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What About Bob???

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kasey_carpenter's picture kasey_carpenter
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Okay, I’ve watched the movie for the thousandth time, and I am sure this is mentioned somewhere else, I cannot be the only person to have noticed this.

Bob has a special place in Jack’s heart, this we know, and vice versa. Jack, and therefore Tyler, allow Bob some liberties such as keeping his shirt on during a fight. This is an affront to the rules (#6 if you’re keeping score at home,) and no one else in the entire movie is shown to have a shirt on during their fight. This is presumably indulged as a matter of Bob’s need for supportive garments, but I think it could be said that Jack felt sorry for Bob and allowed this (and yes I know they did this in the movie for more technical reasons, but give me some latitude here) to happen, just for him, be it pity or the assignment of dignity upon Bob via Jack.

Now fast forward to the porch scene, when the “applicants” are awaiting their entry into the Paper Street Soap Company. What did the first candidate do? He endured, as he was supposed to. Tyler laid the rules, Jack followed. No food, insults, threats, physical and verbal abuse. But he stayed.

But with Bob, Tyler hit him hard with an insult that you can see crushed Bob, and Jack reacted. Not even thirty seconds and Bob looked like a puppy in a hailstorm.

Bob grabbed his things and immediately heads for the hills, but what happens? Another concession is given to Bob via Jack. An exception is made and therefore the entire process of weeding out those who are not cut out for Project Mayhem is compromised and a person (who happens to be our beloved Bob) who has no business in, nor a serious level of commitment to, Project Mayhem, is allowed in. Right at the point where Jack acknowledges that “in the end we all do what Tyler tells us to do” Jack is in fact breaking huge rules here and facilitating Bob’s inclusion into their little club. Jack wants his playground buddy in on the fun, ignorant of the costs. Tyler just got one of his very own space monkeys, now Jack wants his own...

Are these subtle setups/clues as to why Bob dies? Or does Bob die because of this? Or does Bob have to die, because of this? Is this an attempt by Jack to usurp Tyler? Is the relationship between Bob and Jack the impetus for Tyler’s favoritism to Blonde (Jared Leto) that eventually drives Jack to a jealous generous serving of beat-down? Is having Bob around a link to Jack’s pre-Tyler life, when Tyler was merely a flicker on the screen? Does Bob allow Jack to somehow compensate for his perception that Tyler is monopolizing Marla to his exclusion, and in a case of double indemnity, that Marla is beginning to draw Tyler away from Jack? Is Bob the only thing in this movie/story that Jack has any kind of mutual feelings for, (remember that so far, jack thinks Marla is strictly into Tyler – jack’s “neutral in her book.”) the only thing that loves him back for being Jack, not Tyler? I’m not implying any homoerotic agenda, just that Bob and Jack had a connection ever since Remaining Men Together, and these concessions are noteworthy.

I think that if Jack had stuck to Tyler’s rules, Bob would never have had his first fight, and he obviously would have never landed a spot in the Project. By a purely honest yet misguided sense of guilt and pity, (and perhaps some more selfish motivations) Jack allows Bob into something he is clearly not prepared to handle. Jack unwittingly guides Bob to his death.

Thoughts? Is this a tragic overdose of FC, good wine, the mid-term mark of a Craig’s Killer Workshop, and the impending summer? Or is there something to it?

Mmmm. Mind vitamins…