Saturday, January 1, 2011

PROFILE: Frank vs. Louie – A DeVito showdown

Louie De Palma

Frank Reynolds
Who is your favorite lowlife?


Nearly twenty-five years after Danny DeVito first weaseled his way into our hearts as the deplorable dispatcher of the Sunshine Cab Company, Louie De Palma, on “TAXI,” he returned to the small screen as the vertically challenged gun-wielding renegade, Frank Reynolds, on “IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA.” Having joined the cast of “SUNNY” at the beginning of the second season, DeVito has just completed his fifth annual run as Reynolds, matching that of his late 70’s counterpart. Granted, DeVito had done more episodes as De Palma by this point in the series, but the fifth season also marked the end of Louie’s reign on prime time television.

Since both Frank and Louie were well established by the end of their respective first season on each show, the subsequent seasons only strengthened their characters by providing further depth, or in this case, shallowness. In the fictional realm of TV Land Frank could very well be Louie’s cousin, or estranged brother. They share many similar personality traits. Both are conniving, deceitful, manipulative, perverted, gambling, short-tempered, and ill willed little men. But that is just on the surface. Like most people who have similar personalities, their differences are at their cores.

If you were to watch the entire run of “TAXI” you would ultimately see Louie’s heart emerge from time to time, much like the Grinch who stole Christmas. Frank, on the other hand, made a steady decline after his initial appearance and has plateaued at the bottom rung of the social ladder. It is only through his vast wealth and network of connections that he is able to pull himself up every now and again. That is what makes this question so provocative. It is clear that the only way to determine the answer is in a political showdown.

Here to present the facts on each candidate is special guest referee, Oswald “The Penguin” Cobblepot.


Frank Reynolds:
- Mentally unstable; confuses his life with that of John Rambo.
- Carries a loaded gun at all times.
- Swims in the wake of his son’s sexual conquests.
- Desperately tries to fit in with his young friends despite his generational handicap.
- Worst known act: Chronically abuses his daughter Deandra, both mentally and physically, having set her on fire, water boarded phony confessions out of her, and given her bedbugs.
- Most redeeming act: Found the Christmas spirit and gave the gang their holiday wishes.

Louie De Palma:
- Insults anyone, at any time, for any reason.
- Takes money from everyone, including children.
- Sexually harasses every woman that he doesn’t actually pay for sex.
- Occasionally seeks temporary friendship to heal his wounded feelings of self worth.
- Worst known act: Ran over an elderly women with a cab and then pushed her in her wheelchair out of a courtroom and down sixteen flights of stairs.
- Most redeeming act: Takes care of and lives with his mother.

The voting poll is at the top left hand column of this page. 

May the best loser win.

1 comment:

  1. Pete, this was a tough decision. I chose Louie, maybe because he came first. Another honorable Devito-lowlife-character mention would be Ralph from Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile.