Like most of you, I woke up this morning and was all set to go about my usual routine of making myself look presentable for work. A bit sleepy but not feeling particularly grouchy. Then I glanced at my Twitter feed and immediately wished that I hadn’t.
The death of Robin Williams is one of those popular culture news stories that seems to have triggered an emotional reaction in everyone – fans, journalists and his contemporaries alike. It cast a long dark shadow over my whole day that I’m almost at a loss to shake off.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not because I ever met the man or studiously watched every film in his back catalogue. I’m just a big, big Robin Williams fan, no more or less than any of my friends. But the reason I think that this morning’s news intruded upon me so much is that it is all bound up in how I would cheer myself up.
I’m the sort of person who considers certain books, songs and films as being tantamount to a great, big snuggly hug accompanied by a cup of tea and a chocolate caramel digestive. No matter how rubbish the day, just hearing that certain opening chord or re-reading a well worn favourite can cure a multitude.
Today I realised that a lot of the film ‘hugs’ that I seek out when feeling a bit blue featured… Robin Williams. Maybe they won’t lose their warm-fuzzy- feeling after his passing but I know this Christmas will be filled with a heightened poignancy as we all watch festive staples Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook and Jumanji with a new eye.
The feeling that the audience was left with at the end of Mrs. Doubtfire is tantamount to the fantastic life that he was able to breathe into each character. Even though we were all in on the act from the beginning, you still felt a dragging disappointment when Euphegenia’s mask fell away (post-Pierce Brosnan heimlich) and you knew she wouldn’t be visiting the Hillard’s anymore. We were all as gutted as Lydia, Chris and Natalie were – he was that good.
Adrian Cronauer, John Keating, Peter Pan, Genie, Daniel Hillard, Mrs Doubtfire, Alan Parrish, Sean Maguire – thank you for making me laugh and cry in equal measure.
The Genie was right, Robin – we ain’t never had a friend like you.