There’s a four part series airing on pbs called America in Primetime. Each episode focuses on a particular character type found in television shows: the Independent Woman (think Murphy Brown), the Man of the House (Dick Van Dyke), the Misfit (see below), and the Crusader (Marshal Matt Dillon).
Last night was the third episode: the Misfit. Being a television fan and a misfit, I, naturally, tuned in. And you know what? Turns out weirdos and oddballs and outsiders are a beloved bunch.
Characters like Louie De Palma, dispatcher at Sunshine Cab Company; Dwight Shrute, assistant regional manager at Dunder Mifflin/Scranton; Beavis and Butt-head; George Costanza. These maladjusted, self-absorbed, socially inept characters are heroes to us all. We love an underdog and, apparently, we love an oddball just as much.
I’ll be honest with you, though, that hasn’t been my experience. And I have a lifetime of first-hand, insider knowledge. Being different is hard.
I mean, no one would choose to be a misfit, the odd man out. There’s no glory in being a brown shoe in a world of tuxedos. The unconventional and non-conformists among us aren’t hailed as champions, but as troublemakers. They don’t fit the mold or follow a pattern or ask for permission. Not because they refuse to, but because it never occurs to them. Such oversights come at a cost — socially and professionally.
We may love them on television, but sitting in the cube next to us? Uh, not so much. Misfits tend to be awkward and flaky and temperamental. As a rule, they’re not very good at small talk or joining in. They don’t have many social graces or a charming wit. What they do have is a single-minded curiosity and an urge to follow their heart instead of the rules.
So, here’s to us, to the ones who don’t fit. To the tongue-tied, the blushers, and the brainiacs. To the dreamers and wallflowers and mathletes. Take heart, we’re making progress.
Copyright © Publikworks 2011.
9 responses to “: here’s to the misfits :”
I’m definitely a misfit, except not in the Apple commercial change-the-world sort of way. I prefer to call myself “quirky.”
I am so watching that PBS doc. I love PBS documentaries and this one, pop culture references especially, sounds right up my alley.
Me neither, Angie, I just love that commercial. I like ‘quirky’ and ‘eccentric’ is also good.
The last episode is on this Sunday night at 8pm central time, I think. Check your local listings.
I think brown shoes are definitely coming into fashion anyway. So hurrah for misfitedness.
Hi, suzy marie. That’s terrific news! Maybe tuxedos are on the way out, too. Yay.
Why am I just a misfit – I am not just a nitwit…. I’m channeling Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, PW. (smile)
I am a misfit, and I am grateful for the wisdom and comfort that comes with age. I embrace my misfitness, and I hope I am changing the minds and hearts of others.
This is me in a nutshell: follow their heart instead of the rules.
Love this post!
Hey, LD! Funny you pick Rudloph — he’s as real to me as my own dog. Although Rudolph’s certainly a better role model.
I honestly believe, when it comes down to it, we’re all misfits. [ human = misfit } To me, you’re a beacon of sanity and rational thought. Keep following your heart, LD ; )
I’m with you on the Rudolph reference! When I hear “misfit” I immediately think polka-dot elephants, cars with square wheels and an elf who wants to be a dentist :)
Given the choice to do it all over again I would pick misfit every time! The thing misfits hide is that life is way more fun as a misfit :)
sshhh ; )
Ditto, nevercontrary, without a moment’s hesitation. It’s more fun and a lot less pressure to be a misfit, don’t you think?
I loved your comment, by the way, I hadn’t thought about it that way! Thanks for stopping.