Kate Stone

Kate Stone

Why Marcie Dahlgren-Frost is a Comedy Icon

When it comes to female characters there appears to be an odd belief that there are few examples of them in comedy, specifically examples who could be held up as comedic role models. I seem to have some extra time on my hands right now and rather than rearrange my wardrobe I have decided to dedicate an essay each to the fictional girls and women who deserve more recognition for their comedy.

It wasn’t particularly well-reviewed when it was released but if you’re looking for a heart-warming John Candy film you could do worse than Uncle Buck (like Trains, Planes and Automobiles for instance). It’s a classic John Hughes family film without the iffy make-overs or, uh, sexual assault. John Candy is, well he’s John Candy in it, joined by a very cute Macauley Culkin and Gaby Hoffman as well as Laurie Metcalf in the small but high impact role of Marcie Dahlgren-Frost.

If you haven’t watched Uncle Buck, or if it’s been a while, here’s a quick run down. Suburban couple reluctantly leave their three children in the care of Uncle Buck, who smokes, drinks, bowls and bets, in order to fly out to a sick parent. Uncle Buck, in spite of his smoking habit, winds up bringing this family back together.

In spite of John Candy’s best efforts as Uncle Buck, Marcie Dahlgren-Frost is easily the weirdest and funniest character in the entire film and with one line steals the whole show. You cannot watch Uncle Buck without bellowing: “Is there a big sexy guy in here” as the credits roll. In fact, I think it is against the law.

Marcie Dahlgren-Frost knows exactly who she is, a strong divorcée who prefers to keep the hyphen in her name. Her character is a brilliant example of all the directions you can go in with a suburban woman, there is no need for her to be dowdy or sensible or, for that matter, married. She can be a commanding woman in jodhpurs who will make you dance with her.

From the second you see Marcie Dahlgren-Frost creeping into the family home Uncle Buck is house/babysitting in, you are transfixed. And if you aren’t you are dead inside. From her heavy make up, to her huge hair band to her snakeskin jacket she is rather an arresting figure. And then you hear that voice, that loud, low and confident voice that lets you know you want to be this woman when you grow up.

Anyone else walking into their friend’s home and hearing an unfamiliar male voice causing a violent racket would call the police, but not Marcie Dahlgren-Frost, oh no. This woman’s middle name is danger and she investigates such things.

Considering ultimately Marcie Dahlgren-Frost’s character is used as a farcical device to make Uncle Buck’s long-suffering girlfriend think he’s cheating on her for about five minutes, the impact she has on the film is impressive. It just goes to show there are no small parts and that Marcie Dahlgren-Frost is a comedy icon.

If you have a character you’d like to suggest for this, then tweet me @funnywomened

Read why Mama Fratelli is a comedy icon here!

Read why Sister Mary Patrick is a comedy icon here!

Read why Dionne Davenport is a comedy icon here!

Read why Megan Bloomfield is a comedy icon here!

Read why Miss Piggy is a comedy icon here!

Read why Aunt Hilda is a comedy icon here!

Read why Maddy Magellan is a comedy icon here!

Read why Elizabeth Cronin is a comedy icon here!

Read why Jane Lane is a comedy icon here!

Read why Lisa Landry is a comedy icon here!

Read why Dorothy Zbornak is a comedy icon here!

Read why Anne Shirley is a comedy icon here!

Read why Wednesday Addams is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Marmalade Atkins is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Tracy Beaker is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Daria Morgendorffer is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Anastasia Krupnik is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Helga Pataki is a comedy icon here!

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