7 Things You Might Not Have Noticed In Scott Pilgrim

Thursday, September 16, 2010 was a bit of a sad day for me. After thirty-five days of release and a continually underwhelming box office draw, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World had its final showing at my local multiplex. Its release-date siblings, The Expendables and Eat, Pray, Love will continue to play there four times a day in decently sized auditoriums for at least one or two more weeks, probably more. As of Thursday, Scott Pilgrim was down to just one show a day, slumming it in the dinky Auditorium 3 along with Nanny McPhee Returns. The next time I want to catch the movie, it'll have to be at a theater farther away or on DVD. I'm thinking at this point, it'll have to be DVD. Le sigh. Oh well. That's just one more reason to be stoked for the film's eventual DVD release. Apart from simply being able to see the movie again (ten times just wasn't enough, obviously), I'm really looking forward to scouring it for the hidden "bits and bobs" that director Edgar Wright infuses all his work with on a near-constant basis. I'm not just talking about the expected video game, music, and pop culture references, either. Rather, I mean little self-referential cues and "blink and you'll miss it" gags that make it tempting to just pore over Wright's works like some brand of moving I Spy books. "Oh look, there's a fun bit of text I missed last time! And hey, isn't that a quick bit of such-and-such in the background? Neat!" That sort of thing makes the amount of effort and attention to detail put into movies like Scott Pilgrim all the more apparent, and all the more fun to take in. I'm sure I'll find more details in a home viewing of the movie, complete with frame-by-frame stepping, making-of footage, and multiple commentaries all at my disposal. For now, though, I do have a list of sight gags, tiny references, and visual enhancements that I've spotted in my theatrical viewings so far. Following are seven of my favorites. I've tried my best to avoid major spoilers, but this list will definitely cater more to those who have already seen the movie.
  • 1) Cameo by Gideon the Cat In the original Scott Pilgrim comic books, Ramona Flowers has a cat named Gideon. She also has an evil ex-boyfriend named Gideon. What are the odds? We never see a real live version of her cat in the movie, but it does make an appearance by way of artwork. In the very first scene of the movie, when Scott sits at the breakfast table with his friends, Scott is holding a white mug with a green design on the side. If you get a quick enough look, you can see that the design features a cartoon rendering of Gideon the Cat, drawn by original comic creator Bryan Lee O'Malley. UPDATE: This is not a rendering of Gideon the Cat. It's just a generic cat. It is still an illustration by Bryan Lee O'Malley, though. See O'Malley's Flickr for a high quality version of the image used. Also, they're not Gideon cats, but you can see some porcelain cats on the bookshelf in Ramona's bedroom later in the movie. This is probably another subtle nod.
  • 2) Sonic Boom Easter Eggs There are a few fun things going on in Toronto music store Sonic Boom throughout the movie. The most visible, of course, would be all the ads, standees, and CDs featuring The Clash at Demonhead, advertising such hit singles as "You Suck" and "Stop Calling Me" (post-breakup messages, much?). If you look in the background, you can see similar cardboard cut-outs on the store walls featuring the Katayanagi Twins (a.k.a.: Evil Exes #5 and #6) as well. Harder to spot, however, are some fun labels that fly by in a few places. In one shot, Scott says "you definitely don't want to listen to them" and discards a Clash at Demonhead CD onto a rack of other CDs. It just so happens that the CD lands right behind the Beck section on the rack - Beck, of course, being the mind and music behind Sex Bob-omb in the movie. Later, when Scott returns to the store with Knives in his "distracted by Ramona" mode, we see him standing near a couple of very O'Malley-like genre sections: "Gloom Rock" and "Sadcore." A little later in that same visit, he is sitting on a couch listening to Knives, and next to him is a sign saying "Do Not Sit", perfectly replicating a panel from the same scene in volume 2 of the comic.
  • 3) Ad Space Edgar Wright and company made a lot of custom advertisements and graphics for the film, which is a shame, because you can barely see a lot of them. The Lucas Lee movie posters get a fair shake, at least. Ads for Action Doctor and The Game Is Over 2 are shown on the sides of Toronto Transit Commission buses, and there are more posters on the backs of magazines read by gay roommate extraordinaire, Wallace Wells. You can get a better look at the whole poster set for yourself here. Also, there's a good look at a newspaper ad featuring Neko Case the first time we see Wallace. Neko Case was a former member of The New Pornographers, a band referenced a few times in the comic. There were also a few transit ads made to look like ones featured in the original comic. Sadly, just about all of them hit the cutting room floor along with some amusing textbooks. All were most likely to be featured in a flashback showing Scott meeting Knives on the bus with her mom, which was filmed but not included in the theatrical cut of the movie. You can still see about half of one ad in the final film, though. In the "Teenage Dream" sequence, the last "panel" featuring Scott shows the lower left-hand side of this amazing ad. Also, it's onscreen for barely a second, but there's a NOW magazine cover done up with some of the same funny text as a magazine seen in the comic. It also mimics artwork from the back cover for volume 2 of the comic, right down to the background. You can see it in better detail in one of the production blogs on the movie's official website, and here's a screengrab if you don't want to go hunting:
  • 4) Second Cup Signs There are a pair of amusing signs inside the Second Cup where Scott's sister Stacey and his friend (?) Julie Powers work. One behind the counter says "If you are using a cell phone, you will not be served." This sign is always at least partially visible when Stacey is yapping away on her cell phone with Scott. Of course. The other is onscreen for about a second, but the text is a fun little reward for detail-seekers. When Scott runs into Julie at the Second Cup counter, the camera quickly whooshes over to Stacey out the window yelling, "Sorry, I had to go!" On the window is a generic poster with some donuts and other coffee-shop-related items, and the overlaid text reads: "Experience what attention to detail tastes like." I originally spotted this in a viewing where I was specifically looking for easter eggs, so while this may or may not be an intentional joke (in fact, it probably isn't), I still just about killed myself laughing when seeing it in that state of mind.
  • (Photo from Bryan Lee O'Malley's Flickr)

