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  • Writer's picturezandaleeindigo

What To Do When You Identify with an Asshole

Hulu's High Fidelity was an extremely enjoyable series. It had all the romance, comedy, and drama I love in a show, not to mention it was based in a big city. All of the characters were interesting to me, even the ones I admittedly didn't like, but ultimately the show hinges on the fact that the main character is an asshole.

I mean she says it herself but Rob... is a bad person. Her aloof "cool girl" vibes make her seem emotionless to the people who care about her, she's terrified of commitment and self destructs when things are going too well, and worst of all she's pretentious as hell.

But after learning all these character traits of hers, somehow I still identify with her and root for her and want to see her succeed. So much so that at the end, while my mom screamed at the TV that Clyde deserves better, I rejoiced when Jake Lacy's character seemed open to letting Rob back into his life.

Now, after I finished binging the show------all in one night------I thought about where the connection between me and Rob was really formed. It's not just because she's played by my style inspiration, Zoe Kravitz, or because she's living one of my many dreams; living in New York, working at a record store, going to gigs with her friends. No, I realized that it's because of those ugly traits that she has that I really relate to her.

Discovering that, just how deep my connection to her as a character runs, was a slap in the face; or as I wrote in my journal "sobering." I recognized Rob playing it cool most of the time, sometimes to the detriment of her friends. I especially saw myself in her obsessing over her love life and her past relationships; though I've never had any if you put a video of me analyzing past crushes next to clips of her going down her heartbreak list you'd have identical videos.

I'd say the thing I especially relate to most is maybe the biggest character flaw Rob has. And that's pushing people away before they can hurt you. She does that twice in the series, the biggest example being when she finds the ring Mac bought for her, an then precedes to cheat on him. Most people would find this act ridiculous, and I certainly don't condone infidelity, but I could somehow understand her thinking? It's crazy but the idea of giving someone a reason to leave so they don't just leave one day because they've fallen out of love with you doesn't feel completely foreign to me.

She does a similar dance with Clyde. At the beginning of their relationship they go on a date and spend the night with each other. After their intimacy he suggests they get coffee in the morning------because he's the sweetest------and she's skeptical because, we always are when people are just nice to us for no apparent reason. Anyway, after some miscommunication Rob puts her guard up, she swears they're just friends and her reasoning for it also is reminiscent of something I'd say, "He likes Phish okay?" The amount of times I've let my pretentious tastes about film or music influence my crushes on people is higher than I should admit, but I digress.

Toward the middle of the show, Rob and Clyde have grown close, and share a passionate kiss outside a bar. Everything about their relationship seems to be falling into place until Rob says that she's unsure how she feels about him. Again, here to most people, it seems like she's playing a game or stringing him along, but I recognized this behavior as her being scared to get close to someone again, especially knowing she has the tendency to self sabotage. In her mind she's pushing him away, in order to save them both the heartbreak, which is a crappy thing to do to someone but, also something I understand???

So, what do you do when you identify with an asshole? I don't know. What can you do? I guess recognize the fact that you have these toxic traits and critique said character as you would yourself. Learn to live with it. Maybe we're all assholes. But, if we work through our own issues, and we're really really lucky, maybe we'll get our Jake Lacy at the end of the tunnel (or whatever you're into).

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