I’m convinced I used to be either Jewish or Irish in a past life, because nothing does it for me quite like a stereotypically cranky dude. You know the type; the kind of guy that is always on the back foot, gets out on the wrong side of the bed every damn day, is surly about everything, even rainbows and morning dew (especially rainbows and morning dew) and who feels like constantly yelling is the best way to make a point or make no point at all, just as long as he’s being heard. The blanket term I use to describe them is “Shouty Jews”. I don’t think that’s racist.
When I think about the person I want to fall in love with, along with “funny”, “loyal”, “generous of spirit” and “good lookingish but with a tubby belly and hairy chest”, “grumpy” is definitely a high priority on my list of musts. I just really want to be one of those old couples that doesn’t have an inside voice; where instead of talking to each other we’re just yelling, like George Constanza’s parents. There’s something beautifully safe and comfortable about being complaining loudly with and at the one you love, and I think if I ever had to be with some positive-thinking feel-gooder (think Alec Baldwin on Friends) I’d bald prematurely from stress.
Anyway here are my top 5 cranky dudes that make me want to get happy in my pants, Jewish or otherwise:
Jake is typecast as a neurotic, surly type with a reluctant puppy dog inside, and I’ll be eternally in love with him as Nick on New Girl. ALL NICK DOES IS JUST SHOUT ABOUT AND AT EVERYTHING. It’s so sexy, especially because he’s such a bullheaded stick-in-the-mud who hates practically everything, in other words, the perfect concoction of my favorite things. Nick doesn’t back down, even when he’s wrong or the argument is really, really stupid. This shows resolve and loyalty; Nick is going down with the ship no matter how ridiculous that might be, and I love him for it. Not to mention Jake’s oafishly handsome, punched-sideways nose. Swoon.
Charlie has one of those sexy scratchy voices that suits yelling everything perfectly (like he’s a veteran yeller and his vocal chords have been irreparably scratched by his constant noise making). It helps that he is a tiny little man; it makes all the shouting endearingly neurotic rather than terrifying, as it might be on a larger man. I’d like a mini-Charlie that I could carry around in the palm of my hand, and set on the desk at AT&T to do my dirty work when I’m mad at the staff for being incompetent.
Chris Messina doesn’t always yell, but when he does, there isn’t a dry seat in the house. He’s got more of a brooding Italian vibe as Danny Castellano in The Mindy Project that might be more docile that the loud ranters on this list, but that doesn’t make him any less lunatic. Danny just doesn’t like stuff, period, and I hope this is exactly what Chris Messina is like in real life, because I’ve already mentally married him and at a wedding that he hated, while my Greek family and his Italian family waved their fists at each other across the church’s aisle during the ceremony.
Ben Stiller is the original Shouty Jew as far as I’m concerned, probably because he’s known for playing constantly peeved, shouty roles, and also because he is actually Jewish. He also happens to be very, very chiselled and good looking (those baby blues!). I fell in love with him at the tender age of 12 in There’s Something About Mary, even though I didn’t quite get the bit about Mary’s hair (although the part where the dog flies out the window still makes me laugh uncontrollably), because nothing ever went right for poor old Ted, as nothing has gone right for any Ben Stiller character to date.
God the Irish just do grumpy well. As Bernard in Black Books, the constantly frazzled, vaguely slapstick, always loudly complaining Moran is absolutely delightful. A modern day Basil Fawlty, with the good looks of a naughty little street urchin. I’d love to slap Dylan Moran in the face mid-rant, and have him just continue on without missing a breath, save for a thrown-in “stupid woman!” mid-sentence, post-slap.