Grand Theft Auto V: The Wrong Punchline

By Shamus Posted Thursday Nov 1, 2018

Filed under: Retrospectives 55 comments

Earlier in the series I mentioned that Trevor bullies his way into an apartment while pulling off the failed Merryweather heist. Let’s circle back and talk about that apartment and the people who live there.

Debra

(Laugh track plays.)
(Laugh track plays.)

Trevor needs a place to stay in Los Santos while he’s looking for Michael and running this heist. So he “befriends” Floyd, a simple redneck who works on the docks. Floyd has, by some miracle, landed an affluent girlfriend who lives on Vespucci BeachBased on Venice Beach, which is a REALLY nice neighborhood. LA itself is already a really expensive place to live, so you can imagine how expensive its beachfront property must be.. Debra is on a business trip during most of the story, but Trevor forces his way in and begins living with Floyd and Floyd’s cousin Wade.

We can learn a lot about who Debra is just by looking around her condo. She’s evidently quiet, tasteful, and reserved. She’s got little motivational messages up on her bulletin board and the whole place has a very soft, effeminate vibe. On her bed is Mr. Raspberry Jam, a teddy bear that evidently means something to her. It’s obvious that this place belongs to Debra, and Floyd is just lucky enough to be living with her. The dialog establishes that she and Floyd both abstain from profanity. (And to them, even the word “crap” is profanity.)

This is the damage after day 1. It gets worse from here.
This is the damage after day 1. It gets worse from here.

As the story progresses, Trevor’s antics take their toll on the place. Every time you visit, the condo looks a little worse. Items are broken. Televisions get smashed. Booze bottles all around. The couch gets covered in sewage due to a misadventure that would take too long to explain. Doors are bashed in. Pornographic magazines and sex toys end up strewn around the bedroom. Mr. Raspberry Jam is made a part of this debauchery to the point where I don’t think Debra would ever want him back, even if he were laundered and mended. Trevor writes on the walls. The carpet is ankle-deep in trash. It’s a madhouse.

This is some pretty good dark comedy. It reminds me of the hotel trashing scenes in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The debauchery and insanity are so extreme you begin wondering what happens when the devastation is uncovered. What happens when the hotel sees what’s been done to the room? What sort of madness brought us here, and how much worse can it get? Half the joke is trying to imagine the answers to these questions.

This is also some good characterization for Trevor. It shows that he’s this force of chaos. His disgusting trailer back in Sandy Shores wasn’t an anomaly. This is just how Trevor lives, and everything around him is torn apart by his madness. No matter how rich or or successful Trevor becomes, he’ll always be doomed to live in squalor, because if he gets his hands on anything nice he’ll just destroy it. It’s just who he is. And maybe deep down he doesn’t feel like he deserves nice things.

First, let me show how I would end the joke:

Having trashed his apartment and cost him his job, Trevor casually thanks the outraged Floyd for his hospitality and walks out the door. As he goes down the steps he passes Debra as she gets home from her trip. (And we don’t TELL the audience she’s Debra, because they’re smart enough to figure it out.) She gives him the stink eye and tells him to take a shower. She seems grossed out just to be in close proximity to him. She looks down on Trevor and hits him with some condescension so we kinda dislike her, while he does the “Polite Gentleman” act that we occasionally see him do elsewhere in the story. It’s super-creepy, but also funny, when Trevor tries to be polite. She turns up her nose at him and marches into her ruined apartment. There’s a beat, and then we hear her scream “FLOYD!?!” Fade to black.

We leave the actual aftermath the the audience’s imagination, because it’s funnier that way.

Instead the writer has Trevor return to the apartment after Debra has come home and cleaned it. That’s… weird. The escalating damage was funny, and it seemed like the kind of thing that would take weeks to sort out. Having the whole place restored to its pre-Trevor state is like taking a line of standing dominoes and putting them back in the box instead of pushing the first one down. It’s not wrong, but it does feel like a disappointing waste of potential.

Trevor gets into a three-way argument with Floyd and Debra. Finally she gets fed up, goes into the kitchen, and gets…

A Gun? Really?

This doesn't follow.
This doesn't follow.

