This is a list of characters from “The Great Gatsby” ranked by how much fun they’d be at the 2014 Harvard-Yale tailgate.
Why? Because many people who tailgate never make it to The Game, and here Gatsby offers an instructive parallel: It follows characters who spend their time in one long party and never achieve their true goals.
So while I rank them, I know we must have sympathy for these poor souls. To quote Nick Carraway’s father, “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t the alcohol tolerance that you have.”
22. Tom Buchanan: Can’t tailgate in the first place, because he’s the star of the Yale Football team. If he could tailgate, he’d still be insufferable, spending all his time complaining about your cheap beer (while somehow drinking all of it). He’s also a big fan of Robin Thicke, and not just Blurred Lines — he’s into that whole “Paula” debacle.
21. Nick Carraway: Wet towel. Not interested in having fun. Interested in watching others have fun (possibly to the point of voyeurism, beware). Will show up to your tailgate even though you only sent him a pity invite on Facebook as a way to get his hot cousin to come.
20. George B. Wilson: Will get mad at you (and maybe shoot you) for stealing his girl even if you’re not the one who actually stole his girl. You can try to tell him you’re only romantically and sexually attracted to the American Dream, but it’s no use.
19. West Egg: “Because in ‘The Great Gatsby,’ places are characters” — my 10th grade English essay.
18. East Egg: Home to a shimmering but toxic ideal that reminds you of all the hidden possibilities of life. Sounds like a good tailgate to me.
17. New York City in the 1920s: Home to illicit alcohol consumption, rowdy music and Sexual License. Sounds like a great tailgate to me.
16. Daisy Buchanan: Basic. Will crush all your beer and all your dreams and then leave with someone else. Hey, at least it was nice when she kissed you that one time and you decided to change your whole life because of it?
15. The Guy with Owl Eyes in Gatsby’s Library: Makes fun of you for not knowing about hipster beer, but is otherwise tolerable. Possibly a figment of your imagination, which means he’s definitely not paying you back on Venmo.
14. The Color Yellow: “Because in ‘The Great Gatsby,’ color is also a character” — my 10th grade English essay.
11,12,13. The Colors Red, White and Blue: America.
10. The Color Green: Also America, for some reason.
9. Jay Gatsby: This might be a controversially low ranking, but Gatsby is a frustrating figure to deal with. On one hand, he’ll roll up with an infinite supply of brews. On the other, he’ll probably get all dramatic and disappear before the game even starts. Also, everyone might go blind because Gatsby’s from the prohibition and there’s a good chance this is wood alcohol.
8. The Boat in Which You are Beaten Back Ceaselessly into the Past: “Because in ‘The Great Gatsby,’ the symbols are also characters” — My 10th grade English essay.
7. The Eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleberg: Valley of Ashes? More like “Valley of Trashed Kids,” am I right? I am right.
6. Gatsby’s Collection of Beautiful Shirts: In a pinch, substitute Gatsby’s collection of douchey snapbacks.
5. Meyer Wolfsheim: Probably a pretty cool guy once you get past Fitzgerald’s anti-Semitism. He also runs a fancy bar in NYC and knows the outcome of The Game in advance, so he’s a pretty essential member of the party.
4. Jordan Baker: Possibly gay, but willing to play along with whatever schmuck she has to date to make this whole façade work. Golf star, so probably pretty good at cornhole.
3. The Ephemeral Joie de Vivre of the Roaring Twenties that Our Nation Will Never Recapture.
2. Myrtle Wilson: Fun, but a little dramatic.
1. Zelda Fitzgerald: More Fun and more dramatic.
-10. My 10th Grade English Teacher: “F. The color yellow is not a character.”