Men Are From Mars, Women Belong In The Kitchen.
Edward F. Cline
Women hate W.C. Fields. But not for the same reasons they hate the Three Stooges. Hatred for Larry, Moe, Curley, and to a lesser extent Shemp comes not from a genetic predilection, but rather stems from a traumatic childhood event. Like most psychiatric pathologies, hatred of the Three Stooges, or ‘triretardophobia’, comes from a woman’s father, who crept in their bedroom late at night, pulled back the covers, and took them downstairs to watch late night stand-up comedians on Showtime at the Apollo. Short of quips about having trouble programming the VCR, women hating the Three Stooges is literally the oldest joke in the book, after the one about the Neolithic caveman, the Mastodon, and the Rabbi walking into a bar.
The aversion to W.C. Fields is, however, coded directly into female DNA, along with an exceptionally high tolerance for Jimmy Fallon and the ability to speak entirely in Sex and the City quotes. With men being blessed with strength, intelligence, in the case of certain ethnic groups, the ability to tolerate the stench of cheap, sour cologne , you’d think women would get some equally useful skills, like a repressed gag reflex. But no, all their extra X chromosome gives them is an instant, violent reaction to W.C. Fields and the almost supernatural ability to pick up the stale scent of Kleenex and KY Jelly that indicates that there is pornography in the apartment.
You’ll have to excuse me for falling into a tired, familiar pattern of gender stereotyping. It’s just that a discussion of The Bank Dick is impossible without it, like talking about American history but avoiding Lincoln, or giving a genocide lecture without opening with a joke. W.C. Fields spends most of the film reminding us why we love (or hate) his short films, and why that’s not a good enough reason to watch a feature. He drinks a lot, abuses his children amusingly, and does an excellent job of defining the word ‘bumbling’ for a game of charades. If you’re into that sort of thing, this is definitely the movie for you. If you’re not, go into the kitchen and make me a sandwich.