Monday, May 29, 2017

'Mooners Monday #15: Stanley Saxon: What a milquetoast

In modern times, it has become common to express a desire to punch someone in the face or to describe someone as having a face that "you just want to punch." I think both sentiments are appalling and try to avoid these Internet-era clich├ęs. However, when I watch "Here Comes the Bride" with guest character Stanley Saxon...

Let's just say there's a good reason I snubbed Saxon from my list of proposed Honeymooners action figures a while back. He's a milquetoast. He spends the whole episode whining.  I'm not saying the chauvinist bluster of Ralph and Ed is the model Stanley should adopt, but surely he could find more productive things to say than, "I TOLD Ralph..." in that nasally drone.

(The actor John Gibson, who is seen in several other episodes in different roles as well as in other great shows of the era like Sgt. Bilko, is doing a great job, playing the role as written. It's not HIS fault he irritates me so much. Well, it kind of is, but I hold no malice. It's unfortunate that there is nothing in The Official Honeymooners Treasury about this actor nor the distinctive performance.)

At the beginning of the episode, he seems to be laughing and having a good time with his brother Raccoons the night before his wedding to Alice's sister Agnes, but then he stands up and defends marriage against all the good-natured jokes everyone is making and puts on a semi-scowl--half displeasure, half confusion--that he wears for the rest of "Here Comes the Bride."

"I'm very happy," he whines. Well, good for you, Stanley. Ralph and Ed get in their share of zingers, and then before "a little entertainment" in the club room (I would like to see what is going on in there!), they find out Stanley is moving in with Alice and Agnes' parents. "WHAT?" is Ralph's predictable response, and Stanley can only say, "Oh, I don't know, Ralph. They seem like nice people."

It's not what he says. It's the way he says it.

OK, granted, Ralph's advice to Stanley to be the king of his castle and insist to Agnes that they don't move in with her parents causes a big fight and a lot of trouble for everyone. The worst is when everyone finds out Ralph was the instigator and Agnes tells Stanley she KNEW it wasn't HIS fault. Stanley replies, "I shouldn't have listened to him." Come on, Stan! Be a man! Own your actions!

If that isn't enough, he provides one wavering "Oh, Agnes," before he exits. This is a reminder that even when he's HAPPY, he sounds like a sad sack.

OK, maybe I don't want to actually punch Stanley Saxon in the face, but it wouldn't bother me if Norton got him a job in the sewer, either. Maybe getting hit on the head with a manhole cover would do wonders for his personality.

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