Tag Archives: underdogs

Fozzie Bear

With the election safely behind us, let us now get back to the important things in life… like talking about lower-tier Muppets. Please welcome back our resident 80s expert Mr. Paul Washington and join him in showing some love for an under-appreciated icon.

By: Paul Washington

Today, we’re going to shine the spotlight on one of the great sidekicks of all time, Fozzie Bear.  For nearly 40 years, this struggling ursine stand-up comedian has faithfully stood in the shadow of his famous best friend, Kermit the Frog.

A frog and a bear: nature’s best friends.

Fozzie spent his pre-school days under the watchful eye of Nanny, having nursery room adventures with the aforementioned Kermit, as well as Miss Piggy, Rowlf the Dog, Animal, Bunsen and Beeker, and the twins, Skeeter and Scooter.  Even at that early age, his penchant for stand-up was evident.  It was also then that he honed his patented “Wocka Wocka Wocka!” after telling a bad joke.

Fozzie (here, a cartoon baby) was an early standard bearer for the letter F and a pioneer in promoting its virtues even before this blog took up that mantle.

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Frodo

By now you are sensing a strong recurring underdog theme. Let’s keep it going. (Sorry Sauron, NY Yankees and Manchester United 🙂

We all love the little hobbit with the disgusting large, hairy feet. He is perhaps the ultimate underdog – maybe even the world’s most famous outside of David. But can we be brutally honest here for a moment and confess that Frodo is a little bit annoying?

Don’t get me wrong; I love LOTR. We used to watch the Two Towers battle scene to get pumped up before football Saturdays in college.

But this complaining “feeble hobbit in distress” shtick gets old. “Oh I’m so tempted by evil and scared all the time…Let’s talk some more about how scared and unqualified we all are for this task…”

Just shut it and throw the dadgum thing into that fire hole.

Of course I’m teasing. Any negative thing I say about LOTR is more an implication of my inability to sit still for 3+ hours.

Despite all his complaining, certainly Frodo is the hero we all wish to be. Just like him, we must walk through life ill-equipped for arduous, seemingly undoable tasks. We trudge along with our cartoonish body parts and dubious friends in tow – all along trying to destroy these bad things and habits we deem precious, but just might kill us.

For more on Frodo, click here.

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Fredo

Why we’re more like Fredo than anyone else…

Which Corleone are you most like?

If we were to take a poll asking which Godfather fella we most resemble, I would imagine most everyone would answer either Don Vito, the wise, powerful boss, or Michael, the confident, capable one who commands respect. Sure, Sonny was a hothead, but he’s probably popular enough to pull a few votes (pre-Tommy-gunning).

Almost assuredly, no one would say Fredo – the insecure, overlooked, dim, traitorous brother. Yet Fredo (real name John Cazale), more than anyone in the famiglia, reflects the reality of what we’re really like.

At our core, we’re all such fragile, squirrely, conniving, self-serving, devious creatures. No one likes to think of themselves in this way, but it’s true.

Perhaps you’ve never arranged for a hit on your sibling in an effort to solidify your position of authority in an organized crime family, but how often do we throw people under the bus in more subtle ways? A lie here, a derisive comment there; a bit of tattling on a perceived rival. We’re more efficient than hyenas when it comes to exploiting others’ weaknesses. Yet when it’s time to stand up and do the right thing, we turn turtle.

We don’t sermonize much at the Mighty F, but the spiritual parallel here is irresistible. While the ruthless world rejects, chews up and disposes of the weak, the spineless, and all the Fredos of the world, it’s nice to know that Jesus says otherwise. He reinforces the inherent value of people with the sort of character deficiencies we bulldoze in this world – the meek, the poor in spirit – and even says they will inherit the land.

Grace for underdogs.

So instead of being whacked in a fishing boat like we probably deserve, we get a place at the head of the table. Instead of getting, “I knew it was you, you broke my heart,” then receiving our fate of sleeping with the fishes, we get, “I knew it was you, but I forgive you and love you, always.” 

So here’s to Fredo, and the hope that there is redemption for all us broken down humans with the worst features of hyenas and turtles thrown into the mix. Here’s to an offer of grace we can’t *refuse!

*Look for future discussions on this topic of whether or not we’re able to ultimately reject grace, under “Free Will,” or possibly “Foosball.” Probably “Free Will.”

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