Actually, Dooshes sometimes end up in the good guy category, but they are generally some sort of antagonist toward whoever the protagonist is, which in its own sense kind of makes them a villain anyway.
Though their roles in fiction tend to be obvious, most people run into dooshes on a regular basis in real life. And friends have asked me to explain what a “doosh” is in real life. The exact definition changes slightly depending on circumstances, but generally a doosh is a person who “everyone” thinks of as being awesome and righteous when to the discerning it is clear that they are full of themselves and doing everything out of selfish motives. I say “everyone” in quotation marks because obviously not literally everyone is deceived by them if the discerning people can tell that they’re dooshes, but it tends to feel like they’re fooling everyone. In fiction, certainly, the “everyone” can be slightly more complete, however your protagonist at least should be able to see past it even if nobody else can.
That’s one type of Doosh, which I’ll call the Self-Satisfied Doosh. But there’s another type of character that seems to fall under the title of Doosh, and that’s what I’m labeling as the Obsessive Doosh.
An Obsessive Doosh is anybody who is unreasonably antagonistic toward the main character – going out of their way to cause problems and annoyance, even if they’re not actually that smart about it.
Then there are some characters who check both boxes on the Doosh list, who are loved by almost every other character and who seem to go out of their way to cause problems for the protagonist. A common introduction for a Doosh would go like this: “I’m awesome. But you’re new here and I find that intimidating. I DON’T LIKE YOU.” *Shove*
If you happen to spot a character doing that to the protagonist in a story, odds are they’re the Doosh.
Dooshes are also very often the guy in a romantic comedy who the girl is with but should NOT marry. But she’s thinking about marrying him because everybody apparently loves him.
Examples of Self-Satisfied Dooshes…
Belloq from Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Carter Burke from Aliens
Cyclops from X-Men
Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith (in the other films he was fine but in the third prequel he suddenly turned Doosh)
The Trivago Guy
Examples of Obsessive Dooshes…
Chuck Hansen from Pacific Rim
Dwight Schrute from The Office
In something of a role-reversal, MacGruber is this kind of Doosh to his partner for most of the film
Examples of both…
Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation
Tad McKowsky from the South Park episode ‘Asspen’
We’re nearing the end of my posts on the art of Storytelling. My next post will be about how to write Women. (And no, it’s not Part 4 of writing Villains, it’s a separate post of its own. That’s just the order in which I happened to put these posts together.) :p
For more on these and other writing topics, The Storyteller’s Handbook is available for purchase now.