Main Hate Sink Discussion

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04:26:32 AM Jan 23rd 2015
Should Hate Sink be mentioned in the YMMV sections, since it's a sibling trope with The Scrappy?
07:18:17 AM Jan 23rd 2015

Hate Sink is a character created to be hated. Thus it's the author's intent. The Scrappy is a character who isn't supposed to be hated, but is anyway, so it's an Audience Reaction.
10:33:40 AM Jan 23rd 2015
Actually, The Scrappy is a character with a hatedom, nothing more, nothing less.
07:52:28 PM May 23rd 2014
Do the popular kids from The Fairly Oddparents count? They are design to act mean, and since they're the type that picked on Butch Hartman, he really wants you to hate them.
06:34:24 AM May 9th 2014
Someone removed a bunch of examples with the reason "A Hate Sink can't be an actual villain, then they'd just be a villain."

Where does it say that? The description says they're not always a villain, but doesn't say it can't be one. In fact, the fact that Politically Incorrect Villain is a subtrope, I'd say a villain definitely can be a Hate Sink. Especially since as the page points out, there are definite examples of villains whom the writers don't intend audiences to hate.
09:21:30 AM Dec 8th 2013
What if I like these characters?
09:39:10 AM Dec 8th 2013
It's perfectly fine to like the characters. The purpose of a hate sink character is that the author intends the audience to boo and hiss at him or her, and people find it cathartic to hate a character whose purpose is to be hated. People "love to hate" these characters.
10:16:19 AM May 18th 2012
edited by DrBB
So as a sometime Prof. who teaches a course on SF, I've always referred to this type as "The Guy Who Just Doesn't Get It." I agree that the key feature in identifying this character type is that he/she is NOT necessarily the villain, or a traitor who works for the primary Big Bad. But the function isn't just about catharsis (venting hate). This character is there to provide a moral dimension to the story that would otherwise be lacking (the monster/Big Bad is just an Eldritch Abomination). Ripley's invidious comparison of Burke to the Aliens (in paraphrase: "I don't know who's worse, you or them—they're just doing what they're evolved to do") makes that explicit, but it also forges a metaphorical connection between the Critter and what Burke represents, namely corporate greed (allied to Social Darwinism) in its nastiest form, the Military Industrial Complex. Etc. etc. A force that knows no ethics/mercy and will destroy all humanity (in metaphorical as well as literal sense).

But note that there are other characters performing this exact function who are not at all the object of hate, and thus Hate Sink ends up being a subsidiary instance to the larger He Just Doesn't Get It function. The "it" being whatever moral dimension the story is actually about. For instance, Prof. Morpheus in Forbidden Planet. A classic and wonderfully compressed instance of the type. He Doesn't Get that his "beloved Krell" created a god-like power that led to their—and his—downfall. The "IT" being the "Monster from the Id," specifically Morpheus's id ("it") which he denies to the end. The thematics of his failure to get It being all about brain and no body, They Dared Think of Themselves As Gods, etc.

More commonly you have all those blinkered adults in teen-oriented 50s monster movies, who think the Kids Are Just Making Stuff Up when there really IS a weird deadly radioactive Thing in that swamp. Stodgy adult authoritarianism, lack of perception/imagination being the thematics there. They're objects of teenage frustration and resentment maybe, but "hate" is really too strong a term. It's their failure to be hep to what the young cats are saying that is their real crime, like all adults in teen movies.

And what really focusses me on the Just Don't Get It aspect as being the most salient point about this character function is the fact that they almost always meet their demise at the hands (talons/tentacles/pseudopods) of whatever It is that they've denied the existence or significance of. This frequently becomes literally true: their ignorance almost always results in them stumbling into the way of the Thing and being devoured or horribly shredded by it. Thus the ultimate proof of their failure to Get It: if you don't Get It, It's gonna Get You.
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