The following is a transcript of remarks made at a luncheon during the annual Villain and Antihero Planning and Energizing Retreat (VAPER), held at a Cici’s Pizza in Cleveland. These remarks have been edited for length and clarity (chiefly to omit several extended arguments on the appropriateness of pineapple as a pizza topping).
Moderator: So by now I’m sure you’ve all read the news about Congressional Republicans’ failure to get enough votes to repeal and replace Obamacare. How did you react when you found out?
Sauron: Well, just speaking for myself, I was really sad to hear about it. I mean, obviously healthcare isn’t my particular issue, but you still hate to see another villain’s plans just…[fart noise] like that.
Emperor Palpatine: Yeah, I think we can all relate to that feeling when, you know, you’ve finally consolidated power, totally hollowed out the very concept of democracy, and you think you’ve got a handle on things, only to watch it all just slip through your fingers.
Captain Hook: I’d appreciate it if you’d come up with a different way to phrase that.
Moderator: From your perspectives, what went wrong here?
Wicked Witch from Hansel and Gretel: I think I can take this one. I’d been following the news on Trumpcare, and all along I just kept saying: where’s the hook?
Captain Hook: Oh, come on.
Wicked Witch: You have to lure people in or, guess what: they run! Me, I’ve got a candy house. Simple but effective.
Pennywise The Clown: I’m not sure that’s fair. The GOP tried to sugarcoat the plan; they had Ted Cruz out there shilling for it.
Wicked Witch: Ted Cruz?? You can’t lure people in with Ted Cruz. Fucking Leatherface is less grotesquely inhuman. No offense, Leatherface.
Leatherface: Oh, none taken.
Wicked Witch: You just can’t go around being that transparently evil or it spooks people. I could claim to have a candy house, but if kids roll up and it’s covered in asparagus, they’re not coming inside.
Moderator: So you think the problem was primarily one of messaging?
Scar: “The problem” is the people themselves, in my opinion. I personally relate to the GOP very much right now. You know, you scratch your way to power by making a group of disaffected, nihilistic misfits your shock troops, you subjugate women, you overhung with no regard for the ecosystem, and you think that will be enough to cow the people into submission. But all you’ve really done at the end of the day is make a culture of “takers” thinking that they’re entitled to healthcare or food or water or whatever the case may be.
Immortan Joe: Hear, hear!
Moderator: Where should the GOP go from here?
Sauron: I would definitely say diversify. So you didn’t get the first thing on your evil agenda. Move on! Denying healthcare can’t be the only method you’ve got to break the souls of humankind. Like, I’m going after the One Ring, but that’s not my only project. I’m also attacking Gondor, I’m recruiting Saruman, I’m designing flour mills in the Shire that undermine their agrarian way of life. I’ve got my fingers in a lot of…pots? Is it pots or pies?
Captain Hook: Again–and I feel like I’ve said this several times now–I’d like to move away from the “fingers” imagery.
Xenomorph (Alien series): I think the GOP should just be more straightforward. If you want to kill millions of people, kill millions of people. Don’t dick around with the paperwork of it all.
Walter White: Says the guy who appears two hours into a three hour movie.
Lord Voldemort: Says the antihero who takes literal years to turn decisively evil.
The Iceberg (Titanic): Can we please not hash out the “do antiheroes belong in the villainous coalition” debate again? We have all agreed to be MORE INCLUSIVE.
From here, the discussion deteriorated quickly into a debate over what constitutes “evil” and who was responsible for which portion of the check.