- Dennis thinks he's handsome enough to be a fashion model and was like Van Wilder back in the day
- Mac thinks he's a musclebound tough guy
- Charlie thinks he's going to make "the waitress" fall in love with him
- Dee thinks she's going to be a famous actress/stand-up comic
A Season 9 episode kind of reinforces all of this. When "the gang" is in a convenience store during a robbery they all fantasize about a different scenario. Mac's is like a big action movie with kung fu battles and pithy one-liners. Dee imagines how the scenario will launch her entertainment career. Dennis's fantasy involves sort of a "Million Dollar Baby" thing albeit with damage to a woman's breasts instead of her spine. Charlie dreams up an "Up"-like scenario involving the waitress. And Frank just imagines eating some hot dogs. In the end though they just steal some junk food and run away. (If you read the convenience store robbery scene in A Hero's Journey you'd know my scenario is to cower in fear and piss my pants. "Up front she saw a fat man in a baseball cap cowering by a rack of potato chips, just as Marlin had said." That's me!)
The message for writers should be obvious. Most of us think we're awesome, when in reality maybe such is not the case. (For you people. I really am as awesome as I think. No, wait, MORE awesome than I think.) On a deeper societal message, I think this type of self-delusion really illustrates the plight of the 99% in America. It's the idea that all of us schlubs want to think we're special, we're better, we should be rich and famous--it's just The Man keeping us down.
That's the kind of delusion that's fueled reality TV for about 15 years now, people willing to make jackasses of themselves on TV because they think they should be famous. Some of them, like the Kardashians, actually do get to be famous because of it while most others just get 15 minutes of fame that they'll be chasing the rest of their lives.
It's kind of depressing to think the characters in IASP are pretty good satires of regular Americans, in that they think they should be something, despite that they really don't have any talents or brains and not that much in the looks department (at least compared to TV and movie characters). Yet there's that undeserved sense of entitlement, that ego that drives them to keep trying again and again despite all evidence that they should quit. If you want I guess you could call that hopeful; I just call it sad.
It's like this commercial for a lottery game where people talk about the numbers they pick every day and think someday will come up. It's really sad to think of these people who waste money every day and/or week for years thinking that someday their ship will come in. What are the odds it will? One in three billion or so? Yeesh. You might as well have just flushed that money down the toilet for all the good it did you. Offutt will tell you that if you had just taken that money and invested in some decent stocks, you'd be much better off. Which is true.
I think the problem's only gotten worse since social media came along. Now everyone who thinks they should be a superstar can have a Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube account--or a blog. So basically you can have hundreds of millions of people all making the same stupid jokes about Miley Cyrus, each person thinking how much cleverer they are than everyone else to come up with it. And they can write and upload a book that is certainly better than any other book out there.
Anyway, I think amidst all my rambling the point is that you're not special. You're just like everyone else. And yet chances are even as you read these words, you will choose to disbelieve that, even as I disbelieve it when I write it. Because it's always sunny in our world.