Yeah, once you take the moral arc of the Archer universe (which holy shit does NOT bend towards justice) into account, Malory’s clearly LE, and I’m agreed on most other points, Kristopher. I actually think I might hand CG to Woodhouse, though. I think he genuinely tries to be a good person, but he’s put up with so much abuse over the years that, well, he’s a little unpredictable, plagued with addictions and serious issues. Not the traditional definition of chaotic good, I suppose, but I could see a DM looking at a character who started as Neutral Good (as I think Woodhouse did — notice his immediate defense of a young Malory, when they first met) and degraded so heavily over the years and declaring that his alignment had shifted to something more chaotic, even if he still had good intentions.
I’m also not entirely sure about Pam. She was KIND of a stickler for the rules in her first appearances, but she’s gotten substantially more chaotic since. I feel like the new Armory guy is the closest thing we’re gonna get to LN on this show. I don’t know WHERE Pam fits, which is probably an argument for straight-up N. Or possibly chaotic good herself. She has a keen sense of schadenfreude and she can be a real jackass, but I think she generally trends toward good, and is nowhere near the epitome of batshit insanity that Cheryl/Carol is.
Wanting others to follow YOUR rules is nowhere near the definition of lawful. Lawful is when you are willing to sacrifice or put aside your own interests on some subset of occasions when your interests conflict with the laws.
I challenge you to name one. single. time. Mallory has done this.
@Themiscyra: Woodhouse is really a great Chaotic Good. Though I think Pam is probably Lawful Neutral for the show. Everyone does illegal stuff (Even Cyril), but whenever something needs to be enforced, Pam and Cyril are the ones to do it. Office Romance policies, employee evaluations, a bunch of other things… as wild as she gets, within the office she goes about enforcing the rules as she can.
@highlyverbal: Mallory makes the rules because she is completely entitled to, being the owner of ISIS and all. She wants other people to follow her rules because she is the authority. She’s used the rules to her benefits dozens of times, from blacklisting Sterling (which she can totally do if she likes), cutting benefits to keep her lavish lifestyle (which is practially the definition of a Lawful Evil businessman), and any amount of other little power plays she pulls while throwing her weight around. It’s dickish, but it’s completely legal, which is why she is a Lawful Evil person does. In fact, let’s contrast this with Sterling: Mallory, to get money, cuts salaries and benefits. This is something that is totally legal and totally within her power. Sterling, on the other hand, embezzles funds from his work expense accounts. That is purely illegal.
Of course she does illegal things in the show, but that’s completely in-keeping with the tone of the show. Show me one major character who hasn’t committed a half dozen major crimes. It’s the nature of the show and as MGK says, all alignments are relative.
Mallory is lawful evil because she works to maintain the formal structure of her power, like Tywin Lannister or Jessica from Suits.
Hey MGK, consider doing an alignment chart for Suits.
Mike is chaotic good, Dan hardman is chaotic evil, Rachel is neutral good, donna is lawful neutral, Dana is chaotic neutral, Louis is neutral evil, and Harvey is magnificently true neutral
Lawful good is idek, dead grandma?
Mike is chaotic good, Dan hardman is chaotic evil, Louis is neutral evil, donna is lawful neutral, Dana is chaotic neutral, dead grandma is neutral good, Rachel is lawful good, and Harvey is magnificently true neutral
So, can’t name a single time, eh? We can agree to disagree on the salience of that gap, I suppose.
Uh, because that’s not your definition of “Lawful” essentially excludes everyone on the show, highlyverbal. If we want “dares”, then I dare you to find me a character that qualifies as “lawful”.
Gladly, if you will agree that it wins the argument. Let’s fix the goalposts before I start trying to kick.
Two of the “Bad Boys” made the list, both in the perfect spot.
I’m fine with Duncan at LG, because if Dumars was there everyone would be complaining about the list being all about the Pistons (which as a Detroit fan, I’d have no problems with because every other teams sucks!! DEE-TROIT BASKET BALL!!)
As long as it’s a major character, that’s fine. Go ahead.
@highlyverbal: You’re conflating the Lawful alignment with the Lawful Good alignment.
