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Missyfication

burrunjor

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This is a trope I've noticed in a lot of works where basically we have a villain who originally has their own motivations, plans, characteristics that are entirely separate of the hero, is a legitimate threat to the hero, but who at some point falls in love with the hero, and their entire character comes to revolve around that and nothing else. They become basically the heroes' jealous ex and everything they do, either evil or good is to win the heroes heart.

It's not the same as Badass decay which is just where a character becomes less threatening. (They don't have to fall in love.) Here the character might not become less threatening, it's just that now their only role is as the heroes love interest. Added to that them being the love interest will often be inappropriate because of how evil they once were and it will come out of nowhere.

I've named it after Missy the female version of the Master in DW. By no means the first example of this trope, but probably the most notorious. Missy for those of you who don't know was the female version of the Master, a Doctor Who villain. In the Classic era of Doctor Who the Master was a megalomaniac who wanted to rule the galaxy and impose his own twisted order on it. He also enjoyed manipulating and twisting people's minds for his own ends. He was obsessed with the Doctor, but it was because he hated him so much and wanted to make him suffer. He was a legit threat, the Doctor never was able to kill him, (Despite trying) he destroyed entire civilisations, planets, races and he even killed the Doctor in a story called Logopolis.

In the 21st century version, for some inexplicable reason, the writers decided to make the Master the Doctors love interest, and when they changed the Master into a woman (just like the Doctor) called Missy, they had the Master fall in love with the Doctor. All of Missy's plans are just to get off with the Doctor in some way. From bringing back an army of Cybermen, to turning good. She has no other plans, or motives, or anything other than to be with the Doctor. All the good and bad things she does revolve around it. (Like when she murders Osgood and tries to kill Clara. She only kills them because she is jealous of those two, pretty young girls getting close to her fella.)

To prove my point here is an example of the original Masters dialogue.

MASTER: Rassilon's discovery, all mine. I shall have supreme power over the universe. Master of all matter!

MASTER: But I called you here and you came?

AZAL: I answered your call because the time was come for my awakening. The time has come for the completion of the experiment or its destruction.
MASTER: Then fulfill your mission by granting the ultimate power to me. Who else is there strong enough to give these humans the leadership they need?
DOCTOR: I seem to remember somebody else speaking like that. What was the bounder's name? Hitler. Yes, that's right, Adolf Hitler. Or was it Genghis Khan?
MASTER: Azal, I have the will. You yourself said so.


MASTER: Ah. But then, as yet you've not been appraised of my purpose in being here.
RANI: To destroy the Doctor. You've never had any other. It obsesses you to the exclusion of all else.
MASTER: You underestimate me. Certainly I want to destroy him, see him suffer, but that is just an exquisite first step. I have a greater concept, one that will encompass the whole human race.
PERI: He wants to pervert history.
DOCTOR: Not that the Prince of Darkness here would see it as perversion.

MASTER: Maudlin claptrap. The talents of these geniuses should be harnessed to a superior vision. With their help, I could turn this insignificant planet into a power base unique in the universe.

Here is some of Missy's

DOCTOR: Who maintains your heart?
MISSY: My heart is maintained by the Doctor.
MISSY: You know who I am. I told you. You felt it. Surely you did.
DOCTOR: Two hearts.

MISSY: And both of them yours.

MISSY: Oh, Clara, Clara, Clara! You know I should shoot you in a jealous rage. Now, wouldn't that be sexy?

MISSY: I don't even know why I'm crying. Why? Why do I keep doing that now?

DOCTOR: I don't know. Maybe you're trying to impress me.
MISSY: Yes. Probably some devious plan. That sounds about right.

See the difference LOL. However Missy is far from the only example, and I was wondering if anyone else here could come up with some others.

So far I've got

Zelena/ Once Upon A Time

Zelena is an adaptation of the Wicked Witch. In the original story and classic film version, The Witch is a legitimate threat. She has her own plans to take over the kingdom, she is monstrous in appearance, and has no love interest.

In Once sadly they made her sexy, and had her entire masterplan be motivated by her love for Rumplestiltskin. Everything she does in season 3 is just to go back and win him round. After that she just gets off with Robin Hood, and then she's Hades' girlfriend. As much as I like Rebecca Mader, I was really disappointed in The Witch of this series. I thought they'd make her like Anjelica Huston's version in The Witches, a really evil, legitimately scary monstrous version, who could threaten Rumple's power and cast creepy curses, but instead they just made her another love interest for the main characters.

