Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Pop Culture Idiot: Intimate Portrait: Rollo Lawson

Intimate Portraits aren't just for women! I think men should get them too and who better to start off with than Rita Lawson's boy, Rollo.

Make no bones about it, Rollo was a crook. The good folks at Sanford and Son never got into exactly what Rollo did to get that car and that fly pad--and thankfully we never knew. They did say something about pumping gas--yeah right. According to reports, Rollo did his first stint in the prison at the tender age of 5.


Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of Rollo Lawson's life is not his vast collection of 8 tracks and bongs but his relationship with one Lamont Sanford. These two were polar opposites, in a sense, but you can see why they worked together as a friendship. On an odd level, in the earlier to mid-point episodes you can see Lamont Demond Wilson trying to appropriate some of Rollo (Nathaniel Taylor's) speech patterns. Hilarious--and it didn't really work. In a strong sense, Rollo was one of the truer African-American portrayals. He wasn't sexless, not a total parody, just that slightly shady character who existed in neighborhoods during that era. To their credit, the writers of the show didn't pull punches about Lawson's personality. To be perfectly honest,  I didn't like the way Rollo treated the Three Degrees when they starred in the episode "Presenting the Three Degrees." He was really feeling his Cheerios and barking orders like a common pimp. No wonder The Three Degrees left him. Good for them! More often than not though, Rollo was written very intelligently, especially in his scenes with Fred Sanford.

     Sadly, as Sanford and Son declined, so did Rollo's character. A once up-to-the-minute and cool character pretty much was just there during the final seasons. His cool clothes and style stagnated and his role disappeared. To add insult to injury, the Rollo Lawson character was brought onto the 1980-81 NBC series Sanford. That's when you knew the times had changed, they even had the nerve enough to give him a job driving Fred Sanford's truck. The horrors!

Oh no....
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