“Lawful is when you are willing to sacrifice or put aside your own interests on some subset of occasions when your interests conflict with the laws.”
That’s a great description of Lawful Good or Lawful Neutral, in that those alignments, as you say, sacrifice.
Lawful Evil, by definition, knows the laws, works with the laws, bends the laws, and twists the laws.
As Kristopher A. pointed out, Mallory does that all the time. While she does break the laws, she’s generally careful to make it look like she didn’t, which is another Lawful Evil trait.
Sacrifice for the law isn’t part of the Evil side. You use the law to get what you can but make sure others are holding the bag when you step past the line.
The fact she makes the rules enforces her as Lawful Evil, as she expects others to follow those rules, something an NE or CE character wouldn’t do.
I’m a little surprised that Rasheed Wallace (who apparently broke so many rules that they made one in his “honor”*) wasn’t on here somewhere.
*The so-called “Rasheed Wallace rule” is that a player who gets 16 technical fouls in a season will be fined and suspended for one game.
Cyril is the low-hanging fruit here. He routinely pursues lawful and faithful accounting despite brow-beating from Mallory and actual, literal beating from Archer. When he drunkenly siphons off money, he is frantic to get it back (instead of trying to cash out).
Further, I think both Lana and Ray follow instructions from Mallory & Archer that they view to be counter-productive and dangerous on routine basis. Their reasonable objections get routinely overridden, and they sustain cooperation for quite a distance — this is one of the primary bits on the show. (As everyone is so eager to remind me, we must frame this in the larger context of the show… where everyone goes rogue at the drop of a hat, right?)
I would buy any or all of those characters as “lawful.” Pam is a harder case, because she certainly upholds the HR lawfulness even when painful (e.g. sexual harassment lessons with Archer), but she has her secret life that balances against the ISIS life.
“The fact she makes the rules enforces her as Lawful Evil, as she expects others to follow those rules…”
Opening shot: is the character of Michael Scott from The Office some variant of Lawful?
YOUR definition conflates LE with clever NE (and possibly CE). Several characters that are consensus non-Lawful already on this thread don’t hesitate to invoke authority if they can… Archer himself loves it when he is in charge of an operation, and waves it around like a flag. The two Barrys run the friggin’ KGB, and in a much more strict fashion with respect to challenges to their authority (a la Tywin Lannister). I’d rather work for Mallory’s ISIS than Barry’s KGB! Kobe Bryant loves to say it is “his team” and give direction about what coaches to hire, etc. None are Lawful.
Using people’s receptiveness to authority to manipulate them doesn’t make you Lawful, sorry. It makes you manipulative. This has been understood since premodern times… The devil can quote scripture.
Have you ever played a game with a 6 year old child? I played some nerf basketball with my niece, and she made more rules than shot attempts. At the end, she was taking several shots for every one of mine, I was shooting from my knees, she was three times closer to the basket, and some of the baskets I made were not even counting. Surely you aren’t suggesting she is Lawful?! … because her mother could use to have a huge laugh.
You seem to be focusing too strongly on the “sacrifice” part of my formulation. It can be merely expending effort. Think of, instead, Tywin Lannister and how he would handle challenges to authority. Mallory’s authority is undermined by her own actions, and openly mocked by everyone as inconsistencies surface. Yes, Mallory will invoke her authority but won’t lift a finger to preserve it. Tywin understand that to be evil but lawful requires an ironclad dedication to the lawful part of things, but that this investment will be returned. Tywin will bestir himself to shore up his authority, ensure the credibility of his regime. Mallory often says “because SHUT UP!” She justifies her decisions with “I don’t know, pick one.” These are running gags. Tywin-esque? Seriously?
First, I have no frame of reference for Tywin Lannister since I refuse to read/watch A Song of Ice and Fire until it’s done or Martin dies.
Second, I’m going back to the D&D source of the alignment, where the perfect example of the alignment is, of course, the Baatezu. Mallory would fit in perfectly among them as one who would do anything to get ahead, who uses her authority and role as rulemaker to manipulate and bully people into doing what she wants.
However, I’d agree that, from a strictly planar perspective, Mallory would indeed be NEL, at best, and likely a full on NE, based on her tendency to look out for herself.
