I hated the Roadrunner cartoons most of all because I wanted Wile E. Coyote to catch and eat that scrawny, snotty bird. And I think my sympathies are supposed to be with the coyote. Here he's presented as starving, forlorn, the perpetual victim of caveat emptor. He's Sisyphus because he's never going to catch that damn bird but he's always going to try. Basically, he sucks as a predator. He sucks so bad that I root for him. I want him to kill.
Last year, I had a chance to live in the hills where there are real coyotes. They are not cartoons. They do not suck as predators. They kill. They kill often. The eeriest sounds I've ever heard are their yips and ululations when they've cornered the kill. Loud, reverberating, lasts a long time. I never knew a dog could scream. My cat went out to hunt herself one day and never came back. They ATE my CAT. I kept a close eye on my kids. 'Cause "Dingoes Ate My Baby"? Hell, yeah. I believe it.
So I wonder if my sympathies for Spike are misplaced? I never really see the frightening exploits of William the Bloody, conveniently offscreen. His body count is way low even before he's defanged. And just like Wile E., his plans always fail. And just like Wile E., the chip makes him desperate, starving, a cartoon. I sympathize with him. I humanize him. I forget that he's a predator. I forget his otherness.
Maybe if I did realize what a true vampire would be, I'd turn off the TV and tell him to get the hell away from my kids.