Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!

Monday, April 27, 2009

So, Hollywood is remaking the Three Stooges with Jim Carrey, Sean Penn and Benecio del Toro.

I guess I should be thrilled that Zac Efron, Shia Leboeuf and Mario Lopez weren't cast, but I'm not.

This news officially means I'm old.

This should have been readily apparent long ago, of course, when all my beloved childhood shows -- like The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, Scooby-Doo -- were remade. It should have even been apparent recently, when shows from my young adulthood (like Beverly Hills 90210) were redone.

And chances are very good these will all be remade yet again in my lifetime.

I don't mean to sound like a curmudgeon. I'm no Walter Matthau.

When 1980s fashion returned, I happily wore topsiders with no sock and doubled up my polos -- layering a pink one over a white one -- just like I'd done in high school. I even dug up my old jelly bracelets.

And when rap sampled all my favorite old-school disco songs, I gleefully danced to them all again in clubs.

But there are some things that are sacrosanct, and the Three Stooges is one of them. I grew up with Larry, Mo and Curly, watching the Stooges on an old Zenith with my father.

In fact, it was one of the first things to bond this gay man to his father, despite the fact I slapped my dad and then poked him in the eyes one night while eating a meatloaf dinner.

It's not that I believe the Stooges remake will be bad -- though it most likely will -- it's just that such originality can never be recreated.

For years, my mother and I have tried to recreate my grandmother's lemon meringue pie. We even have her original recipe, written on an index card whose words still show the smear marks from her aging palm as it dragged against the wet ink.

We've made that pie hundreds of times now, squeezing lemons, slow-cooking the filling, beating the meringue, just as my grandma had done.

But every time I taste it, something's missing.

My grandma.

She perfected the pie.

And the Stooges perfected the pie in the face.

And the newer versions -- no matter how many times we try and recreate them -- will never taste the same.

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