I don’t always comment on celebrity deaths, because generally, they do not affect me. But those that are part of my fandom (I’m still in pain over the loss of Elisabeth Sladen) are the ones that hit hardest. Rik Mayall may not be something I blogged about on a regular basis, but as I was once a Young One (see what I did there?), he was a regular part of my life.
I grew up in a small town where cable TV was still a luxury. In other words, I didn’t have MTV. But I did have a television with an antenna and if I angled that antenna just right (often while holding it a certain way), I would sometimes pick up MTV. Back then, there were no reality shows (oh, such good times) and MTV played music because it was actually Music Television. But it also exposed some of us to the British wonderful-ness that was The Young Ones.
We didn’t watch a lot of PBS in my house (I don’t even remember if we got it), so I never saw British television. I didn’t even discover Doctor Who until the movie aired on Fox in the 90’s. So I had no idea what I was missing out on. Of course now, I realize that something like The Young Ones was groundbreaking, even on British television, but then it was just something I caught one day that changed my entire world perspective.
As a young punk wanna’ be – the only one in town – The Young Ones spoke to me on a level that no television show had ever done. It was funny (in a way my mother never understood) and it dealt with issues (in a hilarious way) that I could relate to. Those characters became part of my pscyhe.
As you may know, Rik Mayall portrayed one of those characters. And I followed his career from The Young Ones to Drop Dead Fred. Having lived through an imaginary friend experience when younger (his name was Archie – yes, he was based on the Archie comics, don’t judge me), that movie also spoke to me on a higher level. I had it on VHS and literally wore the videotape out watching it.
Again, that film starred Rik Mayall (who was bloody brilliant in it).
So to hear about his death today breaks my heart. So I’m blogging about it. Why? I’m not sure, except in hopes that maybe some of you will comment on your own experiences… confessions, if you will… about how someone touched or changed your life.
In the meantime, I’ll sit here and sob some more over someone I never met, but who was an important part of my upbringing.