My son and I have dived back into Zumbo’s Just Desserts on Netflix. We’re addicted to anything to do with cakes and baking at the moment. Although we’re enjoying the creations, there’s one contestant on there we really cannot stand, and last night we analysing why he (it’s one of the men – giving that much away) acts the way he does.
Now the answer is either:
a) he really is an arrogant, entitled little twerp who thinks he’s King of the World and any comment that does not reflect his own warped world view goes straight over his head. (Reminds me of an intern I once had.)
b) the producers of the show have asked him to be the arrogant little twerp who gleefully claps his hands when things go wrong for other people and struts about like he’s King of the World.
We’re hoping it’s option b – for the sake of anyone unfortunate enough to have to work with him in real life if nothing else. This show is a race to the finish line, a survival of the fittest. As an audience, we want the tension, the drama, the suspense. Otherwise it would just be a bunch of people playing with chocolate in some strange Willy Wonka universe. Stories have a protagonist and an antagonist. The Good Guys vs the Bad Guys. For every Harry Potter, a Voldemort. For every annoying little hobbit who stumbled across a ring in a cave, a dark lord who wants his stuff back.
Sometimes the villains are the best characters. They have the coolest lines, the best powers (who hasn’t sometimes wanted to use the Force to strange a co-worker?) and by far the best outfits. Villains get capes.
There are villains we embrace. Villains we love to hate and sympathise with even as we condemn them. But sometimes they’re not real villains. Sometimes they really are just arrogant little twerps put in there for some tension. But that’s okay. Not every story needs to be an epic battle of good vs evil.
‘The good news is you’ll be in the story for a long time. The bad news is everyone is going to hate you.’
‘Do I at least get a cape?’