767: Temper

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Temper
Mr. Rogers projected an air of genuine, unwavering, almost saintly pure-hearted decency. But when you look deeper, at the person behind the image... that's exactly what you find there, too. He's exactly what he appears to be.
Title text: Mr. Rogers projected an air of genuine, unwavering, almost saintly pure-hearted decency. But when you look deeper, at the person behind the image... that's exactly what you find there, too. He's exactly what he appears to be.

[edit] Explanation

Actor Mel Gibson was the subject of controversy a few days before this comic came out because a telephone rant was taped and released to the public. He laughed off the call, saying simply "I have a bit of a temper."

Fred Rogers was a minister and television personality best known for his children's educational show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. He's also famous for his testimony before the US Senate Communications subcommittee to secure a much-needed increase in funding for public educational broadcasting. He died of stomach cancer on February 27, 2003, but the legacy he left is substantial; to quote Wikipedia: "Rogers received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, some forty honorary degrees, and a Peabody Award. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, was recognized by two Congressional resolutions, and was ranked No. 35 among TV Guide's Fifty Greatest TV Stars of All Time. Several buildings and artworks in Pennsylvania are dedicated to his memory, and the Smithsonian Institution displays one of his trademark sweaters as a 'Treasure of American History'."

Part of what made Fred Rogers (and, by extension, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood) so successful was the perpetually cheerful, genuine way he presented himself. He was always sincere, but he was polite and gentle in his sincerity. Additionally, in stark contrast to the celebrity stereotype, he was an enormously compassionate and kind-hearted person even when off the screen. People who knew him in real life often observed that the Mister Rogers shown on TV wasn't just a character, it was Fred Rogers himself - as the title text notes. This counterstereotype has fueled urban legends that he was a former child molester, that he served in the military and killed many, etc., none of which are true.

This comic subverts these false suspicions. Fred Rogers is fictionally recorded having a fight with his wife, but instead of a Mel Gibson-style explosive rage, he approaches it with a calm, diplomatic, and loving attitude consistent with his real personality. The title text does the same, setting up for a shocking reveal and failing to meet it.

[edit] Transcript

[A black frame with the text [NO VIDEO] in the center, speech is in bubbles.]
Voice: Sometimes, when we disagree, I feel frustrated. But I never forget how lucky I am to have you in my family. Always remember how special you are.
1981: An audio recorder on the set catches Fred Rogers fighting with his wife.
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