Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review: Scott Pilgrim vol. 2: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Bryan Lee O'Malley

I really like the Scott Pilgrim books. I like the way Bryan Lee O'Malley plays with the comic book form. I like the way he has taken the conventions of the stuff that he likes (comic books, video games, Dungeons and Dragons) and uses it all as a means of explaining real life. The real world perplexes him - he is only able to understand it through a haze of video game references.

I also like the fact that Scott Pilgrim is a dick. Not intentionally, but his total lack of understanding about the world, his obsession with video games, his intense absent mindedness, and his basic self-centredness lead him in to all manner of easily avoidable problems. It's good to see a fictional love triangle that feels real, because it isn't based on ridiculous misunderstandings, or characters that are intentionally mean spirited or hurtful. Scott isn't intentionally mean. He never does bad things on purpose. Bad things just happen because he forgets to contemplate the consequences of his actions. This seems more realistic an explanation for his sort of behaviour than most movies or t.v. shows offer up - it isn't based on sadism, or a need to feel powerful, or an uncontrollable desire, or any of that crap. It's based on being an unthinking douche.

And I like the fact that, even though we know Scott is an unthinking douche, we also still like him. We empathise with his problems, even if they are all caused by his own idiocy. We see what the girls in his life see in him, even while laughing at his total inability to get a job, or his lack of musical talent, or his ridiculous obsession with retro video games. This is because underneath the idiocy he is basically a decent person. He's a douche, but he's basically a decent guy. And that's something I think we can all relate to.

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