Lately I've been busy mourning the passing of two bad seeds: Breaking Bad's Walter White and Gone Girl's Amy Dunne.
Walter is a high school chemistry teacher who learns how to manufacture meth, and Amy is the "cool girl" every man dreams of but who actually seethes hot lava on the inside.
So why do I mourn them, you ask? Because I miss them.
I miss Walter's descent into his worst possible self and I miss Amy's attention span for revenge. Having arranged my weekends so that I could watch the AMC television series, and having read the Gillian Flynn mystery novel in one neck-cramping sitting, I can say that I no longer exist in the pre- Walter & Amy world, but must muddle along in the post.
And let me tell you, post- Walter & Amy land is a much more wide-awake kind of place.
Walter took glee in lying to everyone who cared about him, murdered a drug dealer here, a kingpin there, and even poisoned an innocent little kid for god's sake.
As for Amy, she manipulated things. And "manipulated" is probably too passive a verb; she basically manhandled any and all life forms in her path -- and some inantimate objects, too -- with her crafty brain. (I'll leave it at that in deferance to those of you who still live in the pre-Amy world.)
And yet, I rooted for these characters. I was on their team, on their side, cheering on each of Walter's blue batches of meth, fist pumping every one of Amy's verbal end-arounds. People suffered in these fictional worlds. People exploded, people begged for their lives, people messed up in their jobs, people went crazy.
And there I was, the reader and the watcher, just a howling for joy.
For a while, I couldn't shake the feeling that there must be something wrong with me. I mean, why else would I root for the bad guy? Am I bad, too? Am I, horrors, some kind of mommy sociopath next door???
I thought about my reading and television watching preferences and yup, there's lots a bad guys in there. And girls, too. A whole alphabet of them. Artemis Fowl, Batman, Holden Caulfield, the Dude, Edie Sedgewick, Fritz the Cat, Gordon Gekko, etc. Love. Every. One. Of. Them.
Truly, just the mention of their names gives me the warm fuzzies. So, that means I'm doomed, right?
But then something else occurred to me. Something that probably saved me thousands of dollars on therapy: I root for the bad guy because the bad guy feels real. Often, feels a lot more real than the good guy, who, let's be honest, can be a putz.
And real isn't bad at all, it's good.
It's great, even.
Who's your favorite anti-hero?