Over the weekend I uploaded the latest version of the classic “You and I” video Chris Huntley put together. If you have never seen it before then you have to check it out. Actually, even if you haven’t seen it—you’ve seen it.
You know that line of dialogue you always hear, “You and I are just the same?” Well there’s actually a structural reason why that shows up so often. It’s almost always a conversation between the
Main Character and
Influence Character and almost always has one denying the other’s observation.
I say almost always because sometimes authors use that line of dialogue thinking they’re using it correctly when in reality they’re using it on the wrong character. Take for instance the first How To Train Your Dragon. There is a moment where Hiccup tells Astrid that the reason he didn’t kill Toothless was because he looked into his eyes and saw himself. That is a classic You and I kind of thing to say.
But he is saying it to the wrong character.
It should have been a conversation with his dad Stoick—his real Influence Character. The film is still awesome1, but gets a little confused when it comes to getting its message across.
You can find the montage of clichés in last week’s article The Forces of Influences Felt Between the Two Principal Characters of a Story and the original classic Two Sides of the Same Coin.