We've written before in this space about the singular presence that Mandy Patinkin is as a performer, but over the last few months his followers on Twitter and YouTube have been treated to a different side of the veteran actor — one that finds him in quarantine with his family.
Beginning in mid-April, Patinkin's son Gideon began uploading short glimpses of his parents to Patinkin's Twitter feed. Now numbering in the dozens, these short clips have been nothing short of a revelation.
At turns joyful, hilarious, fraught and indignant, the videos see the couple adapting to their unexpected and extended break from regular life, with Mandy Patinkin putting his all into everything he does, whether it be deleting emails, impersonating the family dog, or —in what ends up being a particular delight — putting his less-than-stellar knowledge of popular culture to the test:
While Gideon's voice is heard behind the camera, the videos themselves focus almost exclusively on Patinkin and his wife, the actress and writer, Kathryn Grody.
The couple has sweetly committed to learning spanish together while in quarantine, but what we see in most of the videos are the kind of moments familiar to anyone who's been around a loving couple that's been together for 42 years: the two bickering over a decades-old unintended slight, Grody ignoring Patinkin as he shares his favorite tuna burger recipe, and Patinkin chiding Grody over her inability to recall song lyrics.
At first blush this may all sound like the makings of a reality TV show, but it most assuredly is not. Where so much of actual reality TV is built around contrived moments designed to keep viewers tuned in past the next commercial break, the Grody-Patinkin clan doesn't appear to care whether you watch another clip. In fact, were it not for the amusement they bring Gideon as he shoots them, it's clear these videos wouldn't exist.
More recently, Patinkin has been focused on the election and using his platform to help get out the vote for Joe Biden. Last Friday he released a slick self-produced campaign video laying out what's at stake this November, but if it's lo-fi too-much-time-on-his-hands Patinkin you crave, not to worry — in another video he enlists the services of Becky, the family dog:
Whether or not Patinkin's videos help move the needle for Biden, they've already performed a public service, giving us a much needed shot of familial love and mirth amid the pandemic. Take that, Kardashians. (Quick: someone explain to Mandy and Kathryn who the Kardashians are.)
Visit Mandy Patinkin's YouTube channel for a complete survey of his family's quarantine videos.
Jed Rosenzweig is the Founder and Publisher of Primetimer.