Okay, so this is something that I have been inspired to write ever since the whole "Jeff Deletion" incident took place a few weeks ago.
Now, when this happened, I noticed a large divide in most of the comments. On one end, I saw the very many supporters of the removal of this pasta. I fall on that side, as I do think that, even though this is a classic, it no longer meets our standards. Times change.
On the other side, I saw what many like to call the "fan girls." Those die hard Jeff fans that think it's the greatest story ever told.
This all got me thinking. Jeff related posts seem to fall into two categories, love or hate. If you love the story though, people tend to defend it with all their might. If you hate it, well....we've all read the blogs.
But that isn't the point of this post. Everyone has their opinions on this story, and the negative ones are well publicized. (Lord knows I have made some of my more negative views on it felt.)
But then I think....what if I were to play devil's advocate. Sort of a reverse roast of Jeff the Killer. I know there must be some good qualities, maybe even great ones. Since I am known around these parts for being a pretty good reviewer, I figured I would put my skills to the test. Now, since we all know the million and one reasons that this story doesn't stack up anymore, I will forego posting another rant about how horrible Jeff is. No, this is going to all be positive.
So, with no further hesitation, let's take a sunny, motivated and highly enthused look at one of the most well known Creepypastas on the internet.
I give to you all....Banning's review of Jeff the Killer...(Nice version!)
When people think of Creepypasta, what do they think of almost right away. Well, it sure ain't Secret Bar (oh God how I wish it were though), no, they think of stories like Slenderman, Ben Drowned, Russian Sleep Experiment, 1999, Abandoned by Disney....and of course, Jeff the Killer.
It's spawned video games, art, memes galore and of course about a billion spin offs ranging from the horror genre to romance and comedy. Yes, love him or hate him, Jeff won over the hearts of a lot of readers.
Now, I honestly have no idea who wrote Jeff the Killer. Really, I don't. But I do hope the guy or girl that created this phenom of internet gore is getting some degree of royalties for it.
I also have no idea what the original author's total intent with this story was. Over the course of this blog, I am going to go deep into some of the images and concepts of this story, and while I would love to believe that these aspects were the author's intent, it may very well be that he/she just wanted to write about a crazy kid that kills folks. Either way, as I always believe, it is not he who tells the story, but rather the story, that is to be analyzed and appreciated. So, regardless of the writer's intentions, let's appreciate some of what he/she did manage to create.
-First off, the picture. I'll admit, I saw the Jeff picture long before I ever read the story. And while there are a lot of rumors about the origin of the picture, one thing is for sure, it succeeded in being one disturbing image. Lot's of dedicated Jeff haters will still admit, regardless of the story and its lack of quality, the picture was the one thing that was done right.
The picture alone, in that regard, is the first real accomplishment of this piece. It grabs your eyes and simply won't let go. And it isn't his trademark grin that keeps you locked down. Those dead eyes, that pale face that always looks as though it's a bit stretched out, the fact that the nose is practically gone...well, it really messes with our concepts of what is acceptable in the human form.
Symmetry is the backbone for what we humans base beauty, and the Jeff picture certainly succeeds in stripping that away and forcing this image on us that almost defies humanity. With this haunting, deformed smiling ghoul staring at the reader, it is understandable that the story itself carries a degree of success.
-Family. Jeff the Killer actually tells a much deeper story, one that is far more horrifying to many than the idea of an emo kid climbing in their room at night and telling an already sleeping family to go to sleep...or...go back to sleep....or however that works.
Jeff and his brother Liu (I still have no idea how that is supposed to be pronounced out loud....I always imagine Lou....but who knows) are neglected. Yes, it is clear by the middle of the story that Jeff's parents checked out years ago.
They clearly care more about appearances than anything else. I mean, you can tell in the earlier scenes that their kids aren't at the top of their list. They just move to a new city, and on the first day of school they make their children take the bus. No parental assistance just to make sure they get there, even though it's a whole new city that neither pre-teen child is familiar with. Yet, the parents have no interest.
The parents do however take a strong interest in attending parties with their new neighbors, dressing up and making amazing impressions. Yes, we can tell very early on that Jeff and Liu fall second place to public image of the family.
This is clearly defined when Jeff's parents opt to attend a child's birthday party just days after their son was taken to jail. Not only do they go to the party, but their largest concern is how they are dressed, and how Jeff is dressed when they arrive at said party. It is never said if the family even went down to visit Liu in jail in the days between the arrest and the party, but one thing is clear, their priorities are not Liu.
Unless of course, Liu becomes a affluent member of the local Yacht Club, in which case, I am quite sure they would have dressed Jeff in his finest hoodie and been present with smiles and cookies.
Now, this whole negligent parenting issues seems to be present not just in Jeff's family, but also in the families of the three bullies that lead to Jeff's eventual becoming of...well Jeff. How else would these three kids have gotten guns and knives. Clearly their parents are more concerned with keeping up with the latest Real Housewives episodes, or playing 18 holes with however is worth golfing with for a promotion. Why else would their parents just leave a collection of loaded handguns right where their nasty minded, lunch money grabbing kids could find them?
But, staying on the concept of family, we do see that Jeff and Liu have formed a strong bond over the years, probably due to their emotionally absent parents. Jeff is willing to take on 3 kids armed with knives to protect Liu, and Liu is willing to take on a year in jail...(where knives will be the least of his concerns) to protect Jeff. Keep in mind, these are pre-teens here, kids that haven't even yet fully mentally developed. Yet, because of their necessity to emotionally support each other, both are willing to make immense sacrifices to protect one another. I know a lot of adult siblings that wouldn't do that for each other.
