While scrolling through the comment sections on various Deltarune animatics - which I seriously do not recommend anyone do because after dredging through pages of hostility over "Ralsei is secretly evil" and "the player is the greatest villain of Toby Fox's games"* theories and the umpteenth fight breaking out over somebody accidentally calling Kris "him" instead of "them" I wanted to burn my Papyrus plushie - I came upon a comment asserting that by the time Chapter Three releases Spamton's going to be forgotten like Jevil was and everyone will be back to simping for Sans. I have two questions in response to this:
1) Was Jevil forgotten?
2) Did anyone ever seriously care about Jevil?
If those two questions sound contradictory, knowing about something isn't the same as being passionate about something. Jevil got popular and people still talk about what a hard boss he is and put him on T-shirts and shit. But, like, did anyone truly care about him?
* Okay, quick aside. Yes, I think Ralsei knows more than he's letting on. No, I don't think he's secretly evil. That's like saying Auron was secretly evil in Final Fantasy X because he didn't tell most of the troupe the truth about Sin, at one point claimed Seymour was lying when he told the truth about Sin being Jecht, and only drip-fed bits and pieces to Tidus. But if I'm wrong I'll eat my words. And if the point of the game really is "the player is a bastard for turning Kris into their puppet and robbing them of their free will, look how meta and self-aware I am" then that falls apart if the Knight who's going around opening Shadow Fountains and creating the Dark Worlds turns out to be anybody but Toby Fox himself.
Back on topic.
Spamton is a deceptively complicated character. His first encounter in the alley has him shouting broken dialogue and throwing eggs at you and basically being a "silly man who go brr" and he's called fucking Spamton for crying out loud, what was anyone expecting of him. Unfortunately I did not have the pleasure of experiencing this blind, as when Deltarune Chapter 2 dropped I was working on Hades so it took me a few weeks to get around to it and by then I'd already been exposed to him through the memes. And yes, if you never engage with him after the alleyway encounter you'd walk away thinking he's just a salesman who jumps around yelling about big shots. But go past that and you'll find he's an actual character with wants, dreams, and the most heartbreaking backstory in the entire Undertale universe.
The first time I played through Chapter 2 I didn't fight Spamton NEO. I never fought Jevil and had even started Chapter 1 over to get a picture for the quickie but stopped halfway through (I guess when Chapter 1 was the fake survey program it only had one save slot?). That meant I didn't have save data to carry over, so my first run of Chapter 2 was already screwed up. I figured once the full game was out I was going to replay it and I'd take on the optional bosses then, so stuck to the main story. I did go meet him in his shop, and I still remember how chilled I got by one five-word sentence he says. But I stopped at that and wound up watching a theory video to learn about the roller coaster that is his character arc as it goes from silly, to creepy, to nightmarish, to... actually incredibly silly again (yeah, I'm probably in the minority in thinking the actual Spamton NEO fight is fucking goofier than Kingdom Hearts R34), until finally ending in the gut punch that is learning his backstory that paints everything before that in a new light. I originally found the song that played in his shop creepy, but listening to it now, after learning how he wound up in that shithole... it's incredibly sad.
Jevil's just a clown who jumps around yelling about chaos. He doesn't go past the "silly man who go brr" level.
Okay, there's slightly more to Jevil. Seam tells us he used to be a nice clown, but went mad after meeting a mysterious stranger and had to be locked up in the castle dungeon where he cackles about how he's the only one who's free, and how something bad is going to happen to the world... oh, sorry, you were expecting more than that? You know, just the fact that Spamton is afraid of clowns gives him more depth then Jevil. Not saying coulrophobia instantly makes a great character, but it's something and that's more than I can say about Jevil.
Do a little experiment real quick. Go on YouTube and look up Jevil. The results will be mostly fight videos, some theory videos, a few covers of "WORLD REVOLVING", and like one animation. That while amusing, still - surprise! - depicts him as a clown jumping around yelling about chaos. By now he has to appear in more videos alongside Spamton than by himself. Now look up Spamton and you get total anarchy with tons of animations running the gamut of silly, nightmarish, and somewhere in between. How would you make something this horrifying with Jevil? You can't, because he's just a clown who jumps around yelling about chaos.
I might be talking out of my ass here, but in addition to the multiple sides to him, I think people are encouraged to make their own Spamtons because there are already two wildly different ones you can encounter in-game. The Normal version is desperate, wounded, and lashing out like a dog who's been kicked too many times. The Snowgrave version is an irredeemable piece of shit (not that he's the only one in that monstrosity) whose treachery bites him in the ass. So in the sea of Spamton fanart, you get mischievous Spamtons, you get friendly Spamtons, you get wicked Spamtons. You get silly Spamtons, you get creepy Spamtons, you get emotional Spamtons. You get relatively man-shaped Spamtons, you get gremlin Spamtons, you get four-legged critter Spamtons (incidentally, it was through Spamton that I learned what a scrunkly was). You get small Spamtons, you get itty bitty Spamtons, you get Spamtons who are just a little on the short side. You get ragdoll Spamton NEOs, you get lightly armored robot Spamton NEOs, you get heavily armored battle mech Spamton NEOs. You get ten-foot Spamton NEOs, you get fifty-foot Spamton NEOs, you get Spamton NEOs that can blot out the sun.
There's only one Jevil: a clown who jumps around yelling about chaos.
