The Greatest Furniture in Fiction [Think Tank]

The Greatest Furniture in Fiction [Think Tank]

The sitting and sleeping places of our heroes.

star trek kirk's chair[This week’s Think Tank is inspired by an article in the New York Times describing fans’ fixation with one of the most famous pieces of furniture in fiction, Captain Kirk’s chair from the original Star Trek TV series. The Overthinking It writers offer their own choices for the greatest furniture in fiction–vote for your favorite at the end of the article, and suggest your own in the comments.]

Superman’s Bed (Superman II)
by Belinkie

superman-bedI’m not talking about the bed Clark Kent has in his Metropolis apartment. That bed is probably utterly uninteresting. Nice hard mattress, plain white sheets, maybe boxes of sweaters stored underneath. But the bed in the Fortress of Solitude is pretty fascinating.

The Fortress grows from a single Kryptonian crystal in the first Superman film, and until the midpoint of Superman II, we have no reason to believe there’s anything in there that’s not a crystal. “Minimalist” is a good word for it. In fact, they joke about this earlier in the film, when Lex Luthor sets foot in Superman’s inner sanctum. “It has everything!” he exclaims in wonder. “Not everything,” Miss Tessmacher grumbles. Lex sighs. “Why didn’t you go before we left?” “That was two days ago.” (POSSIBLE ISSUE TO OVERTHINK LATER: What are the odds that Lex made it from Metropolis to the North Pole in only two days, traveling largely by balloon?)

The Fortress has definite grandeur, but it is short on creature comforts. Or is it? Because in the middle of Superman II, we suddenly see the Man of Steel and Lois snuggling in a vast expanse of silvery fabric.

I suppose Superman could have lugged a bed up there from the Metropolis Crate and Barrel. But the weird shiny fabric suggests suggests this bed came with the fortress. This is a traditional Kryptonian bed. And it drives me crazy, because we never really get a look at it beyond a couple closeup shots. Is it a rectangle, or the shape of the Superman emblem? Is it 20 feet wide? Is that fabric some sort of alien material that breaths like cotton but insulates like wool?

And if the Fortress of Solitude has a freakin’ bed, then what else does it have? A night table? A dresser? A microwave? You know, despite Miss Tessmacher’s earlier grumbling, I’m going to assume that the Fortress actually does have a bathroom. Because even if Superman himself doesn’t pee, or has some sort of super bladder that can hold it for months, I doubt he’d take Lois to an igloo with no plumbing for their first date.

7 Comments on “The Greatest Furniture in Fiction [Think Tank]”

  1. DK #

    Monkey outta nowhere! Fenzel, your reference to the wonderful Tick cartoon warms the cockles of my heart. This has nothing to do with furniture, but have you ever read the original Tick comic books? I read them before I read Watchmen, and I didn’t realize until recently how very many Watchmen references there are in there. A very gentle and loving superhero parody parodying a far more negative superhero deconstruction? How meta!


  2. fenzel #

    I have read a bit of the old Tick – but most of my downward spiral of comic self-parody comes from a years-long reading of the ENTIRETY of Cerebus the Aardvark, which literally drove me to the brink of a mental breakdown — to the extent that I actually had to throw away most of my books (I think I kept Jaka’s Story), to avoid looking at them again and becoming phenomenally depressed.

    You know what I was really surprised to see? The _American Splendor_ references in the early volumes of _Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles_ I read recently. My roommate’s girlfriend picked up a compilation of some of the earliest TMNT books from somebody who was throwing them out – and there’s a lot of reverence in there to other early independent comicsp, which of course TMNT surpassed in popularity by orders of magnitude.

    Pretty funny that TMNT was name-checking American Splendor ten years before the first TMNT movie – and twenty years before the American Splendor movie.

    History works in mysterious ways – especially when you’re dealing with artists who see the world as individuals, rather than the institutional creativity you see out of the corporate titles.


  3. Gab #

    Wait, it’s a devil face on the back of the chair? I always thought it was a cat.


  4. Matt #

    The Dude’s rug from “The Big Lebowski”. It really tied the room together, you know?


  5. lee OTI Staff #

    I thought about the rug from Lebowski, but then I wondered if a rug really counts as a piece of furniture. It’s more of a home furnishing, no? I think part of the definition of furniture is that it rises vertically from the floor to provide utility.

    But then again, as Donny often is, I may be out of my element on this one.


  6. Gab #

    If I’m not stretching it by suggesting a TYPE (and if they aren’t just appliances), I’d say the televisions in the _Toy Story_ movies. Every time a TV shows up, one of the major characters has a pivotal self-identity revelation, one that drives the plot forward and without which no character development would occur; or it gives characters plot-driving clues without which the story would end.


  7. lee OTI Staff #

    Some other suggestions from the OTI writers that didn’t make the post were:

    Arthur’s round table
    C.S. Lewis’s wardrobe
    Cat in the Hat Credenza
    Python’s comfy chair
    The bed from Bedknobs and Broomsticks
    Chairey from Pee Wee’s Playhouse
    The table in Da Vinci’s Last Supper (is it fiction or non-fiction? Somewhere in between?)

    All fine choices…but only one of them (sort of) rhymes with “Beretta.”


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