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Loners Are Freaks / Live-Action TV

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  • In the pilot of Selfie, Henry's boss tells him to bring a date to his daughter's wedding, saying its weird how he's always alone.
  • 7th Heaven: Most of the time this trope is in full gear.
    • When Lucy tells her mother about a girl in Habitat For Humanity who's a loner, Annie actually says she believes nobody really enjoys being "alone," and that there always must be some problem behind it. Sure enough, the withdrawn girl had been molested by her mother's ex-boyfriend.
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    • Simon tries to help a loner kid at school who threatens to shoot a bunch of bullies because of their teasing. Unsurprisingly, the kid brings a gun to school, but luckily the police arrive at school before anything could happen.
    • Almost every character who is single goes from relationship to relationship quickly, presumably because of this trope.
  • An interesting inversion of the trope can be found in the British spy series The Prisoner (1967), which features an unrepentant, mildly misanthropic loner as its protagonist. Instead of being seen as a liability, the character's "loner-ness" and drive towards individualism is the only thing keeping him sane. It's also the only weapon he has against the shady government officials who want to brainwash him and turn him into an obedient and conformist government servant. It's played straight in one episode, however, in which Number Six manages to make contact with other subversives within the prison; however, because they're all confident-but-intensely-secretive and insular types, they all think each of them is a double agent and end up scuttling their own escape. If they'd just trusted each other, they'd have gotten away.
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  • Dr. Cox from Scrubs applies to this trope as well, but a subversion occurs in the second episode of the first season. JD reaches out to the curmudgeonly doctor with pizza and beer, and just when it appears he's on the brink of a breakthrough, Dr. Cox replies, "I can braid your hair. I know the couch isn't very deep, but we could move the back cushion and spoon." Not only has he been sarcastic this whole time, he's got friends coming over to watch the game — they just don't include JD. This is the only time we see Doctor Cox with friends over - an episode later in the show sets up the same premise, but closes on Cox alone in his apartment with a six-pack... However, he is occasionally seen out in the bar with the other members of the cast, or just his ex-wife. And a few episodes have him hanging out with old friends from before he became a doctor- in fact, part of the reason he is a loner is that his best friend, Ben, died of leukemia in the middle of the show (and had been travelling the world alone to boot). As the series rolls on he also strikes up a friendship with Arch-Enemy Kelso, going to Friendly Enemy to mentor (after Cox get's Kelso's job) and finally just to friends. He's fairly friendly with Carla and gets on well enough with everyone else, and JD eventually manages to trick him into admitting that he thinks of them as friends as well. Cox wants people to think he is a Jerk Ass loner, but in truth he has a decent circle of friends.
  • Sherlock:
    • Ironically, the only two people that call Sherlock a freak are Anderson and Donovan. Lestrade, John, Mary and Mrs. Hudson don't. Though Sherlock and John did play the loner part straight, before they met each other.
    • Most likely played straight with Moriarty. He most likely doesn't have friends or want any, possibly has Sebastian Moran as his bodyguard, and would most likely care less if he died, whereas, in contrast to Sherlock, who would panic if John died on him. Understandable, he had no friends at all.
    • Mycroft could play this trope straight as well, despite that he loves his little brother. He doesn't seem to want friends at all, and never bothered to make any friends-not even with John.
  • Averted in Veronica Mars, where the titular heroine is a loner in season 1. Later seasons acknowledge the trope's effect, however, as Veronica sporadically feels guilty about the fact that she really operates better alone.
  • In season 1 of Gilmore Girls, Rory is criticized by her headmaster for being too much of a loner.
  • Smallville, obviously, where all loners turn out to be crazed mutants, though a fair number of popular kids in that show turned out to be evil too. It lacks even the tiniest bit of sympathy for anyone who isn't attractive and outgoing. While popular party-going types do sometimes go bad, the show has never featured a real geek or nerd or loner as anything other than a hideous loser with serious issues or hideous deranged monster.(Chloe does not count, due to her failing the "unattractive" test by a country mile)
  • Parodied in a sketch on Jam, in which a desperately lonely woman goes to increasingly sinister lengths to make friends (from setting traps for cyclists to dressing as a police officer, telling a woman that her son died in an accident, then inviting the grieving mother to the theatre that evening)
  • Ned from Pushing Daisies walls himself off from contact, both because of Parental Abandonment in his past and because his freakish ability is based on touch.
    • Played with in the episode "Frescorts" where Ned insists that just because these people are lonely it doesn't mean that they're freaks. Emerson thinks it does.
      • In the same episode, a visible inversion occurs: Buddy killed Joe because he (Joe) decided to quit to be with his girlfriend, which Buddy saw as abandonment. Ho Yay + Clingy Jealous Boy = Uh oh. Also, in the end, Randy tells Ned that Joe had taught him that there's nothing wrong with being by yourself.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In Reginald Barclay's first appearance, he is shown as very much the Loner and his re-creation of members of the crew in the Holo-Deck is regarded as somewhat freakish. During the show, as he gains respect from his colleagues, he becomes less of a loner and deletes almost all of his Holo-Deck programs.
  • Desperate Housewives sometimes plays this trope straight (Eddie Orlofsky, Felicia Tillman), sometimes it averts it. There's Karen McCluskey, who is first introduced as an insufferable old loner, but then we find out that she still suffers for her son's early death.
  • Criminal Minds plays with this trope in every permutation. Sometimes the unsubs are revealed to be loners or anti-social people, sometimes they're perfectly sociable. In one episode, the BAU investigate a triple murder that seems to be perpetrated by a Satanic cult and turns out to be one of the popular kids at the high school framing the Satanists.
    • Played with in one scene where Elle is profiling an arsonist:
    Elle: This guy doesn't go on dates, doesn't go to parties, doesn't feel comfortable in front of groups...
