The Dude Isn’t Making A Comeback — He Never Went Away

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The Big Lebowski is a bona fide classic. The Coen brothers’ 1998 comedy film boasts an 82 on Rotten Tomatoes across 96 critic reviews, and 94% of the 355,343 Rotten Tomatoes users who have seen the film like it. Its main character, The Dude, has become a cult phenomenon. As The A.V. Club said best in a 2009 retrospective on the movie: “Who doesn’t love The Dude?”

Now, more than two decades after The Big Lebowski’s release, The Dude might be making a comeback. The character reentered the spotlight when Jeff Bridges, the actor who plays The Dude, tweeted a short video suggesting The Dude is returning. Although the Coen brothers have gone on the record to state they’ll never make a sequel to The Big Lebowski, Bridges’ tweet resulted in rabid fan speculation. Questions were answered when The Dude appeared in a Super Bowl ad last month — an occasion that marked Bridges’ first-ever reprisal of the role.

Far before recent months’ resurgence of all things Dude, a quasi-religion founded in honor of the character took hold: Dudeism. Whether or not Bridges’ character will be making a feature-length comeback sometime soon, celebrations of the religion’s March 6 high holiday, Day of the Dude, are abundant. A Cleveland, Ohio bowling alley recently celebrated the occasion with an all-day event, and fittingly so — some of The Big Lebowski’s most beloved scenes take place in a bowling alley. In Chicago, the bar The Rookery has launched a pop-up known as The Dude’s Abode, where anyone of legal age to drink can enjoy all things Dude on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights until March 16. Even Canadian restaurants are getting in on the trend.

Recent months’ Dudeist events, though, don’t represent a Dude comeback so much as a reminder that the character has never gone away. In cities around the world including Reykjavik, Dresden, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, The Big Lebowski-themed bars operate year-round. Last fall, two Northeastern University professors launched a website dedicated to the film; visitors to the website are treated to visual effects from one professor and academic analysis from the other. Just last month, both The Independent and Entertainment Weekly ran stories about, respectively, Bridges’ witnessing a key on-set creative difference between the Coen brothers and film narrator Sam Elliott’s accomplishments following the film.

If the resurgence of Dudeism and The Big Lebowski has convinced you that you might need to join the celebration, the Dudespaper — a publication about exactly what you think it’s about — has some ideas as to how. Dudespaper suggests buying some White Russians, just as the film’s characters love to do, and going bowling, the characters’ other favorite activity. A much more in-depth list of ideas is available here, but the general gist is that any activity resembling a break from your normal routine is a valid celebration of Day of the Dude and Dudeism.

If you’re a fan of The Dude, we hope you enjoy your day of celebrations — and that you tell us your plans for the day in the comments. If you’re ambivalent, our comments are open to you too — tell us why!

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