Woobies

Dec. 11th, 2009 01:33 am
blagi: (The Littl' Bits)
[personal profile] blagi
I feel like having a discussion, since my first big fandom essay isn't done yet and I don't want this thing to gather dust.


TVTropes definition: "A woobie (named for a child's security blanket) is that character you want to give a big hug, wrap in a blanket and feed soup to when he or she suffers so very beautifully. Woobification of a character is a curious, audience-driven phenomenon, divorced almost entirely from the character's canonical morality.

The Woobie's appeal lies in how it allows the audience to experience catharsis. The Greek philosopher Aristotle proposed that tragedy is popular because it allows people to experience and let out their negative emotions, "cleansing" themselves. The Woobie is popular for this same reason. A story with The Woobie allows the audience to vicariously experience relief from some pain by fantasizing about relieving The Woobie's pain. (No, not that way! Well, okay, sometimes.)"

There always seems to be a line to be drawn with Woobie-dom, between "you poor thing" and "okay, this is getting creepy", aka the difference between Chiyo-chan and Sephiroth. Usually the line is crossed when a fan takes a character with little to no woobie-ish traits and piles them on either as a clumsy way of fleshing them out or because they love the character SO much (and if they're a villain, need to justify their intense love).

What makes a character a woobie to you? Do you gravitate towards seeing males or females as your personal woobies? Where do you draw the line at giving a villain or badass woobie traits to make them more human?

Date: 2009-12-11 05:55 pm (UTC)
karel: (2-d; never gonna shake me)
From: [personal profile] karel
I tend to see males and females both as woobies -- Sierra from Dollhouse, Jason from TrueBlood, for a more comical example, sometimes Elliot from Scrubs...

Generally, a lot of bad stuff happening to a character that they either don't deserve or that they don't deserve in the volume that they get is what's going to endear me to them. Like, let's take Sierra -- she was drugged into having schizophrenic symptoms by a guy just because she said no to him and then, after being taken into the Dollhouse, he was a repeat client of hers (due to some oversights that were later discovered and boy did that guy get it hard). To me, this is the purest sense of a woobie. The things that are happening to them, they don't deserve, never asked for, and usually really can't do anything about without help.

Then, for a guy who's a woobie but does deserve some of the stuff that's happening but just not as much of it, we've got Jason. Womanizer, kind of a dumbass (no, really. He's falling into that "Too Dumb To Live" category sometimes), gullible as hell, and a bit of a bigot (towards vampires -- he gets better). So yeah, we all kind of cheer when one of his girlfriends chases him out of her house with a gun for his inappropriate behavior. But when she dies and he's the suspect? Hell no! When this happens repeatedly to all of his girlfriends and then he's locked up? It's a "poor Jason!" moment. When he and the only sane (debatable...) cop left in town go to try to rescue everyone from the mind-controlling maenad that's taken over, and he wanders on into a trap-cum-house-of-horrors? Poor Jason! Basically, his life goes from "well, that's karma" to "holy karma overkill, give the guy a break!"

tl;dr yeah, to me, woobies get abused more than they deserve.

Date: 2009-12-12 07:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarajayechan.livejournal.com
The second one is what TVTropes calls Jerkass Woobie. Characters who kinda deserve a kick in the ass but not to the extent they're actually getting it.

Date: 2009-12-12 07:59 am (UTC)
karel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] karel
YEP THAT'S JASON. Except he develops. He just has relapses of "... OH JASON... :|"

Date: 2009-12-12 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akai_senshi.livejournal.com
Woobies, to me, are the characters who get royally screwed over by the 'verse, and you're supposed to feel for them (instead of laugh at them, like a Butt Monkey or a Chew Toy)- and I'm not talking about the villainy sense, but a villain can be a woobie- albeit a Woobie Destroyer of Worlds or a Hateful Woobie.

However, there is a line that can be crossed when someone interprets a character who is having the 'verse work in his/her favor as being a woobie because of their character alignment, gender, etc. So yeah.

Date: 2009-12-13 06:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sarajayechan.livejournal.com
*nods* Like Zuko, or Orihime (despite what her haters might say). Nakago, once you find out about his past, is sort of a Destroyer Of Worlds woobie if you forget that he's also a Karma Houdini kjhdfjd

However, there is a line that can be crossed when someone interprets a character who is having the 'verse work in his/her favor as being a woobie because of their character alignment, gender, etc. So yeah.

Definitely. *points to crazyfen who woobify Snape, Draco, Sesshomaru, Sephiroth, etc*

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