Last night, Chris, a good friend of mine with whom I frequently reference the 1994 Disney baseball movie “Angels in the Outfield,” suggested that I should blog about it, to which I raised the stakes and said I could do a whole film analysis on it. Well, a day later, that’s just what I’ve done.
Chris made a really good point: “There really might be something there as a blog post. Why do we watch the shit out of a movie like that when we’re 10, and how/why are we still quoting it at 25?”
That really got me thinking: Why do people our age keep harping on things from our childhood? I think things from our childhood reminds of us where we’ve been, where we are, and where we can go.
Just take this movie: We like to be reminded of our childhood, especially considering our present where we are starting to settle into being “real adults,” part of the workforce, and having to do the same things every day for years to come. Frankly, it’s a transition that kind of sucks. So why not use childhood nostalgia as the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down? As far as the future, with these kinds of things, we’re always thinking “where are they now?” With a movie like “Angels in the Outfield,” we know where several of these actors are now: big stars. Guys like Danny Glover, Christopher Lloyd, and Tony Danza were already established stars, but they’ve since been joined by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew McConaughey, and Adrien Brody. I think we like to watch old movies we watched as kids to remind ourselves that we might still “make it.”
Anyway, here’s my analysis of the movie watching it today. This is going to be really long, so I apologize in advance. But not really.
A full, real-time, stream-of-consciousness commentary on 1994’s “Angels in the Outfield”
- Opening credits: I once heard the theme of this movie being played at a David Copperfield show in Las Vegas when he was making a car disappear.
- Roger and JP are best friends whose parents are maybe friends in heaven. And they think foster homes are named after a kid named Foster. It could(‘ve) happened!
- The Angels are on a 14-game losing streak? Holy shit…I hate to spoil the movie this early, but how in the ever-loving fuck did this team get good?
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s (JGL, playing Roger) deadbeat dad is here to kill Roger’s mood by telling him he likes losers. Also he’s played by Dermot Mulroney (or is it Dylan McDermott?).
- Mulroney actually does a pretty good job acting here. His character sucks. Can’t even man up to tell Roger he’s releasing him from his custody.
- Here’s the setup: Mulroney cracks that they’ll be a family again “when the Angels win the pennant.” Note: it’s established they’re on 14-game losing streak, in last place.
- No wonder the Angels are in last place, this pitcher Gates has horrible mechanics.
- Roger and JP are watching from a nearby tree overlooking the field. They’re later told they “better have tickets for that tree.” That’s bullshit. What’s that cop gonna do, climb it himself and kick them out? He’s a fatass.
- First glimpse of future star (and previously in “Dazed and Confused“) Matthew McConaughey. (“Hey man, I keep getting older, but those foster kids stay the same age.” – what his “Dazed and Confused” character would say, probably, because he was a goddamn creep.)
- Glover and said Gates start an internal fight. Ranch Wilder is loving the schadenfreude.
- Adrien Brody, pre “The Pianist,” shows up. His character is probably as good a hitter as the actual pianist would be, even in old age by the 1990’s.
- “They got the wrong kind of salami!” – Triscuit Messmer, alleged MLB baseball player who is far too out of shape to play, even as a catcher. He can’t be very agile behind the plate.
- Mapel’s rap about the team always losing is not taken well by Knox. “SAVE IT MAPO!”
- Class clown, “jackass,” and “pitcher” Whitt Bass (played by ubiquitous character actor Neal McDonough) gets clocked with a baseball bat. He’s been in several movies here and there. I can never not think of this movie whenever I see him.
- “Fundamentals? In the middle of the season?” – the old, probably down-on-his-luck journeyman…Yeah, fundamentals…have you guys even watched yourselves play?
- Knox and Wilder get in a fight. Two assholes don’t make a right.
- Here’s Miguel the third resident of Maggie Nelson’s foster home who lives with Roger and JP, and who has the record for mustache earliest in life. He also has the record for biggest asshole earliest in life. And fucking ROGER gets yelled at for saying “Shut up!”