And Liu takes it like a champ too. You would think that at some point he would break down and admit to the authorities that it wasn't him. And through it all, Jeff was the only one really mourning his brother's arrest. The parents, well, they were back to party planning. I am sure the dad went out and bought a brand new pair of plaid pants just for the occasion.
Summing the family concept here, this story tells a very mature view of siblings picking up the slack when in the care of emotionally negligent parents.
-The breakdown and transformation. Okay, so, how long had Jeff been holding back his emotions. We only really get to see a couple instances of "normal" Jeff in the story before all hell breaks loose. So, imagine what years of this was like. Jeff coming home from school, only to be ignored as his parents jetted off to some mixer. I picture a lot of nights of Jeff cooking TV dinners for him and Liu, all the time wondering what he was doing wrong, why his parents ignored him.
Perhaps the rage that Jeff demonstrates on the bullies during their first encounter, is simply the result of years of neglect. Jeff knew that his parents wouldn't care if he got beaten up. They would probably be more concerned if his or Liu's clothing was damaged, or if they made a bad impression on their new school. Hell, they might have even called the bullies parents and apologized for their son's refusal to hand over his lunch money.
So, Jeff, being a brother, took matters into his own hands, did what he felt must be done to protect himself and his only reliable companion. And when the cops arrived, Liu returned the favor.
Now, imagine Jeff alone with his smiling, gin and tonic sipping parents. The kid had already made enemies at school, and at the same time, managed to lose the only friend he had. So, he gives in, goes along to a party meant for a kid that was clearly too young for him to play with.
More humiliation. Keep in mind, Jeff would be going through a lot of hormonal changes at this time of his life. He is probably already a moody, angst ridden kid, (that would explain why his nicest shirt is a hoodie) and he just lost his brother. And now, now the ultimate slap in the face. He's dragged from his bed, forced to dress up for strangers, and then made to go out in the backyard and play cowboys with small children.
Holy shit folks...The Smashing Pumpkins would roll over in their career's grave just thinking of this much teenage rage.
And to top it all off, 3 assholes show up and start shooting at the guy. He doesn't understand why all of this is happening. Days before he was just another suburban kid who had no idea how good he really had it compared to 96% of the rest of the world, and no all of a sudden he's lost his best friend, being humiliated at a child's party and being shot at.
SHOT AT! I want you all to really think about this. The adults do nothing. And while so many of us have attributed that to bad writing, the more I think about it, the more I start to believe that it wasn't bad writing at all. The adults at the party were just completely unable to comprehend that something like this was actually happening. I mean, from what I gathered about the adults at this party, their idea of a crisis is Starbucks running out of Pumpkin Spice flavoring, and now they have 3 yuppies kids running around their backyard shooting up the place. No wonder they didn't react.
Now, while I am sure some of the adults were busy trying to reach their pet psychics to ask what they should do if the gun shots cause their labra-doodles anxiety (that's a Labrador/Poodle mix for those that don't know) most of the adults probably just stood their wondering why no one else was doing anything about this.
Now, let's go back to Jeff. The guy is being shot at and chased in a house full of adults, and he is seeing how no one, not even his father, the man that is supposed to represent all things masculine and powerful in his life, doing nothing. Nothing at all to protect him.
Once again, Jeff falls into a rage induced kill spree, and finally, at the end of it all, falls victim to cheap vodka and a thing of bleach.
Now, imagine you wake up, a teenage kid, deformed as all hell. Keep in mind, most teenagers freak the hell out if they get a pimple or of their faux hawk isn't quite faux enough. Instead we now have Jeff, who looks like something that lives at the deepest depths of the ocean, and now his poor brain has to process this.
And during all of this, when a little bit of love and compassion from his so called parents might have helped tip his poor, hoodie wearing brain back into the realm of sanity, what does his mother say...out loud, and in ear shot.
"Is he going to be alright...in the head?"
That's her biggest concern. And do you really think Jeff is stupid? He's put up with her shit for over a decade. He knows what that question really means.
"Is he going to make our family outcasts in our new wealthy neighborhood?"
And that does it. Jeff just can't take it anymore. Despite the fact that his brother magically gets over 97% of his immediately imposed jail time removed, despite that his hoodie was waiting for him, despite the fact that his IPod was probably filled with his favorite "scream-o" crap music...Jeff just couldn't pretend anymore.
He knew that he had neglectful parents, he knew that he somehow became the victim of gun violence in a city where tweeners can feel safe taking the bus alone for the most part, hell, he probably could have coped with being deformed. But when he realized that his mother's biggest concern was in how he would appear in public mentally, well, that did it.
So, he goes home, self mutilates and becomes a meme.
In closing, I would say that there is a real story masked deep inside all of the bad writing and fan girl worship that has become associated with Jeff the Killer.
It tells the story a young man who really was a victim of the good life. Successful parents, a nice home and probably all of the material desires he could ask for. Yet, he didn't have the most key component that a child needs. Love.
Real love. Forgiving, attentive, undying love. I would say that he loved Liu, but then he killed him...so, I guess he loved him before he went nuts.
All in all, I would love to see a legit re-write of this done someday. I don't mean writing the same story with better grammar and a BOTTLE of bleach, but rather, a legit chance for a skilled writer to give the Jeff franchise the flagship story that it deserves. A Jeff that we can all be proud of.
Well, it's late here, and I am sleepy. I guess I'll wrap this up, and GO TO...
Nah, I can't do it.