Tom v. Everyone.
"This show's not about wallowing. This show's about soaring. Like an eagle." -- Tom, taking flight high above the union man
"Was that thing wreckin' Newark? Or Jersey City? Hoboken? No. No, we were sendin' the jets out to attack that thing. That was us. We're the good guys in this one." -- Tom, praising New Jersey's role in defending NYC against the Cloverfield monster
"Exactly. They got their chops over in uh ... in uh ... you know in uh ... in uh ... Dusseldorf." -- Tom, tracing the origins of supposed NYC band The Strokes
"Well considering the guy from the Del Vikings is 91 years old, I don't know how resistant he's going to be. I don't know how defiant he is these days." -- Tom, pointing out that a member of the group would likely be a suitably submissive bailiff for Dungeon Justice with Judge Spike
"That's a black mark on Mike's record tonight. Lettin' a faux Jerky Boy through, a Jerky Boy manqué. Is that how you say that word? Did I do that right?" -- Tom, criticizing the call screening with a rare lapse into egghead vocabulary
"It's these two guys, and they each take their faces off. And they trade faces, and then they play each other in it. Kinda like Freaky Friday with guns!" -- Face/Off scribes Mike Werb and Michael Colleary, bounding over narrative hurdles in The Making of Face/Off video game
"I called in last week, it wasn't a very successful call. Um, you called me a gorilla." -- Tom in Buffalo, looking for redemption and not finding it
"It's good. Why shouldn't you be able to lose your entire fortune from your home?" -- Tom, sticking it to the misguided online gambling worryworts
"Price Waterhouse? I'm gonna write this stuff out in a Panera Bread on Tuesday afternoon -- Tom, ditching the accounting giant for next week's Best Show Awards
"This game sounds fun. Wait, which one is fun again? The one where you want to gouge your eyes out?" -- Tom, assessing the entertainment value of the video game adaptation of a long-form Spalding Gray monologue
"Was that Robert Benchley who wrote that? That guy was good." -- Tom, praising the legendary humorist's script for Orca
[More to come.]
"Hey, Jeff, whaddya call a nun in a humidor?" -- Bob Saget, annoying Jeff Garlin with his debauched Hate Pit revelry
[More to come.]
Kelly Stoltz - "When You Forget"
( Click here to buy Circular Sounds)
Monochrome Set - "The Weird, Wild And Wonderful World Of Tony Potts"
( Click here to view the Wikipedia page for Love Zombies)
Cornelius - "Chapter 8 - Seashore and Horizon"
( Click here to buy Fantasma)
Throw Me The Statue - "Take It or Leave It"
( Click here to buy Moonbeams)
Wussy - "Sun Giant Says Hey"
( Click here to buy Left For Dead)
The Selmanaires - "Just To Get YR Love"
( Click here to buy The Air Salesman)
Effigies - "Body Bag"
( Click here to buy Remains Nonviewable)
Wipers - "Can This Be"
( Click here to buy the Wipers box set)
Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun:
Yes! Yes! It's back again. What? What's "it"? "It" is this. What is "this"? "This" is "it": Another installment of The Best Show on WFMU. Tom Scharpling, the host of the program, announces that the open phones are dead. He pins the murder on the listeners and wishes that Judge Spike could hear the case. Mike the Associate Producer suggests having Spike as a live, in-studio guest for the legal segments, but Tom assures him that this appearance will never happen. He recalls that during the first show of the 2006 WFMU marathon Spike declined a generous invitation to co-host the full three hours. Spike could not commit to making the trip from Queens to Jersey City because he had to get up at 4 a.m. for his mysterious government gig. Tom recommended coffee to stay awake, but Spike doesn't do coffee. Spike attempted to push his guest spot to sometime in 2007 and got banned for a year. (It didn't stick.)
Tom opened his music set with The Kinks' "Powerman" instead of the unemployment ode "Get Back in Line" because he's done with the malarkey and the wallowing. The Best Show doesn't stand on the corner watching time go by -- it soars like an eagle. The avian analogy makes Tom wonder if he should have played ABBA's "Eagle" instead of "Hey Hey Helen." He's also still waiting for as sequel to Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One. Tom officially sanctions the FOT Chat and urges federal agents to run IP addresses on those in the chat room of another online comedy forum. He believes the participants should be arrested on general principle. Tom notices a flashing line, but Mike cannot guarantee that the person on hold will be the ideal way to start the show. Tom suggests that this uncertainty may ultimately slide Mike under the call-screening microscope.
- Charlie in Ireland calls before he falls asleep to get Tom on ... fledgling Re-pub-li-can Presidential candidate Rudolph Guiliani, the former mayor of New York City who became famous for wearing a hard hat in the 9/11 aftermath. Tom points out that Guiliani's slim hopes of earning the nomination rest with today's Florida primary. Charlie wasn't aware of this, but he does seem to recall the warm-weather state that is full of weirdos, old folks, and rich people. Tom says didn't know about the wealth concentrated there until he started doing this show. He acknowledges that the state contains some good people, and Charlie cites crucial groover Fred Durst, a native of Jacksonville, as an example of a top-notch resident. Tom agrees that the state of Florida has good people. And Fred Durst. Tom gives Charlie some background on the primary process, noting that the leader of the United States is called the "President." Charlie says that he's originally from Bloomfield, N.J. (and used to call from Seattle), so he does have a rudimentary understanding of American politics. Tom gets Mike to confirm that a Presidential term is four years and tells Charlie that we are in the midst of an election between The Whigs and The Tories, the country's two main political parties. Tom takes delight in the fact that Guiliani's campaign has been flopping hard. He jokingly commends the Guiliani campaign's bold decision to ignore every state not named Florida.
