1. Oldmanofthemountain

    Oldmanofthemountain Active Member

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    What are your least favorite "Unintentionally Unsympathetic" characters?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Oldmanofthemountain, Dec 10, 2020.

    What TV Tropes labels as "Unintentionally Unsympathetic" characters, is rather self explanatory. Basically it refers to any characters that audience are supposed to root for (and more often then not, declared to be in the right by the narrative), but their actions and behaviors within the work are often quite contrary to that. In other words, what are some particular characters (with the exception of Christian Grey of 50 Shades of Grey and Bella from Twilight, as they are pretty much low hanging fruit as this point) that are meant to be rooted for, but you can't help but despise them? What has led to your disdain of those characters?
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2020
  2. Kalisto

    Kalisto Senior Member

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    That would be probably every Marvel and Indy comic written today. Just today I watched a review on a comic called Alienated. I would never let my kids read that trash. You're supposed to be sympathetic to the two protagonists, but they literally are using their alien powers to torture people! And they kill at least one person. But you're supposed to feel sorry for that them because they had a "hard life." It was just appalling!

    There was also the Law and Order: SVU episode "Alien." Girl is raised by a lesbian couple. The girl basically cripples a kid for life because he cut her hair. And you're supposed to feel sorry for the girl. I could not believe I was watching that. Especially since SVU, normally was so well written with its depictions of diverse characters, particularly its depiction of trans characters. (In fact, I credit the show for helping me understand and garner sympathy and tolerance for trans characters.) However, when it came to gay characters, it often had to strong arm a sympathetic outlook for them, even several of them didn't deserve it.
     
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  3. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Deadpool. He hits just about the same spot as as @Kallisto 's SVU. There's nothing attractive about his lack of trust and over-the-border, daredevil attitudes. Just because someone has suffered doesn't excuse them from showing human decency in their lives.
     
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  4. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    John Snow. Useless. Whiny. Complains about everything. A terrible leader. A useless tactician. Who on earth would follow that imbecile?
     
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  5. Malum

    Malum Offline

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    95% of horror movie victims. I don't understand why so many directors/writers are incapable of adding some humanity to/making you feel for the victims/survivors. Regardless of how extreme it was, the original Martyrs accomplished that magnificently.

    Maybe AJ in the Sopranos, too. The kid was the only half-sane one in that family, yet by contrast the audience hated him for his weakness in comparison to his sociopathic relatives. Shinji in Neon Genesis Evangelion too. You end up hating him for being human. He makes the End of Evangelion great, but his inaction throughout every significant moment is just grating to watch.

    On the second watching of the Death Note anime I supported L and disliked Light Shinigami, too. Not sure if that is all too common. L was just cooler and morally sound, Light was egotistical. I guess McNulty in the wire was just fundamentally flawed throughout the series so that doesn't count.

    Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire annoyed the hell out of me. Would have rather watched a show about Richard and Arnold. Just didn't find him convincing in his position of power.

    The majority of the Watchmen, aside from Rorschach (film). Probably intentional. I don't really need to explain why they all sucked.

    After Season 2 of Dexter he just went downhill and his character became sloppy and stupid. I still haven't watched half of the final season out of principle.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2020
  6. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody The Ole Frazzle-Dazzle Contributor

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    Recently? Almost every character in Croc and Plover...

    **RANT WARNING**
    the MAIN main character, Li Nanen, is super needy and whiny. Her whole thing was she didnt want to get married. She finished college and her mom and brother were pushing her to get married, so she enrolls in a graduate program in France to make something of herself. Well, she doesnt focus on school AT ALL... she spends the time chasing around her senior trying to get him to like her. cooking for them and basically being a housewife, the very thing she didnt want to be. one of the characters even asks her flat out "why are you even here if you're just wasting your time chasing boys?"

