By Kevin Wilson
Last week, I traveled from Portales to Colorado Springs, and back. Each trip runs about six to seven hours with rest stops and meal breaks. I had a broadcast of Saturday’s Red Sox-Yankees classic to keep me company on the return trip.
For the way up, I had Seth Green.
What am I talking about? It’s kind of like retelling a Seinfeld episode, where a few stories are necessary to make another effective. Let me explain a theory, then backtrack to my high school and college days. I promise we’ll get back to Green.
We’ve all heard of the “six degrees of separation” theory. It’s simple. Assume you know 100 people, which is likely a huge understatement. Now assume those 100 people each know 100 people you don’t. That’s 10,000 people you are linked to, in just two steps.
You do six “degrees” of 100 people, and you could theoretically link yourself to one trillion (that’s 12 zeroes) people in six steps or fewer. That should include everybody on the planet, since we’re talking about a planet of six billion people.
Personal example: I know Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega (one). Ortega knows Gov. Bill Richardson (two). Richardson knows former President Bill Clinton (three). Bill Clinton has been interviewed by Barbara Walters (four). Walters has also interviewed Tom Cruise (five), who did a cameo appearance in the third Austin Powers movie, where one could assume he met Britney Spears (six), who also did a cameo.
It’s an interesting theory, but somewhere along the line a person decided this theory should be applied exclusively to pop culture.
Veteran actor Kevin Bacon has been linked to this theory the most, because A) his name fits the syllable and rhyme scheme perfectly and B) he’s been in a lot of freakin’ movies.
The Kevin Bacon game got me and several friends through many boring nights in high school and college, and somebody actually created a board game for our pursuit.
Over the last 10 years, though, we’ve seen several movies where big stars take small roles just to say they’ve worked with someone. Those people invariably get linked with Kevin Bacon, and six degrees aren’t necessary for most instances.
Here’s a partial list of movies with Kevin Bacon, and consequentially, people you can link to Bacon in one step:
• Mystic River: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Laurence Fishburne;
• Trapped: Charlize Theron, Courtney Love;
• My Dog Skip: Frankie Muniz, Luke Wilson, Diane Lane;
• Wild Things: Matt Dillon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards, Bill Murray;
• A Few Good Men: Jack Nicholson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Demi Moore, Tom Cruise, Kevin Pollak.
There are 44 other movies that Bacon did before this year, three that I didn’t mention from 2004 and one more in pre-production for 2005. Suffice it to say, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is kind of like playing video games against somebody without a controller.
What does this have to do with Seth Green? I believe he’s the new Kevin Bacon, with his roles in the Austin Powers movies and small roles in movies like Rat Race (Cuba Gooding Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, Kathy Bates), Knockaround Guys (Vin Diesel, John Malkovich, Dennis Hopper) and The Italian Job (Mark Wahlberg, Ed Norton, Donald Sutherland).
Green also gives us a newer generation of actors, with his role in Can’t Hardly Wait. Through his Kenny Fisher character, we are also linked to Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jerry O’Connell, Ethan Embry and Sean Patrick Thomas.
This is what I thought about while driving to Colorado Springs.
A few years down the road, we might find it a little too easy to link any actor to the person who played Scott Evil. We’ll have to find new challenges.
I’m thinking the Six Degrees of Kevin Wilson. I hope I’m a little closer to Britney Spears by that time.
Kevin Wilson is the managing editor of the Portales News-Tribune. He can be reached at 356-4481, ext. 32 or by e-mail: