TV and movie characters often display signs of mental illness, however diagnosing someone at a distance is a challenge. Some are obvious though - like Monica Gellar, who needs everything to always be in its proper place, or Archer, who, well... the mommy issues are only the tip of that iceberg.
RogueFart asked, Psychologists of reddit, do you ever find yourself "examining" fictional characters from tv, books, books and movies? If so, what are some interesting characters that are maybe unassuming to the "uneducated"?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Sound like anyone you know?Giphy
PhD student in clinical psych here. I often say that the main character in Nightcrawler is one of the most accurate depictions of psychopathy/antisocial personality that I've seen in film or TV. Most "psychopaths" (not a diagnosis, but a term used in research that overlaps with a lot of antisocial personality disorder) are not overt sadistic murderers, but they lack empathy and will manipulate others for personal gain with superficial charm. Jake Gyllenhaal nails this in my opinion and the character is written very realistically
How I Met Your -- Psychopath?Giphy
Barney Stinson is not a psychopath (i.e. ASPD). He's not destructive and parasitic enough in the group he's currently exploiting. He supposedly falls in love, has remorse and empathy. That's a little off for someone who is played out as a psychopath. It's the same with some other supposed psychopaths in TV. Dexter is a remorseless killer with no empathy but starts caring and turns into a normal person when he meets The Woman. Honestly, if you have a psychopath character, just keep it consistent.
Bonus: Michael Scott is a domineering workplace bully and Toby is his submissive victim. We watched a compilation of his bullying in an organizational psychology class. I also would say Jim is a reactive bully and Dwight is his provocative victim. Dwight acts in strange, provocative, and norm-breaking ways, which provokes Jim to bully him to put him in his place.
Touch one thing in that kitchen...Giphy
I have a BA in Psych but my professors would often use Monica from Friends as an example to have Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. That's OCPD not OCD, which are often confused. Just the way she is very rigid, and wants everything clean and organized. My professors would sometimes classify Sheldon Cooper to have OCPD, as well.
Tony Stark had some serious PTSD. Also, solid advice here.Giphy
Iron man is totally going through a Manic episode at the beginning of the Iron Man movie where he's building all those Iron man suits.
Rapid speech, racing thoughts, no sleep for 3 nights, grandiose behaviour, goal directed tasks (his machines, but unlike manic people he finished his objective).
Edit: To everyone relating to the above information, if you think even for a minute you can relate all too well with this, please go see your physician or a mental health professional! These are important conversations to have and the sooner you have them the better.
Mental health diagnoses can be complicated; there are an array of illnesses who's symptoms overlap or co-exist. Google, movies, your friend or a reddit comment are not the most accurate nor the most informative sources to figure out what illness you or a loved one may have. Please go seek help from a professional. I promise you we will do our best to diagnose and treat you to make YOUR life and subsequently the lives of the people around you better.
Also to the buddy who graced me with gold, thank you! For anyone else who thought (or not) about it, please spend those few dollars by donating to a Mental Health charity or facility. Your local one preferably!!
Hogwarts' liability insurance premiums must be astronomical.Giphy
I wrote this a while back when in my MSW program with a mental health focus, but it applies here:
Harry Potter definitely has posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), esp from the end of Goblet of Fire, with symptoms coming full force in the following book. Looking at the DSM5 criteria, he:
- Criteria A: Witnessed a death/had his life threatened - the events of the end of GoF
- Criteria B: recurrent distressing dreams - constant nightmares
- Criteria C: avoidance - doesn't want to talk about Cedric, begins avoiding his friends and isolating himself to avoid questions about that night
- Criteria D: self-blame (esp with Cedric and suggesting the grab the portkey together), feelings of detachment or estrangement from others (belief that his friends don't get it, feeling isolated)
- Criteria E: irritability/anger outbursts (hello all of book 5), reckless behavior (Harry in a nutshell), problems with concentration, sleep disturbances
- Criteria F: has persisted longer than 1 month
- Criteria G: these disturbances cause clinically significant distress and impairment
- Criteria H: his experiences cannot be attributed to a substance (e.g. drugs)
Hogwarts really needs a counseling center.
She'll always be his girl.Giphy
Degree in behavioral science. Done a lot of work with people dealing with trauma. Jenny from Forrest Gump is an incredibly fascinating character. The way her childhood abuse sets her up to gravitate towards abusers, and avoid people who could make her happy is a hell of a watch. Also consider her feelings of power over Forrest considering his handicap, and to see that affect her relationship with him is a whole other layer to her story. She is a hell of a character, much more so than Forrest.
Chuck is detestable yet he draws sympathy toward the end.Giphy
I read someone examining Chuck McGill from Better Call Saul. Chuck basically believed he had a disease but didn't, and it stemmed from a narcissistic personality needing to be in a world where he was treated like a king. He already was a person of respect and on top of his field, but his wife divorcing him and his ne'er-do-well brother being more charming sent him into some kind of spiral.
I can't say it as well as that person did. If a psychologist knows the show, I'd love to hear their opinion on Chuck.
Funny how that works isn't it?Giphy
In college, I did a research paper on the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman. (If you haven't read it, I highly suggest it!)
Anyway, there's a part in the book where a Jewish survivor of a concentration camp doesn't want to pick up a hitchhiker, because the hitchhiker is black.
I thought it was super interesting, so I did my work on that part of the story specifically. Turns out, a lot of survivors of traumas turn pretty xenophobic, if their own trauma was race/religious oriented.
Brains are weird, man.
Frank Reynolds is a baller.Giphy
I am a licensed and accredited psychologist and I can say for certainty that Frank Reynolds has Donkey Brains.
World's greatest boss.Giphy
Psychotherapist here... Michael Scott is a textbook case of histrionic personality disorder.
What would a retired Peggy Hill be like? She's got an alluring Laura Bush quality.Giphy
Peggy Hill gets SO much hate on reddit, but all her flaws are exactly why I find her character so entertaining. Here's to hoping the King of the Hill revival actually comes to fruition.
*Mike Judge has stated that any revival would have all the characters aged in real time, and taking place in the midst of the current Trump administration. That means Hank in his mid 60s (!!!) and Bobby in his late 20s (29, to be exact). No animated show would have ever aged their characters in real time like this before. It would be almost an entirely different show.
Yes, 13 great seasons. But have people forgotten Fox cancelled it for The Cleveland Show? There's still a lot of life left in the series and aging its characters to the current day gives the showrunners a chance to do something truly unique.
Spoiler: he's bipolar.Giphy
Licensed social worker here, but I appropriately diagnosed Ian on Shameless about 5-6 episodes before they gave him the diagnosis on the show. That was one of my prouder moments.
The Harry Potter series is awash in mental illness.Giphy
Not a psychologist, but I read a really interesting paper on the psychological disorders present in the Harry Potter universe that are never acknowledged in the series.
- Voldemort showing an almost textbook case of ASPD - a facade of superficial charm, manipulative, arrogant, lack of remorse, recklessness, aggressive, difficulty sustaining personal relationships, exploiting others for own gain, thinking lowly of others, and having a callous attitude to people they have hurt.
- Harry suffering with signs of PTSD - dissociative episodes of reliving past events, recurring nightmares, avoids trauma-related thoughts and emotions
- Lupin suffering with depression - linked to his lycanthropy of course, things like melancholy and lonely, losing interest and enjoyment in things they previously did enjoy, reduced fatigue and constantly tired, reduced self-esteem and self-confidence, ideas of guilt and unworthiness
- Mad-Eye Moody suffering with Paranoid Personality Disorder - mistrustful, constantly suspicious of others, delusional, always preparing his own food and drinking from his own flask due to his paranoia he'd be poisoned, his catchphrase of "constant vigilance" screams of someone who is extremely paranoid.
- Snape suffering with Schizoid personality disorder - no interest in social relationships, sheltered lifestyle, secretiveness, general detachment, apathy, emotional coldness, aloof attitude, consider themselves "observers" of the world rather than participants, etc.
- Peter Pettigrew suffering with Dependent personality disorder - constant dependency on others to meet their need for physical and emotional support, characterized by fear and anxiety when the needs aren't met. Desire of constant approval, failing to make decisions on their own, passive and clingy, pessimistic, sensitive to criticism and rejection
Darth Vader/Anakin had some issues yo.Giphy
More than one of my professors have used Darth Vader as a template to explain borderline personality disorder. He meets more than the required number of symptoms to warrant a firm diagnosis.
- People Divulge The Most Recurring Themes From Their Nightmares - George Takei ›
- Friends Of Psychopaths/Sociopaths Divulge When They Realized Their Friend Had Issues - George Takei ›
- Psychologists Describe The Most Interesting Mental Disorders They've Ever Encountered - George Takei ›
- People Share The Exact Moment Someone Made Them Think 'That Person's A Psychopath' - George Takei ›
- People Debate Which Historical Figures May Have Had An Undiagnosed Mental Illness - George Takei ›
With things inching closer and closer back to normal after three years of the global pandemic, people are more eager than ever to go on a vacation.