(Okay, there's the other kind of fan art, but while I'm obviously not checking I'm sure most of it still depicts Jevil as a clown who jumps around yelling about chaos, just with his knob out.)
Because Deltarune's story is still incredibly unfinished, a lot of Spamton's story is shrouded in mystery and ambiguity like what exactly he thought the power of the NEO machine would allow him to break free of (his misery/the Dark World/his manipulator/the game itself) and who the hell Mike is, which leaves room for multiple readings of him and headcanons. The following is my reading of him:
A lot of people call him a con man but I just never saw him that way. He wanted to be famous, mistaking fame for companionship, and when he made contact with somebody who got him what he wanted his friends ditched him out of jealousy. His friends throwing him under the bus tore a hole through him that he tried to plug with materialism and convincing himself he didn't need them, or anyone else. He clung tighter and tighter to his business "successes" until he lost that as well when his business partner vanished, was discarded when he was no longer useful, and yeah, I subscribe to the acid theory. He's supposed to have been infected with a virus that made him buggy, but it's hard not to see him as so mentally and emotionally broken it manifests into being "physically" broken.
He's still stuck in his businessman mentality and searching for a way to return to the limelight because hey, money never stabbed him in the back. He probably wanted to escape being a character in a video game, but if I'm allowed to invoke Death of the Author and take an at-face interpretation of Deltarune - because honestly, the meta shit about Kris being the player's puppet irritates me. Don't insult your audience for playing your game FFS - I'd say he thought the NEO machine's power would get him out of the "darkness" that his life has become. Then after years of living in trash and dreaming about that power, when he finally gets it and it doesn't do what he thought it would it sends him over the edge. If you take the pacifist option in the NEO fight like somebody who isn't a total dick the kids being selflessly nice to him while he's trying to smear them on the walls reawakens that part of him he buried to cope with his friends' betrayal and he starts to see out of his darkness before... well, that happens. I also have a headcanon that Susie and Ralsei rescuing Kris before the NEO fight enraged him because it reminded him of how his friends abandoned him and all the times his cries for help went unanswered.
Jevil's just a clown who jumps around yelling about chaos.
It's also interesting that Spamton's dialogue after the NEO fight when he turns into the reward item is the same whether you won with mercy or violence, yet it feels different in the two paths. When beaten peacefully his words feel gracious, as if he's saying "Thanks for trying kids, but I'm beyond help... but maybe I can help you" and when beating him violently (how dare you) they feel submissive, like "You win kids, I'm yours to do with as you please."
If I may put on my foil hat for a second, I think Fox wanted to test the waters with Spamton and decide what to do with him based on audience reception. He mentioned test players didn't take to him, but by now he has to know the fan response is overwhelmingly in favor, to the point Fangamer is having trouble keeping a bag of garbage in stock. Now, what he decides to do with that knowledge is his call. I'm not saying Spamton should become a major character going forward (in fact, people saying Spamton should have become a party member after the NEO fight - besides the fact he kinda does - remind me of an article I read saying Auron should have been the main character of Final Fantasy X: it just wouldn't work and would probably even devalue the character. No, I don't know why Auron keeps coming up here), but he's got to make some kind of appearance in a future chapter (simple way to get around the "Darkners turn to stone in other Dark Worlds" thing? The bearers of Shadow Crystals have been touched by pure darkness and can exist in all Dark Worlds like Ralsei). And hopefully there won't be some secret locked behind sacrificing all the optional boss items because mulching Spamton would make a lot of people very angry.
Speaking of the Spamton garbage, yes, I do know Fangamer is coming out with a Spamton plushie. I'm not sure what to make of that because his official design is disgusting. It's the fan art that makes him cute.
Oh, I fully expect the wave of Spamton Brain Rot to level out. And in the unlikely event Spamton did fall to the wayside I think the next secret boss would give his popularity a shot in the arm, the same way Spamton gave Jevil a second turn in the spotlight with people drawing the two as partners in crime (even though, again, Spamton is afraid of clowns). But I think he's here to stay in general Deltarune memory.
People make fanart and fanfic where Spamton joins the protagonists as their friend/sidekick/pet/kid brother/giant killbot uncle. I'm sure a few people wrote such fanfic about Jevil, but nowhere near the avalanche made about Spamton and done more for lulz as opposed to the earnest "I want to see this man get some Ws" you see with the Spamton fanfic.
Everybody has had friends ditch them over vindictive bullshit, their dreams fall apart and go wrong, and a loss of control of their lives. Or felt trapped in some way and wanted to be free, knowing deep down they never can be. Or wanted their work to be acknowledged and tried again and again to get somebody notice them, only to be repeatedly ignored. How does anyone really relate to Jevil?
I've read multiple accounts of people crying after the ending of the pacifist Spamton NEO fight, and if they didn't literally cry it still ripped their heart in half. Nobody cried when Jevil announced he was taking a nap.
There's no equivalent of the Salt Route for Jevil. As in, a fanfic that the entire community knows and talks about as if it's an official thing.
I'm not aware of anyone modding Jevil into Super Mario 64 but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
And "BIG SHOT" is better than "WORLD REVOLVING." I'd say fight me, but I think most people agree?
Long story short, Spamton is a sadboi people want to help, whether by kicking the ass of whoever manipulated him, destroyed his life, and left him living in garbage for years, or taking him home, giving him a bath and a sandwich, then tucking him into bed.
And Jevil's just a clown who jumps around yelling about chaos.