From “Girly Edition” (1998) where Lindsay Naegle advises Lisa on broadening her appeal:
“Lisa, Bart’s got something you can’t learn in school – zazz!”
“What is ’zazz’?”
Now we know!
Go ahead! Guess!
No! Wrong, sir! Wrong!
No, I ate at Bahooka!
Yeah, so, I ate there by myself.
Yes, by myself! Hell, how often do any of us get out to Rosemead these days, anyway? I was out there, alone, on an errand, sure, and as long as I was out there anyway, and in need of lunch, what better place to eat than at Bahooka?
Here’s what I had!
It’s the lunch special; I think it was a cheeseburger. It was too dark to see and frankly I don’t remember. (It comes with three Zombies – the good kind that eat your liver rather than your brain.)
And by “comes with three Zombies” I mean I ordered, separately, three Zombies, because for God’s sake, man, it’s Bahooka, you’ve got to get a Zombie or three. Especially at lunch! Especially when dining alone!
Above: I think this was my booth, but with the lighting, and after three Zombies, who can really say for sure?
Afterward the traditional polynesian businessman’s three-Zombie lunch, I negotiated the veritable rabbit warren of booths in an effort to exit the premises, but much like the Hotel California, you can pay your check at the Bahooka, but you can never leave. Well, it’s not so much that you can never leave, but, really, who would want to?
I don’t even remember where the hell this part is, but you’ll agree it’s magnificent.
I keep trying to convince the missus that we should re-do the bedroom similar to this – like I’ve already done with our island-themed bathroom – but last week the thread holding one of my dried puffer fish broke and the pointy little guy fell on her while she was sitting on the toilet, so she’s put the kibosh on me turning any more of the place into a tiki paradise.
Where was I?
Oh, yes, back at Bahooka. So here’s Rufus.
You’ll recognize him from his appearances on YouTube and also in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
He loves to eat carrot sticks but whether or not he enjoys a slurry of half-digested cheeseburger, fries, and Bahooka’s delicious signature coleslaw mixed with three Zombies is unknown – happily for everyone involved, Bahooka’s attentive and efficient waitstaff pulled me off the tank and got me outside before the unthinkable happened.
LIKE every other American citizen – from the important President Barack Obama to the lowliest writer-comedienne – I set aside time today, Monday, January 16, 2012, to reverently celebrate the life and achievements of a White person.
And that White person is of course Betty.
So tonight, as I befolded my laundry, I watched a little something that NBC put on for all of us called “Betty White’s 90th Birthday: A Tribute to America’s Golden Girl.” (Or, as it was originally supposed to be called, “Betty White’s 90th Birthday: An Hour and a Half of Our Foundering Monday Night Lineup We’re More Than Happy to Preempt.”)
It was a delight, of course, watching Betty’s aged co-stars from decades past take the stage to say a few loving words, and seeing just how ghastly they all looked. Equally wonderful were the younger stars, on hand to appeal to a more desirable demographic, who spoke likewise glowing words of praise about Betty in an effort for NBC to not-so-subtly push its comedies.
Betty White has that certain something, or as the French say, zat certain somesing, that no matter how much she’s overexposed (and brother, she’s overexposed), you just never quite get sick of her. Ah, that someone could determine exactly what that elusive quality is, bottle it…and then make Jane Lynch and Neil Patrick Harris drink it, so that they, too, might not be so offensive to all of us everywhere when every freaking time we turn around, there they are again. Jesus!
Or Drano! I suppose they just as easily could drink that, right? No, no, as my attorney cautions me to note, I’m kidding, of course.
Now, like I said, we all love Betty White, every last one of us, but like me, you kind of thought 2010 was The Year of Betty White and…well, that was going to be the end of it. But here we are two years later and she’s still in the spotlight. And good for her, right? Sure.
But in 2011, just last year!, it seemed that America was starting to rediscover another similarly beloved and prolific living comedy legend – Mr. Dick Van Dyke. Dick published his (exquisitely bland) autobiography, he was popping up on late-night talk shows, he had that song-and-dance stage show that, eh, unfortunately he had to bow out of after the first performance. (Though to be fair, I don’t think he was physically able to bow after that first performance.) Oh, and then perhaps most significantly, as you know, I started watching “The Dick Van Dyke Show” on Netflix – so, yeah, 2011 was shaping up to be the year of Dick Van Dyke. But sadly, it never seemed to pick up steam nor go anywhere.
