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The Architecture Of The Incredibles
January 10, 2014 7:42 AM   Subscribe

At first glance, you might think The Incredibles is just a fun superhero movie. But remove the capes and tights and you're left with an in-depth architectural narrative with its own beginning and end.
posted by gnutron (70 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite

 
Make sure you read The Cinematography of The Incredibles Part 1, Part 2

Also: The Incredibles - The Chairs
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:54 AM on January 10 [6 favorites]


As a design nerd (one of the many _____ nerd designations I've assumed), The Incredibles was just a joy to behold. For me, it played with architectural styles, like De Stijl, that are rarely seen, rather than the rather more tame ideas of many films. Perhaps it also helps that I have a love for butterfly roofs, and the mid-century modern aesthetic that I grew up in.
posted by petrilli at 8:01 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


"The Incredibles" Mid-Century Ideal
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:01 AM on January 10


At first glance, you might think The Incredibles is just a fun superhero movie.

No way. Pixar has never made (at least up until Monsters University) movies that could be characterized so easily. Whether it's sending a team to far-flung and ultra-remote locales in South America to experience first-hand the exotic topography that would be depicted in Up, or consulting master French chefs for Ratatouille, or any number of other examples of their rigorous attention to detail, Pixar has shown itself time and again to be a company that will go above and beyond expectations to make great, great movies that have true depth and integrity.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:13 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


Pixar has never made (at least up until Monsters University) movies that could be characterized so easily

I think you might have missed Cars 2 and the (more dreadful) Planes
posted by The Giant Squid at 8:23 AM on January 10 [6 favorites]


AUTHOR INTENT! AUTHOR INTENT! AUTHOR INTENT! STOP THINKING!! THE AUTHOR DIDN'T SAY YOU COULD THINK ABOUT THIS
posted by bleep at 8:30 AM on January 10


Planes was not a Pixar production, though John Lasseter did have his hands in it.
posted by zsazsa at 8:31 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Planes was not a Pixar production, though John Lasseter did have his hands in it.

Right you are.
posted by The Giant Squid at 8:36 AM on January 10


at least up until Monsters University

Monsters University is incredibly subversive - one of its messages is that failure is an option, you may not be talented enough to follow your dreams, no matter how hard you work. At the same time, it shows that it's worth trying, and it's worth respecting and learning from those who try. Kind of deep for kid's fare.

On the other hand, it's a Revenge of the Nerds ripoff with sextagenarian actors playing college freshmen aimed at gradeschool kids. Who the hell thought this was a good idea?
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:41 AM on January 10 [8 favorites]


Those establishing shots of Parr's office are direct riff on Tati's Playtime.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:52 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Also, Ayn Rand.

"The Incredibles" is great fun, these reviews agree, but they all sense a subtext that's serious. The film is "a fun-filled foray into animated action, fantasy, and adventure," as Mr. Anderson puts it. "And objectivism. And tort reform," he adds, noting that the villains include citizens who sue superheroes over injuries they've incurred during rescues.

posted by chavenet at 9:03 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


One of the strengths of Pixar, even in what I still consider it's worse outing ever (Cars 2), is a very dedicated decision to build their universe. They go out of their way to fill every nook and cranny with design decisions. Thought is put into every decision and usually, successfully. In the making of Brave, it's rather amusing how much consideration was involved into thinking out the moss that is used to build the Scottish landscape.
posted by Atreides at 9:09 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Also, Ayn Rand.

For whatever reason, the subtext I've always picked up from The Incredibles was less Randian and more about the tendency to hang up creative and interesting pursuits as we get older because we're supposed to be adults, and because exercising those muscles (as it were) might get you acclaim, but also nets you the attention and resentment of uncreative people -- powerful and not -- who want to shoot you down (as it were) just for the sake of doing so.

In that sense, I find the conclusion quite satisfying, as Bob Parr et al manage to find a way to balance their desire to be creative with their need to be grown-ups and good parents; being a good example for your children by following your passions -- even if there's some risk involved -- and engaging them in it rather than "settling down" and being miserable because that's what you're supposed to do, and knowing that if you're surrounded by supportive people (your family and friends) who respect you -- and you respect yourself -- you can make it through the inevitable criticism and personal attacks, and come out the other side unscathed.

