So, I need writing practice for my Model United Nations paper and what better way to practice debate than debating a children's cartoon? I watched Total Drama All Stars late because I have no cable. In the past three days, I've finished the episodes. In the wiki's IRC, I was discussing with a few people how we felt about the season. Personally, I enjoyed it a lot and it ranks 3rd overall on my seasons rankings.
The main gripe I get from people is - you guessed it - Mike. Mainly, the end of the finale. How a mental disorder is reset simply with one big, red button. I thought about this for a while and read a lot of blogs discussing how people felt this was offensive and wrong. I, however, have developed almost a theory of sorts: Mike does have personalities, but not in an MPD sense.
Hear me out here. In narrative or story telling writing, there are seven types of conflict: Man vs Fate/God; Man vs Self; Man vs Man; Man vs Society; Man vs Nature; Man vs Supernatural; and Man vs Technology. Mike's conflict would fall under Man vs. Self. Even though it's multiple aspects of Mike, like Mal and Vito, against him, that's just what they are: aspects.
Dissociative Identity Disorder, more commonly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, is a disease that is very "common." 1 to 3 percent of the population experiences it, making it as common as schizophrenia. The issue with this, however, is that it's very abstract. It is often misdiagnosed when, in reality, it is other dissociative or non dissociative disorders that are falsely thought to be MPD. While I doubt any Total Drama writer spent hours pouring over a text book learning about the disease, it's very, very likely they used a broad and complex mental disorder and stuck it on to a character with changing personalities.
Mike, clearly, is not meant to be a portrayal of MPD. He suffers dissociative states with different "characters." However, in the finale, when he resets his mind, we find out that he still has all of their skills: the people that were living inside Mike's head were just parts of Mike.
Which is where my theory kicks in. Mike is not someone suffering from MPD. Mike is a metaphor for personal struggles and finding balance within yourself, like a moral of sorts. Parts of him are adventurous, flirty, bitter, athletic, and evil. Mike's characters have no other traits besides those. Mike, however, has all of those traits and more. In Mike's head, he struggles to find the balance between his adventurous side and his flirty side. He lets it get to him and over dose something in an attempt to be more like that. It's not another person we're seeing, it's Mike attempting to find that balance.
That might be a little confusing, so let me clarify: Mike is Vito, but Vito is not Mike. Mike is Mal, but Mal is not Mike. All of these characters exist in Mike's head, but he never actually becomes them. He loses his self-control and let's himself be like them.
In the show, this is exaggerated. Mike gets eyelashes, lipstick, and an accent when he brings out his athletic side. This could be a metaphor for his feminine side or his strong side, but not his whole personality being overtaken be a sentient being. Mike's personalities are simply metaphors, and that's it.
When Mike resets his personality with the button, he doesn't destroy the characters because they never existed. He finds the balance of the good and bad within himself he couldn't find before, taking away all the "different people" he was and leaving him as just Mike.
I'm somewhat doubtful that a lot of deep thought with metaphors went into the creation of a children's cartoon, but it's something to consider.
All in all, it would have been helpful if Mike was not labeled "MPD guy," but something more politically correct. Mike does not display an accurate portrayal of MPD and it is much more understandable that he's a man facing struggles within himself shown in an over-the-top fashion.
This is not debating if people should or should not be offended, but rather if there's a different way to view the whole situation and interpret it.
I'm not quite sure why I wrote this or if people are going to read it, but if you did, gold star for you. I hope my post-finale ramblings make sense.
TL;DR: Mike is a metaphor about finding balance within your life.