• Joe Pace

Favorite Fictional Characters, #88: Frank the Tank


"Once it hits your lips it's so good!"

I'm not a huge Will Ferrell fan. He's kind of the same joke, over and over again. That said, it's a pretty funny joke, and he actually shows up on this list more than once. Today's entry is Frank the Tank, from the slapstick frat-boy gutter-fest Old School. There's not much plot to recap - sad, aging men try to recapture lost youth through collegiate hi-jinks - but the laughs are frequent, if guilty. Vince Vaughn brings his lacerating, pitiable verbal diarrhea, but the most pathetic, hilarious presence is easily Ferrell's Frank.

An immediately recognizable archetype, Frank has settled into a doughy, tame self-loathing with his new bride. This domesticity is merely a thin coat of civilized varnish over his true self: juvenile, alcohol-fueled rage. It doesn't take much time to nudge Frank from Bed, Bath, and Beyond to KY lube wrestling, beer funnels, and streaking. No, Frank, nobody else is coming. His wife, seeking greener (or at least vaguely adult) pastures, wants no part of The Tank. Most of our wives likely labor under the same illusion, that our sophomoric selves are left long behind, replaced by responsible husbands, fathers, grownups. Sadly (or perhaps happily), our veneers are as thin as Frank's. There's a contentment to middle age, a certain staid joy, but there will always be a furtive glance back to the adventures of youth, with a sigh and the knowledge that no, there's no going back. And given how I feel the morning after even a modest night of indulgence, that's probably a good thing.

But it's fun, once in a while, to reminisce, and to sigh, before going back to looking at wallpaper at Home Depot. You're still my boy, Blue.

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