Scott Pilgrim Vs. Dramatica

Scott follows a typical Hero's Journey, fighting Seven Evil Exes to win the love of Ramona Flowers.

Scott Pilgrim has a problem. He's fallen for the new girl in town, but she's got a little baggage -- baggage that wants Scott dead. 

Who's Who?

To decide who the players are in the story, we must first identify the story goal. It helps me to ask what question I'm asking about the movie as a whole. Here it's: Will Scott defeat the seven evil exes and get the girl? Everyone in the story is somehow involved in this.

Scott, who is seeking to accomplish the goal, is the protagonist. He's pursuing the story goal and trying to get others to consider its importance. 

The antagonist of the story is trying to prevent the story goal -- trying to force others to reconsider the importance or desirability of achieving it. In Scott Pilgrim, Gideon, the "G-man," is the main antagonist, although we meet him only by proxy until the end of the film.  

The Typical Hero
Scott is the typical hero in the sense that he is the main character -- the one that the audience identifies most with -- and also the protagonist -- the one who drives the story forward. Combine the protag and MC and you get... a Hero.

Change or Steadfast?
Scott is a change character. At the end of the story, he's changed the way he deals with his personal issues. What is his personal issue? Throughout the film we meet Scott's exes. He seems to have dated and dissed most of the girls in the film. Of course, being narcissistic and naive, he doesn't recognize the trail of emotional destruction he's let in his wake. 

It is only by changing -- by acknowledging, taking responsibility for, and apologizing -- that he is able to resolve the main story inequity. At first, when trying to defeat the last evil ex, Gideon, Scott fails. And he fails because the girls in his life find out he cheated on them and also because he refuses to take responsibility. 

When he remembers and uses his extra life (his 1-UP), he changes how he handles the situation. Right before the main confrontation, he apologizes to Kim, his drummer, to Knives, his fake high school girlfriend, and to Ramona. It's the support they give him, and the proper view of his own dilemma, that gives him the power of self-respect. This power allows him to defeat the antagonist, Gideon.

A Triumph... right?
Scott defeats the evil exes and gets the girl, making this a feel-good movie. However, the writers do something fun to give the film a bit more punch and a brief taste of realism. They lead us to believe for a moment that Scott is going to stay with Knives and Ramona is going to walk away into forever. This would have been a Personal Triumph, which leaves the audience with a bittersweet feeling. This would've been the case had Scott resolved his personal issues but failed to get the girl (the overall story goal). 

Only So Many Options...
Stories are either Timelocks or Optionlocks. Characters run out of time or out of options. In Pilgrim, Scott has few options if he wants Ramona. She tells him that, if he wants to be with her, he has to fight and defeat the Seven Evil Exes. The lock lets the audience know when the movie will end and how close we are to reaching the climax. Pilgrim illustrates this beautifully by actually peppering the numbers throughout the movie. Number 3, the vegan rockstar, actually has a shirt with a three on it!   

Who's the Impact Character?
Who's standing in Scott's way? The exes organized by the antagonist, Gideon. When the impact character in the emotional story also shares the role of the antagonist you get one big, bad unstoppable guy (read Darth Vader-type). 

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