Paul (Cabin Fever)

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Character
Name: Paul
Occupation: College Student
Title/Rank: None
Location: Unspecified
Status: dead
Relationships: Karen (friend, unrequited love)
Marcy (friend, one-time sex partner)
Jeff (friend)
Bert (friend)
Fandom: Cabin Fever
Other: Born: c.1981 (Original film)
          c.1994 (2016 Remake)

Played by: Rider Strong
                  (Original, Cabin Fever 2)
                  Samuel Davis
                  (Remake)
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Paul is a primary character in the original Cabin Fever, the remake, and also a very minor character in the original's sequel.

Canon Background

Paul met his longtime close friend, Karen in junior high, eventually attending the same college as her after presumably attending the same high school as well. He indicates that he had fell in love with her shortly after they met and has been carrying a torch for her ever since.

At some point in his childhood, a beloved fixture of his childhood, a local bowling alley, was permanently closed down due to a brutal mass murder that took place there. It's not clear how Paul was affected by this event at the time. As an adult, he still talked about the event with sadness, but showed no sign of being traumatized by it.


Characterisation

In both the films and the majority of the fandom, Paul is characterised as a sensitive, warm, charming guy. He shows bravery in times of real crisis, but is generally timid in more benign social matters.

In no area is this more evident than his ongoing infatuation with long-time friend, Karen. In the canon, Paul has been in love with Karen since junior high yet has never sucked up the courage to confess his feelings to her or even ask her out. This romance is at the center of Paul's personal storyline in the films and is typically a major factor in his aspirations and outlook in canon-based fanfiction, as well as some AU fanfiction.

Paul is typically characterised as being easy to coerce or intimidate into doing things he views as being wrong or distasteful. However, he is also shown to be quick to show remorse for these mistakes and extremely willing to make amends if possible.

His character growth, specifically with regard to his timid and compliant nature, is a common theme in fanworks in which Paul plays a central role.

Fandom

History

Paul became an immediate favorite of Cabin Fever fans, primarily due to him being portrayed by Rider Strong, whose teen heart-throb stock from his role on Boy Meets World was still quite fresh at the time of the film's release.

Theories

  • Though never explicitly stated, some fans believe the films hint that Paul had not lost his virginity previous to their timeframe. In his on-screen depictions, Paul is a handsome young man, leading supporters of this theory to speculate that his infatuation with Karen prevented him from exploring any other romantic or sexual opportunities.
  • The extent of Paul's canon relationship with Marcy has been the cause of much debate, especially since the release of the Director's Cut version of Cabin Fever, several years after the theatrical release, which added new scenes relevant to the pair[1]. While their sexual relationship seems to begin very abruptly, observant fans have spotted numerous subtle clues that they may have developed an emotional bond in the day leading up to their affair, and that, despite the film only explicitly showing one sexual encounter between them, they may have in fact had as many as three[2].

Pairings

  • Karen: A favorite in the early days of the Cabin Fever fandom, most fans were heartbroken by the tragic ending to this pair in the canon. Paul has been admiring Karen from afar since junior high, but never acted on his feelings.
    • Also frequently plays a significant backstory role in fanworks where it is not the central pairing.
  • Marcy: Probably the most popular Cabin Fever pairing at this time. Based off a brief but striking one night stand between the pair in the canon.

Other Relationships

  • Jeff: Friend. Of the other four principal characters in the films, Jeff is the one Paul interacted with least. The dynamics are similar in the fandom. As Marcy's original boyfriend, he has come to represent the prospect of conflict in Paul/Marcy fics. Though, due to the fact that he is typically characterised as a coward who runs from his problems, he almost never confronts Paul outright over sleeping with his (ex)girlfriend.
  • Bert: Friend. An obnoxious character who Paul is suggested to tollerate more than genuinely appreciate. In the canon, Paul develops a far greater respect for Bert over the course of the films, especially after Bert sacrifices his life to save Paul's.

Common Tropes

  • Nice Guy: Paul's character in a nutshell. Argued to be the biggest obstacle to him pairing up with Karen.
  • Friendzoned: Paul's relationship with Karen in the canon, and likewise in much of the fandom.
  • One Night Stand: Paul has one with Marcy in the canon and this likewise tends to be the starting point (if not the entirety) of their relationship in pretty much all Paul/Marcy material.
  • Old Shame: It's quite common for Paul to regret sleeping with Marcy shortly after the fact. Their post-coital encounters are frequently depicted as being uncomfortable, to say the very least.
  • Hurt/Comfort: Paul has a knack for being a girl's confidant in difficult times.
  • Angst: Whether it's heartwrenching grief, or even just some really awkward social drama, life always seems to find a way to weigh down on Paul.

Example Fanworks

Fanfic

  • Cabin Fever: Parting Shot by HeatAndChills. A Paul/Marcy erotic AU fic. Paul's schemes to romance Karen suffer a major setback. But out of the ruins, a previously unforeseen attraction begins to flourish. Based on the premise that vacation from the films played out without being interrupted by any of the gruesome elements from the canon.

Fanart

Fanvids

References

  1. ^ Most notably, a shot of them sharing a bed together (fully clothed), on their last night in the cabin together.
  2. ^ Fans have theorised that their appearance from the bedroom area of the cabin, close together, when Bert summons them to get into the newly-repaired truck is the aftermath of their first sexual encounter. Fans have also speculated that the mysterious appearance of Paul's wristwatch between two shots of their on-screen sex scene can be explained by the theory that the scene actually depicts two successive sexual encounters, cleverly edited together to appear as only one.