Charlie reminds Tom about Guiliani's comments during the 1998 dispute over Ellis Island ownership. Guiliani stated that his Italian immigrant father had no intention of coming to New Jersey, a quip that elicited guffaws from the New York press corps. Tom informs Guiliani that his relatives were coming to America. He revels in New Jersey's undefeated record in its battles with New York. The state earned an outright W on The Sopranos by squishing Phil Leotardo's head and more recently authorized aerial defense to thwart the Cloverfield monster's destruction of NYC. Newark, Jersey City, and Hoboken were unscathed. Tom also wonders how many Super Bowls the New York Giants, who have played their home games in the Meadowlands since 1976, appeared in while playing in New York with Y.A. Tittle at the helm. Zilch. (They did win four titles in the pre-Super Bowl era.) Back in December Tom noted New Jersey's triumph in American Gangster when Newark detective Richie Roberts brought down Harlem heroin dealer Frank Lucas. Charlie starts to talk about looking at a map, but Tom tells him to shut up for a second. He wants to make it clear that he does not have to justify his support of New Jersey. Tom admits that New York is an awesome place loaded with great stuff, but he will not tolerate its inhabitants throwing New Jersey under the bus and making lame what-exit-are-you-from queries. He recalls arguing with a guy who was mocking New Jersey only to discover that he was dealing with someone originally from Delaware. Charlie gets excited and says that Manhattan is full of transplants. Tom asked Charlie if he's also on a topic delay because he just made that point.
Charlie wants to know who Tom would vote for if his only choices were limited to Guiliani or Fred Thompson. Since he's actually voting for Fred Thompson, he would vote for Fred Thompson. Tom hopes that Thompson switches his allegiance to a new Showbiz Party ticket that includes Ron Silver or Fred Grandy, a former Iowa congressman best known for playing bartender Isaac Washington on The Love Boat. Charlie is not familiar with Grandy because he never watched the show. Tom apologizes for referencing a slob show. He wonders if Charlie preferred watching op-er-a on PBS. Charlie says it was simply before his time, but he did watch other shows of the same caliber. Tom suggests Family Matters as one of these shows. Charlie thinks that sitcom is actually worse than The Love Boat.
Charlie is reluctant to delve into his year studying creative writing abroad, so Tom suspects he may be getting poor grades. Charlie says he's doing well and having fun working on a novel about Jersey City. He considered calling it The Sixth Borough, but he decided it was insulting to JC. Tom agrees. He thinks NYC is lucky to know their NJ neighbors. Tom tries to think of the last good band that emerged from New York. He immediately dismisses the defunct anti-folk duo The Moldy Peaches with an "ew/ick" noise. Charlie says that some people might say The Strokes, but he's not one of them. Charlie notes that the members came out of Swiss boarding schools instead of the NYC streets; Tom believes that the band learned their musical chops in Dusseldorf. My pick for best NYC band of the last decade: ! I Hate You The Ghost Of Anwar Sadat. Those Southpaw shows back in early 2006 were revelatory. I was also there in 2004 at their first practices in a loft in Greenpoint. Look for a DFA re-issue of the Son, This Is Your Uncle Gamal LP (w/ the rare "Bar Lev Line" single) later this year.
Tom bids young Charlie goodnight. He declares the show a disaster because he's already expended way too much energy. Tom says that if Guiliani does in fact go off the rails tonight in Florida, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He likes that nobody wants the post-9/11 fear platform that he's been peddling. Tom doubts that his role in that tragedy will be of much assistance when he's preparing budgets for education. He gets that he was a big hero for 30 hours and then he went to a Yankees game. Tom thinks everyone has the ability to pull off a good day and a half. Meanwhile, Forrest from Manhattan is not rising to Tom's challenge of naming awesome New York bands of recent vintage. He cited Interpol and Liars in the FOT chat. Tom matches him with the Plainfield-heavy Funkadelic and Woodbury's very own Patti Smith. Tom reminds himself that it's a positive show and moves on.
- Spike is demoted to the #2 slot while staying up late to celebrate his birthday. Tom sort of sings "Happy Birthday" to him, and Spike laments being just seven years away from old age. Tom thinks it's depressing and wants to know if Spike is compiling his "bucket list." Spike says the main item is to check himself into a home when he turns 50. Tom thought he would probably want to remove the annoying ankle bracelet (Spike denies having one) and getting that judge off his back. Spike thinks Tom's referring to television judge Judy Sheindlin, but it's actually the judge who is always throwing the book at him and preventing him from seeing films in the theater.
Tom re-pitches his idea for a Best Show legal segment, and Spike he says he'd love to dispense advice to people over the air. Tom proposes the title Dungeon Justice with Judge Spike. Spike thinks it sounds lovely and plans to throw any rowdy litigants into his titular lair. Tom suggests one of the Del Vikings as a potential bailiff, but Spike prefers someone a bit more submissive. Tom thinks that's gross. He also isn't sure how defiant a 91-year-old member of the doo-wop group would be in 2008. Spike says he prefers a younger security officer. He heard Tom's earlier discussion of Adolph Guiliani, and he's pleased that his 9/11 ticket flamed out. Tom is also relieved because it opens things up for their guy: Mick Rombley. Spike says he's a devout Democrat and will not vote for him. Tom thought Rombley was a Democrat, but Spike says he's running on the Morman ticket. Tom was not aware that we had a three-party system. He then apologizes to Spike for crossing the line last week by making fun of him for only owning one knife, fork, and spoon set. Spike assures Tom that he has enough money to afford a larger selection of utensils. Tom speculates that a rich guy died in the dungeon and The Talented Mr. Spike stole his identity to load up on kitchen wares. Spike says he has less money than he hoped because his higher-end clients have dried up, possibly due to the cold weather. Tom can't figure out why a rich guy wouldn't want to hang out at Spike's basement apartment. Spike says they should because he needs the money.
