Non Sequitur

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Who did it better?

   
Who did it better?

This is yer standard comparison thread, this time comparing two different characterizations of the same subject. View the list below and posit theories or add your own comparisons? Rules: Don't try to disprove or disparage someone else's opinion just prove your own.



Yogi Bear vs. Art Carney

Shatner vs. Pine

Baloo vs. Stephen Collins

Lorne Green vs. Edward James Olmos

Lorne Greene vs. Edward James Olmos
(I'm going to assume this is a comparison between their performances as Adama, rather than a Chief Rorchek vs. Lt. Castillo debate.)

I think a lot of this one comes down to how close you were to the original source material. For those of us (yeah, I'm that old) who can remember the original BSG airing on TV, Lorne Greene was perfect in his role: that deep-timbred, serious voice of authority, carrying with it all of the associated gravitas of Ben Cartwright (that's a "Bonanza" reference, kids...look it up). I can remember watching those episodes and being hard-pressed to imagine anyone else who could carry off being Adama without making it seem unconvincing or downright campy.
With that said, when the re-imagined BSG came out, I was immediately sold on Olmos. He was serious to the point of being curmudgeonly; gravelly-voiced, weathered-looking, a man who life had put through the physical and emotional wringer, and was a walking piece of surly sharp-eyed gristle. Where Lorne Greene was the right Adama for a disco-sparkly, Tab-drinking, Carter-led America, Olmos was the right Adama for a disillusioned, dysfunctional, off-balance post-9/11 America. He could play a role that had become tougher, meaner, and existed in a far more morally-ambiguous universe than that of its predecessor.
So: who did it better? Both actors were best-suited to their respective times, but I think that Olmos had the more challenging Adama to portray, so I'd say he'd be my pick for the better of the two actors.

Shatner vs. Pine

I remember the first time Star Trek came on. It was a ground-breaking show, and rightly so - so much of the Star Trek series, even in the Next Generation, followed recent developments, findings and theories in comsmology and physics - remember the Dyson Sphere in STNGen? It had been theorized only a short while before the episode. So Star Trek back then had a deeper meaning and had more of a cult following.

But to the actors - it becomes difficult to compare them in a sense, as Pine might not have have grown into Shatner, with his temperment hardened so much. The Pine character reminded me of a captain who might not have lasted, as he was a little too rambunctious and anti-authoritarian to not be court-martialled. In a sense, the new Star Trek had to be overblown with more wild action in it to gather a new and younger audience, so it was non-stop action.

I think Pine was perfect for this. But as for the original series, I can't think of anyone but Shatner who could have played it - despite his overacting, despite him having sunken into a caricature of himself after the show and movies, trying to stay in the limelight. I can't see a sequel with Pine calming down, either.

I'll vote for Shatner, since the portrayal was critical to create interest in real, advanced SciFi.

Yogi vs. Art? You been talkin' to yer grandpa, Pench? Not many people here know of either of them!

The two characters were linked, in Honeymooner's Art Carney vs. Jackie Gleason, and Yogi vs. BooBoo. Perhaps you meant Booboo, as he was the dimwitted friend of Yogi, the blustery Gleason personage. I'll assume you meant that.

Comparing a cartoon to a comedy show with humanoids is difficult, but the humor of Carney was incredible. As a stand-up, he was quick and remarkably poignant, and his characters on the Gleason Show were great. He pretty much made the Honeymooner's show a comparison of Gleason's humor with his wife versus Carney's bumbling fun. Think of an early Michael Richards of Seinfeld, or Christopher Lloyd of Seinfeld.

Gotta go with Carney.

Actually I do mean Yogi. While he was the top banana of the Yogi-Booboo dynamic, his character was based upon Art Carney's characterization of Ed Norton from the Honeymooners

Edit: Of course he was named after Yogi Berra who was famed for baseball and his
For example: Half the lies they tell about me aren't true.
peculiar sayings.

I suppose I'll go ahead and express my opinions on the comparisons I posited.

Yogi Bear vs. Art Carney
The two are characterizations of the same concept. They share a hat, a tie and an attitude. Of course Art Carney is the real artist and I have to go with him.

Shatner vs. Pine

William Shatner at the time was in a role that he himself did not take seriously. He was under the distinct impression that the show would last a season and then go away. He wanted to do and had done Shakespeare and theater. TV was just a way to eat (though the truth is blurry from various different memoirs and biographies) but that describes much of the TV crowd at the time. The art was on the stage and the money was on the big screen. The 60's was the age that started to turn that around. By the time Star Trek made it to the big screen, Shatner was locked into his characterization and unable to reboot himself as a serious actor. Chris Pine is a movie actor saddled with the legacy of another man. Destined to never live up to a role that is more parody than character. He was caught between having to parody Kirk or 'not stay true to the character' whatever that means. All in all, I think he was enough of Kirk to be recognizable as Kirk without resorting to being a cartoon. I vote for Chris Pine.

Baloo vs. Stephen Collins
This was obscure, of course. Long ago in the early 1980's was a short lived TV show called 'Tales of the Gold Monkey'. It was created before Raiders of the Lost Ark but put on the back burner. When Raiders hit it big, ABC fast tracked the show. It was set in the South Pacific with a dashing young pilot (played by Stephen Collins of 7th Heaven fame) who owned a 'Flying Boat' style twin engine sea plane. He operated out of an island where his friend Louie owned an establishment of 'The Monkey Bar' and had a weird mechanic. There was a sidekick (an intelligent one eyed dog) and... well you get the idea. Years later, Disney produced a new cartoon series called Tale Spin starring Baloo the Bear as Baloo the pilot. He flew a 'flying boat' style twin engined sea plane, he had a friend named Louie who operated a bar on an island, had a weird mechanic, a small sidekick... see where I'm going with this? Yep, Tale Spin was at least strongly inspired by the old 1982 TV show, if not straight out ripped off.

So... Baloo the Bear and Stephen Collins both played a version of the same character in the same setting. Weird huh? Among the characterizations, I would have to say that Baloo did a better job. I loved Tales of the Gold Monkey and I like Stephen Collins, but I can imagine that the cartoon is a scruffier and scrappier war hero pilot that poor Steven.

Lorne Greene vs. Edward James Olmos in Battlestar Galactica

In short: Moses vs. a brave but terribly flawed man. Ironically, the same character is so different that I think that it really isn't comparable. Each played to the part well and did what they came to do. The original is a parable with John Dykstra special effects and the latter is a tragic soap opera with really cool CGI.





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