Monday, May 18, 2009

And Now, For the Anti-Crush

Wow. I seem to be on a Buffy kick lately! Character crushes on Spike, T-shirt allusions, and now... the anti-crush!

Maren suggested that I do a blog post on the anti-crush... that is, the seemingly innocuous character that you just love to hate. The writer(s) of the book, movie, or TV show probably thought they'd created a semi-sympathetic someone. You were supposed to like the guy (or girl) in question. Yet instead, you find yourself consumed with a fiery loathing every time their face appears on the screen (or page, as the case may be). Often, you are not alone. There may be whole fansites devoted to hating this character.

I think the best example of that would have to be Buffy's utterly bland commando boyfriend, Riley Finn. Why do we hate him so? I could go into a deep analysis, but that's already been done brilliantly by others. Jennifer Crusie put it best when she wrote an essay for Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show. Crusie said, "As the corn-fed farm boy, Riley represents the Beautiful American, light and peace and wholesomeness, and Buffy wants to connect to him because she wants to be Good's Girlfriend. But the relationship feels wrong: Riley wears a milk mustache while Buffy's hands drip blood."

Yeah, give me interesting blood over bland milk mustache any day. He wasn't intriguing. He wasn't Angel or Spike. He didn't fit the story, and we were all cheered when he left!

Do me a favor. If you're a Buffy fan, read that Crusie article. Then, I challenge you--tell me a bit about the anti-crush character you love to hate!


Kathy said...

Sadly, I've managed to miss the Buffy boat and have never watched.

From the photo alone, I can't say I'm overly impressed by the look of this Riley character. Something about him causes me to suspect that he requires extremely thick glasses when he's not wearing his contacts. ;)

Vivi Andrews said...

Dude, I hate Riley. But I love Jenny Crusie - thank you for the essay. And I love Joss Wheadon - have you seen Dollhouse? Firefly? Dr. Horrible? Genius. Pure genius.

As for my anti-crush, it's not a character it's a person. Tom Cruise. Skeezie. I love to hate him.

Mowgli said...

my anti-crush is George Clooney's character on ER. It wasn't until Out of Sight that I learned to love George. He always seemed like he needed a shower and a shave (a character trait that works quite well with some of this other roles), and as a doctor that bothered me to the point where I couldn't even watch the show. (which is why I don't know the character's name...)


Anonymous said...

Hmm. This was a tough one for me because I loathe Riley so deeply that I could not think past him to consider other anti-crushes (Seriously, what is he wearing in that picture? A knit turtleneck sweater?). He dragged not only his character and relationship with Buffy down, but an entire season of the show.
I suppose, back in my childhood geek days, the first anti-crush was Star Trek's Worf. He was supposed to be this honorable soldier, but he was boring and fairly dumb. I hated him when he was single, I hated him when he got between Riker and Troi, and I hated him when he stole Dax from Bashir. In fact, decades later, long after I stopped caring about the couples involved, I still hate Worf. He sucks. Give me Eric Bana any day.

Most recently, Doctor Who's River Song. Great character idea, dreadful execution. Smug, arrogant, self-important, obnoxious. The best thing about her was her death, which was actually quite touching.

On the page: Edward from Twilight would be the anti-crush. Never liked him. At all. Of course, I later came to loathe Bella, and even not like Jacob all that much, but Edward was the first. (However, at least in the movie, I'd take Bella's dad any day).

Real person anti-crush? Easy. Matthew McConaughey. Forever.


PS: Katie, finally caught a couple episodes of Chuck. What an adorable show!

Kate Diamond said...

Maren, I was always annoyed by how easily Worf lost a fight. He was supposed to be a big, tough Klingon. Instead, he usually crumbled under the first taser blast.

Sam said...

Since we're on Buffy, Kennedy is my anti-crush. (Can I call her that even though she's not my preferred gender?) I can only assume that we're supposed to like her well enough, especially since she's still around in the 8th season comics (good lord), but seriously -- how much does she suck? Willow has Oz, and then Tara -- two of the best characters, and the richest, most interesting relationships on the show -- and then she picks... Kennedy?? Whatever, Joss.

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