So last night the wife, son and I watched “Patch Adams,” a movie I have gone through life hating but, for some reason, sorta kinda somewhat enjoyed on Christmas Eve.
In case you haven’t seen it, the film stars Robin Williams as a medical student who doesn’t understand why doctors can’t infuse their patients with joy and laughter. It’s loosely (like, very loosely) based off of the book, “Gesundheit!: Bringing Good Health to You, the Medical System, and Society through Physician Service, Complementary Therapies, Humor, and Joy,” and by the end you’re supposed to feel chipper and inspired and terrific about the world.
Which is fine.
What I can’t get past—what I’ve never been able to get past—is the age discrepancy between Patch (played by Williams) and his love interest, a medical student named Carin (played by an understated Monica Potter). Now, there were 100,000 ways to go with that, because in real life a love interest named Carin did not exist. The character was (presto!)) created, in the way movies create characters to add drama, spice, juju.
So why, oh, why, did the creators of “Patch Adams” pair Williams (born in 1951) with Potter (born in 1971)? Why would they think, “Here’s an idea: Let’s give Patch a love interest, and make her young enough to be his daughter“?
Seriously, it irks the fuck out of me. Repeatedly. First, because it stands out like blood in pudding. But second, because it’s yet another example of the industry’s reliance on old man-young woman, whereas you never, ever, ever, ever see old woman-young man (unless it’s a specific plot point).
So … yeah.
Patch Adams. Weird.