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The Problem With the Good Guy Trope in Movies and TV Shows

Camillia has BA in University Studies with a minor in English. Has enjoyed writing reviews since her sci fi/fantasy class in high school.

The good guy ALWAYS gets the girl

Even if the guy is a creep who stalks the girl, steals her belongings, and comes to her house unannounced. This is borderline psychotic but because the guy is nice he is supposed to get a pass for his abnormal behavior. I think not...

A good example of the good guy is Joe from the TV series You(2018-). He is supposedly this good, clean cut guy but underneath, he is just a psycho serial killer. We see a lot of the stalking behaviors from Joe when he becomes infatuated with a female character. He treats the female character as more of a possession to own than a person. When Joe does not get what he wants from these women he acts out in a aggressive manner that leads to him killing them.

In romantic comedies, the good guy trope may not be as exaggerated like in You(2018-) but good guys are made to believe that they deserve love because they are nice to the female protagonist. If the good guy does this or that, he will win the female character's heart and live happily ever after.

But what if the female character does not reciprocate the good guy characters feelings and ends up shutting down his advances.

Tv Series You(2018- ) starring Penn Badgley playing the good guy

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When the good guy is shut down and friendzone

If a good guy is friendzoned some romantic comedies show him trying to persuade the female protagonist. As the audience,we are likely to root for the good guy to get the girl. But if the good guy cannot handle being shut down by the female lead they may do awful things to them or resent them for not loving them back. These awful things include sexual assault, stalking, and even murder.

In the movie, A Promising Young Woman(2020) Cassandra plays a woman who's friend was brutally raped while drunk and she sets out to cast revenge on those who play in the part of her friend's rape. This includes the supposedly good guys whose reputation would be ruined if the world knew about their misdeeds. But the rape was swept under the rug by those in power who took the side of the good guys. Besides the fact that the world blames women for being raped this movie shines a light on the dark reality of rape victims and sexual abusers. Some excuses the good guy makes is that the girl was asking for it and that he could not control himself. But the reality is that there are girls are being sexually abused everydat and when they do report it they are often found to be considered liars. It is no wonder that many tape victims do not come forward after they are assaulted.

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In the movie 500 Days of Summer(2009), we see the plot from Tom's point of view when he falls in love with Summer. Tom is the ultimate good guy and is protrayed by Jordan Gordon-Levitt. Even though Summer tells Tom that she is not ready for a relationship, he still persues her and ends up heartbroken. As the audience, we see both the love and resentment Tom reserves for Summer. Unintentionally, we may think Summer as the antagonist who should've loved Tom but in reality, the good guy does not always get the girl.


Cassandra in Promising Young Woman(2020)

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Summer and Tom in 500 Days of Summer(2009)

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In conclusion

The evolution of the good guy trope is interesting from rooting for the good guy to get the girl to then seeing the creepy behaviors a lot of good guys exhibit. It is important to see how the media protrays the good guy and make sure we are not being swayed to think they are always a villian or the protagonist. In reality, good guys take many shapes and forms which may mean they are both good and bad.

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