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Jun 23 2018

Suspension of Disbelief

Among the most truly bizarre things I’ve experienced is watching Tom Arnold on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show.

Now my memory of Tom Arnold is as Roseanne Barr’s untalented husband who was able to sleaze his way on to her show, first as a writer and then as on air talent. He also had a turn as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s assistant in True Lies, a completely creepy and totally misogynistic film where Arnold abuses the power of his position at some super secret agency or another to stalk his wife Jaime Lee Curtis whom he suspects is unfaithful.

Really, the plot is that bad though it’s played as a Buddy Comedy/Action flick. It’s one of the most outrageous Weinstein fantasies ever committed to the screen.

Then I had the pleasure for a long time of thinking about Tom Arnold not at all even though after his divorce from Roseanne he led a kind of “Z” list fringe Hollywood existence of the type that reminds you of Kato Kaelin and not in a good way.

So it was a shock to see him on my TV during a political show talking in all seriousness about teaming up with Michael Cohen to take down Trump.

And then I realized it made perfect sense.

Until recently The Donald’s main claims to fame were that he was a skeevy Real Estate promoter who could bankrupt a Casino (A Casino!) and he was the “talent” in a basic cable reality TV show. Talk about “Z” list!

Of course those, like Cohen, drafting in his minor celebrity are even more pitiful and fringe. It’s as if one were the nail stylist for one of the less memorable Real Housewives… (can you remember any? I can’t think of one). That such a person would think of Tom Arnold as his big deal actor buddy in show business, the one who’s not Trump, makes all the sense in the world.

And let’s not forget that outside of his “serious” journalism credentials Lawrence O’Donnell is known for exactly two things- he was a Senate staffer back in the day and he wrote for The West Wing.

In serious drama “suspension of disbelief” is the concession the audience makes to the obvious contrivances of the theater, like the stage and sets and costumes, even the ludicrous plots, stilted dialog, and Chekov’s gun.

This couldn’t get greenlit but it’s all too real.