See what I did with the subtitle there? Sort of a double entendre? Get it?
I recently watched the Disney/Pixar picture (I’m on a mission to bring back the term “picture”. I think it sounds swankier than “movie”) ”The Incredibles” – During which I cried like it was based on a Nicholas Sparks book. I had a cold, don’t judge. I noticed an interesting parallel to my life as a gay Mormon.
Let’s take a look at the plot of the film using Mr. Incredible as a symbol for oneself, and Syndrome as a symbol for ones homosexuality.
(And really, if you haven’t seen this movie yet I’m judging you.)
As the story begins Mr. Incredible is on top of the world. Women want him. Men want to be him. (And just because I know my audience, I’m sure there are women who want to be him, and men who want him, though he’s not really my type.) One particularly ardent young admirer - Buddy – is Mr. I’s self-proclaimed biggest fan. He calls himself “Incrediboy” and attempts to insert himself as Mr. Incredible’s sidekick – much to our hero’s chagrin. In a particularly pointed moment after his plans have been foiled, Buddy screams out “You always say ‘Be true to yourself’ but you never say which part of yourself to be true to!” The rest of the plot basically hinges on this exchange.
Through various circumstances “The Supers” are required to quit super-heroing and are forced into hiding. Cut to: years later Mr. Incredible works a mind-numbing real-person job, but is given an opportunity to resume his heroing work – which he more than eagerly accepts. He flies to a remote island and destroys a “rogue” robot. This gives him some confidence. He starts working out, his marriage gets stronger, his relationship with his kids grows, life is good. He is again tasked with flying to the island – this time presumably to meet with his employer. Instead he is surprised by yet another robot which quickly incapacitates him in its sinister, metallic clutches. Mr. Incredible is at the point of death when suddenly the robot is held at bay by its creator – Syndrome.
Turns out Syndrome is Buddy all grown up. He’s super good at inventing things – just like Data in The Goonies – even though you wouldn’t know it judging by anything he says in the movie. But I digress. Syndrome has basically defeated Mr. Incredible and will now be seeking world domination yada yada yada. By the time we hit the denoument of the story Syndrome has captured Mr. Incredible and his family and nearly destroyed them – twice. He’s wreaked havoc on the city, caused billions of dollars in damage, and killed countless former super heroes in his insatiable lust for glory.
So, with that as background, let’s take a look at that turning point. Back in the day, Mr. Incredible faced a choice: embrace the super-awkward pre-teen boy Buddy as a kind of protégé and take him under his wing. Train him, mentor him, love him, turn him into a force for good. Or he could do what he did and reject him in favor of, as Mr. Incredible says, “[Working] alone.”
Think of what could have happened if Buddy had had the right influence. As it was he invented any number of truly amazing things: flight boots, rockets, robots, public transportation systems, hovercrafts, explosives, containment fields, at least 4 different kinds of aircraft, and the list goes on and on. What might those things have done for the good of humanity had they been invented for that purpose?
Now let’s get back to that symbolism we talked about. You are Mr. Incredible. Buddy/Incrediboy/Syndrome is your homosexuality/SSA/SGA. How do you go about making it your friend and having it be a blessing in your life, rather than trying to reject it and having it become a destructive force to you and everyone around you?
I’ll give you a hint. It’s not Lady Gaga. Better hint? It starts with answering that question Buddy poses to Mr. Incredible in that pivotal moment. Which part of yourself do you want to be true to? I’ll let you ruminate on that. I’ll surmise that if you’re reading this, then you – at least partly – want to stay faithful to the teachings of Christ. And that’s how I’m going to approach the answer in Part 2. Stay tuned.