Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Top 4 Fictional Characters Named "The Greek"

I am a guy who notices patterns. I'm what you'd call a pattern-noticer. Here's one I noticed today. If you ever want to give a character a name that is enigmatic, imposing, and ethnic, you'd do very well to go with "The Greek". Here are just SOME (ie, I stopped thinking of others) examples!

4. The Greek in Guys and Dolls

We don't know a lot about this The Greek. We know two things, in fact. We know he is a high-rolling gambler and we know that he is in town. (This is established in the opening dialogue to "The Oldest Established", in the first act.) In my high school production, they had this kid named Yanni play The Greek, on account of he was Greek. Race-casting! I feel like there was so much more to know about this character. In fact, if I were some sort of editor and the script to Guys and Dolls crossed my desk, I would have circled this line and written the note, "But who IS the Greek... what does he WANT!?" This is why I am not some sort of editor.

3. Zorba the Greek

Alexis Zorba is the protagonist of Zorba the Greek, written by Nikos Kazantzakis. I have never read this book, nor do I intend to before posting this list. I will tell you, instead, what I imagine Zorba the Greek to be about. I bet there is a guy named Alexis Zorba, who realizes that his last name is way cooler than his first name (which is actually a girl's name?), so he tells everyone, "Nah, blood... just call me Zorba, okay?" Anyway, Zorba's just hanging out on a hillside, eating olives and figs and stuffed grape leaves, when one day, his mom goes, "Zorba, you can't just lead this life of leisure, eating traditional Greek foods and probably looking after sheep. You've got to go to town and make a man of yourself, learn the truths, and build a family worthy of your name." He does this, in accordance with his mother's wishes, but he finds much pain. He meets a woman and they fall in love, but she isn't true to him. He learns many truths, but comes to realize how much he can never know. He becomes a man, but at the cost of his innocence. He returns to his mother and his hillside and his sheep. He weeps, and he is once again whole.

That is kinda what I figure Zorba the Greek is about.

2. The Greek in “Black Diamond Bay” by Bob Dylan

Oh man, have I told you guys how underrated Desire is? For an artist like Dylan, there's a lot of the catalogue that you might never really get to appreciate, so I am sure thankful that my dad was like, "Hey kid, you should listen to Desire, okay? It is a for-real good album, and 'Black Diamond Bay' is as good a story-song as just about anything." Anyway, the Greek is this diplomat/spy/criminal (these things are never clear...) who's doing business on this tiny island, and after things go awry, spoiler alert, he hangs himself, but the wacky thing is that just after he does, the volcano explodes and the island sinks under ocean. Honestly, it doesn't make much more sense than that, but the song is super-tight and has excellent violin accompaniment. 

1. The Greek on The Wire

You guys, this The Greek is pure-bred, factory-bottled Evil. And he's OLD, too! (Old guys can be evil!? I was not aware!) He's into drug trafficking, sex trafficking, stolen goods trafficking, air trafficking, kitten trafficking, pants trafficking... basically any kind of trafficking. ALSO, he might not even be GREEK!?! What!? C-c-c-c-come on! That's just deliberately confusing. Oh, and way to have a mole inside the FBI, you weird, old, evil, maybe-not-Greek dude. All in all, he's terrifying, he's enigmatic to a fault, and he's certainly ethnic--even if we don't really know what kind. Yeah. That's why he's the best The Greek there ever was.


El Gigante said...

I eagerly await next weeks list of best named Damon Runyon characters.

Anonymous said...

What about The Greek from The Great Gatsby?