We all love oafish, slightly dumb though usually well-meaning characters: Homer Simpson, Peter griffin (with less emphasis on the well-meaning), and today’s case study, Johnny Bravo. These loveable losers capture our hearts in ways that very few other character types ever can, despite their many MANY flaws. Why is this?

Now, I’m hardly an academic, but bear with me on this layman’s analysis. Taking Johnny Bravo as our example, let’s examine him on face value: Johnny is a vacuous, womanising, jock-like bully who by all rights should be the enemy of every nerd in existence. He alienates many people he meets, through sheer force of his obnoxious demeanour, let alone the horrendous way he treats both women and those closest to him. There should be absolutely nothing to like about this loutish figure, other than as a cautionary tale as to how not to behave in civilised society.

But if we watch the cartoon for more than a few minutes, we start to see just WHY we continue enjoy his exploits. Yes, he is an oafish buffoon with more muscles than brain. But he’s surprisingly sweet when he wants to be, and nothing he does ever really comes from a place of malice. Although much of what he does is for self gain or aggrandizement, as soon as it genuinely starts literally or figuratively hurting somebody who doesn’t deserve it, he stops and finds some way of repairing the damage. And he really loves his Mama. Who could ever really hate a guy like that?

Loveable Oafs make us feel better about ourselves, because we can always view ourselves as being superior to these harmless idiots. Ordinarily, being superior to a complete moron would not offer much of an ego boost. After all, how hard is it to outwit a rock? But the Loveable Oafs’ more human qualities make them relateable as people, providing them with a kind of moral core that props them up, increases their worth and makes them not only likeable to us, but also giving them more worth as a yardstick for us to find ourselves better than. It’s also more than likely that we see much of our own behaviour in them, allowing us to laugh at our own foibles indirectly. They are like jesters of the modern era, exposing that which our own pride might not permit us to see, while elevating our own statuses.

Your own thoughts?


P.s. I think the only loveable oaf I have in Elf Blood is Mint. He’s a bit stupid, but is also surprisingly brave. And every once in a while, I do see something of myself in there with him!