Danny Sample, Editor-in-Chief

A cursory look at some of the most popular television shows of the past decade reveals a curious fact: television viewers love Machiavellian, conniving, and in many cases, evil main characters. Whether it be notorious chemistry teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturer Walter White in Breaking Bad, manipulative House Majority Whip and now Vice President (sorry for the spoiler) Frank Underwood from House of Cards, or larger than life Mafioso Tony Soprano from The Sopranos, millions of viewers have tuned in week after week to support and gawk awestruck at these calculating and often times depraved main characters and their various villainous deeds

What does it say about us that we love such immoral characters? Do we wish we possessed the same wherewithal that allowed Walter White to watch aloof as Jane choked on her own vomit in order to fulfill his own selfish machinations? Or that same ends justify the means attitude that kept Frank Underwood’s conscience clean as he left an intoxicated Peter Russo to die of carbon monoxide poisoning in a running car? Who’s to say?

I, however, posit a slightly different hypothesis. Within each and every one of us lies a heart of darkness. I believe that to be true. However, in most individuals, this thin sliver of evil is repressed by learned compassion and rationality that prevent this wicked inner instinct from being expressed. Most of us do not really wish to carry out these same acts that our favorite characters execute on a weekly basis. That being said, it is in a way a visceral inner awakening to see human beings on-screen channel their inner heart of darkness. It is a way for ordinary people to fantasize about achieving their inner most desires by way of ruthless practices through these proxies that take the form of television characters.