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Tracing The Disturbing Source Of A Character Crush

By Emily Cutler | Lists | March 4, 2016 |

By Emily Cutler | Lists | March 4, 2016 |

Kristy’s post from yesterday might have just changed my life in a really unpredictable way. See, Rebecca’s Little Giants post sent me down the weirdest IMDB rabbit hole. First I just wanted to see whatever happened to Becky O’Shea, and then I remembered about how the character Spike was a real asshole in that movie.

(Internal monologue) Oh, wait, but Spike played (one of?) the son(s) on Grace Under Fire. Man, did I love that show. I was totally too young for the spousal abuse and addiction themes, but mostly I just liked how sassy Grace was. And there was that plot line about Grace dating some socially awkward scientist who I had a mean crush on. To the point that it might have had a significant impact on my romantic ideal, and I’m definitely still into slightly uncomfortable dudes. Who the hell was that guy? Maybe if I just scroll through, I’ll remember his character name … HOLY SHIT it was William Fichtner!
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I have just confirmed that respected character actor William Goddamn Fichtner played a significant role in my sexual awakening.
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I can never unknow that.

But as I scrolled through pictures of Fichtner on Grace Under Fire, something alarmed me. Specifically this alarmed me:
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I have seen that outfit before. I have loved that outfit before, in fact. I just can’t …
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Oh, right. That’s it. That is “Ben Wyatt Fashion.”
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Did Scientist Guy from Grace Under Fire actually cause my love for Ben Wyatt? Sure, I’m not the only one who loved Ben Wyatt, and it could just be that socially awkward guys with light brown hair and nerdy jobs are my jam. But here’s the thing: they totally aren’t.

Ben Wyatt was sort of an anomaly in character or celebrity crushes. I’m almost exclusively into sarcastic, dark brunettes, who aren’t living up to their potential. Guys who could be the perfect package if they could stop ruining everything by being such assholes for a minute. Your Nick Millers, your Don Keefers, you Lip Gallaghers.
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I’ve unapologetically claimed Lip Gallagher as the love of my life, and he’s nothing like Ben Wyatt or Scientist Guy. And there’s definitely no crush from my formative years that’s going to make me question everything I think I know about adult me.

Oh wait.
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That’s Shakes from the movie Sleepers. Sleepers was a bad movie from the mid-90s about child rape, starring every dude in Hollywood and Minnie Driver. Thanks to my parents’ hotbox, I watched in on Pay-Per-View every day for an entire summer. While most of my friends where sweating Brad Renfro’s character in the movie, I was all about Shakes. And despite the fact that both Lip and Shakes have weird names, come from poor neighborhoods, suffered abuse and eventually seemed to overcome it, I’m sure that’s where those similarities end.
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Yeah, so nothing to see here. Time is a flat circle, everything that’s happened here will happen again, and make sure you pick the right crushes when you’re 12-years-old, because apparently that shit will follow you for the rest of your fucking life.

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