To paraphrase MGK, though, you have to take into account your text’s internal alignment before you can assign alignments to the characters. As stated elsewhere in this thread, the universe of Archer tends to the chaotic. In a chaotic universe, Mallory is the closest to lawful evil of the primary characters we have available.
Barry is the clearest example of CE, as he doesn’t care who he hurts to accomplish his goals.
Sterling is closest to NE, as he is intrinsically selfish and generally cares only about what he can get for himself. He doesn’t usually make active attempts to hurt others to achieve his selfishness, which keeps him for being CE.
Mallory is somewhere between LE and NE, but her reliance on rules, and it should be added, desire to have it appear that she follows the rules (whether she does or not), is what leans her more towards the LE. She has many selfish traits, but that tendency to at least have it appear to outsiders that she’s following the law gets her the LE tag in the chaotic Archer universe. None of the others seem as dedicated to the idea of appearing to be in the legal right as Mallory does, even if she does have selfish reasons for her actions. Most Baatezu only want to move ahead in the hierarchy, and they’ll beg, borrow, kill, and steal to acconplish those goals as long as they won’t get caught.
I should also note that the example of a 6 year old doesn’t fully work as the concept of rules and fairness aren’t yet fully formulated. They’re also inherently creatures of chaos, which is why you used to have a chaotic alignment to play a kender.
Cyril, however, has committed dozens of crimes. He’s
– Embezzled funds (he still DID it)
– Illegally stowed away on transports
– Committed corporate espionage for money (When he planted the computer virus, even if he intended to fix things and be the hero)
– Murder/Disposing of Evidence (Utne, twice if you count the time he thought the hooker was dead and was complicit and trying to get rid of Trinette)
Those are the things that immediately come to mind. Mallory ordering him to do it does not absolve him of responsibility; a lawful character would not break the law simply because their boss ordered them to. So yeah, I don’t think anyone will be convinced of that one.
Ray defrauded his medicare account. That alone would completely discount him if we are getting all uppity with what Mallory does.
Lana has done just as many illegal things as Mallory has since, well, she’s generally one of the instruments to execute those illegal operations. “I’m only following orders” is not a defense for doing illegal actions… unless you accept that the profession she is a part of demands her to do illegal actions. Plus Lana helping Archer from being “burned” by staging it as an “ODIN Black Flag” and knocking out Barry is definitely going against what the profession would dictate and is her basically being Neutral Good. She ignores orders to save him, which is why I’d probably list her more as Neutral Good. Not quite as Lawful as Cyril, though I suppose I can see the argument for it.
I would also point out that most of Mallory’s “unlawful” activities are generally things which would be acceptable within her field, but she is doing them for personal gain, yet another thing something a Lawful Evil person would do. Almost everything she does is basically a spy op, but they are focused so that she benefits out of it, despite it possibly being legit. Her profit focus is practically the definition of Lawful Evil, and in a profession where the top spy company regularly bribes the UN inspector responsible for overseeing intelligence to maintain the contract, what she does is basically par for the course.
So yeah, if that’s all you have then I think that’s just a bunch of special pleading. You can’t make cases for them that wouldn’t be putting up a double standard. I do agree that Cyril is about as Lawful Good as you get on the show, but I’m not sure he would keep that if we compared him to accountants on other shows.
Also, fuck Kender. Seriously.
I value kender for, ultimately, divorcing halflings from the old ‘hobbits but we can’t call them that because Tolkien will sue us’ definition and making them a reasonably unique player race in their own right. But I have never had the misfortune of playing or running a game with actual kender, and I pray I never shall.
Yeah, I have to agree that the Archer universe tends towards both evil and chaos. Malory, in that context, is LE. Yes, she makes the rules AND twists them and uses them for personal gain. She is the ultimate authority in ISIS. She runs the place. If that means she can’t be LE, then I guess you can never have an LE tyrant. Except you totally can, so…
Also, Michael Scott is not lawful, no. But he has never been the ultimate authority at Dunder Mifflin. He has always been kept in check by higher authorities and by the rules and regulations of his company (as enforced by LN Toby, frequently to Michael’s gross displeasure). He’s a salesman promoted to the level of his incompetence and stranded there. No one is arguing that all managers are lawful. We are simply arguing that, within the context of the Archer universe, taking its natural biases into account, Malory is as close as you will ever get to LE. I honestly can’t think of anyone else on Archer who could qualify as LE if she doesn’t.
