“Actually, the suburbs are far more sinister places than most city dwellers imagine. Their very blandness forces the imagination into new areas. I mean, one’s got to get up in the morning thinking of a deviant act, merely to make certain of one’s freedom.” —J. G. Ballard (1930-78, dystopian novelist)

DO YOU REMEMBER MAYNARD G. KREBS? I doubt it. He was mainstream (USA) TV’s first outsider. He was a beatnik, in a sitcom “Dobie Gillis.” that had its first run from 1959 to 1963. Even the Nick at Night revival in the ‘90s was a long time ago.

The show was also the first one to be about teenagers in conflict with parents. Dobie, the “star” of the show, was the cute but dumb, always frustrated teenager. Zelda was the plain but smart girl who loved or maybe just pitied him. Wealthy Chatsworth Osborne Jr, was middle-class Dobie’s rival when it came to the main plotline: the pursuit of the pretty girl of the week.

Then there was Maynard. He liked jazz and bohemian affectations. He feared three things: “work”, “marriage”, and “police” basically authority figures of any sort. He would always make his appearance when Dobie or some other character was describing something odious and Maynard would fall into the set saying “You rang?” He did this shtick before Lurch from “The Addams Family” and Kramer in “Seinfeld” did their things. 

Anyway, so where did Maynard go next? Some say he dropped out and moved to the west coast where he got a job on a tour boat and spent several years a castaway on a desert island. Some others say Maynard and the rest of the gang got whisked off to a cartoon universe where Chatsworth got replaced by a dog and instead of pretty girls they chased ghosts. Or did he go off by himself to a university in another state where he encountered a whole different world where he was the alien species?  

“He’s the kind of artist rents a groovy little attic / And discovers that he can’t grow a beard / He’s the human cannonball come in for a landin’ / And he wonders where the net disappeared” 
—Richard Fariña (1937-66, neo-beat novelist and folk singer)

This University of Nowheresville was mostly inhabited by several races: the wannabe robber barons and the neo-bronze age farmers. Needless to say, Maynard didn’t fit in with either of these clans. Maynard wanted to be of the Beat Generation, but it was too late for that; the cynical existentialist poetes maudits he aspired to join had already morphed into optimistic hedonist hippies, who were much too “Love is All You Need” to be his people. He now had no particular place to be or not to be.

The anthropomorphs were there to help. Two of them, beer and wine, were his chemical friends who made it easier for him to assimilate, to talk the talk, walk the walk, i.e. to pass in his new situation. Others were the fine arts who/which were useful skills he could trade with the others for what he needed. They were the what-he-could-dos that did what the who-he-was couldn’t.

They didn’t leave him when he graduated. His actual fine art abilities kept him socially and economically up to speed in the world he found himself in. And his chemically enhanced sense of personal worth gave him a reason to be. But both fine art’s and alcohol’s “help” got less effective and more trouble as he passed from young adult to senior citizen. He eventually stopped calling on them at all.

The anthropomorphs are shown here as two couples to illustrate how Maynard was always a “fifth wheel” (the English language idiom for a useless and even unwelcome hanger-on) The illustration shows them ready to “split the scene,” “haul ass” with screeching tires for a night of gonzo adolescent vandalism—or romantic creative destruction—leaving Maynard behind in the suburbs of his mind. 

But he still has his bongos.

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (TV Series 1959–1963)
Mimi & Richard Fariña – Hard-Loving Loser lyrics (Reflections In A Crystal Wind Album)
The Damned Poets and some of their works
A poète maudit
Fifth wheel vs third wheel Idiom Definition – Grammarist
Creative destruction