Is Scott Pilgrim a Big Fat Jerk Face?


Today is Scott Pilgrim day. The movie is out now and all reports from people I give a shit about indicate that it completely lives up to the hype. And with Volume 6 already in stores (if you can find it), the series is complete. I figured now is as good a time as ever to give my thoughts about the comic series since I’ve yet to see the movie (hopefully tonight!).

Yuko and Ananth actually introduced me to Scott Pilgrim. Their enthusiasm for the book inspired me to go out and grab Book 1 and I was instantly hooked. It seemed to be this perfect mix of romance sitcom and fighting game and it all just worked so well. Through the volumes, I saw Bryan Lee O’Malley’s storytelling both visually and narratively grow by leaps and bounds. The work just made me fall so much more in love with comics than I had ever thought possible and inspired me to push myself in my own work.

I freaking love Scott Pilgrim. The series has so much energy it just makes me excited to read and re-read. It never gets old for me. As for Scott Pilgrim the character, I’ve actually found myself growing to dislike him a little bit. WHAT?! I know, total sacrilege for a professed Scott Pilgrim fanboy. But it’s true! After finishing Volume 6, I kinda felt that Scott was a big fat jerk face.

There is ample evidence of Scott’s jerk face tendencies. And this is where the discussion will get slightly spoilery so feel free to ignore this until you read the series or see the movie.

So yes, ample evidence that Scott is kind of a jerk face. Right there in Volume 1, he’s dating Knives Chau, 17 years old. And then, wham, bam, thank you subspace, he falls head over heels in love with Ramona. Now instead of breaking things off with Knives, 17 years old, he strings her along. As Knive’s, 17 years old, affections for Scott grow stronger, Scott grows more distant. By the time he finally breaks it off, Knives, 17 years old, is totally hooked.

Now for a while, I attributed Scott’s wussiness to him just failing horribly at relationships. But over the course of the series, it really seems like he’s so wrapped up in his own shit that he kind of ignores the feelings of everyone else around him. He forgets the names of people he’s met. He ignores details of his friend’s lives. He never asks his friends how their lives are going. It’s no wonder they want to punch his life in the face.

Volume 6 really cemented this idea for me. Scott acts like a total shithead to Envy, Knives, and Kim propositioning each with CASUAL SEX! It’s a total douche-bag move and not his finest moment at all. I actually wanted to kind of punch him in the dick. I mean, I guess I kind of understand the rebound thing. And at least he was completely honest. But it’s still a shitty move and it kind of turned me off.

In a way, though, I’m kind of glad that Scott is a little bit of a shithead. Up until Volume 5, it seemed like his life was like a video game, constant upgrade, very few consequences. Volume 5 really turned things around and really highlighted the flaws in Scott’s personality. Volume 6 did an excellent job of showing the consequences of his actions in previous volumes. It’s not a video game, Scott. It’s real life. I think it’s extremely brave for Bryan Lee O’Malley to show us the really mean things Scott has done to some of his closest friends. And I think it elevates the series from just pop culture entertainment to something much deeper. I don’t expect the film will hit all those notes. I’m certain it’ll be damn entertaining. But it won’t be the same.

So yeah, I think Scott is a big fat jerk face. But at the end of Volume 6, I think he’s learned to do better.

Thanks for a great series Mal! Looking forward to what you’ve got next!