Despicable/Morally depraved fictional characters...Ain't they lovable?

So once in a while, there comes a character with a certain degree of hatefulness. The kind of guy who leaves you holding the rope while he goes off to do something more entertaining. The kind of guy who will rob you and then expect full support for the next two weeks. You know the type.

But don’t you just love them anyway? Maybe it’s the maternal instinct in me, just crying out to be loved and left, but quite a few of these come to mind.

On Futurama, Bender smokes, drinks, gambles, has cut his friend’s throat on at least one occasion, and robbed from his own crew. Oh yes, and he’d gladly call for the death of all humans as long as he could spend as much time looking at robot porn as possible. But he’s by far the funniest character on the show…AND you can’t help but like him, in spite of everything.

Also, George Costanza on Seinfeld is another. You know…“It’s not a lie if you believe it!” and yet he’s so entertaining. Practically kills off his own fiancee and tries to capitalize off it–but still funny.

Okay…any others that you guys have noticed?

Since you already mentioned one of my favorites in Bender, there’s Stewie from The Family Guy; the evil-mastermind whose plans for world domination are always thwarted by his infantile need to be a momma’s boy.

Jumping into the written world of fiction, Elric of Melnibone. The Anti-Hero of Michael Moorcock’s The Elric Saga.

He’s a soulless, heartless, manic-depressive with delusions of grandeur and an over-inflated sense of importance who needlessly and recklessly endangers and takes the lives of friends and foes alike. His patron deity is a major Duke of Chaos and his destiny is to destroy the world.

And yet he’s just so lovable. You can’t help but root for him, even when he’s travelling hundreds of miles in a self-consuming, all-encompassing, single-minded quest to avenge a personal slight by a person of an “inferior” race that dared to challenge the superiority of his own race, which he hates intensely.

Angus Thermopyle from Stephen Donaldson’s ‘The Gap’ series. Ruthless killer, has sold dozens of people to a fate truly worse than death, and used rape and torture to break the will of and permanently damage a young woman whose parents he murdered. He is one of the most despicable fictional characters I have ever seen…and yet, you end up rooting for the guy by the end.

Well, Spike was hardly a good guy when he was introduced in School Hard. In fact, he was supposed to be downright scary. But I knew I would love him forever when he burst into the school 3 nights early because he just “got so bored.”

“You’re right. I was rash, and if I had to do it all over again…oh who am I kidding? I would do it exactly the same! Only I would do this first!”

Ooh yes, Richard III for sure, and Edmund in King Lear, and … uh, why is everyone except Katisha looking at me funny?

Palpatine in Star Wars-he’s so EVIL, and sneaky, and you just can’t help but love the guy-he’s so freaking COOL!!!

Romano, ER. The man you love to hate. You just want to bitchslap him into the next century, and you secretly cheer for him!

Is it just me or does anyone else find Sophia Patrillo of Golden Girls the type of character who wouldn’t really be tolerated in the real world? If an old woman talked to me like that, I wouldn’t smile fondly and laugh. Yet we do when we see her on TV.

Alex DeLarge of A Clockwork Orange is a great example of a morally depraved character that we end up rooting for. I think half of it is because the adults around him are utter morons or slightly off kilter.

And who do we end up liking more in a scene, Dr. Hannibal Lecter or Dr. Frederick Chilton in Silence of the Lambs? Lecter has killed dozens of people and eaten them, Chilton hasn’t. Yet it’s Chilton we all want to slap and are amused when Lecter embarasses him. Lecter also ends up looking good next to someone like Mason Verger in Hannibal. Then again, Verger molsted children (I think this fact is emphasised more in the book than in the movie).

The first one that popped into my head was Xellos from the anime series Slayers: Next. Sure, he’s a duplicitous, lying sneak, a member of a race that exists only for destuction, and he can take out thousands of good dragons with a wave of his hand…

but he’s just so darn cute!

Right off, with no exceptions: Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter. Easily one of my favorite characters in the series. He’s probably one of the top five or six “evil” characters, and I still love him.