Irene Adler/ Sherlock Holmes

Irene Adler in the original story wasn't Holmes' love interest. It was hinted that he might have such a strong admiration for her, that it was the closest thing he could have to romantic feelings, but ultimately she was not his girlfriend, and she had no interest in Holmes. She also had her own plans that were nothing to do with Holmes and was the only enemy of his who beat him. However in so many modern versions she is reduced to being his girlfriend with nothing else.

Dracula

The modern image of Dracula is of a romantic character who wants to make a woman his forever. Most versions of Dracula will have the Count fall in love with Mina, and all of his motivations will revolve around her, either turning her, or redeeming himself for her or something. His history may be linked with her too, she might be the reincarnation of his love who caused him to become a Vampire in the first place.

In the original Stoker novel meanwhile Dracula was not in love with Mina at all. He travels to London because he wants to take over the world. His plan is to use the British Empire to spread Vampirism like never before, put Vampires in positions of power, and eventually reduce humans to cattle. Like The Wish on a global scale. (Or at least a kind of illumanti Vampire society like Blade.)

He kills Lucy simply to spread the curse of Vampirism, and whilst he does see some potential in Mina, it's only in that he thinks she'd make a good Vampire. He doesn't even seduce her. He is a hideous old man who gets younger when he drinks blood, but never becomes attractive per se. His history before he became a Vampire is more complex and has nothing to do with Mina, and he has other relationships too. HIs relationship with his brides is more complex. He does mistreat them, but he also genuinely loves them and brings them people to feed on including Harker and most disturbingly of all, a baby!

Lugosi's Dracula meanwhile didn't have plans to take of the world, but he wanted to spread Vampirism seeing it as a gift, whilst Lee's Dracula was a sadistic monster like Angelus, who killed for various reasons, for pleasure, revenge, to make an example of someone. He ruled over a small town with an iron fist, never fell in love with his victims, and eventually tried to bring on the end of the world.

From Jack Palance's version on however, most, not all, but most Dracula's are just in love with Mina, like Frank Langella, Gary Oldman etc.

Spike

Yep, I'd consider him a version. When he was first introduced he had various motives from wanting to kill Buffy, cure Drusilla etc. He also had various different sides to him, he was a romantic, yet also very practical and self server who was willing to switch sides (and therefore lasted a lot longer than other villains.)

After season 5 however, he is Buffy's love interest and that's it. It's maybe not a perfect example as to be fair Spike was already no longer a villain when that happened, but I think it fits somewhat.

Missyfication isn't always a bad thing, even though I do despise Missy herself LOL. Sometimes it can work, but overall I think this trope often makes villains less interesting. It reduces them from characters in their own right, to satelite love interests and it can undermine the hero too, whose morality may be compromised by being with such a loathsome villain.

What do you think? Any other examples you can name?
 
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Oromous

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I don't really care much for romance to be honest, though romance stories can be appealing to me (if that makes any sense).

The insertion of romantic elements is probably to appeal to the audience, because it's an assumption that most people love a romantic angle in a story. I certainly don't, you certainly don't seem to, so the assumption is obviously generalized and can be false.

It does lead to some playful writing like the relationship between Irene and Sherlock, but like you said, it sometimes cheapens the character to be the main character's boyfriend or girlfriend instead of being his/her own individual.

I think some romances can work well without such an effect. I feel like Peggy Carter was quite well-written as an individual, even going on to her own spin-off series tackling feminist issues in the '40s.

In other cases, like her great-niece, Sharon Cater is reduced to being somebody whom Steve Rogers could have as companionship. Thankfully, that didn't work out.
 
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DeadlyDuo

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Zelena/ Once Upon A Time

Zelena is an adaptation of the Wicked Witch. In the original story and classic film version, The Witch is a legitimate threat. She has her own plans to take over the kingdom, she is monstrous in appearance, and has no love interest.

