Saturday, July 20, 2013

Is Twisted's Danny Desai a sociopath?

Twisted, an ABC Family teenage murder mystery drama along the same lines as their Pretty Little Liars, has a potential (likely?) sociopathic teenage protagonist -- Danny Desai. It's so likely that Danny is a sociopath that the original working title for the show was "Socio" and the abbreviation gets thrown around at least once an episode, along with plenty of accusations that he is a sociopath from his teenage peers, some amusingly framed in amusing pop culture references to The Good Son, The Bad Seed, and We Need to Talk About Kevin.

The show begins with Danny, now sixteen years old, having just been released from juvenile detention for having killed his aunt when he was eleven years old, starting high school with his former peers. In the pilot another girl gets murdered and Danny's past history (and the convenient timing of the second girl's murder) make him a prime suspect both in the eyes of the police and the townspeople. But perhaps the show comes closest to acknowledging that Danny is a sociopath when his mother goes to visit his court ordered therapist:

Mother: "So, how's he doing?"

Dr.: "Well, he's a smart young man."

Mother: "Yes he is. Dr. Reidy, I'm sure that you've heard of some of the hateful words people have been calling Danny... monster, freak, sociopath..."

Dr.: "I wouldn't let it get to you Mrs. Desai. It's a heightened time."

Mother: Oh I know, but as a mother, how should I respond to people calling him that. [Pause] I'm not being clear. What are the signs that someone is a sociopath, so that I can explain why Danny isn't one?"

Dr.: "Most sociopaths don't murder anyone, but they do exhibit glibness, superficial charm, an easy ability to lie."

Mother: "Right."

Dr.: "Let's see, what else, they love risk, they don't consider consequences, they have a talent for imitating human emotion -- grief, joy. It's never real, but they're good at making you believe it is. Is that helpful Mrs. Desai?"

The funny part is that Danny actually did murder someone, along with exhibiting all of the other traits of a sociopath that his therapist mentioned. But his mom stands by him, even after having her suspicions about his sociopathy essentially confirmed. She even helps (she thinks) him cover up another possible murder.

Even if Danny is not a sociopath, it's an interesting exploration of a teenage boy living with the stigma of having murdered someone (or at least having been convicted of murder), and how he deals with that (spoiler alert, by alternating violent outbursts against his enemies and charming himself back into the hearts of his already smitten followers), and how his friends and family deal with it (almost unwavering support). That he is such a likeable character (unambiguously so if Twitter is any indication) suggests that the millennial generation (the audience for this particular show) might be the first generation to really accept and even embrace sociopaths in their own lives. So, that's hopeful.


  1. Why should it surprise you when the people nearest and dearest to
    sociopaths live in a state of denial?
    People are set in thier ways and don't like to go back on decisions once
    they are made. They justify thier choices and decisions even if they are
    wrong and even if they are being harmed by them. Robert Caldini, in his
    book "Influnce" calls this trait commitment and consistensy. We see this
    evidenced in cult followers and people who remain in abusive relationships.
    Usually, when the psychopath's victim gets wise to how they are being
    abused, that's the time when the psychopath strikes; wether it be school
    shootings, murder etc...
    There was a movie called "Star 80" about a Playboy model named Dorathy
    Stratten. Her hustler boyfriend Paul Snider, submitted her photo to
    Playboy. Because of her appearence and winsome personality she shot to
    fame very quickly. Snider was out of his element in Hefner's world and
    felt increasingly rejected. His resentment reached the boiling point,
    and when Stratten tried to break it off gently Snider lured her to a final meeting where he raped and murdered her and killed himself.
    And we also saw this phenonomin in Casey Anthony's family where they
    refused to acknowledge what was in plain sight: Her theft, lies and
    neglect of her child and Travis Alexander's blindness to Jodi Arias's
    increasingly obsessive behaviour and his belief he could "handle" her.
    Denial is not a river in Egypt.

  2. It will be interesting to see if the stigma of being a sociopath is lessened or if the opposite occurs and it becomes the go-to insult for this generation.

  3. Think I just walked into a John Waters' movie...

    I must confess that I, personally, started watching the show on a whim. A skeptic whim.

