• Joe Pace

Favorite Fictional Characters, #116: Mr. Incredible


Unstable molecules FTW

Bob Parr was really good at his job, and he loved doing it. He had all the attention and accolades he could want, a sense of purpose, adversaries who challenged his superhuman abilities, and the love of an equally heroic woman. As Mr. Incredible, Bob Parr was living the dream. And then it all got taken away from him. Everything he worked for and lived for was denied him, and instead he was shunted into a world of meaningless cubicle paper-shuffling, dreary domesticity, and worst of all, obscurity. Mr. Incredible had it all, but Bob Parr had only his memories of when it all mattered. And an expanding waistline.

It's hard not to relate to Bob, especially for men of a certain age. We thought we would be heroes too, and for a brief shining window, many of us were. Whether that was on the playing field or in the classroom or on stage or in the wink of a young girl's eye, we were incredible ourselves. And then reality intervened, chasing us down like a pack of ravening wolves with age and lawns and minivans. We look up and we're forty, the kids are fighting at the dinner table, and our wives want to know why we're not happy.

Bob gets lucky. He gets to be a superhero again, to revisit the glory of doing what you were meant for. And in the end, he doesn't even have to choose between destiny and family, fate deftly weaving both together for him. Things end up pretty incredible for Bob Parr. We should all have our lives made by Pixar.

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