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"When He Gets Off Work Could You Give Him This? It's the $100 He Lent Me.",
This review is from: Due South - The Complete First Series [DVD] (DVD)Even leaving aside the fact that `Due South' is one of the finest comedy-dramas ever made, filled with spectacular writing, wonderful acting, superb action and hilarious dialogue, `Benton Fraser' is surely one of the greatest fictional heroes ever conceived.
Like his father before him, he is the living embodiment of the spirit and ideals of the RCMP; utterly devoted to the pursuit of justice, NOT vengeance. And as a part of this, he is also a kind and compassionate man who works to make the world a better place, not only by putting criminals behind bars, but by acting as a living example of politeness and social conscience.
As my father first taught me when I was five years old, you can make a world a better place simply by saying please and thank you, by opening the door for someone and by lending a helping hand. And so personally, I feel that the principles behind this programme should be taught in primary schools.
When Benton's father is murdered, he resists the urge to take revenge and instead, brings the killer in alive.
By exposing a political cover up, he practically destroys his own career in the name of truth and justice.
In the episode "An Eye For An Eye" when an elderly man attacks a mugger and other `thugs' in his neighbourhood, Benton takes a stand against the vigilante. Because no matter what the justification, "The law does not allow us to go around hitting each other over the head with bats."
Of course, if there's one thing that most people cannot stand, it is a noble hero (an `Ubermench' if you actually take the time to read Nietzsche,) who is a living reminder of how petty, apathetic, selfish, hypocritical and cowardly the rest of us really are. So to `Humanise' Benton Fraser in the two-part episode "Victoria's Secret," the writers made sure that he was hopelessly in love with a manipulative criminal who wanted to punish him for sending her to prison; reducing him from a hero to a whimpering child like `Buffy the Vampire Slayer.'
If you've read my review of BTVS and most people's comments about it, you'll know that I despise the main characters' whining, self-contradiction and self-doubt. Whilst on the flip side of that coin, most other people seem to love them for exactly the same reason.
Perhaps this lends credence to my theory that people prefer `Flawed' heroes, because any `True' hero would undoubtedly cause most people to feel inadequate by comparison. But regardless of the motivation, the first series also goes out of its way to poke fun at Benton Fraser, encouraging us all to laugh at his naivety as he remains oblivious to the cynical world around him.
Of course, the episode "An Invitation to Romance" is an absolute farce in the most derogatory sense of the word; an episode which everyone should completely ignore because there is nothing to merit its existence. But as if to remind us that Benton is right, that he is the living example of the way the world should be, the writers do tend to throw the joke back in the faces of everyone who laughs at his `Naivety.'
By far the greatest example of this was the first:
In the pilot episode when Benton arrives in Chicago, a dishevelled looking man at the airport (obviously a con-artist) asks him for money, claiming that he needs it to buy medicine for his daughter and that he'll pay him back next week. Benton gives the man a hundred dollars and he looks really surprised. And then, at the end of the episode whist Fraser is standing guard outside the Consulate, the `con-artist' walks up to Ray Vecchio and hands over the money as promised.
"When he gets off work could you give him this? It's the $100 he lent me."