Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's the Great Pumpin', Charlie Brown

Thanks to you, YouTube, we now have the opportunity to look back and cringe upon shows watched that we once thought cool, or unique. Yesterday's hip is today's cheese, yet when I look back I can still find a modicum of intellect that isn't present in the contemporary fascination with reality television. Case in point, a timely topic: The Paul Lynde Halloween Special. One could argue it doesn't get any weirder than this. Never again are we going to experience a more diverse cast of characters than Paul Lynde, Gene Simmons, Margaret Thatcher, and Tim Conway sharing the same soundstage. It's like The Surreal Life on acid, dusted with rhinestones:

It's gaudy, it's bewildering, and the jokes are corny. We watch Paul Lynde, a man once described as "gayer than Christmas" trussed up like Liberace and hitting on Pinky Tuscadero and we accept it as plausible. We think to ourselves, "What in holy hell were Gene and Paul smoking to agree to something like this?"

And yet, compared to something like E's The Girls Next Door, this is something I'd prefer to watch. I think I've seen two episodes of that show, where cameras follow Hef's three bunny girls around Europe. I'm watching the youngest roll her eyes and offer such thought-provoking insight as, "Yeah, we were in Rome last night. It was nice, but the buildings are like, old and junk."

Stunned pause here.

Consider the civilizations, the learned men who once sat in those hallowed "old buildings and junk." All I could do was watch and hope Hef left enough in his will for her to get by later in life. Have to wonder if Margaret Hamilton would have appreciated the trip more.

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