So now we’re back to Betty White again and much like Happy Hour at Moonsisters, Dick is all but forgotten.
But I have an idea that might just make things right.
Remember that time I took our dog Fritz and our neighbor’s dog Wilhelmina and “married” them in the backyard?
I say we do the same thing with Betty and Dick!
Can you imagine how cool that would be? The two biggest, oldest, most beloved celebrity comedians alive, and we marry them to each other! It would be amazing! All of America will love it!
And I can perform the ceremony because I remember most of what I said when I married Fritz and Willie, but instead of “do you take this boy-dog” and “do you take this girl-dog” I can change it to “do you take this man” and “do you take this woman.”
First order of business: luring Betty and Dick into my backyard! Does anyone know if they like Snausages?
QUICK, what’s your favorite Christmas special?
If you answered “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” you’re right! (If you said “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” you’re a filthy liar because though no one wants to publicly admit it, that first Peanuts special is dull, poorly animated and depressing; and then there’s all that Fundamental Christian proselytizing by Linus at the end – completely out of place in a Christmas special; an offensive affront to the modern holiday aesthetic which frankly I’m surprised hasn’t been edited out for recent airings.)
Anyway, with regards to Rudolph, despite it being your favorite special, there was a time – decades, actually – when each Christmas season we weren’t inundated with endless Rudolph merchandise. Indeed, there was, like, nothing other than maybe a record album from when it first aired in 1964 until the late 1990s.
Then in 1999, CVS offered these Beanie Baby-like beanbags during the height of Beanie Baby stupidity. (Forget the housing bubble; it was the people who invested in worthless Beanie Babies that put this economy in the toilet.) The Rudolph beanies were a huge hit and after that, in the true spirit of Christmas, countless licensees climbed aboard the Rudolph gravy sleigh.
More and more and more Rudolph crap was manufactured: both figures and figurines, ornaments and tree decorations, plush and stuffed dolls, each new item more redundant than the last and nearly identical to previous offerings until we got to where we all are today: hating the very sight of Rudolph and sick of that stupid special, and tuning in only because the tall elf with the horn-rimmed glasses reminds us fondly of character actor Herbert Anderson for whom we’ve always had a soft spot in our heart.
The point is, if you’re really into Rudolph memorabilia, or Rudolphibilia as its known in collector circles, you have your inflatable Rudolph yard decoration (mint in box), your Clarice lip gloss (unopened), you have your Abominable Snow Monster bobblehead (in original packaging), your Yukon Cornelius mustache grooming kit (unused), your Hermey the Elf home dentistry molar pliers (still in blister-pack)…and of course, dozens and dozens of resin figures by Enesco of all the other characters, every last one in just slightly different poses and each released a year apart (and you collectors have to have them all!), but brother, you ain’t got everything. You ain’t got everything.
Because here, then, is the rarest, most obscure piece of Rudolphibilia:
The official Mr. Coffee Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Iced Tea Maker.
See, it’s, eh, it’s got “Iced Tea Maker” in that famous Rudolph font. That’s the same lettering they use in the opening credits of the special, right? You see it, don’t you?! …Why am I such a misfit?
IT WAS a horrific scene – like something right out of “The Killing Fields” but instead of decaying corpses and scattered bones there was tattered felt and torn fake fur – ripped open with its foam innards grotesquely exposed. Thousands of Muppets – every single Muppet that ever existed – from Mr. Snuffleupagus to Miss Piggy, Dr. Teeth to Guy Smiley and every one in between – had been thrown into a landfill. Even the ones you and I don’t care about, like the “Fraggle Rock” Muppets, since we never watched that show. Them too! Onto the trash heap!
Atop these lifeless carcasses was tossed all the blueprints (or patterns, or schematics, or whatever the hell they call them) for when, like, a Muppet wears out and they need to make a replacement Muppet of that Muppet, sure. And on top of all that, all the masters to every episode of “The Muppet Show,” the original negative from “The Muppet Movie,” all of the scripts, every single neat little drawing Jim Henson ever doodled when coming up with an idea for a new Muppet, those little rods to move the “dead-arm” (Muppeteering term) Muppets’ limbs, Bert’s paperclip and bottle cap collection, everything Muppet. They were going to douse it all with gas, set it ablaze they were, and plow it under. After it was gone, there’d be no record that something called the Muppets had ever existed.
And by God, it very nearly happened.
But someone, Jason Segal, I guess, decided, “Hey, let’s not burn all these Muppets and bury their remains!”
And so the Muppets were saved!
At least that’s the impression you’d get from just about every major article heralding the upcoming new Muppet film. Apparently the Muppets have been completely forgotten for the last ten, fifteen, twenty years – you and I haven’t thought of them at all much less seen them, the articles tell us, and neither has anyone else, anywhere – but now suddenly with this new film coming out, the Muppets are finally back! They’ve been rescued from oblivion, thank heaven! Hey, gang, remember those things called the Muppets? No? Think, think hard – Muppets. Yes, you remember now! Yeah, well, I know it’s been forever, but they’re making a comeback! Can you freaking believe it?! The Muppets were gone – completely disappeared off the face of the earth! – but now they’re back!
…Except that angle, that approach, that tack, if you will, doesn’t that basically just piss all over everything the Muppets have done over the last number of years? Isn’t that a regular hai-ya! to the crotch of about two decades of Muppet history? That is, if you could personify the concept of about two decades of Muppet history as having a crotch. I think if you did, it would have ping-pong ball eyes. And possibly a long foam nose.
You see, I looked into this – I did – and it seems the Muppets never actually went away. Turns out Muppets have continued to appear regularly on “Sesame Street” – the Sesame Street Muppets, anyway. Oh, sure, the show is pretty Elmo-centric these days, not enough Roosevelt Franklin for your and my tastes (a complaint we’ve had since 1975), but the show’s still on, with, yes!, Muppets on it.
Also, hold on to your hats: The Muppets have appeared as well in online videos, theatrical films, TV movies, game shows, talk shows, reality shows, and commercials.
I guess the real point of these articles is, “Hey! We’re trying to promote a movie here!”
So to everyone who’s worked on any Muppet production – be it a YouTube video or the film “Muppets from Space” or anything on “Sesame Street,” or the countless appearances of Muppets everywhere on TV, what these articles are saying is, “Yeah yeah yeah, what you worked on was completely irrelevant crap!” and “It’s not part of the Muppiverse!” and “It’s not Muppet canon!”
And like you, I hate people who use the term “canon.”
All that said, I’m really excited about the movie! Hey! The Muppets are back! But I’m even more excited that this artificially renewed interest in the Muppets will result in all that vintage 70s Muppet Show-era crap I’ve been hoarding going through the roof on eBay.
Bid early and bid high!
LIKE YOU, I enjoy the old Dick Van Dyke program. You know, “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
And as it turns out, these days, thanks to the good folks at Netflix, I’m getting reacquainted with a little show I like to call, yes!, “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Tonight, I’m happy to say, I got the clunker out of the way. Oh, you know the one: The Twizzle.
As a socially maladjusted boy, and then teen-aged boy (just as socially maladjusted, just hairier, and with backne), I enjoyed not only watching this program in reruns, but also reading about it in the few books about old TV shows that were available whenever it was, exactly, that I was a boy (and, later, a hirsute, pustule-shouldered teen-aged boy). Remember, this was back then sometime, before nostalgia demanded a book about every single TV show that ever existed, but also before the internet made them all obsolete.
So there wasn’t a lot in print about “The Dick Van Dyke Show” back then. Or maybe there was. Who knows? I know there’s a particularly good book, a great big thick book it is, about the show, and I seem to think it was written quite some time ago. And I know I have it, but to dig it out at this hour just to find out when it was published…? And wake up all the silverfish…? The hell with it.
Anyway, one particular bit of trivia about the show that stuck with me is that creator Carl Reiner made a specific point to avoid fads and slang indicative of the early 1960s so the show wouldn’t become dated in reruns.
And yet here we have the Twizzle. The fun starts at the 7:00 minute mark.
So there you have it. Nice going, Carl. He’s credited as the writer for this episode, too, so no use blaming it on someone else, there, pal.
