back to list

Quackcast 620 - losers are human too

Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, Jan. 31, 2023

LISTEN on our new player!
Listen on Stitcher ​​-
Or TuneinRadio -–Literature/Drunkduck-Quackcast-p1150194/

My idea was to talk about social pariah characters, people who it's socially acceptable to laugh at, despise, or even hate. They can be the uncool people, the dorks, the dags, the idiots, the overweight, the ugly, the old, the out of touch, the over the hill… On the extreme end they could be monsters and criminals. Generally they're written pretty two dimensionally as a collection of cliches, but when the writing goes beyond that to lend them humanity is when it goes to the next level.

I'm not talking about underdogs or members of minority groups because people should already know better than to write them as stereotypes or to laugh at them for being what they are. I'm not talking about “punching up” or “down” or sideways either.
A good example would be one of those Mansplaining “M'Lady” characters: a fat, young white guy with a thin goatee beard, in a black stingy brim fedora hat and black trench coat, worn over a t-shirt and cargo shorts. It's socially acceptable to universally despise that person, and it can even feel good to have someone like that who everyone is allowed to laugh at. Other examples are the Boomer, the Karen, the angry vegan woman, nerds, pervs, trainspotters, Furries, Bronies, and Treckies.

My conjecture is that an ordinary or bad writer just uses them as is and leverages the popular social derision surrounding them for humour. While a really good writer goes beyond the cliches and gives the character some humanity. Dwight in the US version of The Office started out as a character we loved to hate, but as the show wore on and he gained more humanity he became an immeasurably better character. King of the Hill is a show entirely dedicated to the sort of people pop-culture gives us permission to mock and deride and yet it shows us their vulnerabilities which makes them so much better than the characters in Family Guy who are similarly despised people but with no other dimension.

One of the main faults of the second Knives Out movie, Glass Onion, is that the characters are mostly all built around cliches we're supposed to despise, and they don't go beyond that. I liked the film but it wasn't as clever it thought it should be

By all means start off with a boomer, Karen, angry vegan lady or a Mainsplainer, pick the low hanging fruit jokes, get all the easy laughs, but then turn things on their head. Go deeper. Show them as more than a simple cliches, more than a cutout! That will enhance your story supremely, make your characters more interesting, the drama more effective and your jokes funner.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Prince of the Moonlight Stone - Mysterious sounds of the cold, snowy, moonlit, pine-forest… Percussion heats up and leads us down into the steaming jungles in the valleys below, away from the cry of the wolf and the savage bite of the cold mountain winds.

Topics and shownotes


Featured comic:
Explorer Chronicles -

Featured music:
Prince of the Moonlight Stone - - - by KillerSandy, rated M.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace -
Ozoneocean -
Kawaiidaigakusei -
Banes -
Tantz Aerine -

VIDEO exclusive!
Become a subscriber on the $5 level and up to see our weekly Patreon video and get our advertising perks!
Even at $1 you get your name with a link on the front page and a mention in the weekend newsposts!

Join us on Discord -



KillerSandy at 7:48AM, Feb. 3, 2023

Thank you for the music. I don't know that you guys like or not my comic (Prince of the Moonlight Stone), but I appreciate it. Have a nice day.

Ozoneocean at 7:17PM, Feb. 1, 2023

@Ironscarf- precisely!

Ozoneocean at 7:17PM, Feb. 1, 2023

@TheJagged, it's more like "better" writing ^_^ Using the 2D stereotypes is pretty standard for most things. I agree with you on the reasons for characters turning out how they do but I'm more interesting in how they are now and why they're more than just how we characterise them.

Ozoneocean at 7:12PM, Feb. 1, 2023

@Dylan, exactly!

Ozoneocean at 7:12PM, Feb. 1, 2023

The reverse is the default, so not really what I'm interested in XD @Marco, that sounds a bit like Dumb and Dumber, those two never really move beyond what they present themselves as.

DylanTale Comics at 11:16PM, Jan. 31, 2023

The first thought that came to my mind after reading this was a possible comic about a certain "angry vegan lady". Yeah, it would be hilarious at first, especially for the people who know who I'm talking about, but maybe later on in the comic, add some depth to her, change some things, develop her character more, and maybe you could end up with a really good and unique story that would catch one's eye.

TheJagged at 10:51PM, Jan. 31, 2023

Of course, when doing parody any and all "good writing" advice goes out the window. I don't think anybody would be asking for character development in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. (Unless the whole point is to do a subversion, Roger Rabbit style.) Cartoons are supposed to be all cliches, that's what makes them cartoonish. If you tried to write suuuper deeeep social commentary and ended up making a cartoon on accident, back to writing school with you.

TheJagged at 10:44PM, Jan. 31, 2023

Everybody is the hero of their own story. Remember that people always have a reason to turn out the way they do. Maybe not a good reason, but some kinda reason. That's how cut-out cliches are avoided.

marcorossi at 1:28PM, Jan. 31, 2023

On the opposite hand, there are the really stupid characters, who are funny because they are really, really just stupid. If you watch Zatoichi by Takeshi Kitano there are two idiot characters, and IMHO nobody in the west would use that kind of really idiot characters, but they sorta work. The same in Taboo-Gohatto by Oshima, an idiot that until the end you expect will somehow show a different side, but no. By the way both movies are awesome so if you didn't watch them watch them now or I'll hunt your nights with my evil powers.

Ironscarf at 9:47AM, Jan. 31, 2023

I was equally amazed to see Gareth turn into such a well rounded character, as well as a fine writer/director! Very interesting topic, this is exactly how I wanted the character of David to be in Elmwych: slightly dorky and easily dismissed thanks to his obsession with all things supernatural. These kinds of characters can make the most interesting heroes because their heroism is not a given, it has to be earned. Its Clark Kent as the hero, not Superman pretending to be Clark Kent.

Ozoneocean at 1:43AM, Jan. 31, 2023

Ironscarf was partly the inspiration for this- I turned me onto the show "Detectorists" which is exactly about these sorts of people! McKenzie Crook plays exactly the sort of skinny, scraggly, greasy nerd-man who'd normally be dismissed, a punchline, or a perpetrator, but ere he's a rounded human and it's so unexpected. Especially since he famously played the 2 dimensional "Gareth" in the original Office, who is exactly the sort of character I'm talking about: a person we all have permission to despise.

Forgot Password
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved Mastodon