Harpo Penikett

OK, I know that’s not a real person.  The title will make sense in a few minutes.

Watching TV in the strange, sci-fi and offbeat world my kids and I inhabit you start to see a lot of actors that inhabit lots of different worlds.  They start on bad sci-fi (sorry, SyFy . . . worst name ever!) channel pilots that never go anywhere.  Then you look up one day and they’re on ABC’s Castle.  This is the case with an actor with the strangest name that doesn’t seem to fit his looks: Tahmoh Penikett.  It’s not that I’m a big fan or anything, but Abbi, Hannah and I just like saying the name.

Tahmoh Penikett – Pic from Fox Television in “Dollhouse”

Sometimes it’s in the voice of Indiana Jones: “The Penikett man shall pass.  The Penikett man kneels before God!”  Others it’s singing like the seven dwarves: “Tahhhmmmoooooohhhhhh!  Tahhmoh, it’s off to work we go . . . ”

We aren’t poking fun, though it sounds mean.  We actually like the way the name rolls off the tongue, more than anything.

Tahmoh Penikett.  Tahmoh Penikett.  Tahmoh Penikett.

He’s a good actor.  Joss Whedon uses him a lot.  He’s been on a number of shows and movies we happened to see and then look at each other silently saying “it’s the Penikett man!”

But the point of this is a shared moment the other night with my daughter.  Because we both like John Cusack – my favorite being Grosse Pointe Blank, Abbi’s likely Say Anything, we thought there could be no harm in watching The Raven.  I was wrong, of course, it was a bit more violent than we expected and a lot less interesting than it could have been.  But the supporting actor – whose name I’m sorry to say I don’t remember – bore a strange resemblance to Tamoh up there.

Now, I’m sure the actor is doing far more things and far different circles.  Not that the Penikett man isn’t in the circle of actors, I just figured he’s not even related or knows him.  But I mention the comparison to Abbi as we watch the movie and she responds with . . . “Yeah, kinda.  More like a brother, though, or maybe a cousin.
“Skip Penikett.”
“Arlo Penikett.”

I looked at her and said “Harpo Penikett . . . lost cousin of the Marx brothers.”

Now . . . I know that’s not funny.  I also know it’s silly.  But we both busted out laughing beyond all belief.  We were both exhausted and giddy and it just struck us as funny.  It’s like when Johnny Carson used to call the Ayatollah’s cousin “Skip Khomeni”.

But my point here, folks, is that we’re laughing again, uncontrollably, with abandon.  We watched a bad movie, poked fun at it, and like when Abbi was little and I jokingly told her there was a muppet called Napoleon Blownapart – who exploded every week – we laughed again.  (By the way, we watched the movie “Pirates! In an adventure with scientists” and there’s a bar on the dock called the Napoleon Blownapart.  Just sayin’)  To be able in the last year at home to share these funny and insane moments with Abbi . . . and with Hannah when she’s looking at cartoons or what have you . . . is worth its weight in gold.  A year ago at this time we laughed, sure, but we were just unsure if we should do it.  How do you laugh when there’s a voice – a harmony in the chorus that’s missing.  How do you laugh when you wonder if you should still be feeling badly about what’s happened?  That was how we were looking at the world, though not realizing it.

So with all honor due to Tahmoh Penikett – who really is a good character and lead actor at this point – we are improving and laughing again . . . each day . . . and hopefully he sees that our laughing at the Penikett Man is a great tribute to the fact we actually love his name and watch what he does.   It’s also a tribute to how we’re moving forward again.

And to his brother Harpo, too, of course.

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