Thursday, July 19, 2007
Joey Ice Cream
I Always Wanted Brothers Like That . . .
So goes the famous line uttered by one of The Black Donnellys’ most controversial characters, Joey Ice Cream.
Joey Ice Cream, portrayed by Keith Nobbs , is the fifth-wheel kid from down the block who idolizes the Donnelly brothers and tags along after them like man's best friend on a leash. Joey is there when the Donnellys are celebrating and he’s there when the Donnellys are in trouble. In fact, Joey’s there so often that sometimes the viewers forget all about him—that is, until the cops remind us that Joey’s in jail and he’s the reason we know so much about the Donnelly brothers. Because Joey knows everything there is to know about the Donnellys. And for some viewers, that’s just too much. However, for others, Joey Ice Cream’s all-knowing storytelling is just one more thing that makes The Black Donnellys the most underrated show of this past television season.
Joey Ice Cream’s character is what is known in literary terms as an unreliable narrator or a narrator whose version of events just doesn’t fully ring true for the audience. In Joey’s case, most of the time the viewers don’t know whether the story he’s telling is the truth or whether he is intentionally misleading the cops (and the audience). For instance, in the pilot episode when he’s explaining his unusual nickname, Joey states that he was given the nickname Joey “Ice Cream” because he’s like “ice” under pressure. However, later in the episode we learn that Joey was, in fact, given his nickname simply because he liked ice cream so much. Moments like this make the viewers wonder how much they can really rely on the information they’re receiving from Joey and whether or not there’s some hidden meaning yet to be disclosed.
Interestingly, even though we know from the first moment of the pilot episode that Joey Ice Cream is in jail, we have no idea how he got there. Likewise, even though we’re pretty sure that Joey is stretching the truth (a lot!), we have no idea why he’s making up stories and lying to the police. Is he a pathological liar? Maybe. Does he overestimate his own importance or have a need to be the center of attention? Probably. Is he protecting the Donnelly brothers? Most definitely.
In the end, we are left with more questions than answers when it comes to Joey Ice Cream and, by the time we reach the season finale, only one thing is certain—Joey loves the Donnelly brothers and would do anything to be part of their family. To understand any more than that, we need a second season of The Black Donnellys.
Now that’s the truth according to Joey Ice Cream . . . for what it’s worth.
**For more information about the Save The Black Donnellys campaign, visit www.savetheblackdonnellys.net.