Monday, January 14, 2008

"The Guy Who Plays Mr. Favre Fan Club:" Starring Robert Ruprecht

There’s an old SNL skit from 1992 (might be '91) featuring a young Tom Hanks from the Turner and Hooch years, a couple of in-their-prime performances from Chris Farley and Phil Hartman and even several solid supporting efforts from Adam Sandler, Mike Meyers and Kevin Nealon. The name of the skit is "The Guy Who Plays Mr. Belvedere Fan Club" and it takes an inside look at a group of people who are a little too obsessed with Christopher Hewett (The guy who plays Mr. Belvedere). The skit is rarely replayed but is really one of the better skits of that era. And while the whole skit is funny, it really gets good near the end when the members of the group go through their "exercises" where they state out loud how to properly deal with their strong feelings about "The Guy Who Plays Mr. Belvedere" in the form of what is ok to feel and what is not ok:

Cheryl: Okay. I should want to shake hands with Mr. Belvedere, I shouldn't want to grab a lock of his hair.

Mr. Chairman (Tom Hanks): That's good, Cheryl. And, even though it would be really neat to have a lock of his hair, we know that's not right. Someone else?

Mike: Yeah. Okay. I should want to send him a fan letter telling him how good he was in the episode where he teaches everyone how to cook, but I shouldn't want to type the letter on a death certificate.

Mr. Chairman: Yes! But, then, you learned that one the hard way, huh? Okay, so let's keep going. Come on.

Adam: I should like watching "Mr. Belvedere" a lot, but I shouldn't have to masturbate at the end of every episode.

Mr. Chairman: That's right. That is right. Discipline. Next?

Phil: I should want to cook him a simple meal, but I shouldn't want to cut into him, to tear the flesh, to wear the flesh, to be born unto new worlds where his flesh becomes my key.

Mr. Chairman: [ considering ] Good.

Doug (Farley): I got one. I should want to say hi to him nicely, I shouldn't want to keep him in a big jar in my basement.

Mr. Chairman: Alright, Doug, that's great, we understand that now. Go on, though. Why shouldn't you put him in a big jar in your basement?

Doug: Because.. his breath would fog up the glass, and I wouldn't be able to see him..?
It was one of those rare times in that era of SNL when completely random skit (Mr. Belvedere?) and over the top dialogue gelled into a funny scene. But the scene stealer, as usual, was Farley who portrayed a fanatical Belvedere fan about as well as you could imagine it being played. You could almost imagine the real Chris Farley feeling that way about a favorite actor of his until you step back and realize that no one other than maybe Mark David Chapman or the chick who killed Selena could be that crazy. And then I read Peter King’s MMQB and learned a little too much about a man named Robert Ruprecht. After learning his story I'm beginning to think that SNL skit may have under done the over-the-top fan:
Our little crew... encountered Ruprecht in a classic Wisconsin tavern late Friday night. "I just want to tell you one thing," Ruprecht, a 39-year-old optometrist from LaCrosse told me, his eyes crystal clear. "When Brett Favre retires, I will cry. In fact, the day he retires I will call in sick. I won't be able to work."
Ok, that’s fair. Maybe a little much but people get emotionally invested in sports and sometimes it can mess with you. So I can live with someone saying that. But Ruprecht’s story doesn’t end there. Not even close:
"You don't understand," Ruprecht said. "I have lived through Randy Wright, David Whitehurst ... people used to leave free tickets under your wiper blades with a note saying 'please take these.' This guy Favre has brought us so much joy. He is the greatest Packer ever. To us, he's Michael Jordan. I am totally serious."
Umm... ok? Michael Jordan? He of the 6 championships, 5 League MVPs and distinction as perhaps the greatest athlete in American history and most popular athlete in the history of the world? Even as hyperbole that is too far for my tastes, but what do I know? Maybe Mr. Ruprecht will finish this lovefest with some rational thoughts on the subject. Or maybe he will completely derail and find himself the subject of a restraining order (hint: it’s closer to the latter than the former):
"This is going to sound weird," he said. "I dream about this guy. I dream that I'm going shopping with him. I'm not kidding. I'm just saying, we worship Favre."
"This is going to sound weird?" Weird? "Weird" is putting mustard on spaghetti or disliking chocolate. Dreaming that you and a late 30's male are buying groceries together, that is a couple steps beyond weird into an arena sometimes referred to as insanity. I’m not sure you could admit to something much more crazy than that. And then to try and qualify that statement as an example of just where Favre sits in Wisconsin lore by stating that people "worship" Favre up there, as if that makes his feelings rational and reasonable... no F’n way. People worship Jesus and no one dreams that they are walking down the fiction section of a Barnes & Noble with JC looking for the latest Patterson novel. And even if you did dream that, the only person you’d ever admit that to is your therapist or your prison chaplain before you get the chair. You certainly wouldn’t tell some overweight coffee fiend about it at a bar on a Friday night.

I think Mr. Ruprecht should take it easy and do his exercises:
Ruprecht: I should want to root for Favre to lead the Pack to the Super Bowl. I shouldn't want to go shopping for women's clothes with him so that I can dress him up like Mrs. Doubtfire and ravage him while the beat Todd Rungren's "Bang My Drum" CRANKS in the background.
Exactly, Robby. Now why don't you put your helmet back on and go back in your cage.

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