Thursday, June 11, 2009

Great Beards in History: Michael Gross


This fact may surprise absolutely none of you, but I watched a LOT of television as a kid. I thanked the Huxtables, rather than my parents for "raising me so well" in my high school yearbook, my Friday nights were planned around the offerings of TGIF, and I, well, may have watched a bit too much wrestling as a child.

Sadly lacking from my my repertoire of television babysitters were gentlemen with illustrious and full-fledged beards. Sure, Magnum had his mustache, but the vast majority of 80's television characters were clean-shaven, save for Estelle Getty, may she rest in peace.

However, one bearded pillar of 80's prime time television stood out from the rest, and I speak, of course of Michael Gross. Who is Michael Gross you ask? Only the fucking best television Dad EVER! Seriously, in the realm of television Dads, you had Alan Thicke (a blowhard), Danny Tanner (a giant pussy) and Patrick Duffy (suffered from being Patrick Duffy). But Michael Gross - now THERE was a television Dad. In the seminal program Family Ties, Steven Keaton ruled his family with an iron fist, and flannel shirts. He had to deal with the uber-annoying Merideth Baxter-Birney for a wife, a son who would later poorly play basketball dressed as a wolf, a surreptitiously hot daughter in Justine Bateman (cmon, you guys know you wanted on) and the soul-sucking presence of Tina Yothers. Yet Steven Keaton stood strong, and he did so for one reason: he had an awesome beard.

I've consulted with my beard, and we've decided you're a shrill cunt.

Seriously, look at the carnage that came out of Family Ties. Merideth Baxter-Birney won't even get calls for Lifetime Movies of the Week anymore. Tina Yothers has been reduced to exercising with Dustin Diamond on VH1. Justine Bateman is now known as "the sister of Michael Bluth." And Michael J.Fox, well, let's just say that he's probably not blessed with the best penmanship at this current moment.

Michael Gross has no such problem. He decided to only pick the finest of roles post-Family Ties, including appearances in all three Tremors movies, a few episodes of ER, and an appearance in the finest film known to Mankind, the Vanilla Ice vehicle "Cool as Ice." Drop the zero and get with a (bearded) hero!

Gross is also an avid model train collector, which I would completely shit all over if he wasn't blessed with such an awesome beard. But since his beard is so manly and full, I now declare model train collecting to be fucking sweet, and I'm gonna go buy myself a Lionel train kit the second I get out of work. Why? Because Michael Gross, the seminal father figure in my latchkey childhood, the lone survivor of the "Family Ties Curse" and most importa
ntly, the dude in the awesome fucking beard, told me to.

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