Tom plans to assemble a case for Judge Spike to rule on in the next couple of weeks. He also invites him to sing a song next week during The Best Show Awards ceremony. Spike declines because his voice is worse than the off-key warblings of his beloved Lynn Samuels. Tom checks Samuels off the list and asks Spike to mention Chucky to finish his target practice. Spike says he didn't mention Chucky yet. Tom crosses Chucky off the list. He thinks Spike is legally obligated to mention doo-wop, Lynn Samuels, and Chucky during each call. Since a musical performance is out, Tom tries to find something for Spike to do for the awards show. Spike offers to help decide the winners. Tom says he's unqualified because he's never heard the show past 8:35 p.m. He suggests an alternative: writing six goofball jokes for the opening monologue. Spike thinks the real-life writing opportunity is interesting, and he'll do it if he's around next week. Tom GOMPs him for pretending that he might be busy during the show for the first time in 45 weeks. He highly doubts Spike will be attending a banquet of costume ball next Tuesday night. Tom starts getting angry, but he quickly snaps out of it because the show is on fire after a slow ramp-up.
Tom fans the flames with a hott topic inspired by a recent conversation with someone about the popularity of video game systems and the prevalence of games based on movies and television shows. For example, Shrek the Third comes out, and a game is ready to go. Spider-Man 2 comes out, and a game is ready go go. Tom is certain that developers are unjustly neglecting certain films for the video game treatment. He imagines a video game companion for Rob Reiner's The Bucket List in which players can alternate between Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as they drive race cars around a track, jump out of airplanes, and an attempt to hide in a laundry chute to avoid an angry hospital keeper played by Sean Hayes. Tom wants listeners to come up with more overlooked adaptations.
- Johnny Brennan from The Jerky Boys calls to see how Tom's doing. Tom is pretty sure that he's doing better than a guy from a phone prank duo that peaked in the mid-1990s. Brennan claims The Jerky Boys are primed for a comeback with a new video game that may be adapted into their second feature film. Tom chooses not to believe that these projects are actually in development. He also doesn't believe that it's really the guy from The Jerky Boys, so he wants JB to name a couple of his signature characters. The caller ignores the question and mentions that his collaboration with Kamal fizzled in the years following the 1995 release of Jerky Boys: The Movie. Tom repeats his request for characters he voiced, and JB declines to revisit his past work. Tom gets rid of him for being a FRAUD. He thinks it's a black mark on Mike's record to grant airtime to a Jerky Boy manqué who couldn't hold his threadbare routine together for 20 seconds. Tom isn't sure if he pronounced the egghead term correctly. He remembers that he's running a lunchpail show that shouldn't throw words like that around.
- Nate from St. Paul calls with an idea for a GTA-style Repo Man video game in which players receive assignments to repossess cars and try to avoid getting shot/beat up by ska bands. Tom thinks the submission is a great start to the topic. I'd like to see the final battle involve Otto Mattox sneaking past a vacuum-wielding Gene Simmons on the lot of GST and murdering (via 'bro punches and belt whips) Chet Thompson while he sleeps on his cot in the back office. This sounds like a great project for the gaming division of Tornado Todd's LifeChanges charity.
Nate is glad he could aid the recovery from the detour into faux-Jerky Boys nonsense. Tom still can't believe that guy couldn't name one character. Nate thought Brennan's stereotypical anti-Semitic caricature (Sol Rosenberg, who has since morphed into Mort Goldman) was sad, although it wasn't enough to prevent him from seeing their movie in the theater. While Tom was not a big fan of their telephony, he did enjoy the auteurs' Mafia laffer, especially Alan Arkin's work as Ernie Lazzaro. Tom can't remember if Arkin won an Oscar for his supporting turn in that or in last year's Little Miss Sunshine. Nate says he will have to research it. Tom thinks Arkin must have justified acting in scenes opposite a Kamal by unfolding a picture of a fancy car, a fancy boat, or a fancy house between takes. He does an impression of Arkin wondering why there is a film about two guys who do the least visual thing you can possibly do. Nate speculates that it was greenlit by someone who thought it would be funny to see these crazy voices come out of the mouths of these two people. Tom fails to see the entertainment value in demystifying their work by showing audiences that it's created by a fat blob sitting at home. He thinks it's sick, and he's glad that they got shown the door after getting much more attention than they deserved. Tom wonders who let them in the door in the first place. Nate says that if he knew the delusional gatekeeper, he probably wouldn't be any happier. Tom GOMPs him for a bleak worldview that recalls There Will Be Blood. He doesn't know why he hung up on someone who delivered a great call.
