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9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

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9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

Opinion | Stop canceling flawed characters

Opinion+%7C+Stop+canceling+flawed+characters
Thalia Sifnakis | Senior Staff Illustrator

My favorite type of fictional character is one who isn’t perfect. There is nothing more boring than watching a movie or reading a book where the main character doesn’t make mistakes, or even a character whose only flaw is that they’re a perfectionist who can never get in trouble. I feel like a job interviewer who’s listening to the most basic answer ever for “what’s your biggest weakness?”

The truth is, people are more complicated than that, and stories have more depth when they acknowledge that and choose to work through real issues. 

With the popular release of “One Day” on Netflix, many people have taken to social media to disagree with fans of the main character’s relationship. After meeting at their university graduation, Dexter was not ready to settle down and had a close platonic friendship with Emma for many years despite their shared feelings. He dealt with addiction after his mother died and went through a period where he didn’t treat his friends or family well. A common criticism of the show is that Dexter didn’t deserve Emma once they got together, and that their relationship is not one that viewers should support.

While I can understand being frustrated with Dexter’s actions, a significant part of the show is meant to highlight the struggles of real people. Watching someone make poor decisions during a low point in their life is difficult, but it’s really important to portray these stories because they’re a real part of life. 

By writing Dexter off, many are ignoring the complexities of his character and his struggles. Dealing with grief and substance abuse is not an excuse for somebody’s actions, but it is a real explanation for the destructive behavior he exhibits. We watch him for 20 years of his life, and his character arc is a key part of the story. I was sympathetic to Dexter’s journey despite his faults and ended up liking who he became after watching him grow into a more compassionate adult. 

The public’s inability to forgive fictional characters is a concerning facet of media consumption today, and it seems to reflect the ideas we have about mistakes that people make in reality. Deciding that people are irredeemable no matter what growth is shown after the fact is very close minded, and doesn’t accurately represent the human experience

Similarly, people who identify with these kinds of characters often receive a lot of judgment. Connell in “Normal People” is a very divisive character who has sparked online discourse about whether it’s okay to identify with him. Struggling with communication is his worst crime. The point of creating characters who aren’t perfect is for people to relate and understand them better because regular people make mistakes. Not being able to communicate well is a very real flaw many people have.

Another curious example of this is the show “Euphoria.” Despite every character in the series being morally gray, the public decided to start a massive hate train disproportionate to other characters on the girl who dated her friend’s ex-boyfriend. Without justifying Cassie’s actions, I have to point out that other people on “Euphoria” were dealing drugs, were emotionally abusive, wielding guns and falsely accusing people of sexual assault. Cassie’s history does offer an explanation for her behavior, but social media does not often care about nuance.

Our discomfort with watching flawed characters in the media can stem from insecurity within ourselves or unresolved anger with others for being flawed. It is hard to shake our obsession with moral purity and practice active forgiveness. So when people are familiar with the faults of a character, it can create uncomfortable feelings that aren’t fun to address.

It’s important to have empathy for others, and just because these characters are fictional doesn’t mean they don’t represent something bigger. While watching a movie or reading a book, try to dig deeper than “good” or “bad” when deciding if you like a character or not, and practice doing the same for individuals in real life as well.

Delaney Rauscher Adams is a Cassie Howard defender. Reach out to her at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist
Delaney Rauscher Adams is a junior majoring in Public and Professional Writing, who is also pursuing a certificate in Digital Media, and minoring Law, Criminal Justice, and Society. She is from Delaware County, PA, and primarily enjoys writing about social justice and pop culture. Reach out to her at .