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I guess I just like liking things

I don’t know what it’s like to be forever associated with one particular role. Leonard Nimoy initially was totally bummed about it but then came around to embracing it (actually, that seems to happen to a lot of Star Trek actors…). Outside of Star Trek, there is a short list of people so associated with a particular part that it’s almost impossible to separate them from it. While you might initially picture Marty McFly when you think of Michael J. Fox, it’s not difficult to see him in other things. Not so with Michael Richards, who will forever be Kramer (even Stanley Spadowski, in retrospect, is kind of a proto-Kramer).

Then there’s James Gandolfini. His passing this week has prompted many, many articles about his life and career, and the overwhelming majority of them talk about just how fantastic he was as Tony Soprano, somehow making a scary, unfaithful, violent, lying mobster likable. Really, what better tribute can you bring to an actor than to say his conic role was just that because he brought the character to life in a way no one else would likely have been able to? Sure, to his immediate friends and family he was a friend, a father, a husband, and all those other things people are, but to the vast majority of us, he was an actor who did a fantastic job, and we’re sad because of that connection. “Thank you for entertaining us, for bringing us joy,” is what we are saying when we’re sad about the death of an actor we like.

I discovered the following clip via Geekosystem. Though I’m a huge fan of The Muppets, I don’t follow Sesame Street much – there’s a kind of disconnect in my brain about it, actually, like the Muppets on The Muppets are one thing but Muppets on Sesame Street are a whole different thing completely.  I don’t know why that is.  Anyway, this clip delighted me even though I don’t know the particular Muppet in it, and I wanted to share it with you. Mr. Gandolfini is so much Tony Soprano in my mind that it’s hard for me to not think of this as being “Tony Soprano Visits Sesame Street,” but I really mean no disrespect in saying that.


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