This story hasn’t told us much about Debra, but the few things it has told us have been very clear. Some people own guns. Some people would never, ever own a gun. Debra is very much the latter sort of person. But even if she did own a gun, she would own some dainty little novelty pistol and not this menacing thing. But if she did own a serious full-sized handgun, she would have it inside a safe with ten locks on it and the bullets in a different safe. But even if she did keep a loaded gun, she wouldn’t keep it in the kitchen. But even if she did keep a gun in the kitchen, she wouldn’t keep it in the silverware drawer because that’s just weird. But even if she was the sort to keep a loaded weapon on hand in the kitchen, she wouldn’t aggressively point it at people. Instead, she would nervously – perhaps even apologetically – brandish it. But even if she was going to point it at someone, she wouldn’t point it at Floyd, because that makes no sense. And even if she was going to point a gun at Floyd, he’s too meek to threaten her back. And even he was strong enough to threaten her, he certainly wouldn’t do so with a knife.

None of this works. It’s certainly a “crazy” situation, but it’s not true to what came before. The writer wanted this to end in a wild standoff, so they just made that happen without regard for the world or the characters they’ve built.

You could argue that the writer is trying to make the point that these two seemingly-nice people were actually just deeply repressed and just one bad day away from becoming killers. Or maybe that Trevor ruins people just like he ruins apartments. That’s a fine premise for a story, but nothing before this point has built up to that. There’s been a ton of dialog between Trevor and Floyd, and none of it suggested that Floyd was struggling to keep a lid on some dark inner self. If anything, Trevor’s total destruction of Floyd’s life was solid proof that Floyd was exactly the spineless milquetoast simpleton he seemed to be. If there was more to him, then surely Trevor’s antics would have brought that out.

Debra cleaned the whole house, yet somehow left this giant knife on her kitchen counter? And timid Floyd suddenly decided to arm himself with it? And used it to threaten Debra? Come on.
Debra cleaned the whole house, yet somehow left this giant knife on her kitchen counter? And timid Floyd suddenly decided to arm himself with it? And used it to threaten Debra? Come on.

It feels like the writer spent all these scenes setting up the “What happens when Debra comes home?” situation for a big payoff, and then in the final scene they’re trying to pay off a totally different idea that was never set up.

Sure, this world is filled with cartoon characters and if the writer wants to claim that Debra keeps a loaded gun on top of her teaspoons then FINE. I’m not saying it’s an impossible turn of events in a world as crazy as this one. I’m saying it doesn’t flow naturally based on what we already know. This is a non-sequitur and so it doesn’t work as a conclusion or payoff to what came before. This is a punchline for a different joke.

This scene is just one example of many. It would be tedious if I cataloged each and every one of them, so I offer this as an example of the widespread problems with the script. It’s not that these scenes are intolerable, or stupid, or full of plot holes, or any of the usual problems I’m usually on about. It’s just that the jokes don’t work and so it feels like we’re burning all this screen time for nothing.

Anyway, we end up in this three-way standoff between Trevor, Debra, and Floyd. Then we do a time-cut and Trevor emerges from the apartment, unharmed, covered in blood. You can decide for yourself if that works as a punchline or if it has anything to say about the characters. To me it felt like the writer didn’t know how to finish the story so they just killed everyone and moved on.

Despite all the attempts to imitate Hollywood, these games still struggle when it comes to establishing themes, maintaining characters, telling jokes, and creating tension. These problems have always been there, but as the games have become more extravagant with regard to visuals and more heavy-handed with their social commentary these shortcomings have become more obvious.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Based on Venice Beach, which is a REALLY nice neighborhood. LA itself is already a really expensive place to live, so you can imagine how expensive its beachfront property must be.



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55 thoughts on “Grand Theft Auto V: The Wrong Punchline

  1. Redrock says:

    I suspect that the Debra thing was part of Rockstar’s overall point with the GTA universe. Everyone is a hypocrite, everyone is an asshole and everyone is one bad day from becoming if not exactly Trevor but a GTA protagonist. That’s why of course Debra, who looks like she goes to every gun control rally ever, actually has a huge ass combat handgun in her drawer. Because liberals are hypocrites, see? And so are conservatives and men and women amd children and possibly dogs. That’s the Houser message to you.

    1. BigMoss says:

      Sounds like the South Park message to me.

