Issue 117 – Elastigirl
- Shoutout to Down to Folk – Chad & Ariel give you folk tales with a twist – dtfstories.com
- Background (01:54)
- Elastigirl (Helen Parr) created by Brad Bird in The Incredibles (November 2004)
- Helen Parr has the power of flexibility
- Married to Mr. Incredible, Bob Parr – have 3 children – Violet, Dash, and Jack
- Forced into retirement after a man trying to commit suicide got saved by Bob, but was injured in the process – superheroes then banned for approximately 15 years
- Bob goes off and begins surreptitiously superheroing in private – Helen discovers what he’s doing, and has to go rescue him
- The whole family then battles Syndrome, a former fan of Bob’s who’s going to use technology to give everyone superpowers, thus making supers useless
- They defeat Syndrome, and come together as a family
- In the sequel, two wealthy businesspeople – Winston & Evelyn Deavor – use Helen as a public face for their company to get people to trust heroes again
- This leaves Bob at home with the kids, while he struggles with Jack’s nascent powers
- Helen encounters the Screensaver, who uses hypnotic imagery on TV screens to control people
- Screensaver turns out to be Evelyn, who reveals that her father died from burglars while waiting for superheroes to show up – Helen captures Evelyn, and heroes remain legal
- Issues (06:00)
- Being a spouse while being super
- Being a parent while being super (12:25)
- How does her powerset impact her choices and adaptiveness? (21:16)
- Body image issues (28:15)
- Break (35:31)
- Treatment (36:44)
- In-universe – Create a secret lair for supers to have individual therapy, just work on gaining their trust
- Out of universe – Focus on interpersonal therapy
- Skit (43:08)
- Hello Mrs. Parr, I’m Dr. Issues. – Well hello Doctor, it’s so nice to meet you. Gosh, I just love your office. Tasteful decorations, and *gasp* did your child make this?
- My daughter, yes. – It’s beautiful. My daughter Violet is very creative. My sons… are more into destruction.
- Oh my daughter can wreck stuff with the best of them, don’t let the artwork fool you. – That’s children, I suppose. Especially when you have 3 of them. And with powers to boot. One minute they’re playing nicely, the next minute there’s a literal tornado in the kitchen, the bathroom is sealed with a force field, and the lawn is on fire.
- That sounds like a lot to handle. How do you manage? – Well the older 2 I can talk to about things. It takes a while, but they get it eventually. Jack-Jack, though, he’s still a baby, and figuring out his powers. And bless Bob, he tries his best to wrangle them while I’m gone, but he gets frazzled so quickly.
- Have you tried a babysitter? – Once. It did NOT go well.
- Well, I’m not a couples therapist, but I am a happily married man, and I’ve learned that an open and honest discussion about expectations can help drastically reduce the stress in a marriage. You two need to be on the same page. – Oh, we are. Well, some of the time.
- That’s better than none of the time. When does it work best? – When we’re out there fighting the bad guys. Even after we took some time off to raise the kids, when we got back to it, it was like no time had passed. We were totally in sync with each other. Then we get home, and…
- And you’re off-base. – Yep. You know, we both have powers, but sadly neither of us can read minds. That would make things a lot easier.
- I’m not sure it would. That could just lead to more unmet expectations. The fact that you’re both powered doesn’t mean anything when it comes to communication. You have to be upfront about what you need and are willing to compromise on. You’re not going to get everything you want, but unless you tell him what you’re looking for, you’re not going to get anything. – I know. But where am I supposed to find the time? And the energy? And how do I figure out which thing to tackle first? Gosh, makes me wish the Underminer would show up. At least I know how to solve those kinds of problems.
- Punching things in the face only gets you so far. Trust me, I see it all the time in my line of work. -Well to be honest we never thought we would get to be back to doing any sort of punching. Now things have come full circle. It’s like one bad apple spoils the bunch. Bob had the itch longer, but I got to scratch it in a more sophisticated way once people saw that we could do good again.
- But that doesn’t come close to translating to fulfilment. Sometimes I have a three-part system that I view relationships: love, work, and play. You’ve mentioned love, and work, but what sort of recreational stuff do you have going on in your life? -Are you kidding? Who has time for play when you have kids?!
- Well, do you play with your kids? -Jack-Jack of course, but those are things he needs to grow. Violet does her own thing, and that’s becoming its own hurdle. Dash is just so fast with everything…and I don’t mean his superpower.
