No Right Explanation

No Right Explanation
Just Being Neighborly

Firefilm | 26 Nov 2012 16:00
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Dan: My wife and I are currently in the market to have a wacky neighbor, i.e. looking for a new place to live. Something about a leak leading to the ceiling in my child's nursery caving in is making us stir-crazy. However, there's no filter on the real estate websites for level of wackiness in the surrounding population. Why is that? Because all neighbors are wacky to a certain degree. That's why almost every sitcom based around a domicile has a wacky neighbor. You've got Joey from Friends, Wilson from Home Improvement ... the list goes on. From dorms in college to apartments and homes, everyone who lives around you is one crazy scheme away from a Kramer or an Urkel.

We still want a new place to live though, so does anyone want some roommates?

Now to points. Chris snagged the first point with entrance pizzazz. Both of these wacky individuals had pretty great entrances, but if you're going for odd neighbor gold, you better have a memorable pop-in every time. Steve would sometimes just walk in and say hi; with no special pomp and circumstance. The audience would still clap and howl as it did back then. Kramer, on the other hand had that door opening appearance down to a science. Fast, slow, loud, clumsy, sometimes with nonsensical phrases like "Yo-yo-ma" and "Giddy up" uttered along with it. That's how you let everyone in the apartment know that the wacky neighbor had arrived.

Chris also snagged the second point with the argument of intention. Kramer was wacky due to harebrained ideas and untraditional reactions to life's randomness. You never quite knew whether he was going to adopt a highway and make the lanes larger or make a salad in the shower for your dinner party. Urkel was more predictable in that there were only two reasons for his crazy adventures. Either he created something with the goal to win Laura's heart, or he was so clumsy that something happened that would need fixing. Maybe an odd fixation with Polka here and there, but he was less random and more nerdy. Random is always going to be more wacky than nerdy.

Kyle got on the board next with a rebuttal to Chris' previous argument. Steve always had a plan and that plan usually worked. Kramer did crazy things, and usually it made people kick him out of establishments. Steve did crazy things, and it led to successful cloning, time travel, and more often than not, saving the day. In the Seinfield episode where Kramer finds lobster pots, he just takes the lobsters and feeds them to his friends, and he's shunned when he's found out. If Steve did that, he might have started out the same way, but in the end he would have invented some new way of catching lobsters that made everything ok in the end. That's the difference between the two; Kramer gets in situations, but only Steve bothers to resolve them.

I don't usually like to award points based on negative comments to the other side's camp, but Chris' point was too good to ignore. Urkel at one point decides that the only way Laura will love him is if he changes himself to a non-wacky version of himself. After doing this and going a bit mad with power, he later clones himself, putting the wacky side in one and the "Normal" side in the other. Laura ends up with the normal side, therefore verifying his hypothesis of her only loving the more socially acceptable version of himself. Kramer has never backed down or tried to un-"Kramer" himself for a woman or a man. He is Kramer, he is wacky and the world can either take it or leave it. Bravo, Mr. Kramer, bravo.

Next point went to Chris for a no-brainer. Pretty self-explanatory, Kramer never engulfed the show to the point where an episode couldn't go on without him. Urkel basically became the main character of Family Matters with the main family becoming his neighbor. Done and done.

Kyle tried for one last push by arguing that Urkel is the catalyst for all the crazy adventures that occurred on his show, but it was too late. Chris took the win, and then we all ate way too much food at Thanksgiving. Nice.

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