Mary McNamara: Out-of-touch celebs — take a cue from Mandy Patinkin's relatable shutdown videos

Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Can we just talk about the Mandy Patinkin videos now?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the essential hope and resilience of the human spirit has proven itself in so many ways, including our endearing and occasionally worrisome attempts to find unexpected good amid so much obvious bad. Perhaps now, we opine brightly, we'll come to understand the importance of national healthcare/raising the minimum wage/washing our hands.

When/if the virus is conquered, perhaps we'll slow down a bit, make our work schedules more flexible, take better care of each other and the planet, treat mail carriers and delivery teams with the respect they deserve.


But there is one irrefutable, inarguable good thing that has out of the coronavirus lockdown: the Mandy Patinkin videos. To be more precise, the video series featuring Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody, married these 40 years, as they shelter in their fabulously homey cabin with their son Gideon, who interviews them on camera and then posts the clips on Patinkin's Twitter feed.

At least we assume Gideon posts them. One video shows Patinkin attempting to post one and it does not go well; despite, as his son points out, having an account with 85,000 followers, Patinkin has never posted a video on Twitter. "People did it for me," he says before sidetracking into bafflement over what GIF means.


This is one reason Patinkin's Twitter feed may be the best thing that ever happened to a coronavirus. Watching, er, mature people fumble with technology is always hilarious and highly relatable, especially now. With kids and their parents in nonstop close proximity, secrets are hard to keep. Turns out that no, your father does not know how to take a picture of a document and send it via text -- and that explains all those FedEx packages over the years.

It is also rare to see a celebrity, particularly one known for playing experts (including most recently a man who could launch a freaking missile through his cellphone), willing to acknowledge ignorance at such an intense geezer level. The man who played Inigo Montoya asking what a GIF is. How is that possible? Does he not know that a GIF is him?

While so many stars are falling all over themselves to reassure us that we're all in this together, as they arrange a Fenway Park field trip for nurses and chat with other intensely famous people for our amusement via Zoom, Patinkin and Grody appear to actually be experiencing the shutdown the same way many of us are. Hanging out in comfy clothes, eating too many carbs, playing with the dog, yelling dumb non-sequitur questions across the room to each other and letting their kid make weird videos of them. (Seriously, as I was writing this, one of mine came into my office to do a TikTok dance with me as background. Whatever.)

In the first "episode" of this series, Patinkin and Grody stand in front a splendid patch of forsythia, discussing their impact of the shutdown on their marriage: Has the fact that they are often apart helped? "Yes," Grody answers emphatically -- and the recent celebration of their 42nd year together. Which began with "a s-- show of an argument" that devolved into tears ("We love to cry," Patinkin says) but ended with him making turkey bolognese.


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