    You see, I had seen the preview they had rotating a couple of times. Only catching my ear by the young girl who asks the Psychology teacher "How can you tell if someone is a sociopath?" Needless to say, I rolled my eyes at the sound of it, and discarded it as yet-another-show for kids to have something 'silly' to watch. Specially given the network.

    Then, I watched the pilot episode. By coincidence and out of cynicism.

    I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, as ME points out, there're the funny bits with the Pop Culture references, which I found to be a tad-bit of a kick, to Hannibal Lecter and such. But, overall, it's a fun, light-to-digest sort of show. And yes, I suspect, even if only out of Morbidity (not my word), the Millennials have found certain "acceptance".

  4. A good whoopin' will set him straight.

  5. Looks like a fun show

  6. Eh.... you know. I like the publicity that sociopathology is getting.

    I have a touch of Aspbergers and have trouble reading subtle emotions in facial expressions even if I can understand them perfectly if spoken.

    During my divorce my wife tried to label me as a sociopath. It stuck with the twisted-female-feminist-cult in the community. As far as I can tell, women like to use the term for anyone who can't be easily emotionally manipulated, and men now use the term 'female solipsism' as the same relativistic criticism of the female bias.

    Myself, I can't bear to cause others pain. Cant tolerate poverty or suffering. Can't even watch torture porn horror movies. Feel I have to protect everyone. But because I'm ruthless in business, don't put up with feminism as a vehicle for female stealing of male assets, and because I have a little trouble with facial expressions, my wife tries to get me declared a sociopath so that she can use my child as a leverage in financial negotiations. Yet there isn't a name for that female behavior. :)

    But the experience left me fascinating with sociopathology, so I appreciate your blog. :)

    Thanks for what you do.

  7. Somewhat off topic. I have a question about the symptoms of a malignant narcissist. I heard a psychiatrist say that a MN will bring someone down with a vengeance when they themselves feel they have been brought down.

    Has anyone experienced or found this to be true? Serious question.

    1. Ask Curt. (see above)

      People with Asperger's generally know how to spell the word, dumb ass.

    2. Yes it is common for one of my instructors to hoard her disses she feels . she.he hides her feelings about, and then get u back passively thinking she bringss u down . I do it but in my head usually. Insuppose it is considered passive aggression unaware if you do not know where the nastiness comesvfrom. But in her case I thimk she may b aware. She will brag to the class how reptilian she can be so I know shes a fucking h idiot. And her students she imagines them lookingbup to her for beingbso clever. It is highly transoarent to me . she is just a tit for tat person very predictable. Very snarky woman. Always a victim of some beaurocracy.

      My antisocial ex NEEDED to bring me down when he felt dissed so I took his lead and did it back. This is one of thecsources why I am here. Why I needed to not let him get away unscathed felt like I was possessed. Another time I needed to show someone a lesson. I just did refusevto give him any attention whatsoever. But it is cinfusing hecause I feel vindictive. I feel like it is ok bec I feltvthey did me bad, uou know?

      So I think perhaps that makes me a mal narc.

    3. But ofcoursevwhen I bring it up to people they vall say that he brought it out in me. They say he did what he did first and i reacted, nothing pathological about that. I tend to think that there are justcsome peoplevwho bring out the worst in others. I have heard that when a person gets involved with a sociopayh that at the end of the incident they actually believe that THEY are one too. This is the problem with mirroring someone.

    4. You become ..........what you spend time with.

    5. Yes that is what I mean. And when you evaluate a potential friend/lover/business associate/caregiver/ whatnot you learn you must do some research. You want to know who their friends are.

      This place here is very interesting to me. we converse but we are talking to people we know nothing about. Alterego says she gets advice from Hitler type people. Doesnt mean she has to become Hitler.

  8. You sound mildly retarded.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I do think Danny Desai is a sociopath.... but hey, he is a damn sexy one..... and I would love to see more #Twisted. So pissed they canceled the serious... I absolutely loved that show.


Comments on posts over 14 days are SPAM filtered and may not show up right away or at all.

Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies


Comments are unmoderated. Blog owner is not responsible for third party content. By leaving comments on the blog, commenters give license to the blog owner to reprint attributed comments in any form.