    The male lead... Erwen.... he's super arrogant and a pain to be around. constantly belittles her and everyone else. even when he is trying to help her, he is super mean (i.e. he knows this guy she likes is coming over with his new girlfriend, so he yells at Li Nanen about something stupid until she is upset and runs to her room, thus "saving" her from an upsetting encounter)

    Nanen's friend, Zuma... though she is a bit more stable than the others in terms of goals, she is still detestable. you are supposed to root for her because she is in love with one of the stoic scientists and they finally get together, but im cringing the entire time because the scientist has a social disorder. it was mentioned when he was introduced. he doesnt talk to people (uses an ipad to interact). avoids eye contact, doesnt like being touched. doesnt like his routine messed up. doesnt like people touching or moving his things. when these things happen, he gets so flustered he runs away. Zuma literally runs up to him and throws her arms around him and he freaks out and runs away and she takes that as a challenge to get him to like her. I'm thinking "NO! YOU MADE HIM UNCOMFORTABLE!!" when they finally get together and she realizes all of his "quirks" she puts him down because of it and breaks up with him and he doesnt understand what he did wrong. they get back together, and she yells at him again and breaks up with him. this happens over and over again, until he does this grand gesture of spending all of his savings to buy a house so that she can move in, and quitting a scientific residency because she complained he had no time for her, AND proposes to her all to prove that he is serious, and she breaks up with him because he "has no sense" because, in her eyes, spending your savings, quitting your job, etc. proves you are not serious about life. im thinking "YOU GOT PISSY ABOUT ALL OF THAT WHEN HE FOCUSED ON HIS JOB AND HIS LIFE! NOW HES FOCUSING ON YOU AND YOU'RE A BITCH"

    the ONLY character that i'm rooting for is the character with the social disorder... and he's a side character.

    -sighs-
    dramas gotta drama, i guess.
     
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  7. Oldmanofthemountain

    Oldmanofthemountain Active Member

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    Wow, that is flat out emotional abuse and financial exploitation on Zuma’s part. It’s a shame that these romance novels erotize such abusive behavior.
     
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  8. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody The Ole Frazzle-Dazzle Contributor

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    Oh this was a tv series, but im pretty sure there are novels like this out there. Actually, i am CERTAIN those romance once are there. I dont typically read high romance, but romance books with romantic elements in them and they are less dramatic like this series, lol
     
  9. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I challenge anybody to find a novel more cram-packed with unsympathetic characters than this one: The House With the Green Shutters. It's considered a Scottish classic. I mean ...well, here's the Wikipedia article on it, with a bullet-point synopsis. I rest my case.

    I don't know what point the author was making, but the novel didn't have a single sympathetic character in it. The ones who weren't outright nasty were so spineless as to be contemptible. It's supposed to be 'grim and realistic,' but it was actually 'unintentionally' hilarious. And no, Scotland isn't like that ...although I can understand why the book was written here.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_House_with_the_Green_Shutters
     
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  10. Malum

    Malum Offline

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    Challenge accepted. It looks like I need to read this. Thanks.

    Book.png
     
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  11. GraceLikePain

    GraceLikePain Senior Member

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    I've read a beta where all the main characters were these terrible teenaged girls who got angry at anyone who did anything so much as change a lunch menu. At the beginning one of the girls his politely asked out, and the girl dismisses the guy as a "big ego." Later on, a different girl tries to ask a guy out, but he's busy doing something to help save the world from the primary antagonist. The guy is then mercilessly scorned by the friend group because he politely said no. The MC was one of those "the one" tropes, and she was just the worst. She openly mocked the secondary antagonist in front of their entire school for being a product of rape. The MC spends the rest of the book being continually praised by everyone she meets, while the secondary antagonist is possessed demon-style by the first.

    To be honest, if the writer had done it on purpose, I would have called her a genius. After all, wouldn't it be fascinating to read a book from the perspective of really terrible people, and be rooting really hard for the secondary antagonist? Alas, it was writing caused by inexperience. She was barely more than a teenager at that point, and well, we all remember our teenaged writings.

    What's less funny is Davy Keith from the Anne of Green Gables series. He's the worst. Apparently the author decided that since Anne was a young adult in the second book, they needed a set of twins to make up for the lack of child antics. Davy was the worst because he treated his sister Dora liked garbage and yet expected everyone to love him. He once locked her in a shed, then tricked Anne and Marilla into thinking that she had fallen in the well. And while they're trying to get Dora out, he's laughing at them. And what does Anne do later? Laugh! She and other characters constantly repeat that they love Davy, but Dora was so well-behaved that she was too good to like. The thing that makes this extra weird is that Anne has another boy she's friends with, who is this weird, well-mannered kid and not noticeably worse behaved than Dora. Anne loved that boy too. So why is poor Dora (who really gets nothing in the way of page-time when she's not being tortured by her brother) so unloved? She's an orphan at this point, so she's literally being raised by people who think being tricked into thinking she fell into a well was funny.

