5 Iconic Pop Culture Moments That Weren't in the Original

Some adaptations hew very closely to the original. After all, there's a reason you're adapting it in the first place, right? But some writers receive the original manuscript, decide that whatever crap they can pull out of their ass is far superior to the source material, and tear into it like a rabid toddler in a room full of Play-Doh. And thank God for them, because without those disrespectful bastards taking liberties with the sacred sources, we wouldn't have ...

#5. The Iconic "Always Be Closing" Speech from Glengarry Glen Ross

New Line Cinema

Even if you've never seen Glengarry Glen Ross, there's a good chance you know Alec Baldwin's profanity-laden closer speech by heart, if for no other reason than we here at Cracked once used it to shame you into being a better person. But as amazing as that scene is, it's also quite out of sync with the rest of the film. Baldwin's character appears in this one scene, for this one thing, and then disappears forever. The rest of the movie concerns the mundane drama of shitty, shady salespeople whose best and most defining moment was getting yelled at by the magnificence that is Alec Baldwin.

New Line Cinema
This was back before it became a rite of passage for anyone living in lower Manhattan.

But Originally:

Find a member of the opposite sex with sad eyes and an elaborate scarf and score some art points by asking them to attend a live theater version of Glengarry. Sit there and get all pumped up, ready to mouth the "Coffee's for closers" speech under your breath, and ... prepare for disappointment. You won't find Baldwin's character anywhere in the play. Not only was he not present in the original work, but despite the movie scene's immense popularity, Baldwin's role has never been retconned into the play, since he ends up being pretty irrelevant to the storyline.

New Line Cinema
"Nice character? I don't give a shit. Good scene? Fuck you! Go home and play it on Netflix."

See, David Mamet is one of the fine and faithful who try to keep adaptations true to the source material (especially since it was his own material he was adapting). But the play version of Glengarry Glen Ross is incredibly short: Its two acts eat up maybe 75 minutes of the audience's time, not including intermission. Some creative padding was in order, and if you're going to fill up on bread sticks, why not make them delicious? They needed a few minutes of filler, so Baldwin was brought in to do what he does best: yell at everybody until they just want to die.

#4. Milhouse from The Simpsons

20th Century Fox

Milhouse is a true nerd -- not one of those sexy new breeds of geeks who can "pass" if they need to. Milhouse cannot win, even though he deserves it. Milhouse is a wreck. Milhouse is an outcast. Milhouse is for us. That's why the truth is so painful: Milhouse is only in The Simpsons because of cynical product placement.

20th Television
Which might be the Milhousiest origin possible.

But Originally:

In the beginning, Milhouse didn't even have a name. He was just a lukewarm body whose whole life sucked because his mom didn't stick a candy bar in his lunch bag. Starting in November 1989, before the actual show even began, Bart was already paying his family's bills by extolling the nutritional value of the Butterfinger food group.

That's Milhouse's first appearance. The character exists solely because they needed some other shitty kid to chuck in there next to Bart. His role could have been filled by Nelson, or Rod, or an anthropomorphic house plant.

20th Television
Or an inanimate carbon rod.

Well, perhaps that's simplifying it a bit: The Milhouse sprite -- a blue-haired dork with giant rimmed glasses -- was originally part of a pilot for a Saturday morning cartoon that Simpsons creator Matt Groening wanted to get off the ground. But the pilot went nowhere, and poor Milhouse was doomed, as usual. Then Groening -- clearly not wishing to draw anything new that day -- reused Milhouse when animating the Butterfinger commercial. Once it was all down there on film, Groening liked the character's depressing lack of charisma enough to turn him into Bart's legitimate best friend when The Simpsons premiered a month later. The adult cartoon-viewing audience bonded with the poor hapless dork character for some reason, and he's stuck around ever since.

#3. Agent Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel Television

Aside from Nick Fury himself, Agent Phil Coulson might be the most famous and popular member in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s entire 50-year history. Not bad for a middle-aged white dude with a receding hairline and a terminal case of Accountant Face.

Marvel Studios
"So I owe like 67 years in back taxes."
"I'm on it."

But Originally:

Yes, the concept of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been around for 50 years, debuting in 1965. But Coulson? He didn't show up until 2008, in the first Iron Man film. He was never in the comics. He didn't exactly get a grand entrance in the films either; he just sort of appeared midscene, awkwardly introduced himself to Gwyneth Paltrow, and then used his five or six minutes of screen time to apologize to the scenery. And yet somehow he proved popular enough to return in film after film, even securing his own TV show. Each time around, the writers fleshed him out more, mostly as a joke or a filler character, until they eventually wound up with a top-ranking agent who could really keep a team together, physically kick ass when he needed to, and even cheat death (to be fair, literally everybody in the Marvel universe cheats death on a nigh-hourly basis).

Marvel Television
"Why else do you think Rhodey and Banner look so different now?"

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here

538 Comments

The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!