Sunday, August 23, 2009

1st Flavor: Big, Dumb, and Angry

Okay if you recall last night I mentioned how large men don't exactly have a wide range of character types in works of fiction. First I want to go over the one that you will most likely see: Big, Dumb, and Angry.

I want you to go check out this episode from the series XMen Evolution. If you aren't familiar with it is an alternate telling of the XMen in which most of the XMen roster (and some of their enemies) are portrayed as teenagers. I caught this particular episode on a few nights ago and watched it for the first time in several years...and this is what made me decide on this Five Flavors post. The episode in question introduces the character Fred Dukes aka The Blob.

Okay from hearing his name one can tell this is not going to be a favorable portrayal of a large male character. I supposed in order to simplify things for the television media his powers are reduced to simply having super human strength (Check out the wiki on him for a list of the abilities of his comic book counterpart). Super human strength is a basic ability you see a lot in fiction and is often the power of choice for large men (unless you go for shock value in the form of a small female with super strength but that's another story) however from there it pretty much goes downhill.

In the episode I mentioned he gets by by performing feats of strength at monster truck rallies. Why is he not in school you ask? Well that's because in this particular flavor of fat guys intelligence is a strict no no. When he moves to Bayville (the city where XMen Evolution takes place) and starts to attend the local high school it is shown that he has difficulty even reading his class schedule. Okay I don't expect him to have the intelligence of Hank McCoy but I am really getting sick of the belief that large guys are stupid. The center from Varsity Blues (well any fictional large athlete for that matter), Fezzik (the giant character from The Princess Bride), Duane Doberman (the fat guy from the Steve Martin version of the film Sgt. Bilko), pretty much every role ever played by Ethan Suplee ("My Name is Earl", "Boy Meets World", etc...) and the list goes on.

And of course when a large guy is not very smart what is thrown in to compensate for it? Anger. Looking back at the episode of XMen Evolution you'll see that when picked on about his size Fred goes into a blind rage. It's even to the point where if he so much as think that someone is laughing at him he'll go off (at the end of the episode he is tossed into a landfill and thinks the birds are laughing at him). Now in and of itself getting angry when picked on about one's size is a natural thing (I mean who actually likes being picked on about anything) but with Blob here he never gets past it mostly because this issue is never brought up again. No counseling, no efforts on his own, nothing. I was picked on about my size when I was a kid and it used to piss me off to no end and it still bothers me a bit as an adult. And I can safely say that if I had not learned to deal with such anger (on my own in the form of a "FUCK YOU!" attitude) I would not be a healthy person now. If you're gonna invoke the anger of being picked on in your fiction you can at least put in some effort to deal with it.

As you can see my thoughts on this are bit clouded but the purpose of this place is to straighten out my thoughts and to share them. That's all I have to say for now on the first flavor. I'll be back to talk about the second flavor later.