    (The team's socially awkward Badass Bookworm, Reid, gives Elle a strange look.)
    Elle: (quickly) And of course he's a total psychopath.
    Reid: Of course.
    • Given an interesting twist in "Solitary Man" where the killer essentially went crazy from loneliness, and that's what turned him murderous.
  • Simon Bellamy from Misfits has no friends, and he's portrayed as mentally unstable, obsessive, nerdy, and a bit of a pervert. To be fair, he does actually want friends and genuinely tries to reach out to people, it's just that years of bullying and isolation have left him painfully shy and socially inept. Plus he's actually shown to be far more kind, sensitive and empathic than most of the show's more extroverted characters, and his Sanity Slippage is mostly due to the traumatic things that happen to him and the fact that no one really offers him emotional support (or even acknowledges his existence most of the time).
  • House and Foreman are sometimes accused of this, especially by The Chicks (Cameron and Thirteen).
  • As a result of his father's training, Dexter Morgan is aware of this, and goes out of his way to cultivate a "reserved but sociable" persona to keep from being thought of as an emotionally withdrawn loner. It works on everyone but Sgt. Doakes.
  • A case of "Loners become freaks" in Life, where Charlie is clearly a well adjusted guy with a job and a wife and friends until he spends an ungodly amount of time (unspecified, but measured in years) in solitary confinement. When they let him out again, he's kind of crazy.
    "The first six months in solitary, I did push ups, and I did not talk to myself. The next six months in solitary, I'll admit, I talked to myself. You don't want to know what I did after that."
  • Parodied in the Buckwheat assassination episode of Saturday Night Live. A series of people who knew the assassin, John David Stutts, all say the same thing about him—"He was a quiet guy, a bit of a loner, but he always talked about wanting to kill Buckwheat." The caption under his high school yearbook photo reads, "Most Likely to Kill Buckwheat."
  • Ranger Gord on The Red Green Show is a tragicomic example, in that being posted to a lonely tower to watch for forest fires and then forgotten by his head office has meant that he's lived all alone in the woods since about 1979. Being all alone out there has made him into a full-blown Cloud Cuckoo Lander, something lampshaded by Red on multiple occasions.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • The episode "Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight" was about a girl who'd magically turned invisible from social ostracization and set out to take violent revenge on everyone she deemed responsible.
    • Also implied to be why Buffy is such an effective Slayer. Her ties to the world give her something to fight for, while other, more isolated, Slayers tend to have far shorter lifespans.
  • Also in Angel, the titular character has a lot of this in his backstory, due to his guilt and not wanting to risk attacking anyone. He came out of it for most of the series, though he sank back into it in season 2 in an attempt to protect everyone from his darkness like before.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation has Rick. He was constantly bullied by the likes of Spinner and Jay. And when he was abusive toward Terry (which may or may not be associated with a mental illness), the amount of hate toward him skyrocketed. It got to the point where, after being humiliated at a televised academic competition, he brings a gun to school, and shoots Jimmy in the back, causing him to be paralyzed.
    • Worst, the show made him out to be a bad guy, even though he was obviously ridiculed by the rest of the characters. After accidentally shooting himself dead, and shooting Jimmy, his one friend Toby disassociated himself with him.
    • It got a better example with Connor, who suffered from Aspergers. Once his violent outbursts were explained, even Ally stood up for him. In fact, the amount of suffering he got from the principal was made public, and got Shepard fired.
  • In Supernatural, the Winchester boys (Sam in particular) often had trouble fitting in due to having to move around so often. This led to a great deal of I Just Want to Be Normal on Sam's part that eventually caused him to have a falling out with his father. The fact that being called a freak is his Berserk Button is just icing on the cake.
  • The X-Files: Mulder is a loner, due to his crazy ideas about aliens and government conspiracy. He's a joke to the FBI and is mocked by his peers, nicknamed "Spooky" (however, that nickname originated as a sign of respect). He doesn't seem to mind too much, though. He doesn't go out of his way to make friends and likes to work alone; the first half of the first season is him just messing with Scully to try and annoy her enough to get her to leave. It doesn't work, and she ends up being his defender of sorts to others in the FBI. He has exactly four friends, including her, three of which are just as odd as he is. His loner tendency may stem back to his childhood, in which his parents emotionally abandoned him after the abduction of his sister. He noted that it "tore the family apart", and he is never seen to have a close relationship with his parents, who divorced soon after the incident.
  • Toyed with in Dark Oracle. Lance is an antisocial gaming geek, but is one of the main protagonists. His Cloud Cuckoo Lander girlfriend Sage is similarly weird and isolated, but a very pleasant girl. Vern, Blaze, and comic!Sage on the other hand, cross in Loners Are Freaks territory and stay there.
  • My Mad Fat Diary: Chloe says this to Rae:
    Chloe: Look, you're not going to make friends if you're sitting on the sidelines all the time.
    Rae: Are people talking about that?
    Chloe: They might be. Look, you don't want people thinking you're weird, do you? You don't want people thinking you're not normal?
  • Frasier:
    • Subverted in the episode "Dark Victory", when Frasier delivers a rousing speech in defense of introverts everywhere.
    • Played straight in "The 200th Episode" by Frasier's biggest fan who quit his job to devote his life to listening to, recording, and transcribing Frasier's show.
  • Ghost Whisperer: Melinda when she was a teenager and a girl called her a freak because she sees ghosts no one sees. She was talking to a boy and a girl says "Who are you talking too?" and then laughs at her. The flashbacks were shown in "Mean Ghost".
  • 7 Yüz: In "Hayatın Musikisi", Pınar's co-workers view her as "a little weird" due to her poor social skills and preference for working alone. It even makes them question her ability to function as the leader on the project Eray suggests she should take the lead on.


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