Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Rock's Kenneth Parcell | The Cure for Aging?

It surprises some, and infuriates several, that I do not actively watch NBC's 30 Rock. If it's on and I've got nothing better to do, sure, I'll watch an episode, and I find the characters to be healthy doses of self-serving pessimism and woefully optimistic. Except one.

Kenneth Parcell might just be a living Buddha. Sure, he sees the world through Muppet-tinted glasses, but what I find most compelling about him isn't that or his folksy, down-home advice of questionable bias and utterly uselessness, it's that he seems to be at least 140 years old.

Oh, ha-ha, the jokes the jokes, but click the "Kenneth's Age" heading in the article above, and you'll find that other old-timers seem to remember him just the same. He truly appears to be ageless.

Thus, I have come up with some theories as to how Ken seems to manage this.

"Human" Possibilities:
  • Decent genes - First possibility, Ken might just be pretty lucky. Maybe clean living was enough for him.
Related theories:

  • He's a mutant. Still technically human, in the same way Neanderthal and H. erectus were both human.
  • He is a postmortal. Good genes, magic potion, fortuitous cocktail, whatever it was, his aging might just be turned off. Gene expressions, hormone cycles, everything might just have stopped progressing when he reached physical maturity.

  • Kenneth is at least the third in a line of perfectly identical male Parcells. It is possible that his grandfather was also named "Kenneth" and Ken III is often mistaken by others for him. The autographed picture of his dated 1947 could be for that Kenneth, passed down to him in a long line of family history. Kenneth's recognition of old celebrities and places? Family lore. "You are the Kenneth now, son! Where that name proudly!" "Yes, Pa!" *Father expires*

    It could work for some of it.
  • Kenneth is a Highlander.
  • Clones - Kenneth is actually the latest in a family line of clones, secretly created since at least the first World War. Why? Haven't the foggiest. Maybe as a replenishable supply of hard-working and intensely loyal company clerks. Once the war ended, the clones could have been repurposed for civilian/corporate usage by the military industrial complex.
For a few of these, shared memory and "brain transplant" could account for Ken's 'personal' memories of decades past.

Hell, maybe like The Man From Earth, he's simply a genetic freak who's been alive since the dawn of modern man.
  • Ken's a wizard. As with all magical creatures, wizards are long-lived. They have access to else-worldly powers and the alchemic arts. Surely a mage as powerful as the Grand Ken could halt his aging.

    Might also explain his tremendous luck and that whole obliviousness angle he puts on. He'd know secrets.

Nonhuman Possibilities:
  • Some sort of old servant god.

    Like Hermes or Vulcan, he'd be something akin to a god's god, the same way Stephen Fry would be considered the ultimate gentleman's gentleman. Yeah, he's a complete servant, but he's still got godly powers all his own.
  • A robot powered by hamsters.

    Pretty self-explanatory here.

  • A Force of Nature.

    A universal law? A personification of an aspect of all creation? He has intimated that he's been around "forever." At east he seemed concerned someone else might have said that.

    Let's start checking 15th century tapestries for little blue jackets.
  •  A dhampire.

    Like Blade, or Vampire Hunter D, or even I think Rayne, dhampires are the half-breed children of true vampires, granted some of their powers but few of their parents' weaknesses.

    I.E. Why Kenneth can go out in the daytime and has (at least some manner of) reflection.

  •  A Non-Player Character from Jumanji.

    Lost in the real world, since no one has yet won a game (Since young Robin Williams and his girlfriend threw away the box and some poor kid found it), Kenneth has since given up being a hunter or savage, or whatever he was originally in order to, you know, eat.

    As the cartoon said when they tossed the hunter Van Pelt into a bottomless chasm, thus removing him from play without 'killing' and allowing him to regenerate, causing his personality to superimpose itself over I think Peter, slowly turning him into a new Van Pelt. "There must always be a Van Pelt."

    "There must always be a Kenneth.

    • Kenneth is a golem, created by Lorn Michaels to serve him at NBC.

      I don't know if he's the famous Golem of Prague or an earlier model, possibly even the original, once-sinless Adam now roaming the Earth in a self-induced innocent stupor, maddened by his induction or Original Sin. Or maybe Lorn just molded him from the remnants of Chris Farley he found lying around only half-dead. I would, of course, include in that list David Spade's career and haircut. Also, he's got wooden teeth, so why not make the rest of him out of clay?
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