As the old prophets foretold, Mandy Patinkin has spent his quarantine nestled in a fairy-tale cabin at the intersection of The Princess Bride and Yentl, shaving his beard and singing in fields. Fortunately for us, he’s been living there alongside his wife, Kathryn Grody, and at least one of his sons, who has taken it upon himself to film Mandy as he takes part in a variety of seemingly random activities that, when examined more closely, coalesce into a pattern that can only be described as Mandy Patinkin–esque.
The videos have a fascinating construct: They’re very clearly filmed and posted to Mandy’s official Twitter account by Mandy’s son, and yet they are presented with captions that make it seem as if they were posted by Mandy himself, despite the fact that the entire point of the videos is that Mandy does not know how to use any sort of technology. They thus elevate themselves to the level of meta commentary — on theater, film, family, the color brown, and the very concept of #cabin #vibes.
The posts began in earnest back in April with a Harry Met Sally–esque interview, in which Mandy and Kathryn detail a recent argument they had on their anniversary that ended in Bolognese and the silent treatment.
Days later, Mandy imitates his own dog. The impression goes on for many minutes.
Next, Mandy and Kathryn are given a list of internet-y abbreviations and asked to guess what they stood for. You haven’t lived until you’ve watched Mandy Patinkin struggle profoundly with the concept of “BRB.” As always, he is redefining the concept of what can and cannot be considered theater.
A prompt from his son — “What do you remember about the ’60s, Dad?” — launches Mandy into a full-scale reenactment of a Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats commercial he did as a young man. Kathryn enters the frame and lovingly berates him for selling cereal while she engaged in progressive activism. This prompts Mandy to begin listing everything he learned from Kathryn in alphabetical order. “A is for mom’s adorable. B is for mom is beautiful.”
Are you starting to understand what I mean by Mandy Patinkin–esque? A sort of ineffable and charming derangement; a sense of theatricality applied to absolutely everything; a commitment to a bit that, even at its most basic level, makes no sense whatsoever?
Sitting silently with a carrot plugged into his nose, Mandy allows his wife to break a glass over his head, then break an egg over his head, then smear whipped cream all over his face. They then proceed to talk about the plight of refugees.
Mandy and Kathryn hug each other as they forget the words to “A You’re Adorable,” perhaps in a callback to the earlier video in which Mandy used this same construct. I’m beginning to wonder if Mandy, Kathryn, and their son know something we don’t; perhaps they are making these videos because they have discovered that each time they are this freaking cute, it heals 4 percent of the Earth’s ozone layer.
In his most recent Twitter video, a meta piece in which Mandy admits he has not been posting his own Twitter videos and wants to learn how to do so “before I die,” Mandy struggles to ascertain the concept of a GIF. (“What does GIF stand for? ‘Gosh, it’s fucked?’”) Though he doesn’t seem to grasp their applicability, he does sum up their basic qualities quite gracefully: “It’s pictures of naked people and cats and cartoons and very strange things.”
Viewed in their totality as a comprehensive body of work, the videos seem designed to provoke a single question: Don’t you wish that you, too, were Mandy Patinkin’s son?
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