Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend at Bernie's lied to us, says professional mortician

Illustration for article titled Weekend at Bernie's lied to us, says professional mortician
Screenshot: 20th Century Fox

As the past year can attest for us, only two things in life are certain: Death and Donald Trump tax fraud. With mortality looming in nearly every major headline these days, it’s difficult to escape the feeling of our own impending doom.


To help cope and know what exactly to expect, death-positive professional mortician/media personality (it’s a real thing) Caitlin Doughty dedicated a portion of her long-running YouTube series, Ask a Mortician, to rating pop cultural depictions of our dearly departed on a scale of 1-10 tombstones.

Doughty talks bodies in The Goonies (6/10 tombstones: “That body is too present”) and Stand By Me (9/10 tombstones: “That’s a good corpse!”), as well as sacks o’ bones from titles like The Crown, Law & Order: SVU, and Psycho. But it’s her review of Bernie of Weekend at Bernie’s infamy that cuts the deepest. According to Doughty, the 1989 comedy gives audiences a completely inaccurate depiction of what happens to one’s body upon expiring. We’d never have guessed.

“Bernie is simultaneously too floppy and too stiff,” Doughty opines at one point, explaining how and why his rigor mortis should long have already set in by the time his morbid shenanigans ensue. “This is the true lie of this film: there are no dead bodies that have completely upright necks and a floppy body. Doesn’t happen.” If we can’t trust the veracity of Weekend at Bernie’s, then what can we trust?

Yes, we hate to break it to you all, but Weekend at Bernie’s apparently does not accurately portray the initial phases of bodily decomposition, especially within a warm, tropical, insect-filled environment like Miami. Doughty points out that a real-life Bernie should have also begun to “purge” various bodily fluids from areas like his lungs and stomach at some point (“a mess waiting to happen,” as she delicately puts things). And to think all this time we imagined our deaths would portend rollicking slapstick capers.

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Andrew Paul is a contributing writer with work recently featured by NBC Think, GQ, Slate, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He writes the newsletter, (((Echo Chamber))).