Favorite Fictional Characters, #260: Wayne Campbell
Some movies are perfect time capsules for the moment in which they came into the world, none more so than Mike Myers' debut and early-signature Wayne's World, which captures 1992 in all its post-Reagan, pre-Internet glory. I can recall exactly where and when Nate Oxnard and I saw it in the theater late winter of junior year. One of the few SNL sketches to graduate successfully to the big screen, Wayne's World works because of that snapshot clarity, and because it is an excellent vehicle for Myers' proto-hipster slacker sarcasm. Virtually unlimited catchphrases sprang from this movie (Schwing, game on, that's what she said, Not!, we're not worthy) that, for 1993 graduates, would heavily populate the tail end of our high school conversations. The music was great, and the fourth-wall breaking conceit was well-suited to the silly tone of the entire enterprise.
It also works because while Wayne (and to an extent Dana Carvey's oddball sidekick Garth) affects a world-weary cooler-than-thou vibe, he really isn't, and is afflicted with a sensitive, compassionate, pro-social moral code that accompanies his baser ambitions to become a rock god, or at least to know some. The less-funny, weirdly transcendental sequel explores this side of Wayne's philosophic nature, but I prefer the unbridled joy and innocent romp of the first installment. Give me the basement public-access shows, the hagiography of bankrupt pop culture, the sinister plastic perfection of younger Rob Lowe, the scintillating hotness of Tia Carrere, the iconic headbanging to Queen (admit it, if you're in a car and that song comes on, you have to do it too - terrifying fellow motorists and confusing your children).
The movie is fun, and Wayne is a cheerful, undemanding host and narrator. Party on!