Why Nemo Will Never Be Found

Why Nemo Will Never Be Found

By: Nicole Chedraoui 

Written at my breaking point. 

Ladies and gentleman, shes, theys, and gays, I’m here today to tell you that I simply can’t go on. I simply can’t go on pretending anymore. The elephant in the room has grown so colossal, so mammoth, that as a Herald staff member, I feel it is my duty to ruin every single one of your childhoods. 

We’re gathered here today because I’m done with the lies, and I’m tired of living in deception. There’s no easy way to tell you all this, but I feel the lurking weight upon my shoulders will not be lifted until I rip off the band-aid.  

Nemo was never found. 

Nemo never will be found. 

I know what you may be thinking– Nicole, are you talking about the frivolous, finned clownfish from Pixar’s 2003 smash film “Finding Nemo?” And the simple answer to this is yes, yes I am. 

I can’t imagine the shock you must be feeling at this very moment, I know, when I found out my favorite tangerine-colored fish was nothing more than a mirage, my world was flipped upside down. 

The first step in grief is denial, so today I thought the absolute most crucial thing I could write about is the tale of our favorite funny fish–may he rest in peace–and the “theory” (it’s 100% the truth but whatever), that Nemo was nothing more than poor, heartbroken Marlin’s imagination. 

For those of you dinguses who have never seen Finding Nemo (whatever rock you are residing under) the general consensus of the film is that a helicopter parent named Marlin takes full parental custody over his lil’ squirt Nemo after his wife passes away and all of his other children are tragically murdered. After said mass fish genocide commences (mind you we are only 3 minutes into this movie), Marlin realizes his only surviving glowing orange fish baby is a lil’ guy who he decides to name “Nemo.” Nemo, like most teenage clown fish  is what Baby Boomers call “a mouthy little brat,” which in nicer terms means that he likes to do what he wants, and he’s tired of his dad telling him what to do. So, instead, he rebels like a BAD clownfish. Blah Blah Blah teenage fish rebels because of helicopter parent and then our movie truly commences when Nemo swims off his hometown reef to embark on an unexpected,dangerous adventure across the entire ocean. Mind you during this time Marlin is having an absolute aneurysm over his only living spawn alone and in harm’s way, so he travels across the sea to save him. 

The movie is him finding Nemo.  …Get it? 

Finding Nemo 

Yea, well I’m here to now explain why that absolutely did not happen. Let’s start with the facts. 

Fact 1) Nemo is a weird as heck name.Who in their right mind name’s their only living child “Nemo.” Upon further exploration, I found out that when translated into Latin, “Nemo” loosely translates into the word “Nobody.” 

“Finding Nobody.” 

Y’all….. Nemo DIDN’T EXIST. I know it may be crazy to jump to conclusions but I’m going to need you to bear with me and entertain the possibility that our favorite disabled fish may just be… a mirage? I don’t know how educated you may be on the lore of Nemo, so in order to keep up with my expertise knowledge, let’s flash backward to the first 3 minutes of the movie. Coral, Marlin’s fish-wife, and the other 400 unborn clown-babies were tragically murdered by a BARRACUDA. I’m not quite sure if you all know what a barracuda looks like, but in case you don’t, let me show you the friendly little guy down below. 

Yeah, we’re supposed to believe that NEMO (the shrimpiest of all shrimpy fish) was somehow the SOLE survivor of this chompy-mouth-monster??? I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying it. For reference, this is what Nemo looked like at the time in comparison to these absolute MONGREL. 

See that little glowing orange jelly bean? That, my friend, is supposedly the sole survivor of the barracuda attack. And as much as I want to believe it’s true, I’m afraid that there is quite literally no way Nemo survived this attack. To further prove this, isn’t it an interesting coincidence that Pixar decided to name the one fish who escaped the barracuda…nobody? 

Case in point, Nemo 100% died tragically along with his other 400 unborn brothers and sisters, and we’re starting off our movie with a trauma-induced fever trip where a neurodivergent clownfish named Marlin hallucinates his son’s entire childhood.  

It is no secret that trauma can truly and wholly change a person, and right now, I want to break down to you the allegory of Marlin’s journey through the 5 stages of grief after Nemo’s tragic death at the beginning of the movie. 


For the first 20 minutes of the movie, all we hear from Marlin is how Nemo can’t go to school because “it isn’t safe.” I don’t know about you, but most parents I know have to push their kids out the door to go to school, not keep them from going at all costs. This further proves that Marlin is in total and complete denial that his son is truly dead, so instead, he pretends to shelter his only “living” kin he has left, making sure that he can’t slip through his fishy-fin’s grasp like his wife and 400 dead children. 


The next stage of grief is anger, and it is certainly clear that Marlin has a BOATLOAD (get it) of anger. In fact, Marlin is so angry all the time that Nemo decides that he wants to venture off of his “safe” coral reef and out into the abyss to touch the butt (it’s actually a boat but they call it a butt, fun fact). So, to Marlin’s dismay, Nemo scurries his clown-butt off into the dark horizon, as Marlin yells (can fish yell?) and scolds him for venturing outside his grasp of control. All Marlin ever wanted was to feel a sense of control in a life where his family was robbed from him, a life where everything was always out of his control. 


This may be the most obvious part of our allegory yet, but now is the stage of bargaining, where Marlin gangs up with an amnesiac travel fish named Dory and practically begs her to help him find his son. Dory, who can’t remember a 2-minute-long conversation, isn’t very quick to question Marlin and his frantic ways and agrees to the part of the unassuming sidekick. 


Next, we face a tragedy. Marlin’s precious baby boy is flushed down the drain. Now is when the despair hits, and Marlin has to whip out his kelp tissue box to dry his fishy eyes. This was it, Marlin thought, his only son was gone forever, he would never get him back. He’s swimming in the sky with his deceased wife and 400 kids. Marlin is positively in his fishy BAG. 


It seems after the despair Marlin emerges a whole new fish, and his personality finally changes from anxious to content. He no longer needs to hold Nemo’s fishy hand and look 6 ways before they cross the coral. He finally accepted that his son is gone and that he doesn’t need to keep his fins shackled by the guilt and regret he feels for not being able to save his wife and kids. Marlin is at peace, he has finally discovered what it means to live without the weight of loss on his chest. Marlin is free. 

While this may not be the adorably soppy Pixar ending we remember from our childhood, there is no doubt in my mind this is the true story behind Nemo. Nemo wasn’t just a story about an overprotective dad learning to trust his son, Nemo was a journey of self discovery for a broken dad who lost everything he’d ever known,and how he began his life again after letting go of his grief and despair. 

Nemo is a story of love, life, and barracudas. 

And while we may not want to accept our favorite fishy friend is nothing more than a trauma-induced mirage, I think this story, whether it’s true or not, possesses depth the original Nemo could never compare to. 

1 like = 1 prayer for Nemo

#RIPourfallenfishysoldier #weloveyoueventhoughyouredefinitelydead


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