So is Sawyer your favorite character on Lost? Do you love the fact that the seemingly tortured Dr. McDreamy is stringing along both his wife and Meredith on Grey’s Anatomy? Do you get goose bumps of glee whenever Agent Jack Bauer blows away a whole building full of people with a targeted missile?
If Tony Soprano is your idol and Dr. Gregory House‘s raggedy-ass bedside manner makes you cheer, then you must be…A MAN, BABY!!! A Neanderthal man at that, because apparently these hardened antisocial tv protagonists are your freaking role models and make you feel okay about your own morally-dubious existence.
Yesterday’s Sunday Styles section of the The New York Times reported what many women have suspected all along: that you men are brutish assholes (with a heart, of course) who love to act now and deal with the fallout later, maybe handing out a beatdown and/or killing or two along the way. Or at least you like to watch guys act like that on tv. Why? Because you can totally relate to them. You love characters who won’t hesitate to stab, shoot, or murder at will. Because that’s just how it be’s sometimes. Those guys on tv aren’t evil, you say. They’re reflective of real men caught up in the human struggle. Because every now and then, a guy’s gotta go all Tony Soprano on a mutha, ya know? Today’s tv antiheroes having nothing in common with, say, Andy Griffith and Perry Mason (read, straight-laced heroes who always did the right thing and never caved). Hell no. Today’s man can’t stand that kind of character. Too much pressure.
Here’s what the Times had to say:
The code of such characters, said Brent Hoff, 36, a fan of “Lost,” is: “Life is hard. Men gotta do what men gotta do, and if some people have to die in the process, so be it.”
“We can relate to them,” said Mr. Hoff, a writer from San Francisco. “If you watch Sawyer on ‘Lost,’ who is fundamentally good even if he does bad things, there’s less to feel guilty about in yourself.”
Not enough for you? Wait, it gets better…
“It’s about comprehending from an entertainment point of view that men are living a very complex conundrum today,” [Gary A. Randall] said. “We’re supposed to be sensitive and evolved and yet still in touch with our Neanderthal, animalistic, macho side.” Watching a deeply flawed male character who nevertheless prevails, Mr. Randall argued, makes men feel better about their own flaws and internal conflicts.
“You think, ‘It’s O.K. to go to a strip club and have a couple of beers with your buddies and still go home to your wife and baby and live with yourself,'” he said.
Hang on. This gets so much juicier…
Paul Scheer, a 29-year-old actor from Los Angeles and an avid viewer of “Lost,” said that not even committing murder alienates an audience. “You don’t have to be defined by one act,” he said.
“Three people on that island have killed people in cold blood, and they’re quote-unquote good people who you’re rooting for every week,” Mr. Scheer said. The implication for the viewer, he added, is, “You can say ‘I’m messed up and I left my wife, but I’m still a good guy.'”
How about that, fellas!!! The New York Times just gave you permission to go on a testosterone tear!!! Carpe knives!!! Get out there and bust some random caps in some random asses, then head straight for the nearest Scores, Spearmint Rhino, or shake-booty club of your choice!!! Blow some cash on a stripper, then go home and hug your kids. And if your girl gives you grief, just show her the article (the link’s at the top and bottom of this post) and remind her that you’re still one of the good ones—the New York Times says so!—although I’m not too sure she’s going to buy into all this.
See, I know why I watch Prison Break…
But apparently the male psyche is seeing something different. All that stabbing going on in Gen-pop, guards picking prisoners off with sniper guns, and the digging, the digging!! Men digging their way out of prison. Hmmm. Sounds like there’s a greater metaphor here (cough, “I feel trapped!!,” cough).
Girls, if your man is a little too fascinated by Michael Scofield and his merry band of escape artists burrowing their way out of jail, I’d be checking my relationship for cracks, if you know what I mean.
Just be careful how you bring up the subject. Don’t do it while he’s watching Lost, 24, Prison Break, The Sopranos, The Shield, Nip/Tuck, or anything on Spike TV, FX, or The Sci-Fi Channel. Hell, just don’t do it while the tv’s on at all, because if you interrupt him, it’s a crapshoot. He might be sweet and loving, reassuring you that all is well. Or not. Ask the wrong question at the wrong time, and he might get medieval on your ass. He’s just a man, after all.
And a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.