Topics For Discussion:
• Yeah, it’s dated. It’s fifty years old. The whole damned show is dated, but that doesn’t make it any less of a great sitcom. Hell, that’s why you and me, we watch it. And even though this is probably the most regrettable episode they made, it’s still kind of fun, right?
• The bowling alley is supposed to be in “Greentown, Connecticut” – a town that doesn’t exist! Yet a few episodes prior, they make mention of Stamford, Connecticut – which does exist. Stamford is right next to Greenwich, Connecticut (which is only about a dozen miles from New Rochelle). I should know – oh, that’s right: I grew up there, maybe, sure. Were they concerned Greenwich didn’t have a bowling alley? Well, we did. What’s more, I used to play Mr. Do! there. Anyway, so I guess I solved that mystery. If that guy re-releases his book, he should totally put this in there.
• Holy crap, bowling alleys haven’t changed at all in 50 years, have they? Same checkerboard pattern to the lockers, same fiberglass chairs and benches, same clothes and hairstyles on all the people there. (Except now everyone’s wearing them ironically. Stupid hipsters.) This place doesn’t look like Greenwich Lanes (since closed, sorry Mr. Do! fans) but the bowling alley on Pico and 3rd in Santa Monica. You know, I think maybe they filmed it there. So I’ll go add that to the IMDb listing for “trivia” about this episode. You, you go add it to Wikipedia. If someone there asks you for a source tell them there’s a plaque in the bowling alley attesting to this. It’s not like anyone’s going to actually check.
…Actually, maybe this episode isn’t as dated as I thought it was. That little fringed number that Mary Tyler Moore wears? I wore the same outfit to the gym today.
WELL, IF YOU’RE HERE TODAY, you probably need a little break from all the 9/11 coverage that’s going on. Or, let’s face it, more likely you’re not here on 9/11 at all, but for some reason known only to you and God, you’re looking at older posts. But if you’re here on 9/11, no, you’re not going to get any 9/11 irreverence from the likes of me, pal. Just what kind of monster do you think I am?
Instead you’ll get some Cliff Robertson irreverence.
Yes, we just lost Cliff Robertson. With his passing come all the tributes about his body of work, including his Oscar-winning turn as moron-cum-genius-cum-moron Charlie Gordon in “Charly.” And rightly so. Plus, he seemed like a genuinely nice guy.
Despite that, here, courtesy YouTube (and whoever illegally uploaded it to YouTube, probably), is a chunk of the aforementioned movie. But ignore most of it! Ignore the rape scene (which didn’t happen in the book). Ignore the subtitles! They weren’t in the book, either! I want you to start it at the five minute mark. I’d have embedded it so it starts right there automatically, but frankly I don’t know how to. And the Ted Parsnips Web Design Team now has weekends off – goddamn unions.
Now keep watching! Watch it from the 5:00 mark to the 6:25 mark!
Wasn’t that amazing?!
I want to applaud the Academy for recognizing Robertson’s work in this film among that year’s best! Specifically this psychedelic montage, where, among other things, “Charly Baby” hops on a motorcycle and seems to be channeling either Marlon Brando in “The Wild One” or Steve McQueen in “The Great Escape” or somehow even Dennis Hopper in “Easy Rider” (a year before that film even came out!) and then does the Monkey and some other 60s dance move that simply defies description.
Which, curiously, I remember neither from the short story nor the novel version of “Flowers for Algernon.” Huh.
But what I do remember is watching this with the rest of my classmates during English class back in junior high sch– Oh, pardon, me “middle school” as it’s now legally known – after we’d read the book, and all of us laughing uproariously – even the stupid kids on whom the glorious absurdity of these scenes one might assume would be lost.
On whom the glori– Christ all mighty, that’s an awkward sentence. Maybe I was one of the stupid kids.
Above: Two well thought-out comments below one of the countless Jerry-Lewis-Not-Hosting-Telethon articles we were bombarded with over the last month that make the argument that Jerry somehow convinced us to give millions of dollars to fight a disease that we had no idea existed. Tell that to everyone who’s living with MD.
AS YOU KNOW, two things that annoy me are 1) those stupid articles in “Entertainment Weekly” where the 20-something gals writing for the magazine decide they know how to “fix” some television show that’s past its prime and then outline their hopelessly fannish we-know-nothing-about-television-production process step-by-step, and 2) cashiers soliciting donations for anything when I’m trying to check out at the grocery store.
