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That's right. Duncan. The character who is often complained as "The most overrated". And that couldn't be more false. I myself have went through some phases of feelings towards Duncan but by the title, it's clear I'm a fan of him at this point. Let's make this second defense explosive.

EveryTenthNote

Be honest. Would you call yourself a fan of Duncan? Some, if not most of you, would say no. Granted, I'm not saying most of the fanbase hates Duncan. But I'm saying that in general, Duncan doesn't have a  big amount of people who would call themselves fans of him. Heather, Gwen, Courtney, Lindsay and other prominent characters have marginally more fans than Duncan does. Since Duncan's competed in 4 seasons, there's numerous complaints people have made about him.

  • He's a screenhogger. He appears so often for needless reasons, as seen with him escaping 3 TDA eliminations, getting the Final 5 three consecutive seasons, being a TDA finalist, and being the only character to merge 4 times.
  • He's generally unlikable. Duncan's stereotype is a bad boy, so it's a given that he has some questionable moments that make people get mad at him.
  • He cheated on Courtney. He completely destroys her heart by cheating on her with Gwen and doesn't feel too apologetic.
  • He doesn't add too much. Duncan is for the most part, the same character a lot and doesn't develop too often.
  • He is OOC in AS. After going through slowly becoming heroic, Duncan randomly blows up a cottage and is villainous again, and prior to this, is randomly obsessive of Courtney, craving her affection and not paying too much attention to Gwen e.g. Moon Madness.
  • He ruined Gwen. His delinquent attitude made her a little more rebellious. Uh...

My Thoughts

I love Duncan, although not as much as the other characters I love. But I do believe that he is worth a lot of credit. I surprisingly think of Duncan as one of the more underrated characters because his hate just doesn't add up to me. He's actually added more to the show than people think he has. Using a "Defense" heading on its own wouldn't explain things clearly enough. So right away, here's where I stand with Duncan.

Pain28.5

Deserving praise.

In TDI, there's not really much complaints made against Duncan. Most of his haters don't even have much to complain about with Duncan. He was an entertaining immature yet insecure bully who had some really funny moments and never really worn out. He was also more strategic than people have said he is. Duncney is actually okay in this season, and any performance good or bad Duncan had in most challenges is really memorable ones. Not much else to say. He deserves praise in his debut.
Duncan-safe

Tolerable elimination

While not majorly scorned, Duncan did lose some fans in TDA. A common complaint is simply that Duncan lasted too long for his own good in TDA. He has broken the record for being in the Bottom 2 the most times in a row, being in it 3 times in a row. But is that really that bad? I mean first came Super Hero-Id where it was between him and Leshawna and Harold was pressured by two intimidating people to vote for her so I don't really see the problem in Duncan being safe when he's already been shown to do strategic moves like this. In The Princess Pride, Justin was eliminated instead of Duncan. Again, not much of a problem here. Courtney already mentioned she was using Justin for strategic purposes and Justin had this coming anyways for betraying Harold and fighting with Duncan. Duncan going home in this episode would just be illogical. The only time where I think Duncan really escaped elimination was with is Rock 'n Rule where Lindsay accidentaly voted herself but Duncan had no involvement in escaping an elimination. All that was was a poor writing excuse. This can hardly be a complaint against Duncan's character, can it?
MSS-Beth and Duncan

An underrated Final 2

People also complain that Duncan was a finalist in TDA instead of more deserving people to take his place like Harold or Lindsay. While Harold is the obvious greatest human being in the existence of everything altogether, and Lindsay making it far was built up throughout the whole season, and even though I would've preferred either of them taking Duncan's place in the finale, I don't consider this a complaint against Duncan. The finale is Beth vs Duncan, right? The season still proved that even if it was a final two that seems shocking, the finale manages to exploit their interaction. I mean it's an unusual and uncanny friendship that actually stands-out really well in the finale. Duncan just doesn't seem as undeserving as a finalist as I think people says he is. Harold and/or Lindsay could've made for a better finale, but Duncan still brought a lot to the table, even if Beth is a more deserving winner. As for his non-merged performance, when you actually take a closer look on TDA, Duncan is one of the main reasons for the Gaffers winning so many times so he definitely earned making it to the Final 7.
Punch

Worthwhile screentime.

