New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Unpopular Opinions: When the Villain Was Right

Our staff gives you some of their best hot takes on some of pop culture’s most notorious bad guys.
Sharpay had some valid points, OK? (via Disney)

It’s one of the most fundamental, elemental tropes in storytelling — the good guy vs. the bad guy, light vs. darkness, good vs. evil. The examples are infinite — Harry Potter vs. Voldemort, Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader, the Three Little Pigs vs. the Big Bad Wolf, to name a few. But it’s not always so cut and dry — sometimes the villain has a point. This is Unpopular Opinions: When the Villain Was Right.

The Wicked Witch of the West — “The Wizard of Oz”

One doesn’t have to go into deep analyses of the L. Frank Baum original or even the Broadway adaptation, “Wicked,” to understand where our main antagonist is coming from. From being demoted from Governess of Munchkinland to living in exile — or being turned green, for that matter — the Wicked Witch of the West can trace all her problems back to Glinda the Good Witch of the South. Yet, the last straw seems to be when her sister has a house dropped on her by none other than Dorothy Gale, and thus our favorite revenge story begins. Viewers may seem to forget that the Wicked Witch is only trying to avenge the death of her sister. I wouldn’t be too happy if someone dropped a house on my sister, either. — Nicole

The Man in Black — “Westworld”

The Man in Black participates in the park at a higher level than all of the other guests. If “Westworld” blurs the line between man and machine, then the Man in Black takes this paranoia to the next level. He answers the question, “What is human?” with a resounding, solipsistic and definite “Myself.” He unapologetically treats almost everyone in the park as a tool for his personal gain. He’s worthy of admiration because if anybody will answer the park’s deepest questions, it will be the Man in Black in his single-minded quest. Perhaps nobody in “Westworld” understands the reality of the situation as fully as him. — Dante

The Alien — “Alien”

This 1979 horror/sci-fi classic begins when the crew of the commercial freighter spaceship Nostromo detects a transmission from an uncharted moon and they send a team to investigate. One of the crew disturbs a glowing, egg-like pod, releasing a creature that attaches itself to his face. The crew brings him back on board, kicking off a series of events — including that famous dinner scene — that culminates in them being hunted down and killed one-by-one by the titular alien. But that doesn’t mean that it’s evil or even a villain in the traditional sense —  it’s an animal obeying its instincts, even if those instincts are to gruesomely dismember people. As laid out in the prequels “Prometheus” (2012) and “Alien: Covenant” (2017), the alien is a member of a race of creatures genetically engineered to kill people. I’m not saying that’s a good thing; I’m just saying that it’s not its fault! — Alex

Sharpay — “High School Musical”

I won’t lie, as a child, I was embarrassed when I watched the High School Musical movies because the only character I identified with was Sharpay Evans — evil manifested as the color pink, as they portrayed her. She is by far the most ambitious, driven character in the movies. If we look past her questionable methods, she is simply a woman who knew what she wanted. I admire her, and I think the films really did her dirty. Her depiction as the airheaded, shrill queen bee is completely disingenuous. She worked her ass off for what she had. The theater department would have been NOTHING without her, and after all her years of hard work, she still had to play second fiddle to Ms. Crippling Shyness and Mr. Indecisive. A modern tragedy is what that is. So the next time you watch HSM, try to look at it from a different perspective. The Devil works hard, but Sharpay works harder! — Sakshi

Email the Arts Desk at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Nicole Rosenthal
Nicole Rosenthal, Music Editor
Nicole Rosenthal is the Music Editor for WSN and a dual Journalism and Psychology major. Born and raised on Long Island, Nicole has always enjoyed listening to music and attending concerts in nearby New York City, making playlists which include everything from the B-52's to BROCKHAMPTON to Bon Iver. She has written for several music blogs and news publications and is currently an editorial intern at amNewYork. Outside the realm of music, Nicole spends her free time binge watching true crime series on Netflix, hunting down new Brooklyn coffee spots and writing creative fiction.
Alex Cullina
Alex Cullina, Theatre & Books Editor
Alex Cullina is the Theatre & Books Editor for WSN. A native Clevelander, he is a junior studying English and History in CAS. Growing up in Ohio before coming to New York, he's very defensive of the Midwest, despite its many (many) flaws. Beside keeping up with the best in new film and TV, you can often find him curled up with a good book or the latest issue of The New Yorker.
Sakshi Venkatraman
Sakshi Venkatraman, Editor-in-Chief
Sakshi Venkatraman is a junior in CAS majoring in Politics and minoring in Spanish and Journalism. She hails from the sunny state of Texas, so she's still mesmerized every time it snows in New York City. She has been passionate about journalism for more years than she can remember and loves everything from writing to tweeting to podcasting. When she's not in the newsroom, she's reading, listening to Planet Money or scouring thrift stores for hidden treasures. Follow her on Twitter @sakshi_saroja.

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