The Great Connection

A thought by Alex Reimen | 5-8 minute read

Growing up there were two groups you could run with at my school. Although the tribes fought constantly over a particular issue it was a matter of two sides of the same coin. I’m talking of course about the great debate over which film starring Chris Farley and David Spade was infinitely better “Tommy Boy” or “Black Sheep”. If you must know I found myself in the “Tommy Boy” camp.  I can quote the movie line for line from memory. I even wore out the VHS (if you don’t know what this is ask your parents) that I owed. You may even be thinking of your favorite line from the movie right now!

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Even though we were at constant war with the camp that held the opposing view of “Black Sheep” being the superior film I also really enjoyed it. Remember the cabin Farley and Spade stayed in? The bat? Or the roof of the cabin blowing off in the middle of the night? Priceless. Both movies basically followed the same formula. Get Farley and Spade into an impossible situation and watch the hilarity ensue. If you really think about it Hollywood found a winning comedy duo much like Abbott and Costello or Crosby and Hope and decided to milk it for all it’s worth. I was thinking deeply about these two films the other day and a crazy thought popped into my head….what if these stories centered around Chris Farley’s characters were somehow connected. The more and more my mind traveled down this path, the possibility of a connection grew.  tommyboydashSo if you dear reader want to take a ride along this road of endless wonder and fan fiction please sit back and enjoy the ride in a car with melted chocolate in the dash.

It’s important to note that “Tommy Boy” was released in 1995 and “Black Sheep” in 1996. That gives us a timeline for our narrative. Everything that happens to Mike Donnelly happens after the events of Tommy Callahan’s adventures across the country selling brake pads. Speaking of those events, do you remember the multiple head injuries Tommy sustains throughout the film? You probably need to take your shoes off and start counting your toes in order to account for them all. Not to mention there was a scene near the beginning of “Tommy Boy” where we see Tommy using recreational drugs.  What does this point to? It’s quite simple. Tommy is experiencing a series of delusions brought about by brain trauma and drug use. In his delusion though his name is not Tommy it’s Mike.

One of the major themes in “Tommy Boy” that is never really remedied in the film is Tommy’s desire for a brother. He thinks he finds one in Rob Lowe’s character but later finds out he’s a con artist and is arrested after getting hit in the balls with a sand bag. The film ends with him never getting the brother that he always dreamed about. Enter the story line to “Black Sheep”. You learn early on that Mike has an older brother named Al running for Governor. Seems oddly coincidental that as Tommy’s delusion starts he immediately corrects the longing for a brother right away. Not to mention his older brother is a successful man much like his father who is again never mentioned in this film. By this point in Tommy’s life he has accepted his father’s death and there is no need for a father figure to be in the picture. But a strong successful man like Al borrows some of those characteristics from his dad. Namely a popular man who everyone likes and has a “go getter” attitude.

Then there’s Richard or Steve or is it Richard. David Spade essentially plays the same character in both films. Both characters think that Chris Farley is a bumbling idiot but in the end come to find him a true and loyal friend. It makes sense that he would be in the delusion since Tommy just spent an enormous amount of time together traveling across country with him.  There is also Richard’s car. Richard loved his car, he wanted to keep it in mint condition. Of course his plan fails miserably. Weather it was Tommy’s stupidity or a “dead” deer in the back seat Richard’s car was destroyed. This brings us to the first time Farley and Spade meet in Black Sheep. Farley is working on a beat up older car. Perhaps in Tommy’s subconscious he felt absolutely awful for what happened to Richard’s most prized possession and is trying to make up for it by fixing it in his delusion.

Finally there is the way that Farley wins the day in Black Sheep. He figures out that his brother’s political opponent commits voter fraud and gets his brother elected to the governorship. How is this possible for a guy who graduates after 7 years of college with a D+. Seems fishy to me but not impossible for a man stuck in a delusion. Instead of using his street smarts to sell brake pads he uses book smarts and simple mathematics regarding the number of registered voters in a given counties to help the brother he always wanted. He uses the very thing that everyone says he didn’t have in “Tommy Boy” to save the day in “Black Sheep”

So are you convinced? Has this journey through mid 90’s comedy classics got you rethinking your whole life and the meaning of it? It’s almost like taking the red pill from the “Matrix “ and having your eyes opened to a whole new reality. I know the trolls are out there saying to themselves “there are a lot of holes in your argument”. To them I simply say this…maybe you’re the one who is delusional…


Alex Reimen


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