In our current moment of global crisis, there isn’t much new to talk about in the way of Arts and Entertainment — Netflix’s insane docuseries “Tiger King” notwithstanding. In order to retain some relevance in these trying times, I’ve searched through my mental archives to construct a list of the five fictional characters I’d most enjoy being quarantined with.
Remy the Rat — “Ratatouille”
An unconventional first pick to be sure, as rodents typically aren’t welcome in times of disease. But Pixar’s 2007 masterpiece makes it clear Remy, voiced by Patton Oswalt, is no ordinary rat, but an impressive and sanitary “little chef” responsible for some of the finest food in Paris. The scene in which food critic Anton Ego tries Remy’s food is one of the all-time greats, and has always made me yearn for a steaming dish of ratatouille. In addition to his culinary prowess, Remy is a likeable character with a big heart and bigger dreams, and he’d be unlikely to wear thin on me since he can’t speak — although he apparently understands English. The only downside is that I’d have to be extremely careful not to step on him.
Roger Sterling — “Mad Men”
Roger Sterling, played by John Slattery, is often found near the top of “Characters I’d Most Like to Have a Drink With” power rankings, and a similar principle operates here. The most charismatic scoundrel on a show full of them, Roger’s wit is almost as prodigious as his drinking ability — no one better to share an enclosed space with than a man capable of one-liners like “I told him to be himself. That was pretty mean I guess.” Additionally, Roger’s past life always seemed fascinating whenever it came up in “Mad Men.” It’d be quite the treat to get a few drinks in him and listen to stories about his career in advertising, his time in Paris between the wars and his innumerable trysts. As an added bonus, Sterling’s considerable fortune would mean no worries about rent or utility payments during an economic catastrophe.
Gary Walsh — “Veep”
Gary certainly doesn’t have the personality of a Roger Sterling, but his fierce loyalty and devotion to being the best “body man” possible would no doubt come in handy during a quarantine. As Vice President Selina Meyer’s personal aide, Gary, who is played by Tony Hale, shows an impressive knack for anticipating the VP’s needs and managing her frustration, both talents that could come in handy were he and I cooped up together. No reasonable person would be quite as overbearing on poor Gary as Selina is, but it would still be nice to have a devoted servant in this time of need. Whether I need him to do household chores or to run around town searching for toilet paper, seven seasons of “Veep” proved that Gary is up to the task.
Mary Poppins — “Mary Poppins”
There may be no character more up to the task of prolonged quarantine than Julie Andrews’ Mary Poppins. A magic nanny self-described as “practically perfect in every way,” Poppins’ powers include flight, the ability to enter paintings and a bottomless purse. Personality-wise, Mary Poppins is also one of the most lovable characters in the Disney pantheon, and her charms aren’t just limited to children, as evidenced by her close friendship with Bert the chimney-sweep. Finally, Mary Poppins could function as a top-tier life coach — one who could help me stay focused and motivated throughout the quarantine’s duration.
Emmett “Doc” Brown — “Back to the Future”
Doc Brown seems like an affable guy, if a little bit deranged. The only reason he’s on this list is because he has access to a time machine — the best possible solution for quarantine blues. I’d set the DeLorean for October, gun it to 88 miles an hour and pray everything has resolved itself by then.