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Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

A Quiz

What do these three things have in common? 

  • Clay boy
  • Green
  • Eddie Murphy

Of course it’s … GUMBY!  (After talking to a few people today, apparently I was mistaken in thinking this was obvious, even though they are older than me and were actually out of grade school during this era of SNL!)  

If you had known that, had been listening to the local EZ-Rock station in Woodstock, NB, and had managed to dial in before me, you may be enjoying the bitchin’ prize that I won…

A 9-piece chicken dinner and a Moo-latte at Dairy Queen!  Granted, I don’t eat chicken and I’m not sure what a Moo-latte is but … I WON!  Woo hoo!

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I saw an infomercial that was laughable on the tube last night.  I know… they’re all laughable in one way or another but this was laughable in a ‘you expect this angle to actually sell this?’ sort of way. 

It was another Billy Mays product.  It’s not a cleaning product, a detergent, or a piece of play-doh that can haul a truck. 

No, this is … are you ready? … a pill.  An energy pill.  Yup, and the angle he’s using to sell it is, “if you want energy like me, this is the energy supplement I use”. 

I don’t know about you, but I have never looked at Billy Mays and said, “What can I do to have that energy?”.  No, I look at him and think, “How many uppers a day is this guy taking?  This guy needs to adjust his meds!  Could he be more annoying?  Is he half deaf or is there some other reason he yells all the time?  If he points at me one more time I’m going to rip off his fingers and shove it up his kaboom!”  I know his personality would win over some of the buying public but I seem to be the opposite. 

I couldn’t find the commercial on YouTube but if I do, I’ll update this post.  Instead, here is the super duper putty commercial. 

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I am kind to TV land.  Really, I am. 

I visit often … TV land gets several hours a week out of me.  I don’t discriminate… the shows that I watch run across several stations and vary from old reruns to game shows to do-it-yourself shows to late night dramas (no, not the bow-chick-a-wow kind).  I am not fickle … once I start a show I rarely click away from it.  And I am loyal… if I miss an episode of my favorite show, I will likely PVR it or download it at some point. 

See?  I am a good friend to TV land. 

So why does TV land punish me with commercials bad enough to turn the stomach?  Did I forget your birthday?  Am I crowding the bed at night? 

I can put up with the countless (actually, there are 1,386,320 of them so yes, they are countable) commercials for skin care products that are graced with 21-year-olds touting an anti-wrinkle cream that they won’t need for another 20 years.  Do you really expect me to believe that her skin looks like that for real? 

But every now and then TV land presents me with a commercial that is just so bad I want to gouge out my eyes with a #2 pencil.  A really dull one. 

The creep-o-meter is so high on this guy, I wouldn’t trust him with my sweat socks let alone my gold jewellery.  And what’s with the dancers?  Talk about being desperate in the acting business.  

Actually, I imagine these are the nieces of Oliver himself:  “Okay, girls… we’re going to dance out this little routine for Uncy Oliver and then we’ll all take turns sitting on his lap and showing him your gold”.

<shudder>

I think the first time I saw this next commercial, I literally watched it with a dropped jaw and a look of disbelief on my face.  You know how they say that it’s human nature to be drawn to something horrific, like a train wreck?  Yeah. 

So they’re on the beach… there are a few mermaids, buddy on the banana that gets stranded on the buoy, and then … what’s that?  A sea monster?  And he raps?  Well, naturally! 

The song is bad and the dance choreography is worse.  I think someone should patent that hands-on-hips move where they rise to their toes… it’s sweet. 

I do realize that I have played right into their hands though… what is the point of a commercial but to grab your attention and get you talking about it? 

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It’s Patrick!

I might eat something off of KFC’s menu if it were the last eating establishment on earth.  Maybe.  The potato salad is probably safe. 

But regardless of their menu, their marketing team is genius.  See the previous post for an example.  It makes me chuckle every time.  But perhaps the best example is this one.  When it first came out I scoured YouTube for it but couldn’t find it.  Today I have not only found the commercial but a super fab, long version that had me rolling on my cubicle floor. 

Another actor would not have nailed that routine like this guy does.  Frigging hilarious. 

This really good commercial (in my opinion) got Hubby and I talking about really bad commercials.  The one that we agreed on will be remembered by at least any Canadian, ages 18-40 (at least I think it aired on CBC, maybe I’m wrong).  I searched high and low for the video to this commercial but came up empty handed. 

It gives me hope … hope that the only remaining copies of it were destroyed beyond any possible recovery. 

I remember the first bit of the ad and can picture it too.  An elderly gentleman is seated in his living room, reading the paper.  His wife is in the room as well. 

The telephone rings … (Ha!  I think I heard all of Canada collectively groan)

“Hello”

Turns to wife:  “It’s Patrick!  He took out life insurance!  Good for you, son!  At my age it’s probably too late to take out life insurance…”

Son:  “Dad, the Millers are older than you and they just took out life insurance… “

Thank goodness an older, more forgetful me chose to push that memory aside to make room for more intelligent things.  A younger, more influential me had that ad committed to memory.  Not willingly, though… oh no. 

See, it wasn’t so much that the ad was bad.  Oh wait… yes.  Yes, it absolutely was.  The acting was frigging horrible and the script was even worse.  People still haven’t let go of the fact that we are expected to believe that Patrick not only greets his father but also tells him of his recent insurance purchase in the 0.483 seconds between when his father says, “Hello” and “It’s Patrick!”.  (This Hour Has 22 Minutes spoofed that aspect of the ad but I can’t find that video either). 

But it really had more to do with the frequency that tey played that ad!  It showed up in every bank of commercials from 1985 to 1998, sometimes twice!  Time of day?  Didn’t matter.  Saturday morning?  Didn’t matter.  3 am on a Tuesday?  Didn’t matter.  I guess they figured that at any given time of day there would be some chump sitting on the couch, munching on Doritos, and in need of life insurance badly enough that they would pick up the phone and call in response to this terrible ad. 

Okay, I exaggerate but not by as much as you think.  (Back me up here, people… )

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Sesame Street Classics

I was chatting with a friend this morning who was talking about a co-worker making him mad.  When I hear the word ‘mad’, I am reminded of the Sesame Street skit with an angry goat, singing, “I get maaad, I get maaad, I get maaad”.  When I mentioned this to him, he immediately found it on youtube and it made both of our days. 

“It ain’t bad to get mad!”

 And that all got me looking for other Sesame Street skits that have stuck with me.  Of course there were all of the classic characters like Oscar and Wormie, Big Bird and Snuffleupagus, Bert and Ernie, and the Count that had memorable moments but they’re for future posts. 

 I’m not sure there is a television show better suited for childhood than Sesame Street was (and is, I imagine).  The format of the show is brilliant; the guy that realized a child’s attention span is better kept with many short segments deserved a big raise that year.  BIG. 

The writers over the years were geniuses, covering everything from up and down to numbers in spanish to cooperation.  Their mechanisms weren’t complicated… a Count that counts, a typewriter that types, turtles presenting the letter T by playing trombones, trumpets, and tubas and juggling tomatoes and tulips.  I guess the simplicity of it is what made it so attractive to kids and what makes it so memorable. 

The other thing that struck me while wandering around youtube this morning is the broad range of music that they used for those skits.  I suppose I didn’t notice it then but that would have played a huge part in capturing and keeping out attention, creating a mood, conveying a point… all of it.  Ray Charles doesn’t hurt either. 

There are so many that I could put up here but here are a few of my all-time favorites. 

The ladybugs picnic!  My sister and I were trying to remember the words to this a few weeks ago, possibly probably under the influence of sufficient amounts of wine.  It’s so catchy! 

I thinke veryone remembers the one where the mother sends her daughter out to the grocery store… “a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butta”. 

I don’t know what it is about this one… maybe it’s the guy’s voice, maybe I have some sort of weird connection to the letter U … but when I hear the word ‘uniform’ I can’t help but repeat it in that high, wobbly voice. 

 Me and my M we go mmm mmm mmm. 

 

I think I liked this one because the music was so different.  Or maybe it’s because the n finds a friend in the end.  Who knows… I was 6.  

 

And I just had to stick this Bert one in.  My sister and I could definitely be found doing ‘the pigeon’ from time to time.  I think this is the only time you ever see Bert’s legs and I remember being a little wierded out by it even then.  (Scroll about halfway through to see the actual dance). 

 

I really wanted to find the one about the plan involving stan in the tan van but I couldn’t, darnit. 

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Throughout my childhood, there was always a small television sitting between the kitchen and the dining room.  Although my mom often spoke of having a “nice, quiet meal”, it always played over supper (or “dinner” for the more civilized). 

Supper was always right around 5:30 pm, just after Dad walked through the door.  Some of my favorite shows were on in that time slot.  Looking back, I really don’t think it would have mattered what particular show was on; sitting around the table and laughing with the family are memories that I will have forever. 

Before we begin, keep in mind that I grew up in rural New Brunswick.  We had what people now refer to as “country cable”.  Four channels:  WAGM (local CBS) being beamed in from Maine, ATV (maritime CTV), CBC, and PBS.  I never saw an episode of Punky Brewster or Beverly Hills 90210 which was, at the time, quite a damper on the social life. 

Also keep in mind that 5:30 pm is not prime time and I am only 28 years old so these shows were all re-runs by the time I was seeing them. 

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I’m reaching way back for this one.  I have hazy memories of people dressed in costumes, rifling through their purses for some obscure object that was asked for.  I know the premise of the show and remember liking it (but then, I have always loved game shows) but I was really young.  I wish someone would resurrect it because I think the concept of it is quite entertaining. 

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Who among us does not love The Muppets?  This was an early one too but I do remember some things:  real people performing with The Muppets; laughing hysterically at Statler and Waldorf (although I think I was laughing more at my dad cracking up); not liking Miss Piggy because she just wouldn’t leave Kermit along (despite the fact that she was one of the only female characters); and loving the Swedish Chef.  For me The Muppets represent childhood, pure innocence, unequaled creativity, and just plain old-fashioned good comedy.  Jim Henson was brilliant.  My children might not know the show but they will know The Muppets. 

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Three’s Company.  I remember all combinations of roommates and both landlords (because these were reruns, remember).  I remember my sister and I, years later, impersonating Mr. Furley’s “Smoooooth” after shooting some sort of hard liquor.  There is no doubt that much of the comedy in this show went over my head.  There is also no doubt that that fact was to my parents’ liking.  At my age, the sexual jokes took a back seat to Mr. Furley’s and Jack’s physical comedy. 

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Ahh … The Golden Girls.  Did you know Estelle Getty, who played Sophia (left), was actually the youngest of the four actors?  It’s true!  Rose’s stories about Saint Olaf (sp?), Sophia’s stories about Italy, Dorothy’s what-seemed-like-constant stern face, and Blanche’s stories of trapezes and eye-opening sluttiness.  Oh, and Dorothy’s ex… that dead-beat, Stan!  As a kid, I was a little puzzled at those big, flowing shirts that they always seemed to wear.  Was that the style for adults in the mid-eighties to early nineties? 

If mom and dad were unconcerned about sexual innuendo on Three’s Company, they more than made up for it with The Golden Girls.  My sister and I were not quite teenagers and very impressionable when this came on.  In truth we knew way more than mom and dad wanted to admit.  Mom would gasp at some of the lines and innuendo and then glance sheepishly at us, trying to decide if we understood it or not.  Sometimes she would laugh but try to stifle it, likely so we wouldn’t ask why she was laughing.  I remember more than one night when mom got disgusted at Blanche’s perversion, shut the television off, and claimed that we were never watching tv during supper again. 

Sure, mom. 

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Last but not least was The Fresh Prince of Belair.  If you knew him, you wouldn’t expect my father to like this show but he laughed and laughed.  Even today, dad will put on a rerun or spew out a quote and take us all off guard.  It was only a matter of time before the talent and beauty that is Will Smith was given an opportunity to shine and I think we should all be grateful that it was this show.  But then, all of the actors fit their characters perfectly.  It was clever and fresh.  We couldn’t relate to the characters because we were neither Belair residents or poor kids from the city but the situations were so hilarious, we had to feel for them.  It seemed they would never run out of situations to put Will in. 

It has to be the original Vivian (pictured) though… has to be. 

Much to Brian’s chagrine, I sometimes feel the pull of nostalgia when I come across these shows in the satellite guide.  He really is a good sport about it … but draws the line at The Golden Girls. 

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It seems today there are many reasons why a person’s outlook on society would waver towards the negative… war, kids and gun violence, corrupt politics, and that’s just to name a few.  Well, friends, today my outlook is feeling very wobbly indeed. 

And it was this article that did it. 

I don’t claim to understand the world’s fascination with celebrity in general but there are a handful of celebrities whose goings-on just seem to stick in my craw, wherever on my anatomy that may be. 

I have never been a fan of Rosie O’Donnell.  She’s loud, obnoxious, narcissistic, and just way too in-your-face for my liking.  I mean, look at the picture for this article… does that not scream mental trouble?  From the days of her talk show to the recent feud that got her kicked off of The View, I’ve just never understood the attraction that so many people seem to have to her. 

Sure… she donates a bunch of money to charity.  Good for her.  Couldn’t she do it more quietly though? 

Sure… she came out as a big snuggly lesbian that gave her a personal and human quality.  But hadn’t that already been done, a bunch of times, and with far more … er, grace? 

Sure… she flung stuff at the audience with elastics.  I guess I should look on facebook for the ‘love being pelted by elastics’ group.  Maybe I will gain some insight there. 

So what is the root of that fascination, people?  I’d really like to know.  Really. 

The “Oh.  My.  God.” moments for me in this article: 

  • $2 million to write a 209-page book about infantile celebrity feuds you’ve had?  Let’s not forget the equally-as-childish “support  me, Barbara Walters” whining.  Geez, send some of that my way.  No, really … give me a topic, any topic, and I’ll scratch out 209 pages on it. 
  • Five emmies for outstanding talk show?  And six emmies for outstanding talk show host?  The “Oh.  My.  God.” moment there sticks out like a sore thumb that I might just have to stick in my craw to avoid shoving it in your eye.  Or worse. 
  • She’s still talking about that feud with Donald Trump?  Get over it!  A mature adult would have known when to stop with the back-and-forth of that fight while it was happening and yet here you are still talking about it?! 
  • The View won an award for Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyl… wait, let me start over.  There is an award for outstanding achievement in hairstyling?!  Well that clinches it:  They really do give awards for every facet of the entertainment industry!  (By the way, I’m still waiting for my Outstanding Achievement in Cubicle-sitting” award.  I would also accept the Outstanding Achievement in Looking Busy award.  I have my acceptance speech all ready, if you’re wondering). 

A random point to ponder… does the fact that “public pooping” is mentioned in this book speak more to Rosie’s level of sophistication or to the type of people buying this book?   Hmm … it really makes you think, doesn’t it? 

In reality, I realize that the reason she show up on so many tv screens, books, articles etc. is a combination of the fact that yes, she generates money and that yes, there are people out there who like her, regardless of how inconceivable any of that seems to me.  Does it shake my faith in society giving attention where it is due and not to some raving lunatic washed-up tv host?  Yes, it does.  Maybe I need to visit my local trailer park and have a sit-down over a box of wine to truly understand it all. 

If you can explain it to me, let me know … I might just put you in my acceptance speech. 

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