In your own space, share your love for a trope, cliché, kink, motif, or theme. (More than one is okay, too.) Tell us about it, tell us why you love it, give us some examples and recs. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.
I've been thinking about this on and off for the past couple of days, thinking hard, and I'm struggling because one of the motifs I love most out of all fiction isn't something I really know easy, preexisting words for. Not even the concept of taking a crack idea and playing it as deadset serious as the canon allows, which happens to be one of my favorite things, because that's easy enough to communicate.
What I love are the bad rats.
Bad rats aren't spacetoasters, though they've got some things in common, like the social alienation and the tendency to stand apart from the rest of the group. Children and animals tend to be easier to get along with. Hugs aren't always welcome. There's a lot of trouble with grasping feelings, and research is necessary to parse out social interactions. Research is sometimes necessary to understand their own feelings. Both bad rats and spacetoasters skew more towards male characters than female ones.
But where the spacetoaster gets their emotions beamed in from a space station orbiting Jupiter, where things have to align in very specific circumstances for a clear, steady broadcast, bad rats have them coming in from the closest radio tower on whatever frequency's available. Spacetoasters have low signals, but a very good signal-to-noise ratio, an almost enviable one, with almost no noise to speak of. Bad rats have too much signal, and too much noise, and sometimes when both are coming in at once there's no way to distinguish between the two.
Julian Bashir was one of my first and best bad rat loves, when I was starting to figure out the concept. He's got a surfeit of feelings and emotions right from the start - and they're not often the proper feelings for the given social interaction, but he can't course-correct because he doesn't usually know what a given social interaction is supposed to be. He takes refuge in his role as a doctor, wearing it as his armor against the world and taking refuge in it as needed - and many times, taking refuge from reality by immersing himself in fantasies and games. When it comes to the people around him, whatever the species, there's a huge learning curve that he can't explain, that he can't get rid of, that exists for pretty much every species he encounters, up to and including his own. He'll believe almost anything, no matter how many times people pull something over on him. He doesn't know where social limits are unless someone comes right out and tells him, and when it comes to extrapolating certain concepts, it's not that he can't do that so much as it is he doesn't know how. But give him a problem, and he'll cut straight through it without thinking or blinking.
A surplus of feelings. Too many badly-connected wires inside the frame. Too much noise for the signal to be clear.
Spike, a recent introduction, someone who's capable of being a deeply monstrous person, who has the literary advantage of a metaphoric condition already built in, and as monstrous as he is, was still capable of being a person. Suzanne Warren, my darling, who was never seen as she was and never got the chance to learn the words she had to use to get the help she needed. Dan Rydell, who manages to be an incredibly stealthy bad rat, is in major need of someone to mend his wiring. At times, Castiel straddles both categories, though I haven't seen the show in several years and can't speak to its ongoing developments.
If anyone has any recs or suggestions of bad rats in media, I'd love to hear them. Because I'm fairly well sure there's more out there that I'd love to meet.
(Oddly enough, the first so-named bad rat I ever met in media isn't a bad rat as I think of them. But it was the best phrase I'd ever seen to even come close to describing what I needed to name.)