The face of evil – Roger Smith on American Dad
I freely admit to watching cartoons with adult themes. I’m not referring to XXX adult themes or any of the Japanese hentai variety, but the more mainstream such as American Dad, Family Guy, or Futurama. The sort that children would enjoy, but adults would enjoy much more as they pick up on obscure references or sexual innuendos. I intentionally leave South Park out of the mix as I feel it is a true satire of modern society. It is better written than the others and deserves its own separate post.
My favorite characters, and also the favorites of my friends, are always the evil ones. We are drawn to Bender, Roger, and Stewie in everything they do. All are sociopaths, but none are as great as Roger. And there is no character we enjoy more than Roger. Just having him appear in a scene is enough to bring a smile to my face.
Bender and Stewie are both good at heart. Stewie will vaporize people who annoy him and Bender will plot the overthrow of the entire human race while stealing priceless jewels. But ultimately, Stewie loves Brian and goes out of his way to help from time to time. Bender, in the midst of plotting to exterminate mankind, will try to help the humans he loves escape the fate of the rest of mankind. Neither of these characters are pure in their evil. None of them approach Roger.
Roger is pure evil. He personifies all seven of the deadly sins and he does so with creativity and gusto.
In his own words:
“I’m going to make you cry and dip my cookie in your tears.”
Or, in another episode, after his Christmas sweater is complimented:
“Thanks, I totally sniped it from a guy on eBay. I not only stole the sweater, I stole his holiday spirit and that made my holiday spirit grow stronger. Because, that’s how it works, right? Like “Highlander”? There can be only one?”
We love Roger for his unabashed vileness. But we also love him because he is terribly weak. He is lazy, physically weak, an emotional wreck, and largely incompetent. He is easily wounded (emotionally), he insults all around him at every opportunity, and there is nothing redeeming about him. He never learns his lesson (awesome!), he goes to the ends of the Earth to have revenge for a perceived slight, and he betrays his friends and family at every turn. He will literally die if he is nice to people. His perfection is unblemished.
“Does this furniture polish have alcohol in it? [drinks bottle] Hmm, tastes like I might die.”