Boys will be boys

Learn about the conspiracy theory behind Danny DeVito's character Louie De Palma from Taxi.





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Comedy Series



Few weeks ago I’ve seen Danny DeVito’s interview on Actors Studio, where he explained why did he took the part of Louie De Palma on sitcom Taxi: "because he was... lowest of the low creatures"e;. Well, it’s hard not to agree with the actor - Louie was obnoxious, sexiest, rude, slimy, greedy... but hey, doesn’t it ring a bell? And that’s how the great conspiracy theory have started :)

When I remembered that Roy Biggins from Wings was obnoxious, sexiest, rude, slimy, greedy and Bob from Becker was obnoxious, sexiest, rude, slimy, greedy it got me thinking: isn’t it strange that so many characters are so similar in American sitcoms? Let’s start the quest by define what Louie De Palma is:
- selfish,
- feels he is superior to rest of human kind,
- manipulative,
- cheap,
- greedy,
- shallow,
- sexiest,
- sex-crazed (and in rather slimy way),
- rude and enjoys being rude and obnoxious,
- untrustworthy,
- unfriendly (and doing everything he can not to be liked),
- hides his real life and feelings from rest of the world.

Well, since the introduction has been made let’s see the potential twins of Louie De Palma:

’David
Roy Biggins (Wings)
played by David Schramm
Roy is owner of airline that is competition for main characters in Wings. He pretty much fits the description above - he is shallow, greedy, sexiest, slimy and obnoxious. He knows all the tricks and likes to manipulate people just to get more money or power.

Bob (Becker)
played by Saverio Guerra
Bob is character that showed up in Becker to remember Reggie that her life isn’t as great as she thought. Bob is definitely slimy, shallow, untrustworthy, loves to make fun of Reggie and Jake.

’Phil
Bill McNeal (NewsRadio)
played by Phil Hartman
Bill is main character in the radio and that’s why he can speak freely what he thinks, which doesn’t get him much friends. He feels superior, he is sexiest, sometimes quite rude in his opinions, he is manipulative and greedy.

Glenn Quagmire (Family Guy)
using voice of Seth MacFarlane
Sex-crazed bachelor that just keeps getting more and more slimy. He isn’t that greedy or manipulative which makes him a lighter version of Louie.

’Dan
Bob ’Bulldog’ Briscoe (Frasier)
played by Dan Butler
A womanizer, rude, obnoxious, shallow, unfriendly co-worker of Frasier.

Bender (Futurama)
using voice of John Di Maggio
Bender is a robot which makes him te perfect example of human nature - he drinks a lot, swears, he is rude, greedy, shallow, sex-crazed (in robot way), he feels superior to humans and hides his feelings.

’Neil
Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother)
played by Neil Patrick Harris
Barney is shallow womanizer, who is untrustworthy, rather unfriendly, very manipulative (especially toward women) and he feels superior. Although he isn’t actually greedy still he is not far from Louie.

Douglas (IT Crowd)
played by Matt Berry
Rich boss of the IT people is sexiest, sex-crazed, unfriendly, but on the other hand he isn’t smart enough to be manipulative and he isn’t greedy, which makes him also a lighter version of Louie.

Frank Reynolds (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
played by... what a surprise, Danny DeVito!
Frank is rude, obnoxious, unfriendly, very greedy, manipulative, he likes to drink. Also he looks quite quite similar to Louie...

’Martin
Gary Strang (Men Behaving Badly)
played by Martin Clunes
Another of the lighter versions - Gary is sex maniac, heavy drinker, he can be quite rude if he wants to, he tries to be manipulative, he is cheap and shallow. But on the other hand he is rather childish and doesn’t really want to be a bad guy, which is a positive side of his character. Also he doesn’t really hide his feelings, it’s just that world isn’t really ready for Gary Strang’s feelings.

Dan Fielding (Night Court)
played by John Larroquette
Another rude womanizer, rather shallow, feels superior, he is sexiest, hides his feelings from rest of the world, doesn’t care if he is unfriendly nor untrustworthy.

’David
Russell (Rules of Engagement)
played by David Spade
A character quite similar to Barney Stinson of How I Met Your Mother - a shallow womanizer, sexiest, manipulative, unfriendly, untrustworthy, rather slimy in his approach to women. He isn’t cheap nor heavy drinker, but he just loves using his assistant Timmy to do all the dirty works for him.

Todd Quinlan (Scrubs)
played by Robert Maschio
Again, like Douglas from IT Crowd he is slimy, sexiest, womanizer and shallow man, but isn’t smart enough to be manipulative or greedy.

’Alan
Stuart Bondek (Spin City)
played by Alan Ruck
A character that reminds Roy Biggins of Wings in so many ways - shallow, sexiest, rude, untrustworthy, slimy, loves to makes practical jokes, sex maniac and also very manipulative person in his work and personal life. And like others he hides away his true feelings.

Larry Almada (Drew Carey Show)
played by Ian Gomez
The character of Larry was usually making only guest appearances, but even those episodes show how much in common he has with the others - he is manipulative, rude, very greedy, he uses sex to build up his career, he is unfriendly and untrustworthy.

Nigel Wick (Drew Carey Show)
played by Craig Ferguson
Drew Carey’s boss is very manipulative, cheap, greedy, sex-crazed, untrustworthy, unfriendly and shows on every opportunity that he doesn’t care about others.

CJ Barnes (8 Simple Rules)
played by David Spade
8 Simple Rules was just another family show until CJ Barnes moved into the house. He is shallow, sex maniac, manipulative, untrustworthy, irresponsible. He doesn’t drink much, nor reaches the heights of rudeness of other characters, so I would say he is on preliminary level yet.

Rupert Rigsby (Rising Damp)
played by Leonard Rossiter
Although Rigsby is cheap, greedy, manipulative, a little bit rude, he feels superior, which makes him in some way similar to Louie, I think that there isn’t enough mean streaks about him.

’Wayne
Newman (Seinfeld)
played by Wayne Knight
Another example of character similiar to Louie, but not that much as it would seem - he is shallow, cheap, greedy, mean, manipulative, but he is only sometimes actually rude. Also Kramer is his kind of friend, so Newman can’t be that close to Louie.

Eric Cartman (South Park)
using voice of Trey Parker
Cartman is foul-mouthed kid which is both rude and untrustworthy. He is also rather unfriendly, manipulative, feels superior to the rest of the group, if he could drink or have sex he most probably would be, which makes him another generation of Louis’.

Sid James (Hancock’s Half Hour)
played by... Sid James
Sid James played a slimy character in Hancock’s Half Hour which is very manipulative, loves doing any kind of scams, using his friends just to get more money. Perhaps he’s not that rude as Louie, also it’s hard to tell if he was sexiest or womanizer (hey, it was 1950’s they just couldn’t do something like that).

Steven Hyde (That ’70s Show)
played by Danny Masterson
Hyde is different from Louie in very basic elements - he isn’t shallow, he isn’t greedy, he isn’t as slimy and obnoxious as Louie, but he feels superior and is using his intellect to manipulate people, also he is unfriendly and sometimes rude.

Dennis Finch (Just Shoot Me)
played by.. yes, David Spade again
Dennis Finch is another of the light versions of Louie, because on one hand he is shallow, sex-crazed, manipulative, unfriendly and untrustworthy person, but on the other hand he takes care of his bosses sometimes humiliating jobs, which makes him partly a victim and gives him some explanation of his rudeness.

Kipp Steadman (Less Than Perfect)
played by Zachary Levi
Kipp Steadman is cold-hearted, rude, obnoxious, manipulative and greedy person. He isn’t as sex-crazed as the others, but his makes sure everyone knows he is superior to them (even if he has to do a humiliating job). Yes, in many way he is similar to Dennis Finch.

That was just 24 examples of Louie De Palma’s from different times and different series. They represent all that people like to despise and that’s what could make them funny. Are they realistic? Hopefully not, but on the other hand you know waht people say - boys will be boys and we all carry some small parts of Louie De Palma in us. But... hang on, what about girls will be girls? Let’s see if we can find such examples in female characters...

’Amy
Annie Spadaro (Caroline in the City)
played by Amy Pietz
Caroline’s next door neighbour is sex-crazed, heavy drinker, manipulative, rude and shallow person. She isn’t actually slimy or greedy, she is rather street-smart and rather tough.

Jane (Dharma & Greg)
played by Shae D’lyn
Hmm, shallow, heavy drinker, sex-crazed, rude, manipulative, unfriendly, untrustworthy - sounds like Louie? Nah...

Julie (Hardware)
played by Ella Kenion
Again - heavy drinker, sex-crazed, manipulative, rude, unfriendly, untrustworthy.

Karen Walker (Will & Grace)
played by Megan Mullally
Heavy drinker, manipulative, feels superior, rude, untrustworthy, unfriendly, very shallow, sex-crazed.

Marcy D’Arcy (Married with Children)
played by Amanda Bearse
Mean, sex-crazed, feels superior, nothing makes her day better than making Al Bundy more miserable, she is also greedy. On the other hand she isn’t slimy nor unfriendly in general. Also she just adapted to being neighbour to someone like Al Bundy, so she has rather good excuse to be mean from time to time.

I know whay you thinking - so where’s the conspiracy theory in that? I think it’s just really interesting that so many characters are so similar to Louie De Palma... Some of them even too similar... So, isn’t there any kind of conspiracy behind it? Perhaps it’s a message from outer space that we should be better and not follow De Palma’s footsteps? Perhaps there’s a hidden code in those characters? Perhaps the writers are just using the same routines or same manual "How to build a sitcom in 5 easy steps"? Or perhaps... Danny DeVito is a hell of a actor that fooled us all and actually he played all those parts!?! Think about it...




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