Overthinking Fiction: Cody Lambert

My friend and I were talking about old television sitcoms like Blossom and Family Matters, and at some point, we got on Step by Step, and how pretty much the only reasons to really watch the show was the progression of Al’s hotness (Christine Lakin), and how distant cousin Cody Lambert was pretty much the best character of the show.

Naturally, my mind goes off on tangents, and it doesn’t take long for me to take something that I liked, like Cody, and overthink and dissect it to a point where it pretty much kind of ruins them.

But anyway, to those not familiar with Step by Step, Cody is the nephew of Patrick Duffy’s dad character, and the older cousin to the Lambert kids.  He’s older than all of the family kids, but not quite old enough to be considered a full-fledged adult, and he was basically the character that could relay to the children, their parents’ advice, when the kids would be obtuse about it.  And since Cody was the cool older brother figure to everyone, everyone listened to him.  Along the way, Cody found the meaning of life by deliberately depriving himself of sleep, and got into a massive bar-room brawl, all while spouting Valley speak and sounding like a bro before the term bro was even coined.

Regardless, he was unanimously perceived as “the cool guy” of the show, and to a 1990s impressionable kid, nobody in the world was cooler than Cody Lambert.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to be the tall handsome young adult that lived in a van in the driveway that came equipped with a water bed in it?

And that’s where the snowball begins rolling.

Basically, the show takes place in Wisconsin.  And as most of us are very well aware, Wisconsin is not a state like California or even Florida, where you can move to a different part of the state, and completely avoid cold weather, and live in a consistently mild climate.  Wisconsin can most certainly get warm in the summertime, as much of the United States can, but if there’s one thing that people know about Wisconsin, aside from the popular notion that all cheese is miraculously from there, is the fact that they have brutally cold winters.

Football fans are well aware of this, as they’ve all pretty much seen a Packers game in which everyone but the one body painted lunatic is dressed like green and yellow eskimos, and steam is rising off of the active players’ bodies, while those on the bench huddle in gigantic team cloaks.

I’ve been to Wisconsin in the wintertime, it really absurdly cold.  So cold that mist rises off of bodies of water as much of it evaporates and freezes almost simultaneously.  It’s so cold that liquids don’t often stand a chance at remaining liquid outdoors for very long.

Needless to say, I can’t remember a lot of episodes of Step by Step off the top of my head that actually addressed Wisconsin winters, but for a guy that lives in his van like Cody, going to bed at night must seriously be a true life and death experience.  Unless he has an endless supply of Tauntauns inside of that van, I can’t imagine that in the peak of winter, sleeping in the van has much chance of fending off mortality.

And we haven’t even gotten to the fact that he’s got a water bed inside of his van.  Clearly, nobody really thought about what happens to water when it’s outdoors in a cold winter night, much less a cold winter night in Wisconsin.  If freezing water come ice has the capabilities to burst through iron pipes, then there’s absolutely nothing from stopping Cody’s water bed from freezing, expanding, and not just bursting through the vinyl lining of the bed, but the entire fucking van itself.  Bursting it like when we’re kids and we put a warm can of Coke in the freezer to fast chill it, forget about it when we’re losing our shit over one of the numerous bike levels of Battletoads, and then it bursts, leaving a mangled and gnarled piece of aluminum around a slushy, sticky mess in the door shelf.

Now imagine if Cody were actually sleeping on said bed when this nightmareish scenario occurred?  Despite the fact that the Lambert family lives in a house large enough to house six kids, they can’t even spare the fucking couch or something for Cody, relegating him to sleep in his own tomb outside in a Wisconsin winter.  So after the worst-case scenario occurs, JT wakes up the following morning, and due to his hero worship of Cody, steps outside in the morning, only to find the mangled, gnarled remains of a van that was ripped in half from within, by the ice formed from the water in Cody’s water bed, when it froze overnight.

And amidst the carnage is a blue and definitely dead Cody Lambert, frozen stiff, but at least dying somewhat peacefully, as he was in his sleep when the tragedy occurred.

Allegedly, Cody was written off the show in later seasons due to an alleged domestic violence incident with his wife.  He could very easily have been written out and justified as having died in the aforementioned manner, but Step by Step was an ABC family sitcom.

But let’s be real here, cool as Cody may have been, there’s zero percent chance that anyone could live like Cody did, in a Midwestern northern state, like Wisconsin.  Whoaaaaaaaa.

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