    Davy did a bunch of other stuff that was bad as well, but I don't remember much because the last time I read the series I skipped all the pages with him in them. I do remember him crying because he didn't see someone fall down the stairs. And that he felt absolutely no guilt about anything unless Anne was mad with him. Which was a lot rarer than it should have been.
     
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  12. Earp

    Earp Contributor Contributor

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    Lucy, the niece, in Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta books (not that fond of Kay, either). This chick is supposed to be some sort of superwoman, who can out-fly, out-fight, and out-drive anyone in the world but she mostly comes across as a glum, ill-mannered two-dimensional stereotype.
     
  13. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    I reckon mine might be C3-PO.
     
  14. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I think he had to be unsympathetic because he was the straight man in that comedy team while R2 was the magical child. The Hardy to R2D2's Laurel, the Abbott to his Costello, the Moe (and sometimes Larry ) to his Curly. A sympathetic straight man will never work.
     
  15. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Contributor Contributor

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    Jamie Lannister from Game of Thrones, and Thomas Shelby from Peaky Blinders.

    Both do horrific things, both believe they're just living their lives. Obviously there's a lot more to it than this basic explanation, but at their cores, I believe they're just trying to do right in the way they see it as being right.
     
  16. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber marshmallow Contributor

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    Heathcliff and Catherine from Wuthering Heights. I despised them both.
     
  17. Lazaares

    Lazaares Contributor Contributor

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    Effi Briest in Theodor Fontaine's famous novel.

    The author wanted to contrast a playful, young woman with a rigid, honour-bound Prussian bureaucrat.

    Except the Prussian bureaucrat grows increasingly more and more sympathetic. He's supposed to be "evil" for divorcing a cheating wife, raising their daughter and dueling the cheater to death.
     
  18. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    I know the Star Wars sequels Game of Thrones'ed themselves into irrelevance but Rey is this trope to a T in the Rise of Skywalker. She starts out as a survivalist who trusts no one but is compassionate at heart in the first film, and by the last film she's belittling her supposed "best friend" (who has the most obvious crush on her) and throwing him backwards like a rag doll and MIND-TRICKING HIM because she thinks he's a baby who can't handle a dangerous mission (granted, that last part's not in the movie, but I hate it.) And THEN she takes the guy who sliced her "best friend's" BACK open and heals HIS scars and MAKES OUT WITH HIM. Seriously, where did the personality 180 come from? How come she gets progressively unlikeable for no reason with every film in the trilogy? The way she falls for Kylo Ren makes no sense and neither does the way she treats Finn. How are we supposed to sympathize with someone who thinks she's better than everyone else, goes gaga for the guy who killed and tortured her friends, and acts like said guy, who TORTURED and GASLIGHTED and LIED TO HER, understands her BETTER than her actual friends and mentors? That's the girl they made Finn simp for? That's the girl who carries the Skywalker name and legacy after their bloodline is completely extinct? That's the heroine you want to be an inspiration to young girls? Heck, she's barely the PROTAGONIST by the end of it because her entire arc revolves around the genocidal sadboy and how she can "fix" him. And this is some guy she barely knows, not her long-lost father whose mentor spoke highly of his heroic character before his fall to darkness. She has no reason to believe there's good in him OR much reason to care if there is! What's compelling about that? What's LIKABLE about that? What happened to the scavenger with a heart of gold who cared more about people who actually loved her than one abusive jerk happened to have the same magic powers she did? I honestly think Bella Swan sounds like a better character and I don't know anything about Twilight. Rey literally betrayed her friends for no reason. It's like if Harry Potter was gay for Tom Riddle and threw his friends under the bus to hold hands with him because "no one else understands." Nonsensical.
     
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  19. Lazaares

    Lazaares Contributor Contributor

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    I feel there generally is a trend for Mary Sue characters to be unsympathetic despite being placed in a position where they should be.
     