- Erin/"Stevie" thinks Robert Benton's 1979 divorce drama Kramer vs. Kramer would make for a good video game. She sees the legal proceedings taking place in a D&D-like fontasy courtroom where players unlock secret codes to determine when to object to arguments made by the lawyers in the custody battle between Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) and Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman). As the trial winds down, players will get a chance to show off their French toast skills in a bonus round. Tom doesn't understand why Ted had so much trouble preparing this simple breakfast food. Crack an egg. Pour some milk. Put the mixture in a pan with bread. Wait for it to brown on one side. Flip it, plate it, and serve. Erin adds the important cinnamon to the recipe and points out that a kid wouldn't even care about the dish's sloppy presentation because he'd quickly drench it in syrup and powdered sugar. She also points out that Ted could have avoided the kitchen nightmare by simply buying some fun cereal. Tom doesn't think someone having a meltdown because he can't flip a piece of bread in a pan is fit for parenthood. He believes Ted's ineptitude is yet another example of the weirdness of this world. Erin, who usually earns a quick GOMP, is loving her time in uncharted territory with the best call of the night. She considers calling again next week, but Tom advises her to just enjoy the moment and not get too hasty.
- Mike hands Tom a piece of paper indicating that he'd enjoy a video game based on Werner Herzog's Strotesick. Tom is not surprised by his choice. Players would have to complete six tasks:
- Avoid getting beat up by street pimps
- Befriend a senile old man and prostitute
- Buy a trailer
- Steal a turkey
- Make the chicken dance
- Get on the ski lift
Tom thinks the game is best suited for the Wii console, allowing players to fly all over the room with their gyroscope controller. He wonders if Netflix has noticed a small uptick in Strotesick rentals relative to other Herzog titles. Mike suggests contacting the New Brunswick distribution center to determine if his promotional push has actually caused a spike in demand.
I sent an e-mail inquiry to Netflix key-o Reed Hastings, but he has yet to respond.
To: Reed Hastings
Date: Jan 30, 2008 8:44 AM
Subject: Strotesick Surge?
'Sup, bro? As you probably know, the Associate Producer for The Best Show on WFMU has been touting Werner Herzog's hilarious film Strotesick nearly every Tuesday night for the past few months. I was just wondering if this has caused any movement in rentals. My guess is that you've had to order several more copies from Anchor Bay.
Oh, thanks for carrying all those great nunsploitation films -- Behind Convent Walls and Celibate Cannibals are true gems, and those ash oles at my local Blockbuster would never carry them ("too erotic"). Yet they had 45 copies of Monster-in-Law!!!!
p.s. -- Any plans to carry Vivid-Alt titles in the near future?
- The sneaky Weirder Jon from Maplewood calls on the heels of sending Tom a work of Best Show fan-fiction titled Where Turkeys Dare. Jon was hoping it was intercepted by a spam filter or immediately deleted, but Tom read it, laughed repeatedly, and printed it out. He warns Tom that his positive reaction may open the floodgates for future fictions. Tom says he will take them and reads the strong opening to hook listeners for the full version to follow later in the show:
It had snowed that day, and The Hate Pit was frigid. Now evening had descended, and Jeff Garlin was busy looking for twigs to keep the Pit fire lit. Bob Saget looked on, offering no assistance.
Jon stays with Herzog's filmography to design a video game that follows the plot of Fitzcarraldo. If players successfully pull a riverboat over a hill, they will get to introduce opera to the Amazon population of Peru. If they fail in this mission, the vessel will roll down the hillside, smashing Klaus Kinski and his gramophone. I'd add this bonus round: join up with native chiefs to pelt Kinski with Mick Jagger's Capezios. Tom says he would play this game. He puts Jon in the lead for Breakout Superstar of 2007 (sic). While he may not be a scene-stealer like an Erin, he delivers when you add it all up in the end.
- Forrest in Manhattan calls to express his admiration for New Jersey and deny trying to stir up any divisiveness with his stumping for NYC bands. Tom declines to beat Forrest up for it because he seems like a nice guy. Forrest has a game based on one of his and Tom's favorites:
Escape from New York Face/Off. Tom thinks the John Woo nonstop actioner would translate into a good game. Forrest suggests levels ranging from prison breaks to boat chases and proposes a two-player version in which the goal is to retrieve your stolen face. Each level would culminate with one of the 100 choice Nicolas Cage quotations. Tom has an idea for The Making of Face/Off, a companion game where the film's screenwriters are forced to navigate through every development hurdle in order to get their Freaky Friday-with-guns pitch into production. Forrest thinks that game would be too hard to beat.
- Tom in Buffalo tries to redeem himself after Tom called him a gorilla during last week's unsuccessful call. Tom asks him how that call ended. Tom in Buffalo thinks Tom hung up on him. It happens again. Tom laughs.
- Brian in Columbus, OH, contributes a video game adaptation of the classic Smokey and the Bandit, allowing players to replicate Buford T. Justice's pursuit of beer-smuggling truckers "Bandit" and "Snowman." Tom thinks this would be the best video game ever made. Brian is confident about the appeal of the core trio, but he would omit any missions involving Sally Field's "Frog" character. Tom looks forward to playing as Junior Justice, telling his father which way to turn the rickety patrol car and holding his hat while he hurriedly orders a Diablo sandwich and Dr. Pepper. He also awaits a game based on Smokey and the Bandit II so he can destroy the roller coaster. Brian is the first person to make Tom wish one of these games was actually available for purchase. Tom is particularly excited about hearing Jerry Reed's "East Bound and Down" when he fires it up. A player wins by bringing the cases of warm beer to the big party. Tom notes that the prized cargo would require two days in an oice chest to cool to proper drinking temperature. Brian points out that in addition to being warm, Coors is not exactly a top-shelf brand. Tom speculates that in the 1970s it was viewed as some kind of ambrosia elixir.
- Tom asks Samir a multiple-choice question before proceeding to his video game.
Q. As a resident of Florida, are you:
A.) A Weirdo
D.) One of the Good People
Samir is pretty confident that the correct answer is D. Tom accepts it. Samir can't vote in today's primary because he's not a U.S. citizen, but that didn't stop electioneers from bugging him as he roamed his university campus. He
used his cunning to obtain an "I Voted" sticker to stop the solicitations. Tom commends Samir on a job craftily done. Samir says he would have voted for Obama, and Tom doesn't know what that is. Samir explains that he's one of the Democrat candidates who Tom has probably seen on television news programs. Tom thinks Obama is either the guy who was held captive or the guy who is friends with Chuck Norris. Samir tells Tom that the latter candidate is actually named Huckleberry. Tom heard some buzz that the overzealous John "President Pizza" McCain is attempting to secure an endorsement from action star Jeff Speakman. Samir thinks this is a wise move because in addition to the Huckleberry/Norris juggernaut, Mitten Romney has Jean-Claude Van Damme signed and sealed in his corner. He says he would find a way to fraudulently vote for Romney given Van Damme's support.
Samir unveils a video game based on another Nicolas Cage opus: The Wicker Man, Neil LaBute's remake of the 1973 cult classic. Tom loves it. Samir's game would include little instruction beyond directing players to walk around in the hopes of finding a young girl while eluding swarms of CGI bees, stealing a bicycle, and punching women wearing animal masks. He never saw the film, but he picked up the essence of it from viewing the YouTube compilation of its (presumably) unintentional comedic highlights. Tom wonders if the film won any Golden Globe awards. Samir mentions something about Juno stealing its thunda, so Tom has to get rid of him.
- Julie in rainy Cincinnati thinks Hangman Also Die, the Fritz Lang/Bertolt Brecht anti-Nazi collaboration based on the Czech resistance's assassination of SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, should be a video game. Tom is a bit thrown by an idea based on a film from 1943. Julie points out that Stroh's Ack, which is also old, would be the greatest video game. She sees gaming potential in anything featuring Bruno S., including an adaption of Herzog's hypothetical, My Best Fiend-ish documentary about directing the enigmatic actor. Tom thinks that would be a very exciting and popular game. Julie blurts out a high-pitched squeal while Tom is in the middle of a funny riff about 12-year-olds rejoicing at finally getting the chance to interact with their favorite German duo. She was going to say something funny, but she opted not to get in Tom's way because he's so funny tonight.
Julie is excited for a great 2008 with her new hobby: calling radio shows. The local market has a lot of redneck talk radio shows, and she plans to start calling them tomorrow to say, "Hi." Julie says she will play it loose and follow up her simple greeting based on the host's response. Tom wishes her good luck with this project. Julie says that since Tom is so funny and interesting, she was surprised to discover that the FOT do not exhibit these same traits. She's disappointed that her high expectations were smashed by a collection of commoners. Tom knows what she means. He has also noticed that his listeners are just regular people, residing on a shelf below him and Julie. However, Tom doesn't think it's fair for Julie to storm into the FOTverse and demean this nice lot. Julie says people are always nice, but it doesn't mean they are interesting. Tom thinks this take is a little rough. He announces that he likes the FOT. Julie cannot explain why she called the program tonight. Tom would continue the conversation to try to find out, but Mike is giving him the signal.
- Tim in Ellensburg, WA, offers a video game genre mash-up of Bob Altman's feel-good epic, Nashville:
1. Guitar Hero-like portion: Play along with the country and gospel music; difficulty enhanced by replicating the off-key parts in the film.
2. RPG sequences: Players guide the large ensemble through various failed relationships, including the simulation of extra-maritable sessions, and pull strings to get their son out of Vietnam.
Tom would also like to see a gambling video game based on Altman's equally cheery California Split. Tim sees an opportunity for online play with an offshore gambling operation residing in the Canary Islands. Tom doesn't understand the uproar over online gambling because he thinks people should be able to lose their entire fortune from the comfort of their own home.
- Chris L from Maryland calls, and Tom reminds him that The Wire is not eligible for the game because it is a television program. However, Tom would like to see it transition from the golden screen® to the silver screen so its 45 fans could revel in an extremely limited release and anoint it the best film ever made, ranting and raving about the fates of street soldier Snoop and embattled detective Jimmy McNulty. Chris thinks that Felicia "Snoop" Pearson has bright acting career ahead of her. Tom was not aware that Snoop was a female character. Chris L says the gender mix-up is a common mistake, and Tom thinks he may be judging him from the lofty throne of a tennis umpire.
Tom says that he's sure that when he finally unseals The Wire DVDs, he will think it's awesome, but until then he will continue to operate as a weird sniper in the hills, taking shots at both camps. Tom is the X-factor in this debate -- he makes no sense. Chris L compares Tom's strategy of playing both sides against the middle to Gabriel Byrne's tactical battle against rival gang leaders in Miller's Crossing. Tom thinks The Wire fans are ripe for a light pantsing (i.e., no rummaging) because they are walking around like they are the Kings of the School after winning a mathletic championship. The nerds think they are running things. Chris L points out that the rundown Baltimore schools generally do not have strong mathletic programs. Tom wonders if fans of the show have taken any real-world actions to try to reverse the inner-city horrors that have been illuminated during the past five seasons. Chris L says he has no plans to apply for a teaching position in the Baltimore City Public School System. He doesn't think the show has been a boon for Baltimore tourism, but Tom suspects that many die-hards have visited to check out the shooting locations. If he was a fan of the show, he would take the tour. Tom has no need for The Sopranos tours because he already travels the same routes as T in the opening credits. If he wants some onion rings, he just heads over to Holsten's in Bloomfield without any official guide telling him what's what.
