Goofus and Gallant are both protagonists. Gallant is likable and relatable. Goofus is not. Can you spot where Goofus‘ behavior is wrong? Is Gallant the sort of protagonist you’d be willing to pay $24.95 ($13.98 on Kindle) to read about?
Are you sure you can’t relate to Goofus? Is it possible that you’re denying the darkness in yourself?
Gallant has the kind of flaws that add depth and humanity to his character while keeping him relatable.
Goofus didn’t come here to make friends. He came here to plumb the foulest depths of the human condition, no matter how much that makes you want to look away.
Gallant cracks his knuckles and eats too much when he gets nervous. Sometimes he trips and falls in front of people he doesn’t want to trip and fall in front of at all.
Goofus is indifferent to his children if he has them, doesn’t want to have any if he doesn’t, and is rude to waiters.
Gallant always tries to be a likable protagonist.
Goofus feels entitled to the same things you do, and that makes you feel uncomfortable. He is pathologically broken in a way that you would prefer to pretend does not exist.
Gallant always asks himself what he thinks that you would do in a particular given situation before he acts.
Goofus won’t commit to a decision. Goofus won’t take his birth control pills even though he’s sleeping with someone he doesn’t want to have a child with, then takes illegal drugs while he thinks he might be pregnant. He keeps putting off going to the doctor because he’s convinced that if he doesn’t name the problem, it can’t possibly exist. Goofus is living in a fantasy world, and he is also a bad mother, and this infuriates you.
Gallant has his problems, but his children are the most important thing in the world to him. You’re willing to overlook all of his faults because of how much he loves his kids.
Maybe you’re just afraid of Goofus because you can’t control him.
If Gallant has a flaw, it’s that he’s too reserved, and prefers actions to words. This is not a problem you have ever had, but you like to think that you do.
Goofus doesn’t act at all. He talks all the time, about things he doesn’t like but seems unwilling or unable to do anything about. This happens to you all the time, but you don’t believe it’s true of you.
You may not always like what Gallant does, but dammit, do you respect him.
Goofus has no interest in protecting the plucky underdog sidekick who has clearly already been marked for death.
At his core, there is a degree of truth to Gallant‘s behavior that helps you better understand your own place in the world.
At Goofus‘ core, there is a nest of lies and hornets and old 7-11 receipts. He literally does not have human lungs. Just hornet-infested receipts.
Maybe there’s nothing wrong with wanting to read about Gallant, in a world full of Goofuses.
Even if you don’t always relate the things that Gallant does, you always understand why he does them.
No one knows why Goofus does anything. Not even Goofus. How can you understand him when he doesn’t understand himself?
Maybe you’re trying to escape into a world of Gallants because you’re ill-equipped to handle real life, and also people avoid you at work events because they feel sorry for you.
Goofus literally jumps off of the page and enters our world in order to sexually harass and choke you.
Gallant is the prime mover of his story. He sets into motion the action that will spur the plot.
Goofus lets things happen to him. He never does anything to change the circumstances he’s complaining about, just like you do at work.
Gallant is sometimes selfish, impatient and a little insecure. He makes mistakes, he out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can handle him at his worst, you’ll love him at his best.
Goofus has murdered the audience stand-in after being unspeakably rude to her at a dinner party.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.