Four on the Floor #14: Rogues, Scoundrels & Scalawags

The Situation: I may, on occasion, be a bit ethically ambiguous.  But, for the most part, I have a pretty strong moral compass and do have certain lines I won’t cross.  That’s why you need to have the names of a few rogues and scoundrels in your address book.  You just never know when a fast-talking, sniveling, conniving, back-stabbing son of a bitch may come in handy.  Granted, you never know when they might turn around and stab you in the back…but that’s half of the fun, isn’t it?

The Criteria: There’s a little bit of give in the definition of the word scoundrel.  For me, the four guys on this list (for the most part) are in it only for themselves.  Certain folks who could be on this list–Han Solo, Malcolm Reynolds, Robin Hood, Bugs Bunny–may be roguish, but all of their duplicity and fisticuffs come from a need to do the “right thing.”

1. Edmund Blackadder

From the British Middle Ages through the First World War, no family has been more craven and power-hungry than the Blackadder line.  Patricide, regicide, treason, sedition, insubordination–no act is too low for Blackadder, if it means improving his station or saving his neck.

2. Harry Flashman

The man who started life as the bully in Tom Brown’s Schooldays grew into the embodiment of roguish scalawagery.  Ol’ Flashman is a self-described cad.  A coward of the highest order who somehow manages to find himself lying, bullying, cowering, cheating and fornicating his way through some of the most important moments of the nineteenth century.

3. Jayne Cobb

He may be known as “The Hero of Canton”, but Jayne is far from heroic.  Sure, he’s got your back in a fight, but only if he knows he’ll be getting paid at the end of it.  He has been known to do “the right thing” from time to time, but it’s usually just a means to save his neck (or protect his good name, for whatever that’s worth).

4. Groucho Marx

It’s easy to forget that Groucho was such a scoundrel since he’s become a cultural icon, not to mention the spiritual father of Bugs Bunny.  But, remember this: most of Groucho’s actions in the Marx Brothers movies were fueled by lust, greed, or wounded pride…and what could be more roguish than that?


8 responses to “Four on the Floor #14: Rogues, Scoundrels & Scalawags

  1. Jayne has moments of conscience and also he is a good son.

  2. Jayne is a good son. But, like Russell Crowe says in 3:10 to Yuma: “Even bad men love their momma.”

  3. Comment whore!

    You knew Max and I would be right here, didn’t you?

    Jayne is the best of all the scoundrels –good hearted or otherwise (well, maybe, Bugs Bunny might beat Jayne, but his arms aren’t as sexy so. . .)

    But Jayne does have moments when he acts out of tenderness, conscience, and friendship. He’s just ashamed of them afterwards. He thinks emotions are for weaklings.

    Tenderness–brushing the woman’s hair in Heart of Gold, Biting his fingers while agonizing over Kaylee being shot, and proudly wearing his mother’s hat (if a woman resists falling in love when he wears that stupid hat she is hard hearted woman and not to be trusted. If Hilary Clinton were to watch that episode, I’d know whether her emotions are real or put on like some claim.)

    Conscience: Tears down the statue in Jaynestown, he knows he isn’t a hero and doesn’t deserve it.

    Friendship: Goes after Mal on Niska’s planet.

    And those are just off the top of my head.

  4. Oh, I knew this would light a fire and you and Max.

    I’m not saying that Jayne doesn’t have his moments (the scene with Kaylee might have been the sweetest thing ever), but I think most of these moments come more from a desire to look good than to actually do good. And, I don’t for one moment think that he went along after Mal was snatched by Niska because he was afraid he’d end up in an airlock again if he didn’t.

    But, he does love his momma and little brother. I’ll give him that.

  5. sister, Mattie’s his sister–well, in my mind. Never says either way in the script.

    Come on what of those episodes I mentioned above is from a desire to look good? Look at the emotion when he tears down the statue and when he talks to Mal afterwards.

  6. I always assumed it was embarrassment that made him tear down the statue–people acting all noble as a response to him basically screwing up a bank-heist.

    I also just assumed that Matty was a brother.

    I still say he’s a scoundrel…but, clearly this will be one of those battles that I’m just not gonna win.

  7. ………ah……….Flashy….yes….and Athos…..don’t forget Athos………….and Rick in “Casablanca”……might they not fill the criteria??????

  8. Athos, absolutely. Rick…yeah, I think so. Of course, none of them can hold a candle to Ol’ Flashy.

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