Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Author Jeff Kinney Has An Important Message About Greg’s Behavior – Exclusive
Although Greg is the main character of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” he’s the cause of a lot of his own problems. He can be stubborn and self-centered, he cares more about what strangers think of him than friends, and he is often an outright bad friend. He also frequently disobeys his parents –- not all that uncommon a behavior for a middle schooler, sure, but they were right each time. They banned him from playing tumble trike and from taking Snake Road during Halloween, and both activities resulted in those around him getting hurt.
Some fans have made the case that Greg is a sociopath, which is a little harsh for a middle school kid actively striving for acceptance. As mentioned, kids often shirk their parents’ advice. His frequent acts of self-preservation are selfish but not totally unreasonable given that he’s adapting to a new environment. Even so, much of what he does is inexcusable and reckless behavior that puts himself before others.
Looper spoke with Jeff Kinney, author of the “Wimpy Kid” series and a producer on the Disney+ movie. When asked about Greg’s behavior, Kinney explained both Greg’s internal struggles and how they kept him sympathetic.
We've all been there
“I think there are plenty of kids’ properties where the main character is a hero,” said Kinney. “They always do the right thing. They’re kind of boring. I like Greg. He’s a little messy.” Keeping the audience with Greg was simple: “whoever the main character is, people are generally going to root for that character.” It takes more than simply “being a protagonist” to get an audience behind a character for a movie’s runtime.
That’s where Greg’s secret weapon kicks in: He’s a bit too relatable. Kinney notes that “with Greg is that any faults that he has, you can see them in yourself. Chances are, you’ve done one of the things that Greg has done. And I don’t think he’s a bad kid. I think he’s a kid who’s messy. He’s a little over confident, and he’s recording his life story in a journal at a time when he really shouldn’t. So he needs to grow up, and that’s the fun of the character.” We’ve all had strife with friends, or couldn’t adapt well. We’ve also all ignored good advice. Even when his behavior is bad, we can see it in ourselves. Don’t lie to yourself about it.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is now streaming on Disney+.