If you're friends with me on Facebook, you know I have a deep-seated love for the phenom known as "Winnebago Man". I remember the first time I watched the clip on YouTube. I laughed until I cried. I watched it at least 4 times that night, and since then I check back every few months and watch it again.
"What's the appeal?" you may ask. "What draws you, and over 3 million other people to watch this middle aged guy going apeshit whilst filming an infomercial for Winnebago campers?".
To be honest with you, I don't exactly know what it is. It's partly due to the fact that it's absolutely hilarious. It's almost refreshing to see a normal person losing it. I think for me, it's a relief to see that I'm not the only one who loses my cool from time to time. Of course, I don't lose it at Winnebago man's level (ok, hardly ever and thank God never in front of a camera) but it's nice to see someone just cutting loose and letting the f-bombs fly.
There's also the fact that I was mildly aroused by Winnebago man, but I think that has more to do with my daddy/Dabney Coleman issues than the actual man himself.
Have you not seen Winnebago man? I'll link to the clip here, but BE WARNED: there are f-bombs, god-dammits and shits galore.
You back? I hope you enjoyed it. And now, the reason for this post. Yesterday, a friend came over after work and we took over the mancave since they have the XBOX down there and that's the only place I can stream Netflix since our Wii is broken. It had been a hard day at work, so we sat down on the dilapidated leather couch and cruised the Netflix menu for some mind-numbing entertainment.
We started out with the pilot for the show Parenthood, which 9 out of 10 women my age recommend. Seriously, if I had a dime for every time someone said, "Oh em gee you HAVE to watch this show!" I'd be able to buy a nice box of wine. But I digress...we watched about a half hour and decided that Parenthood wasn't cutting it (I later went back and finished it, and at this moment am on Episode 4/Season 1 and have been crying like a big fat baby. It's cutting it, big time. More later.). So we were going through the "Recently Watched" section of the queue, and I saw the sweet familiar mug of my beloved Winnebago Man. "Oh my gosh, friend...have you ever seen Winnebago Man?". She hadn't.
Turns out there is an actual MOVIE about Winnebago Man, a documentary of all things. A young buck from Texas fell in love with him, and tracked him down. And made a movie about it.
A fabulous, wonderful movie. This kid, Ben Steinbauer, has taken Winnebago Man, the myth, and turned him into Jack Rebney, the man. Ben finds Jack living a solitary life as caretaker of an isolated fishing camp, completely unaware of his fame. I won't give away too much of the movie because it's so freaking AWESOME but I will say this: when it ended, I was sitting there with tears in my eyes (oh I know, how weird for Jenny to be crying...but whatever). Point is, I was absolutely moved. What could have been a mocking look at a now old man's 15 minutes of fame is instead a loving tribute to an intelligent, curmudgeonly and completely embraceable human being.
It's available on Netflix via instant stream or (I believe) as a DVD. Watch it, if you can, and then when I drop one of my favorite Winnebago Man quotes ("Tony? Will you do me a favor, please? Will you do me a kindness? STOP SLAMMING THE FUCKING DOOR!"......pause, claw-like hand gesture....."NO MORE!") you will nod your head in understanding. And quite possibly step back a little bit. But you'll get it.