- Maggie doesn’t use cat brain to cook. Social Services would be relieved.
- JP actually is pretty annoying with a boatload of questions as they’re all trying to go to sleep. I’ll give Miguel that. Meanwhile, Roger prays that the Angels win the pennant so he and his dad can be a family again. In all honesty, some pretty solid acting from JGL. He’s always had the chops. (Also, “Amen…A-women, too” is a pretty good line).
- It comes out: Ranch Wilder spiked Knox sliding into home and ruined his career. Speaking of Ranch, he’s got a weird career. Good player to a subpar manager to a very stereotypical play-by-play guy.
- Knox and Mel Clark (Tony Danza) have a history together when Clark played for Knox in Cincinnati. He blew out his arm and took too many pain pills, allegedly “shoved down my [Mel’s] throat.” Mel also has a huge coughing fit as he verbally fights back. You have to wonder if that foreshadows something later in the movie.
- “Drop dead, I got sunscreen in my eye!” – Glover to Brody, after Brody thinks he sees Knox crying and gives a wistful, romantic monologue of the joys of suiting up for a baseball game on a beautiful summer day.
- “Whitt Bass takes the mound with his trademark slide!” The announcers have seen him “lick dirt, eat bugs, and floss his catcher’s teeth in the dugout.” Yet he’s still only 2-11. I wonder how the fuck he has 2 wins. He just gave up a scorcher on his first pitch of the game. Bass set three times, which I’m sure would be a balk.
- FIRST POST-ROGER-PRAYER ANGEL SIGHTING: Angels who look like they’re in an ’80s metal band fly in to hoist up McConaughey a long ways to catch a ball. “Those guys in sparkly pajamas!” – Roger. The resident tight-ass and possible serial rapist who is fat and likely unemployed, which is the only reason he would be attending these games, is not impressed.
- Christopher Lloyd appears as the boss angel, named “Al” based on an American League umpire’s hat, which by the way, nobody noticed it fly off the umpire’s head and float in the outfield bleachers? The umpire was LOOKING RIGHT AT IT! Also, what would Al be named if this happened once they discontinued the practice of separate umpires for the AL and the NL? Would his name be “MLB logo?”
- Is anybody supervising these kids? Said tight-ass and could-be serial rapist could just kidnap these kids and nobody would know.
- ANGEL SIGHTING: Now an angel is helping fat catcher Triscuit Messmer bat, who with the added assistance hits a walk-off home run, shattering the bat and literally tearing the cover off the ball.
- (Side note: in this fictional version of the American League, there’s an awful lot of action on first pitches. Movie Billy Beane and Peter Brand of “Moneyball” would not have signed any of these guys.)
- JP wins a contest to get a picture taken with George Knox. Cosmic, man.
- Usher: “I can see you kid don’t know baseball, that’s Mel Clark!” <Roger spouts off knowledge of Mel Clark> (“Suck on that, old fart,” he’s probably saying to himself)
- JP: “You used to be Mel Clark?” Mel Clark: “Yeah, I used to be.” (Not shown: In a sudden bout of depression, Mel Clark gets skunk-drunk and ends up crying in the injury rehab whirlpool all night. “I USED TO BE MEL CLARK!”, he laments, his tears mixing with cascades of Jack Daniels as he slowly submerges into unconsciousness.)
- Roger takes JP’s place in the picture, and spills the “angels are helping you win” beans. He is insistent, over Knox’s objections that “YOU GOT US A PSYCHO KID!” (“Looks like a prison photo.” – David, the manger’s assistant)
- Asked about his miraculous catch, McConaughey felt as if somebody had him by the arms. Guess he hasn’t laid off all the pot from “Dazed and Confused.”
- Meanwhile, Messmer attributes added power from the chili dogs he had before the game. “That third one tasted kind of funny.” I bet it would’ve sucked to be the home plate umpire for this game.