- That’s not really what I meant. It’s important to spend time with your children, don’t get me wrong. However, you need some adult time, either alone, with Bob, others that you can relate to in the same sphere. -*pause* To be honest, that’s what being a superhero was about. It used to be that blend. Help the world, help ourselves. I know it’s changed, but…is it wrong to want it to be that way again?
- No, it’s not wrong to want things to be simple. What’s wrong is ignoring the complexities in order to be able to cope. If that’s how you’re looking at things, then you’ll never be able to fully address the problem. Does that make sense? – Definitely. I won’t reminisce too much. Those memories are a good part of what keeps me going. I need to remind myself of why my life is the way it is in the first place. This may sound harsh but…I didn’t dream of things going this way.
- In what way? -Actually…all of it. I planned for kids, but I didn’t know if they would be like us. I wanted a home, but I never knew we’d be a superteam. I wanted to make a difference, but I didn’t think I’d be told to go into hiding…or come out again! I’m not in a competition with Bob, but he always makes it sound like we are to him. I know I’m going around the same points again…maybe that’s the biggest problem. I see things my way, and I want my family to see things my way. We don’t even have to agree.
- Is that last part true? -*slightly defensive* of course it is!
- I’m not trying to be provocative. I’ve learned that many families have a competitive dynamic at baseline. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But what is the goal of winning battles when you don’t know what the war is? -Then I… I don’t want to be right just to be right. I want Bob and the kids to agree with me because they realize that I want what’s best for us. Maybe I haven’t communicated that clearly enough. I can’t force them to do what I want, and I don’t want that either. I guess I’m just looking for a little more harmony, and I’m willing to take it however I can get it.
- Then you’re going to need to visualize what you want, and ask each of them what they want, and put it all together into one congruent package. Something you build together is more likely to last than something you build separately and jam together however you can. -This sounds almost exactly like dealing with Syndrome.
- *playful sarcasm* Ding ding ding! We have a winner! You get to mirror the construct of your hero team with your family life. Perhaps this also touches the proper nerve about the nostalgia you were raving about, too. -And what if Bob doesn’t buy it? What if Violet shuts down? What if Dash…um…dashes? I think it’s a lot to ask of people who don’t think on this wavelength to just go along with this sort of thing like everything is just peachy all of the time.
- You’re right, I make no guarantees. Yet, just like you hinted at, there’s a reason Bob connected with you in the first place. You know that. He sees the strength you have on the inside. If he’s like the countless others in a relationship, the ebb and flow shifts in that way. I hope he’ll step up to the plate like you want him to. -*melancholic, but actually hopeful* He’s told me when he’s not strong enough…that let me know he gets it once in a while.
- Ok…I actually think that family plan is the best course of action right now. I’m not going to over complicate it. – *suddenly serious* So who should I bring in next time for you to straighten them out? Bob? I bet you’ll see how wrong he is about everything
- That’s the opposite -And Violet needs to get in gear so she can really start to impress for her career
- I’m not a child psychia -And *whisper* I think Dash could use a stimulant to help with that undiagnosed ADHD, am I right?
- You’re kind of pushing…oh boy *clearly nervous* -*pause, then laughing* relax, Doctor. I know better than that.
- Don’t scare me like that! Too many people mean that stuff! – Sorry, Doc. I don’t get many chances to crack jokes with new people. Most of the people I meet these days are either stuffy politicians trying to shake hands and lie, or bad guys who need a fist to the jaw. But I like you. I’m glad this got set up. When they told us we had to meet with a psychiatrist as part of becoming superheroes again, I was skeptical. But we’re gonna do this again soon.
- OK then, looking forward to it. – And tell your daughter I love her work. Maybe she can make something new before my next visit. I’ll see if I can bring something from Violet… if Jack-Jack doesn’t burn it or Dash rips it to shreds…
- Thanks, that’s very kind. – Take care, Doc!
- Ending (51:47)
- Recommended reading: go watch Incredibles 1 and 2
- Next episodes: Black Mask, John Walker, Isaiah Bradley
- Plugs for social
- Mr. Miracle episode – Anthony (06:15)
- #FreeBritney – Doc (14:15)
- The Incredibles – Return to city brake scene – Doc (25:10)
- Hartman Hips – Anthony (29:16)
Apple Podcasts: here
Google Play: here