Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Top Twelve TV Wussies

This One's Longer Than The Usual Baboon Pirates Fare...

Do you ever wonder how you can ask any child how to play games like Hide & Seek, Tag, or Hopscotch, you'll get a pretty similar answer, even from little kids who've not yet entered school?

Most kids learn by watching either older siblings or other kids in the neighborhood. How to play games, how to interact with peers, how to chase the girls and give them cooties, all this we learn mostly by observing others, and correcting our mistakes as we go along.

We learn a lot by watching, perhaps more than we realize. One thing's for sure, we watch one hell of a lot of TV.

Television has done more to homogenize society that almost anything else you can name. With the pervasiveness of cable & satellite TV, all those regional differences in language and behavior that used to demarcate one area of the country from another are slowly being ironed out in favor of a universal standard.

So what brings me to this topic? I'd been reading Bill Whittle's remarkable book 'Silent America', and re-reading Kim du Toit's essay entitled The Pussification Of The Western Male, and I'd spent some time pondering how we as a country went from "Damn the Torpedoes" to "Damn, we're out of tofu..."

I can't help thinking that two and maybe three generations of American males have been hamstrung from the get-go by watching and imitating the actions and behaviors they've seen on television in the pre-cable broadcast TV era.

I mean, let's face it, you may get a John Wayne movie on Saturday afternoon, but Monday through Friday it's an endless buffet of ineffectual and nebbishy TV Dads, self-neutered talk show hosts, and a general lack of strong male role models that aren't presented as ultra-violent nutballs, or even worse, reasonably capable role models that are constantly undercut by smart-aleck kids and sarcastic spouses.

Now, if I was a deep thinker like Whittle, I'd turn this into a scholarly essay on Stealty Testosterone Removal Through Video Programming. As it is, I'm just gonna give you my votes as to the Top 12 Wussies of American TV.

(Note: "Wussy" is the unnatural cross between a wimp and a pussy.)

Now, on TV there have been men portrayed as goofballs, f#(%ups, sad sacks, etc. I'm not nominating any character that at their core is capable of doing the non-wussy thing.

For instance, you might think that Gomer Pyle might qualify as a wuss, but I'm pretty damn sure if he were sent to Vietnam and ordered to kill the VC infiltrators by Sergeant Carter, he'd be yelling "Goooo-oo-oollly!" as he squeezed the clacker on a claymore mine. Same for Maxwell Smart. Yeah, he'd probably shoot himself in the foot, but he'd at least go down shooting.

To qualify as a wussy, the character has to avoid doing the manly thing on most occasions, and either sit and whine about the sand in his vagina or else just demonstrate a tangible lack of testicles.

And awaaaay we go....

12) Maynard G. Krebs - Bob Denver played this proto-hippie beatnik slacker on 'The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis'. Krebs was a whiner extraordinaire, and when the going got tough, he'd departed long ago. Popularized the goatee and "soul patch" (sans mustache), a style of facial hair that infuriates me to this day.

11) Grizzly Adams - You'd think a man that pals around with a grizzly bear would own one hell of a hefty pair. In this case, you'd be wrong. Portrayed by Dan Haggerty in 'The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams', Adams was some sort of vegan animal rights wuss that preferred running away to standing up for himself. Probably got topped by the bear on a regular basis, but I can't prove that...

10) Davey and Goliath - When I was a kid, this show about a boy and his dog was the only thing remotely resembling a cartoon that aired on Sunday mornings. The catch was, it was produced by the Lutheran Church in America, and each show was aimed at injecting religion directly into your frontal lobes. I'm not opposed to teaching religion, but to do it via claymation at 6:30 am? Yeeesh... Anyway, Davey and his dog Goliath were about as toothless and non-confrontational as you could get. That damned moralizing dog... "Day-Vee!!!"
For a better story about a boy and his dog, watch 'A Boy and His Dog' instead.

