Ever see the documentary King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters? It’s definitely worth watching if you lived through the video game craze of the ’80s…or even if you just enjoy taking a peek into the lives of the obsessed.
The 2007 film tells the story of good-guy-but-constant-life-loser Steve Wiebe as he attempts to break the Donkey Kong world high score set by reigning champ and gamer villain Billy Mitchell.
Ah, Billy Mitchell. How do we describe thee? Billy—a hot sauce salesman by day—likes to wear an American flag tie, rocks a beard and hairdo from the era of Tom Selleck grooming, and takes self-importance to a whole new level.
When you’ve got an ego like that, you tend to think everything is about you. So when Billy flipped on the Cartoon Network (natch) and set his eyes on the Regular Show’s bearded, floating cartoon character Garrett Bobby Ferguson (or GBF), it was like looking in a mirror.
He immediately picked up his Pac-Man rotary phone (we imagine), called his lawyer, and told him/her to file a lawsuit for theft of his likeness.
The Cartoon Network admits GBF is modeled after Billy but says it is a transformative depiction. Unfortunately, you can’t win ’em all, Billy, cuz a federal judge agrees and just threw out your case.
“New Jersey Federal District Judge Anne Thompson ruled that Mitchell’s appearance had been exaggerated to the point that that the character is ‘cartoonishly evil.’ Also, according to the AP, the show is protected by the First Amendment.”
Thompson went on to say: ““The television character does not match the plaintiff in appearance: GBF appears as a non-human creature, a giant floating head with no body from outer space, while Plaintiff is a human being. And when GBF loses his title, the character literally explodes, unlike Plaintiff.”