      1. Redrock says:

        Well, no one ever claimed that Rockstar had anything original to say.

      2. Bloodsquirrel says:

        Not really. South Park isn’t afraid to take actual stances on things. It may be willing to satirize anything or anyone, but it does it from the viewpoint that there are specific things about those people and things to satirize. It doesn’t paint them with whatever brush is closest at hand just for the sake of smearing everything.

    2. Jabberwok says:

      “Everyone is a hypocrite, everyone is an asshole and everyone is one bad day from becoming if not exactly Trevor but a GTA protagonist.”

      My thought exactly. Seems to be why even previously reasonable personalities like Lazlow have become gross parodies of themselves. It’s a bit troubling, because it seems like one could come away from these games with the sense that our protagonist murderers are the only people who are living true to their nature.

    3. Vinsomer says:

      But even then it’s not well-established.

      Debra could just as easily be a republican. Her political affiliation isn’t obvious from how she lives, definitely not to the point of distinct issues like gun control (although maybe there’s a scene where Floyd remarks off-hand that she’s against guns, I can’t remember).

      If ‘both sides are hypocrites’ approach is what they wanted to do, well they could have actually chosen an issue where both sides genuinely are hypocritical, or better yet just avoid partisan issues altogether. For instance, make Debra a local politician running on a campaign of protecting the little guy while she takes huge donations from lobbyists.

      1. Jabberwok says:

        I think in this instance, making it about a partisan issue like gun control is a bit of a stretch (unless there’s more to the scene that I’m unaware of), though there are certainly strange undertones abound on that issue in the franchise. And I’d like to think that stances on that aren’t necessarily a measure of a person’s likelihood to shoot someone at the drop of a hat. But what isn’t a stretch is the idea that a character portrayed as a normal, responsible adult would resort to lethal violence to deal with any situation. That seems very much in keeping with GTA’s world, in which all people are somehow disgusting and amoral regardless of their exteriors. Kind of a frightening message, especially when mixed with the normalization of violence.

        1. Redrock says:

          It’s not that much of a stretch, though. We know that Los Santos is a very broad strokes wannabe satire of Los Angeles and the whole game is based around mocking californians. Within that very stereotypical approach it’s almost certain that a tidy, affluent Los Angeles woman is intended to be a liberal. I agree, it’s not spelled out, but come on. I think it’s reasonable to assume that as far as Rockstar are concerned, every californian is an obnoxious soy latte sipping liberal unless explicitly stated otherwise. Certainly every Los Santos denizen.

          1. Jabberwok says:

            Yeah, I mean, you’re probably right. It wouldn’t be out of character, given their sophomoric portrayal of… basically everything.

  2. Lino says:

    Very insightful entry! On a personal note, though, I think you’re kind of over-doing it with the apologist-style arguments. I know you’re just trying to foolproof your main thesis against potential criticism, and this usually doesn’t bother me all that much. But I think that in this case it kind of detracts from and muddles your main point – I feel like half of this article was dedicated to squelching a non-existent nit-picker, and in the end I kind of felt like this entry wasn’t as strong as the previous entries to this retrospective. And besides, you know better than most people that nit-pickers will always find something to disagree about – catering to them is pretty much a lost cause.
    Anyway, great content as always – I’m very excited about the next entry :)

    1. Baron Tanks says:

      Yes, the same feeling crept up on me, earlier in the week with Andromeda too. Things sometimes verge into lengthy (almost dead horse?) territory. Not every retrospective has to be Mass Effect (1-3, OG Shamus fame) length. When a point is made a point is made. Shamus said it best himself when he worried some sections were becoming a bit self indulgent. I do appreciate these things were written quite a while ago and in the original schedule were not supposed to go up at the same time. Still, glad to read it and supporting as always, just offering my impressions.

  3. Joshua says:

    “So he “befriends” Floyd, a simple redneck who works on the docks. Floyd has, by some miracle, landed an affluent girlfriend who lives on Vespucci Beach.”

    A lot more common in media than real life. Might make more sense if it was recent upward social mobility, or if there was some display of common interests between the two.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      And besides, it usually works the other way around. Redneck girl befriends affluent batchelor would be much more believable.

    2. Hector says:

      Well, this might be more plausible than you think.

