H is for Hero
I had a dream about Nathan Fillion a couple of nights ago (no, not that kind of a dream), so I thought I’d talk about some of the heroic (and antiheroic) roles he’s played and how they do, and don’t appeal to me. In chronological order:
Mal Reynolds from Firefly
For an antihero, Mal shows some pretty classic ‘big damn hero’ stuff. He’s brave, when it’s called for. He tries to avoid fights. He’s totally devoted to his crew, even if he doesn’t necessarily trust (or like) them. He has a sense of humor. He also looks pretty good in those tight pants of his. Sure, he’s a criminal, but the authority structure is so corrupt that that’s almost heroic in and of itself. He’s a really fun character, and it says a lot about Nathans career that he’s the least fun of these three characters. I can admire him. I would depend on him in an emergency. I could hang out with him, but I don’t think he’d want to hang out with me. I suppose I could fall in love with him, but I know he’d break my heart.
Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog
He’s more of an antivillain here, and the perfect foil for the eponymous Doctor. He’s a classic comic book style superhero, and he does fight actual criminals who are doing various nefarious things. He’s also a real jerk on a personal level. I have to admit that he doesn’t look nearly as yummy in tights as Mal does in his tight pants, but he certainly has a plethora of admirers. He’s a shallow, self obsessed, musclebound oaf and it’s easy to see why poor Dr. Horrible hates him, but it’s just so much fun watching him chew up the scenery. I can’t admire him. I could depend on him in an emergency. I could hang out with him (in small doses) and laugh. Love would never come into the picture.
He’s not at all a classic hero. He’s just this guy. After the first season, when he’s a bit of a playboy and a jerk (with a surprisingly loving relationship with his daughter, and a mixed but loving relationship with his mother) he’s a classic aging fanboy, but still good looking (yes, he is ‘ruggedly handsome’). We know he’s bright, but through the course of the show he (and we in turn) learn that he is brave, and loyal, and moral, and loving, and really very heroic. This is the only one of the three where it’s his romantic interest that you’d count on in a fight. I can admire him. I could depend on him in an emergency. I would totally hang out with him. I am in love with him.