- The next day, Knox delivers the photos of Roger and him himself, thinking there’s some credibility to Roger’s story. (“Looks like a prison photo.” – JP)
- JP doesn’t like strangers. Neither does Knox: he doesn’t even like his friends. What a jackass. But regardless, Knox invites Roger and JP to go to the next game and sit next to the dugout. But not Maggie. She doesn’t GO to baseball games. She’ll be SURE to tell you that herself. Bitch.
- David the assistant gets a whole ton of snacks for the kids. His reward? JP getting mustard on his linen suit, and then Coke, because JP misheard David say that club soda helps with stains. Whatever, David has a stick up his butt anyway.
- Al shows up in a spilled Coke cup. What exactly did that look like to the people in the row behind? Soda spilled into the shape of Doc Brown? He exits via a soap bubble when JP pops it.
- Knox accuses Roger directly of “spiritually hallucinating,” which good thing the kid doesn’t know what that means, because that’s kind of cruel to say to a child. They develop a signal for when Roger sees angels: Roger will flap his imaginary wings. He also advises Knox not to swear so much. It’s a wonder they would show up to any baseball game under that condition. As another condition, Roger has Knox ban the team from cursing: “That eliminates all speech from most of the team.” – star slugger Ray Mitchell, sporting a sweat-soaked Jheri curl that Lionel Richie would be most proud of.
- Aaaaaaaand David sits the nachos he just brought back. “Nacho Butt,” as JP will later call him.
- By the way: Bass is pitching today’s game too. He just started yesterday. What the fuck?
- ANGEL SIGHTING: Roger sees an angel massaging the utility man Danny Hemmerling, Brody’s character. He was shown taking practice swings before the game which looked god-awful. I don’t care how good you are at defense: if you swing like that, you’re not advancing past Babe Ruth League. And Roger insists Knox pinch-hit Hemmerling for Mitchell, the team’s best hitter. Angels or not, that is really freaking stupid.
- “Hemmerling for Mitchell? GO BACK TO CINCINNATI!” – resident tight-ass, possible serial rapist (heretofore known as PSR). Gotta give this creep his due: that’s fucking dumb. Mitchell has probably a 3-in-10 chance of succeeding here, so even with a guarantee that Hemmerling would get a hit, you have to like Mitchell’s odds regardless.
- ANGEL SIGHTING: An angel slows down the 0-2 pitch to a flailing Hemmerling to about 5 miles per hour, allowing him to hit an incredibly weak chopper towards the pitcher’s mound. But the angels are not done: Al himself picks up the ball and starts rolling, hacky-sacking, and tossing it around to prevent the A’s from fielding it. But even assuming God is on the Angels’ side, would even He induce 6 men to accidentally beat the crap out of each other over a baseball game? Hell, he even caused a nut-shot! No god I would ever believe in would do such a thing. But alas, Hemmerling eventually comes around to score, and the umpires are dumbfounded by the baseball’s seemingly supernatural powers. There were 19+ errors on the play…yikes. (Not shown: every A’s infielder is demoted to AAA after the game.)
- Roger and JP now have pseudo-season tickets. Knox, in gratitude, will drive them home, but finds out at the last possible second that JP doesn’t ride in cars because of a traumatic experience with his now-dead mother. Kind of sad, but at the same time, Roger should’ve mentioned that earlier. Knox drives them home in the team bus looking like a total yahoo.
- The boys arrive home to find out Miguel has been placed with a family, which crushes JP, who never realized how much of a shit Miguel was to him. With Miguel’s absence, Roger takes on the job of being super-annoyed by JP’s constant talking at bedtime.
- Today, the “red-hot Detroit Tigers,” the Angels’ “long-time nemesis,” are in town.
- ANGEL SIGHTING: Roger spots an angel massaging the shoulders of some guy in uniform who used to be Mel Clark. With Roger’s feedback, Knox is persuaded to start him over scheduled starter Dan Prince. Clark goes from perpetually being on the DL to suddenly being “the boss” (rimshot). God, Mel’s warmups look terrible. Danza has awful mechanics, himself. Ranch reminds the radio audience that Mel hasn’t started a game since the 1980’s. I kind of wonder how he’s been sticking around major league ballclubs for so many years while being literally physically unable to pitch.