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  20. jmh105

    jmh105 Active Member

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    There's so much truth in your post, I don't even know where to begin. I honestly believe that the creators thought Rey was sympathetic enough just for being the female lead. Why else have they given her so little personality, so little drive -- and yet so much fanservice based off of nothing? Gender among other "virtue-signaling" characteristics are never enough to fill in the emptiness of a character so profoundly void of any substance.

    At least Luke had a personality before they bludgeoned his character in The Last Jedi. He had concrete goals that resulted in real change and character development (save his friends even if it meant quitting his jedi training, etc). He especially had genuine connections with his allies (Leia, Han, Obi-Wan, etc.) that Rey never had. I don't even know if Rey gave Finn or anyone else a second thought before nearly eloping with Kylo.

    If you're gonna write a sequel, don't even try to foil the original beloved main character. It comes across shallow and confusing as to why we would want to root for the underwhelming counterpart. See also: Aang/Korra in ATLA/LOK.

    As for Reylo, the creators were probably only thinking of their young teenage girl audience.
     
  21. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Guardian-eating, tofu-reading dormivitus Supporter Contributor

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    Telemachus Sneezed
    Haven't read the book, but the Piper Whatserface character from Orange is the New Black. Starts out an well-off entitled white girl, gets some shocks along the way, stays an entitled white girl, becomes more entitled as the show goes on. I mean, you just got let out of prison and (spoilers) you can't resist getting high even though you know that you're going to be tested regularly? I honestly wish they'd killed the character off after the first couple seasons, there were more than enough other, more compelling stories in the show to support it.
     
  22. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    You know, I didn't think such people actually existed in real life, but then I watched an episode of Ramsay's Hotel Hell, with two entitled white sisters whose parents had bought them a hotel(!) because they wanted to run one. They burst into tears every time Gordon Ramsay criticised anything, and one of them claimed she worked hard when she got up an 2pm every day, while the other, when asked for an achievement, touted her high school swimming certificate.
     
  23. Le Panda Du Mal

    Le Panda Du Mal Senior Member

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    Pretty much anything involving rich people or royalty and their alleged "problems," all of which could be humanely resolved by a trip to the guillotine. And Winston Churchill, what filth.
     
  24. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody The Ole Frazzle-Dazzle Contributor

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    ooh! I've got another one.
    This one was a chinese remake of a taiwanese series from like the late 90s, early 2000s i believe.

    Anyway, gist of it is, rich guy wants to propose to a ballerina he's been with for like his whole life. He's always put her first and she's always put her dance career first. He decides to finally propose to her and prepares this elaborate proposal on a cruise ship, and she stands him up because she got the lead part in a French ballet.
    So he meets another girl who is just as down on her luck and the 2 bond over it (as friends), but get drunk and have a one night stand and she ends up pregnant (they decide to stay together as friends so he can support them).

    story progresses (its a good one!), but ballet lady comes back after suffering a bad fall on stage and can no longer dance again, so she decides that now she is ready to settle down. but rich guy has already moved on and has married the girl he had the one night stand with (and eventually fell in love with over the course of the series)
    the writers want you to sympathize with the ballerina and root for her, but she is deplorable! she fakes amnesia after a concussion so that rich guy will care for her. She alters a divorce agreement for the rich guy and his wife to break them up. She even causes the woman to get hit by a car, which causes her to lose her baby and fall into a deep depression where she leaves the rich guy, her family, and friends AND THE ENTIRE COUNTRY for 4 years because she cant cope. but still, we are wanted to feel sorry for the ballerina (sob stories like "oh, my parents abandoned me as a child" "oh, he's the only one who has ever loved me" "oh, we've been together for years and he's all i have and i cant let him leave me too"). When she finds out that the other girl lost her baby, she comes to her and says "its not so bad. i cant have a child either"

    in the end, when she finally confesses to what she did to break them up, she explains why she did it with "i have no one in this world and i was afraid of being alone. i hope you can uderstand"....... and then thats it. the rich guy and the girl remarry after having things cleared up and the ballerina lady is invited to their wedding like nothing in the past 4 years happened.

    wanted to kick the writers in the teeth.....:bigmeh:
     
  25. ThunderAngel

    ThunderAngel Contributor Contributor

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    Every Mary Sue character, including the male counterpart.
     
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