And the possibilities of where to travel are endless.
Be it a soothing beach vacation in Turks and Caicos, enjoying the romantic hustle and bustle of Paris, or letting one's imagination run wild at an amusement park.
But are there some places one should make a point of avoiding as a vacation destination?
Be it for political unrest, unsafe conditions, or simply because there isn't much to do.
Redditor Blowmansalad was curious to know the answer, resulting in their taking to Reddit to ask:
"Where should you NOT go on vacation?"
"At least not until some form of functioning government actually takes place."
"After the magnicide it's been nothing but a turf war between gangs better armed to than most small countries and everybody that could, aka, the rich, left the country due to the constant threat of getting kidnapped and all the violence that has been taking place."- logiqaltech
Russia, at least for now.
"Americans might wanna put that Russia vacation on hold for a lil bit."- flip_phone_phil
Salem, Massachusetts, in the fall...
"Salem around Halloween."
"I'm a local."
"It's a damn tourist trap."
"Nowhere to park and if you haven't booked all your reservations by February you're SOL."
"The summer is a 10x better time to visit Salem."
"For those asking, I am referring to Salem Massachusetts."- jlm2299Happy Trick Or Treat GIF by DOMCAKEGiphy
The pyramids might be best seen in pictures...
"As an Egyptian I am definitely not looking forward to reading these replies."- d7oom175
"The common folk are warm and welcoming and would give you the food off their table and clothes off their backs."
"But the cops, the scammers, the vendors, phew."
"It is one big tourist trap."- TwistedChopstick
"If you’re a woman, I’ve been told that Egypt is best avoided unless you have male friends or family that can safely escort you about in public."
"Otherwise, any country in an active war."- chibinoi
Unless you never want to leave your hotel.
"I took my wife to Jamaica for our honeymoon."
"We wound up in a resort in Montego bay."
"The resort was nice but began to feel like a prison."
"If you went out people would grab her by the wrist and drag her to some shack they were selling trinkets in."
"The locals that worked in the resort were fantastic."
"Best prison guards you can imagine."- jabsaw2112
"They actively tell people to stay on resort property because they can't protect tourists otherwise."- MrPuzzleMan
Maybe one day.
"No question about it."- DatRobloxKid
If you can't take the heat...
"Phoenix in July."
"It’s a monument to man’s arrogance."- TacoDocRaising Arizona Movie GIFGiphy
Of course, when choosing a vacation spot, one wants somewhere where they can relax, take in the sights, and escape from their current realities for a week or so.
So, traveling to somewhere where you're constantly on alert, your mind is constantly racing, and/or there's nothing to see... might not be the best choice.
Thankfully, be it near or small, there is always somewhere to fall back on.
TV leaves a special impact on the viewer, sometimes more than movies.
It's because we live with these characters.
We take several journeys with them, not just a quick two hour ride.
That's why the finales are so special.
They can complete us or leave us broken for life.
Let's discuss the good.
Redditor KvK_07 wanted to discuss some of the best endings to television shows we love.They asked:
"Which show had a proper satisfying ending?"
My favorite endings for my shows? The list is long. But The Golden Girls & Buffy are up there.
GoodbyeCbs Cheers GIF by Paramount+Giphy
"Sorry, we’re closed."
"Ok. So the end itself was good but in the final episode they never once said NORM and it just hurts me a little when I think about it."
"Avatar, The Last Airbender."
"Love how they continued the story in The Search and The Promise comics though. I know there are more Avatar comics but I haven’t gotten around to reading those yet. Plus it was recently announced that Avatar Studios’ first project would be an animated movie about Aang and the others as young adults. We’ll probably be seeing him and Zuko build Republic City."
"The Good Place."
"I came to say the exact same thing - I absolutely adored this show and and while I’m sad it’s over I’m also so glad they ended it when they did instead of letting it go on for too long and ruining the show."
"I was told over and over to 'just watch the show for the ending.' From lots of people. So I hesitantly did so, and was like 'Yeah this is okay, but not mind blowing or anything. It's cool.'
"But holy s**t. That ending is the best ending to a TV show that's ever been made, I think.Everyone was 100% right. It was worth it. It's hard to explain without watching the show. But they did it flawlessly.I think about that show's ending all the time."
A Few Issues
"Star Trek: The Next Generation."
"I liked where they left it with Picard's development - but me and my partner recoiled in horror seeing Q appear. By far our worst part of the series, such an OTT obnoxious character, with lazy storytelling. Loved the series as a whole, but to have Q end it seemed like a punch in the gut. He seemed like growing pains of the first season but just had to come back lol."