Reading that back, in fact, it's almost a bit too on the nose, superhero-metaphor-wise. Perhaps critics haven't called it out because critics are firmly in the trying-to-shoot-you-down camp, generally...
posted by davejay at 9:16 AM on January 10 [10 favorites]


On the other hand, it's a Revenge of the Nerds ripoff with sextagenarian actors playing college freshmen aimed at gradeschool kids. Who the hell thought this was a good idea?

I don't get mad at Pixar for trying to cash a check once in a while with these sequels if it means it will fund the grand experiments and wacky ideas in the future. Sometimes you just gotta give the kids what they want.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:27 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Who the hell thought this was a good idea?

"You two have managed to accomplish something together no one ever has; you surprised me. Perhaps I should keep an eye for more... surprises, like you in my program. But, as far as the two of you are concerned, there is nothing I can do for you now. Except perhaps, wish you luck. And Mr. Wazowski, keep surprising people."

I thought it came out pretty well.
posted by eriko at 9:29 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


I don't get mad at Pixar for trying to cash a check once in a while with these sequels if it means it will fund the grand experiments and wacky ideas in the future. Sometimes you just gotta give the kids what they want.

That's fair but up until Disney bought them, they managed to do both with every film.
posted by VTX at 9:32 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Planes was not a Pixar production, though John Lasseter did have his hands in it.

Planes was originally planned to be a direct-to-video release and was produced by Disney's new CG shop in India, with the lead plane to be voiced by John Cryer. Disney then decided they wanted to go theatrical to compete against Dreamwork's Turbo (they needn't have bothered) and Cryer's voice was replaced by Dane Cook.

Yeah, that's not the Pixar way. Unfortunately, even though Planes performed nowhere near as well as even Cars 2, it was still plenty profitable, so expect more Pixar spinoff garbage.

I predict "THE INCREDIBLES' BABIES" coming to Disney XD in 2015.
posted by ulotrichous at 9:38 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


No Capes!
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:43 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]


Also, Ayn Rand.

Brad Bird seems to have a streak in him that values the ubermensch over the common man. It's in Ratatouille too.
posted by You Guys Like 2 Party? at 9:44 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


The notion that human genius is something that should be respected and appreciated and not devalued with feel-good pablum is not Randian, goddammit.
posted by eugenen at 9:45 AM on January 10 [19 favorites]


But the idea that some people are more special than others... sounds like it is.
posted by You Guys Like 2 Party? at 9:47 AM on January 10


But the idea that some people are more special than others... sounds like it is.

Some people are more special than others. The mantra of Ratatouille: "Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere." Truer words, etc.
posted by eugenen at 9:49 AM on January 10


The notion that you need to have people more special than others otherwise nobody is special does come out of the toxic spew of internet libertarianism and randism though.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:49 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


I like to play "Spot the References to Oakland/Emeryville" in Pixar films, and I always think of The Incredibles as set in the East Bay.

Also: the Googie-style building at Hope University in Fullerton used to be the Titan Cinema, where my brother was so shocked by a scene in Jaws that he swallowed his chewing gum.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:52 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


That's fair but up until Disney bought them, they managed to do both with every film.

Toy Story 2?
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:55 AM on January 10


Toy Story 2 and 3 were arguably better than the original, with 3 being the strongest of them.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:56 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


(And the original is fantastic!)
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:57 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


Pixar/worldbuilding/architecture fans: do make time to visit Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. It is the literal experience of walking into an hallucination.
posted by mwhybark at 9:57 AM on January 10


Also: the Googie-style building at Hope University in Fullerton used to be the Titan Cinema, where my brother was so shocked by a scene in Jaws that he swallowed his chewing gum.

Ben Gardner's head in the boat, right?
posted by Brainy at 10:02 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


I really liked Monsters University, but it annoys me that Pixar so transparently ripped off Old School (and that it ripped off Doc Hollywood with Cars).
posted by The World Famous at 10:04 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


The notion that you need to have people more special than others otherwise nobody is special does come out of the toxic spew of internet libertarianism and randism though.

Hm. I'm on the fence about this. At least, I feel like it should be considered the other way around: not "you need to have people more special, otherwise nobody is" -- which suggests that an average person has no intrinsic value -- but rather "some people are better than others at certain things, and it should be okay to acknowledge that" as a (knee-jerk, perhaps) response to a trend of wanting everyone to feel special in a homogenized way (the 'everyone gets a trophy' school of thought.) Basically, it's okay to stand out for your talents, even though some people may resent it.
posted by davejay at 10:18 AM on January 10


Ben Gardner's head in the boat, right?