  • 5) Creator Cameos This one's pretty simple. Bryan Lee O'Malley and his wife, fellow comics creator Hope Larson, can be seen at the bar in Lee's Palace after Sex Bob-omb perform there. They're not hard to spot; just look for a woman with very short, bright blonde hair. The woman is Larson, and the dark-haired guy standing with her is O'Malley. On a side note, if you haven't read the short comic Bear Creek Apartments, written by Larson and drawn by O'Malley, I highly suggest you do so.)
  • 6) Hidden X's The letter "X" becomes a recurring motif for Ramona's evil exes, as we're shown blatantly a few times. The letter shows up in a few more places you might not catch unless you're looking, though. The first I can recall is a snow-covered road that Scott and Knives walk down early on, in a shot that you can see for yourself in the film's first teaser trailer. Another instance that the director himself pointed out in the interactive trailer is the scene where Scott and Ramona are on the bus together. There are some tiny scrolling lights behind Ramona's head in the window; on Scott's side, the lights are shaped like hearts, and on Ramona's side, like X's. Some other little ones: there's an X fridge magnet Scott pulls down with him after Wallace points out the "seven deadly exes"; Lucas Lee's belt buckle has a design featuring two X's side-by-side; the crossbeams that fall on Sex Bob-omb after the Katayanagi Twins tear the roof off form a big X behind them; the little pink bows on Ramona's bra could be construed as X's if you squint. My favorite, though, is when Scott and Ramona start climbing up the stairs to Casa Loma. In the bottom left-hand corner of the shot is a pedestrian crossing sign, complete with a big black X, and as the pair climb the stairs, the traffic lights go from green to yellow to red. It's a great, subtle, visual way of saying, "WARNING. STOP. EVIL EX AHEAD." There are probably a good number more that I'm missing, but those are the ones that stood out to me. If you spotted any more, feel free to say so in the comments. UPDATE! Another X found! It's one that I spotted before, but dismissed as my reading too much into things. Edgar Wright confirmed it, though, so I'll include it here now. When the Katayanagi Twins crank the dials on their synthesizers up, you can see that the numbers on the dials are done in kanji all the way up to 11 (more on that in the next section). All the numbers are in black, save for 11 (十一, or a plus and minus sign together if you can't see the characters), which is done in red. In a close-up on one of the dials, the camera angle is tilted such that the cross in the 11 character looks like a red X. Neat! Sometimes it pays to over-analyze things! Yet another X I just remembered in that same scene: the twins cross arms to amplify the sound wave that knocks over the crossbeams mentioned earlier. One X creating another - weirdly significant!
  • 7) Evil Ex Numbers Every evil ex is associated with their number in the string of heartbreaks that has been Ramona's love life. A few have their numbers featured prominently: Todd Ingram has a big number 3 on his shirt, courtesy of the original comic; the door leading to the nightclub where the Roxy fight happens has a big honking 4 overhead; Gideon's swanky Chaos Theater is labeled "Level 7" onscreen as Scott approaches it; and every ex has points that appear after their defeat, starting at 1000 for Matthew Patel, 2000 for Lucas Lee, and so on. If you look closely, though, all the exes get even more nods to their place in sequence, or at least to their place in Ramona's past. To start with, Matthew Patel's constant pointing up with his index finger strongly evokes a 1, and Wallace's off-hand shout of "Watch out! It's that one guy!" could also be read as "It's that one guy - the guy who is number one in the list." Update: He also has a single red chevron on the sleeve of his jacket, and most of his hair is on one side of his face. Lucas Lee gets a ton of 2's. He has a 2 tattooed on the side of his neck; his skate company logo has two L's to match his name; his trailer door also has two L's; there's a car on the movie set with a 2 emblazoned on the doors; his belt buckle (mentioned earlier) has two X's on it; even before he shows up, Scott mentions having a second date with Ramona lined up, which of course ends up being more of a second battle. There are more I could mention, but I'm not sure all of them were intentional, since it's easy to spot doubles of things in just about any context (speaking of which, a fun thing: Lucas has seven evil stunt doubles). Moving on to Todd Ingram: along with his shirt, you can also see some black posters with big, white 3's on them posted to the walls of the Lee's Palace back room. There are a lot of posters on those walls, but the 3's do stand out, trust me. As well, in the alley behind the building, there are a pair of trash cans with "33" and "333" spray-painted in red on them. Todd puts Scott through various walls three separate times, and on the third, he sends Scott crashing through three rooms with one blast from his bass. Said bass song finishes the battle with three distinct chords, too. Roxy doesn't get as much, sadly. Apart from her points and the 4 above the club door, the only one I could spot was that she zips past Scott in the alley four times before he punches her in the boob. The Katayanagi Twins similarly get the shaft, having only a set of points starting at 5000 and rolling up toward 6000. I think maybe the TIBB poster had six exclamation marks on one line? Nothing significant with a 5, though. I'm thinking the twins' motif is more likely the dragons, which you can see clearly in a few places, and their twin theme in general (their amp brand is Twinn). [See update below for more!] Gideon gets 7'd up like you wouldn't believe, though, mostly through onscreen video game stats and displays. Every hit against him is 700 points, and many hits against enemies in the Chaos Theater are either 700 or in sets of 350 (which add to 700). Gideon's fancy hand gestures go from x2 to x7 before he summons that blue pixel katana of his. After summoning the katana, a list of stat-ups appears behind him, with every point listed being x7. There's one more I could point out, but it's a big spoiler, so I won't.
  • UPDATE: Derp. I'm an idiot. The Katayanagi Twins' number motif is 11 (5+6). Edgar Wright pointed this out over Twitter, and I believe he has said as much in the past on his blog now that I think about it. This makes sense, definitely. The two 1's in 11 are twin digits, and the dials on the twins' synthesizers go up to 11 (nice little Spinal Tap reference in addition to being number-relevant). As well, according to Wright, Roxy and the twins each have costume-based number references that are hard to spot. One I've identified for sure by going over the trailer again. Kyle Katayanagi has two straps on each shoulder of his shirt (seen here), straps on his sleeves with parallel black borders, and two thin black lines running down the front of the shirt (both seen here), all of which resemble elongated 11's. Ken's costume, though, I'm not sure about. It could be that some of the black "sunbeams" side-by-side on his shirt resemble 11's. And Roxy's outfits, I really don't know. Maybe she has four rips in her stockings? I can't find a full-body screenshot to confirm, though. If you can figure hers out before I do, let me know. Confirmed this on the Blu-ray! She does indeed have four rips in her stockings.
Find any other fun "blink and you'll miss it" bits in the movie? Say so in the comments! I'm sure there's a lot more to be seen and heard.

