Friday, December 05, 2008

Guest Stars and Character Actors

I hate Sex and the City for a lot of reasons, but mainly because I hate Sex and the City analogies. Everyone always thinks they’re the Samantha despite the obvious truth gleaned from taking a damn look around that nearly everyone is a Miranda or a Carrie.

Ditto for The Office. Half the girls who work in offices think they’re the Pam (Dawn, if you will), and that some random cute guy is the Jim (Tim), except that’s not true because no real life office guy is ever as fun as Jim, which means Not Pams are Not Pams because they don’t have his pranks to good sport along with, which is what makes a Pam. If there was ever a real Jim, he’d be fired immediately for insubordination. And in real life, the Not Pam just reads a lot of Perez Hilton and IMs about how cute some Not Jim is.

Which is fine and all, but I’ve been watching a lot of TV recently and sort of wondered why people mass identify with the characters they do. You never hear, “Ha, I’m totally a Detective Olivia Benson, SVU.” Or “I’m the Kenneth Parcell, I know it!” instead of “Oh my god, Liz Lemon is ME.” Which even I have said, I know.

But I guess it’s a natural impulse, because I’ve been trying to make sense of my junk drawer of a life by plotting myself on a scale from one character to another. One of the greatest compliments I’ve ever been paid by a drunk train wreck of a dude was that I was far more Patsy than Edina. As someone who has consistently been the Edina for, say, 25 of 26 years, Patsy is definitely a step up the repulsive comedic character ladder. But, honestly, I probably skew somewhere in the middle: brunette but a dieter, chubbier than Patsy but less fashion victim-y than Eddie, kind of in between their polar extremes of meanness and self-absorption.

The My So-Called Life Rayanngela Spectrum may be more realistic. Because sometimes I’m all Rayanne (yes, I know we’ve been making out on the street for, like, 15 minutes, but what was your name again?) and sometimes I’m all Angela (I am sitting in my room and listening to Elliot Smith for my entire day off, interrupted only by a Chinese food delivery and some depressed journal writing), but mostly I slide somewhere in the neurotic, unacceptably teenagery, flannel-wearing territory between the two.

I kinda Rayanne’d the other night because I’m Angela-ing for this other dude I really like—who, of course, I like in the most instinctual, adolescent, Angela Chase way, which isn’t based on knowing him well or reciprocity or actual events or possibly even reality. (So, like I always like boys.) But whereas I normally just flop around on the Angela side of things, being mopey and maybe, if things get particularly dire, listening to “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” on repeat like a dweeb, I chose to pull a classic Rayanne. I mean, the situation was cribbed from the show entirely: cheap beer, your standard issue random dude with a one-episode story arc, the need for fake IDs. All I needed was a Buffalo Tom song playing somewhere in the background on repeat to complete the picture.

He was nice and cool and all, the Cory Halfrick to my stupid Jordan Catalano, but I’ve had better ideas. Ones I should probably stick to. Like taking the G train alone and watching CSI: Las Vegas on my computer until dawn, as per usual. On the CSI scale, I’ve proven I’m definitely not as smart as a Grissom, but at least that show generally lulls me to sleep with the confidence that I’m cooler than a Hodges. And, if my life gets any more idiotic, that show also serves as a catalog of approximately two billion ways to undetectably off myself, provided someone is willing to lock my door from the inside and, like, throw some blood and semen around to give them something to investigate.

Which is, I believe, the true definition of friendship.


Blogger Kyle said...

you know, ryan has said to me on multiple occasions that he is detective olivia benson; and while watching sex and the city (which i also hate) i audibly announced that i was steve.

we are perfect.

4:45 AM  

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