DING DING DING DING

WE HAVE A WINNAR
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:40 AM on January 10


"The notion that you need to have people more special than others otherwise nobody is special does come out of the toxic spew of internet libertarianism and randism though."

Actually, it is more like Vonnegut, with his Harrison Bergeron short story. Mind you, this was published in 1961, and Rand had already published The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged by this time. Of course, you also have to weigh in that the philosophies of Vonnegut and Rand were polar opposites, though they both shared the appreciation of intelligence, expression, and basic freedoms.

I've always seen Syndrome (the bad guy in the movie) as very much parallel to the main antagonist in Harrison Bergeron as well, the Handicapper General. Though it could also be argued that whatever legislative body that made Superheroes have to go into hiding is closer to that mark, at least the goal was the same. No one gets to be special, and that goal was being re-enforced from both sides of the story arch. One was society wanting to make everyone "normal", and the other was a maniac who wanted to make it so being special could not exist because everyone would be the same. Two sides of the same coin, essentially.

Mind you, this idea is not uncommon in pretty much all of Western culture. The protagonists are almost always special in some manner, and in order for them to have the adventures that they do (at least for escapist fantasies, or wish-fulfillment fantasies), the hero is always allowed to get away with things that in the real world would mean definite consequences and causing harm to others (innocent or otherwise).
posted by daq at 10:45 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


davejay: ""some people are better than others at certain things, and it should be okay to acknowledge that""

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need


At the extremes, In the end the "left" and the "right" just about meet up again on some dusty plain of sonorous bollocks.
posted by chavenet at 10:46 AM on January 10


I always took the message of the Incredibles not to be that no one is special if everyone is, but rather that living a life where your dreams and abilities are not expressed is deadening and problematic.

Syndrome wasn't allowed to explore his dreams/ambitions and became an evil supervillain. Bob Parr wasn't allowed to and became a ghost in his own life. Dash wasn't allowed to, and he was a behaviour problem at school. Violet was shy and reclusive.

The only one who seemed reasonably adjusted was Helen, and I think that's probably worthy of examination.
posted by nubs at 11:17 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


"The notion that you need to have people more special than others otherwise nobody is special does come out of the toxic spew of internet libertarianism and randism though."

I fear that this gentleman may have understood the film too quickly.

That idea is expressed by (1) the evil villain creating a straw man to justify himself and (2) a little boy who is trying to weasel out of getting in trouble for being naughty at school (and risking endangering his family by outing them).

It's Syndrome who thinks he's an √úbermensch, one whose genius puts him in a special moral category, accountable to no one but himself. The Incredibles, in the end, agree that they need to be held accountable and use their powers on the same terms that a policeman uses a gun. They don't fight Syndrome (as he claims) to preserve their super-powered privilege. They fight Syndrome because he's murdering people.
posted by straight at 11:17 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]


In fact, there's a much better case to be made that The Incredibles is an allegory about the need for rational gun control laws than that it is in any sense pro-Randian. Syndrome thinks the answer to a few vigilantes running around with "guns" is to give everybody guns (while of course reserving the biggest guns for himself).
posted by straight at 11:27 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]


I like to play "Spot the References to Oakland/Emeryville" in Pixar films, and I always think of The Incredibles as set in the East Bay.

Yeah, this dude totally missed that. They drive down San Pablo Avenue at one point. We saw this film on opening night at the Grand Lake Theatre, and everyone in the audience cheered at that point. And Frozone totally fights the robot on the Muncieville version of the west side of Lake Merritt. It's basically this landscape populated with more buildings.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:32 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Perhaps I'm willingly putting my head in the sand, but my test for whether the movie delivers a pro-Rand message is this:

Is The Incredibles a really really really really awesomely awesome movie? I mean seriously mind-blowingly awesome?

Since the answer is a resounding yes, it must not be pro-Rand.

On topic to the original thread, the Cinematography links in the first comment are really excellent and recommended reading. Part 2 contains an excellent analysis down in the page of the scene between Bob and his OCD boss, one of the best "filmed" scenes I've ever seen in a movie. The pencils, sharpened, pointing at Bob. My god, so brilliant.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:36 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


The only one who seemed reasonably adjusted was Helen, and I think that's probably worthy of examination.