9) Shaggy & Scooby - From the apparently neverending Scooby-Doo franchise, here's another boy/dog duo. Shaggy & Scooby are the gold standard for cowardice and general danger avoidance. To make matters worse, Shaggy was largely based on #12 above, Maynard G. Krebs, complete with the damned goatee. Zoinks...

8) Mike "Meathead" Stivic - Played by Rob Reiner on 'All In The Family', Meathead would have placed higher in the list, but he occasionally showed some backbone standing up to his nemesis, Archie Bunker. Meathead's a confirmed pinko, and married a screeching Maoist butterface harridan, so he places on the Wuss List.

7) BJ Hunnicutt - The mid-series replacement for the much funnier "Trapper John" on 'M*A*S*H', Hunnicutt was played by Mike Farrell. What earns Hunnicutt a spot on this list? Aggravated Wussiness in the 2nd Degree, but one episode in particular stands out... "Boo hoo! Boo hoo! I'm so miserable in Korea! I miss my wife! I miss my daughter! My daughter Megan called another man Daddy! Boo hoo! Boo hoo!" Fuck you, BJ. (An appropriate name, btw) You're surrounded by young men missing most of their internal organs and limbs, forever scarred by combat while you sit safely in the rear dry & warm in a tent drinking gin. Grow a pair, you fucking wuss.

6) Willie Tanner - Played by Max Wright on the show 'ALF', Tanner was a social worker completely dominated by a mutant teddybear-looking alien. When it comes to nebbishes, Tanner makes Woody Allen look like Bruce Willis by comparison.

5) Mr. Rogers - I don't care if he's a cherished childhood icon, and we should respect the departed, but Mr. Rogers was a Wuss Extraordinaire. I mean, the man couldn't even operate a thermostat. Why else was he always putting on that stupid sweater? And what's with the shoe fetish? Admittedly, he was mostly harmless and good with kids, but still pretty much a wuss. I mean, could you see Mr. Rogers during a home invasion robbery? Instead of pulling a Magnum and ventilating the goblin, it'd be more like "Quick kids! Let's go to the Land of Make Believe!" whereupon he'd be beaten to a pulp, and the goblin would rape & murder Henrietta Pussycat and King Friday.

4) Charles Ingalls - Played by Michael Landon on 'Little House on the Prairie', Ingalls is a far cry from Little Joe Cartwright, another Landon character. Ain't no blow driers or hotcombs on the prairie, dude. You'd have had that mop carved off by a wandering Pawnee war party just before they ate your liver.

3) Phil Donahue - Unfortunately, Phil Donahue is NOT a fictional character. He is, however, the poster boy for all those males with an inexplicable urge to remove their own testicles and keep them in a jar. IMHO, Phil never met a liberal issue he didn't like, and spent his career giving tacit approval to whiners and libtards.

2) John Boy Walton - Portrayed by Richard Thomas on 'The Waltons'. A character that could only exist on TV. Were a person like John Boy to appear in real life pre-WWII Appalachia, as soon as he'd mentioned he'd rather write stories than drink moonshine and fight, he'd be strapped to a corn liquor still and repeatedly molested, hearing phrases like "You shore got a purty mouth!" and "Squeal like a pig!!" from psychotic drunken hillbillies.

1) Hawkeye Pierce - It's hard to know where to start with this Über-Wuss. Played by Alan Alda on 'M*A*S*H', Pierce was a gun-hating whiner who took every opportunity to run down the military. Hell, Cpl. Klinger spent 5 seasons in drag and was more of a man than this pansy-ass.
I know it can't be pleasant to have to repair an endless stream of horribly wounded soldiers, but when push came to shove, Pierce started hallucinating chickens. All those soldiers in recent years who decided to desert , claim C.O. status or resign their commissions rather than go to Iraq can trace a direct line in their behaviors to the performances of B.F. 'Hawkeye' Pierce.

And there you have it. The Top Twelve TV Wussies.

I'm sure I've missed a few, so feel free to suggest others in the Comments below!