Do they still do that in “Entertainment Weekly?” The fix-the-show articles, that is…? Like you, I haven’t read it in years, but they used to do that all the time. Also, you know who’s the worst on the whole “Would You Like To Donate A Dollar To Help Fight Some Disease” thing? Every single retail store in the state of Florida. Don’t believe me, go down to Florida and do some shopping.
Anyway, with that in mind, that up there, two paragraphs up, with that in mind, I’m going to tell you how MDA can fix their telethon.
First of all – did I donate anything to MDA this year? No. But let me tell you why. Because my donation would in fact cost them money.
Whether or not I actually have any money, I’m always crying poverty so none of my deadbeat pals will hit me up for a loan. So all I would be able to pledge, as far as they know, would be $5. Say I call in, pledge my five spot. Then they’ve got to send out an envelope to me, for me to send the money back in to them.
Cost of mailing this to me? 44¢ Plus the cost of the return envelope, whatever paperwork they include, and the envelope they use to send it to me – another 17¢, easy. Already, 61¢ of my $5 donation shot to hell.
Okay, then I’m on a mailing list, and they’ll be sending me these pleas for donations all year round, probably, and we both know I’m not going to send them any more money until next Labor Day, so after only eight more of these come-ons for donations, now they’re operating at a deficit as far as my donation was concerned.
No sir, better for me and MDA to not even go down that road. I’ll save them the money.
But what I will do – for free! – is fix their show so next year, they make a bunch more loot.
First we need to address the elephant in the room with the new-sock fetish: Jerry.
I love Jerry Lewis because he’s such a complete jacka– …delight. Seriously, if you know anyone even on the very fringes of show biz, you’ve heard at least one Jerry-Lewis-Acting-Like-A-Complete-Asshole story. And as my attorney points out, I’m sure none of them are true. But you’ve heard them!
That’s why those of us who do watch, watch. No one tunes into the telethon to see Jerry act sincere about “His Kids.” We tune in to see him berate the band leader, bitch out the cameraman, and call the stage manager “Eva Braun.” We’re watching because here comes some poor schmuck from the St. Louis branch of the Knights of Columbus, proud to have been selected to go to Vegas to hand Jerry, on-camera, a check for six hundred thousand dollars. He’s nervous as hell being up there, he’s been practicing his speech and doesn’t want to screw it up. But he stumbles through it anyway, largely because he’s bewildered by MDA’s spokesman who has gone cross-eyed and is sucking on the mouth of a drinking glass. It doesn’t get any better than that. Though the annual Eva Braun comparison is a close second.
But, aaah, he’s gone so you move on.
So here’s what they need to do:
Give the telethon to someone else, like Will Ferrell or, maybe Steve Carell, or – God forbid, Adam Sandler, or God in heaven forbid, Jimmy Kimmel. And yes, of course they’d love to do it, probably. MDA need only ask them.
You get someone like Ferrell or Sandler or Carell in there, they’ll bring in every other comedian around and suddenly doing the Telethon is hot again. Goodbye Norm Crosby, hello Lisa Lampanelli! For the record, though, I’ve always enjoyed Crosby’s act. It makes you think.
Also, Muppets, lots of Muppets. You cannot go wrong using Muppets.
So you’ll have all these hot talents, and even if they just submit some sort of taped bit, it’ll be something that the entire country will be tuning in for each year. The donations will be through the roof!
…Except we all have DVRs now, so we’ll be doing other stuff on Labor Day and we’ll just scan through the hilarity later, after it’s all over and everyone’s gone home. So I’m not sure about the “raising money” end of it.
But people’ll watch, and that’s the important thing, right?
Next I’ll be setting my sites on two other serious problems our once-great nation is currently facing: The bankrupt dinosaur that is the US Postal Service with its greedy, over-pensioned employees and rampant, unchecked illegal immigration. And while I don’t want to give too much away just yet, I have worked out a solution that solves both problems at once and only requires you learn how to address an envelope in Spanish.
I was excited to see that my old classmate Betty Cooper (Riverdale High, Class of ::cough cough:: Never you mind!) has hit the big time, so to speak. She’s appearing this Thursday in “Untangled,” a knockoff of Disney’s “Tangled,” itself a knockoff of the Brothers Grimm fairy tail “Rapunzel,” itself a knockoff of another fast-breaking Sesame Street Newsflash.