- (Side note: this act of JGL giving Tony Danza another shot would reoccur in real life, when JGL cast Danza as his father in his directorial debut, “Don Jon.”)
- ANGEL SIGHTING: An angel transfers his holy power into Mel’s first pitch, an unlikely high-90s fastball, and proceeds to help Mel Clark pitch a “miracle shutout.” This makes Ranch very suspicious, which in the 2000s would easily result in PED accusations. I wonder if Jose Canseco ever had any dirt on Tony Danza…
- (Side note: Mel Clark looks a lot like a local Philadelphia garbageman with a strong leg…wonder if Mel can help him get a shot at the NFL someday.)
- As a reward to the boys for their good luck, Knox gives them “anything they want,” which ends up in a pickup baseball game led by Knox involving a lot of neighborhood kids. Knox calls on a young Marvin Vincent Archer to pinch-hit, and he ends up with a fluke single that goes through the pitcher Knox’s legs. Up comes the neighborhood fat kid, a “Babe Ruth” lookalike (which is ostensibly a fat joke). Baby Ruth crushes the ball, after which Knox tells young Marvin to “run home,” which Marvin takes literally. Instead of running after him to explain his mistake and bring him back to the game, however, Roger and George just laugh at him and let him run away. Assholes.
- Bass is pitching AGAIN? Whatever happened to Gates? Did he get cut? Do the Angels even have any other pitchers?
- Angel helps McConaughey run down a fly ball to the warning track.
- Al intervenes in an argument between Knox and an umpire, helping Knox articulately commend the umpire’s call.
- Al bends the foul pole to give the Angels a home run (nobody noticed the pole move?)
- Angel spanks Messmer from behind while running from first on a routine base hit, and compels him to make the turn and go for third. Angel pushes Messmer down from behind into a 30-foot slide into third. That the angel helped Messmer, the Stay Puft Marshallow Man, make it from first to third on a single might be the most unbelievable part of the movie. Messmer celebrates with his now-trademark gorilla-like chest-beating.
- Also shown: the Angels are now being hailed as “Best in league?” by a weekly baseball publication, and Bass tries to steal a Mel Clark-autographed ball from Roger.)
- Angel grabs Detroit’s pitcher’s arm in mid-windup, causing him to spin around like a top and violently deliver the ball into his own dugout. Again, not sure why God is trying to harm innocent people just because of a little boy’s idealistic and miscommunicated wish.
- (Side note: We’re starting to see some plays where angels are not involved, which makes you wonder: have they even needed angels with them the whole time? I wonder if that theme will ever show up again…)
- PSR yells at everybody to “GET OUT OF THE WAY!” and subsequently takes a home-run ball in the mouth. Good. The fucker deserves it.
- Messmer knocks down the runner trying to bowl him over during a play at the plate. Fair, except then Messmer inexplicably (and right in front of the umpire) hits the runner on the head as he’s getting up. Bad form.
- Angels turn a nice double play. Angels then turn a triple play at Yankee Stadium, during which the ball gets stuck in the second baseman’s glove, who throws the whole glove to first. We’ve since seen this in real life, actually. Not impressed anymore.
ALWAYS FADE OUT IN A MONTAGE…
- Angels finish 160 games tied for the division lead, and evidently hold the tiebreaker against the defending champion White Sox, who they “ironically” play. Dude, it’s not that ironic. I don’t think it means what you think it means.
- Possible goof: Maggie hangs up from a call with Roger’s social worker on the home’s new Angels helmet phone, but not 1 second after she misses the hook, the evil “off-the-hook” warning blares. Anyway, turns out Roger’s custody hearing got rescheduled to this afternoon, and he has to miss the game. He’s pissed, but he has no idea what’s about to happen to him.
