Ferris Bueller is a Sociopath

"Empathy, in my opinion, is not good."

“Empathy, in my opinion, is not good.”

Okay, so technically he can’t really be a sociopath because you can’t diagnose that in a teenager since the part of the brain that regulates conscience isn’t fully developed yet.  But he is definitely a sociopath in training and would probably be diagnosed with Conduct Disorder (especially if Principal Rooney had his way).  His parents and the rest of society certainly enabled his antisocial behavior.  According to the professionals, sociopaths have at least three of the below attributes:

1. failure to conform to social norms (check)

2. deceitfulness, manipulativeness (check, mate)

3. impulsivity, failure to plan ahead (impulsivity, check, but Ferris put quite a bit of planning into his day off; though he didn’t plan how he would support his teenage cheerleader bride)

4. irritability, aggressiveness (yes, on the one or two times he almost didn’t get his way)

5. reckless disregard for the safety of self or others (check, especially Cameron’s Dad’s classic car)

6. consistent irresponsibility (check…I’d say, “NINE TIMES” is consistent)

Ferris is also a pathological liar.  Abe Frohman; faking a fever; he even had his girlfriend fake a death in the family.

The most convincing trait, though, is the “glib and superficial charm” that sociopaths possess that allows them to seduce other people, literally and figuratively.  Everyone was in love with Ferris.  But Ferris seemed to love no one but himself.  His best friend and girlfriend are both mere accomplices, accessories and admirers.

His sister, Jeannie, was the only one who saw through him (aside from Rooney).  Jeannie Bueller is to Ferris as Doakes is to Dexter.  Immune to their charms and resentful of what they get away with.

It would take another sociopath in the form of a drugged-out Charlie Sheen (redundant?) to distract Jeannie from her bitterness.

You’re probably thinking, “Ferris Bueller didn’t kill anyone”.  But contrary to popular belief, not all sociopaths are violent criminals.  Many are characterized by their tendency to use people as a means to an end without guilt or remorse.  Many sociopaths are in finance or politics.

I used to think I was just being a paranoid player-hater like Jeannie Bueller, but when I saw the Bio channel’s special on the making of the film, the director himself said that the original cut was much darker, the protagonist a much less benign character.  They changed it to make it more fun and teen-friendly.

So there you have it.  I was right all along.  Anyone agree with me?  Anyone?  Anyone?

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About shabanamalone

I am a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern currently practicing in Southern California. My other passion is film. I believe movies and television are like funhouse mirrors reflecting reality. Art imitating life. View all posts by shabanamalone

10 responses to “Ferris Bueller is a Sociopath

  • Allison James

    You could change Ferris to “most guys in LA”. Love it!

  • Gezabelle

    I love this analysis – I will never watch this movie the same again.

  • Gezabelle

    Reblogged this on crankyandtaxing and commented:
    This doesn’t have much to do with taxes or anything I normally write about – however I found this blog post I wanted to share. It’s humorous and yet really thought provoking. I thought I would pass it along. – Enjoy!
    Gez

  • shelby

    After getting accidentally involved with a sociopath, I have learned to look out for them. Twenty minutes ago I was watching FBDO and immediately ran upstairs to Google “Ferris bueller is a sociopath”. I agree. Definitely.

    • shabanamalone

      Right?? Thank you. Nice to know Google will take you to my site. I feel like no one reads it! There’s this book called ‘The Sociopath Next Door’ that talks about non-homicidal sociopaths. Great read!

  • Gizmo

    I saw FBDO in the theater when it first came out. I was the only person in the room not laughing. I was so disturbed that I had to go to an all-night diner immediately and eat TWO pieces of pie. I’m the only person I know who ever saw sociopathy in this character. His sociopathy has never bothered me as much as the fact that he has always been so beloved.

    Now, 30-some years later, I see the USA in the grips of sociopathy — in our corporations, in our government — and it’s an ethic we continue to reward with money and votes.

  • Annemarie

    My thoughts exactly. I used to love this movie as a teen but as an adult I am thinking he is a textbook sociopath (despite the age.) Manipulation being the key factor that made me google “Ferris Bueller is a sociopath.” :)

  • David Delio

    I believe the character was written intentionally as a sociopath. Why? I can’t answer. However, as an investigator by occupation, I did pick up on this little tidbit: at the restraunt, Ferris chooses to assume the reservation of “Abe Froman,” the sausage king of Chicago; This is probably a reference to Adolfo Leutgert (known as the sausage king of Chicago) who dissolved his victims in vats of boiling potash. You’re welcome.

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