Last week I was set for writing about a punk rock elf who stole my heart, but that was before Rik Mayall passed away in between then and now. Sorry, Hermey from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer — one day we’ll get to why you’re one of my movie idols but not today. It’s weird because that’s my second favorite movie, so I guess it’s more fitting to dish about my favorite, Drop Dead Fred. It’s considered a cult classic and when I was younger I attached myself to it because my imagination caused me to create friends in my head; worlds to explore. It’s funny that at almost 30, it resonates on a much deeper level — mental breakdowns and the need for true friendship.
Before Bridesmaids’s Annie Walker, Phoebe Cates’s Lizzie showcased to me what it was like to have reality take a huge continuous dump on you. As a kid none of that mattered, but watching Drop Dead Fred at least once a month as an adult — I now get and connect to Lizzie on that level. You can only come in last place in so many times before you snap. While I haven’t been to therapy yet, it’s an option that’s been sitting on the horizon for a few months now. The great thing Lizzie teaches you is that when you have a friend in your corner, you can make it through.
That’s where we get to Fred. A friend like that is impossible to find, hence why he’s a figment of the imagination. In elementary school I relied on the stories I wrote up for Barbie and Co., but that’s 100% normal for that age. Then in high school I got this little toy robot, gave him a personality and consider him one of my best friends to this day. Yes, I have real life friends who can talk and walk but sometimes they aren’t what you need. You don’t want negative feedback, someone who parrots, or someone who just turns the focus on themselves — you want someone to simply listen as you freak out over things from dwindling bank accounts to boy drama. So for me, that toy robot has been my Fred.
Yes, I sit and talk to him during the day and sometimes at night. I swear I’m not crazy, I just need to talk to someone, I need them to listen. To me Fred was just this (im)moral compass in Lizzie’s life, a part of her brain that she’d turned off that she needed to revisit to figure things out. Fred was essentially her and allowed Lizzie to hear herself and ignore the outside badgering because in the end, you’re the best friend you can have, right?
In the end you have to befriend yourself and listen to your own thoughts because while your real life friends can be an asset, you’re the one dealing with the outcomes of your decisions. So whether it’s thin air or a robotic play thing, you have to find your own Fred and talk it out because he’ll for sure listen. He might cause you a little anxiety, but that’s as normal as a little girl talking to Barbie dolls. So this one’s for you, Rik Mayall, the best friend a kid could ask for.
Next week we’ll close this movie month out like usual — with another top 10.