Why We Love TV’s Anti-heroes
Why We Love TV’s Anti-heroes
Stephen Garret, in his article, argues that ‘it is starting to seem as if bad guys are the only good guys’ in the society today as portrayed in the television program in the 21st century (318). Thesis statement: the society today views heroes from a different perspective unlike before good morals characterized heroes. Earlier on, heroes would do anything to make the situation right. This is not the case today. Most television programs portray anti-heroes who no longer do the right things. Hence, it is difficult for future generations to emulate this.
He speaks about the fading line between what is good and bad in the television by using various television programs. He can base his arguments on television police and medical dramas where the characters do not portray the good here aspect. These drama genres have dominated the entertainment industry today. Most of them are anti-heroes because they act upon what they think are right. They defend their actions to show their might and capabilities. This is very practical in the world today because most programs in the television no longer value what true heroes believe in. Rather, they do what they do to save the situation of the suffering people. This can be highly attributed to the changing views and perceptions in the world today of what a hero should look like and act like. This is the reason Garret argues and affirms that ‘it is starting to seem as it bad guys are the only good guys’ (319) This is discussed below. Examples used in the article have also been used widely.
Stephen Garret arguments are based on what he has observed over time in the society. He tries to bring it to the attention of his readers where he mostly uses rhetorical questions to challenge and provoke their thinking. Through this, they can evaluate and determine whether this is true according to most television programs with the aim of challenging the readers on why they seem to love the anti-heroes in most of the programs. For example, he suggests that “TV drama took to be a barometer of sorts of the age that gives birth to it” (Garret 320). This is because these kinds of shows are simply beginning to represent and reflect on the real situation of the modern world. It also shows how people and society, in general, has changed its views and perspective on what is right as well what we should embrace as the right thing. Some of these programs such as police and medical drama as he states today represent or sometimes advocate on some practices which are not legally right but at the end of the day, we consider these characters as heroes. They should be seen as anti-heroes because what they do and represent is not what the society considers as right. Rather, it is what the creator of the genre be it medical or police drama aims at achieving. However, most of these programs represent the current state of society especially when it comes to technologies that have been developed. This can either benefit or ruin the mentality of the audience. In most television programs, they are used for the wrong reasons to create a hero especially in cases where technology is used to hide or interfere with the real evidence in a given situation. He challenges his readers to evaluate various television programs and determine whether his arguments are viable or not.
The society has seen some changes in the television heroes, especially in the modern crime dramas. The author gives various examples to support his arguments. For instance, in the Hawaii Five, the main characters in the drama are portrayed as the true heroes but in real life they are anti-heroes. The Sparanos is also a good example where there is no true hero; rather, there are only anti-heroes who are murderous (Garret 319). To the surprise of many, most people like watching these dramas. This is because they are entertaining but they do not consider that they ruin their mentality and views on social issues. They have a direct influence on the behaviors and morals of the younger generation. This is because they try to emulate what these anti-heroes are doing in these television programs. He challenges his readers on why they love television anti-heroes yet what they do and portray do not represent the true morals of the society. This is the reason as to why he challenges his readers using rhetorical questions. He challenges them to evaluate the true meaning of the actions of the anti-heroes and whether they think they are right. Thus, they can be able to differentiate what is right or wrong.
Further, when he states that “No going back” he creates a picture in the minds of the reader’s one the anti-heroes make decision; they can never go back (Garret 321). Rather, they can only continue with their actions because it determines their future. He also points out that the traditional heroes are gone for good. This is because they have been replaced by the anti-heroes who no longer portray the perceived actions of true heroes. He gives an example of another program which challenges the current moral status in the society today. In “Mad Men and the Paradox of the Past”, Natasha Simons is deeply attracted to the anti-hero. Don Draper describes like a show that is about the unbending generation. However, there is a difference in the reception of the viewers. This is based on their political views. The conservatives watch with fear. On the other hand, the liberals show eagerness on what will happen next. This shows the impact these programs have on the society morals. This explains the current state of morals in the society.
Garret arguments are credible because his article is written in such a way that all readers can understand. He clears his arguments by stating that “classic heroes of the old are no longer fit for the purpose and never will be again in the world today” (Garret 321). In a way, this causes him to lose his credibility in most of his arguments which he had earlier tried to do and support. This is because some television programs such as the NBC Sitcom Parks and Recreation where Leslie Knope is true her still exists. Though she is a bureaucrat who messes around so many times, she tries to make it every time by doing what is right. For instance, when she breaks any policy that has been established, she apologizes and makes it right.
Garrett, Stephen. “Why We Love TV’s Anti-heroes.” Signs of Life in the U.S.A.: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers. 7th ed. Ed. Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon. Boston: Bedford, 2012. Print.