      In major ports, people with the right skills can make some very good money. Most (all?) are unionized, and depending on their exact role can make into the six figures. According to Wikipedia, pay on the West Coast *starts* at $30/hr.

      1. Mr. Wolf says:

        Floyd himself mentions that being a “unionised longshoreman” is an extremely well-paying job, but on the other hand he says that Debra helped him get that job, which implies he didn’t make the big bucks until after he met her.

  4. JohnnyComeLately says:

    I THINK and I highlight that because I don’t know but I think what happened is that the writers had two conflicting ideas about how this whole thing should go down and just decided to do both.

    Trevor is obviously supposed to be the answer to the ludonarrative dissonance they kept getting shit about in their previous games. Nothing is out of character if you do it as Trevor because Trevor is a madman. So one of the ideas they wanted to play with is what happens when two fairly bland normal people are subjected to that crazy. This is supposed to be a semi-serious take of “crazy man makes others crazy.” They also wanted to explore what makes Trevor lose it. Despite being a complete psycho Trevor actually has a few obvious triggers and the hypocrisy of these two people is one of them.

    The problem is that neither idea is built up enough. Like you said Floyd never shows a deep dark heart and the GTA protag would actually be a horrible friend to have line is done better in other parts of the story.

    1. Vinsomer says:

      They undercut the idea of ‘what happens if two fairly bland normal people are subjected to Trevor’s crazy’ but making Debra crazy herself.

      So it just feels like a lazy ‘everyone is crazy, everyone’s a hypocrite nonsense.

  5. Karma The Alligator says:

    when the deavistation is uncovered.

    Was that meant to be devastation?

    Debra keeps a loaded gun on top of her teaspoons

    Wouldn’t the lads have found that? Wouldn’t Trevor have taken that?

    1. Bloodsquirrel says:

      Why? I don’t see Trevor as being the kind of guy who would be bothered by having a loaded gun lying around out in the open, much less in a drawer. They’re normal to him. It’d be like taking the forks away.

      1. Karma The Alligator says:

        No taken for his protection, more like “Hey, free gun”, and used it in his next heist or something.

        1. Bloodsquirrel says:

          Is Trevor really short on guns, though?

          1. Karma The Alligator says:

            He seems to be short on everything, but that’s besides the point: he feels like a character who wouldn’t care whether he’s short or not and would just take it.

          2. DrBones says:

            No, but it would fit the GTA Protagonist mindset. Found a gun someone was hiding from you? Stuff it in your pocket. Do you have a gun like it already? Take the ammo and toss the gun away. It would make for a cute visual gag at the start and then come back for a payoff when Debra goes to grab it and finds that Trevor, for no reason other than it might have come in handy some day, has unloaded her gun and kept the magazine.

    2. Dues says:

      Maybe it was supposed to be one of Trevor’s guns that he left lying around?

      1. Geebs says:

        I think that’s probably it. She found it while tidying the apartment and kept it in case Trevor came back. Also explains why it seems like the wrong gun for her character.

    3. Trevor says:

      Why would the lads have had any reason to go into the teaspoon drawer? Do you think they cooked anything while Debra was gone?

      Debra could have kept gold bars next to the muffin tins and chances are they wouldn’t have found them.

      1. Karma The Alligator says:

        He seems the type of person to go through everything looking for valuables.

        But yeah, I imagine it was pizza and take out every day.

      2. MelfinatheBlue says:

        I’d lean more towards the “gun put on counter by Trevor, Debra found it and just stuck it in the teaspoons drawer until she could find a place for it, then remembered where she’d stuck it when she finished cleaning”

    4. NPC says:

      Generous of you to assume Trevor would bother using cutlery

      1. Karma The Alligator says:

        Nah, more like he’d have gone through everything to look for valuables.

  6. Blue Painted says:

    I like your version, but if we have to play against established type, then I’d have Trevor come home and find that Debra is back: She’s got a BFG cradled in her arms, bits of Floyd’s carcass are spattered on top of the previously mentioned destruction, and her line is “And it was going so well …”

    1. Cilvre says:

      This ^ this would fit the Trevor view on that situation.

