After much deliberation (and a rather intense spitball fight), the governing council of The Lenslinger Institute has decided to go ahead with its Class Action Lawsuit against the makers of Groundhog Day. That's right, we're going after one Harold Allen Ramis, the man behind the film that forever maligned the reputation of TV News cameramen everywhere. Not that our reputations were all that pristine to begin with. In fact, the perceived character of the photog nation has been impugned since the very dawn of television. Much of that has been our own fault. We've never dressed properly, always bitched and occasionally insisted our prettier partners carry something greasy back to the car. Not a recipe for a widespread love and acceptance. But as misguided as our behavior has been, nothing has impugned the character of we TV stevedores like a certain Bill Murray vehicle. You remember it: Weather weasel travels to Punxsutawney, PA, where he's trapped in some kind of comedic time warp. There he languishes until his surly demeanor gets the better of him, whereupon he escapes his fate by simply becoming less of a tool. It's an engaging concept, though the completed film is more original than funny. Still, it's become something of a cultural touchstone over the years. It's very title has even come to serve as shorthand for a dull, repetitive, never-ending assignment. All well and mostly good. There's only one problem... This guy. Christopher N. Elliott. Once upon a time, he was 'the guy beneath the seats' on the old Letterman show. Eventually, he achieved cinematic immortality as "Woogie" in There's Something About Mary. But in 1993, director Ramis launched a hard-target search for an actor to embody 'Larry', the local station lenslinger who suffers at the hand of Murray's pompous weather prick. Worse yet, Ramis and company gifted Larry with a brief speech that has haunted my kind since the film first ruled the multiplex. To wit:
"PEOPLE THINK THAT ALL CAMERAMEN DO IS POINT THE CAMERA AT THINGS, BUT IT'S A *HECK* OF A LOT MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT."
Now, as profound as that may sound, it's delivered with contempt, leaving the audience convinced that Larry (and every other TV news shooter on the planet) is a lumpy schlub. Untrue. Only about half of us are. The rest of us are raconteurs, bons vivants and artisans Why, I knew one guy who made a whole row of main anchor voodoo dolls using nothing but undead Double AA's and his own stomach lining. You won't see that on the silver screen! Neither will you find realistic depictions of other standard-bearers like taxidermists, auto-pilots or that bearded weirdo who use to stalk you at the roller-rink. People think it's easy skating backwards in glitter shorts and a disco wig, but I'm tellin' ya, it's a *heck* of a lot more complicated than that.