Friday, March 15, 2013

Beware the Ides of March

I think that's still my favorite line in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. I mean, "Et tu, Brute?" is pretty great, but I believe it's in the 1970 adaptation that has the best actor playing the Soothsayer. You see, all of the signs were pointing toward Caesar's untimely demise, but ol' JC's head had grown much too big for his laurel crown. The assassination of Julius Caesar is probably one incident in history that will continue to fascinate me. In the end, it took 23 stab wounds to bring Caesar down and Rome still went on to be the greatest power on Earth, well, you know, following a civil war and all.

Having the Roman Senate declare you dictator perpetuo (dictator in perpetuity) has some perks, really.  He did pretty much have Cleopatra in his back pocket until Marc Antony came along. Plus, he probably named a month after himself. We wouldn't have July without him, though Augustus may have made that designation.
And let's face it, Julius Caesar permeates our daily lives. There's a salad dressing named for him and even a method of child delivery, though it's technically named after his son Caesarian. 

So, to commemorate the (roughly) 2,057th anniversary of Julius Caesar's assassination, I thought I'd put together a few moments in popular culture which feature the toga wearing tyrant.

Mean Girls (2004) - Stab Caesar
This is probably my favorite reference. Gretchen Weiners (Lacey Chabert) had finally cracked and The Plastics had begun to melt. The movie is full of amazingly quotable lines, but this by far is the best scene of the movie.

Xena: Warrior Princess - Xena and Caesar
I had completely forgotten about this storyline, Caesar actually figured as a main antagonist in several seasons of the show. And look who it is but a young Karl Urban. Before he was Eomer in Lord of the Rings, or Bones in Star Trek, Urban played Cupid/Julius Caesar on Xena, with a bit of cross-over onto Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In fact, he was only 24 when Hercules premiered, so this was very early in his career.

In his first episode, we meet Caesar as a young patrician. Subsequent episodes show him in his rise to power and an antagonistic relationship develops between him and Xena. There's murder, seduction, deception, all the facets of a compelling story. And it's Karl freaking Urban. I mean, come on!

There aren't a lot of good videos on the internet which feature Urban as Caesar. However, there does seem to be a strong legion of Xena/Caesar shippers.

Communtity - Julius Dean-sar (2011)
Dean Pelton is known around Greendale for his over-the-top costumes, which probably eat up most of the school's budget. Jeff isn't shy about calling out the Dean for his obsession with playing dress-up. In "Paradigms of Human Memory," which is a non-clip show clip show, the study group recalls some of Dean Pelton's most audacious outfits.

Included with the montage, is Dean Pelton dressed as a semi-Caesar. He drops by the study room to let the group know that there is a free Caesar salad bar in the cafeteria.

Dean Pelton's Costumes from Anna Robilotta on Vimeo.

While there have been many other depictions of Julius Caesar or adaptations on the story throughout popular culture, these are my three favorite allusions. Be sure to comment below and share your favorites!

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