Chris L envisions a three-part video game for the Led Zeppelin concert film, The Song Remains the Same:
1. The fontasy sequences blown up to the scope of The Lord of the Rings trilogy
2. Super-intense drag racing
3. Drum Hero challenges, such as playing John Bonham's "Moby Dick" solo
Tom doesn't like this game. He loves it and immediately greenlights it, assuming that is the correct industry jargon for authorizing production of a video game. Tom asks Chris L to help him brainstorm categories for next week's Best Show Awards. In addition to Best and Worst Caller, he was thinking about a Lifetime Achievement Award. Tom initially suspects that Mike would lobby for it, but he's likely content with his place near the cigarette vending machine in the Hall of Fame. Tom decides that he will bestow this prestigious honor upon himself. Chris L wonders if this will be a conflict of interest that may raise a red flag during the Price Waterhouse vote certification process. Tom is not concerned about getting his non-existent pay docked. He will avoid any potential controversy by forgoing accountants and working it all out on Tuesday afternoon at Panera Bread, which is also hosting this year's Oscar's ceremony. Chris L recommends a brief Best Call Screener montage highlighting the contributions of Dave, Matt, and Mike. Tom considers a Best Recapper category and floats the possibility that someone could swipe the award from Omar by launching a competing recap later tonight. Chris L suggests an award for Best Drunk Caller from Cincinnati. He's fighting back against JfC's zing. Chris L admits to being a little hurt about being called common, but he's numb to that particular pain by this point in his life.
- Tyler in Montclair 07042 thinks Repo Man would be a really fun video game. He says he would enjoy repossessing cars and looking for alien corpses in their trunks. Tom recommends that Tyler play the Time Bandits game so he can jump back 40 minutes to when Nate in St. Paul started things off with the same film. He GOMPs him for the transgression.
- Tom from Buffalo returns to rise above the primate order and deliver a solid call. Tom is confident that he can pull it off. TfB begins to discuss his idea for a Gimme Shelter video game, but he fears that he's bombing due to nervousness. Tom assures him that he's doing fine and directs him to walk over to the bathroom sink in his girlfriend's apartment. He wants TfB to get his third eye working with a splash of cold water. TfB does it and emerges with heightened consciousness and sharper focus. Gimme Shelter: The Game would be half Rock Band, challenging players to hold things down as the Arte Johnson cover band Rolling Stone, and half Hells Angel romp, keeping the large, unruly crowd in line with sawed-off pool cues. TfB would omit any murder from the game and keep the action limited to jostling. Tom is most excited to enter the level were you can beat up Jefferson Airplane's Marty Balin. He'd also like to see adaptations of the "People, people" crowd admonitions and the Grateful Dead fleeing the scene via helicopter. Tom congratulates TfB for a great call. He did it. He's in the club.
- Tom asks Laurie a multiple-choice question before proceeding to her video game.
Q. As a resident of Florida, are you:
A.) A Weirdo
D.) One of the Good People
(can be more than one)
Laurie says that most people would answer C based on her reputation from previous calls, most famously the receipt of a Mark Ryden painting for her 12th birthday, but that would be incorrect. Tom wants to know how many Julian Schnabel paintings she owns. Laurie says she doesn't own or want any of his stupid plate paintings. Tom, who is generally more of a Leroy Neiman fan, would want one because they are worth a ton of money. Laurie says that she would accept a freebie painting and then sell it. Tom offers to sell her a Schnabel piece for $150,000 with a guarantee to roll it for seven figures. Laurie declines the deal on principle. Tom thinks the use of the word "principle" is a telltale sign of Super-Rich status. Laurie says she did enjoy Schnabel's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly film. She wants to stop talking about her economic bracket.
The discussion shifts to the Florida primary, and Tom wants to know how things went at the polling location considering the state's esteemed track record of running smooth, scandal-free elections. Laurie says she saw a story on front page of The Miami Herald website indicating that confusion from some precinct workers led to registered Democrats not being counted. Laurie voted early last Sunday, even though Florida was stripped of their delegates for bumping up the primary one week. She mainly showed up to oppose an uncool referendum to install slot machines at a Miami-Dade county sports complex that has greyhound tracks. Tom agrees that this is an uncool move. As dog lovers, Tom and Laurie agree that sick animules are responsible for running the dog-racing racket.
Laurie completes the Werner Herzog hat track with a game based on Grizzly Man. Players can select the grizzly bears or grizzly bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell. Tom points out that you will always lose if you play as Treadwell. He compares it to playing a There Will Be Blood and picking the oil rig instead of Daniel Day-Lewis. Tom says he'd also like to run through the woods as the bear, Anthony Hopkins, or Alec Baldwin in video game for The Edge, the source of the empowering quotation that served as a mantra for the program last year.
- Supercaller Dave in Knoxville calls to pitch Tom on a game for Spalding Gray's 1992 performance film, Monster in a Box. The game would contain the entire movie with the addition of a small orb appearing on the screen every few minutes. Players would then have three seconds to click said orb to avoid restarting the movie. You "win" by completing the film and unlocking the bonus deleted scenes (and a 90-second "featurette"). Tom concludes that if you win, you actually lose. Dave sees the game less as entertainment and more as a study in perseverance. Tom thinks it sounds fun. Dave confirms that "fun" is the sensation of wanting to gouge your eyes out.
