Feb 19, 2010

Look out- it's contagious!

Many of us know first-hand what it's like to be hit by
Thornton Syndrome.
One minute, you're minding your own business...
then you've watched "North & South" and
suddenly, you're googling Richard Armitage, wanting to see the rest of his work and any photo available.  Don't worry- you're not alone. Not many can avoid the power of the cravat.

Then there's Gisborne Syndrome.
There is more to this condition than drooling at the sight of black leather and Guyliner,
or grown women wanting their own Guy of Gisborne action figure.
Little Guy is so cute.

I have recently discovered another symptom of Gisborne Syndrome:
favoring the anti-hero in other movies or series.

How many of you have caught yourself doing this since becoming a fan of Gizzy?
Richard's portrayal of Gisborne has warped my brain.  Now, every time I see a baddie
on a movie/television show, instead of disliking him, I immediately start analyzing.
"Hmm... I wonder what happened in his past to make this guy the way he is now?"
Then my sympathy (deserving or not) turns into favoring that character, especially if he's handsome.
No more "obvious" heartthrobs for me.  (The one the storyline wants you to love.) 
I now prefer the non-conventional male characters and it's all HIS fault:
(Oops!  Where did that come from?)

Examples of my personal Gisborne Syndrome experiences:

Over the holidays, when watching "Frosty the Snowman" with my boys,
I sided with Professor Hinkle for the first time ever.  (The magician whose discarded hat
brings Frosty to life.  He wants it back when he finds out it really is magical.)
Professor Hinkle doesn't threaten to kill anyone like Gisborne would,
but he does become a stalker.  Still, I couldn't help but sympathize with the poor guy.

I enjoyed watching several actors in "3:10 to Yuma"
but the character that intrigued me the most was Charlie Prince, played by Ben Foster.
This guy is a dirty-rotten, thieving, gun-slinging, murdering... you get the idea.
I have no idea WHY he was my favorite character,
other than to blame you-know-who:
Stop making me side with the baddies, Gisborne!

I just rediscovered "Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman."
I used to watch it as a kid, but forgot almost everything that happened,
so it has been fun to see it again, this time on DVD.  It's my current viewing obsession.
Instead of having a crush on Sully or Matthew like most ladies might,
my favorite character is Hank Lawson, owner of the local saloon and brothel.
He usually has a cigar in one hand and a whiskey in the other.
Like Gisborne, Hank is often a scoundrel, but has a soft side as well.
He frequently wears a smirk... maybe it's the liquor... but I love watching him, scoundrel or not.

Young Spock on Star Trek, played by Zachary Quinto, is not a baddie, however he's a rather unconventional crush since he's a different species, right?  :)  When I saw the new Star Trek movie, I immediately favored Spock over Kirk... kind of like, "Why fancy Robin when you could fancy Gisborne?" sort of a thing.  I guess I could like them both, but Gisborne Syndrome won't allow it.  That and I like his pointy sideburns for some reason. 
(Send help, someone!)
I must favor the baddie/underdog/unconventional one of the bunch
and it's all because of HIM:
Don't worry, Giz... you're still my favorite bad boy!

Have you been hit by Gisborne Syndrome?
If so, in what way?  (Favoring baddies, buying Gisborne merchandise... please explain.)


flandersdreamer said...

Oh I've been hit by the G-syndrome many times, Nat! But way back before RH! Remember "Charmed"?
Wicked Cole Turner? Handsome Julian McMahon!!!Or "Lois & Clark" Lex Luthor? Don't remember who played him but the guy surely was hotter than Superman!
Nothing, though surpasses Gizzy!

Red Shoe Artist said...

I've always fallen for the bad guy in every movie... my friends and family always call me strange because of that. Can't help it

trudereads said...

I've always liked the bad guy's (no pun intended) and now that the Gisborne Syndrome has hit me (hard!) I think it will stay with me for a long time to come.
Not that I complain.

Judith Johnson said...

Please don't think I'm sick: DiNiro's Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver; Jean Reno's hitman in Leon/The Professional; Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden in Fight Club; Robert Shaw's Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin and Marian; and of course Viggo Mortensen's Russian gangster in Eastern Promises (I like to think of RA's Lucas North as Western Promises). GoG is, of couse the best, except for Mel Gibson's Mad Max Rockatansky who is still my favorite leather clad hottie.

@Rob said...

Here's my theory on this, I am going to go out on a limb and say that we are all "nice" girls. We tend to do the right thing more often than the wrong thing.

There is just somethin' about the idea of that bad boy turning good because of the love of a good woman. And alternately, the idea of him staying bad and adding an element of excitement because with a bad boy you just never know what he's gonna do.

