Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Lady Douches

Yesterday, I posted a list of cinema's great douchebags, a list full of men. This prompted my friend Danielle to query as to whether there were any female douchebags worthy of mention. It's odd that you rarely hear this term used about a woman. I'd like to think that it's because women are incapable of douchebaggery, but the simple fact of the matter is that, most likely, rather than calling a woman a "douche," we simply just call her a "bitch" instead. I think, however, there is a big difference between a "douche" and a "bitch." To me, a douche is more innocuous than a bitch. They can be mean, yes, but bitches are evil. The list of douchey females I've complied below are selfish, mean women, but I would hesitate to call any of them evil. Many of them have likely been called bitches; I am rescuing them from that title and calling them douches instead. Mean, nasty, selfish douches.

Because most of the douchtresses who sprung to mind as I began compiling this list were douchey characters rather than douchey actors, I decided to go with identifying single characters. All of the women on this list are played by actors who have diverse careers and have not made a career out of playing these sorts of characters. How refreshing is that?

10. Heather Chandler, Heathers Okay, so maybe Heather Chandler is more of a bitch than a douche, but she ends up dead, so that buys her a little sympathy, right? Sure, she treats her friends like garbage -- mocking one for her bulimia, dragging another to a college frat party and then berating her for throwing up. Heather, though, has a lot of responsibility. As she reminds Veronica, she is the head of the most powerful clique at school (and she's only a junior). There's a lot of power and responsibility that comes with that. Had our Corn Nut munching friend not succumbed to a little Liquid Plumber tonic, perhaps she would have seen the error of her ways. Or maybe not.

9. Beth, Better Off Dead In the grand scheme of things, Beth is probably not THAT bad. Oh, who am I kidding? She's the ultimate in douche arm candy, making her a total douche herself. She dumps sweet, lovable Lane (John Cusack) so that she can pursue the douchey ski stud Roy (Aaron Dozier). After all, she reasons, Roy is a better skiier and has a better car. That's a good reason to dump a guy who adores you. What makes Beth even douchier is that she then stands by and watches as Roy mocks and torments Lane at every possible opportunity. Never once does she say, "Hey, Roy, that's enough. I chose you, man." And in true douchebag fashion, when Lane defeats Roy in the big ski-off at the end, she comes trotting back to Lane, expecting him to just take her back without argument, expecting him to dump his sweet new French honey just like she dumped him when a better prospect came along. Considering all the people who asked Lane's permission to date Beth, she won't be alone for long.

8. Katherine Parker, Working Girl Katherine pulls off a great douchebag trick -- she spends the first quarter of the movie seeming like a great person. When she hires Tess (Melanie Griffith), she becomes Tess's hero -- a strong, intelligent, confident woman. She seemingly nurtures Tess, giving her advice, coming across more as a big sister and mentor than a boss. And then Tess discovers the truth, that Katherine is stealing her idea to make millions and not giving Tess any credit -- and lying to Tess on top of that. When Katherine discovers Tess's own subterfuge, she fights back in true douche fashion, humiliating Tess in front of everyone -- including Harrison Ford. Ultimately, though, Tess wins the day and who knows what happens to Katherine. She probably becomes a senator or something.

7. Lina Lamont, Singin' in the Rain Lina is one of those douches that drives me crazy -- she THINKS she's all that but really . . . not so much. When no talking is involved, Lina is a competent actress. The problem is that voice -- and the fact that movies are about to add sound. Lina then forces innocent Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) into being her voice on film, thereby standing to ruin poor Kathy's shot at stardom on her own. Ultimately, Lina gets what's coming to her and is humiliated in front of a huge premiere night audience. We assume that Lina goes off and lands herself a trophy husband and lives in relative obscurity now that her career is shot and her onscreen partner has danced off into the sunset with Kathy.

6. Betty Rizzo, Grease This is a tough inclusion for me, and I'm sure it's tough for quite a few of you, too. Little girls growing up in the late 1970s and early 80s spent their days dancing to the Grease soundtrack and dreaming of being either virginial Sandy or wicked Rizzo. I was in the Rizzo camp. I was self-aware enough to know that I was no Sandy -- I don't know that anyone has ever referred to me as "perky" or "sweet." Plus, Sandy was clearly not a ginger! So I was happy and content to dance around my bedroom duplicating the choreography for "Look at Me; I'm Sandra Dee." In other words, I was happy pretending to be a douche. Let's face it; Rizzo is a douche. She's snarky and rude. Just look at how many sexual innuendoes pepper her conversations with her friends. She brings her boyfriend's arch-enemy to the big dance just to fuck with him. She mocks poor Sandy pretty openly AND behind her back. Of course, we know that Rizzo's douchebaggery really just hides a wounded soul as she faces the uncertainty of growing up, loving a guy who's clearly destined to be a loser (and who is a bit of a douche himself), and the possibility of a pregnancy. Rizzo probably grows up to be one of those nasty women you see walking around in Wal-Mart, so who can blame her for relishing in her glory while she still can?

