I've been doing some thinking recently. This in and of itself isn't new, but it's what I was thinking about that I'm going to talk about. Anyway, I was thinking that despite the face that most of the Creepypasta community hates "Jeff the Killer", everyone seems to talk about him and his story. A lot. Me included. I mean, there have been contests or whatever to rewrite the story, there's an award or whatnot called "(Don't) Go To Sleep" on here that has's Jeff's smiling mug on it, people keep deriding it (me included), and we just keep talking about it. And I wondered, why? Why does this piece of crap fascinate us so much? I mean, it could be because of how associated Jeff is with Creepypasta, but you could make a similar argument about Slender Man, who's more popular than Jeff. Yet we seem to talk about Jeff more (though Slender Man is better. Just saying). I've come up with a few ideas about this. They may be true, they may not be. But bear with me.
Maybe it's because there's a good idea in "Jeff the Killer" somewhere. I feel like there is, and, having analyzed and Riffed the story, I think I've come up with some. The idea of a kid with neglectful/abusive parents who ends up becoming a serial killer with an interesting schtick isn't actually a bad idea. It's just poorly executed. I feel that most people who read it know that there are good ideas there, and potential, but it's mired in crap and bad writing. Hell, the picture at the very least is good for a scare (or a laugh if you Photoshop Jeff's face on to the body of Elsa from Frozen, and write "Let It Go To Sleep" on the picture, which I have done, and have no regrets about), and as Smile Dog shows, you can write good pastas around a scary picture. But I think one of the reasons we focus so much on Mr. Joker-wannabe is because we think, "This could have been good."
Either that, or it's because it's like watching a train wreck. It's so bad that you can't look away. And as someone who has read the story a few times, I can definitively say that it is, indeed, a train wreck. And not in a "so bad it's good" way either. It's just such a train wreck that we just focus on it and can't look away. Now, granted, there are people who enjoy it because it's bad, and read it because it sucks since sometimes it's fun to read garbage. And while the story is garbage, it's not the worst of the worst. I've read Jeff-based spinoffs and OCs and ships, and can tell you these people made the story worse. I've come to the conclusion that "Jeff the Killer" is between the line of tolerable and absolute garbage. Not good enough to be, well, good, but not bad enough to make you vomit while reading it. And if you think that it is that bad, read "KitKat the Killer" or many of the other Jeff-based OC ships. Yeah.
So, I think there are two main reasons that we focus on "Jeff the Killer": we see the wasted potential, and want to fix it, and because it's a train wreck. And, there's one other reason too: it's fun to make fun of. My first Riff was of "Jeff the Killer", and I had a blast writing the jokes and taking the story apart. And a few people seem to have enjoyed it, because it's fun to read someone making jokes about a bad story. "Jeff the Killer" has become a bad joke of sorts, a punchline in a way, and we just love telling this joke.
Of course, I could be completely wrong about all of this, and there's some other reason. But for some reason, I doubt that.
Anyway, what do you all think? Do you think I'm right? Wrong? That I'm a train wreck of wasted potential? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.