If I had ever given a thought to the possibility of a world without Robin Williams, I have to admit, I wouldn’t have expected it to affect me that deeply. But that world is here, and damned if that didn’t prompt a bit of a meltdown.
(It probably didn’t help that I chose to rewatch The Fisher King, which was exactly the wrong thing to watch, in that it was absolutely the right thing to watch)
Robin Williams was such a fixture of the pop-culture landscape that it seemed unthinkable that he would ever not be. Whether you go all the way back to Mork and Mindy – as Mowrer and I do – or you came to know him from Hook, or Aladdin, or Mrs. Doubtfire, or Good Will Hunting, or even Patch Adams, he was always there, with his impish grin and twinkling eyes, ready to bust into an anachronistic William F. Buckley impression. It was the mark of a singular talent that, even when he did sentimental treacle like Jack, we could hate the movie but still love him.
(I should warn you, that last link was what triggered my aforementioned meltdown. Proceed with caution.)
Our hearts go out to Robin Williams’ family (including his daughter Zelda, who wrote a heartfelt tribute last week) and friends. I’m sure you’ve already been revisiting some of your favorites – and why not give another look to his film debut, Robert Altmans highly-underrated Popeye?
if you want to see Williams at his unfiltered best, I highly recommend his 2001 Inside The Actors’ Studio appearance, an adrenalin rush of pure comedic id.
There really was a Mork & Mindy cartoon. It was pretty terrible. Still, we’re pleased that TV Squared is paying tribute, in the only way they can afford.
As coincidence would have it, I was recently reminded of the fact that many of our jokes and references are what you call “one percenters”; that is, so obscure that maybe one percent of the audience will get it. The downside of that is that for people not in that 1%, nothing is gonna make a damn bit of sense.
It’s a fair point. We operate on the principle that the one person who appreciates a reference to Atari’s SwordQuest is going to REALLY appreciate it, but we know that if you don’t get why “Lord Tyrattus” is funny, no amount of explanation is going to make it funny for you.
(Of course, the same friend who brought this up also thinks I need to “get over” Howard The Duck, so his judgment is clearly flawed)
But we’ve also been on the other side of the equation. You want to REALLY feel out of the loop? Try living in Seattle and not being interested in sports, as the Seahawks go to the Super Bowl. “Wait, so what does the songwriter for Mary Poppins have to do with Transformers Beast Wars?”
Or there was the exchange I recently had that inspired todays strip, as my office’s Mac Guy tried in vain to get me to understand how this trick to optimize the hard drive was different from defragging, despite sounding exactly like what I understand defragging to be. My response was slightly less articulate than what is presented in the strip; I believe it was something along the lines of, “jabluh?”
Then, bringing it full circle: that evening I had a conversation in which Christian, innocently asking about where to start with Guardians Of The Galaxy comics, got a dissertation about the culture of Marvel Comics in the 1970s, which in turn led to a treatise on the treatment of Golden Age creators in the 70s and 80s. All of which seemed incredibly relevant at the time to his request for some good Rocket Raccoon comics.
So thanks, Mac Guy, for reminding us what it’s like to really be into something. Thanks, Mac Guy, for being you.
On an unrelated note, The Snorks have a much more complicated history than you might have expected. You thought they were just an aquatic Smurfs retread? You don’t know the half of it.