A MINOR TRIBUTE TO A GREAT COMEDIC PRESENCE
Steve Bessette, Entertainment Editor
People of Long Beach! Come assemble ‘round this campfire and spin a yarn with me. For every noun on earth, there is probably at least one individual who likes it. This is actually quite an awful revelation because this world is a filthy mean chump. Today we’ll hop the rails and depart from those sorts of things and pay tribute to things we like. Look at this: campfire, hopping onto moving trains, making broad generalizations, this is great. It’s like a Wes Anderson movie. Without further ado, let’s pay tribute to a quintessential comedic character of our generation: Ron Swanson.
Years after The Office hit American shores and integrated itself into our cornfields and collective consciousness, countless amounts of people said Michael Scott was a spitting image of their own boss. By now Parks and Recreation has stolen nutrients and willpower from The Office like a weed and has now grown a flourishing patch of its own, but rarely have I heard someone likening their work environment to Parks and Rec. Sure, a Leslie Knope would be a great boss, but an even-keeled, system skeptic, breakfast idolizing, Ron Swanson would be way cooler.
Ron Swanson is the counterweight to Leslie Knope’s franticly earnest approach to management. He has a stone temper that goes along with his usually furrowed brow. If every vegetable on the planet turned into bacon, eggs, or red meat, he’d be just fine with that. If you asked him why government matters, he’d say “it doesn’t” in clear-cut libertarian fashion, only showing unabashed glee during budget-cutting sessions. He’s had two ex-wives, both named Tammy (“both of them bitches”) and it doesn’t matter that his mother’s name is Tammy too.
Before this turns into a Dos Equis commercial, let’s spin it in a different direction and say he’d be the most interesting leader in your local what-have-you. He respects his underlings and has admitted he would sacrifice himself for Leslie if the budget needed to trim someone. He only gets personal when he absolutely needs to, usually to stifle some in-office dramatic tangle between characters or to give young April a timid, but fatherly pat on the back. This aspect of Ron bred one of his best lines: “I once worked with a guy for three years and never learned his name. Best friend I ever had. We still never talk sometimes.” Even with his “I don’t care” mentality and repulsion to getting involved in people’s lives, his greatest foible is also his greatest secret: the middle-aged lady loving, smooth jazz tenor saxophone playing alter ego, Duke Silver, who’s been tucked away from his coworkers for sometime, cultivating an underground presence.
All in all, Ron Swanson’s just a badass and a great reason to keep watching Parks and Recreation. Cool, collected, distant, unrepentant, whiskey gurgling Ron Swanson. Speaking of fire, let’s put this one out and turn off that Rolling Stones record. The Darjeeling Limited was good, but not like this.
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SOME LIKE IT HOT
Ingrid Rosales, Contributor
Revered as one of the greatest American comedies of all time, Billy Wilder’s Some Like it Hot is now available for instant watch throughout the month of September.
Starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe, this screwball comedy develops with two musicians, Joe and Jerry (Curtis and Lemmon, respectively), witnessing the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre and then promptly running away to Florida dressed as women. The pair snags a gig with a women’s band where they meet “Sugar Kane” (Monroe) and the plot evolves from there.
While most would watch for the famously sultry Monroe, who does indeed smolder in all her scenes even when delivering several hilarious one-liners, the actor that shines in this film is Lemmon. His comedic performance is outstandingly perfect and keeps this film lively, though it’s not to say the film needed help. The movie is constantly engaging thanks to Wilder’s script, which is smart, clean, and genuinely funny. Some Like it Hot is a comedy with humor that’s racy but not raunchy, outlandish but not completely unbelievable, and appropriately tones the laughter down with a pinch of romance. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s got the best last line I’ve heard—ever.
KITCHEN NIGHTMARES (U.K.)
Leo Portugal, Literature Editor
In Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, chef Gordon Ramsay journeys to failing restaurants and employs his expertise in an attempt to save them. The show ran in Britain for five seasons from 2004-2008 before being exported to the United States on Fox. After having watched all of the original U.K. Kitchen Nightmares, I was excited for new episodes. But I was being naive. Fox took the show I loved and slathered it with American reality show bullshit.
Fortunately, the U.K. version is now on Netflix, so watch that instead. Here, Ramsay’s passion is palpable. At the heart of every episode is Ramsay’s desire to help improve the restaurant’s primary ingredients: the staff and the food. It’s a show with a heart; a show that is a refreshing change from the manufactured drama inherent in reality shows in the U.S., including, but not limited to, the U.S. Kitchen Nightmares. There isn’t the focus on heavily edited montages Frakensteining scenes together in an effort to make the owners of the failing restaurant look stupid. A majority of an episode won’t be a sensational melodrama where the family members who own the restaurant are pitted against one another. It’s a show where the people are actually people.