The Steampunk Opera contains a sort of mad scientist type, Annabel McAlistair, who i’ve put a lot of thought into, half of which doesn’t actually make it into the show since her story is only the first Act and i’ve got 5 songs to tell it. In order to be vaguely interesting one of the first decisions i made is that my slightly mad scientist should be 1) not german and 2) female (and have an actual backstory that explains her).
However, one must admit, in media culture, a “mad” scientist is probably 98% likely to be German or Austrian. In fact, this is SUCH a well known stereotype that it’s basically an ongoing pop culture joke at this point.
Let’s look at some of the many examples in TV, movies, and literature.
1. Dr. Frankenstein. The man who started it all. Did the meme even exist before Mary Shelley’s story? I don’t know, but i can’t think of any examples. He is the first and certainly still one of the greatest.
2. Dr. Strangelove. And let’s face it, he is THE quintessential mad german scientist. NO one is as perfect as Herr Doktor.
3. Dentist from Marathon Man. We’ll forget that he’s a dentist because honestly, the dentist part makes him the most crap-the-pantsiest german doktorish type ever put on film.
4. Rotwang from Metropolis. If you haven’t seen the old Fitz Lang silent film, go get one of the many versions remade with new and awesome scores and watch this masterpiece from the silent film era. Rotwang, who creates the robot woman is THE film prototype for Mad Doktor. I mean EVERYthing that came after him took from him the aesthetics from crazy hair to tesla coils.
4. It’s FrankenSTEEN! STEEN! (Do i really have to say another word?)
6. Dr. (Von) Scott from Rocky Horror. In the original stage show he was played by Meatloaf who also plays Eddie. For the movie he was recast. I have a huge fondness for Rocky Horror and cannot hear the name Dr. Scott without wanting to shout “cock”. This however does not get me invited back to many fancy soirees.
7. GREAT SCOTT, MARTY! WE’VE GOT TO GET YOU BACK…. TO THE FUTURE! Dr. Emmett Brown. Of course, in the 3rd movie we find out his family name is Von Braun.
8. Dr. Van Helsing from Dracula. Technically he’s Dutch, but in the novel he peppers his speech with German and in all Dracula movies he’s played as German.
9. Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory. Not only is he awesome, but he has German accent when none of his family do or have any mention of German ancestry.
10. Baron Wolfenback of Girl Genius. Since tomorrow’s post will be on Phil Foglio’s Girl Genius, i won’t say much more about this today, but really, you should look this up online and read it.