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CryptoNerd
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30 Mar 2016, 10:47 am

Someone explain this to me. Why are geniuses in the media always either 1. evil or 2. little kids?



Nebogipfel
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31 Mar 2016, 6:42 am

To become good at something, you have to put a lot of hours into it. It's hard to depict that on screen in an engaging way, and so, in films, learned proficiency is often shown as born genius.

How an entertainment shows a character to come by his skills probably reveals allot about what the show creators think of their audience, too. An argument can be made that True Detective showed intellectual and aesthetic respect for its audience by having Rust amassing his skills by engaging in intense research. Whereas, certain other shows, show that they do not respect their audience when they have their lead characters achieve those skills like Roger Ramjet. What I think is disrespectful about shows like that is that they are pure power fantasies that are appealing to our laziness and desire for instant gratification.

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I'm not so sure about the OP's contention that geniuses tend to be depicted as evil or as kids. Cumberbatch's Sherlock, Lizbeth Salander, Abed from Community, Doctor Who and arguably Dr. House, are all recent examples of ones that aren't. I need more information to convince me that there is a trend.



Last edited by Nebogipfel on 31 Mar 2016, 10:47 am, edited 13 times in total.

Yigeren
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31 Mar 2016, 6:46 am

Because people are impressed by child geniuses and think they are cute, while people are scared of evil geniuses.



CryptoNerd
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04 Apr 2016, 9:08 am

Nebogipfel wrote:
I'm not so sure about the OP's contention that geniuses tend to be depicted as evil or as kids. Cumberbatch's Sherlock, Lizbeth Salander, Abed from Community, Doctor Who and arguably Dr. House, are all recent examples of ones that aren't. I need more information to convince me that there is a trend.


Child geniuses:
Jimmy Neutron
Dexter from Dexter's Lab
The kid from the Doritos commercials
Jason Fox
Stewie Griffen

Evil geniuses:
Dr. Eggman Robotnic
Lex Luthor
Several James Bond villains

Although yeah, there are several geniuses who aren't evil or children. Tom Swift, Neo, and the cast of The Big Bang Theory are examples. But it sure seems like there is a trend towards casting intelligent people as either children or villains.



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04 Apr 2016, 9:11 am

Yigeren wrote:
Because people are impressed by child geniuses and think they are cute, while people are scared of evil geniuses.


Yeah, but when you see child geniuses in every other movie, it stops being impressive after a while and just becomes trite. Also, I think it's harmful because it leads to the attitude that if you weren't a child prodigy, it's impossible to become a genius at something during adulthood.



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04 Apr 2016, 11:57 am

I think the main reason for this is that scriptwriters want the main protagonist to be someone that the audience can easily relate to. Part of the fantasy is that the viewer can imagine taking the place of the hero of the story, however unlikely that might really be. Rightly or wrongly, most people will prefer to identify with a heroic underdog than with a genius, so having the genius be the antagonist reinforces the idea that the hero is the underdog who's determination and courage succeeds against a "superior" adversary.


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