In Once sadly they made her sexy, and had her entire masterplan be motivated by her love for Rumplestiltskin. Everything she does in season 3 is just to go back and win him round. After that she just gets off with Robin Hood, and then she's Hades' girlfriend. As much as I like Rebecca Mader, I was really disappointed in The Witch of this series. I thought they'd make her like Anjelica Huston's version in The Witches, a really evil, legitimately scary monstrous version, who could threaten Rumple's power and cast creepy curses, but instead they just made her another love interest for the main characters.
She rapes Robin Hood by deception. They made her yet another villain related to the main characters.

It's annoying how anyone trying to get revenge on Zelena or Regina for all the evil things they did is painted as a villain. In the second half of Season 3, Regina is practically unlikeable because everyone treats her as if she's a saint now.

Spike

Yep, I'd consider him a version. When he was first introduced he had various motives from wanting to kill Buffy, cure Drusilla etc. He also had various different sides to him, he was a romantic, yet also very practical and self server who was willing to switch sides (and therefore lasted a lot longer than other villains.)

After season 5 however, he is Buffy's love interest and that's it. It's maybe not a perfect example as to be fair Spike was already no longer a villain when that happened, but I think it fits somewhat.

Missyfication isn't always a bad thing, even though I do despise Missy herself LOL. Sometimes it can work, but overall I think this trope often makes villains less interesting. It reduces them from characters in their own right, to satelite love interests and it can undermine the hero too, whose morality may be compromised by being with such a loathsome villain.
There used to be a trope called Spikeification. I strongly dislike when almost every male character on a show is attracted to the female lead. Even Buffy suffers from this.

I'm glad I didn't watch Doctor Who when they were doing that.

What do you think? Any other examples you can name?
Hook from Once Upon a Time. Once they dropped his revenge plot against Rumple, he was nothing but Emma's love interest. Even in Neverland, he was given nothing to do but fawn over Emma.
 

burrunjor

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She rapes Robin Hood by deception. They made her yet another villain related to the main characters.

It's annoying how anyone trying to get revenge on Zelena or Regina for all the evil things they did is painted as a villain. In the second half of Season 3, Regina is practically unlikeable because everyone treats her as if she's a saint now.



There used to be a trope called Spikeification. I strongly dislike when almost every male character on a show is attracted to the female lead. Even Buffy suffers from this.

I'm glad I didn't watch Doctor Who when they were doing that.



Hook from Once Upon a Time. Once they dropped his revenge plot against Rumple, he was nothing but Emma's love interest. Even in Neverland, he was given nothing to do but fawn over Emma.
Yes I remember Hook becoming nothing more than a satelite love interest. As much as I was in love with Lana Parilla, I agree her righteousness got on my nerves I remember getting pissed with Regina when she was angry with Emma for saving Marian. FFS was Emma just to leave an innocent woman to be slaughtered by YOU in the past? You should be happy that you don't have another death on you conscience (which in this case is the mother of that kid you were bonding with!)

Spikeification is badass decay, but like I said it's a bit different in that it's just a character becoming less threatening. Technically it could have referred to Spike even if he never fell for Buffy in season 4 when he got the chip.

As for DW it was actually the male Doctor Missy fell in love with. The lady Doctor fought a male Master who was evil again (without any explanation.) Sadly the new evil male Master, though a bit of an improvement on Missy, wasn't that great and was involved in the worst stories of the Whittaker era, but I won't go into that LOL.

I agree that it can get annoying when they have to make everyone in love with the female lead, though it can happen to male led shows too. Angel I think was guilty of this for instance, hence Cangel, which is I suppose a non villainous example. Cordy wasn't a villain, but she still went from being someone with her own motivations and characterisation to just Angel's girl, like the awful bit where she won't stand up for Wesley not even because she thinks Wesley is wrong, just because Angel says so.

An example of Missyfication I think that worked overall would Ares from Xena.

Ares and Xena's romance wasn't perfect, and it could be seen as an example of taking a character with wide ranging motives and making him obsessed with the main heroine, but I think they pulled it off better than other examples for the following reasons.

It was there from the start. No retconning like the Master, or even to a lesser extent Spike and Dru in season 5. From the beginning Ares wanted to at least be with Xena in some ways.

It made more logical sense as Ares kept saying he wanted Xena alive because she his best warrior. That's still true, but at the same time, surely he would eventually realise she is a far better fighter than any of his warriors, will never go evil, and is therefore actually too big a danger to his plans than an asset. However he doesn't kill her because he is also in love with her.

