Did Rainn Wilson's NBA Character Rip Off MTV's Jimmie the Cab Driver?
When new NBA promos came out for TNT featuring Rainn Wilson (aka Dwight Schrute) along with charismatic and funny NBA stars like Gilbert Arenas and Dwight Howard, there were high hopes. The NBA consistently puts out pretty good promotions, but these clips largely fell flat. The personalities of the players didn't really shine through and Wilson is certainly weird, though not that funny.
After some initial bad reviews, most moved on and thought the commercials would hang out for a bit, then fade away. Not so, however, as Donal Logue, aka MTV's Jimmy the Cab Driver, believes Wilson's cab-driving weirdo might be a ripoff of his character from 1990s MTV promos.
Logue responded angrily to the Wilson's use of the character:
"So many blogs were coming out and radio shows and the like saying that he blatantly ripped me off. ... Instead, he made it seem like there was a vague army of similar characters that came before him, all fairly indistinguishable — but since he wanted a mustache (I had one too), a mullet (over the course of some spots Jimmy had one) and for his character to be from Wisconsin, he was TOTALLY different."
Here's a clip of Logue's character:
Logue's character is certainly funnier, and there are similarities. Not sure how the NBA and TNT will respond to this, but if they choose not to air the commercials any more it's not like many people will miss them.