As seen on TV…
But seriously though, it would appear that beloved TV shows who present nice guys as the central character, perhaps unintentionally offer instead a fuckboy in disguise. And, in my opinion, the worst of fuckboys because it is they themselves who insist they are nice guys, and believe they are entitled to whichever girl they want (until the next pretty thing comes along and they quickly move on). They are seen as devoted, caring, and a romantic. But really, they are possessive, manipulative, and often not even that attached to the girl.
So who are the culprits?
(Warning – although most mentioned are well known shows, if you haven’t seen them there are spoilers at hand)
Ross – Friends
The most well known and criticised of them all. Whilst many of us grew up cheering on the Ross/Rachel relationship, now we are older and wiser, we realise just how possessive and manipulative Ross was. He idolised Rachel when they were in high school, and therefore believed he was entitled to her. That she gave up a career for him is now criticised. The post that inspired me to write this article even argues that Rachel’s relationship with Joey was much healthier – read here
Ted – How I Met Your Mother
The whole premise of this show was about how he found his true love – or so we thought. That aside, it has been questioned how the premise is essentially Ted telling his children about all the girls he banged and screwed over (at least, some of them), but he retells it as a long, deep quest for love. When really it is the ramblings of a guy with serious co-dependency issues. Nearly every girl he dates he declares could be the love of his life. And there are quite a few of them.
Gus – Love
I watched this recently as it is praised as a modern telling of love and dating. Well, Gus is constantly described as a nice guy but all I saw was him sleep with the main female character, and when she started to show an attachment to him he immediately became frustrated with her. Simply because another pretty girl wanted to sleep with him. He also went super creepy on one date and tried to follow the girl to the bathroom. In fact he tends to get creepy around women (especially women in groups), as though he is just going through puberty, not a man in his early thirties.
All male leads – The Big Bang Theory
They’re not even subtle in being a show about how nerdy guys who cannot talk to girls, all somehow magically end up with girls way out of their league. Even though they are rude to one another and the girls, are sexist, and at times downright perverted. This post highlights just how downright dangerous TBBT attitude towards women is.
Larry – Orange is the New Black
Arguably presented as a fuckboy on purpose, unlike the other shows. Larry is first seen as totally supportive to say his fiance has been sent to prison. That is, until he realise he can use her situation to get his writing “career” finally off the ground. Then she cheats on him constantly so eventually he leaves her for her best friend. Fair’s fair. But even so, not a cool guy.
And why am I hating on these characters? Well to me, they mostly seem to be created by guys who see themselves in the characters: nerdy, not so cool in school, probably ignored by girls growing up. And this seems to be a kind of fantasy fulfilling, self-redemption: let the nerdy guy get the cool girl. Let him suddenly be desired by lots of cool girls. But it’s not wrong of the guy to screw the girls over, because he’s a nice guy, as we are constantly told. He deserves it, it would seem. And these are the guys girls are supposed to want to end up with, even though they are whiny, needy, rude, condescending, and will always be looking for a prettier girl.
And the danger of that, is that pop culture reflects our society, even helps shape it. If girls watching these shows are told that is what nice guys are: someone who will treat you like the love of their life until the next girl comes along, well, I’d rather have to deal with fuckboys. At least with them you and they know the truth. With nice guys they convince themselves that their actions are justified.