Ah, Kristopher A., sadly I believe you need a reminder of where we agreed the goalposts were.
@Themiscrya: “No one is arguing that all managers are lawful.”
On the contrary, that is almost exactly what Jonathan (and any moose) is suggesting. Making Michael Scott a very salient example.
No, I know where the goalposts are. The problem is that I think you’ve sailed well-wide of them. The argument is to name a lawful character given your arguments against Mallory. You gave your characters and I pointed out that you’re basically holding them to a double standard: they are just as willing to break rules for their own personal interests as Mallory. The differences is that, for the most part, people like Cyril and Mallory obey the rules and hold them in regard, while people like Sterling don’t.]
So please, don’t talk about moving goalposts. You missed them all on your own, Mr. Norwood.
After reading about Shaq participating on a botched SWAT team raid of an innocent man, I am even more willing to believe in his Neutral (and not Good) status.
@Jonathan : Sterling is not NE. Especially considering you’re displacing Krieger from that spot. Sterling is totally self-absorbed, but has a vestige of a moral compass that occasionally calls him back from the edge. Krieger has never shown any moral hesitation whatsoever.
Michael Jordan=Black Lex Luthor?
I thought Clancy Brown was the black Lex Luthor.
Any Detroit fan knows that Michael Jordan is too big of a foul-faking crybaby to be considered Lawful Evil.
Okay, I went ahead and made the Archer one.
You inspire me, MGK.
@Kristopher A. — I am meeting the standard for Lawful put forth and in dispute in the dares & counter-dares. (Please scroll up to the post where I issued the challenge – July 3rd @ 10:49. Crystal clear.) I am not even sure what standard you were using, but it was news to me.
Goalpost moving — confirmed.
Oh, and Go Bills!
Except it’s not, highlyfinkle. You fail because you have to meet two criteria to actually kick it through the uprights:
1) You have to prove your own definition of lawful. You basically use the idea of “following authority” (Which, by the by, is a horrible definition in and of itself, but that’s a whole post for a whole ‘nother day), and you do accomplish this… by completely linking it to them doing what Mallory orders them to do. This is important because it ties into the second part that you ultimately fail at…
2) Mallory Archer can not be lawful. The whole point of the previous post was to make sure that you couldn’t scramble away from the fact that you can’t declare someone “Lawful” on the basis that Mallory does “unlawful” things. Instead, you tie the Law directly to Mallory, making her the authority figure on which the law is based. Because her orders constitute “the law”, you undo your own argument by recognizing her authority as the law. Hell, your own argument recognizes Mallory wants everyone to follow her rules, which makes trying to put her into the Neutral camp pretty damn hard since she’s not actively undermining her own rules outside her own authority structure.
And before you try and strawman Michael Scott into this, remember that Michael Scott regularly goes outside of the power structure in ways that he is not allowed to: He is not the ultimate authority at Dunder-Mifflin and never was, while Mallory absolutely is the ultimate authority at ISIS.
If the others are still lawful while breaking the law simply because they follow Mallory’s orders, then Mallory is absolutely lawful because she is the one giving the orders and works to maintain that structure as you yourself admit when you talk about how she wants everyone to follow her rules.
So yeah, nice try. You might want to check if the laces are in on your next argument, however.
Um, the standard presented covers all of that, as already mentioned. Until you manage to find it, probably not going to have much progress in the discussion. It is funny that you are sooooooo willing to declare victory without addressing it.
Uh, where? You present only a few arguments as to why she’s not Lawful:
“And Mallory is definitely not lawful, she calls in bomb threats to get her agency hired (often, merely to snub her neighbor, Trudy Beekman). Again, routinely.”
Which doesn’t mean much since everyone on the show commits a variety of crimes, including the most obvious candidate (Cyril).
“Wanting others to follow YOUR rules is nowhere near the definition of lawful. Lawful is when you are willing to sacrifice or put aside your own interests on some subset of occasions when your interests conflict with the laws.
