Do ABBA Fans secretely love
those sharp-tongued bitches?
ABBA fans know that Benny
Andersson is not exactly the most tactful member of ABBA when it comes to asking
him his opinion. The latest uproar caused by Benny's response to the
non-appearance of any member of ABBA at the gala in honor of the 50th
anniversary of Eurovision is one of many examples of Benny's sharp tongue. The
50th anniversary gala celebration of Eurovision also included a contest to
determine the best Eurovision winning song in its 50 years and ABBA's "Waterloo"
was selected as the favourite song ever from Eurovision. But no one from ABBA
showed up to collect the prize and when asked about it, Benny's response was
that he felt the event was just a joke and that he had no desire to be there.
While this outraged the European public, ABBA fans know it's just one of many
tactless comments from Benny.
Probably the most celebrated
tactless comment from Benny comes from one of the documentaries where Benny is
asked if he can explain the gay following that ABBA has and his response is a
question about whether or not the members of ABBA looked like transvestites or
something. Most fans took to fits of giggles because he happened to say it while
seated in front of a rainbow colored set of curtains. But what it is about these
kind of spur of the moment tactless comments? They're hardly all that shocking,
in fact they've been the basis for some of the more celebrated characters on
Bea Arthur's has become an icon
on the basis of two sharp tongued characters she's played over the years. First
there was Maude and probably the real treat has been her role as Dorothy Zbornak
on the series, Golden Girls. Whether it was a threat of God going to get Walter
for something or brilliantly executed one liner barbs to challenge the dimwitted
questions spouted by Rose Nylund, people regularly tuned in to see what would
set Bea Arthur off week in and week out for over fourteen years between the
Another sharp tongued character
that has thrived on television is Vicki Lawrence's portrayal of Thelma "Mama"
Harper on both the Carol Burnett Show and as a later spin off of Mama's Family.
Vicki is even finding success taking her "two woman" show out on the road where
she performs as both herself and as Mama Harper. The appeal here is less the
redneck sensibilities of her southern upbringing but the ability to turn from a
mild mannered old lady to an exploding volcano within seconds illustrating that
words can be sharper than weapon.
While generally these verbal
sharp shooters are often women, there are some men who've been able to fill the
role as the smartass, such as Gavin MacLeod in the role of Murray Slaughter in
the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Here Murray was often able to use his wittiness to
great comedic effect against Ted Knight's character of Ted Baxter. Even Lou
Grant played by Ed Asner was also able to shine but the razor sharp barbs always
emanated from Murray.
While Benny Andersson doesn't
usually have a comedic dimwit sidekick to drive many of his sharp barbs, he
certainly needs no help being the ABBA member most likely to shove his foot down
his throat for saying something completely inappropriate at an inappropriate
time. And even some of his fans are quite the same when it comes to verbal
sparing skills, especially those that call Australia home. It's a fine art and
whether or not that's what keeps us still interested in ABBA long after the
music has stopped, it's a component of what keeps ABBA afloat here in the 2000s.