    2. Viktor says:

      Yeah, that’s close to how I see it going down. You want to make Trevor so bad that anyone around him ends up snapping, or make everyone in the universe a violent asshole, sure, but it needs to follow the previous characterization. Debra can be violent, but it should be her being violent because her neat, ordered world is destroyed and she’s going after the person who wrecked it in a way that still resembles her neat, ordered approach. The canon route is not that.

  7. kdansky says:

    I like that you put the picture alt-text under the pictures. It has always annoyed me that I have to use the mouse-over for every picture of your articles, and can’t just read it.

  8. ccesarano says:

    This entry has, beyond all others, made me glad I never got into this series. I’d have hated this storyline so much.

  9. You could argue that the writer is trying to make the point that these two seemingly-nice people were actually just deeply repressed and just one bad day away from becoming killers. Or maybe that Trevor ruins people just like he ruins apartments.

    That’s because…that is what they’re doing.

    That’s a fine premise for a story, but nothing before this point has built up to that. There’s been a ton of dialog between Trevor and Floyd, and none of it suggested that Floyd was struggling to keep a lid on some dark inner self. If anything, Trevor’s total destruction of Floyd’s life was solid proof that Floyd was exactly the spineless milquetoast simpleton he seemed to be. If there was more to him, then surely Trevor’s antics would have brought that out.

    It’s not about Trevor. It’s about how their relationship is abusive and unhealthy, how Trevor instantly recognizes it as such when they don’t/won’t and how he responds by doing everything possible to aggravate it because – as someone else already mentioned – hypocrisy is a trigger for him. There’s a clear framing throughout this entire side story of a one sided relationship of an over-controlling and psychologically abusive girlfriend towards a cowardly and resentful boyfriend that’s constant and overbearing to the point of absurdity. Trevor’s dialogue to Floyd is littered with comments about his relationship with Debra; her controlling nature, suggestions of infidelity and his inability to satisfy her needs.

    The point isn’t that Trevor’s presence is like a madness miasma that infects anyone near him, it’s that these two people hated and were using each other and Trevor exposed that. That’s why they instantly turn on each other and not him. They did have ‘dark inner selves’, but that had nothing to do with Trevor, and everything to do with each other.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      So – like the torture scene – Trevor is used to expose hypocrisy in other characters because he lacks the illusions they have.

      The FIB agents are so in love with the idea of being Hard Men making Tough Decisions that they don’t consider not torturing a guy – even when they don’t need to. Which Trevor then tells the torture victim and the audience (I assume smugly).
      Similarly, here he’s just a catalyst for the unpleasant relationship that Debra and Floyd have to turn violent. Which allows the writer to prove that…toxic relationships are bad*.

      Huh – sounds like actual satire. Juvenile, vapidly cynical satire, for sure – but hey, a point is a point, and is better than random nonsense.

      *WHO KNEW!?

      1. Gethsemani says:

        Sure, the problem is that satire needs to be crystal clear to work. Good satire has you go “oh yeah, that’s the point!” when it reaches the punchline, not have you scrambling back to try and unpack what the message might have been because the writer was too busy throwing in extra stuff that muddied t he story. Rockstar is bad at satire because the writers seem unable to stick to the point, instead making half a dozen tangents that eventually dilutes the actual punchline of the satire. The Debra/Floyd story has a point about toxic relationships, but since the writers spend most of the time looking at what Trevor does instead of what Debra and Floyd does, the actual point gets lost along the way. Why do we need to have cutscenes where Trevor drags Floyd into the bedroom for “some fun”, or insinuates what he did to Mr. Fluffy, if the ultimate point is that Debra and Floyd are using each other and pretending as if it is love?

        Rockstars satire is sort of like a needle in a haystack, because the writers continuously throw so much stuff at the player that the player has to sift through tons of non consequential bullshit and have to figure out which scenes and conversations were important to the point and which were just meaningless filler (or wanted to make ANOTHER point in the worst cases).

    2. Cubic says:

      Or Trevor is a psycho with a knack for needling and gaslighting (something that some psychos appear to possess, I can’t remember the term offhand) and generally stresstesting his hosts to destruction. From what I recall, Debra seemed like a domineering bitch and Floyd a doormat and a fool … but, ya know, maybe they could have just broken up a couple of months or years later.

      Anyway, my top creepy Trevor sequence in this game. Mad, bad and dangerous to know.

