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|“||Billy Maplewood: [sobs] Would you ever f*ck me?
Bill Maplewood: No... I'd jerk off instead. [sobs]
|~ Bill Maplewood's disturbing reassurance with his son that he won't rape him.|
|“||I wake up happy, feeling good... but then I get very depressed, because I'm living in reality.||„|
|~ Bill subliminally expressing his wrongful desires for little boys.|
|~ Bill Maplewood indirectly confessing his pedophilia to his wife, Trish.|
Bill Maplewood is a protagonist-villain in Todd Solandz's 1998 American black-comedy drama Happiness and in a secondary character in the 2009 sequel Life During Wartime. He is a psychiatrist and closet pedophile who drugs and rapes two of his eleven-year-old son's friends.
In the first film, he is portrayed by Dylan Baker, who also portrayed Biff Simpson in Hunters and Steven Wilkins in Trick 'r Treat. In the second film, he is portrayed by Ciarán Hinds, who also portrayed Mephisto in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Mance Rayder in Game of Thrones, Steppenwolf in the 2017 Justice League film, Henry Burke in Trip to Witch Mountain, Botticelli Remorso in The Tales of Despereaux and Jonathan Reiss in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life.
Bill Maplewood is one of the people whose daily lives are chronicled along with their pursuit for happiness throughout the film.
In the year 1998, Bill is a psychiatrist with a loving family, his wife Trish and his son, Billy. However they are unaware of his secret double-life: he is a pedophile who is obsessed with eleven-year-old Johnny Grasso, a classmate of their son, Billy. When Johnny comes to the Jordan house for a sleepover, Bill drugs and rapes him. Later, Bill learns that another boy, Ronald Farber, is home alone while his parents are away in Europe. Under the guise of attending a PTA meeting, Bill drives to the boy's house and rapes him as well. Soon afterwards, he begins to feel remorse and is guilt-ridden over the rapes he committed and almost tearfully confides in Trish, repeatedly asking her whether she would love him no matter what, to which she assures him that she will always love him.
After Johnny is taken to the hospital and found to have been sexually abused, the police arrive at the Maplewood residence to question Bill. After alerting his wife to the police presence, Bill begins by asking the two detectives, "You said something about Ronald Farber?" The two detectives, looking puzzled, say nothing. Bill then stammers, "I mean, Johnny Grasso." Out on bail, he tearfully admits to Billy that he "f*cked" the boys, that he enjoyed it, and that he would do it again. When Billy asks, "Would you ever f*ck me?", his father replies, "No... I'd jerk off instead." It is implied that he later on got arrested by the police and got sentenced to in prison, therefore failing at finding the happiness he longs for.
Life During Wartime
Bill has been released from prison in 2009 after serving a sentence for child molestation during the events of the first film, and heads to Florida to find out how his family, particularly his eldest son, are doing. He finds brief solace in a one-night stand with Jacqueline, a self-described "monster" as filled with loneliness and self-hatred as he is. However, she kicks him out the next morning when she catches him taking money from her purse.
Bill soon enough sneaks into Trish's house to find Billy's college address. He pays Billy an unexpected visit at Northern Oregon University, where they discuss their past and the time that passed while Bill was in prison; in particular, Bill asks Billy a few very blunt questions about his sex life. Bill asks for forgiveness, but Billy refuses, saying his actions are unforgivable. Bill tearfully says goodbye to his son then sadly disappears again, reassured that Billy will not turn out to be like him as Billy chases after him in tears.
The film's writer/director, Todd Solondz, characterizes Bill Maplewood as sick, rather than evil; Bill is well aware that his sexual attraction to little boys is wrong, but he cannot fight his urges. He isn't a sadist as he would give his victims sleeping pills or other drugs to knock them out so that they wouldn't feel anything whilst he was raping them. He also seems to genuinely love his family, especially his eldest son Billy, who idolizes him.
Even though Bill rapes Johnny Grasso, he still treats him like a son and becomes a kind of father figure to him, in comparison to Johnny's gruff, unloving father. He also expresses remorse when confessing to his son Billy that he is a pedophile. While he has redeeming qualities, however, they are far outweighed by his depravity.
After serving his prison sentence however, Bill feels remorse for what he did and intends to find his son Billy and apologize. At the end of the day, he feels relieved and reassured that his now grown-up Billy won't end up like him but at the same time saddened that he would never be happy with his family again nor see them.
|“||Bill:I f*cked them.
Billy Maplewood: What was it like?
Bill: It was... it was great.
Billy Maplewood: Would you do it again?
|~ Bill telling his son Billy that despite knowing that raping little boys is sick, he enjoyed it.|
|“||Bill: Have you tried playing with yourself?
Billy Maplewood: You mean...?
Bill: With your penis?
Billy Maplewood: A little
Bill: How did it feel?
Billy Maplewood: I don't know? I don't know what to do.
Bill: Do you want me to, uh... show you?
|~ Bill having the "talk" with his son Billy.|
|“||What Ronald Farber doesn't know is that it's not length that matters, it's width.||„|
|~ Bill on raping Ronald Farber.|
|“||Johnny Grasso: Do you have any tuna salad?
Bill: Would you like a sandwich?
Johnny Grasso: Yes please.
|~ Bill preparing to spike Johhny Grasso's sandwhich with sleeping pills in order to rape him.|
|“||I understand... That's okay. J-just pretend as always that I'm... and then I'll just go away.||„|
|~ Bill Maplewood tearfully saying goodbye to his son and telling him to forget about him.|
- Dylan Baker (who played Bill) and Gerry Becker whom both starred in Happiness appeared in films of the Spider-Man franchise directed by Sam Raimi. Becker appeared in the first film while Baker had a recurring role in the 2nd and 3rd films.
- Dylan Baker was cast as Bill after more well-known actors turned down the role. Baker claimed that he easily moved on after the film to other roles with no negative repercussions to his image or career.
- In the original screenplay of Happiness, Bill receives a package after his family leaves him. The package is a bomb; it blows up, killing him instantly.
- The movie Happiness is highly controversial mainly because it succeeds in making the audience sympathize with a pedophile; that is one of the main reasons the film got a limited release and an NC-17 rating.