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by Karma Waltonen

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A friend and I began reminiscing about Dana Carvey's famous sketch about chopping broccoli. Realizing that my son had never seen it, we rectified his ignorance with YouTube. Then it occurred to me that my son didn't really know who Dana Carvey was. He didn't understand Carvey's great ability to do impressions—to be an awesome body builder, to tell us that what the Democrats wanted "wouldn't be prudent," or to explain what made him go "shwing."

Then I started thinking about how, although I really love the Bill Murray/Gilda Radner years of SNL, and how I am fond of our current spate of talent, including the irreplaceable Kristen Wiig, they don't
feel like they're mine. My years are the years of Dana Carvey, Mike Meyers, Phil Hartman, and the rest of the gang.

I'm not arguing that they're necessarily better than any other cast, but they mean something to me because of when I watched them, when I was really coming of age with my knowledge of comedy and politics.

I feel equally proprietary about my Doctor. If you're a DOCTOR WHO fan, you both have a special fondness for your first Doctor and you may also have a man who is YOUR Doctor. My Doctor is David Tennant. My companion is Amy (and Rory).

I asked my Facebook community what all they felt about this way. People were quite adamant
about their James Bond, their Enterprise Captain (Picard. Period. He's French but British at the same time), their Batman, their Darren on BEWITCHED (Dick York—the other guy never actually seemed to like Samantha—he was always just annoyed with her instead), etc.

One responder said it was imperative that Colin Firth was her Mr. Darcy. That should be obvious. Should be, but I did feel the need to make sure a class knew it when I taught PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I even made "who is the only Mr. Darcy" an extra credit question on the final exam.

It also occurred to me that I have a definitive Superman. No matter how many reboots Hollywood might give
us, I was raised with Christopher Reeve. Although the most recent Superman is cute, he was not able to capture me the way Christopher Reeve did. I like to think it was his bumbling.

On the day he died, there was a red sun here in Davis, due to forest fires in the distance—it brought tears to my eyes.

Geeks and fans love having debates about their favorites, as if there are some universal simple criteria we can apply to make our decisions seem rational.

The simple truth? We love them because we love them—we can't usually explain it any more than we can explain why we love anyone more than anyone else.

(Except Colin Firth—he IS the only Darcy!)

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Apr 13, 2012 1:38 AM
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To me, Christopher Reeve is a pretty tough act to follow as Superman. He just embodied that character. I'm not dismissing the performance of the next guy, because I haven't seen it, but the guy in Superman Returns just couldn't hold a candle (not only because of his likeability, but because I just didn't think he was that good of an actor). A few different actors have been able to play James Bond and Batman well, but Superman is different, because Reeve had such a friendly demeanor and such a sense of humor about the role. With Star Trek, I like Kirk, Picard and the new Kirk, but Shatner's Kirk was the one I grew up with, so he gets my preference.

With SNL, I think the late eighties and early nineties cast was the most talented. Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz even did a song about it last year when Carvey hosted, where they actually stated their years were the show's best. The original 70s era was great too, as well as the Will Ferrell years. They are really having some problems now. I don't think it's anyone's lack of identification with today's cast that's the issue: I think the issue is that the show really sucks now. Kristen Wiig is an exception, but she only gets so much to do on the show, and she'll be gone soon. Then what will they do? Gilbert Goddfried had a good line about it: He said to him, for a long time, SNL has just been a restaurant in a good location.

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Comedies with Dr. Karma
Every other Wednesday

Dr. Karma discusses all things comic, from the classics to what may become classics. Laugh with, but not at, her, please.

Other Columns
Other columns by Karma Waltonen:

Goodbye -- Dr. Karma

The Dictator and Dark Shadows

Pirates and Whedon Movies: In Theatres Now!

A Touch of Cult


All Columns

Karma Waltonen
Dr. Karma is a silly, nerdy know-it-all, but in a good way. She brings all her overeducation to discuss that which truly matters: comedy. As some famous guy once said: “And if I laugh at any mortal thing, ‘tis that I may not weep.” Or something like that.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Karma Waltonen by clicking here.

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