I know you're clearly not meant
to. You're obviously meant to react to him exactly like O'Brien and think he's a stuck-up so-and-so at the start, and then warm to him gradually.
I must confess he was one of my favourites straight off.
Yes, he was arrogant, which usually isn't an endearing quality exactly, but he wasn't arrogant in a hateful sneering sort of way. He didn't consciously
act superior - he didn't even seem aware of how his behaviour could come across.
He was arrogant in the way that a super-talented child can be: "Yes, of course I'm a genius, I know I'm brilliant, why shouldn't I mention this obvious fact?"
I'ts not like with all his enhanced abilities he doesn't have a reason to think of himself as smarter and better - because he is!
In other ways he was incredibly naive at the start, which also makes sense as he would've led a very sheltered life, progressing through various institutions. You get the impression that his posting to DS9 is his first taste of the real world and he's as inexperienced as he's enthusiastic.
It's that child-like quality (you could say childish
I suppose if you wanted to be unkind) that made me forgive him a lot of his attitude, in fact I found it amusing.
I absolutely love
his first interaction with Garak in the second episode of the series, that ridiculous wide-eyed "wow, I'm talking to a real spy
!!" reaction, that was just simply priceless.
I also liked the fact that here finally was a Starfleet character who wasn't so damn perfect
- no-one comes fresh from the academy and is a finished article straight away! I liked
him being flawed and less than tactful and a bit too full of himself; it made a refreshing change. Besides, even in the very first episode, when the station gets hit by the Cardassians and he has to tend to the wounded, you already get to see a side of him that's not
immature. He jumps into action without hesitation, this is his expertise, he's absolutely competent and he knows exactly
what to do.
As the character grew and became more responsible and aware, I simply got more fond of him, but I never disliked him. In fact I think he's one of the
best characters in all of Trek: deeply human, principled, courageous, compassionate, with a sense of humour, and to top it all off one of the most infectious smiles I've ever seen in anyone. What's not to like?!