Where was I? Oh yes, Betty! Anyway, she’s got the lead role, and they even feature her on the ads for the play.
Anyway, the old gang’s getting together for this one – me and Reggie and Archie and Veronica and Midge and Moose and Dilton and his partner and Chuck and Nancy and those two hispanic characters that no one cares about and seem to come and go every few years and Big Ethel and Cheryl Blossom and all the rest, sure. I think we all kind of need a night to relax after losing Jughead.
A couple of months back, you’ll remember that Charlie Sheen was, oh, in the news quite a bit. I was assigned a little piece on that whole ongoing train wreck.
Much like you, I’d never seen “Two and a Half Men,” so I had to start watching it, and fast. Fortunately, all the local stations in Los Angeles play nothing but episodes of the show twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I needed only to set the DVR, and wait patiently for a few hours before I had caught the legal limit.
So I sat down and began watching the show. The verdict (and I know you’re dying to know, never having seen the show yourself): Viewers watching “Two and a Half Men” are bombarded with the television equivalent of that which caged monkeys are known to throw at those who watch them. (The difference being, of course, most people at the zoo try to avoid getting hit.)
Look, I gave it a chance. I sat through nearly three dozen episodes from half a dozen different points in the show’s run. I’m pretty sure I got a good cross-section of what the program is about.
I don’t think I’m a hypocrite to say I liked “Married…with Children” which is the closest thing I can think of to compare it to. Both are sitcoms built largely on crass one-liners focusing almost exclusively on obnoxious insults and sex with a laugh track cranked up way too high.
But somehow “Married…with Children” had – now don’t laugh! – heart. For all their bickering and put-downs, the Bundys stuck together and ultimately supported each other – sure, it usually took a common adversary to get them there, but then it was “Whoooa Bundy!” and look out. Then someone else was on the receiving end of all those one-liners. Uh-oh!
…And there’s “Two and a Half Men” – the sitcom where everyone simply hates each other. Charlie hates Alan. Jake hates his father. Alan’s ex-wife hates him. The harpy mother hates her two sons. The housekeeper hates them all. These are characters who loathe one another. Everyone has unbridled contempt for everyone else, including Charlie for all the women he bangs.
The comedy on “Two and a Half Men” is juvenile, but I can’t fault the show too much for that especially given the fact that “Married…with Children” wasn’t exactly known for its subtlety or sophistication either. But “Men’s” punchlines are much raunchier and almost all have to do specifically with Charlie Harper’s penis, testicles, or, most often, the semen they produce. Think I’m being over the top? From Season 5, Episode 4:
Charlie: We’re going slow.
Charlie: Yes, we’re getting to know each other as people before we jump into bed and get to know each other as, you know, animals.
Berta: Just do me a favor and make the first time at her place cause you’re gonna spring forth like a water-wiggle.
That’s a little out of context, so let me explain the joke to you: If Charlie has intercourse with the woman they’re referring to there at his house after the dry spell he’s going through, it’s going to be up to the housekeeper to mop up all of his copious ejaculate the next morning. Someone give this cornerstone of the Tiffany Network’s Monday night lineup another round of Emmys!
And yet, “Two and a Half Men’s” worst offense? Not Chuck Lorre’s aptly named vanity cards, surprisingly. No, the most offensive aspect of the show was the idea to accompany every last goddamn scene change with the single sung word “…Men!” I can’t help but think that this was a decision that everyone from Les Moonves down to the guy who arranges the Snickers bars on the craft service table regretted halfway through the pilot episode and for some reason known only to them, they just felt it was too late to change it.
Anyway, the biggest laugh I’ve gotten from this show came today, when I read this online:
CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler…said “Men” will remain “smart, irreverent and risque.”
Oh, sure, if one word comes to mind when mentioning “Two and a Half Men” it’s “smart.”
There’s a scene in the Mike Judge film “Idiocracy” where 26th century moron Frito Pendejo (Dax Shepard) is laughing at a TV show titled “Ow! My Balls!”
Judge could have instead used clips from TV’s current number one sitcom and made just as strong a point.