Sunday, April 28, 2013

Getting Jobbed

As previously discussed, I love professional wrestling. The wrestling industry is filled with all sorts of jargon from faces (the good guys) to heels (the bad guys) to marks (people who think professional wrestling is realThis guy for example.) to my favorite: jobbing. When a wrestler is scripted to lose this is called jobbing and wrestlers who lose a lot are called jobbers. Sometimes, when a new wrestler is being introduced a long time tough guy is often jobbed out to the new guy to show how tough and dangerous this new wrestler is. This practice also occurs pretty frequently in movies and TV shows, so often in fact that TV Tropes describes it as “Want a quick way to show how dangerous one of your unknown characters is? Simple, make him do well or win in a fight with a character that the audience already knows is tough.” This tactic often annoys the hell out of me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read an Avengers comic when the team encounters a bad guy for the first time, the bad guy punches out Thor, and then someone says “Oh my God he knocked Thor unconscious! This guy is TOUGH!” Unfortunately jobbing also happens in books. Here are three of my least favorite literary jobbing moments.

Sirius Black jobs to Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix)

First introduced as the badass who escaped Azkaban Sirius Black demonstrated his toughness from the get go. He might be the only person not driven insane by the dementors, takes no shit from crabby house elves, can get past all the safeguards to communicate with Harry inside of Hogwarts, and can fight off a werewolf that’s three times his size. So when Bellatrix Lestrange shows up in The Order of the Phoenix Rowling decides to job out poor Sirius to Bellatrix to show that Voldemort isn’t the only big baddie in town. Bellatrix hits Sirius with a curse and sends him through the enchanted archway in the Death ChamberSeriously who leaves shit like this lying around? Not even some caution tape in front of it?.

What sucks most of all about this is Sirius was jobbed simply to make Bellatrix look tough so she could in turn job to Mrs. Weasley in Book 7 and prove once again that mama rage is greater than psychopath rage.

Luca Brasi jobs to Virgil Sollozzo (The Godfather):

Early in The Godfather you are introduced to a gangster named Luca Brasi and learn just how much of a badass he is. Puzo provides all sorts of great background information about how many men Luca’s killed for Don Corleone and how he hacked up some of Al Capone’s men with an axe. When I read this I could not wait for Luca to get started and I was looking forward to his new adventures in whacking. But then Virgil Sollozzo shows up and takes out Brasi when he refuses to betray the Don Corleone, instantly transforming Sollozzo from a two bit street hood to a badass gangsta with upper management potential written all over him. Brasi was created and then jobbed to make Sollozzo into a credible threat to Corleone. I’m just sad I never got to see Brasi in all his badass glory.

Randall Flagg jobs to Mordred AKA Roland’s demon spider love child (The Dark Tower):

This, by far, is the job that hurts me the most. I absolutely loved the first four books in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. The opening line in the series is, “The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.” The man in black is none other than The Ageless Stranger AKA The Walking Dude AKA Russell Faraday AKA Richard Fanin AKA Randall FlaggOkay actually in the original version of The Gunslinger it was just a dude named Walter, but King retroactively changed it to Flagg.. Flagg has shown up all over the Stephen King universe, appearing as the big bad guy in The Stand and Eyes of the Dragon as well as making cameos in Hearts in Atlantis and the early Dark Tower books. Everything pointed to an epic confrontation between Flagg and Roland. In Wizard and Glass (Book IV) Roland caught up to Flagg who disappeared right before two of Roland’s bullets would have ended him. I spent more time than was probably healthy thinking about how awesome their final fight would be.

BUT NO! Instead in possibly the worst decision any author has ever made, King decided to job Flagg out to Roland’s demon spider love child MordredThe details of Mordred’s origin are as follows: Roland sleeps with some demon to... you know what nevermind. Mordred sucks. The hell with him. who somehow controls Flagg’s body making him pluck out his eyes and tongue before... eating him. King also gives Flagg the suckiest origin possible for a previously badass immortal agent of evil: he’s the son of a miller who got raped by a hobo when he was a kid. I just cannot fathom why King, after building up Flagg for so many years, chose to dispose of him this callously. I’m almost positive that this decision alone is responsible for 75% of why King is no longer my favorite author.

Thankfully, I can't post a video link to this travashamockery because The Dark Tower remains in film limbo. Instead here's some Randall Flagg goodness from The Stand with some horrible death metal soundtrack.

Whew. That last one got kind of personal. Sorry about that. What beloved characters of yours have been jobbed out to lesser ones?

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