Last night, after Chris Christie won re-election in New Jersey (not without the help of the institutional corruption of the NJ Democratic Party), Susie Madrak of Crooks and Liars described him as a sitcom personality:
Hey media bobbleheads: Christie didn't win because of his politics, it's that he's a beloved sitcom personality. #realpolsofnewjersey— Susie Madrak (@SusieMadrak) November 6, 2013
Seeing Christie described as a sitcom governor made me immediately think of Ralph Kramden from the Honeymooners.
Christie looks kind of like Ralph Kramden and, like him, he's famous for "endearingly" verbally threatening women.
Upon reflecting that, I realized how Chris Christie reminds me of a sitcom trope: Ralph Kramden/Fred Flinstone/Homer Simpson/Peter Griffin/etc. His persona is that of the loud, rather obnoxious, narcissistic, sometimes outright malicious, "funny" fat guy whom we are supposed to love because he is supposedly "good at heart" despite the damage he always causes and his lack of consideration for others. Barbara Buono evoked the Alice/Wilma/Marge/Lois archetype of the fitter, more intelligent, more compassionate, but by no means passive, woman who points out the man's flaws and often gets accused of being "shrill" or "not fun" because of it.
We don't disagree, of course, with sitcom mom. We know what she says is right. But sitcom dad, no matter how narcissistic he is or how much damage he causes, is just such a "lovable guy." He's the one you "want to have a beer with."
We expect so little of the sitcom dad that we heap excessive praise on him when he displays rare shows of "leadership" or competence in the face of crisis, and we redeem his failings.