- JP sternly reminds Knox that lying about Roger being sick to get him out of the hearing is bad, to which Knox retorts “Well Maggie’s not in a pennant race.”
- ANGEL SIGHTING: False alarm. JP’s been looking at Ray Mitchell towelling his head through binoculars.
- Meanwhile, Roger arrives to court, where he waits a long time. Unbeknownst to him, Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney has just turned over custody of Roger to the state. He doesn’t have the heart to tell Roger what happened, even after Roger gloats about the Angels being in first place. Once again, honestly, good acting by JGL, crying in despair. Roger on the car ride home: “Yeah, giving someone away is a great way to show ’em you care.”
- Meanwhile, not so good acting by Milton Davis Jr.: JP’s post-loss bawling makes him look like he was sprayed in the face with a hose.
- And in swoops that jackass Wilder to check in with JP about what he overheard regarding angels helping the team win. JP inadvertently gets him with a good crack about his “big chin.” (“Everybody’s a critic.” – Ranch).
- Despite the angels assumedly guaranteeing victory, Knox still forgoes all film analysis in advance of the possible division-clinching game tomorrow. An incredibly humane gesture to be sure, as he spends the evening making meatloaf with Roger and JP to make them feel better. But still, come on dude. You’re paid to manage.
- (Side note: JP and Roger claim they’ve never heard of lasagna….seriously??????)
- Roger doesn’t believe in God or in angels anymore. Knox shows some humanity, putting his arm around him in comfort. (I also noticed Knox’s breath show up: are nights in Anaheim cold in September?)
- JP, the little shit who broke his word not to tell anybody about the angels and got the whole story leaked to the press, has now caused the Angels’ owner (a cowboy man who uses cowboy terms like “hogwash” and “you’ve got enough manure on your boots,” and an obvious stand-in for real-life former Angels owner and actual fictional cowboy Gene Autry…I’m confused too) to force George Knox to either renounce the angels publicly or be fired. That’s why you keep secrets, JP.
- Roger, JP, and Maggie arrive late to the press conference where Knox will renounce the angels, which causes George to change his mind and start professing his belief in angels. (He says he’ll “shoot from the hip,” which prompts a “you’re kidding me” look from the owner…when I was a little kid, I honestly thought the owner gave this look because George used a cowboy term like he did all the time.) Knox starts going off about how they’re playing spiritually…it’s a wonder the owner didn’t stop him mid-sentence Steinbrenner-style. Maggie steps in to make a good point about the already-strong presence of Christianity in sports, which, yeah, actually that makes some sense. Mel Clark prompts the entire team to declare they won’t play for anybody but George; even Whitt Bass in his fucking Bozo the Clown suit. It works, and Knox’s job is saved.
- (Side question: Would this ever work in real life? Just imagine: Tony LaRussa’s metalhead wife admits to seeing the ghost of Dimebag Darrell, and that her husband takes advice based on what Dimebag suggests the team do in certain situations. LaRussa himself admits at a press conference, yes, I take advice from my wife who sees the ghost of Dimebag Darrell. Lucky for him, Albert Pujols stands up and says “I may disagree with his archaic, barbaric, primal political views, and I really fucking hate metal, but I won’t play for anyone but Tony LaRussa.” Exactly.)
- Later that night, Clark goes down 2-0 in the top of the first. But Ray Mitchell ties the game with a big home run in the 6th, which is fine except MITCHELL MISSES THE PLATE WHEN HE COMES HOME. It’s clear as day and nobody notices! The White Sox should appeal and step on home before the next play, and they have the lead again. McConaughey makes another nice diving play.
