Friday, January 09, 2009

Eponymous Heroes 'Largely Dull'

From Dickens to Buffy, eponymous heroes of books, films and TV programmes are by and large boring compared to their friends and associates, new research* has found. Look at Oliver Twist – a do-gooder and dull character all round, as compared to Fagan and the Artful Dodger. Seinfeld's bland demeanour pails in comparison to George's neuroses and Kramer's wackiness. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is your typical high school boring blonde (her only flaw is her perfection) but her friends are cool, quirky and weird. Dawson of Dawson's Creek is dull as ditchwater compared to his 'lively' (read: sexually experienced) friends. Tintin's most interesting aspect is his quiff but his companions Captain Haddock (dipsomaniac) and Cuthbert Calculus (deaf) are over-flowing with character and humour. Even Tintin's dog, Snowy, has more personality. Jane Eyre, Herzog, Harry Potter, Gavin and Stacy, Peter Pan and Forrest Gump is but to name a few whose situation, family, friends, lovers, enemies or pets are infinitely more interesting than they are.

In fact, it seems William Shakespeare was the last writer to make his heroes interesting. In modern times, the blander the hero the better. Apparently it makes it easier for us to empathise with them. But heroes need flaws – maybe it's only in their choice of friends.

*By me

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