An odd complaint against Duncan in TDA is his conflict with Harold. But I don't really see the problem here. I mean it's complained that Duncan picking on Harold just seems out of place and unnecessary sometimes. But honestly this has always been my favorite conflict in the whole show. The personalities of Duncan and Harold already fit into the conflict. Duncan has already been known to laugh at the actions of other people and let's face it, Harold is a dorky guy. So it makes sense for Duncan to be doing stuff like this. And besides, their personalities may make them dislike one another immediately, but some of the funniest moments in TDA is when Duncan and Harold are surprisingly kind to each other and have a kinship that just isn't present in any other conflict. And besides, Duncan got repercussions for this so not a big problem here as they're both currently even with each other.
DuncanISL

Necessary return.

Next comes TDWT, which is clearly when Duncan lost a lot of fans. The first complaint that was made immediately upon Duncan's return; he floated. And I disagree with this a lot. When it comes to returnees, apart from Duncan, all of them have been comic relief. While it's always fun to watch Izzy, she doesn't add too much unpredictability to her returns in TDI and TDA besides her relationship with Owen both times. Speaking of Owen, unlike Duncan, his return was completely unnecessary and nothing would change if Owen didn't return. Eva and Dakota are self-explanatory since they're eliminated right after they return. So Duncan is much different from any of those strange eliminations. Duncan made a huge impact upon his return. Whether you love the love triangle or not, the season would've been much different if Duncan hadn't returned. There was interesting tension on Team Chris, his conflict with Alejandro was full of delightful deceptiveness, and I personally liked the love triangle. Duncan adds way more than people say he does to WT.
Duncan and Courtney - TDWT Theme Song

Intentionally toxic.

So people who hate Duncan in WT may immediately state "The impact he made was a bad one since it badly affected the season", which I also disagree with. Duncan cheating on Courtney is called unjustified by the fans since Duncan could've easily have just broken up with Courtney. But let's be honest. Neither character are really that likable in this case. Courtney abused, manipulated, treated him like a pet, and has caused major injury to him, even when they aren't a relationship. I mean picture Duncan. If he just went off and broke up with Courtney, doesn't it seem obvious that she would immediately respond with violence? The relationship is unhealthy intentionally and there's no reason to pick a side. So if I'm caling both characters unlikable in this case, why does it work for me? Easy, because it's realistic how Duncan acts. Duncan has never really been shown to be too clever of a character. While he's certainly coherent, he doesn't say some kind of clear serious things usually. He's never been portrayed as some kind of mature character, so this is consistent. Besides, Duncan is a teenager. Teenagers do stupid things. There's plenty of teenagers who cheat on their loved ones. It's nothing to be having a huge uproar about.

Even if I'm calling Duncney an unhealthy relationship, that's not even a complaint I'm making. Even if it's not exactly a relationship to support, it's always been consistnetly entertaining in my view since it's a realistic destructive relationship.

Those who aren't too fond of TDWT complain that the love triangle is what ruined the season for them. But actually look at how this season would've fared if Duncan hadn't returned. Besides Duncan, the only real drama throughout the season was Alejandro's antagonism and Alejandro vs Heather. Two things could not be the only things to move the season forward. Prior to Duncan returning, if you look at the bigger picture, TDWT was just a standard comedy season. It was bringing back characters like Cody/Noah/Tyler, not to mention adding Sierra, and Owen always being a comic relief. That's five comic relief characters.

While there was interesting twists mainly to do with Alejandro, the season is mostly comedy and nothing more. Had Duncan not returned, the season would've been staler. Jokes were usually funny in WT, but jokes aren't the only thing that a season needs. Who else could've possibly pushed the season forward in a pivotal way? Definitely none of the comic reliefs, Alejandro is an antagonist which is a given, Heather  is suspected by her teammates, and Courtney and Gwen were close to each other. Therefore, the only good solution is to have something foreshadowed for a season and a half. It's different in the case of TDI because in that season what pushed it forward was us all getting to know the characters for the first time, making the mellowness not be too bothersome. In a third season, doing this again would just be poor. Without Duncan, I just don't see the season saved.

Dg63

Have always been close

I also don't think Duncan's relationship with Gwen is for horrible reasons. Duncan formed a relationship with Gwen because she was one of his closest friends. That's how plenty of romances start. It was not just so he could spite Courtney. Duncan needed some kind of comfort if he was being abused by Courtney. In fact, if their roles had been reversed, more people would support Courtney cheating on Duncan with someone. While it's a bad thing for Duncan to do, the reasoning is already in place.

