! I tripped and fell! Somebody rescue me!

CARDBOARD DISNEY HERO: I will rescue you!

COOL-ASS DISNEY VILLAIN: It's too late, you fools! My plan has already been set in motion. Nothing shall stop me now!

CARDBOARD DISNEY HERO: Aren't you supposed to inadvertently fall to your doom right now?

COOL-ASS DISNEY VILLAIN: What? No. Why? Are you going to push me?

CARDBOARD DISNEY HERO: Oh, heck, no. The liberals would eat me alive. You see, while laughing maniacally, you slip and fall. Then I nobly offer to save you even though for all intents and purposes you are a thoroughly despicable monster who has been spending the better part of the last hour-and-a-half trying to kill me. As I perform this very noble and stupid gesture, you -- quelle surprise -- try to kill me, causing you to lose your grip and fall to your much-deserved death.

STYROFOAM DISNEY HEROINE: Uh, excuse me, I'm being beautiful and thin over here...

COOL-ASS VILLAIN: Well, crap. (slips and falls) AAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ... fuck.

STYROFOAM DISNEY HEROINE: How wonderful! Everything turned out perfectly for the gorgeous young woman who already has it all. Yay me!

9.) Mickey Mouse

Here is a rare exception to the heroic norm: Mickey Mouse is short, unattractive, puny, and a member of the mammalian order Rodentia.

He is also astoundingly, monumentally, eye-gougingly not funny.

I have never witnessed this abyssmal and stupefyingly successful marketing ploy say or do anything that could even pass as mildly worthwhile. He's like a cross between a rat-shaped Boy Scout and the most uninteresting thing ever to exist in the five-billion-year-plus history of the planet Earth. In fact, the most noteworthy thing that can be said about this half-nude waste of animation cels is that his ears seem to be incapable of not facing forward.

Believe it or not, T.C.I. is actually fairly tolerant and even fond of children, but any product of your loins that can't wait to meet Mickey Mouse at Disneyland and/or world needs to be very gently and humanely euthanized.

For the good of civilization, you understand.

10.) Superman

DID YOU HAVE ANY FUCKING IDEA?: Everyone knows that Superman is susceptible to Kryptonite, but did you know that he reacts differently to different colors of Kryptonite?

Green -- harms and/or kills Superman. Despite this well-advertised fact, none of his enemies has thought to introduce it in crystallized form into the local water supply or fashion themselves a permanent pair of Kryptonite underwear.

Red -- turns him into a dick.

Pink -- increases his appreciation of Bette Midler and the musical Cabaret by 65%.

Black -- makes him moody and withdrawn. Tends to wear emo glasses and write poetry about self-mutilation on his MySpace account. Suddenly hates his parents.

Blue -- known to cause diarrhea, headaches, and fatigue. Do not take if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant. Do not take with red Kryptonite. Do not fly or attempt to leap over tall buildings while taking blue Kryptonite. Known to cause sexual side effects in 4% of the supermales studied. Side effects decreased when subjects stopped taking blue Kryptonite. Consult your superphysician before taking.

Hardly worth mentioning:

> Bugs, Buster, and Babs Bunny
> Tweety Bird
> The Roadrunner
> The Everyman in the movies that always gets portrayed by Tom Hanks
> Kermit the Frog (sorry Erica, but Jesus. Of all the Muppets you could have gotten permanently grafted onto your flesh... )
> Any and all elves
> The Rock
> Jerry (the mouse from the "Tom & Jerry" shorts)
> Any two characters who get top billing in a romantic drama, comedy, or dramedy
> Blade, Angel, that chick from the Underworld movies, and every other intense, brooding, curiously zombie-like vampire
> Robin (a.k.a. Batman's bitch, Bruce Wayne's bitch, Bitch)
> Pretty much anyone who's been a member of the Justice League of America at any point in time
> Steven Seagal (not sure that this one even qualifies as a good guy)

Well, that was invigorating. Nothing relaxes the mind, spirit, and body like meticulously cataloging your various hates. Go on. Try it sometime.

But don't bother telling me about it. Cause I really don't give a shit.

In closing, if one more mouth-breathing space-waster tells me I look like Superman, I'm gonna get angry. And you wouldn't like me when I'm angry...*

* Did you get that reference? Congratulations. You are a pathetic geek.

WHAT I'M CURRENTLY PISSED ABOUT: That my favorite celestial body, Pluto, is no longer considered a planet.

Stay tuned for the very first official naming of...

The Cynickite of the Month or Quarter or Whenever the Hell I Feel Like It

Coming or later.

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Blogger T-Mac said...

I think you're talking about Wrestlemania VI, when the Ultimate Warrior beat Hogan...of course, The Undertaker also beat him a few years later for the title.

God, I'm ashamed that I know that.


1:24 AM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

Welcome to the party, T-Mac. Don't bogart the Doritos.

Christ, you're a fast reader. I just posted this novella a few minutes ago. It takes most of my constituents days to sort through this self-serving blather.

And the day that Ultimate Warrior finally dethroned that headband-sportin', leg-droppin', "Brother!"-shoutin' turdgoblin was a glorious milestone in my highly forgettable youth.

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with most of your selections, but what about some of today's hero's:

The Tick
Brock from 'The Venture Brothers'
Dave the Barbarian
Rincewind the Wizard (Terry Pratchett books)
The Great Skeeve (Robert Aspirin's Myth books)

These are all hero's we can sit back and laugh at as they save the world.

Keep up the struggle,

Sgt Mellors

9:00 AM  
Blogger Patelicious said...

Please don't forget that smug visage of The Law, Horatio Caine from CSI: Miami. I don't know why it's so difficult to separate the character from the actor, but David Caruso needs a swift kick in the crotch.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...


The Tick is a prime example of a heroic character done right. You are remarkably wise, as befits your remarkably advanced years.


Man, you know, I watched only one episode of CSI: Miami (I am of the rare opinion that police procedurals are about as fascinating as paging through Tax Code manuals) and I have to completely concur with your method of handling David Caruso. Jesus, the man is so pleased with himself you'd think he had the cure for cancer listed under Special Achievements on his resume.

4:17 PM  

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