It didn't actually take over Ares entire character either. He still does other things throughout both series, Xena and Hercules. Xena's just one side project if you will. He's always carrying out other schemes, starting wars, fighting with Hercules etc.

Also finally it didn't undermine Xena either as she had already done a lot of nasty shit LOL, so it made sense that she would be attracted to Ares in some ways.

Spike meanwhile I'd say was an example that was up and down. Some moments like the ending of Intervention and Chosen are perfect, others like Smashed are iconic, but a bit cheesy, others like the notorious AR scene are heinously misguided.

I'd say Irene Adler is the worst after Missy as that character basically is just Holmes' girlfriend at times. Hell in some versions she's just the lost Lenore killed before the story begins. What a come down for the woman who beat Holmes.
 

Oromous

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I'd say Irene Adler is the worst after Missy as that character basically is just Holmes' girlfriend at times. Hell in some versions she's just the lost Lenore killed before the story begins. What a come down for the woman who beat Holmes.
In Sherlock, she 1) had to be rescued by Sherlock, and 2) appeared in a cameo in season 3 just to remind audiences, "HEY! Sherlock has a girlfriend!" She was naked no less, though I guess that's true to her dominatrix character in the show.
 

burrunjor

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In Sherlock, she 1) had to be rescued by Sherlock, and 2) appeared in a cameo in season 3 just to remind audiences, "HEY! Sherlock has a girlfriend!" She was naked no less, though I guess that's true to her dominatrix character in the show.
It was the same guy, Steven Moffat who wrote that version of Irene Adler, that wrote Missy. (Both were basically the same character.)

That said however Moffat surprisingly broke the curve when it came to Dracula. Anybody see his version of Dracula, a BBC Miniseries that was released this year? It was actually quite good. The first two parts anyway. I loved the opening episode, and part 2 was one of the best Dracula's I've ever seen. Sadly however in part 3 it all fell apart dreadfully.

That said at least he didn't reduce Dracula to just being in love with Mina throughout it. His Dracula actually felt like more than just a creepy stalker.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Yes I remember Hook becoming nothing more than a satelite love interest. As much as I was in love with Lana Parilla, I agree her righteousness got on my nerves I remember getting pissed with Regina when she was angry with Emma for saving Marian. FFS was Emma just to leave an innocent woman to be slaughtered by YOU in the past? You should be happy that you don't have another death on you conscience (which in this case is the mother of that kid you were bonding with!)
Making Regina the killer of Marian was drama just for the sake of it then the writers backed out of following through by having it turn out that Marian was actually dead and it was just Zelena masquerading as her after killig her thus absolving Regina of the murder (they never told Marian's actress this during the first half of Season 4 (because they probably hadn't thought of it yet) so she played it straight as if it was actually Marian.

Robin Hood was written awfully. Upon meeting Regina, he's suddenly into her (despite the fact it would make no sense since he'd only know her as the Evil Queen at that point and clearly Marian was not a supporter), then when "Marian" is slowly freezing to death, Robin and Regina just stand over her unconscious body and have a conversation about the state of their relationship. To make things worse, it turns out the whole "soulmates" thing wasn't even about that version of Robin Hood and Regina.

Wishverse Robin was so much more interesting than original Robin which shows that the problem was the writing, not the actor.

As for DW it was actually the male Doctor Missy fell in love with. The lady Doctor fought a male Master who was evil again (without any explanation.) Sadly the new evil male Master, though a bit of an improvement on Missy, wasn't that great and was involved in the worst stories of the Whittaker era, but I won't go into that LOL.
I quite like the new Master, he never should've been turned into a woman. Making the doctor a woman was also unnecessary but at least Whittaker does a decent job. I wonder if the BBC is going to back off from all the Woke nonsense. They got extreme backlash over the proms which they then backtracked on as a result amid growing calls to scrap the license fee.

There are just some things you don't mess with when it comes to the British.

Doctor Who is/was a popular show so the last thing the BBC would want to do is further alienate audiences by pushing woke agendas.

It was the same guy, Steven Moffat who wrote that version of Irene Adler, that wrote Missy. (Both were basically the same character.)
Moffat seemed to have a hard on for the character of Clara, she was such a creator's pet.

