In the beginning…
The Huffington Post is a home for excellent, online journalism and Brittany Wong, one of its associate editors, is no slouch in that department. In 2015 she wrote a cracking piece about the tell-tale signs of being in love with a narcissist. Now, whilst I am a fan of the good old “Huff” I also have other passions including my guilty, secret addiction to Fox’s “police procedural drama” “Lucifer” which hit our screens in January 2016. In my own mind, I have juxtaposed these two pieces of popular media and have concluded that Lucifer Morningstar is a narcissist!
A quick recap – what “The Bible” doesn’t tell you
Lucifer Morningstar was God’s favourite angel, but was cast out of hell because of his pride. He was the serpent in The Garden of Eden, the curator of Hell and the tempter of Christ. In 21st Century comic-book revisionism he became an anti-hero who left Hell for the cooler climate (well, when compared to Hell anyway) of Los Angeles where he proved that he had been badly libelled, by the writers of The Bible at least!
Enter Fox media, who picked up the character and adapted the comic books into a TV series. Tom Ellis, devilishly dark, jazzy and eccentrically English, plays the title role of Lucifer, who lives to punish wrong-doers. If Sir Arthur Conan Doyle unintentionally created an Asperger hero in Sherlock Holmes, Neil Gaiman unwittingly did the same by creating a perfect narcissist in Lucifer.
Meanwhile, Lucifer, completely oblivious of the obvious personality traits, storms his was through LAPD sometimes helping to solve crimes.
In the words of Brittany Wong…
Lucifer is a narcissist because:
The Love Bomb: Lucifer can charm the birds from the trees and then chew them up and spit out the feathers. Surrounded as he is in his nightclub by beautiful women he approaches them with charm and praise that would melt any woman’s heart. He can serenade, mix a cocktail and can seduce with a classic line “Tell me what you most desire?”. His therapist played by Rachel Harris accepts his payment “in kind” for their sessions and his “pet” demon, the beautiful Mazikeen, hangs on his every word. Lucifer’s philosophy of “love them and leave them” means only those useful to him get to keep his attention.
The sweeping gesture: Lucifer has taken a bullet for many people but whilst that may impress mere mortals it is important to remember, he is immortal so a mere bullet means nothing. Likewise, he has solved many police cases, but he never lets anyone forget how he has helped. He can turn on the charm to get people to confess or if they don’t appear to, look like a person for whom a derma peel has been left on too long – bright red with glowing eyes. The result of this gesture is insanity, not a recommended police interrogation technique.
Can’t admit when he is wrong…Everyone is stupid in the eyes of Lucifer. Whilst there are a few exceptions, Morningstar appears to lack any inner ability to reflect on his actions. His forte is failing to follow procedure and then justifying his behaviour and the irrelevance of the rules of engagement.
Envy of others relationships. He has a pet name for everyone, including his partner Detective Dekker’s ex-husband Dan, (Kevin Alejandro) who he calls “Detective Douche”. Lucifer spends a lot of energy denigrating Dan and his brother Amenadiel who has been sent by God, to return him to Hell and restore order in the universe. He appears to hate anyone who get close to Dekker, even to some extent her daughter. He does however appear to want to protect her too.
They live for the “Likes” Whilst, the real Lucifer Morningstar does not have a Facebook account (In an act of life imitating art, I checked!), if he did have he would no doubt be continually updating his status. Indeed, once he discovered “The Selfie” there was no stopping him. He also parades himself through his showy nightclub, “Lux”, which is an extension of his personality and is even given to impromptu performances for his fawning fans.
Everything, including the empathy is about a payoff: With only one exception in the first series (no spoilers), all of Lucifer’s actions are about the payoff. At first he is trying to seduce Dekker (Lauren German) but later he is trying to understand what she has that makes her so special, and immune to his charms.
The conversation is all about him: At every turn, Lucifer turns each conversation to his favourite topic, himself. Even his journey of self-discovery facilitated by his therapist is not about becoming a better person, but at first trying to understand why Detective Dekker is immune to him. He is unable to empathise with people and even when they are grieving he asks insensitive questions on matters which have peeked his curiosity, even if it damages the criminal case.
They are very good looking: Lucifer is tall, dark and very definitely extremely handsome. He wears suites, the cut of which would make James Bond feel scruffy and under-dressed, and whilst his car a black corvette isn’t an Aston Martin, it suites the slick image. Even without his supernatural charms, very few women would be able to resist an advance.
The needs of other people don’t matter: To Lucifer, the world is quite literally his oyster. He has obviously made a lot of money; he can have anything or anyone he wants and all his relationships including with Dekker’s young daughter are based on his needs. As the disgraced son of God and ruler of Hell, he has a superiority complex and self-importance which no one on Earth can match.
Whilst this exercise has been mainly humorous there is a serious side to the discussion. Lucifer typifies what is attractive and compelling about a Narcissistic personality. I am sure he is not the only such character in the box sets that make up our TV schedules. The question remains however, why, if we are so skilled at creating characters which closely resemble narcissists, are we so very bad at recognising them when we meet them in life? Is it because even Lucifer has some endearing qualities out with the Narcissistic spectrum or is it something else?