I don’t think this idea really worked the way it was supposed to.

Phil’s intent was to go after career pick-up artists, the sort who publish ebooks with titles like Win Any Woman into Your Bed with These 10 Simple Tricks! or I’ve Slept with 500 Women and You Can Too! This shit tends to be naive at best and creepy misogynistic rape culture at worst, and it’s “worst” a lot more often than it is “best.” Apart from their overall toxicity, the authors’ claims about their own love lives often ring false, though if they actually pressured/tricked/emotionally abused the full 500 women into sex with them, it wouldn’t be very different, morally, from training other guys to do that for profit.

(Notwithstanding that there are some titles to help men seeking women that are a bit more grounded in respect for humanity. I learned a lot, ultimately, from How to Win Friends and Influence People and–despite its imperfections, more evident with time–Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. I’m sure there are more modern examples.)

Unfortunately, I think the soul patch and the eyeliner are not really sufficient as signifiers here, and neither Phil nor I could come up with better ones to ask John to put in. It is evident from this page that Brody the Elf is pretending to sexual experience he doesn’t have, but that’s a far more minor offense than what we had in mind. I mean, two-thirds of us, male, female, and otherwise, told that same basic lie in junior high or high school.

Maybe this moment would look a bit more like justice if we’d done an earlier scene with Brody offering to coach E-Merl on how to win Rachel’s attention, showing E-Merl briefly tempted but quickly realizing he didn’t want anything to do with such a sleazy “mentor.” But who needs justice here, anyway? It’s Armagedda-Con.