The Dichotomy of Good vs. Evil - featuring Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog
Yoda tells us that only Siths deal in absolutes, so how can it be that we have “Good Guys” and “Bad Guys?” Nothing is completely black or white, as people always have positive and negative characteristics. Even Darth Vader, who was noted for being “More machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil,” still had good in his heart. I’m not saying he wasn’t a jerk – he gave the okay to blow up the entire planet of Alderon, killing what must have been literally billions of people at the push of a button – but he wasn’t completely bad, right? He didn’t kill his own son so… that makes up for the merciless slaughter of billions of innocent lives, right? Right? Guys? Eh... well this (unfortunately) isn’t about Star Wars anyway.
The story of Dr. Horrible is very interesting because the Bad Guy is the viewer’s hero and you want him to put a stop to the Good Guy. Now, it does help that the villain is Neil Patrick Harris and is the relatable, goofy-yet-charming guy, and not an angry German with a bad hair cut and worse moustache, like a certain famous Anti-Semitic villain in real life.
So what is it about Dr. Horrible that makes him a villain? A goal of World Domination probably has a large portion to do with it, I suppose, and various death and/or freeze rays don’t exactly help his case, but I guess he means well. The universe in Dr. Horrible is a perfect stage for dissecting the Good vs Evil dichotomy because nothing is clear cut. Nobody is completely righteous but nobody is completely evil either. It is unlike the Super Man universe where Super Man is the smiling face of all things good and pure, and the bad guys are these incredible bastards who just want to F some S up. Obviously there are exceptions (“Some men just want to watch the world burn”) but most “evil” is all a matter of perspective. The aforementioned up-tight Anti-Semitic (its Hitler if you didn’t get that last time) certainly saw himself has a hero, and so did enough of his followers. He would have been seen has a hero if nobody disagreed with him, at least not to the scale which people eventually did. If the Nazi army successfully took over the world, Hitler would have been seen as a mighty hero and nobody would think otherwise, especially after a generation or two under his rule. The people of North Korea thought that Kim Jong Il was the greatest hero the world has ever seen, and was the son of God, chosen to protect the greatest nation on Earth – North Korea. They grew up with these ideas being told to them all their life so they “know” it to be true. It is the truth to them because they haven’t been taught the possibility of anything different. (This is probably because anyone that started thinking differently didn’t get a chance to influence others because of how dead he/she soon became.) Americans have been informed that Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s hero, is an oversized toddler in knock-off Gucci sunglasses who’s bad temper is probably just because he missed his nap and is a lil’ gwumpy wumpykins. Perspective is everything.
Obi-Wan: Your father... was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and "became" Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point ofview.
Luke: A certain point of view?
Obi-Wan: Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to dependgreatly on our own point of view.
Sorry, Star Wars again. The viewer likes Dr. Horrible. The viewer thinks Captain Hammer is a douche. Dr. Horrible is bent on world domination and isn’t horribly (eh?) concerned with the well-being of others. Captain Hammer defends justice and the protection of others. Why do we feel such a disconnect from who should be the hero? Why do we hope for the success of the person who should be the villain? I think it has to do with their motivations for their actions. Dr. Horrible is acting malevolently but for the purpose of respect, possibly for self-esteem, and for love. Captain Hammer enjoys his work as a protector of the innocent because, turns out, Chicks dig a man who rescues them from certain death. He is after the glory, and his own personal gain... which you could say is another way to say respect and love. From a certain perspective, Captain Hammer and Dr. Horrible are after the same things. Thy both want respect and personal gain. They both are hell-bent on getting what they want and are not looking at the big picture. Jealousy and greed has placed blinders on both of them as they selfishly attempt to out do each other, an act that only hurts those around them. Perhaps neither of them is a good guy, and neither is a bad guy. Perhaps in the real world, people are just people, trying to make their way through their own life. Perhaps we are all heroes, and perhaps we are all villains.