Saturday, 13 February 2010

Ferris Bueller's' Psychotic Break

Everybody has seen "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", and if you haven't, I advise you do. Immediately. Seriously, stop reading this post.

Now those Sportos, Motorheads, Geeks, Sluts, Bloods, Waistoids, Dickheads and Dweebs have all left, let us righteous dudes explore this fascinating theory - Ferris Bueller is nothing more than Cameron's imaginary friend.

There is already a fairly popular fan-theory called The Ferris Bueller Fight Club theory, but I would like to take it one step further - Sloane is a real person, and is actually Cameron/Ferris' girlfriend.

Cameron is, clearly, a very troubled man, but a genius all the same. Every idea, plot and plan that Ferris executes is actually Cameron acting out in the brashest, bravest way to cover up his inherent faults. He feels abandoned by his parents (although it is true that Ferris/Cameron's family show some concern over his health, nobody stays at home to look after him, in either scenario).

As Ferris tries to explain, he will soon be graduating school, leaving Sloane for a year and, he is suddenly realising, will probably grow out of his "imaginary friend" phase, the one person besides Sloane who he can connect with, and move into the 'real' world of jobs, colleges and adulthood. His "day off" with Ferris and Sloane is the last chance Cameron will have to properly be a child and enjoy childish things, as he grapples with the concept of becoming a man.

Every single conversation Ferris and Cameron conduct with one another reads like the same person trying to figure out his own confusing thoughts and feelings, for example:

Ferris: I'm taking the day off, come on over.
Cameron: I can't, stupid, I'm sick.
Ferris: That's all in your head. Come on over.
Cameron: I feel like shit, I can't go anywhere.
Ferris: I'm sorry to hear that. Now come on over and pick me up.
Cameron: I'm dying.
Ferris: You're not dying. You just can't think of anything good to do.
[Ferris: Cameron really needs a day off, he has a lot of things to sort out before he goes to college.]


Cameron: What?
Ferris: That's too suspicious. Talk!
Cameron: You!
Ferris: Talk!


Cameron: My father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love. It is his passion.
Ferris: It is his fault he didn't lock the garage.
Cameron: Ferris, what are you talking about? My father loves this car more than life.
Ferris: A man with such priorities doesn't deserve this fine automobile.


Cameron: As long as I've known him, everything works for him. There's nothing he can't handle - I can't handle anything. School, parents, the future - Ferris can do anything. I don't know what I'm going to do.
Sloane: College.
Cameron: Yeah, but to do what?
Sloane: What are you interested in?
Cameron: Nothing.
Sloane: Me neither.
Cameron: You're crazy!
Sloane: What do you think Ferris is going to do?
Cameron: He's going to be a fry cook.

Also, notice that Mr Rooney is only worried about Ferris' absence record, and how he has got Sloane mixed up in his Day Off. Never once is Cameron mentioned, and it is made out that he has a worse (or, an identical) absence record than Ferris!

If you have ever read the original script, you will have noticed even more stark comparisons between the two characters. Take the original dialogue in the final scene between Ferris/Cameron/Sloane and the final Ferris/Sloane scene:

Cameron: No, thanks. I want to deal with it by myself.
Sloane: What about your one word?
Cameron: You already did it. If I need it again, I'll use it.
[He smiles. He raises an impish eyebrow.]
Cameron: It's cool. I'm loose.


Sloane: You didn't have an idea, did you?
Ferris: Not a glimmer.
Sloane: You're so smart.
Ferris: No, I'm just real loose.

4. Develop a second persona.

The one sole scene that tests this theory is when Cameron is on the phone to Principle Rooney, then Ferris comes on the other line. How this could work out with one person seems on the surface impossible, but it is merely difficult - think of all the various tape machines and keyboard effects Ferris has at his disposal, I'm sure he could have devised a way.

Finally, a few interesting points of discussion taken from IMDB's trivia page - Ferris wears a different outfit in each scene before he and Cameron go to pick up Sloane, and; whenever Mr Rooney and Ferris have a conversation with each other, only one of them speaks throughout the entire conversation - the other is completely silent.

Another thinking point - remember the references Ferris makes to John Lennon being The Walrus? "I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together..."

I strongly recommend you dust off those DVDs, or dig out those VHS, and re-watch FBDO in this manner. For added effect, watch "Drop Dead Fred" either immediately before or afterwards (and also perhaps Season 5 of "House", particularly the later episodes which deal well with split personality syndromes).

"Danke Schoen, Darling, Danke Schoen.
Thank you for seeing me again.
Though we go on our separate ways,
Still the memory stays, for always, my heart says, Danke Schoen."


  1. This is my new Favourite Unified Theory of Ferris Bueller, supplanting previous front-runner 'Really? We're supposed to be listening to the advice of Charlie Sheen?'

  2. Danke Schoen :) I keep forgetting Charlie "I Once Played Mel Gibson In Scary Movie 3" Sheen is even in this movie, he seems so out of place =\

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