[identity profile] usedusernames.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ship_manifesto
Title: Some Never Know; a Larry Wilson/Richard Parker Manifesto
Author: [livejournal.com profile] usedusernames
Pairing: Larry Wilson/Richard Parker
Fandom: Weekend at Bernie's/Weekend at Bernie's 2
Spoilers: It is assumed you've watched 'Weekend at Bernie's', as there are both spoilers and things that will not make sense if you have not. There is some reference to 'Weekend at Bernie's 2', but for the most part lacks spoilers and makes it easy to avoid the spoilers that are there. Nonetheless, there are some general quotes used.
Warnings: There is swearing in the quotes from both movies, reference to necrophelia, homosexuality, heterosexuality, lesbianism, and sex-change operations.
Contact: ithinktheyrelying@hotmail.com
Notes: Apologies for any details lacking in the 'dependency' section; it was the last section I worked on and the essay was running long. Also, while a few quotes were snagged from IMDb, any mistakes are all on me.
Word Count(including the header): 6,450

Some Never Know
A Larry Wilson/Richard Parker Manifesto

How I Came to Watch ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’

My DVD copy of ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ was acquired years ago. It’s come upon some issues since then, rendering it unplayable on my computer, which accounts for the lack of pictures. Anyway, the DVD was taped to the back of a cereal box. Considering the fact I came upon ‘Buddy’ (1997, rated 4.6 stars out of 10 on IMDb, which is about 3.6 stars more than I’d give it. It gets a star for having a gorilla in clothes.) the same way, there weren’t really high expectations for it. I was pleasantly surprised. Now, this movie isn’t deep; it doesn’t proffer moral values or anything like that, but it is one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve ever watched. I love watching it. It’s one of those movies that can be viewed constantly or even continually. It has strong characterization, great dialogue, and an unbelievable plot that is made believable within the world created.

Introduction

There’s a not-particularly-funny joke that everyone knows: A good friend will bail you out of jail but your best friend will sitting next to you in a jail cell saying, "Wow, we really screwed up, huh?"
Or, a little closer to the center of this essay, I’ll go the ‘Grosse Point Blank’ route: A true friend is a guy, without your even asking, is willing to help you ditch a body. (a role Jeremy Piven has been on both ends of.)
So how are two guys who hang out with their dead boss in order to keep themselves and each other from being killed classified? That’s a little harder--Keeping a dead person alive (such as it is) takes a mental and physical co-dependency that surpasses the former two examples. There are several stressful elements--the stink of a dead employer on a hot summer’s day, the threat of people finding out you’ve been palling around with said not-so-minty-fresh corpse, and the increasing likelihood that you’re both going to be brutally murdered--that by themselves could break up a strong friendship. Yet, two movies, several brushes with death, and an ever-ripening boss later, Richard and Larry are still (literally) going to sail off into the sunset together.

These are the guys that really seem like they’re going to spend the rest of their lives together. Trying to imagine one without the other is impossible. Now, hopefully they’ll get rid of Bernie before he can be passed off for a Halloween decoration, but in the following essay, I’ll expound upon how and why Larry and Richard work together as a couple. But first--

Weekend at Bernie's Overview


Before I get to the essay itself, I think I have to lay the groundwork, which means a quick going-over of the original movie as well as its sequel (if you haven't seen the sequel, just skip the section after this one. Although mentioned elsewhere, there are no huge spoilers for the plot.) 'Weekend at Bernie's' is, like I mentioned above, not exactly a complex movie. Twist ending? No, Bernie's still dead. Philosophical insight? No, just a girl having sex with her dead boyfriend. Considering there's not really a lot going for it (and I say this with love), it begs the question: What makes this film worth watching? Besides the fact that it's hilarious, that is; considering it's a 90-minute dead-guy joke, there has to be something more. The best reason is the chemistry between our two protagonists. Richard and Larry actually appear to be best friends; people you expect to hang out every minute of the day together, who are actually willing to save each other's lives when it comes down to it.

All their truly sweet actions involve each other, from the mundane-- When Larry puts a blanket over a tired Richard, despite it being more of a general toss than a tucking-in, it's still hard to imagine even that is something he'd do for someone else.--to the extreme--When Larry decides to draw the fire of Paulie, it's unlikely it's for Gwen, who he's called 'what's-her-name' throughout the entire movie and far more likely he's risking his life for Richard. Considering the fact that they're both very self-serving, which I will expand upon later, the fact that they love and care for each other throughout every aspect of their lives is astonishing as well as adorable.

In summation they are each other's whole lives and it shows. That is what makes the movie both funny and great.




Weekend at Bernie's 2 Overview


As someone who thinks 'Back to the Future' should never have become a trilogy, I can safely say I'm not a sequel person, but I thought I'd check it out for the sake of the manifesto. So a-YouTubing I went. I'll say this about the sequel: It detracts from the first movie by making the protagonists cariactures of their original selves, but it strangely adds to Larry and Richard's relationship. Or maybe it's because of their suddenly exaggerated qualites that it supports the possibility of a relationship between the two. I'm going to list these qualities quickly so I can get back to the original.
  • Richard and Larry's relationship has suddenly cut them off from other people. Whereas in the first movie, Larry and Richard were sociable, good-hearted ne'er-do-wells, in this movie they're slightly asocial, less likeable folks who mock a guy their first time meeting him just to share a couple of laughs between themselves:
Richard (adopting a weirdly exaggerated New York accent): Ah-thah? Richard. Richard Pahkah,
it's a pleasure to meet you.
Larry: Guess we kinda saved your ass, huh, Arthur? I mean, Bernie was really raping the
company right...under...your...nose! (turns to Richard and shares a laugh with him)

There doesn't seem to be good reason for this. Well, for Larry there is; he was a blunt, sarcastic guy in the first movie, and he happily received all of Bernie's worldy possessions in the first few minutes of this one. He could well be drunk off the power and losing sight of the fact that they're kind of, well, in a consultation with their new, alive, boss, for goodness' sake. Seeing as Richard was actually upset with Larry for ripping off Bernie's stuff and still taking the moral high road in the beginning, his own descent to making fun of guys they've just met in their boss' office is less excusable. However, given he tends to feed off of Larry's energy and behavior in the first movie, this suddenly makes
sense: He relies on Larry to cue him in to responses of the situation. In spite of the fact he's very critcal of Larry, it's only when they're on their own that he actually disagrees with him to the extent they do what Richard wants. In public, he is so in sync with Larry that he's out of sync with the rest of the world.

In any case, had they kept up in this vein, they'd still be huge jerks. Thankfully, they're brought back to Earth shortly thereafter (at least for a short while; Larry gets power-hungry again later), when Arthur fires them, but still have very isolationist actions wherein they only interact well with each other. This leads to:

  • Larry physically hiding behind Richard for protection. In the first movie, he hid and yelped for help when he thought he was going to be brutally murdered, but seemed otherwise confident. Considering that he was 'talking the talk' with the guy he is hiding from just moments before in this instance, it really offers amplification to how much social dependency they've grown to have on each other.
  • Larry starting to call Richard the more cutesy, boyish nickname, 'Richie'. This wouldn't have been unusual had it been the nickname he called Richard by from the start, but in the first movie he only ever used 'Rich', which, while used liberally and easily, has a different level of familiarity than 'Richie' when given no juxtaposition between one nickname and the other.
I'm not fond of the sequel but am using some of the quotes from it further along in this essay. Because of the lack of characterization being built up in this movie, the characters were exaggerated to keep them appearing close, which leads to them appearing socially stunted and utterly co-dependent. This doesn't bode well for the characters themselves, but does make it easier to point out the characteristics of their relationship, as they've been greatly magnified. So, now, back to 'Weekend at Bernie's', with some support from its sequel thrown in.



Two Guys, a Girl, and a Dead Guy‘s Place


I think I’ll start with the dead guy. It’s his movie, after all. Bernie Lomax is a jerk who the audience can't help but hate. Which is odd, given he doesn't do much in the movie except have his body puppeted and stuff stolen by the good guys. He's a guy who, it seems, built his life up by being a sneaky, conniving, lying man who's involved with the mob. He is sleeping with mob boss, Vito's, girl, Tina. He hopes to kill our protagonists by making it look like Larry committed murder/suicide. But the reason the movie has any plot at all is because he has stolen 2 million dollars from his own company.

Good qualities first:

Larry is a quick-witted, loyal individual. He's lazy, but so honest about it that it's hard to fault him for it. He's willing to give up his house so Richard can use it on his date. He is intelligent when it comes to people; he knows how to adopt their mannerisms and personality to get in close to them, as is shown when he first speaks to Bernie (interestingly enough, while this is a good trait, this doesn't work well for him).

Now the bad:

Larry is just…well, selfish. There’s no other way to put it. When he and Richard are invited to Bernie’s for Labor Day weekend, Richard says, “Us?!” and Larry says, “Me?!”, which is a encompasses his outlook on life pretty well in and of itself. Oddly, in the most dire situation of the movie, he puts Richard before himself, but he is nonetheless a generally self involved individual. This is expounded upon by his opinion of entitlement--he steals Bernie's watch in the first movie, laments, "Why does this always happen to me?" and, "How am I going to get back to the city? He offered me a ride." after learning Bernie expired, and is mostly trying to better his position in life without having to do any work.



Richard is a hard-working, shy, nice person. He, unlike Larry, has a strong sense of right and wrong- he himself mostly abides to his moral codes, but he does follow the less scrupulous Larry's lead. He is a bit awkward around people he's trying to impress. He is, frankly, the normal 'follower'. A good person who finds himself uninteresting, he tends to try to build himself up; his friendship with Larry aids in this.

Now, on to his bad quality; like Larry, he's self-involved.

Richard
lies to Gwen throughout the movie to make her like him more. This almost seems to be spawned from self-deprecation and a belief that lies, particularly ones that evoke sympathy, make him more relatable and approachable. Due to Gwen being the singular recipient of these lies, it’s slightly harder to tell; the lie about his (nonexistent) aunt being sick was reflexive and unconscious, but killing his parents to make himself more appealing was, in contrast, a hectic but nonetheless conscious action. Ultimately, while his goal of getting the girl seems sweet, it is in reality a fairly selfish action.

Gwen Saunders

Gwen is Richard’s love interest in the first movie. It’s arguable how important this is, considering:
1. She has surprisingly little screen time for a love interest. Although this is meaningless by itself, as she is a sweet character who fairly obviously likes Richard, it doesn’t really offer time to endear her to the audience.
2. It’s clearly a summer fling, which might account for Gwen being immediately ready to put out on the beach (or it could just be Richard‘s animal magnetism, who knows.). In any case, Richard, at the end of the movie, opted to stay at Gwen’s house until she went to school, clearly defining an end to their romantic entanglement.
2b. Also, Gwen invites Larry to stay with her at her house as well. This implies it has little to do with Richard himself, which undermines the possibility of a serious relationship that sharing a home would otherwise indicate.
3. In Weekend at Bernie’s 2 she doesn’t exist. And Richard…doesn’t care. There is no mention of her, which could be an oversight on the writer’s part, but in my opinion the reason for her not being there was well-established from the get-go.

I like Gwen; she’s a nice, stubborn but forgiving character. And she does drive the plot in that without her Richard would have called the police. But that’s all she does. And given that the ‘police’ are made up entirely of Ed, she’s probably not even needed to keep him there.