    3. Vinsomer says:

      There’s a clear framing throughout this entire side story of a one sided relationship of an over-controlling and psychologically abusive girlfriend towards a cowardly and resentful boyfriend that’s constant and overbearing to the point of absurdity.

      I don’t think it’s clear at all.

      If anything, what I get from this is the same macho alpha bs that we got with Michael. That Michael’s problem wasn’t that his family were entitled and toxic, or that he was an inattentive, unfaithful and apathetic husband/father. It was that he lost his mojo and needed to assert his masculinity over his family. He didn’t need to become a better father. He just needed to become a bigger father. Similarly, Floyd’s problem is that he’s not alpha enough, he needs to take control of his relationship and put Debra in her place.

      Similarly, we can’t say Floyd and Debra’s relationship is ‘a one sided relationship of an over-controlling and psychologically abusive girlfriend towards a cowardly and resentful boyfriend that’s constant and overbearing to the point of absurdity.’ because we never actually see this relationship without the extreme pressure of Trevor’s madness hanging over it – I think debra has the right to be angry or upset by the time we meet her. All we get is Trevor’s imagined details from whatever he manages to find in their house, and Trevor is neither the best judge of character (he spends much of the story fooled by Michael) nor does he have any actual handle on what a functional, healthy relationship looks like – as a reminder, our intro to this character was him having sex with someone else’s drug addict girlfriend. And Floyd can’t resist him in any way: if Trevor says his relationship is good, it’s good. If he says it’s bad, it’s bad.

      What we can get is some lazy coding, that their place looks austere and clean which means that it must be controlled by a woman because woman do housework good. Floyd lacks confidence and this must be because of Debra and not his own anxiety or (justifiable) fear of Trevor. Debra is a career woman with career woman glasses and a career woman haircut which means she wears the trousers and makes all the decisions.

      And it’s story elements like this which don’t just fail on a simple character level, but make the game just downright stupid, because it claims to be subversive but messages like that are anything but.

  10. FluffySquirrel says:

    I was more put off by the fact that while not shown explicitly.. in general tone and the things that happened, it’s pretty clear that Trevor raped Floyd .. apparently it’s a somewhat rare cutscene that only sometimes shows when you switch to Trevor, but .. yeah.. the fact he then just murders them just made me not wanna play the game anymore really. I really can’t stand Trevor

  11. unit3000-21 says:

    I don’t have anything to say about the topic at hand, but I really dug the fact that I was listening to “Debra” by Beck when I clicked on “continue reading”.

  12. burning says:

    One of the fascinating things about this series is that it’s succeeding in making me less interested in a game I never had any desire to play in the first place.

    1. Galad says:

      Mmhm, seconded. Not like I needed any more reasons after rockstar’s awful microtransaction-fueled greed

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        Third. This just makes me uncomfortable reading about it. I can’t imagine playing it.

        1. I find this juxtaposition funny. People find some of this stuff icky but going on a mass slaughter rampage down town is a non-issue. :P

  13. Mr. Wolf says:

    Funny thing about Debra’s handgun is that while she takes it out off-screen and we hear the sound of a kitchen drawer, she’s actually standing in front of the dishwasher.

    1. Redrock says:

      Well, that’s one way to handle gun maintenance, I guess.

    2. WWWebb says:

      That would explain why Trevor hadn’t found it….

  14. Decius says:

    The part I find hard to believe is that Trevor either never opened the silverware drawer or left the handgun in it.

    1. MelfinatheBlue says:

      My head canon is “Debra found it while cleaning, and stuck it in the drawer until she could find a place for it to go or get rid of it. Trevor probably left it sitting out in the kitchen somewhere, and while desperately trying to return her home to normal she just put it somewhere out of sight.”

      She probably spent quite a while cleaning after all, I can totally see her finding it near the beginning of her clean and just shoving it in a handy drawer.

      1. There is also a possibility she always had it (she’s not the saint she seems to be). But it is possible that Trevor caused the gun to appear, maybe she bought it after having cleaned up the place, thinking she’d need it to scare Trevor away?

    2. Roger Hågensen says:

      Who knows, maybe Trevor put it in the drawer after he stirred his drink with it? *shrug*

  15. I think you ended this side story too early. You also only ever mention Wade once and I can’t see anyone in he comments mention him either (yet).

