10.26.2006

Brian Krakow: Best. Character. Ever.


"If you, like, anaylize why certain people end up with certain other people, it'll make you want to kill yourself."
-Brian Krakow

The glory of Tivo was originally, for me, all about the new TV. The present. The current, spec-able market of TV shows. Which is, largely, it's primary use in the general Tivo public. But, really, Tivo is like the iPod - a messiah of entertainment. It's changes everything that comes after it. The iPod changed the way I listened to my music, and Tivo is changing the way I watch TV. So, after I got my fill of The Office, Veronica Mars and Boston Legal, I turned back to all the many TV shows that are now available from the grave via Basic Cable.

I remember when I watched the Pilot for My So-Called Life. I want to say it was on the weekend, but that may be my confusing it with something else. But it was 1994. And I feel it was on a weekend, in the early evening. And I didn't even really know what I was watching. And I wasn't used to intelligent television like that, or actually I just wasn't conscious of it at the time. But I remember it hitting me. I didn't really get back into the show until it had it's run on MTV after the fact. And even then I saw about half of the season and I saw it out of order.

So now, in 2006, with my messianic Tivo, I'm rewatching My So-Called Life on The N. And it's been great. That show was so great. The characters. The wonderful inclusion of equally meaningful stories for the parents. A complexity that allowed for the teens to be both smart, and naive. An appreciation of pain and disappointment. A poetic spin on the inept teenage locution. Dead ends. And a score by W.G. Snuffy Walden.

I'd buy the DVD set if it wasn't so out-of-print expensive. It's been great rewatching them. If I had the room on my Tivo, I'd keep all the episodes on there for good.

I just finished watching the series finale. So good. They knew it was their finale, so that accounts for a lot of it. But still so good. I'd always liked Brian Krakow. He was so perfectly written, and Devon Gummersall was spot-on in his performances. The last scene between Brian and Angela perfectly summed up the arcs spelled out in the show's pilot. And still left you wanting. Brian is geeky.

Shows usually screw that part up. Dawson isn't the awkward outcast they tried to make him out to be. The geeks on Freaks And Geeks were documentary/comedy geeky. And Ross wasn't all that geeky once you got past the three jokes per page. And this all suited those shows. But it was all dressing.

Brian Krakow is geeky. He's the perfect hapless boy. He's smart, but he has know idea what he's doing. He's angry, but he just ends up giving in. His life is pure irony, but he's too serious and furstrated to enjoy it. He's in love, but he seemingly can't do anything about it. And in the end (in teenage years), he'll end up alone, even when the girl knows the truth.

And the writers were brave enough to just let that be.

There's the Girl Next Door. But there's really never been a Boy Next Door. Attempts at it are often just an effeminate male counterpart of the Girl Next Door, or just simply the pathetic boy character who gets plugged in Season 3 for a dalliance with the female lead. But Brian Krakow is the Boy Next Door. And I suppose one of the great things about the show only getting one season is that he'll exist perfectly in that way, like the rest of the show.

I remember seeing an interview once where Jason Bateman was asked about his feelings on Arrested Development being cancelled, and he said something along the lines of, well, now they won't be able to mess it up.

So it's like that.

As a practitioner of the mopy, hapless boy, I find Brian Krakow to be an astounding resource. And if you haven't seen the show, and you're writing that male character who's hopelessly in love, and doomed to teenage misery -- get your ass a Tivo.

ps. "How ironic can you get without, like, puking?" - Brian Krakow

2 comments:

a.c. marshall said...

a.c. again:

I wrote that last night, and I really failed to point out why I wrote it in the first place.

His lines! How can you not love that line I opened the post with? C'mon. He's the ultimate poster boy for Hapless Mopy Boys For Irony.

Wit, hyperbole and a dash of snarky. Wonderful.

Brian Krakow is, like, the Hamlet of unrequited hapless high school boys.

Anonymous said...

I went on Ebay a few months ago and got the entire series on DVD from the UK, I think I paid less than $40. I was a little worried about being scammed, but the set is great, it's in the universal DVD format that plays everywhere.