Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Kansas City Royals put Weekend At Bernie's cut-out in the stands, inadvertently driving us to despair

Illustration for article titled Kansas City Royals put iWeekend At Bernie/is cut-out in the stands, inadvertently driving us to despair
Screenshot: Casperopolis

The Kansas City Royals put a cut-out of Bernie from Weekend At Bernie’s in the stands as they played. At first blush, this is nothing more than a funny sight gag—a cute way to break up the tide of fan photographs filling stadiums during COVID-19 by offering a nod to a classic comedy. We have tried as hard as we can to leave it at that. We’ve tried to see this cut-out and just have a nice, pleasant, fleeting laugh at the creative decision. It’s a good joke.

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It’s also, god help us all, something that leads to increasingly disconcerting thoughts the longer you look at it.

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While Korean baseball teams have stuffed their stands with teddy bears and one Japanese stadium used a group of singing, dancing robots as an audience, America, like the subject of a Leonard Cohen song, wants it darker. Bernie Lomax is a dead man, after all, and, notably, he’s a dead man who is carted around throughout the length of a movie by people who like to pretend he’s actually still alive.

The grade 9 English class metaphor is easy to spot. Here is one of cinema’s most famous corpses, propped up like death hasn’t come for him, watching as MLB players compete in a disease-ridden battle royale for the benefit of their corporate overlords and the amusement of a country seemingly helpless in the face of a deadly pandemic. Bernie, mixed in with so many other frozen depictions of real people who can’t safely attend a baseball game, is an ominous symbol watching over all of this.

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But no, we can’t think this way. The only choice we have to get through 2020 is to ignore the most horribly on-the-nose stuff we see in front of us, look on the bright side of things, and keep trucking. And hey: Maybe the Kansas City Royals don’t even know the plot of Weekend At Bernie’s. Maybe they just liked the laid-back attitude of a mustachioed Terry Kiser slumped motionlessly in his seat. Maybe that’s all there is to their choice, and we should just hum a few bars of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” from beneath our face masks as we get on with the day.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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