Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tracing the Lineage of Doctor Leo Spaceman

Exhibit A: Doctor Leo Spaceman


I'm sure we're all familiar with Dr. Spaceman, the resident physician/dentist/drug dealer for the employees of 30 Rock. This was the only YouTube video I could find, which is sad because it misses a lot of his best lines, such as:

(explaining why he can't inject adrenaline into a man's heart)"
"Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing where the heart is.

(explaining why his lab coat is covered in blood)
"Oh, I was at a costume party earlier this evening, and the hostess's dog attacked me, so..... I had to stab it."

(after Tracey asks him if DNA test results will help him remember his Pin Number)"
"Absolutely. Science is whatever we want it to be."

Good stuff. But what creative well did spring such a character? Let's take a look at this 1999 Saturday Night Live sketch, which happens to coincide with Tina Fey's first year as head writer.

Exhibit B: Bad Doctor SNL Sketch



My shocking conclusion after the jump..


I would posit this character is the origin of Doctor Spaceman. HEAR ME OUT. While Bad Doctor is a good bit nastier than the always upbeat Doctor Spaceman, they both share a particularly grandiose way of delivering their extremely absurd lines. It's notable as well that Chris Parnell who portrays Doctor Spaceman plays the patient in the bad doctor sketch, and I'd be really curious to know who came up with the original idea. I'm 99% sure it's Parnell. That man is a genius. You know Lazy Sunday was all him, right? I mean, look at this:



And now look at what Samberg and the other Lonley Island guys came up with with a huge budget, T-Pain, and probably writers.



Not as good. Just not as good.

In conclusion, Chris Parnell is awesome and invented Doctor Spaceman in 1999.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chris Parnell has NEVER gotten the recognition he deserves, and his firing from SNL was the biggest travesty that show has ever committed - even Lorne Michaels said that (in a New Yorker interview I believe). Every moment with him on 30 Rock is an A+.

Degan said...

Ok ok, i'll buy your crazy crackpot conspiracy theories (i mean, seriously, i totally see where you're coming from here)... but to be fair, that wasn't the best Lonely Island video you could have used... they've done better. Granted, Lazy Sunday is still their best, but that's like saying that awful episode of West Wing where CJ goes home to her dad exemplifies the entire series.

But yes, I love Chris Parnell... he was also great in Hot Rod... Yes I like Hot Rod! Its a great movie! Give it a chance haters!

Hunter said...

Adam McKay wrote the Bad Doctor sketch and I think it's more usefully invoked as an early experiment with the McKay/Ferrell dialogue aesthetic, a school whose star shone brightly for a time. It is something I'm sure a lot of the younger 30 Rock writers take very seriously.

Chris Parnell's role as the anonymous-looking-but-completely-ubiquitous utility player on SNL, added to his weird mid-season resurrection that one time, eventually gave me this weird feeling that he was actually some kind extension or proxy of Lorne Michaels. Like, in the best case scenario, a spy, and in the worst, some sort of magical projection. Until that is proven though I give him thumbs up.

AHR said...

Citation needed, h.

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