Rant: Signs of Pokémon Obsession

We've all seen hundreds of lists like this before. They go something like this:

YOU KNOW YOU'RE OBSESSED WITH POKÉMON WHEN...

  • ...you think your pet dog is a Growlithe.
  • ...you think your pet cat is a Meowth.
  • ...you throw balls at wild animals thinking you can catch them.
  • ...you take your dog and your cat outside and try to make your dog use Fire attacks.
  • ...your cat scratches you and you think it's using Scratch.
  • ...you hold CDs up to your pets' foreheads, thinking they'll learn new attacks.
  • ...you see a bee outside and think, "Better get away from that Beedrill!"

...and so on until you've got about fifty billion different ways to say, "You somehow think Pokémon are real and act accordingly."

Unfortunately, these minor variations on this one joke get stale pretty quickly, and it was never terribly funny in the first place. Joke characters with absurd beliefs or thought processes are a common trope, but these characters are funny less for the mere fact that they believe absurd things and more for the bizarre, unexpected things they do or say as a result. Humour generally arises from the unexpected, but these obsession lists like to simply hammer in, over and over, that this hypothetical person believes Pokémon are real, and add the most straightforward possible consequences: they think Pokémon are real, so they think real-world thing X is Pokémon thing Y and try to use it like Pokémon thing Y. There's very little humour value in that, and whatever humour value it does have is exhausted by the fifth near-identical item in the list.

The other possible point to a list like this, besides simple humour, is that other fans might identify with some of the items from their own life - but again, this particular flavor of list fails at this goal, because Pokémon fans don't actually believe Pokémon are real. None of us have actually thrown balls at animals thinking we can catch them - perhaps some who got into Pokémon as very young children did it while playing pretend, but that's not the same thing as actually believing it. Trying to present this sort of list as something Pokémon fans should identify with only paints Pokémon fans in a strangely negative light (especially since many of the items often involve questionable treatment of animals), and again, it's not really funny so much as mildly embarrassing.

How about, if you want to make a list like this, you make a bigger effort to write something more original and interesting? Go for the plain humour (you know you're obsesssed with Pokémon when you try to make friends by stealing girls' bikes), go for the identifiability (you know you're obsessed with Pokémon when you instinctively worry about birds during thunderstorms, you know you're obsessed with Pokémon when you perk up at the sight of any word with a P and K in it), just don't leave it at "You think Pokémon are real, haha." You'll be doing yourself a favor.

Page last modified October 10 2016 at 17:55 GMT