- Towards the end of the game, Al appears and tells Roger that no angels are coming. (“Championships have to be won on their own.” – Al). Let’s break that down, shall we? “Championships” have to be won on their own. Today counts as a championship, as a win would give the Angels the division title. But that doesn’t disqualify angels from intervening in the playoffs, right? In 1994, the Angels would’ve assumedly made the best-of-7 ALCS to play whoever won in the AL East. So technically, so long as the Angels didn’t have 3 wins in the series, angels could intervene, right? Given that, say the Angels went up 3-0 with the help of real angels. Since only one team has ever come back from being down 3-0 in a postseason series (need I remind you who that was?), wouldn’t that mean that real angels helped the baseball Angels win the AL pennant from a statistical standpoint? That’s something that’s always bugged me about this rule. What do you think of THAT, Al?
- But it turns out Al wasn’t there to help the team after all: he’s actually there to check on Mel, who’s “going to be one of us” in 6 months. WHAT. THE. FUCK? Okay, Al cites that Mel has “smoked for years, always a mistake.” Makes sense, smokers often get lung cancer and die prematurely. But let’s break this down too. Roger noted early in the movie that Mel pitched multiple shutouts in a row for Cincinnati in 1986. So if Mel was in his prime them, he’d probably have been somewhere around age 30-33, best guess. 1986 was 8 years prior to this movie, which would put Mel somewhere around age 38-41 at the time of the movie. Just how many cigarettes did Mel smoke in his mere 38-41 years of existence? Everybody’s bodies react differently, but I have to think he must have started smoking at least a pack a day starting at age 10 to die of lung cancer by age 41. But okay, maybe he’s had heart issues or other serious medical problems. Don’t you think team doctors might have noticed any serious health issues in a guy perpetually on the DL who is prone to severe tobacco-related coughing fits? Anyway, the shit keeps piling up on Roger. (Side note: pure speculation: they might have been setting Danza up to be the next “Al” in a California Angels-related “Angels in the Outfield” sequel. Instead we got “Angels in the End Zone” with that annoying little whiny bastard from “7th Heaven.” Never thought I’d say this, but if they couldn’t have done it with Danza, they shouldn’t have done it at all.) (Another side note: I had the screen paused on this picture while I wrote this Mel Clark death paragraph…the look on Al’s face suggests that he doesn’t even believe the shit he’s spewing to Roger.)
- Anyway, the game continues, and Mel is showing “definite signs of fatigue.” Formerly passed-over starter Dan Prince has been warming in the bullpen for what seems like hours now. Thankfully for the Angels, an inning-ending double play is induced in the top of the 8th, and the Angels take the lead in the bottom of the 8th on a daring suicide squeeze. Messmer’s belly meanwhile, pops out to first, showing what’s closer to his true form than being anything close to a good hitter.
- Mel gives up a leadoff single in the 9th, and McConaughey’s hat flies off running for it. I think that’s about the 5th time his hat has flown off. I wonder if “Diva” McConaughey had written into his contract that his entire face had to be shown hat-less at least 5 times or something.
- Uh-oh, Mel started coughing again after that single. He’s able to field the sac bunt cleanly and get the out at first, but there’s a guy on second with one out. Despite a nice play, the shortstop Garcia can’t make an out at first. Next pitch, another batter smokes one off Clark (see what I did there?), but it’s caught on a highlight reel play by McConaughey (whose hat fell off AGAIN) in which he leaps over his left fielder who was also running for it. Clark then loads the bases with a first-pitch HBP. Seriously, how many things happen on the first pitch in this movie? Up comes Kit “Hit or Die” Kesey, the RBI leader with a penchant for chewing tobacco (wonder how many months he has left).
- (Side note: with the scar on his face, Kesey looks like if Liev Schreiber played John Connor in that 10-second long shot at the beginning of “Terminator 2.”)
- (Side note: some pretty good dedication to established character traits here, as Bass is shown playing with a toy truck in the dugout during the 9th inning of this game.)
