It is becoming increasingly difficult to find a lead character in today’s video games, TV series and movies that isn’t in some way partially evil. The world is beginning to celebrate the “bad guy” and culture industry is thriving off the new take on villain. They have an ex-convict terrorizing around Florida stealing cars, shooting up civilians and bringing more crime into the community in the very popular Rockstar™ game Grand Theft Auto. They have a psychopathic killer disguised as a criminal bloodspot analysis working for the Miami Police Department in the hit Showtime thriller series Dexter. They have Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee, climbing the drug chain all the way to the top; while in the movie bragging about how you’ve never seen a bad guy look so good. What ever happened to the Clark Kent’s, the Mighty Mouse’s, and the Transformers that were there to stomp out evil and bring the world back to it’s peaceful serenity? Is the image of the perfect world dead? Has our culture accepted that the world isn’t perfect and that diversity, even if evil should be harnessed and exploited? The focus of our entertainment has shifted from all good-hero to the conflict of good and evil… where evil prevails.
The youth today, it seems, wants to flirt with the line between good and evil. Video gaming is an amazing facet for the people of all ages to live life on the wild side and perhaps on the dark side. Games like The Force and Fable allow users to choose, based on decisions within the storyline of the game, to be good or evil. So if players wanted to save a village from impending doom or slaughter them their selves, the choice is up to them. Games like Grand Theft Auto don’t even give the user a choice between good and evil. If, in the game, you are driving the stolen car around and you hit a pedestrian the cops begin to try and pull you over. One way to avert the cop’s attention is to find a car garage and steal another car, as to lose your “tail”. The second, and most thrilling option, is to get in a high speed chase attracting more police attention and eventually shooting your way out of jams. Then at the last moment the user is about to be captured or killed, you just punch in the cheat code and all the police ignore you were ever a threat. Police in GTA are actually considered the bad guys… they stop you from playing the game and unleashing chaos.
Television today has come a long way from single set, low budget stories of families trying to have good times, or getting out of trouble from the miss’s. Shows like the Sopranos dives head-first into the unknown fantasy world of the mob and allows watchers to experience what they think it would be like to be a criminal leader and the perks that come with it. Tony Soprano, the lead man of the show, is an awful man, he consistently cheats on his wife, he neglects his children and he murders his own cousin… yet somehow in the series you find yourself loving his character. Throughout the series you actually want him to do some of the terrible things he usually does because that character is the one that can get away with it. Yet we applaud a lifestyle of theft, adultery and child abuse; a lifestyle many watchers are trying to fight to exist in the “real-world”. Another TV series that is breaking borders is the hit show Dexter on Showtime. Dexter is an unusual character that from an early childhood tragedy is left without a conscience or any feeling at all and has an insatiable desire to murder. Sounds like nothing the Family Matters and Home Improvement generation would be interested in right? Dexter just might be my favorite show and I was raised with the two shows previously mentioned. Dexter is a serial killer that has a specific code implanted in him by his step-father that allows his murder appetite to be satisfied by murdering criminals that have slipped through the red tape of the legal system. Through the show you find yourself cheering on Dexter in finding the scum of Miami and putting a stop to them permanently. A modern take on the movie Boondock Saints where two brothers have a calling from God that they should kill the murderers, molesters and mobsters. The catch-22 of this idea is that they are guilty of the same charges in which they put the hammer down on these criminal low-lifes… yet we applaud them.
The movie industry is following closely if not encouraging the growth of both the TV series and video games saluting the evil that can be found in this world. Movies of young women falling in love with a vampire or a ware wolves, superhero’s that use their powers for personal gain and leading roles where the evil succeed and make it look desirable. The classic movie Scarface is still selling out copies of it story of the world is yours… take it. Tony Montana is a drug lord that through being a force to be reckoned with makes his way to the top of the criminal world. We find ourselves entertained and envious of the lifestyle of this character and the glamour that comes with vast amounts of money no matter how the money was attained. There was a book written a long time ago that once said money was the root of all evil… yet we applaud. So in conclusion, there is no conclusion. We as a society are always changing. Perhaps people are just bored with the A-typical hero cliché and are looking for a different kind of lead role. Maybe people want a real-life approach in their entertainment where the world isn’t perfect and there is and will always be a battle for good and evil. However, based on what we as pop culture are actively participating in, I am convinced that evil prevails.