The Drunk Conundrum

Still from the first season of Life Goes OnPlease excuse me if I do a little thinking aloud on this sunny Friday afternoon, but:

Remember when people used to find drunks funny? (I mean on TV and in movies – they’re still pretty hilarious on YouTube.)

Sure you do.

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So, what happened? Where did they all go? Well, sometime during the politically correct ’90s, I suppose we all realized that a life of hard drinking rarely leads to humour – instead, it more often ends in a sad state of loneliness and medical bills.

I Love Lucy - still not funny.It wasn’t the first time popular culture has had to reevaluate one of its stock characters, (I don’t think we need to go into the the moronic housewife/uneducated black servant/black-faced entertainer,) and I’m here to suggest that maybe its time to take another look at an old standard.

Now, listen, sometimes a talented artist can find himself in a bad bit; Rowan Atkinson is a hilarious fellow with fantastic timing and a glorious wit – when used properly.

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The problem, however, is the dimwitted mute which arguably made Atkinson famous overseas.

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While there are many that fit the category of lovable imbecile, the worst offender, to my mind, is Mr. Bean. Of course, I utilize “imbecile” in place of a word I was much freer with in my youth – one associated with Down’s Syndrome and a bevy of other genetic and mental disorders.

I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, but aren’t we just laughing at people too stupid to be functional? I understand the need for slow characters – I’ve used them myself on more than a few occasions – but if the person realistically ought to be in some sort of assisted living home (or, say, has a number of odd facial ticks and tends to wander around with a stuffed animal,) maybe it’s something we shouldn’t be laughing at.

Just sayin’.