April 28, 2010 | By: Tracy

The Ultimate Villain

My struggling Baltimore Orioles won their 4th game of the season last night. You know what's even better than the victory? It's WHO they beat -- the New York Yankees.

When it comes to baseball fans, and their thoughts on the Bronx Bombers, there are two groups:  You either LOVE the Yankees, or you HATE the Yankees.   

In the world of baseball, the team is non-affectionately known as The Evil Empire. (In most sports, despite long-standing rivalries, there is always ONE team that most fans love to hate more than any other).  

The Yankees play the role of the ultimate villain. They spend the most money, buy the best players, have a long history of winning championships, and carry a swagger into each game as though they expect  to win. It's easy to cast them in the role as the big, bad bully on the MLB playground. 

Are the Yankees all bad? As much as it pains me to say this - No, they're not. But it adds an extra level of excitement when you beat a foe. 

As humans, we almost always need a Good Guy and a Bad Guy (though sometimes the "bad guy" is a situation rather than a person, ie. cancer, earthquake, etc).  to give us true motivation.

There may be other instances -  I'm drawing a blank right now - where I've been sympathetic to the villain's plight. Although the only "Bad Guy" I can recall actively rooting for is the Wylie Coyote. No lie, I wanted him to catch that damned Road Runner with his condescending "MEEP, MEEP!" like you wouldn't believe!!

More than anything, I get sucked into books and movies where the villain is someone I loathe. When I can put myself in the place of the hero/heroine, and imagine myself willing to do whatever it takes to beat the "Bad Guy", I'm likely to enjoy the experience much more.

I have a couple of my own favorites; villains I love to hate, but I want to hear from you guys. Let's put together a big list - for tomorrow's post - of ideas for great villains to check out (or revisit) in our spare time. An Ultimate Villians list. So give me your thoughts...

Who are your favorite Bad Guys? What character has made your skin crawl, or left you wanting to physically hit something? They can be from books, movies, television shows or songs, whatever.  Just let me know who you love to hate and where they're from!

4 witty remarks:

Bohemienne said...

HAH! I am a Yankees fan--I gotta have SOME winning team to root for, since the Nats will never do it. :P But then I love villains!

Your point about Wile E. Coyote is a good one though. The main character of my semi-finished ms (I hesitate to call her a protagonist) becomes pretty insidious and dastardly, but I'm trying to do it in a way that readers will root for her despite themselves. She may be a villain, but she's not the WORST villain in the book by far!

My favorites? Oh, wow. Mandark, Jafar, Milificent were definitely my first loves! I think Melisande Shahrizai in KUSHIEL'S DART is brilliant. And all the wicked Bond villains and villainesses! How can you not love Blofeld and Jaws?!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I wholeheartedly agree *wild applause* with you about the Yankees. There is a erason we have the saying, "Damn Yankees!" (and it isn't just history related).

Villains? Hmmm... the obvious, Voldemort, of course. I also love to hate Capricorn from Inkheart and Professor Crawford from the movie Finding Forrester.

Shelley Sly said...

I grew up right outside NYC, and while everyone loved the Yankees, I absolutely despise them. But you're right, it's fun to have a "bad guy" to boo at. :)

As for villains I love to hate... Anyone arrogant or cocky really gets me. Since my favorite story is Beauty & The Beast, I'll mention Gaston as an example. He's got a whole song dedicated to his supposed awesomeness. :-P

Terry Towery said...

Yes, the Yankees suck. So do the Cardinals. In football, the Dallas Cowboys are right up there, too.

As far as fictional villians go, I'm drawing a blank. But I would say that Dr. Bob Kelso on Scrubs is one hilarious bad guy that I secretly like. ;)

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