Contrivance #11: Friends with ‘Fros

Today I was watching the 49ers decide that they had no interest in going to the Super Bowl when I noticed a person in two different commercials who seemed familiar. Rather, he was a type of person, not the same exact person.

The type of guy I saw in both commercials was a guy with an shaggy afro haircut (I’m pretty sure that’s the correct term to use regardless of the race of the person).

Seeing the two commercials so close to another another made me realize that I’ve seen that type of guy before. He’s on a promotional poster around the corner from my house. He’s on television, usually in a high school or college posse of friends. And he’s in most party scenes in movies.

He’s a friend with a ‘fro. You know, a laid-back guy, just hangin’ out, takin’ it easy, lookin’ to have a good time, all smiles, whatever, no big deal, it’s cool man, just happy to be here.

Friends with ‘fros are everywhere on commercials, TV shows, and movies…so why haven’t I ever seen one in real life? Do they really exists, or are they just the laid-back version of the Sasquatch?

I’m not even quite sure I understand the appeal. If friends with ‘fros are so rare in real life but so prevalent on TV, what is it about them that makes TV producers want to cast them? Is it just the distinct hair, or are they getting in touch with something deep down inside all of us that wants a really laid back, Frisbee-playing, tie-dye-wearing, scruffy looking friend with a ‘fro? Maybe it’s in our genes.

Have any of you ever had a friend with a ‘fro? Or do they only exist on the silver screen?

For Contrivances 1-10, click here.

9 thoughts on “Contrivance #11: Friends with ‘Fros”

  1. You bring up a good point…a point I’ve spent many a night pondering and postulating about. Prepare to be persuaded by my pedantry. I call this the Seth Roganization of Hollywood. Think back a few years, and I’ll regale you with a tale of a slovenly young man and a dream.

    For years the laid back friend character has existed, and the friend with a fro has existed as a subset of this. Other subsets included the stoner, the nondescript t-shirt/hoodie wearer, and the scruffy friend who was not ugly enough to seem like an improbable friend for the main character. Circa 2005-2007, the scene began to change for the laid back friend character when one man successfully brought all 3 of these characteristics together to transform the laid back friend into a memorable, likable character who rivaled the main character…and then into a main character himself.

    Timeline exhibit A: It’s 2005, and The 40-Year Old Virgin hits the big screen. Other than Steve Carell, who do you remember from that movie? (The absurdly foul-mouthed Indian guy, but that’s another story for another character development.) Other than him, it’s Cal, the scruffy, pot-smoking, slacker friend/co-worker, who, for the first time in scruffy, pot-smoking, slacker-with-goofy-curls history, is portrayed as a pretty cool guy. Cal’s cool hits its climax (pun-intended) when he presumably scores with Beth (Elizabeth Banks), the unbelievably hot, kinky sex fiend who is naked in the bath tub when Cal walks in.

    Fastforward to 2007.

    Timeline exhibit B: Riding the high from T4YOV, Rogan, still appearing as a scruffy, slightly overweight scofflaw, lands a role as a police officer in Superbad. He executes it brillantly while doing all of the things we secretly wonder if cops do like firing their guns for fun, turning on sirens just to get places faster, and messing with teenagers, then giving them a pass because they’re young and learning. Rogan, as a minor character, makes cops cool again.

    Timeline exhibit C: Still 2007, Rogan completes the transformation of his stereotypical character into the mainstream as he shows this character rising from the pits of slovenly loserdom to respectability while landing yet another extremely attractive woman in Knocked Up. Despite his abundant pot smoking and goofy-frolike hair, Rogan not only manages to sleep with Katherine Heigl using my 10 ways to have a great first date if you’re not a dashing good looking as Jamey Stegmaier (see comments here:, but he tops that by eventually proves himself to be more than a mistake and secures her affection (presumably forever).

    There you have it. The Seth Roganization of Hollywood. Now, what does this mean for the fro-friend? Well, Hollywood has historically been strongly impacted by trends (see Jennifer Aniston’s haircut circa 1995). The floppy haired hopefuls of Hollywood now have a shining example of one of their own going from nothing to stardom, and it’s encouraged them to come out of the woodwork in droves to apply for any minor character role available–even in comercials. The floppy haired fro is actually kind of a cool guy right now, and many others are attempting to follow in Rogan’s footsteps along the path to stardom. There you have it.


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