Miss Piggy singing Peaches' "Fuck the Pain Away." (Audio is NSFW, duh.)
I wasn't going to blog this, but I've watched this kind-of-amazing video four times now, and I can't get enough. It starts strong and ends stronger. And the Disney Channel logo in the corner is only the 385th most disturbing aspect of it.
The Muppet Show was, in addition to being one of the funniest and most ground-breaking shows of its time, a remarkable TV science experiment. The celebrity guest was usually the only human being to appear during an episode, and the mere fact of their participation was often mind-blowing: Johnny Cash. Mark Hamill. Dizzy Gillespie. Debbie Harry. Loretta Lynn. Shatner. The comedy itself maintained a tear-down-the-fourth-wall irony that was a decade ahead of its time. And of course, the primary thread through every episode was sloppy, perilous chaos.
But for all my love of the show, one character always disturbed me deeply, and it wasn't the homicidal bomber or the dude who threw fish. It was Miss Piggy. Admit it -- you were never comfortable with this oversexed diva trying to make bacon with Kermit, a man half her size and from a completely different animal class. (They were later married in The Muppets Take Manhattan, and let's just be glad their public relationship ended there.)
Potential for mutant FrigPog babies aside, Miss Piggy's rampant sexuality was always juicy comedy fodder on the show, and it was also too much for some boys. For me, it was just something to be repressed.
Until now. Thank you, YouTube.
Good Friday, to my Christian people. This is day when the Romans crucified Jesus, which is why Christians call it Good Friday. You know, like calling a bald guy "Curly" or a giant guy "Tiny." It's ironic fun.
That was today's religious lesson from a guy who's been to about eight Christian services in his lifetime.
One of those religious services was an Episcopalian Sunday in West-by-God Virginia, circa 1994. And my hosts to that service was a Republican family -- mom was running for Congress, while daughter (my college buddy) had been proudly flying the GOP flag on a sick-in-the-head campus that made Berkeley look like BYU. In some sense, I didn't blame this family for its Republicanism. In W.V., after all, the Democratic party is dominated by reformed KKKers, carpetbaggers, and corrupt mining barons. Hell, I'd be a Republican there.
But I raise this story, not just because the aforementioned college buddy has recently had the good taste to relocate to the Bay Area, but because she has decided to swallow the Bay experience whole and endorse Barack Obama, much to her own disbelief. Go, Rox, go.
If you get BBC America, thou shalt Tivo the Season 2 premiere of That Mitchell & Webb Look tonight. America's best TV critic profiled the show this morning, and I couldn't agree more. It's the cleverest sketch program since Mr. Show.
While not as brilliant an observation as, say, AdamRiff's official font of shitty comedies, you gotta love the Hollywood protocol of listing actors' names in contractual order, no matter how the promos or posters are designed.
Who knew Ellen Page could grow such an impressive mustache at her age?
Speaking of Ellen Page, people keep asking me what I thought of Juno. Well, I haven't wanted to see it. Because I saw Hard Candy. When you're grinding up a guy's nuts in the garbage disposal one minute, you don't just leap to heart-warming hipster ha-has the next.
And a happy Easter to everyone! This is the day when Christians commemorate Jesus coming back from the dead by... shit, something with a bunny and pink eggs and yellow marshmallows. I don't know. Hey, March Madness!
I had been having such a phenomenal weekend.
Friday night I got out to my first Noise Pop show in three years, and I stayed out drinking with my buddy until 1:45am just like ye olde days. Saturday the family and I had fried chicken at our friends' house in Noe Valley. And the weather was gorgeous and sunny both days, lending itself to multiple playground trips with the kid.
And then David Simon had to fuck it all up with that episode of The Wire.
This season, the last of the Greatest Achievement in the History of Filmed Entertainment, has been perhaps the series's most unusual. Some early storylines that seemed to be leading the show astray have arced into gripping portraits of institutional failure. And the drama? Good god.
I could handle all the bullets to the head this season. Even Omar's. I moved on -- the street is the street.
But the last scene of last night's episode was a boot to the gut. Dukie -- just a kid, a product of a world that has no use for him, a world he has no means to escape -- walks away from his only friend, and into a doomed life of certain hunger, addiction, and early death.
So thanks for that, David Simon.
Last season, The Wire was good.
If that sounds a little understated, maybe it's because I previously called it "the single greatest achievement in American pop culture." That feels a little... um... hyperbolic in retrospect, but you know what? I stand by it.
Each season has played out a great theme of America's crumbling and corrupt urban core -- drug wars, the collapse of the middle class, endless reform, education. This final season (premiering tonight) will focus on the media, specifically on how market forces are hollowing out the media's ability to hold the powerful to account.
I've never been so excited to be depressed. Here's to another undefeated season.
Update: It's also Obama's favorite show.
Four wonderful things I photographed off the TV box:
1. "Can I has diploma?"
OK, kids. I know you haven't done a lot of protesting in your young lives. But you live in the East Bay; protesting should be as second nature as "hella" or ghostriding your scraper bike.
Here's the thing about protesting: you gotta work to get people to take you seriously, which means you gotta dispel all the negative expectations they have about you. If you're, say, a bunch of ex-cons protesting your inability to secure post-prison employment, it won't help your cause to gang-shank the bus driver on the way there. If you're medical marijuana advocates rallying in the alleged defense of AIDS patients, do not invite Snoop Dogg to headline.
And if you're a bunch of high school students insisting that you graduate in spite of your inability to pass the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam), don't write your banner like a tossed-off MySpace comment.
Oh, Dana King, tell me all about the Gay Bomb. And tell me why tonight's newscast is making me think of Electric 6?
It's been 35 years since young Kim Phuc's image shocked the planet. Badly burned when South Vietnamese planes mistakenly hit a Buddhist temple in her village, Phuc ran for her life. She later refused to participate in Vietnamese government propaganda, and as an adult she defected to Canada, where she still lives with her family and serves as a UN goodwill ambassador.
How best to recognize what this girl has become?
Channel 5 obviously hired someone from Colbert to do their graphics.
4. This was the first pro wrestling match I'd watched in its entirety since Andre the Giant slammed Big John Studd for 15 grand. While the bigger dude won this particularly homoerotic interlude, the real winner was Rick Achberger, the fan in the front row:
How awesome is it that "Boo-urns" has burrowed this deep into our lexicon? Very.
Save me, Jebus!
Update: Big ups to Michael Weiss of Slate for the quote and link.
Last night's scuffle with John McCain was easily the most exciting and worst-conducted interview Jon Stewart has ever perpetrated.
Sen. McCain came out ornery, as if he wanted to instantly and simultaneously alienate the host, the studio audience and pretty much everyone in America. He led off with joke about bringing Stewart the gift of I.E.D. from Iraq, which went over like a lead I.E.D. Five seconds later, he talked about his desire to kick a dog. Way to go, McCain!
The discussion devolved into a gory death spiral, with McCain spewing the usual platitudes about the US role in the Iraqi Civil War, and Stewart bludgeoning him with the types of questions that the press should be asking. But sadly, Stewart went all O'Reilly on McCain, steamrollering him when he should have shut up to listen to him. Honestly, it was embarrassing.
Bear witness, parts 1 & 2:
Mr. Bauer, we've been through a lot the last five and a half years. We've seen suitcase nukes, bioterrorism, nerve gas attacks, and a power plant meltdowns. We've been held hostage with you, and beaten and kidnapped by foreign governments and rogue agents. We've been falsely accused, we've gone into hiding.
We've forgiven you for a lot of wasted hours of stupidity, because at least it was quality stupidity. But no more.
It gave the members of the Rangelife household great pleasure to see South Park mock 24 this week. Because, coincidentally, this was the week that the Rangelife household finally opted out of 24 forever.
Why, after 5.5 seasons, are we quitting 24? Hint: It has nothing to do with you not eating or not using the john. Here are six reasons, for your six seasons:
1. We've seen it all before. It's all the same, every damn year, and yet every year you try to act like it's the first time. "OH MY GOD, IT'S A PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT... FROM THE INSIDE!!!"
2. Your casting sucks. This season, three of the primary antagonists are played by Chad Lowe, Ricky Schroeder, and The Biscuit. I thought you should know that, Jack, in case you're not watching the show. Maybe next season you can get Gary Coleman as the new hotshot CTU analyst, Dave Coulier as the National Security Adviser with a hidden agenda, and Ed O'Neill as the guy-behind-the-guy-behind-the-terrorists.
3. Torture always works. In the real world, intelligent Americans are having conversations and debates about the use of torture. How does it dehumanize both parties? Does it actually result in usable information or outcomes? In 24, except when practiced on Jack himself, torture always produces good intel. It can make a government official give up a conspiracy and a computer whiz build a nuclear detonator. It can make the homies say "ho" and the girlies wanna scream.
4. Except for Chloe, your supporting characters are boring. And your whole audience is sick of fearing that moment every season when your daughter Kim appears.
5. Your international intrigue bites, too. How is that you mention China and the former USSR, but every time a middle eastern country comes up, you punt? "We will bomb his nation." "The USA has committed unspeakable crimes against the people of my country." Is Roger Ailes sending you memos not to offend the House of Saud?
6. It's the worst possible use of my meager TV time. In the 44 minutes that it takes to watch a Tivoed episode of 24, I could watch The Riches, whatever's hot on Sunday HBO, two eps of Penn & Teller: Bullshit, Frontline, or damn, I could just sleep.
So, sorry, Jack. It's over betwixt me and you. Go ahead, strap me to a chair, inject me with nerve toxin, cut off my pinkies, and electrocute my nipples with a lamp cord. I'm not coming back. At least until you torture Kim.
Update: Tim Goodman, the best TV critic in America, quit 24 on the same day. Burned minds think alike.
The suits at Viacom and Time Warner are rightfully held in adulation for discovering that many grownups dig cartoons. But years before adult swim and South Park (and about the same time The Simpsons was hitting a full creative stride), there was a ripping Saturday morning show on Fox called Eek! the Cat. And I recently made a discovery that demonstrated that Eek! was maybe not so much for kids.
As I suffered a bout of spring cleaning last weekend, I stumbled upon a clipping from the Miami Herald, circa '93 or so, that demonstrated just where Fox was drawing the line for Eek! creator Savage Steve Holland (previously the creator of the greatest teen comedy ever, Better Off Dead).
It's no secret. Saturday morning cartoons are chock full of violence and mayhem. With all the stuff that ends up in the shows despite the folks at standards and practices, you wonder what didn't get in. Entertainment Weekly obtained some memos by Fox's standards and practices about the series Eek the Cat that offer a glimpse of the tug of war that goes on behind the scenes over what kids get to see:
* Eek's Long Christmas Night, Page 3: "I... found the shot of Rambo blowing Santa Claus to bloody smithereens excessively violent. We would like to edit this so we don't see Santa exploding."
* Catsanova, Page 90: "Please don't show Cupid using a switchblade knife, an illegal weapon. How about an ax or a chainsaw?"
* The Eeksterminator, Page 12: "Please delete Zip's line 'I wear protection' and Mom's response, 'That's very nineties of you.'"
* Eek vs. The Flying Saucers, Page 141: "Please delete 'Marilyn Chambers' and 'edible underwear' from Eek's list of the wonderful stuff on earth."
This was a show that featured cameos from Shatner (as the non-exploding Santa) and Don Cornelius. And it's now owned by Disney, which means it's died in obvlion. Tragic.
To the person who came here looking for "ann coulter penis pics," congratulations! You were page view number 400,000! Woohoo!
And I'm sorry to have disappointed you.