Nonetheless, she aids in my support of this pairing in two ways:

1. Larry wants Richard to take Gwen to his apartment. Now, it can be assumed that this would entail their having sex on Larry's bed. In spite of this sounding like a nice gift, it has to be compared to other examples of the same medium. Although often true to life, movies and television exaggerate reality, especially when it comes to laughs. Of course, sex being a very personal situation, it gets put on T.V. more often than most subjects. Considering that, the normal reaction to finding out a person has had sex in your bed is 'Ewwww!' for good reason- reiterating my previous statement, it is a very personal situation, and, in movies, particularly movies with a similar sense of humor as 'Weekend at Bernie's', this disgust is often taken to the extreme. It's not something you want to find out people have done in a bed you sleep naked in (which we find out Larry does in the second movie), or, more intimately, one that you have had sex in yourself. To openly encourage someone to have sex in your bed, therefore, particularly in this visually-exaggerated medium, feels somewhat voyeuristic.
2. This voyeurism is extended to Richard alone when it's considered how much Larry minimalizes Gwen when not in Gwen's company. It is true that Larry isn't particularly, legitimately kind to women, tending to address them grouply as, "ladies!', however, Gwen's trivialization is personal; she doesn't fall into the group, especially considering to her face, Larry does call her by her name; her trivialization is held between Richard and himself, as, to Richard, Larry calls her 'What's-her-name'. So, why does Gwen deserve such singular trivialization? Why does Larry dub her meaningless only to Richard?

What, exactly, does she have that no one else does?

The answer is: Richard.

Lies
"I always thought that trains were so much safer than planes."
"Well, actually, a plane...landed...on the train."

Lies are a fairly important element of the film. Richard lies to Gwen; Bernie lies to Larry, Richard, Vito, and Tina; Tina lies to Vito; Vito and his crew lie to Bernie; and Richard and Larry lie to the world. The only ones who aren't really lied to are Richard and Larry, to each other.

So, then, we must look at what makes a good lie. First I’ll look at a bad liar. Namely, Richard. To save space, I’m going to make a few lists.

Richard’s Lies

1. He has a sick aunt.
2. He has his own apartment.
3. He invests in the stock market, which is why he has a good apartment.
4. His parents are were well off, which is why he has a good apartment.
5. His parents died because a plane landed on the train they were traveling in. (Now, this one should fail because it’s illogical, but it actually fails because Richard’s dad wanders out into the kitchen in his underwear.)
6. Oh, that guy in the underwear is really his butler, Monroe.
7. His butler, Monroe, who is a war vet.
8. His butler, Monroe, who also has a plate in his head.
9. His sick aunt died.
10. He and Larry tell Tina they don't know where Bernie's at.
11. Bernie's alive!

Richard’s Lies That are Successful
1. Bernie’s alive!

I’ll come back to this in a second. First, I’m going to list Bernie’s lies, as he’s the best liar in the movie.

Bernie’s Lies
1. He rips off his company for millions of dollars.
2. Oh, Richard and Larry got it wrong; it’s normal to issue many checks on a life insurance policy.
3. He, Richard, and Larry are going to discuss their findings. For the good of the company, they are to keep it a secret amongst themselves.
4. He’s not sleeping with Vito’s girlfriend.
5. Richard and Larry were gay lovers. Larry was going to get a sex change operation and stole the money to pay for it, but Richard told him he was in love with someone else, which drove Larry to commit murder/suicide.

Bernie’s Lies That Would Have Been Successful had he not Been Whacked
1. He rips off millions of dollars.
2. He, Richard, and Larry are going to discuss their findings alone. For the good of the company, they are to keep it a secret amongst themselves.
3. Richard and Larry were gay lovers. Larry was going to get a sex change operation and stole the money to pay for it, but Richard told him he was in love with someone else, which drove Larry to commit murder/suicide.

So. Why do Richard's lies fail? Because they're too entangled with each other. To rip one apart is to rip them all apart, with the exception of his aunt's sickness/death. Additionally, he doesn't account for even obvious variables like his father waking up (which is a possibility he's well aware of). They're too complicated/specific--the reason he kills his nonexistent aunt is because he didn't remember she was sick, after all.

Now, Bernie doesn't have the best track record, but it's far better than Richard's. Bernie's success in lying is because: They're simple; most of his lies are one line, easily remembered, and not hindered by his other lies. His mistake lies in not accounting for all the variables when it comes to Vito; it's Vito's girlfriend who is too explicit of their romantic engagement, not Bernie, and he takes for granted that Richard is too petrified to say he's wrong. In the latter case, he changes his story to fit the new situation and still comes out ahead. In the former case, of course, he doesn't have a chance to do so.

I know: This seems like an unnecessary digression. But the ultimate reason for Bernie's success in lying isn't that he keeps everything simple. It's because all of his lies are based in logic and truth. His ripping off the company was based on the lie he tells Richard: it's normal for multiple payments (albeit not in that particular case). His asking for a private meeting between himself, Richard, and Larry all while keeping the scam against the company hush-hush seems logical, for the reason he provides; it's not something he'd want to announce to the world, even if he weren't the one who was doing the stealing. Bernie is a quick-witted, conniving, observant individual.

Following this character trait, it can be assumed that his letter of:

Richard Parker and I stole this money from the company to pay for my sex-change operation. Now he tells me he loves someone else. I can't live with that, and neither will he.
-Larry Wilson

has a large degree of factual backing; a meticulous planner, Bernie does say that this way he 'won't even have to change the books'; it would be sloppy and out of character on his part if he didn't take care of the plan to the last detail, particularly as it's the one part of the plan he had figured out from the start. Here, too, it appears to be partially true: Richard did tell Larry he wanted to hook up with Gwen. He was very obvious about the fact he was infatuated with her, which means even the boss who didn't know his name might notice it. So, that part of the letter seems believable.

Richard Parker and I stole this money from the company to pay for my sex-change operation. Ah, a scene right out of 'Dog Day Afternoon'. This is the part that requires more attention. Assuming Bernie is making this lie seem logical by basing it off of obvious observances, such as Richard's liking Gwen, how is it that this seems like an equally obvious, logical component? Breaking it down a little further, it does actually seem plausible that Larry would steal the money (he stole dead Bernie's watch, after all). Richard perhaps is less believable in this regard, but when on the beach Larry's own immorality seems to aid in Richard's moral dissonance, so this lie is still believable. Based on the events that occur in the office the two days the viewer's see, the second half of that sentence don't seem necessarily off-base either. No, it's not true, but it unquestionably could be true, based on what anyone around the office would see on a daily basis:
  • Larry and Richard go to work together, including late nights and weekends. Seeing as their normal working hours are during the day and Larry is a self-professed 'lazy shit', that is an unusual amount of time together.
  • They leave the office to go to the 'beach'.
  • Richard, in a way that seems between motherly and spousal, cleans up after Larry and generally looks after him.
  • They go out to lunch alone together and Richard pays for them both.
  • They are almost constantly touching (it's rare throughout the entire movie that they aren't)
In the very least, there are a few things worth noting. 1. within five minutes of knowing their names, Bernie seems to indicate he thinks they're a couple: "Unless you two have your own boat." and 2. is Larry and Richard's response to the letter:
Larry: Son of a bitch. I mean, it's not bad enough that he's trying to kill me. Now he's trying to turn me into a
drag queen! Why couldn't he have said you were going to have the operation?
Richard: It doesn't matter, Larry.
Larry: Oh, yes it does matter, Richard, it does matter! I have a reputation to protect here!
Richard: For Christ's sake, Larry! No one is going to have a sex-change operation, huh?

Larry's line 'Why could he have said you were going to have the operation?' is what sticks out the most here. He's not disgusted by the letter in its entirety. It's not the very heavy implication that he and Richard are lovers that will ruin his reputation; it's the fact that if they were lovers, he'd get a sex-change operation. This is also consistent with his personality, as he doesn't chuckle about a man (very overtly) hitting on Richard, but instead uses the man to get himself a drink. Larry is obviously acceptant of sexuality in all forms, given his behavior at Bernie's party, and finds only changing his sex to be possibly stigmatic.

