Many years ago, before we had children (when we used to go out at night), my wife and I had dinner with friends who lived on the other side of London. They were discussing their recent experience of “flat-mates from hell” and they described one woman as “like Kathy Bates in Misery”. We smiled and nodded. I could picture what they meant. I had seen the movie. (Kathy Bates won the 1990 Oscar for Best Actress for the role, so it’s part of my Oscar Winners project.) I didn’t think my wife had seen it, but she had nodded and smiled too and I didn’t question it in front of our friends.
As we drove home I asked, “Have you seen that movie, Misery, starring Kathy Bates?”
She said, “No, but I know what Kathy Bates looks like.”
“What does she look like?”
“She’s the one in the Harry Enfield Show, you know, they play Wayne and Waynetta.”
“No,” I said, “That’s Kathy Burke.”
“Oh, what does Kathy Bates look like?”
I summarized the film’s plot and tried to describe her, crazed fan, not exactly a bunny boiler but definitely a scary woman.
That Christmas I bought her the video as a light-hearted present. She’s never watched it but the artwork on the cover gives a good enough idea of the Kathy Bates character. The video sits gathering dust on a shelf in my son’s bedroom like so many others.
And we have a catchphrase from it: “She’s like Kathy Bates (or is it Kathy Burke?) in Misery” .