Oh, I don't know. Frozone and his wife seemed pretty reasonably adjusted. I'm guessing that Frozone's day job was more fulfilling than Mr. I's.
posted by The World Famous at 11:39 AM on January 10


My litmus test for whether or not The Incredibles was pro-Rand is that Brad Bird was asked about it and he said no.

That settled it for me; I've never once known a Randroid who was capable of shutting up about it for even half a second. Being a stealth Randroid seems kind of counter to the whole thing, frankly.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:39 AM on January 10 [7 favorites]


I miss the Grand Lake Theater. :-(

Didn't Disney lay off a bunch of Pixar folks shortly after taking it over?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:39 AM on January 10


Ben Gardner's head in the boat, right?

I was born in 1967. That movie was out in what, 75. I was 8, EIGHT

It took years to get to a place where the issues were manageable. Sort of.
posted by mikelieman at 11:45 AM on January 10


"Thanks, Dad."
posted by mikelieman at 11:45 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


Heh. When I was 4 years old, my parents couldn't find a babysitter when they wanted to go see Tommy. They figured I'd sleep through it if they went to the late show. I still have nightmares about baked beans and bubbles about once a year.

They also took me in the car when they saw Young Frankenstein at the drive-in, which is probably why I thought, until an embarrassing age, that when finishing a toast, you were supposed to smash the glasses together as hard as possible.
posted by The World Famous at 11:51 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]


And er, the Incredible's house has a lot more to do with Eichler and Alexander than Eames. (Steve Jobs grew up in an Eichler.) Here's an Alexander in Palm Springs. The author needs to spend more time on the West Coast!
posted by oneirodynia at 11:51 AM on January 10


Didn't Disney lay off a bunch of Pixar folks shortly after taking it over?

Initially when John Lasseter took over at Disney, they laid off 300 people there, but not at Pixar. However, a couple months ago Pixar laid off 5% off it's workforce because they have begun to suck.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:57 AM on January 10


Didn't Disney lay off a bunch of Pixar folks shortly after taking it over?

They apparently closed down the Pixar studio in Vancouver, which was to produce shorts of established Pixar characters and to serve as a recruiting base for the main Pixar studio in California. Incidentally, they also dissolved their own animation group (though, according to Wikipedia, they transferred the majority to the regular Disney Animation studio).
posted by Atreides at 12:01 PM on January 10


I enjoyed The Incredibles, but watching it realized how lucky I was to have grown up in the Sesame Street era. It showed me a brief glimpse of what a secular right-wing version of children's programming could be: full of parables about blond folks born inherently better; funny quips about how if everyone is special, no one will be; trial lawyers and lawsuits as the bad guys, plus a short hard-working nerd who, lacking inherent powers, is forced to rely on his own invention, driving him crazy in the process; traditional family structures in suburbia as the highest (or at least, sanest) goal; women who lean in to balance their work lives with their unchanged positions in the patriarchy; etc. Even the architecture reflects this: suburbia, modernism and skyscrapers. Well, what else is there? As the article points out, we have a brief glimpse of that little old lady with the cat, living in the SF rowhouses -- before or after gentrification, we don't know. But that's the hoi polloi of Sesame Street: the regular folks on stoops, the concerns of diverse sorts trying to make their way in a world where the Brad Bird 1-percenters decry their efforts to make everyone mediocre. Beware, "everyone is special"! If we have to choose between The Incredibles and Sesame Street -- and in a fundamental way, we do, at least at the ballot box if not the boob tube -- I choose Sesame Street. Its simplistic idealism is far less toxic than The Incredibles'. As is its architecture, for that matter.
posted by chortly at 12:14 PM on January 10 [4 favorites]


Okay, the more I reread this article, the more annoyed I am by it. Edna Mode is not living in a De Stijl house- one of the major features of De Stijl architecture is plasticity of space- something not mentioned in the Wikipedia article the author cribbed from. Edna's house is classically static, the spaces are strongly delineated, not mutable- a color palette does no an architectural style make. The Rietveld House's planes are often floating and unfinished, implying infinity, and there is frequent use of diagonal planes. De Stijl embraced asymmetry and was anti-decorative. Edna Mode's house has a lot of symmetry, and a giant classical bas-relief wall. It is not De Stijl, it is Classical Modernist.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:21 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Beware, "everyone is special"!

