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A Response to Stephen Garrett’s “Why We Love TV’s Anti-heroes”

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In the reading, “Why We Love TV’s Anti-heroes” by Stephen Garrett, he points out that anti-heroes are becoming more popular than the traditional hero. Garrett states, “the word hero is abused in the news, the sports reports, and even in conversation” (318). For example tabloids recognize someone who battles a drug addiction and overcomes it or a substitute kicker for the football game kick the winning field goal (318). You see he argues that traditional heroes are “boring” and that there are no longer any more real heroes (318-321). Anti-heroes are characters or people who are just evil but still get the viewers to like them. When Garrett talks about anti-heroes taking over TV he uses examples like Tony Soprano to Don Draper who are all known for doing the wrong things but still retaining sympathy from the viewers. Garrett also talks about in his writing how The Newsweek bore a headline “Too Much of a Bad Thing”. The piece argued that because it appears on TV that no one can be truly good or evil, something they are referring to as an “anti-hero overload”. Garrett believes there is no going back to traditional heroes and that they don’t fit in anymore.

I believe anti-heroes are taking over TV because no one really knows what is going to happen next, they are always on the edge of their seat waiting for more unlike the traditional hero movies. In the text he uses examples like Grey’s Anatomy, the characters aren’t bad doctors but drama and medical issues makes them seem like they aren’t all genuine to their duty. For example, in the show an intern Izzy Stevens falls in love with a patient, for those of you who don’t know that is beyond bad and is against so many rules. Anyway the patient is dying and Izzy will pretty much do anything to make sure he lives so they can be together. She happens to try to “kill” him so he will be at the top of the donor list for the new heart, she actually does end up killing him but retains sympathy from the viewers. In their eyes she did all this because she loved him and she just so happened to break about every rule in the hospital and ruin the chances of someone else getting the heart that they deserved. As you can see she is not a cold case murder like some of the other anti-heroes that you know of but she still does things her own way to get what she wants. In a way she is doing the right thing by trying to help out the one she loves but she is risking her whole career and ends up killing the man.

When I think of anti-heroes I think more of Stephen form The Vampire Diaries, he is a vampire who is a couple hundred years old and he is living in our present time. He falls in love with Alena a normal small town girl, he has all the right intentions to keep her human and protect her from the other vampires who are out to get her. However in the process she ends up getting turned into a vampire and getting her heart broken by Stephen. The roles played in Grey’s Anatomy are nothing like that however, they fit the anti-hero role by being liars and being deceiving. While talking about anti-heroes and why they are taking over TV made me agree with Garrett, traditional heroes do get boring because in the end they always win. I do believe that there are still heroes in our modern world, we have soldiers fighting for the freedom of our country, no they don’t have super powers but they are still doing the right thing to protect the people that they love.

With anti-heroes it is very suspenseful, and we don’t really relate them to our everyday lives, we see them as characters. On the other hand, TV shows with anti-heros are very suspenseful and they do make you want to return every week and watch more. Society now likes the cliff hangers and all the possibilities that could happen if a certain character makes a decision. These types of shows are the ones that get trending on social media and that get nominated for awards, they’re the ones getting all the attention. This is a big factor as to why anti-heroes are so popular now than they were before, people can talk about them and make fan pages, send the actors fan mail, in the end it is all about the viewers.

In conclusion, Garrett makes his point about there being no more traditional heroes. Not everyone will think anti-heroes are a good thing but a little excitement in TV won’t hurt and obviously doesn’t. However, I don’t see anti-heroes as an “over-load” it is keeping people entertained so why not let society get what the want.

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