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Eryn is a former podcaster (heard on Tiltyhouse's Dai-Cast, Anime Utahime, and Robomiko) and current film studies student living in Alberta, Canada. Her biggest areas of geek interest are movies, anime/manga, and fandom roleplaying games.

32 Responses to “7 Things You Might Not Have Noticed In Scott Pilgrim”

  1. Matt September 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    I can’t remember the guy’s name (he’s the one with glasses who originally identifies Ramona at the beginning of the movie), but at the end he is sitting at the entrance to Gideon’s club. When Scott uses his extra life and fast-forwards back to the present time, he run past this guy, and the line of dialog changes to “the comic was totally better than the movie” or something along those lines. Gave me a good laugh.

  2. Hands September 19, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    Since I haven’t read the comic yet, I’m not sure if it was originally intended or just included for awesomeness. In Scott’s final costume change, he puts on a Smashing Pumpkins shirt with a heart around the letters “SP,” for both the band and Scott Pilgrim. It also follows his heart motif.

  3. Eryn September 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    @Matt: That guy with the glasses (no relation to the Nostalgia Critic) is Comeau. The line goes by quickly, but yes, that’s totally what he says! ;) On Scott’s first go-around, he actually says something else funny too: “The first album… is much better than the first album.”

    @Hands: That is indeed from the comic originally, but that makes it no less awesome or fitting. There are a few Smashing Pumpkins references in both the comic and the movie, including Billy Corgan’s “Zero” shirt and the title of volume 3/one of the chapters in the movie, “The Infinite Sadness.”

  4. Scott September 19, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    Edgar Wright is just that type of guy who can put a hysterical joke or reference in the background and let people figure it out by themselves, rather than force it to you. He’s a genius that way…that’s probably why when the movie comes on DVD, I can see it having great sales by fans who want to watch it and catch jokes they may have missed.

    I even can think of one I saw when watching the movie. When Scott enters the apartment for the first time, Wallace is reading a magazine with “Neko Case” on it.

  5. Eryn September 19, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

    Updated this article with info straight from Edgar Wright! Exciting! :D

    @Scott: Yeah, you can have a 100% enjoyable experience with any of his movies and not catch a single bit of background gags or references at all. That’s the important thing. Those of us who enjoy finding those sorts of things just get an extra 10% there. ;)

    Awesome that you noticed the Neko Case ad on your first viewing, too!

  6. Hands September 19, 2010 at 11:17 pm #

    @Eryn I caught the other Smashing Pumpkins references, but the SP shirt was more subtle, seemed more fun.

    Also, nice update about the 11’s.

  7. Rick November 2, 2010 at 1:30 am #

    Another X in the show is Gideon’s glasses during the final fight.

  8. Eryn November 2, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    Yup! I thought that one was one of the more obvious ones, so I didn’t include it in the article, but I definitely thought it was neat to see there.

  9. Carl November 17, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Yo, just wondered if anyone noticed the refernce to scott and zero. He wears a zero tshirt, drinks zero cola and im sure theres more. If all the other evil exes are numbered, then i guess that makes scott number 0!

  10. Eryn November 17, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    I will admit, I did not catch that in theatrical viewings. When I saw the bonus features on the DVD/Blu-ray and came across the stuff about the zeros, I had a nice big headsmack and a “D’OH!” to myself.