BTW...I LOVE my Gizzy action figure. I have him on my desk. It was hard to get too.

Longhairedtoad said...

Yes, The Thornton Syndrome hits hard and fast and I'm so happy I've never recovered from it. LOL!

Langford said...

I own a Little Guy :D ... I am 19 :D
I am a Psychology student so often side with the badies anyway but since Guy my love for badies has intensified!


Unknown said...

I need a Guy action figure. Need it desperately!!

Skully said...

I must confess that I've never had "Thornton syndrome". I just don't go for the period dramas much.

.. I think I've just committed RA fan heresy!

WitchyWoman said...

Gary Oldman is top of my bad boy list. That pill cracking thing he did when he played Stan in Leon got me all of a flutter...oh and he was wearing a suit which just tipped me right over.
Air Force one was another. My first girly crush was Harrison Ford when he played Han Solo(he was so much more interesting than Luke) However he didn't get a look in when he had to compete with Mr Oldmans Korshunov. Dracula,state of grace,Romeo is bleeding and the worst film I've ever seen him in Sin. He nails it every time.
For a Thornton effect he did it for me in Immortal Beloved(as Beethoven) in The Scarlet Letter(as Reverend Dimsdale) and of course as Sirius Black in Harry Potter(which he reduced me to tears).
Yep I think Gary Oldman does Sexy bad and sexy good just like Richard.

Phylly3 said...

Sorry, can't resist this one...
@Skully...does this mean you haven't seen North & South yet?

Sue said...


There's a new film out over here in England called Solomon Kane and they were interviewing the actor who plays the leading role and all I could think of was "Richard would have been great in this role" (even dressed all in black!). Here's the link:

What do you think?

By the way I've just finished working on my computer while trying to watch the lead up to the BAFTA's on SKY TV (goodness knows what my work turns out like, probably have to retype it!)Just on the off chance Richard might appear, doubt it, but you never know he may be presenting an award. One day he will be up there collecting one!!!! Let it be soon, he deserves it don't you think (if only for keeping us ladies satisfied day and night!!!!!Poor devil must be exhausted!!!)

Random Ann said...

Have to say bad boys have always been a weakness for me. O guess worst one was for Spike on Buffy and Gizzy was a natural transition. I have tried hard to find the first bad boy spark for me and have distilled it to Rochester when I read Jane Eyre. He was my gateway baddie...to a long line of baddie enabling. So for me cravat, motorcycle, leathers, fangs or misunderstood loner the brooding dark hero has always been a favorite for me.

Katie said...

I agree completely with WitchyWoman! Gary Oldman does both perfectly and he's unbelievably good looking, not as good as Richard though ;D I also find myself siding with the baddie in almost everything I watch or read, most probably due to Gisborne. The portrayal was perfect and gave unbelievable depth to someone who seemed so evil and yet, upon closer analysation, was simply misunderstood, mislead and unloved.

Skully said...

@phylly3 - I saw N&S only recently (became familiar with RA through Dibley, Robin Hood and Spooks). As far as period dramas go it was quite distinct in a number of respects and that really appealed to me, I thought it was excellent. Thornton is an intriguing character, played brilliantly and criminally handsome - but I didn't catch Thornton syndrome as a result! I think I like the "troubled soul" characters (Lucas North) more than romantic leads and bad boys!

mulubinba said...

I was thinking I couldn't add to the comments but someone above mentioned Han Solo ... yep ... he did it for me but he was more a "likeable rogue" and not a baddie. A "goodie-baddie/scoundrel". Bit like Allan a Dale. (I sided with him). Sirius Black? Yep, but he was really a goodie. I don't really have a Gisborne syndrome although I did want Severus Snape to show us his good side. It was Harry in VoD that had me googling Richard Armitage. Thornton syndrome? I think I could see him as Rochester, maybe Heathcliff, but he's not a D'Arcy. (But no, I can't like a very bad baddie).

Anonymous said...


I find myself looking for the rebellious second man with stubble in this time of 'RA-drought'.
So far I can't complain really, being well provided with Strike Back-teasers and tv-commercials.

Very funny, Nat!
Your saying 'I'm back' reminds me of that YT-clip of Sir Guy :^)

Traxy said...

Well, some baddies I've always loved as soon as I saw them anyway (you've seen my Bad Guys List already, Nat - we seem to share a few favourite baddies! ;)), but I have to admit, I'm suffering from the Giz too. From the point of "that's actually a really fascinating character, well done there!" - Sawyer in "Lost", for instance. Never really cared much for him before, now he's fascinating. I'm even kind of warming up toward Sylar in "Heroes" and he's... he's just... deranged! Help!

Avalon said...

Ha ha I liked Hank too...William Shockley played Custer in Stolen Women, Captured Hearts very well too! (Even though I loath Custer..)
I never watched Dr. Quinn as a child but recently the kids I and watched the dvds and we loved them. It was a very touching and compassionate show.

Twinkling Moon said...

Just echoing similar thoughts here...I think the naughty characters are often more interesting to watch (they usually do get the best lines) but I think the key for me to root for them is that there has to be some quality of vulnerability to them too. They can't just be down right cruel, cuz that's just sick to go for that kind of guy. There has to be something more to him. I think @Rob was right, that many women like the whole "he'll change for me" fantasy..

And Nat, I totally forgot about Hank on Dr. Quinn! But now that you mention him, I do remember thinking, "this guy cracks me up!"

but for now, gotta say Guy is my favorite Bad Guy :)

@Rob said...

OMG how much fun would it be trying to "turn" Guy into a good boy????

Chelle said...

I recently rediscovered Dr.Q, too! But, I must admit, I do love Sully. (Though I can see the Hank appeal.) I can't say I always go for the bad boy - it depends on a lot of factors. But Guy? Oh, yeah!! :)

Unknown said...

I definitely have Thornton-itis big time! I'm re-watching N&S for the third time in a row (considering I just watched it for the first time three weeks ago) and am also reading the book. I watched him first in MI-5/Spooks and thought..who is this guy?? I'm late to the party, but better late than never!!

Twinkling Moon said...

oh Laura! welcome,welcome to the party :) I'm watching N&S for the third time too, reading the book, and am catching up with the old MI-5 epis, Just love this guy! BTW, if you are in the US and are watching N&S on netflix, be warned it is edited. If you want to see the unedited version, you have to get the BBC version, not BBCAmerica. I found the unedited version at my local public library, in case you're interested

Unknown said...

@Twinkling Moon - Thanks for the tip! I did watch it the first time through on Netflix, but subsequently have been watching the DVDs. I didn't notice a difference actually. Is there anything notable to tell the difference between the two?

Sue said...

According to the United Agents website Richard is currently filming Spooks 9! Hurrah!!!!! The drought is about to break! As much as I love listening to Richard's dulcet tones in voiceovers I much prefer to watch the body that goes with it! (Oh boy do I miss watching that body! Wonder if there are any more "steamy scenes" as Richard describes them - or boiler suits?)

Here is the link to United Agents:


Twinkling Moon said...

@Laura, the differences in the 2 versions of N&S depend on if you are watching the same versions that Netflix has that comes on certain DVDs. I first watched it via my local library. The uncut version shows some longer scenes, I haven't watched the movie on netflix all the way yet, but from I have noticed the scenes between Thornton and his mother are cut short; Although you still get a feel for their relationship, I think that their relationship is a big part of what endears the story to me, so to miss any of that interaction I feel is taking away something from the audience that would enhance the relationship and therefore the viewing experience. Hope that helps!

Joan Crenshaw said...

Solomon Kane? James Purefoy, a Top-of-the-Line Bad Boy! Mark Antony in "Rome"!

I have always had a thing for the Bad Guy as well. Give me the man in black every time, but they all pale in comparison to Guy.

3:10 to Yuma -- LOVED Russell Crowe as Ben Wade, Paul Darrow as Avon in Blake's Seven, all the cons in "Garrison's Gorillas" -- that goes back to 1967, thank you!

Unconventional -- Mark Ryan as Nasir in "Robin of Sherwood" -- not the bad guy, but walking a fine line in black leather.

The Coleclan9 said...

that last picture of LOVELY gisborne....what is wrong with his hand? i noticed his hands are like that in the entire first episode of season 3! what is up?

MsG68 said...

I have been hit by the RA syndrome!! One day I was happily watching the Vicar of Dib Xmas special and then he leant on the door! That was it!!! Had to buy the dvd. Then the googling started and the watching everything else he'd been in and realising I had been watching stuff he'd been in all along, but not realised why? or who for? Even had started watching Spooks on a consistent weekly basis instead of an 'every so often' basis...and then I realised why. RA. Was completely hooked then and then discovered that there are many many mad but normal women with the same lovely affliction! Nat you have captured it completely. Have just recommended your site to an american friend I have met on YouTube who has just discovered this affliction and didn't know who to turn to! Hahaha!
Another one joins our mad obsession! : )

HankLover said...

You and I seem to have a lot in common, lol. Hank Lawson is my #1 hottie. Richard Armitage is another. Love the bad boys, lol!