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Arby’s Bathroom of Excellence: Christian Slater

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The guy who somehow didn't ruin Mr. Robot.

He's all yours, Arby's bathroom wall.
He's all yours, Arby's bathroom wall.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Hey, everybody! Long time no write!

Earlier this summer, Rudy e-mailed the BoC staff, former and current, about a summer project we could all do to fill the dead part of the offseason, and while I couldn’t fully tell what the hell he was talking about in the e-mail, I agreed to come back and contribute.  Yet even now, after his announcement post and two entries, I'm still a little vague what this really is -- hooray for whateverness!  :)

But, as I understand it, Battle of California has a monument now, and I’m here to add somebody to it, and I suppose whether I understand the full criteria may not really matter – these days I’m so stupidly obsessed with USA's Mr. Robot that it’s tough for me to write about anything else.

If you don't yet know about Mr. Robot, it's a pretty damn amazing TV show that is so crazy, I can't go ten minutes without thinking about it (especially after last week's crazy episode ending!).  But even with my full endorsement, boy is it tough to get people to try this show out!  The three worst things about getting somebody to watch Mr. Robot are (in order):

  • It’s on USA Network.
  • It’s called Mr. Robot.
  • It features Christian Slater.

Let's talk about that last point for a second.  Christian Slater is a world famous actor who somehow has built a decent Hollywood career, and yet, he isn't an actor with any real range -- he just continues to play the part of Christian Slater for every role he's ever been cast in, eyebrows, smirks and all.  The only true versatility in his acting, one movie to the next, is sometimes he wears glasses and sometimes he wears a hat.

That's not to say that he's alone in Hollywood in this regard, nor that everything he stars in is doomed to be garbage -- sometimes directors can make enough other things in a movie or show work, more or less.  He's just been in a lot of things over the decades, few good and most bad, always in the role of Christian Slater.

And yet, Mr. Robot features Christian Slater, once again in the role of Christian Slater, and it still manages to be great.  Granted, he's (smartly) limited -- I don't think any episode has him in more than two or three scenes.  And he's in no real way responsible for how good this show really is.

Now because of spoilers, I don't want to spend too much time talking about what Mr. Robot is; rather, let's go through some examples of what Mr. Robot is not.

  • Mr. Robot is not a show about a man and his robot. For example, it is not this show: Christian Slater, as himself wearing a jacket, inherits a robot named Mr. Robot from his eccentric uncle, an inventor.  While the pairing is awkward at first, eventually they learn to get along, teaching each other valuable lessons about life and logic.

    Mr Robot 1
  • Mr. Robot is not a show about a part-man, part-robot. For example, it is not this show: Christian Slater, as himself wearing a vest, is a substitute teacher who has to travel cross country to his new job. In order to access the carpool lane, he constructs a robot to ride shotgun. But then a severe traffic accident causes the two to become permanently fused, and Slater must return to his former teaching life, now as Mr. Robot.

    Mr Robot 3
  • Mr. Robot is not a show about an actor providing the voice of a robot. For example, it is not this show: Christian Slater, as himself wearing a set of headphones, is hired as a voice actor in Japan for an anime Mr. Robot Action Hour show. Though less prestigious than roles earlier in his career, Slater learns to come to grips with his new role and eventually cherishes his new culture.

    Mr Robot 2

Yeah, yeah -- none of those toons looks particularly like Christian Slater.  That's the rust that builds up after two and a half years of Sleektoon retirement.  :)

In reality, Mr. Robot features precisely zero robots, nobody who is voicing a robot, nor do I think anybody has really even said the word "robot".  And while Christian Slater plays Christian Slater (this time: with glasses and a hat!), they manage his screen time to where it doesn't really ruin the show.  Hooray!

So here’s your bathroom award, Mr. Slater.  For your decades of one-character acting and unrelenting consistency, I'm symbolically placing you next to Arby's endless supply of economy-grade toilet paper, also unrelentingly consistent in its own mediocrity.  Now you can adorn the walls of horseradishy glory along with Harry Ellis and Adam Sandler.

Arby's Bathroom Slater

But seriously, guys.

Mr. Robot.