    I’m gonna take a wild guess that the payoff for all this is when Trevor exits and Wade meets him and Trevor kinda ushers Wade to the truck.

    This was Wade’s cousin, possibly one of Wade’s family that lucked out and got a good life, Debra was nice and Wade probably really liked them.

    But Trevor destroy that. I also seem to recall that while driving from Trevor’s home to the city with Wade (or possibly during a earlier travel between two mission points) that Trevor hinted (by mistake) that the reason Trevor is taking care of Wade is that Trevor kinda got Wade’s family killed or something.
    Trevor seems to be aware of this as he tries to explain away stuff.

    Also note that when driving away from the disaster that Trevor leaves behind in this apartment he lies to Wade and says it’s kethup on his shirt and Wade believes it (and tastes it?).
    Trevor seems to enjoy misery and also enjoys the company of someone that probably is in more misery, but is a tad too dumb to realise it.

    Also note that Mr. Raspberry Jam isn’t the only victim here, sometimes when you switch to Trevor you can find him waking up in Floyd’s bed and Floyd seems traumatized.

    Debra also was screwing around with guys during businesstrips (it’s said in a passing, and it’s Trevor that somehow figured it out or caused he to reveal it).

    I do really enjoy how you call Trevor a “force of chaos”, he’s almost like a H. P. Lovecraft’ian Elder God walking around.

  16. A thought occurred to me.

    People call this or that lazy writing. Take this Trevor, Floyd, Debra, Wade situations. What if that scenario (except for the very end of it all obviously) was based on a real life experience that the writer had. Would it still be lazy writing? Or a daring cathartic move for the writer to deal with a traumatic experience?

    It is easy to criticise, but in doing so assumptions are made on what the writer intended. It’s not that unusual for a writer to have their intention misunderstood, especially if the audience has pre-conceptions.
    Just look on discussions forums, flameware are sometimes started for the stupidest reasons just because someone miss-read what somebody else write.

    Sure, these are professional writers. So the exceptions is higher that they’ll writer in such a way that we’ll be pulled in without misunderstandings (in the big pictures, people get the meaning of small details wrong all the time).

    I’m just curious if sometimes what somebody calls bad or lazy writing actually is that, or if they simply do not like the writing. I’ve read stuff that I didn’t like, but the author is a well respected and nominated one that has gotten awards for the writing, so the chances of them being a bad writer is slim as a bad writer would not sell any books at all.

    Do note that a bad could become popular, but that is the exception rather than the norm.

    The Trevor torture scene that so many likes to point out; it was kinda “meh” to me, I would have done it differently. It was too much “24 Hours, Bauer torture” for my taste (a show I watched the first season of, then just found it boring from then on)

    What I’m trying to say is that this entire Trevor apartment sidestory may not be bad, just not to everyones liking. However there are things that seems odd or lacking, which could explain some of the issues.

    Is it possible manuscript for this stuff was cut down in length? Trevor entering the apartment while Debra is scrubbing floors (or Floyd with Debra ordering him around) and yelling for him to get out “Get out, don’t you dare dirty the floor or I’ll get a gun” that could explain the cleaning and the gun appearing.

    I have a hard time believing the writer(s) that worked on this part did not have a explanation for these things; or that they where supposed to have done a 2nd pass over these story points but never got the time to do it.

    A ex-employee at Rockstart did recently reveal that RDR2 did not have superwide screen cinematic letterboxing and then the Houser brothers decided they wanted it and a studio lead decided that instead of just slapping them on, all camera scripting had to be changed throughout the game to re-frame the camera properly causing entire cutscenes to have to be redone.

    I’m wondering if stuff like this apartment (I’m not saying it is through) are the casualties of sweeping changes sometimes. So while the writing may not be bad the productions is (which falls on the shoulders of the game designer and production leads etc rather than the actual writers/scripters).

    I liked the Floyd’s apartment stuff, but wish there had been more, extended moe fleshed out, maybe had Trevor follow Debra and see what she did at a business meeting (and find her cheating). Maybe even more hints as to the relationship between Trevor and Floyd (but some would probably have found that too icky and people would be outraged on Twitter I’m sure). Trevor is not a nice guy and probably a lot worse than people think he actually is.

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