Being John Connor
The primary message-board criticism leveled against John Connor (played by Thomas Dekker) on the show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is that, for the future savior of all mankind, he sure does act like a huge pussy.
Here’s a random sampling of vitriol from Fox’s TerminatorWiki community:
HawksDsl: “John Conner, right now, is a big stinking pussy.”
Jhardin: “When the *hell* did John Connor turn into such a whining emo pussy?”
T1isBest: “Thomas Dekker/John Connor is going to be the downfall of the show.”
CuthbertAllgood: “…the teen John is a EMO that cant be trusted…”
It’s unclear to me whether people are reacting to Thomas Dekker’s admittedly non-badass physique and demeanor, his portrayal of the character, the way the character is written, or simply projecting other frustrations with the show onto JC. Since the truth is probably somewhere in the middle of all these things, let’s take a step back and do a creative visualization exercise.
You are John Connor. You are 16. More than anything in the world, you’d like to do two things that 16-year-old boys are hardwired to do:
– Hang out with friends.
– Make out with girls.
These things are hard enough for normal teenagers (read: not saviors of mankind) for a variety of reasons:
– Low self-esteem
– Social anxiety
– Existential angst
In addition to these standard adolescent mental/emotional roadblocks, here are some things you, John Connor, have to deal with:
– You move every few months to avoid being killed by near-invincible cyborgs from the future, who, to paraphrase Kyle Reese from the first Terminator movie, will find you and reach down your throat and rip out your heart because that’s ALL they do.
– Your mother is paranoid, violent, and single-minded in her protection of you, and is constantly aware of your every move.
– Your closest friend is a sexy teen-girl Terminator programmed to protect you. Or maybe kill you; sometimes it’s hard to tell.
– If you meet a cute girl you’d like to date, and IF it turns out she’s not trying to kill you, you’ll have to explain a few things about your life without giving away your true identity. Tell her the following:
1. When calling my phone, please use a special code to prove you are who you say you are.
2. If a weird stranger asks you about me, run or you’ll die.
3. One day soon I may simply vanish without a trace.
– Every day, your mother or your uncle or both will remind you of the following:
1. Judgment Day is inevitable. The world as you know it – friendly people, majestic cities, beautiful landscapes – will soon be replaced by piles of human bones, melted flesh, bombed-out buildings, and ash.
2. It’s your job to figure out how to inspire the survivors to fight invincible machines in a seemingly futile war.
3. Your current life is simply a meaningless placeholder while you wait to step into your savior role.
Okay, deep breath. How was your visualization exercise? Ready to have some breakfast and practice leadership skills and look forward to a fun adulthood of sending people to their deaths? Or do you feel just a tiny bit scared and confused and angry at the world for handing you this life you never asked for?
If it were me, I’d never even leave my bed, which would undoubtedly be covered with My Chemical Romance sheets.
So here’s to you, 16-year-old John Connor. Hang in there. It gets better, I promise. Or I guess in your case it gets much, much worse.
Either way, finish your homework.