So now we reach TDAS, where Duncan still loses a portion of fans once again. But for the amount of complaints I make against this season, Duncan is actually one of the better characters of the season. Certainly not perfect but nothing terrible. The complaint made about Duncan here is a number of things.

TeenieTinyBrain

Mixed bag twists.

People have criticized Duncan's sudden attraction towards Courtney and minor mistreatment to Gwen in Moon Madness. When it comes to Duncan craving attention from Courtney, it has been considered out of left field. While I have the complaint that this season does nothing to capitalize on Duncan's attraction to Courtney, that's more of a complaint against the season's 13-episode length, when it comes to Duncan being attracted to Courtney it's not really something I have fault with. In TDA, Duncan has done things like glare at Courtney with the purpose of getting her affection. He's never been too mature so it's interesting to see this. And after 2 years, who knows how he gained this attraction? But I can admit that this is a gripe I have against Duncan since there isn't much development on this, but at least it's not exactly out of character. Yeah, Duncan not paying much attention to Gwen in Moon Madness is horrible and inconsistent, but everyone in that episode was bad at some point in it, so no issue there for me.

People also hated Duncan's elimination since nothing seems resolved between him vs Mal and he doesn't develop into a hero. And I can totally agree with this. All of these things are valid complaints to make against Duncan.

The problem is that some people who didn't like him in this season don't realize that there's actually plenty of good things about Duncan in this season. For one, even if Duncan occasionaly doesn't notice Gwen, for the first 3-4 episodes, he actually treats her exceptionally well, considering she is ignorant to him and is strangely submissive. But Duncan doesn't give up on her in this time. Him motivating Gwen and trying to cheer her up despite what she's done is not only fascinating but heartwarming too. If anything, it's a reflection of Duncan learning from his past mistakes with Courtney. Maybe that's why Duncan is trying to get her attention again. Maybe it's hard for him to juggle between who to treat better. That seems realistic considering what has been shown.

Duncan's plot in this season is becoming a better person, willingly or unwillingly. He joins the Heroic Hamsters and immediately dislikes this. This plot has some backlash but I found it exceptional and possibly one of the best storylines Duncan has ever been involved in. Here's pretty much how this whole thing goes:

Duncan joins the Hamsters and they give a welcome party to him after he joins. Duncan says the following line in the confessional:

"Ugh. To all my peeps back home and in juvy, I am not a hero. It must be a trap to gain my trust, and then BAM! They vote me off. Fat chance of that. But I can't let them know that I know. So yeah. I ate the cake. It was like eating the happiest day of my life."

This is one of the better lines of the season. This line represents the paranoia that Duncan has, obviously gotten because Duncan has lived a rough life. He also believes it's a trap because of his unpopular opinion with the other contestants. But once Duncan mentions "eating a cake" he calls it "eating the happiest day of his life". So basically, when Duncan got warm affection from a few people, he called it one of the happiest days of his life. There's ntohing to really contradict this since Duncan has had a few heroic moments in the past prior to this. So this just seems like underrated development for him. It's just such a unfittingly sweet line but is strangely suitable for Duncan to have.

Party hat
I mean think of every other team Duncan has been on. It has always included someone who Duncan dislikes immediately, so Duncan has basically always had a feud in his first three seasons. But in this instance, Duncan is on a team where none of them really antagonize him too much. It's really unexpected for a villainous person to have a warm welcome by a bunch of good natured people. This is Duncan's real personality shining. That's why I don't have a criticism against this storyline like others do. Sure, some of Duncan's heroic moments seem extreme, but it all serves a purpose. It all culminates with his past development........... this is why his elimination is all the more infuriating. Duncan has loose ends that aren't tied up when he is eliminated. He is essentialy neither heroic nor villainous and is now in prison. I mean if that's the direction the season wanted to go in, then fine. It just seems like there's more to it than this, but there just wasn't.

That pretty much concludes my defense of Duncan. I'm not denying he's had some pitfalls but I also don't agree that him acting the same in a few seasons isn't necessarily something to complain about. He's one of the most consistent characters there is. I mean, Heather is consistently mean and has the same personality a lot, but she is one of the show's most popular characters. What is the issue with Duncan? And if you hate him because you can't relate to him, then that's just illogical. There's tons of characters whom I'm a fan of, yet am practically the opposite of.

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