Monday, February 04, 2008
A Dickensian tale of woe. With belching contests.
So I was doing a little research of the internet recently for a short story I'm working on that concerns aspects of the 1984 film "Revenge of the Nerds", and while doing so I noticed that the character of Ogre, the monstrous, beer-swilling henchman of the jock Alpha Beta fraternity in the movie, was listed as Fred "The Ogre" Palowakski in the credits.
Interesting. I always thought of him simply as "Ogre." He is never referred to by anything other than "Ogre" in the film, so no indication was given of his persona, beyond the fact that he liked to party, seemed to have no use for sleeves and hated nerds with a white-hot passion. Indeed, the character could scarcely be described as human.
But this changes things. We now know that "Ogre" has a name. Fred Palowalski, in fact (most likely "Frederick" on his birth certificate, but until this document is produced we can't be sure).
Using this slim piece of evidence as a springboard, here are some things I believe are germane to the character of Ogre and explain his "arc", as they say in storytelling circles. I will now weave them into the tapestry of his character:
He is of Polish descent.
His father worked in a factory, drank a lot, and beat him frequently.
To avoid being beaten, young Fred spent more and more of his of his time running amok in the streets of his working-class ghetto. It was here that he discovered that his imposing, larger-than-average frame could be used to bully and intimidate others. Thus, in classic dramatic fashion, the sins of the father became the sins of the son.
Having learned to rely on his physicality to survive, his studies suffered. Despite his high-school success on the gridiron and the subsequent college scholarship it provided, he never got over feeling dumb. Thus, he hated nerds because they were smarter than him and represented an existence he was at least smart enough to realize he could never attain.
You see? Everything has depths. You just have to be willing to plumb.