In Happy Gilmore we are led to believe that Happy is a good guy.
That he is some sort of character that we should be able to get behind and root for.
And that we should be happy when we see him reach the end with success.
There are a few reasons Happy holds this position.
1. He helps his grandma.
He tries to get the home for his grandma so we know that Happy’s heart off the field is in the right place.
At least that is what it looks like in the beginning.
2. He is a nice guy (generally speaking).
He isn’t rude or mean when he meets Virginia Venit.
When he is not beating people up, Happy is a fairly good human being that you would like talking to.
But his anger problem kind of hurts this point.
3. He is down on his luck.
He sucks at hockey.
His girlfriend dumped him.
And his grandma is in a retirement home.
As soon as we meet Happy we see he has a problem.
Or multiple problems to deal with.
We are naturally going to root for this fish-out-of-water underdog.
What if that Happy Gilmore isn’t the good guy?
That we shouldn’t like him and we shouldn’t be rooting for him?
What if Happy is actually the bad guy in the film?
What’s my main argument?
He is not good for the game of golf.
He doesn’t know the game.
He doesn’t even like the game.
He openly admits to be playing for money.
Not because he loves golf.
He is an asshole when he plays.
He fights Bob Barker.
He doesn’t have a real caddy.
He doesn’t even put with a real golf club.
And when a former pro offers him some advice he rejects it.
Because it is about making money.
Not improving his game.
Happy doesn’t care about golf.
Happy cares about Happy.
So why are we rooting for him to succeed?
Do you think that Happy cares about the future of the game of golf?
Would he be happy if the game grew because of him?
No. That just means a bigger paycheck for him.
That is not really a great character to root for.
It would be different if Happy loved golf,
Then he would seem at least genuine with his success.
But he is going to get his money and get out.
Whether golf likes it or not, is their problem.
Now let’s look at the main villain in the movie.
Yes. He is a jerk.
He tries to buy Happy’s grandma’s house.
He insults Happy when he meets him.
But let’s look at who he is insulting.
A punk who has no respect for the game and thinks that he can just enter the tournament and win.
No to mention, that people like this guy!
Maybe Shooter is doing what is best for the game of golf by putting down Happy.
Maybe Happy deserved it.
He isn’t there for the right reason.
Since he is there for only money.
And Happy is a bad influence on the game.
So when Happy walks up and starts talking like he is a real golfer, Shooter should be offended.
To Shooter, Happy shouldn’t be there.
He is a one-hit wonder who everyone loves now, but in a week, no one will know.
And golf will not be better for it.
Shooter is the traditional golfer.
Of the two, Shooter respects the history of the game and is offended when a nobody like Happy is winning.
And why shouldn’t he?
Happy turned golf into a rock concert.
Shooter doesn’t act out because he hates Happy.
Or because he wants to win.
It is because of golf.
There is an etiquette and standard that a professional golfer needs to go by.
Not for himself.
But because he is not bigger than the game.
So you wear the appropriate attire and act accordingly, because one day you won’t be golfing.
The game is bigger than you.
Happy doesn’t understand this.
Shooter McGavin is the best player in the game and played his whole life to get there and this Happy Gilmore character who doesn’t even dress like a golfer is all of a sudden the face of golf?
Does Happy even realize that people are going towards golf because of him?
That kids will act out like him because they watch him do it?
No. Because all Happy is concerned about is making money to help his grandma.
Is Shooter McGavin a great guy?
But does he act out on the tour like Happy?
Also it is safe to say that Shooter hasn’t had as many on-field problems as Happy.
It gets so bad for Shooter that he needs to steal the jacket in order to take what should have been his.
So why do we assume that Happy is the good guy?
He doesn’t give a shit about the good of the game of golf.
It is all about Happy.
Recently in baseball there has been alot of talk about the state of the game.
Should you celebrate?
Should you be humble?
Should new players respect the old players?
Are old players just being old and cranky?
If you were to put what is going on baseball into this movie; who is who?
Who is the one trying to preserve the game?
Who is trying to save the tradition of the game?
And who is ruining the game by making it a show?
And by celebrating too much and being a punk?
So maybe Shooter isn’t the villain afterall.
He is the only person on the tour that is putting a man who has no respect for the game of golf in his place.
As everyone is getting caught up in the Happy Gilmore mania.
Shooter is staying focused on golf.
Because he knows the truth.
Happy isn’t good for the game.
It’s just that no one wants to admit it.