Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hamlet in Third Rock from the Sun

“Body and Soul and Dick.” By Bonnie Turner and Terry Turner. Perf. John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Jane Curtin. Dir. Robert Berlinger. 3rd Rock from the Sun. Season 1, episode 8. NBC. 27 February 1996. DVD. Mill Creek Entertainment, 2011.

Shamefacedly, I admit that I know next to nothing about this show. However, avid Bardfilm reader and Twitter user @GtThee2ANunnery called my attention to its use of Shakespeare.

To me, the most significant parts of the clip below are (1) the quotation's starting point—instead of the now-cliché opening of Hamlet's best-known soliloquy, the quote starts in the middle, increasing its effectiveness; and (2) the assumed route by which these aliens (did I mention that the characters are aliens who have taken on human form for some reason or another?) learned their Shakespeare. To them, this isn't Hamlet: It's simply something the dreamy Mel Gibson said in one of his movies. The assumption is that these characters are undiscerning—they get their knowledge of the culture from whatever source happens to be handy. And that's exactly how it often happens!

And the "Yorick as Apple" idea is pretty brilliant. "He poured a flagon of cider on my head once!"

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest