Open Thread: Characters You'd Like To See Less of in Fiction

What are some sorts of characters you'd like to see less of in fiction? For me, I'm getting a little tired of the male protagonist whose father disappeared when the protag was a child, only for it to turn out that this event (a) makes the protag an heir to a massive great legacy of heroism, pluck, courage, intelligence, etc., and (b) the father is probably still alive somewhere but just as probably won't make it through the course of the movie/book series.

There's nothing WRONG with the trope, per se, I'm just kind of tired of it at this point. Maybe just once the protag's father could disappear and have it remain a random, unexplained mystery or something.



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DavidCheatham said...

I agree, if you just watch this episode, it appears that Buffy's group is not only being unreasonable, but that W&H are better equipped to deal with the situation.

The problem is, in the universe of the shows, we know how Buffy's group actually behaves and that Andrew is an anti-social outlier, so all the objections there are really just that they sent the anti-social guy. (Possibly intending to send the only person who isn't a slayer that no one there had met, or possibly Andrew is just the best liar, or the most expendable, or possibly it is an insult. My favorite explanation is that Andrew was the annoying distraction/spy, just relaying W&H's research, and the intent was that the army would sweep up Dana before W&H found her.)

As for W&H, when someone says 'We can't trust you with that, because we don't trust who you associate with, and frankly, don't trust you', that can go either way, narratively speaking. A team of good guys has accepted a deal with the devil, and everyone else in the good guy community is somewhat worried about this. Worried enough they don't want to leave a possible weapon in those good guy's hands.

And this mistrust could be presented as a wrong thing in the story. It's certainly debatable either way within the context of this episode. But, they're right, as other episodes show.

And while the senior partners do not betray Angel that year, it turns out they had a plan to deal with him if they needed to. So much for him having the 'entire building'. So much for him really being in control. He was in control exactly as long as they wanted him in control. (And, no, Buffy doesn't need to know specifics, because that's _obvious_.)

I wonder how Angel would have gotten Dana back out of W&H's care during the final episodes?

Within the context of the season, working at W&H was a mistake. Within the context of the season, Andrew's claim that they had problems of their own was exactly right. And, heck, the music agrees as Andrew gives his 'No one trusts you' speech.

The episode was a way of _calling this out_, that other people could see the situation they were in. As also gets pointed out by Cordelia in the very next episode, then two filler episodes later, Fred dies, and Angel changes from 'Attempting to run that branch of W&H' to 'Attempting to figure out what the Senior Partners are trying to do'. (Which is what he should have been doing in the first place.)

Dragoness Eclectic said...

I'd like to see them treated as a problem - well, hell's bells, here we have The One who is genetically keyed to be able to wield the Zeitgeistsybel, but he's kind of a useless prat, so do we actually incorporate him into our resistance with an epic PR campaign and try to keep his field roles to a minimum, or do we just lock him permanently in the extra-sub-basement to make sure that no one starts wielding the magic superweapon in this fight?

There was a fairly good pulp scifi novel by Edmund Hamilton called "The Star Kings" where the far-future civilized interstellar empire had a massively destructive superweapon that was keyed to members of the royal family, only, and was more of a threat than actually used. Unfortunately, they suddenly had a barbarian invasion problem, political shenanigans & treason had deprived them of allies, incapacitated the king and started a fleet mutiny, and they really needed to be able to make a forceful demonstration of The Weapon to the barbarians and the traitors Right F**ing Now... right about the time the Crown Prince had hared off to his private retreat to indulge in body-swapping time travel experiments with some dude from 20th century Earth. Said 20th C dude was stuck in the Prince's body, didn't know how to get swapped back, and had to learn real fast how to fake being the Crown Prince, avoid assassins, and learn how to use the super-weapon that NO ONE except the unavailable/incapacitated royal family members knew how to use...

Dragoness Eclectic said...

Interesting that the 4 characters you actually name aren't quite that, at all, though Naruto comes closest. Goku is a complete innocent, doesn't know from pervy, isn't very bright, and is out there to win by virtue of being the best trained total combat monster from a race of lycanthropic total combat monsters. (Son Goku is Toriyama's retelling of young Clark Kent/Kal-El crossed with "Journey to the West". Also, giant were-ape.).

Inuyasha is part-demon, with a lot of demonic nature--he's not good-natured or pure of heart. He does fall for the girl pretty hard, but only after she's enslaved him with an enchanted collar to keep him from killing her. In one episode, we get a glimpse of the bones of his father--more Balrog than dog, for all that he's called a dog-demon.

Yuugi is possessed by the spirit of a ruling Pharoah of ancient Egypt, who tends to judge people with all the ruthlessness you'd expect of an absolute monarch. Yami Yuugi, who tends to take over when Yuugi is seriously threatened or stuck in a game, is not at all "good-natured', and neither of them is dumb or pervy.