That said however Moffat surprisingly broke the curve when it came to Dracula. Anybody see his version of Dracula, a BBC Miniseries that was released this year? It was actually quite good. The first two parts anyway. I loved the opening episode, and part 2 was one of the best Dracula's I've ever seen. Sadly however in part 3 it all fell apart dreadfully.
Part 3 was decent enough but not as good as Parts 1&2. Mark Gatiss also helped write Dracula (he co-wrote Sherlock).

Nun Agatha was better than the modern day version and I think the chemistry between nun Agatha and Dracula was fantastic.

That said at least he didn't reduce Dracula to just being in love with Mina throughout it. His Dracula actually felt like more than just a creepy stalker.
They got rid of Mina pretty quickly, she was barely featured and the show was bettetr for it.
 

thrasherpix

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It occurs to me...Joss should do a season where LOVE is the Big Bad. Seems right up his alley. And THAT would actually be brave, especially as such a message, if people were like "yeah, I recognize myself there, maybe I should break that along with my cigarettes and meth," because millions of people doing that would harm the profits of many industries directly and indirectly, and can't have that (who in turn advertise so have a lot of control over media decisions).

And given how many people do in fact do terrible things for the one they love (think Joyce for Ted, and that's a minor example, real life gets a lot worse than that) it would actually be more accurate to say love corrupts more than love saves. And I say that without including the crimes of passion and other violence.
 

Oromous

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Just thought of one:


Charisma Carpenter in The Expendables. She served no greater purpose than be Jason Statham's cheating girlfriend. Yikes. But I guess I shouldn't expect any less from a movie celebrating '80s macho masculinity.

Charisma deserved so much better.
 

burrunjor

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Just thought of one:


Charisma Carpenter in The Expendables. She served no greater purpose than be Jason Statham's cheating girlfriend. Yikes. But I guess I shouldn't expect any less from a movie celebrating '80s macho masculinity.

Charisma deserved so much better.
I don't know if that's an example, as she's not a villain, and she was never anything more in that film. It's more of a satelite love interest. Still you're right it's a sad waste of Charisma Carpenter.

She should have it in her contract not to just be reduced to the heroes boring love interest after Angel season 3 (the second part LOL.)
 

Athene

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I always thought Missy being in love with the doctor was just played for laughs though I never thought she was serious.
 

ILLYRIAN

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Just loved that bit of Statham on the bike about to leave the basketball court, he revved the engine before putting the bike into gear? What was he trying to do, destroy the clutch mechanism or ruin the gear change mechanics? Some people just shouldn't try to ride bikes.
 

burrunjor

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I think that a good inversion of this trope is Catwoman in Gotham.

The character of Catwoman whilst sometimes being effective was really little more than a love interest for Batman initially.

See here from their first meeting.





Gotham the series however made Catwoman into so much more than that. They gave her proper motivations and a character outside of her relationship with Bruce and made her a more 3 dimensional character than some other versions. I'd say she was my favourite version of Selina Kyle. She's the Anti Missy.
 
DeadlyDuo
DeadlyDuo
Gotham was such a good tv show.

burrunjor

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I always thought Missy being in love with the doctor was just played for laughs though I never thought she was serious.
She was. Her motivation in her first story is to win the Doctor back as a friend, she also tries to kill any pretty young girl that gets near her fella (Osgood, and Clara, though in Clara's case maybe it was also because she was just annoying.)

She also tries to be good to be with him, kisses him several times, constantly flirts with him etc.

Here are the quotes (got this from a transcript page.)

DOCTOR: Who maintains your heart?
MISSY: My heart is maintained by the Doctor.

MISSY: You know who I am. I told you. You felt it. Surely you did.
DOCTOR: Two hearts.
MISSY: And both of them yours.

Missy and Catwoman from Gotham in some ways show that there are no bad characters, just bad writers.

Good writers are able to take a character that was really nothing more than a cliched femme fatale like Catwoman and make her a 3 dimensional, interesting character, whilst a bad writer, or at least one influenced by bad decisions, can take a character with proper motivations and turn him into a cliched femme fatale character.
 
Athene
Athene
I see that dialogue but I took it as a joke.
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