The Incredibles is rebutting that sentiment. Come on, I expect better from people raised on Sesame Street.
posted by straight at 12:23 PM on January 10


Yeah, that got me too. Sure there's planes and lines and all, but Edna's place is way more Miesean Villa than De Stijl.
posted by LionIndex at 12:25 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


trial lawyers and lawsuits as the bad guys

In The Incredibles, trial lawyers and lawsuits help rein in the anarchy of super powers unaccountable to the rest of society and in the end the world is better for it.
posted by straight at 12:26 PM on January 10


Chortly, I have to thoroughly disagree with you and point toward nubs's reading. There was no story about a happy family in the suburbs; everybody was thoroughly alienated. Helen tried to make it work and was constantly frustrated, Bob's job sucked, and the family had no strong bonds between each other. It wasn't the American Dream, it was the death of individual dreams that led to pervasive conflict. and Syndrome wasn't a nerd punished for his inventiveness - He was an asshole.
posted by entropone at 12:29 PM on January 10


In The Incredibles, trial lawyers and lawsuits help rein in the anarchy of super powers unaccountable to the rest of society and in the end the world is better for it.

Indeed. It is a story about the importance of the rule of law and how even those who betray it with pure motives will ultimately serve evil and undermine justice.
posted by The World Famous at 12:31 PM on January 10


entropone: "and Syndrome wasn't a nerd punished for his inventiveness - He was an asshole."

I think The Incredibles-as-Objectivist-parable case is over-stated, but several people have said pretty much this and it's a failure of analysis. Of course he's an asshole, he's the antagonist. What's relevant is that the other qualities he has, such as inventiveness and diligence, are tarnished by virtue of being attributed to him as the antagonist. That subtext exists whether it was intended or not, and even if the movie contains other subtexts that oppose that one I don't believe that contradictory subtexts cancel each other out.
posted by invitapriore at 12:45 PM on January 10


Yeah, I saw Eichler in the Parr's house. Although, they inverted the angle of the roofline, which would create a roof that would only leak when it rains inside of 10 years. (I rented a place in Silicon Valley that had been a WWII tract home and the roof had likely been built flat, but with setting and earthquakes had enough slope to pool water, which meant that it leaked every single time it rained). I guess with the Parr's place it's a moot point since the house was reduced to a smoking ruin.

The Eichler house design, which included very long, thick, exposed beams in the ceiling, were supposed to give a feel of the inside continuing outside and vice versa.

Part of that had to do with getting a hold of some pretty sweet offshore old-growth lumber.
posted by plinth at 12:57 PM on January 10


Buddy wasn't an asshole at all. He was just an eager kid who didn't really have good boundaries or judgment. Mr. Incredible was an asshole to him and that set him in motion to become the villain. It's a pretty complex lesson for a kids' movie, but it's a good one: Don't be a dick, even if you think you're the good guy and even if you think someone deserves it.
posted by The World Famous at 12:59 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


But also the story Buddy tells himself about that is a lie. Mr. Incredible didn't tell him to buzz off because he didn't have real natural superpowers (although he clearly does have the power of Reed Richards Mad Science), he tells him to buzz off because he's a kid who doesn't know what he's doing playing with dangerous stuff.

the other qualities he has, such as inventiveness and diligence, are tarnished by virtue of being attributed to him as the antagonist

The idea that you can be smart and industrious and successful and still be a villain seems anti-Objectivist to me. Objectivists aren't usually claiming they deserve to rule the world because they can bench press 50 tons.

The closest thing to a Randian √úbermensch in the film is Syndrome, the villain.
posted by straight at 1:29 PM on January 10


But also the story Buddy tells himself about that is a lie. Mr. Incredible didn't tell him to buzz off because he didn't have real natural superpowers (although he clearly does have the power of Reed Richards Mad Science), he tells him to buzz off because he's a kid who doesn't know what he's doing playing with dangerous stuff.

Mr. Incredible declined Buddy's offer to serve as a sidekick because a) Mr. Incredible didn't want any sidekick no matter what, and b) he though Buddy was annoying and maybe dangerous.