Naruto is mostly everything you describe--except that he's got a seriously powerful demon imprisoned inside him, and that matters in later episodes. It's also why he's the outcast of the village at the beginning; no one trusts the kid who was turned into Sealed Evil in a Can.

On the other hand, three of series went on so long that I lost interest somewhere along the way, and I barely stuck out the whole arc of the first Yuugi-Oh manga. (Geez, can we skip the stupid tournament games and get on to the fate of the pharoah? Please??)

Dragoness Eclectic said...

IIRC, white-haired bishonen is a cultural thing that Means Something, but I forget what. Like in our older westerns, the bad guys wore black hats...

Will Wildman said...

As long as we're pretending this is TVTropes, that's an aversion, not a subversion - a subversion would require the audience to first be given evidence that the higher officials where going to unfairly crack down on Columbo and then not do it.

I like the sound of 'subvert' too, but its default use on that site is... egregious. ; )

Dragoness Eclectic said...

<a href=">Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor</a>

Dragoness Eclectic said...

I want something more like the old Avengers, where despite all the sexist fail, Mrs. Peel and John Steed were good coworkers who had each other's backs.

... Er, did you miss that they were lovers? All those fade to black scenes with the champagne & flowers, etc?

Dragoness Eclectic said...

Re: "The NPC Who Knows But Won't Tell"

Closely related pet hate: the uber-powerful NPC who tasks you with saving the world while apparently pfaffing off to play bridge or something. Of course, he doesn't give you any actual support or anything, just tells you how important it is for you peons to Stop The Evil. So why the hell aren't you doing it, Mr. Archmage, if it's so damn important?

Yes, we killed off Elminster in our Forgotten Realms campaign. ;-)

Dragoness Eclectic said...

Yes, this!

Dragoness Eclectic said...

The Stainless Steel Rat stories by Harry Harrison? James Bolivar Digriz is Hispanic, I believe.

Dragoness Eclectic said...

I stand fairly corrected. :-)

Dragoness Eclectic said...

Characters I don't want to see: Archvillains who are incompetent idiots (That's you, G1 Cobra Commander...), and the heroes who only win because the villain is an idiot. I prefer my heroes to win because they're, well, heroes, and not because they were the guys standing around when the villain shot himself in the foot repeatedly.

depizan said...

Is he? I can't take a look at my books, since they're packed at present. I recall some hints that his wife is dark complected, but I don't recall any that he is. (Not that I'm dismissing the possibility that I committed white-washing-by-assumption, mind.) If so, good on Harry Harrison.

If nothing else, it makes a good excuse to re-read the books once I've unpacked.

DavidCheatham said...

It is possible to argue that working at W&H is a good idea of Angel's. Frankly, the only real problems it caused were to Angel and his team itself (Presumably W&H would have accomplished more evil if he refused.), so it's a reasonable self-sacrifice, even if it's not entirely one I'm certain everyone understood going in.

However, that doesn't change anything about Buffy. It's not the job of Buffy to make sure that everything is going fine with Angel. She is not his babysitter. And it's not like they even decided he was their enemy and attacked him, or tried to foil his plans, or anything.

And we don't know of any agreement about the disposition of Dana. Angel said 'we' were going to 'contain' Dana, not keep her, and that 'we' included Andrew. That's all the plan we have. No one said what happened later.

Andrew disagreeing with Angel's unilateral decision that W&H would be taking Dana is not a double cross.

While you can make a reasonable argument that Angel taking over W&H was a good idea, it's hard to argue that having Dana somewhere that W&H knew where she was, and had control over her, would end well. That's only a good idea if Angel thinks the Senior Partners will not backstab him, or he will not backstab them.

In fact, I still don't think Angel's attempt to take her make any sense at all from Angel's POV. (Which is the reason I think, narratively speaking, the entire thing was a way for Andrew to call out Angel's actions. And I think we're supposed to agree it's a bad idea, regardless of the text possibly saying otherwise. But that's getting a little meta-textual.)

What is in the text, however, is that putting Dana somewhere that the Senior Partners know where she is just means Angel _then_ has to deal with that when everything hits the fan, which was obviously going to happen. And Dana requires active resources, so there's not any way of hiding her from W&H, the people supplying those. And thus not any way of hiding her from the Senior Partners. (The SP didn't even claim they'd not _spy_ on W&H, and have a representative wandering around his building he can't control that is clearly doing so.)

Rikalous said...

I believe Lunch Meat is referring to the Vimes household.

Ana Mardoll said...

Moderator Notice

Because I do not have the prerequisite Buffy knowledge to moderate this thread and because we are now firmly in the territory of trigger topics, including mental illness, denial of treatment for same, and committing mind/body changes on others without their consent (which is how I interpret the awakening of all other potential Slayers), this thread is now closed, with a polite thank you to everyone who contributed.

I've been meaning to watch Buffy anyway, so I'll try to get on that for the sake of future threads.

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