- Wally (the forced-by-Ranch-to-be-silent radio co-host) notes that after two pitches to Kesey, Clark is at 156 pitches. Are you serious? How in the hell is he still in this game? Forget believing in him or not, that’s irresponsible on Knox’s part. Imagine Knox’s guilt of overworking him only months before he dies! After two hard-hit close calls, including a shot foul down the third base line and a near-home run foul in left field, Mel has Kesey in a full count. Knox contemplates taking him out now, which wait, what? In the middle of a full count? You left him in to this point, why take him out now? Anyway, Roger convinces him to “make him believe” and gets the whole stadium to do the angel wing signal to do so, including the now on-board David the assistant and our old friend PSR. And in a bit of clever foreshadowing, the owner shuts his radio off on Ranch. Mel subsequently induces a liner right back to the mound, which he bobbles and miraculously ends up catching. Wally declares that the Angels have won the pennant, which would mean they won the American League, but I don’t remember the ALCS ever starting. I thought this was still the regular season. That doesn’t make sense.
- The owner fires Ranch, which is actually kind of bullshit because he’s only being fired for criticizing George Knox, which frankly, he deserved for leaving in Clark for 160 pitches. But regardless, Wally gets in a “less is more” crack at Ranch, who used that line against Wally all movie long. It is good to see that asshole Ranch and his asshole chin are both out of a job.
- Knox drops the kids at Maggie’s, and drops the bombshell that he’s decided to adopt both Roger and JP. (Side note: when I was little, I imagined 5 years down the road: Papa Knox: “Roger, I know you helped us win the AL pennant 5 years ago, but you’re still grounded…how many times do I have to tell you to take the garbage out every Wednesday evening?”) All three then see Al through the living room window, and the movie ends with Al, sponsored by the NSA, reminding us that “[they’re] always watching,” followed by a bunch of stars playing baseball because sure, why not.
Thank God for a happy ending for everybody!
Except for Mel. He’s still going to die in 6 months.
“I’m working on my mating list for when we have to repopulate the world.” – Tina Belcher
I just wanted to talk about how much I love Tina Belcher, the unsung hero of the fantastic TV show “Bob’s Burgers,” and the character who, against all odds. I most want to be like of anybody in the show.
Tina, the oldest of three Belcher children, is by far the shyest, least publicly confident, and most socially-awkward of the whole Belcher clan. Just look at her natural response to being put on the spot:
But hey, plenty of us are massive introverts like Tina is. I’m one of them. The mere thought of public speaking, although I know I can do it, makes my heart race and my sweat glands open up like the Dutch boy removing his finger from the hole in the dyke. But despite her fear of being publicly shamed, I can’t think of a TV character who is more internally confident about who she is and what she wants. She has immense pride in her obsessions with horses, sexy zombies, rainbows, erotic friend fiction, and most of all, her crush on her the son of her father’s nemesis, Jimmy Jr., and she doesn’t seem to mind what people think of them.
In a really vague and roundabout way, I can relate to Tina (yeah, kind of weird that the TV character I most relate to is a 14 year-old girl, but fittingly enough she does happen to be voiced by a man who’s not a heck of a lot older than I am). I have a multitude of interests of which I am proud, and I know how smart and knowledgeable I am about many things, but these things don’t help me much when the spotlight finds me. Yet, both Tina and I can overcome this apprehension with flying colors when most needed.
Just to reiterate, I love and admire the hell out of Tina Belcher. Her staunch pride in who she is and what she likes is a highly positive trait, and I think for that reason, she’s not only someone I admire, but someone that in a weird way should be looked up to by real-life teenagers.
Because let’s be honest: in our own way, we’re all just as weird as Tina is, but we all could learn a lesson or two about the importance of embracing our weirdness with as much love and pride as Tina does.