5. Sue Sylvester, Glee In just a few short months on the screen, Sue has rocketed into the top five on this list. There is no denying, though, that Sue is a mega-douche. First of all, she's a cheerleading coach. Isn't that enough? No? How about the fact that she has made it her mission to destroy Glee Club -- sending in spies, trying to create rifts, leaking the Sectional set list to the competition? And why? Because it funnels some money from her cheerleading program? Is that really all? Could I ask anymore questions in this entry? The show has been smart to give Sue some depth (the revelation that Sue has a mentally retarded sister earlier this season is perhaps the show's most moving moment so far), and that depth is what keeps me from just shrugging Sue off as a bitch. Add to that her ludicrous political views (the woman is PRO-littering) and you have a great douche. Sue stomped off at the end of the show's first half of the season; you know she's going to come back with a wicked, douchey vengeance.

4. Angelica Pickles, Rugrats Yeah, there's a part of me that feels a little bit guilty labeling a three year old as a douchebag, but I feel better doing that than calling her a bitch. Angelica is a pretty nasty little girl -- relishing in tormenting Tommy and his pals whenever the opportunity arises. She has the world wrapped around her little finger, whether it's demanding toys from her parents or pudding in the middle of the night from her Uncle Stew. There's no doubt that Angelica probably grows up to be a total bitch, but for now, let's just call her a douche and leave it at that.

3. Phyllis Lindstrom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show Phyllis is a classic passive-aggressive douchebag. She claims to be Mary's friend but spends most of her time belittling her -- pointing out her lack of husband, questionable taste, and more whenever she can. And don't even get me started on her treatment of poor Rhoda. She was consistently rude to Rhoda, even giving Mary the apartment Rhoda had apparently been promised, forcing Rhoda to live in an attic while Mary had the dream apartment. Phyllis was a lousy landlord and a lousy friend but a great douche.

2. Regina George, Mean Girls I have to admit -- the choice between 1 and 2 on this list was a tough one for me. Regina George is a giant douche, so why isn't she number one? I mean, she mocks, torments, belittles, and destroys all who stand in her way. She's a lousy friend and a worse girlfriend. (Who dates a cutie like Aaron Samuels and cheats on him?) She is a manipulator -- setting up her "friends" in order to get revenge on Cady. So why is she number two? Well, it would seem that Regina recovers from her douchebaggery. At the end of the film, it seems as if Regina has stepped down and has found happiness with the field hockey girls -- even smiling rather shyly at Cady as she walks by her. See what happens when you get hit by a bus? It knocks the douche right out of you.

1. Darla, Dazed and Confused Darla is the Queen Douche on this list. Granted, we only see one day in Darla's life. Perhaps every other day in her life she is sweet and kind and loyal. I kind of doubt it. Darla spends the day tormenting incoming freshmen and drinking beer -- often at the same time. What seals the deal with Darla's spot on this list is one tiny moment towards the end of the film. Darla's friend Simone is tromping through the field on her cute wedgie heels, twists her ankle, and collapses. Darla's response is to fall to the ground in hysterical laughter. That's a really douchey move, Darla, and congratulations, it earned you the number one spot on this list. Long may you reign!


Mike said...

Based on the post itself, I realized this was an error -- and recalling the one from yesterday meant that I realized it before I got to the post itself -- but when the headline "The Lady Douches" showed up in my RSS reader, I originally read it as a verb -- quite possibly because of the Hitchcock movie "The Lady Vanishes" -- and for that split second I was so curious as to what kind of TMI post this was going to be.

Thanks for the laughs -- even if it was at my own expense -- and for your great lists.

Mike said...

One more thing that I forgot:

In your comments about douche vs. bitch, I think it's really interesting that I can think up lots of men who HAVE made careers playing that type of role, but not really women who have done the same thing. Sure, there are plenty of women who have played that type well -- and maybe even had their career defining roles be that type of role -- but they

Oops, forgot Shannen Doherty. Never mind. But actually we weren't supposed to think that Brenda Walsh and the daughter from Our House were douches -- it's just that I (and many others) thought they were.

Mel said...

I almost put Shannen Doherty, but then I had a hard time coming up with examples of Brenda Walsh actually being douchey outside of having Shannen Doherty's face.