Vader, from the Star Wars original trilogy.

Although a poor example of “evil,” Team Rocket from Pokemon.

Eriol/Clow Reed from Cardcaptors, but I haven’t seen the end episodes, so I’m not sure if he’s “evil.”

Spike, from Buffy.

Erik, The Phantom of the Opera. (Oh, fictional?..)

Drakken, from Kim Possible.

Barbossa, from Pirates of the Caribbean.

The Hessian, from Sleepy Hollow.

Captain James Hook, from Peter Pan and Return to Neverland.

Jafar, from the Aladdin trilogy.

Iago, also from the Aladdin trilogy.

Bart Simpson’s a badass, but the most loveable badass I’ve yet seen.

But you do have to root for a guy with a bigass flying lion.

…and invented his own kind of magic, and can split himself into three people. That’s just cool. :slight_smile:

Speaking of Iago, he’s my favorite Shakespeare villain of all times. Unrepentantly evil, an attempt to explain him was dismissed as “making motives for motiveless malignance.” Truly a diabolical monster, motivated only by jealousy and the joy of evil. Gotta love him.


Frank Burns: Snivelling, backstabbing, self-righteous, hypocrite, but ultimately harmless and played to perfection by the late Larry Linville.

Col Flagg: Psychotic wack-job. Insane, but hilarious.


Satan: Well, he IS the Prince of Darkness, but he had a, uh, wicked sense of humor (unsrewing the salt shaker, tying a guy’s shoes together, etc).


Roy Batty. I kinda felt sorry for him despite his murderous past.

2001 & 2010:

HAL 9000: Sympathy for a computer? He was only following orders. Difference is, he couldn’t disobey orders.

Archie Bunker, from All In The Family. The world’s most lovable bigot.

In the realm of comic books:

Hunter Rose (Grendel): What Batman would have been like if he had no morals. The guy was instantly good at everything he attempted, so he turned to crime out of boredom. While he was still relatively young, he became distinguished as an assassin, and eventually murdered the heads of all the East Coast crime syndicates and took them over as his own. He robs, kidnaps, lies, cheats, manipulates, and kills without remorse… more like a force of nature than a man.

And yet he is so damn cool! He has one of the greatest costumes ever, a baggy black theatrical costume with white gloves and boots, and a black mask with large white skeletal eyes and nose, with straps that flow behind him. He is a fencing champion, and his primary weapon is a double-bladed “fork” of his own design.

Furthermore, in his secret identity of Hunter Rose, Grendel is a celebrated best-selling author, the toast of society and a fixture in high-brow literary circles. He is smooth and suave and dapper to a fault. Hunter adopted a young girl, Stacey Palumbo, and made her his legal ward (although she doesn’t know he is Grendel, or that he killed her Mafioso uncle and previous guardian). Despite this, he is good to her, and we cheer when Grendel kills a pedophile who briefly abducts little Stacey.

And to make Hunter/Grendel look even more appealing, his arch-enemy is Argent, a werewolf-like creature who may be a Native American possessed by an ancient demon. Argent is huge and scary and gross and disgusting, and also a fearsome killer. Though he works with the police and tries to bring Grendel to justice, we end up liking Grendel so much more than the Wolf.

Hunter Rose’s stories, written by Matt Wagner and drawn by Wagner and other artists, have a distinct beginning, middle, and unhappy end. Despite being so evil, Grendel is a fascinating and compelling protagonist.

Forget Vader. Palpatine is the real kickass villain. He’s so evil, but he’s evil with style.

Another vote for Hannibal Lector. A cannabalistic serial killer who is easy to root for.

Yeah, but style’s not everything.

I’ll throw in another vote for Stewie and Bender. Also Dede from Dexter’s Lab and Mojo Jojo from Powerpuff Girls.

Other suggestions can be found in this thread.

… Avon, from Blakes 7 …

“The Monster,” whoever it may be, in any number of Z-grade horror movies.

Really, you can only see so many heroines trip and break their ankle before you start rooting for the guy in the proverbial hockey mask.