For a whole lot of journalists, and people, of a certain age(s), it would probably have been better if actor and now RNC speaker Scott Baio had remained in the warm, safe spaces within our hippocampus, existing in our memories solely as a character in a sitcom.
In our grown-up understanding of the world we get that characters and actors are not the same thing, that our appreciation for the art or entertainment that we like may not extend to the political sensibilities of the person creating the art or portraying a role.
But when the character exists in our pre-political awakening years, and the actor and his views come prominently into view when we’re firmly in adulthood, we are forced to reconcile what we knew and who we were as children with what we know and who we are as adults.
It is, admittedly, a solipsistic pursuit, and so naturally engenders a lot of fascination. Add to that the fact that his screen time spanned three shows and two decades, and you get a lot of social chatter, plus a current third place spot on Google Trends’ list of most-searched RNC Monday speakers. Here’s a taste.
Tell me your Scott Baio joke and I'll tell you how old you are
— Bitter Script Reader (@BittrScrptReadr) July 18, 2016
Honestly did not think we'd be talking as much about Scott Baio this year.
— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) July 17, 2016
Headed to Cleveland this morning so I can fulfill my lifelong ambition to hear Scott Baio discuss his views on politics
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) July 18, 2016
"Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato Jr will be talking about security, whether or not that's in their bailiwick."
— Michael Weiss (@michaeldweiss) July 18, 2016
Scott Baio on Obama in June '16: "I can't tell…whether he's dumb, he's a Muslim or he's a Muslim sympathizer, & I don't think he's dumb."
— Garance Franke-Ruta (@thegarance) July 17, 2016
Why did you have to specify "legal age," Scott Baio? WHY DID YOU SPECIFY https://t.co/B5IxOZZj4R
— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) July 18, 2016
RNC making me so nostalgic for Scott Baio's 2010 Twitter war on Jezebel. He blocked me! A more innocent time.
— Irin Carmon (@irin) July 17, 2016
Not sure if an ex-sitcom star confers the proper dignity on a convention to nominate the guy from "The Apprentice." https://t.co/cPbDwSyFj8
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) July 17, 2016
80s TV stars who would be better for the RNC than Scott Baio:
– that robot little girl
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) July 17, 2016
Scott Baio is not a celebrity.
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) July 17, 2016
I don't know whether to take Scott Baio seriously until I know whether he's Team Tay or Team Ye.
— David S. Bernstein (@dbernstein) July 18, 2016
Easy to snark, but so many decisions running a convention, like do you play Scott Baio on to "Joanie Loves Chachi" or "Charles in Charge"?
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) July 18, 2016
— Karoli (@Karoli) July 18, 2016
Ok, if Trump & Scott Baio re-enact a scene from "Happy Days", with Trump as the Fonz & Baio as Chachi, then all is forgiven.
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) July 17, 2016
Scott Baio's opinions matter so little the title of his show didn't even mention whether Chachi loved Joanie back.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) July 17, 2016
ok, yes, I'd put Scott Baio in the situation room.
Having someone who was on Happy Days *and* Charles in Charge is important perspective.
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) July 18, 2016
I feel like Vox missed their chance to do a Scott Baio explainer.
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) July 18, 2016
But another publication did.
What a world we live in where The Verge has to write a Scott Baio explainer. https://t.co/TdiU12VSEd
— Dan Moren (@dmoren) July 18, 2016