The Wit and Wisdom of Londo Mollari (Babylon 5)

My greatest sci fi love is not actually Doctor Who. No, it is a series that I have so far discussed only in passing terms on this blog. It started in 1994 and quickly became my favourite sci fi show of all time.

I will, in future, go into why I love Babylon 5 and analyse the quality of plotting, script and characterisation but for now it is Friday and I thought I’d post something light-hearted. One of the most tragic characters in B5 is Centauri Ambassador turned mass-murderer Londo Mollari. Despite this Macbethian tragedy of a man, he is blessed with some of the most amusing dialogue.

Peter Jurasik, the amazing actor who played him, must have had so much fun in the early years. Mollari had a razor sharp wit and was always full of quotable one-liners. Just a few days ago it struck me how often I quote him myself.

For example, whenever I find mouldy food in the fridge I suggest “We ought to throw that away before it develops language skills”. This in reference to one episode where Londo’s official quarters were plagued with an infestation of a creature he never could find. Addressing his aide Vir Cotto: “If you see something this big with eight legs coming your way, let me know. I have to kill it before it develops language skills.”

Whenever I can’t find something I say “If I was a [item] where would I be?” in reference toa time he stole a shuttle that he’d never flown before “Now, landing thrusters… landing thrusters, hmm. Now if I were a landing thruster, which one of these would I be?”

My favourite Londo-ism though is when I hear a woman with a shrill or shreiky voice. I describe that: “she has a voice that can curdle fresh milk” in reference to one of his wives (he has three whom he labels ‘famine’, ‘pestilence’ and ‘death’). Garibaldi thinks that Londo is being romantic when Londo speaks of waking up one morning to discover that she was snuggled up to him and that his arm was in such a position that he couldn’t move. Londo explains “I would rather have chewed my arm off than disturb her” before delivering the line “she had a voice that could curdle fresh milk”.

There are many more Londo-isms that I love but only those above have I so far used in every day language.

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