The Anti-Hero Hero is Hot
Filming recently began on a big screen adaptation to the wildly successful HBO sitcom Sex and the City. And because I own all seven DVDs (before you IMDB it, there were two DVDs for Season 6), watch the Season Two finale religiously after a breakup (try it, I swear by that and greasy Krystal burgers) and use Samantha quotes as bar pickup lines, it pains me to admit this, but I think the fairy tale is over.
As a young 20-something I have fervently held onto the belief that my own Mr. Big, my very special Mr. Right, was just right around the corner. But maybe my Jane Austen-loving self has been misled by Hallmark fueled holidays and happily ever after messages.
Maybe we are just disheartening ourselves into thinking our perfect match is just listlessly waiting for us.
If pop culture truly is the barometer of mass culture perhaps we’re now being force-fed a new message.
The anti-heroes of cinema (think loserish Ben in this summer’s hit Knocked Up) and television (think the lovable dorks of The Pick Up Artist) and our own campus (how cute is silver-foxed Jeremy Foley, the only division I athletic director to garner national titles in both football and basketball) have all replaced the traditional white knights.
Chances are you probably know, or are, an anti-hero. You know the type – spending too many hours playing World of Warcraft, quoting Will Ferrell movies constantly and probably in need of cleaning their bedrooms.
Story time – I saw Knocked Up in the movie theater this summer and left feeling horribly disappointed. Sure it was hysterical, but Katherine Heigel’s character seemed far too put together to actually like slacker Ben. A drunken one-night-stand seemed plausible enough, but for her to then fall for Seth Rogen’s character seemed the kind of stuff produced only in male fantasyland.
Fast forward to last night when I watched the DVD with my boyfriend. Not even halfway through I found myself staring at him out of the corner of my eye, a continuous “oh my god” repeating in my head. My boyfriend was of the Ben mold.
Thing is, I couldn’t be happier.
The anti-hero may not look like Brad Pitt, but his sweet, self-deprecating soul is incredibly more worthwhile and endearing than a six-pack.
My larger point – these movies and television shows work because they’re honest.
Life is unexpected and often a mess, sometimes the best you can do is muddle your way through it. And if you have someone warm and funny to do that with, well, there’s really nothing better.
I’ve spent a large majority of my life looking for what I thought Prince Charming should be, only to end up depressed and disillusioned.
I’m not advocating lowering your standards. I am advising, however, that you alter them. It’s not about what these men lack, it’s about their undiscovered depth and their earnest desire to just make someone else happy.
Sex and the City did get something right, however. In an early episode Mr. Big tells Carrie, who is concerned about Big’s past relationships with several model-types, that sometimes you just want to be with the one who makes you laugh.
Thing is, the moral doesn’t just apply to females. Both genders could stand to gain a lot from looking beyond the surface. Often times it’s our flaws that make us both beautiful and lovable.
Let’s face it – the anti-hero hero is pretty hot.