Episode 422: Michael Merriam!

Episode 422 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on Apple podcasts, stitcher, spotify, or click here to stream (right click to download, if that’s your thing).

Michael Merriam

This week, Michael Merriam and I discuss the 2010 cult film, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and in this conversation we address the classic structure of film; the importance of the perfect flaw for a protagonist and antagonist; Joseph Campbell (naturally); the Bible; why Reality Bites bites; video games and the psychological logic of true boss fights; the abundance of super hero actors in this film; comic book adaptations; tropes in anime; and how comedies can house tales with deeply serious content, for those who can look past the jokes.


Scott Pilgrm poster


NOTES on the film

The Fights

  1. Matthew Patel (Easy fight)
  2. Lucas Lee (Has to get Lucas to defeat himself skating)
  3. Todd Ingram/Envy Adams (Tricks Todd into drinking milk)
  4. Roxy Richter (Ramona uses Scott as a fight puppet)
  5. Kyle and Ken Katayanagi (Sex Bob-omb creates a more powerful music avatar)
  6. Gideon (Scott dies, is resurrected)
  7. Gideon II (Scott heals his relationships with Kim, Knives, and Ramona, and Scott and Knives enact a 2-player fight to beat Gideon)

The Turning Point Choices (film structure)

  1. Scott thanks Ramona for letting him sleep in her bed.
  2. Scott breaks up with Knives
  3. Scott agrees to help Sex Bob-Omb open for The Clash at Demonhead (a gig shared with Scott’s ex-girlfriend).
  4. Scott shows up to fight Gideon for Ramona, even though she isn’t his girlfriend anymore.
  5. Scott chooses to fight Gideon, for himself (to prove he no longer has Gideon’s flaws)


The Superhero Actors

  • Lucas Lee is played by Chris Evans (Johnny Storm before SP, and Captain America after SP)
  • Envy Adams is played by Brie Larson (Captain Marvel after SP)
  • Todd Ingram is played by Brandon Routh (who played Superman before SP)
  • The Vegan Police Executioner is played by Thomas Jane (who played The Punisher before SP)

The Hero’s Journey


1 The Call to Adventure—The Dream of the Girl (Ironically, not an idealized girl)

2 Refusal of the Call—Deleting Matthew Pattel’s Email (Bo-ring.)

3 Meeting the Mentor—Wallace makes him break up with Knives, and tells him to fight! Comeau (who knows everybody) also assists in giving Scott intel on Ramona

4 Crossing the First Threshold—Julie tells Scott not to hit on Ramona.

5 Belly of the Whale—facing Lucas Lee and his doubles. (Scott faces setbacks, loses Ramona.)


1 The Road of Trials— opening for The Clash at Demonhead, fighting Todd.

2 The Meeting with the Goddess—Dealing with Envy Adams, Roxy Richter, and Ramona—outgrows Envy.

3 The Woman As Temptress—Scott acts like such a jerk that Ramona breaks up with him (Scott wants a simple woman).

4 Atonement with the Father/Abyss—Faces Gideon, who holds all the power.

5 Apotheosis—Scott dies, but gains new understanding, and is resurrected (uses extra life).

6 The Ultimate Boon—Sword of self-respect, reconciliation between Knives and Ramona, he is empowered to defeat Gideon


1 Refusal of the Return

2 The Magic Flight—Scott must face off with NegaScott (The equivalent of an angry god.)

3 Rescue from Without

4 The Crossing of the Return Threshold—Knives helps him understand his new place in the world.

5 Master of Two Worlds—Scott lets Ramona go, and accepts Knives’ forgiveness and friendship

6 Freedom to Live—Scott tries again with Ramona, but living in the moment instead of trying to recreate the dream.


This episode is sponsored by the excellent people at Scribophile.


TDO Listeners can get 20% of a premium subscription to Scribophile. After using the above link to register for a basic account, go here while still logged in to upgrade the account with the discount.

Consider donating to City Lights Books to sustain it and/or buying a book online from Powells.

Check out my literary adventure novel, Guy Psycho and the Ziggurat of Shame.

Guy Psycho and the Ziggurat of Shame Cover

Episode 422 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on Apple podcasts, stitcher, spotify, or click here to stream (right click to download, if that’s your thing).

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The Drunken Odyssey is a forum to discuss all aspects of the writing process, in a variety of genres, in order to foster a greater community among writers.


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