In short, they work in a way that seems more partner than colleague, and even react in a way that makes Bernie's letter appear to be possible.
Sexuality
"She couldn't have. He couldn't have."

'Weekend at Bernie's' is a very open movie, particularly when it comes to sexuality. Viewing the party-goers at Bernie's house, it's possible to see heterosexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism. Not only seen, sexuality is also discussed:

Manager: He said there's no interest in the subject matter--
Author: No interest in the sub-!
Bystander: Pardon me, what's the book about?
Author: Whether Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson were secretly married.

Furthermore, later on, it becomes even more overt: Tina goes upstairs and has sex with a dead Bernie, Richard and Gwen begin to go at it at the beach, only for Richard to see Bernie wash up beside them, and Larry is in the middle of having sex when Richard comes in to ask for his help.

The intense theme of sexuality makes even this scene feel very much like a double entendre:
WLarry, naked, looks through an ajar door at Richard, and says, in essence, that he was in the middle of having sex, so, Hey, Rich, take a hike. What convinced Larry was this:

Richard looks helplessly at him and says, "I need you, Lar."

It's not Richard adding 'Bernie, he needs you to,' that convinces Larry; Larry made it clear earlier in the conversation he didn't care about Bernie ('Bernie's not going anywhere!'). So, if this were the deciding statement, it was Richard saying, "I need you, Lar." that made Larry stop what/who he was doing, get dressed, and leave. The first thing to look at is the familiarity employed here--'Lar', not 'Larry', makes Richard's plea all the more personal and Richard being perfectly comfortable with his naked, recently-engaged-in-sex friend. The second thing to look at is the following section, their own physicality, which is engaged both before and after this scene, that helps make this encounter tense and electric.

Subtitle:
Larry and Richard's Physicality

It's Larry and Richard's own physical interaction in a movie with such a basis in sexuality that aids in their own relationship having a distinct sexual undertone. All their touches are intimate: arms on shoulders, hands on backs; legs; butts; hips. In spite of their constant touching on parts of the body that bring about thoughts of romance, there are a few other, less romantic but no less intimate touches that spring to mind first.

The first is as Richard and Larry fear Bernie's corpse will be discovered. Larry reaches out and grabs Richard's wrist. Considering Larry has no qualms about the dead body or whether it will be found out that Bernie's no longer in top form, in general, this shows Larry at an instant of weakness. It is therefore significant that who he reaches out for when he is at his scared and helpless is Richard.

The second is after Tina sleeps with Bernie. Larry and Richard are lounging on a couch, the entire length of their sides touching as they nurse some drinks. It should be noted that, naturally, the rest of the sofa is open and available. This is prime example of how much they infiltrate each other's personal space. Even when there is room enough that they don't have to touch, they choose to. This is also another example of their excluding the rest of the world to create a world made up of only themselves: Larry and Richard lean together and share a surprisingly private laugh considering the woman they're laughing at is right there.

Why They Work
"I need you."

Having, hopefully established they work, I have to say what makes them work. Well, it's their strengths and their weaknesses. For one, it's how they're smart and how they're not.
Larry is street smart. He's quick on his feet. He's the one who decides to keep Bernie alive, how to keep up that appearance, how to keep their would-be assassins from killing them, and how to keep Bernie looking like Bernie (stapling his toupe on.). If the situation calls for immediate action, Larry's the guy to do it.
Richard is book smart. He's the one Larry is coasting on at work. He's the one who discovers a two-million-dollar error (maybe not that big of an asset, seeing where that took them). He responses aren't based completely off of reflex and desire, which means he's the one who wants to call the police as well as say "We'll all get the Goddamn keys, and we'll all stay with Bernie.". If it takes any thought at all, the plan is best left to Richard. He is the facts and figures behind Larry's instinct.