I challenge you to name one. single. time. Mallory has done this.”
You said this, but I pointed out that the challenge is contradictory: Mallory is the law at ISIS, so she can always maneuver to be in the right (or at the very least push the damage off on others). Asking an evil person to sacrifice when they have no reason to under the law makes no sense and is contradictory to the concept of “Evil” in D&D.
Ding! Now that you have found the goalpost, can you see where I am talking about subsets of occasions where characters put aside interests in my reply to you? As you DARED, I am meeting the standard of my challenge, the one that Mallory fails.
Argue all you want about why it is stupid to fix the goalpost there; it was your dare, bro. I was surprised you were willing to fix the goalpost there, instead of proposing others. But it was explicitly fixed. I imagine you got caught up in the dashing counter-dare tactic? I know how sexy and exciting those dares can be.
But trying to fabricate some OTHER standard that I said, that’s just troll behavior. Embarrassing that you used that for name-calling and declaring victory.
Huh, this posted early. One sec…
“Ding! Now that you have found the goalpost, can you see where I am talking about subsets of occasions where characters put aside interests in my reply to you? As you DARED, I am meeting the standard of my challenge, the one that Mallory fails.
Argue all you want about why it is stupid to fix the goalpost there; it was your dare, bro. I was surprised you were willing to fix the goalpost there, instead of proposing others. But it was explicitly fixed. I imagine you got caught up in the dashing counter-dare tactic? I know how sexy and exciting those dares can be.”
I’m not going to argue about where the goalposts were affixed, because there really isn’t a point. You aren’t arguing that : How you reach the goalposts completely contradicts your previous arguments. So I’m really more baffled here: the argument was about Mallory Archer not being Lawful, right?
But to hit the criteria you needed to get a lawful character, you essentially had to make Mallory lawful by declaring her authority the law: Cyril is lawful because he follows Mallory’s orders, Lana and Ray are generally lawful because they generally obey orders despite not liking it, etc. To be non-lawful, Mallory would have to go against her own orders… which, well, I can’t think of a time where she didn’t follow what she didn’t want to do.
But… that wasn’t the argument, I suppose. It was no longer Mallory being Lawful given your response, but whether or not you could get a lawful character given those criteria. Flipping Mallory to a Lawful character was kind of an out-of-the-box move, I’ll admit that. You were technically right. The best kind of right.
So I suppose I’m comfortable with saying that you hit your goalposts if you are willing to completely compromise your argument on Mallory. I guess I find that rather confusing and kind of a Pyyhric way to prove a point.
“But trying to fabricate some OTHER standard that I said, that’s just troll behavior. Embarrassing that you used that for name-calling and declaring victory.”
Oh Christ, take a joke. We’re arguing the moral attitudes of cartoon characters on an internet website whose mascot is a super-intelligent dog. If you can’t take some playful ribbing (And I have no clue how you can take it any other way), then just go home. The only reason this went on so long is because I found it confusing that in your attempt to fulfil your criteria you basically walked back on everything you had previously said. I didn’t realize that was purposeful.
… Okay, look. I’m writing this because I think this argument has gotten to you a lot more than it has gotten to me. But I’m not trying to create any internet enemies on one of my favorite sites, especially when I honestly don’t even dislike you.
I’m not trying to troll you with my responses (though I can be rather flippant some my responses, I admit). In all honesty, your view of lawful is apparently drastically different from mine, and at this point there’s no point in arguing when I don’t think there is really common ground. You seem to find lawfulness in obedience (I wouldn’t presume to say you’ve given your full definition yet), I find lawfulness in one’s perception of the world and of order itself. This is why I kept arguing: because, to me, you had violated a basic, implicit tenant of lawfulness in your answer. We had the same goalposts, but apparently they were at different football fields.
I do concede that you fulfilled your half of the bargain. I still find the answer contradictory in nature, but that doesn’t lessen my concession. I bear you no ill will and meant none in return; the jokes I made were, as I said, jokes. I figured when you said “Go Bills”, you got that. On the internet, though, smiles and sarcasm don’t always transfer.
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