But he told Buddy to "buzz off" because, notwithstanding his desire to save the world and be a hero, it turns out that he was an egomaniac and a dick when dealing directly with people - including children, it seems.

It would be a completely different movie if Mr. Incredible had been thoughtful and kind in the way in which he declined Buddy's offer to be his sidekick.
posted by The World Famous at 1:33 PM on January 10


Either way, it had nothing to do with "some people weren't born to be special." Bob would have treated Buddy the same way if he'd been annoying and inept with superpowers instead of gadgets.
posted by straight at 1:39 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


remove the capes and tights and you're left with an in-depth architectural narrative

Pretty sure what you're left with is a bunch of nudity.
posted by solotoro at 2:13 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


To-ma-to, to-mah-to.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:32 PM on January 10


Heh. When I was 4 years old, my parents couldn't find a babysitter when they wanted to go see Tommy. They figured I'd sleep through it if they went to the late show.

Holy shit, you too?

I still have nightmares about baked beans and bubbles about once a year.

But the Acid Queen sequence was perfectly fine, right? WRONG.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:52 PM on January 10


remove the capes and tights and you're left with an in-depth architectural narrative

An outstanding euphemism.
posted by The World Famous at 2:54 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


It's interesting, this discussion about The Incredibles and messages of individuals etc. Another message I took - that hasn't cropped up yet - is the idea of America as Special World Police performing a necessary role etc. When you think about the time that the movie came out, it had a lot of resonance (at least here in Australia).

(self-link) I actually wrote an essay in a film journal about the The Incredibles debate back in the day.
posted by smoke at 3:50 PM on January 10


Hm...I suppose given the foregoing, I probably shouldn't venture additional readings, such as my thoughts on the movie's relation to characters with traditional Eastern European and/or Jewish ethnic markers (the insurance boss, Dash's teacher, Edna, the Underminer, Buddy himself...
posted by chortly at 4:04 PM on January 10


But he told Buddy to "buzz off" because, notwithstanding his desire to save the world and be a hero, it turns out that he was an egomaniac and a dick when dealing directly with people - including children, it seems.

I think this misses part of the point: it would be crazy irresponsible for a superhero to bring a kid on dangerous missions. Hell, Buddy damn near got himself blown up the first time he went on a mission with Bob. Bob isn't a dick to him, he just knows this isn't just comic-booky stuff, and doesn't want to have to worry about a kid being around all of these potential dangers. Bob claims that he's done everything he can to appease this kid: signed all the autographs, done all the interviews, but if the kid won't stop, he has to get more firm. What else would you expect from the guy? That he gives in and says "okay kid, you're my sidekick"? And then if the kid gets killed? Now who looks like a grade-A asshole?

Bob did the right thing. I would argue that Buddy handled it poorly except he was a kid. You can't hold anybody responsible here, that's why Buddy's story is tragic.
posted by nushustu at 9:12 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


At the extremes, In the end the "left" and the "right" just about meet up again on some dusty plain of sonorous bollocks.

I'll give you a holler in memail; I think those two positions (about which you said the above) are not even slightly similar, but I might be wrong, and it might be fun to find out.
posted by davejay at 10:00 AM on January 14


I think this misses part of the point: it would be crazy irresponsible for a superhero to bring a kid on dangerous missions. Hell, Buddy damn near got himself blown up the first time he went on a mission with Bob.

I agree. It's totally reasonable for Mr. I to decline - even firmly and conclusively - Buddy's request to be his sidekick. But he didn't have to be a dick about it.

Bob isn't a dick to him, he just knows this isn't just comic-booky stuff, and doesn't want to have to worry about a kid being around all of these potential dangers.

He is absolutely a dick to him. He ejects Buddy from his ejector seat, for crying out loud.

Bob claims that he's done everything he can to appease this kid: signed all the autographs, done all the interviews, but if the kid won't stop, he has to get more firm.

This is the first time Buddy has ever asked to be Bob's sidekick, ever. And Bob is immediately a dick about it.

What else would you expect from the guy? That he gives in and says "okay kid, you're my sidekick"? And then if the kid gets killed? Now who looks like a grade-A asshole?

That he be less of a dick about how he declines Buddy's offer. Maybe don't physically assault him, for one thing.
posted by The World Famous at 10:46 AM on January 14


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