Dave says that one or both of his children would like to call the show, and Tom grants them permission. Andy from Knoxville quickly flamed out last April when he called to discuss western North Carolina with special guest Seth Galifianakis. He was excited to hear that Seth's family hails from the same place where his maternal grandmother resides. However, Andy asked if he shared any of his father's clout as a newly-crowned Supercaller, and Tom hung up with a simple "No." Dave says that Andy has been terrified of Tom since the incident. Tom says his fear should dissipate because Dave just properly set up his future calls. The first attempt was like walking around town trying to buy things with Dave's credit card. Tom could not accept that card, but now Dave has come into his store and authorized its use. Dave says Andy may try again one night if he's not shaking in his boots too much. He will try to inspire his son by adapting the famous quote from The Edge: "What one man can do, another punk can do." Tom thinks Dave's tough talk is similar to Lieutenant Colonel Bull Meechum in The Great Santini. He gets an idea for a Wii Santini game in which you try to balance yourself as you walk up the steps while your abusive father pelts you in the head with basketballs.
- Tim from Hoboken 07030 calls with an idea for a video game based on The Mechanic, a 1972 thriller starring Charles Bronson as an aging hit man and Jan-Michael Vincent as his protege. He is confident that any game featuring that duo is a winner. Tom thinks it's a great game as long as Tim can secure the rights to use the likenesses of both actors. Tim thinks J-MV may be dead, but he's still holding on. As Bronson mentors his student in the efficiency of his craft, they get an assignment to kill The Guy With The Mustache (Pappa Keach), and the big twist -- of the film and the game -- is that J-MV turns on Bronson. Players would have to defeat a post-turn J-MV to win the game. Tim begins to reveal the film's ending, but Tom doesn't want him to ruin it in case he catches it while flipping around the channels at 3:30 a.m. Tim laments the lack of Bronson films on late-night cable compared to other action genre heavyweights. Tom explains this programming anomaly on the fact that time marches on. He informs Tim that a lot of other films have been made since The Mechanic and Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects . The torch has been passed to Steven Seagal. Tim goes ahead with his reveal of the ending.
MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING!!!!!
J-MV kills Bronson, but Bronson enacts his revenge for his student's betrayal from beyond the grave:
Tom asks Tim if he's heading over to Benny Tudino's, but Tim hasn't been to the overrated pizza spot in a decade because the guys behind the counter exude a bit of a rude 'tude. Tom suspects that Tim is looking down on the salt-of-the-Earth slobs. He asks Tim if he would prefer it if BT's employed a trained bear to prepare his slices. Tim says his objections are not related to class -- he believes that rudeness is inexcusable in any walk of life. Tom thinks he should employ a nice smile to evaporate the rudeness, but Tim prefers his current passive-aggressive approach of simply never going there again. Tom wants him to return to the scene and be the nicest guy he can. If the BT's employees remain rude, he will join him in condemning the restaurant. For the record, Mike says he never got any attitude at BT's. Tim is fine with the 4,000 pizza alternatives in the tri-state area, but he will give it one more try for Tom.
- ROY frontrunner Eddie picks up where he left off after a brief hiatus due to some work duties. He delivers a Rock 'n' Roll High School video game centered around the quest of Riff Randall (P.J. Soles) to meet Joey Ramone and give him the titular song she wrote for the band. Other missions will include helping Kate Rambeau (Dey Young) win the affection of Tom Roberts (Vince Van Patten), delivering pizza to Dee Dee Ramone, eluding chubby hall monitors, and locating enough TNT to blow up Vince Lombari High School in the end. Eddie says that radio host Screamin' Steve Stevens (Don Steele) will appear in the game, although he did not mention anything about Clint Howard's connected Eaglebauer. The bottom line: Eddie did it again. Tom will not announce any winners tonight, but he urges Eddie to draft and acceptance speech and wear a nice suit next week.
I'd like to see a video game for Rock 'N' Roll High School 3 (aka RnRHS2K5), a project that was in the works at Marky Ramone Films a few years ago. The plot involved Marky developing a new strain of DNA that grows serial killers. Someone lifts it from his leather jacket, forcing him to save a hot teacher who has been kidnapped and thrown into a pit at The Continental by a newly-sprouted Hannibal Lecter. Rated HARD M.
- Martin in Edison, Eddie's ROY rival, calls to discuss the new Rambo
cky film. He saw it with a couple of friends for a good laff, and the most disturbing thing about the experience was spotting a guy sneaking into the film 30 minutes late with a 2-year-old in tow. Tom asks Martin if he saw the movie at a theater on Route #1. He did. However, he saw it on Friday night. Tom was there yesterday, and after his First Sunday screening let out, he saw a mutant escorting a child out of the Rambo theater. Martin confirms that it was a 90-minute bloodbath with nonstop artillery fire. He's glad the film was so loud because it drowned out the sound of the toddler crying. Tom imagines this monster debating whether he could get away with locking his kid in the closet while he saw the film. Martin says he was freaked out by The Empire Strikes Back when he saw it in his youth, so he can't imagine an even younger kid enduring the Stallone-choreographed violence of the fourth Rambo installment.
Martin's pick for a video game is considerably more low-key: On Golden Pond. Players will board the Chris-Craft boat and try to maneuver around rocks. Tom thinks the game would be therapeutic for old-timers looking to keep their motor skills sharp. He commends Martin for finding a niche market and recommends pitching it at his local GameStop. Tom tells Martin that while he's not the favorite to win ROY, his successful call kept him in the running.
