What’s the “message” of Mr. Coleman? I get asked that a lot these days…and I should be really good at answering profoundly by now, but, well, not so much. I didn’t really have an agenda or a cause or a message to put forth when I started with Coleman.
I just wanted to tell a great story. And I had the fortune of starting with a great story – man rescues chimpanzee, gains the trust of and raises said chimpanzee, learns some basic truths about life (but not too many) and ends up prizing their unusual friendship for the rest of his life. That’s what Coleman is about…friendship. That’s the message. That’s the “deep underlying meaning.” Friendship can be and often is the most important thing in anyone’s life. This one even more so, because it is so different –and so thoroughly unique – right out of the gate.
The best stories are about friendship, the bond that grows with adversity and challenge and shared experience and…effort. We all have that one true friend – or certainly at the very least long for that one true friend – that “gets” us. That puts up with far more than average acquaintances ever would because they “get” us. We make an effort to forgive their foibles, their lapses, their human-ness, if you will. And they ours.
That true friend is always tuned to the real us…the child/essence/core being that lies behind the defenses and the artifice. The true friend knows our dark side…has witnessed or shared or rescued us from those moments that weren’t our best and weren’t necessarily noble and certainly weren’t from among the scripted glimpses we give to the world at large. Some of us are lucky to have more than one such friend, but I personally don’t believe it’s possible to have many. Special is special.
That’s Mr. Coleman. Not about what’s right or wrong when it comes to animal rights or parenting or captivity or freedom or leaving home or finding fulfillment – although it is about them all just a little. Mr. Coleman is about the love between two friends. The fact that one of the friends tends a little more toward the hirsute side is, in the scheme of things, irrelevant. It’s a story that entertains, that helps you remember, that makes you feel something. And that’s “message” enough. Don’t you think?