Life is OverSix Feet Under Drinking GIF by HBOGiphy
"Six Feet Under is yet to be topped."
"It really was such a great and satisfying ending."
I can't even think about Six Feet Under without tears.
FreshSeason 2 Dancing GIF by The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirGiphy
"Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The way the cast said good bye to each other in the empty mansion to how Will turns out the lights at the end of the episode. Just an amazing series."
This War is Over
"M A S H."
"Absolutely. As a young child in the beginning of the 1980s I distinctly recall hearing the theme melody late at night when the TV was airing reruns and sometimes catching a glimpse of the intro.That melancholic tune just touched me in ways I didn’t understand as a 4 yr old."
"When I got a bit older I was flipping through the channels and suddenly there it was: the theme melody that I had moved me when I was so little. I had stumbled upon one of the many reruns that would air for 20-40 yrs.I was a European kid growing up in the 80s and 90s."
"I didn’t know anything about the Korean War. But the show really showed the horrors, depravity and injustice of war no matter who is doing the fighting. And it did so in a way that mixed humor with tragedy without making light of the tragedy.It was brilliant.I must have seen all episodes by now. I have a terrible memory for books, movies and shows but the last episode will stay with me forever."
"The Sopranos. I know what I said."
"I know what they were trying to do there and I agree that it is brilliant once you actually analyze what happened and what led up to it, but that takes hindsight and rewinding the episode and rewatching it once, maybe twice. But on the first, cold viewing, I think it was a teeny bit TOO clever and kind of toyed with the audience."
"Scrubs. Before anyone says it, the '9th season”'(Scrubs: Med School) is 100% a spin-off. I don’t care that they tried to staple it to the original series, that was a stupid move to ride the ratings. It was entirely meant to be and written as a spin-off and you cannot convince me otherwise."
"I still get a lump in my throat when I see JD take that final walk down that hallway, seeing the faces of patients and other loved ones that passed on during his tenure, all of them wishing him well on the next step of his journey. When I retire I always imagine I'll do the same... seeing customers and co-workers I lost over the decades as I take that final walk to the front doors."
Phoebecheers champagne GIF by FleabagGiphy
"Same same. I wished it could have gone on only because I enjoyed it so much, but the final season was beautiful and perfect and I cried so much during the final episode."
All great choices. I love you Fleabag.
Movies. Stories. Tears.
All three are a perfect fit.
Film and entertainment allow us freedom to feel everything.
As Nicole Kidman says in her infamous AMC commercial, "heartbreak feels good in a place like this."
Maybe that's why we're meant to watch in the dark.
Redditor rollneers02 wanted everyone to fess and chat about what works of cinema have left us in tears.They asked:
"What’s a movie that’s genuinely made you cry?"
I love to cry at movies. It makes me feel human.
Gone By...Happy Shawshank Redemption GIFGiphy
"The scene in Shawshank Redemption where the elderly man laments how quickly time passed."
"This movie for me too, my dad is also a tall tale teller and he passed away last year. At his funeral all of his different friends showed and retold some of his crazy stories but just slightly different. Made me realize that some of his stories were true and I was living in a real life big fish movie."
"Fox and the hound when the hound can’t be the foxes friend anymore."
"I can not watch that movie at ALL!!! Right after my mom died I went to her house. That movie was in the VCR. When I hit play the movie as at that song about letting go if you love something. I just LOST IT right there. To this day I will not watch that movie and prob never will."
Oh the Tears...
"Bridge to Terabithia. The guilt of that kid for the rest of his life."
"First time I ever saw my Dad cry. He thought I'd be a great Father-Daughter movie night. I just rewatched it recently and it still makes me cry."
"This book and Stand By Me both made a sizeable impression on me during my youth. I hope to share these experiences with children of my own one day."
The EndDisney Pixar GIF by Disney+Giphy
"Coco, g*ddamn Coco. I was not expecting bawling my eyes out in the last 15 minutes."
I can't with some of these movies. My heart can't take it.
I Hate Beessad macaulay culkin GIFGiphy
"'Where's his glasses? He can't see with his glasses! It's not fair he needs his glasses to see!!'"
"Field of Dreams, when he's playing catch with his dad. Also, the end of The Truman Show hit pretty hard."
"I can't believe I had to scroll this far down to see this one. My dad died about 20 years ago, and I would give almost anything to have a catch with him again. When Ray says in that choked up voice 'hey dad, wanna have a catch?' I just lose it."
"It’s dumb, but the first movie I ever cried for was ‘Click’ with Adam Sandler. That scene where his father dies and he wasn’t there because the use of autopilot, so decided to revisit the last time he had seen him. His dad tells him he loves him and the autopilot version of him doesn’t give a crap, but the real him starts to cry and play the words 'I love you son’' on repeat. THIS. Has me every time."
"The Green Mile."
"I cried so hard watching that movie that I can't bring myself to rewatch it. Once was enough."
"Brilliant and awesome story that was understandable for a 7 year old me to start ugly sobbing for an hour in my aunt's house lol. I think it was the first time I encountered feelings against injustice and the staggering helplessness that you can't do anything to stop what's happening."
"God, it still feels like yesterday and I'm nearing 30. But the ice cream and toys I got was good too. My auntie had to bring me to the mall because I was inconsolable and continued crying on the way there. I only stopped when I had to pick an ice cream flavor lol."
It's Uglylife is beautiful film GIFGiphy
"Life Is Beautiful."
"Came here to say this title. I’ve seen it once, when I was in high school around the time it came out, and I still tear up thinking about certain scenes."
"Hachiko (old and modernised version). Both versions are just as sad. It’s based on a true story. For those who don’t know, it’s about a bond of a dog and an owner. The owner walked to the train station to go to work and always brought his dog with him and the dog would always wait for him at the train station until the owner returned. The owner then died while at work and the dog continued to wait for him at the train station every single day for 9 years until his last breath."
I love movies. They make my tears feel free.
What a quirky group of humans you are.
Maybe we, the world, give y'all a bad rap.
We're dying to know what you share with one another.
One Redditorwanted all the 'Bros' out there to share with us.They asked:
"Men of Reddit, what’s your best bro-tip?"
I've been dying for insight into the animal that is a bro. They're human too...
You're Awesome!Bruno Mars GIFGiphy
"It's okay to compliment another bro."
"Do not leave your home smelling musty."
"Also, tell your friends if their home, car, them etc... smells musty. there's a time and a place of course, but often we don't notice and the note to freshen up is very welcome."
"Check on your bros. They won’t necessarily tell you when they need help."
"Lost a friend via overdose. He was exhibiting unhealthy behavior for years. I saw it, and said nothing. I later relocated and made very little effort to keep in touch. Destroys me to think what might have been different, had I reached out."
"Seriously though, having been the bro who's dealing with depression knowing you have bros to lean on really helps."
"Was in a residency program with a guy who had the worst breath any of us (all other bros) had ever smelt. When I say bad, I mean it smelt worse than if he had eaten human poop. The guy was completely oblivious to it. He’d have girls break up with him and come to us and be like 'I don’t know what happened it was going so well,' stuff like that."
"And we’d all beat around the bush and never tell him that we knew exactly why those bro-ettes dumped him. I’m ashamed to admit, my Reddit bros, that he made it through an entire 3-year residency program without any bros stepping in and hitting him with the cold hard truth. RIP to that bro."
lift me up...Animated GIFGiphy
"Support your bros; don’t tear them down when they are trying to achieve something."
Men really should embrace feelings more.
Find MoreThe One Where Estelle Dies Episode 15 GIF by FriendsGiphy
"Don't fall in love with potential."
"This comment hurt me. Learned that lesson the hard way."
"Always buy more than one stick of deodorant at a time so you’ll have a spare around when you run out. Finding out that you’re at the end right before you have to be somewhere, preferably smelling acceptable, is the worst."
"As soon as I open the last container of any toiletry, it goes on the shopping list to be purchased within a week. I haven't run out once since I started doing that, and I usually buy multipacks so I don't need to shop for those things often."
"As a guy in his mid-50s, my number 1 advice is: When you're disagreeing with someone, no matter the relationship, always validate their point first, empathize with them second, and then, and only then, make your counter-argument. Never respond to an argument with a pushback before you've validated/empathized with them."
"If you're Machiavellian about life, you'll be more likely to get what you want from someone else if they feel respected by you. If you're not Machiavellian, it's just a nice thing to do."
"Have AT LEAST one friend you can have real conversations with about your feelings. Particularly if you're in your late teens or twenties you probably don't talk about that stuff with your mates but it makes the world of difference knowing you have someone to talk to about it, even if you don't have anything to tell them just yet."
MaverickTop Gun Maverick Movie GIF by Top GunGiphy
"Never leave your wing man!"
Thanks Bros. This was all helpful.
Do you have other tips to share? Let us know in the comments below.