These two personalities balance each other. In a situation that is, seemingly, life and death, it requires both quick-thinking and long-term, logical thinking. To bypass one would be a mistake. As such, their relationship tends to be co-dependent.


How They Work
Subtitle: Dependency

I mentioned above that the sequel amplified Larry and Richard's co-dependency. While that is true, it is also true that they were dependent on one another in the first movie as well (though the situation at hand played a greater role to this being the case than it did in the sequel.) This seems strange, seeing as they healthily and happily talk to strangers and other friends, and generally act in a social manner, seclusive to a limited degree only because they're carrying around a pretty big secret.

Here are a few examples of co-dependency:
  • The workforce: It would seem Larry mooches off of Richard's hard work. And, despite his going in to work weekends and nights (for no good reason if he doesn't do anything), it's probably true. However, seeing as they had been working, presumably in the office, looking for the 2 million dollar error for a relatively long time, it can also be assumed that going to 'the beach' aids in the discovery of the error. It's Larry's easy-going nature that puts Richard in a relaxed enough state of mind to see both the details and the big picture.
  • Larry makes Richard 'get 'em!' the first time they might get killed but volunteers for the deed himself the second time around. (And, also, he makes an unnecessary show of his success against their attacker for Richard's benefit.)

Having said that, there remains more to be said about the situation itself.

The Bernie Situation
"Richie, you got some deodorant?"
"You smell fine, Lar."
"Well, thank you very much. It's not for me, though."

All right: Dead, drugged-up boss, whom you've touched, smacked around, and generally abused within two minutes of visiting his house. Not a great way to start the weekend. Have to drag that boss around so you don't get shot, and that weekend gets a lot worse, no matter how fun the dead guy is to play Monopoly with. It's a high-stress situation. Heck, lesser things have ended in divorce in sitcoms, while similar things have made people annoyed enough to split up (and consequently get killed) in horror movies. This is one of the great things about the Larry/Richard dynamic.

They get to their breaking point when, out of the blue, Richard confronts Larry with the situation:

Richard: I'm going to kill you.
Larry: What?
Richard: That's right, the good news is, you don't have to worry about anybody else murdering you, 'cause I'm gonna do it! This is all your fault! Now we're gonna die on this crummy island--
Larry: Let me remind you of something, pal. You're the one who had to do the extra work on the Goddamn computer.
Richard: Schmuck! If it wasn't for me, you'd be fired six months ago! You don't even know how to work the copy machine!
Larry: 'Come on, Larry, little brown-nosing, little ass-kissing, work our way up that corporate ladder.' Why can't you be a lazy shit like I am?
--They attempt to leave in different directions, but their legs are tied to Bernie's, so they return to the middle in time to catch the falling corpse--
Richard: Well.
Larry: (breathing tensely) Okay. Okay. I'm sorry.
Richard: I'm sorry.
Larry: Okay.
--They walk a bit--
Richard: I am sorry, but we're still gonna die.

There are some important things to note about this dialogue:
  • The dead guy who wanted to kill them doesn't have much to do with their wanting to walk off in a huff, It is what they find to be personal faults of the other person that drives the momentary wedge between the two of them; Larry riding on Richard's coattails and Richard not being lazy. In marital relationships, as shown in movies/shows, it's often a fight over a little thing that's really a fight over a bigger thing. In this case it's the opposite, technically a fight over their dead boss but really a fight about small inconveniences in their relationship with each other.
  • At least on Richard's side of the fight, not untying himself from Bernie doesn't have anything to do with being caught or killed. He's wanted to call the police from the start and still thinks they're going to get killed. While Bernie forces him to stop, his turning around has to do with his fight with Larry.
  • On a sub-note that is slightly related to this conversation, but has more to do with this one-
Paulie (on answeing machine): Hey, Lomax, it's Paulie! I just got to the island!
Bernie (on AM): You're early. Those two little schmucks aren't coming 'til the six o'clock ferry and I still have to plant the note.
Paulie (on AM): Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Listen, where's your house?
Bernie (on AM): On The Point, top of the dune. Look, Paulie, don't kill them while I'm around.

It would actually have benefitted them to split up; there were plenty of people on the six o'clock ferry
who probably would have wound up at Bernie's house. However, it was expected that the two of
them would be together. So, had they just decided to go their seperate ways for the rest of the
weekend before ferrying back, they would have been fine; after all, they both mingled, hung around,
and went off by themselves during the party Bernie was throwing and came out of it without a
scratch. Had the hypothetical killer actually known who they were when they were by themselves,
they would have been killed. They aren't unintelligent characters. When they find out they might be
killed, they go to relatively clever ways to avoid their fate. It's simply more conceivable to them to
hang out with their dead, fly-covered boss than to not have each other to rely on.
  • The important part of the conversation, of course, is that even when having a large fight, they both apologize and forgive each other instantaneously. No matter what the reasons are for their fighting, or for their apologizing, there is no lingering animosity between the two of them throughout the rest of the movie. Moreover, while the argument is very personal, there is a feeling of underlying friendliness and intimacy. Compare this to when Richard yells at Gwen, without the situation having become more dire:
Richard: Gwen! I don't mean to be rude when I say this, but get the hell out of here.
Gwen: No! I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what's going on.
Richard: LISTEN TO ME! You're in a lot of danger here, so please leave unless you want to get shot
and killed!

This is noticeably a less personal, more frustrating argument, and is, while Richard seems to be trying to save Gwen's life while he was trying to tell Larry how he ruined his, less heartfelt and even less intimate. He actually explained his complaints with Larry, which he was too annoyed to do so with Gwen. It's certainly not a matter of time: he and Larry were equally expectant of an attack when they had their own personal argument. To say it might be because Richard's annoyed with having just had to use his dead boss as a raft would be correct in general but incorrect in the situation at hand; he and Larry had an exasperated but friendly conversation as they came up the stairs. And, as they just called the police, there's actually a lesser chance of her getting killed than before.

In fact, it's worth noting that Larry comes down with Bernie's corpse a second later and asks Gwen if they can hang out at her place until the cops come; the problem is, it seems to him, stressful but mostly over.

So, really, Richard trying to get rid of Gwen has nothing to do with the high-stress situation in and of itself and everything to do with who Richard wants to spend his time with in a high-stress situation. And the answer is: not the girl he's had a crush on for two months, but Larry. It's such heart-pounding instances that brings out the best and the worst in people, which means that he knows he and Larry can support each other at their worst, while he and Gwen can't.

Conclusion

I'm not saying that Richard/Larry is canon. Because, well, it's not. What it is, in Bernie's letter and in their own, real relationship, is a possibility. A possibility that, in my opinion, were it to ever be acted upon, would easily surpass the romantic entanglements that actually are canon.


Links and Recommendations
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098627/ Weekend at Bernie's on IMDb. comes with links, quotes, a message board, and more.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108539/ Weekend at Bernie's 2 on IMDb. Also comes with links, quotes, a message board, and more.
http://www.lazydork.com/movies/weekendbernie.htm 'Weekend at Bernie's' drinking game
http://movies.ign.com/objects/142/14245364.html 'Weekend at Bernie's' fansite. http://belowthenose.blogspot.com/2009_02_01_archive.html Where the character's photos came from.
[livejournal.com profile] weekend___This is the LJ community for 'Weekend at Bernie's'.
[community profile] fandom_of_one is where any updates of fanfiction/fanart of the 'Weekend at Bernie's' fandom can be found.

This fandom is as dead as Bernie. It'd be awesome if, also like Bernie, a couple of schmucks went and revived it. So far as I know, I am the only person who's written any fanfic for the movie, and it's not good by any means, so it hardly matters.

If I missed any fic/fanart/whatever for the Larry/Richard pairing, please let me know. I'd love to see it and link to it.
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