The Bad Guys? Why do we root for them?
Writers sometimes cause us to temporarily forsake their own morals, and beliefs. During certain movies and TV shows, people will cast aside their understanding of right and wrong and root for the bad guys. I have no problem with this; I just find it to be amazing.
I remember growing up as many did watching the Andy Griffith Show, Leave it to Beaver and My Three Sons. These were family oriented shows and generally taught lessons about being a family and making the right decisions when faced with problems. When we played as kids no one wanted to be the bad guy. Even the cop shows through the 70s and 80s were centered on the cops being the good guys and always triumphing over the bad guys. TV today is not this way.
Today we love to root for the bad guys. Some of my favorite shows are “Breaking Bad”, “Dexter”, “Sons of Anarchy”, and “The Shield”. One thing all of these shows have in common is the people doing bad things are portrayed as the good guys. It doesn’t matter what they are doing. I don’t want them to get caught. In all of these shows I see all the police as the bad guy. There are even cops on the shows that I don’t like because they are doing their jobs.
I wonder how the world would have responded to this sort of thing years ago. What if Andy Taylor of Mayberry was a one of the bad guys. Imagine the opening scene of an episode of the Andy Griffith Show. The camera is tightly focused on a mason jar of moonshine. As the camera zooms out, it reveals the jars are being loaded into a red wagon by Andy and Barney. Once they get the wagon full Andy calls Opie in.
Andy: “Hey! Ope!”
Opie: “Yeah Paw”
Andy: “Son I need you to take your wagon out and make these deliveries.”
Opie: “Oh Paw. I was going to play ball with Johnny Paul Jason and the guys.”
Andy: “”Now Ope! You can waste time with your friends later. Weez got business to tend to.
Opie goes out on his deliveries, and Andy and Barney begin to clean up a bit getting ready for the next batch. 15 minutes later Opie comes back.
Opie: “Paw I can’t make no deliveries”
Andy: “” Why Not!
Andy: “What! Where is this sum-bitch at? You tell me now Ope!”
Opie: “He is standing right out in front of Walkers drug store paw. Are you going to go smoke him?”
Andy: “Just you never-mind about that. Run on home Ope. Me and Barney will take care of this. Barney get the shotgun!”
Andy and Barney are watching this man; waiting for him to leave. A couple of hours later the man packs up and leaves for the night. They enter the aquad car and slowly follow him. They stay with him all the way back to his house. When the man gets home they watch him enter the house, and give him a minute or two to settle-in
Andy: “Barney you go cover the back I am going in the front. If this asshole tries to escape, you put him on the floor. I want to talk to him so keep him alive”
Barney runs around to the back of the house and Andy goes to the front and rings the doorbell. The man comes to the door
The Man: “Can I help you sheriff?”
Andy: “Well your new around here and I wanted to meet you and I thought I would come on over and introduce myself. I am Andy Taylor, that is sheriff Andy Taylor”
And with that Andy draws his pistol and blows off the man’s knee cap. The man begins screaming so Andy siliceses him be knocking him out with the butt of his pistol. He then goes to get Barney and the two of them drag him around and put him in the trunk of the squad car and drive off.
When the man comes to, he is naked and hanging upside-down by one leg from a tree. Barney has his balls with a pair of pliers so Andy can be sure to get the right answers to the questions he has.
Andy: “Excuse me sir? Yes now listen I know you are in a lot of pain so listen up for me just a minute please. I just wanted to help you understand that me and my deputy own all the moonshine business in this town. Now, I spect you won’t be forgetting none too soon, will ye? I want you to tell all your friends that Mayberry don’t respond too kindly to interlopers comin in and settin up shop here. Now, did you hear what I said?”
Barney twists the pliers and the man responds
The Man: “Yes! I hear ya, I hear ya”
Andy: “Well that’s just extra good. Barn, you can let go of his balls and cut this man down now.”
The next day Andy is fishing with Opie telling him about why it is important to rid their town of competition. Explaining how and why the other moonshiners are the bad guys.
Bad guys used to never win. I don’t know if they would have gotten away with that kind of television back then. I suspect they would not have. I realize TV is make-believe, and it is for the purpose of entertainment. I just find it to be an amazing thing when a writer is able to convince law-abiding-citizens to cheer and empathize with those for whom we hold in such contempt. Bad guys are bad guys, and we don’t like bad guys, but if it is on TV, we seem to embrace the bad guys, and give them a pass.
I wonder if some day we will look back at the shows we watch today as the time when TV was wholesome and good. I don’t know how much more debased it could get but I wonder if they wrote the other way if people might stop rooting for the bad guys. Maybe it is more fun pulling for the bad guys.
I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome.
- You can join the I Am Tom Nardone Facebook Group by clicking HERE. or ADHDpeople.net Here
- Or you can enter you email address at the top of this page and click the button that says “BE AWESOME”
- Or you could risk never hearing from me again and go through life without the benefit of my counsel, but what would be the