The Vast Wasteland

Sheila's rantings, most likely of no interest, on TV, movies, books, music, etc.

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

I live in Seattle, am married, have two cats (one is a genius, the other insane), and am a mild-mannered copy editor by day. I love horseback riding, coffee, reading, TV, movies, music, playing (too much) World of Warcraft, and lying on the couch. This isn't a personal blog, but rather a place for me to vent about movies, TV shows, books, music, etc. Thanks for checking in!

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Best (Male) Jerks on TV

When I was student teaching, I mentioned to my master teacher that I didn't like Wuthering Heights because all the characters annoyed me. They were irrational and immature. Her comment: "Well, I wouldn't invite any of them over for tea, but they're wonderful characters."

So, in honor of Mrs. Bedtelyon, here's a list of male TV characters I wouldn't want over for tea, but that I enjoy watching. (It's a small list--any suggestions?) I'll do female characters later.

1. Dr. Gregory House (House). He's a racist, sexist, sarcastic drug addict. He's also a genius. It's heartbreaking--but oh so fun--to watch him self destruct. I especially love when he's nasty to his "cottages" (the doctors-in-training who are assigned to him).

2. Logan Ecchols (Veronica Mars). A spoiled rich boy, Logan's snark and bad behavior can be partially explained by the bad year he's been having. (His dad slept with and murdered his girlfriend; his dad is in jail; his mom committed suicide (maybe--I'm still not convinced); his new crush, Veronica, dumps him and later dates his best friend; his huge house is burned down.) He's an appealing character because his sarcasm is perfectly delivered, and his nihilism is absolute--yet he still looks like a wounded puppy dog. However, he's merciless if he doesn't like you.

3. Spike, AKA William the Bloody (Buffy and Angel). Note: I'm talking about seasons 2 and 3 Spike, not the declawed, oversexed, champion-of-the-world Spike of later years. Remember early Spike, who was so deadly, cruel, and FUNNY? Yeah. He was a great jerk--the perfect combination of scary and sexy.

4. Ripley Holden (Viva Blackpool). This BBC series describes itself as a "drama, mystery, thriller, and musical." Ripley is the main character, a casino owner whose plans and schemes are unrealistic. He might be more of a tragic figure than a jerk, actually, but his callous (yet caring, in his own way) treatment of his family makes me include him here. He's blustery, cruel, hypocritical, rash, and unlikable--yet hypnotic.

I thought about adding Locke to this list (from Lost), but he's not really a jerk--more eccentric. And I don't like Sawyer (he's a bit one-dimensional for me), so no one from Lost made the list.


Blogger John said...

Not a jerk, per se. To me a jerk is just a undeveloped villain. And so, I nominate Gaius Baltar from BSG.

Craven, weak willed, whiney, but has that manic rat-in-a-trap quality that makes you wonder who exactly he'll sell out for his survival. He's smart enough to keep one step ahead of his lies, and we can't be sure if the underwater-model cylon in his head is really there or if his warped conscience is tormenting him.

As for Logan, he struck me as a darksider version of Duncan, who is only on the lightside because of having parents around for him. Well, parents who didn't jump off bridges and kill high school girls.

Not to be too cliche, but the bridge bit at the end of Season One was a plea for help. For all his nihilism, he needs something to ground him, something to keep him in the world. He's very feral when he's betrayed, and he'll go about destroying everyone around him if he feels he has nothing to live for. He hopes, I figure, someone will kill him to put him out of his misery.

12/06/2005 10:30 AM  
Blogger Magnolia said...

Dr. House and Logan Echolls are two of my favorite TV characters ever, and you're right, I doubt I would invite either of them over for tea. They're both pretty much jerks, angry at the world and taking it out on everyone around them. But they are hugely entertaining, and both actors bring a lot of charisma to the roles, which of course helps.

In response to the comment above, I agree that Logan's dance on the bridge was sort of a plea for help, but really it was just his way of tempting fate. I don't think he cared whether he lived or died, but he wasn't quite ready to jump.

This season, though, with his reaction to get getting kidnaped and tortured with the Russian roulette, I think he finally figured out that he actually does want to live and he's going to take steps to make his life better. Including his relationship with Veronica. Working with Weevil is the first step in that direction, and maybe we'll start to see a kinder, gentler Logan in the coming episodes. I hope. Although still with the biting wit, of course, because he's Logan.

12/06/2005 2:58 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Thanks, both of you, for the comments. Magnolia, I agree that both HL and JD are brilliant actors, and I think that's why I *love* both House and Logan--when normally I'd find their personalities annoying. Both HL and JD bring a depth and humanity to their characters--without ever lapsing into too much sentimentality. (If that's a word!)

12/07/2005 4:00 PM  
Blogger Magnolia said...

I had to come back to say: After last night's episode of VM, I think Logan Echolls may be my most favorite TV character ever. In what was a very weak episode overall, Logan's scene in the hotel suite is one to remember.

Boy, can JD sell the big emotional scenes. Somebody give that guy an award or something.

12/08/2005 11:27 AM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Oh, I know. I couldn't *breath* during that scene. So heartbreaking! Such a wonderful performance.

12/08/2005 1:15 PM  

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