There's a growing movement on the internet that Ferris in Ferris Bueller's Day Off does not exist. Much like Brad Pitt's character in Fight Club, Mathew Broderick's character is simply a figment of Cameron's fractured mind. That's, of course, why internet pundits have dubbed it The Ferris Bueller Fight Club Theory or the Bueller/Durden Derivative. It's pretty simple really: there is no Ferris, only Cameron. The Bueller Fight Club Theory was perhaps first postulated by Cool Papa Bell at Metatalk.
This is what Papa Bell has to say:
My favorite thought-piece about Ferris Bueller is the "Fight Club" theory, in which Ferris Bueller, the person, is just a figment of Cameron's imagination, like Tyler Durden, and Sloane is the girl Cameron secretly loves.
One day while he's lying sick in bed, Cameron lets "Ferris" steal his father's car and take the day off, and as Cameron wanders around the city, all of his interactions with Ferris and Sloane, and all the impossible hijinks, are all just played out in his head. This is part of the reason why the "three" characters can see so much of Chicago in less than one day -- Cameron is alone, just imagining it all.
It isn't until he destroys the front of the car in a fugue state does he finally get a grip and decide to confront his father, after which he imagines a final, impossible escape for Ferris and a storybook happy ending for Sloane ("He's gonna marry me!"), the girl that Cameron knows he can never have.
It's a fun theory to bat around because Cameron is the timid everyman and Ferris the outgoing superman. We could apply this to everything: Bugs Bunny is just in Porky's mind, Zack Morris is just a splinter of Screech, and Sam Beckett is not only leaping through time but monitoring himself as Al... wah? Maybe, it doesn't work with everything. The Bueller/Durden Derivative isn't without its hiccups. The entire movie being a part of Cameron's delusional mind doesn't quite ring with Fight Club. Tyler Durden was more than an imaginary friend, he was multiple personality off shoot of Jack's warped mind. This would mean that Cameron simply doesn't dream Ferris, but that Cameron is Ferris, and would put Sloane into the same role as Marla Singer, dating both Cameron and Ferris. Because why would Cameron go through the time of imagining up his dream girl only to put her in the arms of another man?
The biggest flaws with the Bueller Fight Club theory are the side stories. That being the stories of Jeanie and Rooney. What do these stories have to do with Cameron? Why would Cameron conjure up an imaginary sister for an imaginary Ferris? And why is Rooney after Ferris when it is Cameron who is ditching school? We can break everything down as every character representing some peace of Cameron's wounded psyche, but I think we have to actually strive to fit the pieces together.
And while this isn't a flaw, why is Cameron missing from the entire ending? If it's truly his story then the story should end with Ferris and Cameron's parting. However, this is how the ending would make sense for me: Cameron isn't just imagining a perfect ending for Ferris, but is experiencing the perfect ending in heaven. After the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT fell out of the garage, Cameron's father naturally murdered his son perhaps with some sort of lead pipe. The ending wouldn't be Cameron's fevered imagination, but how he perceives the afterlife. Which strangely enough for Cameron involves Matthew Broderick on a trampoline. But who's heaven doesn't?
All in all, a fun theory, and you'll have a good time both defending it and breaking it apart.
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