Fictional Character Sociopathy Debate Thread

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Jirin Actin Kinda Sus, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. Jirin Actin Kinda Sus

    Jirin Actin Kinda Sus Admiral Admiral

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    I was originally going to make a thread "Best sociopaths". But then when I was thinking up my list I realized, once you get through the explicit sociopaths like Vilanelle or Dexter, there's a whole lot of debatable inclusions. That was the direction the thread was heading in anyway, so let's make it a debate thread.

    Let's confine this thread to fictional characters who are human or biologial humanoids. (So vulcans, klingons, dwarves and elves, but no vampires, demons or machines).

    Also, only ones you think are debatable. And no real humans, because that will make the thread super political immediately.

    -Greg House:

    This one is a tough one, because 90% of the time he's written like a sociopath, and I'm pretty sure Hugh Laurie considers him one. But then a lot of the major plot arcs are concluded with acts of self sacrifice. Letting Stacy go, giving up his medical license to be there for Wilson. Almost like there's disagreement among the writing staff whether House really does care for others. Or if he's actually just a narcissist, who is capable of caring for others but only through the lens of his own needs. I would probably vote for narcissism.

    -The Office: Todd Packer, Ryan, Kelly, Creed, Jan, Robert California

    It's scary how many candidates there are in The Office for sociopathy. With Todd, California and Creed, it's almost 100% certain. Then with Ryan and Jan, if you look at them in seasons 1-3 you would say clearly no, but if you look at them in later seasons you would say clearly yes. And Kelly you could say is a narcissist but not a sociopath.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2020
  2. MrPicard

    MrPicard Jean-Luc's Loving Husband Premium Member

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    I'd name JR Ewing from Dallas.
     
  3. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Dr. Smith from Lost in Space, both the original and the current remake.
     
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  4. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hannibal Lecter and Tom Ripley are the two that leap quickest to mind.
    And seeing as this is a Trek board, I think you could make a pretty strong case for Gul Dukat.

    Edit. Yeah, I totally misread the intended direction of the thread. My bad. There's no real debate when it comes to Hannibal and Ripley, and in my mind very little for Dukat either though I've seen many people who would argue he wasn't so bad.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
  5. Foxhot

    Foxhot Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Joan Ferguson from WENTWORTH. You literally have to watch your tongue whilst dealing with her.
     
  6. Jirin Actin Kinda Sus

    Jirin Actin Kinda Sus Admiral Admiral

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    I didn’t mention Dukat because I don’t think there is debate. :)

    Maybe you could make some argument against by bringing up Ziyal.

    I guess there is more debate with Winn.

    Gaius Baltar and Tom Zarek are two from NuBSG where there’s lots of evidence for and only a little bit against.
     
  7. The HorrOrville

    The HorrOrville Admiral Admiral

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    Jonah from "Veep" is a favorite of mine. This guy's emotions could twist dark on a dime.

    Tony Soprano=I guess any of the mobsters in film history would qualify but I wanted to go with him.

    Jerry Seinfeld=The character does have a moral compass much like Dexter but it seems like it's more like he has created a series of self made rules that makes sense and follows them but he is very cold with his friends. He finds humor in their suffering but hides it through his humor. He see's the world only in how it effects him.


    Jason
     
  8. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Dan Fielding from Night Court. :D
     
  9. Jirin Actin Kinda Sus

    Jirin Actin Kinda Sus Admiral Admiral

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    Is there any question whether the Sopranos cast are sociopaths? Melfi concluded Tony was at the end, but you don’t have to be in order to be a murderer. It’s possible he’s neurologically capable of empathy but his environment trained him not to act on it. Like with soldiers.

    There's many individual cases where Tony seems to genuinely feel bad about what he's doing, but just does them anyway. Enough that I might say he's not a sociopath, he's totally capable of feeling empathy and chooses not to act on it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
  10. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    One of the great margin cases is Peter Dragon from Action. He nearly gave his teenage daughter to a rich Arab in exchange for film financing. (Although it's unclear whether he would have actually gone through with it. He took a pet falcon instead.) He ordered his uncle to murder a screenwriter. And in the final episode, when the Rothstein brothers ask to have sex with Wendy in exchange for releasing the rights to a script, Peter initially says no until Wendy talks him into it. But then, after doing the deed, when Wendy has decided she's had enough, they have this conversation:
    Peter: "So you're quitting show business just because you had to fuck a couple of fat guys to get a script back? I think you're overreacting."
    Wendy: "I know you do. That's why I'm quitting."

    Another fictional showbiz sociopath would have to be Richard Strong from Made in Canada. It's been a while since I've seen anything but the first season of that show. But in just those 6 episodes...
    • He drugged his brother-in-law and framed him for sexual harassment in order to take his job.
    • He gave Veronica the idea to get Lisa fired. Then he had sex with a distraught Lisa, never told her what he knew about how Veronica got her fired, and videotaped the sex without her consent.
    • He suggested that Walter Franklin get a hair transplant in Mexico, which led to Walter's death. (It's unclear whether Richard intended for Walter to die when he made the suggestion but he certainly turned the situation to his advantage through insider trading.)
    • He used his mother's house as collateral to buy stock in Pyramid Productions. "If the stock goes in the toilet, she'll just have to move in with my sister. She can't live with me."
    • He made sure to hire only the dumbest people so that they could never threaten his job. Then he'd throw them under the bus whenever he needed a scapegoat.
    • He hired a disgruntled former employee to whack an actor in the kneecap just to embarrass Victor.
     
  11. Jirin Actin Kinda Sus

    Jirin Actin Kinda Sus Admiral Admiral

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    That's a case where it's hard to tell between a person who suppresses their empathy because they're in a culture that penalizes empathy and a person who actually has no empathy.

    In Silicon Valley, Gavin is explicitly a sociopath, Russ Hanneman is almost certainly one. Then there's also a lot of those "Professionalism or sociopathy" questions. Lori Breem and a bunch of the people who appeared briefly like Kenan or Jack Barker.

    There are a lot of careers where to be successful, you need to act purely logically and opportunistically or without empathy. It's a major philosophical question, do those careers attract sociopaths, or do they just train normal people to act like them?