“Everyone touched each other’s butt. And it was great.” – Tina Belcher
You ought to spare the world your labor, it’s been 20 years and no one’s told the truth … Don’t wait” – Vampire Weekend, “Obvious Bicycle”
Yesterday was my first day of unemployment since leaving my job last Friday, which isn’t normally known to be a fun time in anyone’s life. Of course I did some job hunting, but I got bored quickly. So, I took a trip to Target, always a go-to for me when I can’t think of anything to do. When I left, started up the car, and pulled out of the parking lot, I had an inspiration. I decided that while I’m currently “sparing my face the razor and sparing the world my labor,” there’s no reason for me to spare myself my labor.“Goddammit, I’m not going to waste all this time off.” – me, yesterday
$30 later, I left Stop & Shop with a fresh arsenal consisting of 3 boxes of vanilla cake mix, four jars of frosting, a dozen eggs, and food coloring. I was going to make something awesome, just for myself, and for no real reason whatsoever. In fact, thinking about it, it was a pretty fucking pointless idea practically speaking. But I was tired of being timid and practical.
I woke up right at 9am, pulled out the KitchenAid, and went straight to work. It took me about two hours to bake three 10″x10″ cakes and concoct the right formula of food coloring to make red, blue, yellow, and flesh-colored frosting. The brown frosting took me zero minutes because, hey, chocolate happens to be brown. Who knew?
From there, I cut the cakes up into squares, or more appropriately pixels, then frosted them according to a Google image search result.
The last thing to do was assemble it all, and ta-da!
Sure, it took me a whole four hours and looks like an uneven mess, but hey, I’m not my girlfriend (a pretty awesome baker herself). But, I can’t tell you how big I smiled once I finished putting my Super Mario cake together. I smiled because, yes, I thought it looked pretty awesome. But really, I smiled more because I had finally created something exciting, inspiring, and most importantly, my own.
Starting three years ago, I went straight from undergrad to grad school to job hunting to the working world to (albeit partially paid) unemployment, where I am today. During this time, I never really took the time to foster any creative impulses I might’ve had, and especially not since I started my previous job in October 2012. No offense, but tasks like delicately crafting carefully-worded emails to overly sensitive state officials or writing an analysis of the recently-passed Connecticut state budget aren’t exactly my idea of producing anything inspiring, especially considering it was all for my organization and not for me (don’t get me wrong, I understand how jobs work, but it doesn’t make it any more fun). So while I was building up my resume, I didn’t feel like my spirit was growing much.
In the video games, Mario starts out small and weak, and doesn’t grow until he starts to try cracking open boxes one by one to see if they have a mushroom inside. Similarly for me, given the gift of seemingly endless time to do almost whatever I wanted, I decided to try to crack open the box that was firmly shut and locked away in my left brain. Sure enough, a creative mushroom popped right out. Was this the most creative thing anybody’s ever done? Not by any means.
But boy, did my left brain ever appreciate it.
Hi everybody! My name is Brian.
(See the good-looking one? I’m the other one.)
I’m born, raised, and live in Connecticut. I’m 25 and currently between jobs (so if anybody happens to come across any available nonprofit community-level jobs, I would love to talk to you). I have two degrees from one of the loves of my life, the University of Connecticut, our fairest white and blue. Another love of my life is my girlfriend, who is in law school and is really smart, and will probably make more money than me, so it really behooves me to say nice things like that, even if they’re incontrovertible facts.
I’m a huge lover of music, movies, and television. I also LOVE baseball, but I’m a big fan of many other sports as well. I run, play tennis, play golf, play basketball, bowl, and go the gym, but I’m even better at eating and sitting on the couch. I’m often very sarcastic (like, VERY sarcastic…I’m so sarcastic that sometimes people think I’m just stupid). I’m a die-hard fan of the Boston Red Sox because, hey, nobody’s perfect.
Views expressed here are mine alone, unless I wrote them while unemployed, in which case fuck it. However, views such as “Hitler was a bad guy,” “NSYNC is underrated,” and “red onions are the fucking worst” are assuredly views expressed by almost everybody else in the world in their right mind. Speaking of views, I’m super liberal and registered with the Green Party, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. At the same time, I’m very objective and will listen to opposing views and try my best not make fun of people personally for them.
I’ll be blogging about stuff I’m up to in my everyday life. Please be nice to me, because I like thinking that my life is more exciting than it really is.
It’s a magical world…let’s go exploring!