    I also missed the gag with the CN Tower appearing behind the picture of the Empire State Building that Scott plunges through in the Lucas Lee fight. Love that.

  11. JD December 31, 2010 at 12:21 am #

    When Scott is talking to Wallace in the kitchen, Scot spells out SUX with the magnets and turns the eight sideways as the infinite symbol( hence, Scott says, you know what sux? Everything). I like that part.

  12. Luke March 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    K is the 11th letter of the alphabet, the sum of the Katayanagi twins, as well as that, when “the talent” is flicking thru the flip chart paper he spells out “Katayanagis” *I THINK* which with the “S” becomes 11 letters long… I think i also read something bout the musical notes of the twins being number relevant (as in E and F notes being 5th and 6th)

    Gideon, G=7 and while i may have looked too far into this, Glasses being a 7 letter word, his glasses seemed to be relevant a lot, starting with a G, and 7 letters long… You can also make out a 7 in his logo of triangle Gs…

    After beating lucas lee there is a scene where he walks down the street and there are 5 yellow exes and 2 white exes, some form of candian traffic thing, i dont kno… but i took that to be 2 exes down, 5 to go, as the 2 white ones were lower on the screen.

    There were a few references to Scott being 0, my favourite being the coke zero but am sure at the end Gideon shouts “Your nothing! Your a ZERO!”

    Also, Todd, 3 strikes… “Thats milk and eggs bitch!”

  13. Jimbo June 14, 2011 at 1:40 am #

    Wallace asks Scott to ask Lucas Lee “How does it feel to always get sloppy seconds”. (Meaning either being ramona’s second ex, using stunt doubles, or referring to the twos which seem to surround everything he does)

    • Jimbo June 14, 2011 at 1:54 am #

      Also, Gideon says “You made me swallow my gum. It is going to be in my digestive tract for 7 years!”

  14. Tim July 25, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Nice! I missed a bunch of these!

    One that no one has mentioned though, is that after Scott defeats Roxy (4 motif) and him and Ramona aren’t talking he is seen wearing a shirt with the Fantastic Four logo with a little 1/2 drawn into the top corner.

    Only time in the movie where Scott isn’t related to the number zero. I am not certain but I remember hearing somewhere that this was meant to represent Scott at that point being on the way to becoming another Evil Ex.

  15. Ben August 13, 2011 at 4:17 am #

    Through certain parts of the movie, he was wearing “The Smashing Pumpkins” Shirts (I.e ZERO) Because his initials are SP, as well as the band’s

  16. Ben December 18, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    As Lucas Lee sees Scott he says the line “the only thing keeping us apart are the TWO minutes it takes me to kill him” (or some such, don’t know it off the top of my head). He also repeats the line twice.

  17. Rolf January 27, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    A few more…

    In Knives’ room, just after she’s colored her hair and looked in the mirror, there’s a heart with an X in it on a wardrobe door to the very right in the picture, perhaps symbolising she still loves her ex (Scott).

    Also, right after that, you can almost see Neils surname (Nordegaard) in Knives phone as she’s texting him; I don’t believe that’s mentioned anywhere else in the movie.

    Regarding the Coumeau saying the thing about their first album being better than their first album, Young Neil says “You should see them live, they’re much better live.” after seeing The Clash at Demonhead playing live, which is sort of in the same vein.

    • juiceboxanizer March 31, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

      The bit with the photo in Knives’ room is actually more of a nod towards the comic itself. I would think. In the comic, Knives’ father (a ninja) sees a photo of Scott with the heart and marks him as a target (hint why the X is on the photo). I forget how the scene actually goes down or if we directly see him do it, but it was definitely his doing and not Knives’. There’s a whole bit in the comic where he actually hunts Scott down and tries to kill him.

  18. poop February 3, 2012 at 3:52 am #

    the battle with the 5th and 6th evil x the cam zooms up on kims drumsticks witch form a x

    • poop February 3, 2012 at 3:54 am #

      sorry I did not finish witch forms a x

  19. Yue March 17, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    Also, when Ramona was using Scott as a weapon against her 4th evil ex (Roxie), she slap Roxie 4 times before Roxie separates then so Scott can fight her his self

  20. Aviel May 20, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    when scott is playing the bass in the bass battle you can see three t-shirts hung up on the wall behind him

  21. Sam C June 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Perhaps a five for the twins. Their DJ station has an emblem of two dragons on it, in an almost S formation, however, S can look like 5

  22. bob sexommomm June 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

    this is so.. boring, deleted

  23. ramon flores June 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    i got a sex change because of this stupid blaaahhgg.
    i’m from america and we’re just better than you

  24. Alterationa October 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    Lucas: “The only thing between me and her are the two minutes it will take to kick your *ss”
    “There are like 200 steps”
    He also has a habit of repeating words and actions (doing/saying things twice) and acting a bit two-faced when he acts polite to everyone but Scott, and even acts polite to Scott before hurting him.

    Todd: TCaD is a three-piece band, which plays at Lee’s Palace, Lee being a three letter word that rhymes with three. The Vegan Police allow three strikes, of which Todd violates all three times. His 3 shirt also has a three black stripe pattern to match his three-stripe wristband. Scott also tricks him with his “mind’s eye” by name, also called a “third eye”.

    Roxy: Her weak point is the back of her knee, sometimes jokingly called the “Fourth Hole” (only movie)

    Just some I noticed that might be a stretch

  25. Kmajewboobs December 2, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    In the last scene, Scott fights Gideon’s henchmen on top of a big X on the floor.

    Ramona fights Knives with something, not sure what it was, but it has four legs at the bottom making an X.

    Also, when they cross weapons it always makes an X, but that’s kind of a stretch.

    When Scott kills the guys in front of the elevator, they are worth 700 points. The next two guys are worth 350 each, which adds to 700.

    When Gideon pulls out his sword, all his stats increase by seven, which is shown with an X7. Then, every time his sword strikes Scott’s, he gains 700 points.

    Then, every time Scott and Knives hit Gideon, it’s worth 700 points.

    During the whole fight, Gideon has a faint blue reflection on his glasses in the shape of an X. After the fight, Scott picks the glasses up off the tile floor where they are sitting on the X between the tiles, and they have a crack on them in the shape of an X.

    When Scott and Nega Scott walk out to Ramona and Knives, there are two intersecting shadows from the walls that form an X on the garage door.

  26. Tabitha M. March 25, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    During the battle with Gideon, Scott makes him swallow his gum, resulting in Gideon pointing out that it’ll be in his digestive tract for 7 years. Yet another nod to his number.

  27. Bill Redshaw October 12, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    scott wheres a t-shirt saying zero on it and seeing that he isnt an evil x and he doesnt have a number (evil x 1/2/3/4/5/6/7) he can be listed as zero this can also be translated by him always drinking coke zero. also a few things in evil x numbers are in the chaos theatre whenever scotts and gideons swords clash in the second battle little 700s pop up as points and also knives and scotts combos are x700 if u look in the corner.another thing i spotted was then gideon swallows his gum he say ” that will be in my digestive trash for 7 (hint hint) years”, there’s actually alot of references to the number 7 like when scott tries again at going there he pushes 2 people when he gets out of the lift and it says 350 for each of them and that adds up to 700, also when he tells the guy his hair is stupid or punches the 2 guys guarding the lift he gets 700 for each of them. also in lee’s palace backstage when scott is first thrown through a wall into the alley he hits a dustbin which has three 3s spraypainted onto it also in the back stage area there is a poster with 3 on it on the wall which is quite hard to spot out but in some shots u can see it, also the vegan police state that he had 3( hint hint ) chances until his powers were to be taken. also on the film set on lucas lee’s trailer door it says 2 on it. another thing is matthew patel and his back story, Ramona say ” we only kissed ONCE(hinthint because he’s number 1 on the list of x’s)”.

  28. April February 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    Roxy has four Xs on the sleeves of her jacket made by leather crisscrossing.
    She also hits her whip on the floor 4 times before their duel while saying “The league has spoken”
    When scott hits her in the ally her legs form a 4

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