- John from Waco calls with some bad news: he hasn't been able to shift any of Tom's "The Wacko From Waco" singles. Tom asks John if he would be willing to become a new Waco wacko in order to spark interest in the novelty tune. He doesn't want John to have to go as far out there as Branch Davidian cult leader
John Krasinski Allen David Koresh, but something like wearing pajamas while riding around in a Day-Glo dunebuggy might be sufficiently wacky. John adds a crazy hat to the proposed wacky attire. Tom would also like to see John create a buzz on the Internet and write a letter to the editor of the Waco Herald-Times Examiner complaining about this new Waco Wacko on the loose.
John says that Rambo was the loudest movie he's ever experienced, even topping the notoriously ear-bleeding Armageddon. He thought the excessive violence was good for some laughs. Tom thinks Stallone would love to hear that people loved his movie ... because they openly mocked it. John sees a contradiction in Stallone's born-again Christianity and the fact that the new film is 10 times more violent than its predecessors. Perhaps Stallone needs to consider becoming born anew as one of Reggie Monroe's Christonians. Tom hopes Stallone dips further into his filmography to gain more closure with sequels to Cobra and Rhinestone. He's pretty sure that Stallone is the only person wondering what ever happened to John Rambo, and he's really sure that the answer to the character arc is NOT returning to the jungle at age 65 to fight. John noticed that Stallone was much bigger than he was in the first Rambo film, and Tom attributes the added bulk to either going to the gym three days a week or the 48 vials of HGH found in his luggage by Australian customs officials. John thinks that bust is crazy. Tom asks him if it rises to the level of wackiness. John believes it does, but he's not sure how to bring Sly to Waco. Tom hopes they can film Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot 2 there. He will be back in business as long as nobody listens to the Davidian-themed verses.
John thinks Death Proof would be a great RPG along the lines of the epic Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Tom correctly assumes that players must try to stay awake while Stuntman Mike talks in a bar for 55 minutes. John says the game contains 80 hours of dialogue leading up to a Dance Dance Revolution-style lapdance. The game skips over that bit of excitement in favor of more talking. Tom doesn't like it. He loves it. He suggests a Griiiiiiiiindhouse package, reuniting Death Proof with a Planet Terror game. The PT game would allow players to experience Josh Brolin picking up a check for his truck payment knowing that he had No Country for Old Men and American Gangster waiting to rescue him.
- Before Supercaller Erika can get to her entry, Tom gets an idea for a video game based on The Hospital, the Paddy Chayefsky-scripted black comedy starring George C. Scott as a suicidal doctor who spends an entire day yelling about a world gone mad. The game will only be available for the discontinued Sega Saturn and Dreamcast consoles. Erika returns to the Wii platform for a Mommie Dearest game. Players assume the role of Christina Crawford as she battles with her adoptive mother in a variety of mini-games, such as dodging wire hangers and trying to prevent her from drinking an entire bottle of wine. Erika admits it's a little dark, but still funny. Tom sees it as a niche market game, just like On Golden Pond, appealing to a female audience and offering an alternative to the stealth horrors of Manhunt. He thinks video game developers should further court females with a video game for the Hilary Swank romcom, P.S. I Love You. Erika suspects the goal of that game would be to avoid vomiting. Tom conquers the fontasy market with Escape from Meet the Spartans, a game where players attempt to break out of a locked theater showing the 300-centric pop-culture spoof. He tells Erika that she once again lived up to her Supercaller billing.
- Showbiz Sean in Los Angeles, who has previously toiled on Arrested Development and Scrubs, reports that there is nothing for him to sprinkle his magic on since the WGA strike sent his industry crashing to a halt. Tom suspects he took a writing job at Cigar Aficionado, but Sean says he's collecting a paycheck from the government to make ends meet. Tom is intrigued by The Blues Brothers cover story in the new issue and wonders if Dan Akroyd and Jim Belushi discuss cigars while in character. He can't recall Jim's Blues Brothers moniker, although he thinks "Creepy Blues" or "Little Jake" would be appropriate. (It's actually "Zee Blues.") Tom says his favorite Blues Brother is John Goodman's character from BBY2K, which was released in 1998 because producers were certain that it would become a massive hit with a two-year theatrical run. He checks out the film's cast online and discovers that Goodman played Mighty Mack McTeer alongside new member Cabel "Cab" Chamberlain (Joe Morton) and the 10-year-old Buster Blues. Tom wants to play a BBY2K game, which would reveal that there were no paying customers in the audience of previous Blues Brothers lives shows. Sean thinks they should make a really good video game based on the original film and then make a really bad sequel 28 years later.
Sean came up with a The Thomas Crown Affair game that allows players to select the 1968 Steve McQueen original or the 1999 Pierce Brosnan remake. In both versions players scope out art museums to steal priceless works of treasure and end up in Miami for the ultimate heist: breaking into Laurie's mansion and swiping her Damien Hirst shark. While it appears to be a dead shark preserved in formaldehyde, it springs to life so you have to fight it. Tom predicts that Laurie's alarm system would be the blaring sounds of Pulp's "Common People". Laurie luvs Jarv.
- Stephen in Chicago creates a video game based on Get Crazy, Allan Arkush's tribute to the Fillmore East, featuring Malcolm McDowell, Daniel Stern, Ed Begley, Jr., Fear's Lee Ving, and John Densmore from The Doors. Tom is surprised he's drawing a blank on a film that is so star-studded. Stephen says it's pretty terrible, amusing, and also boasts Lou Reed. In the multi-tiered game players Guitar Hero along with the soundtrack or confront GTA-grade mayhem while transporting Reed to the club. Tom says he would only want to play this game if he could beat up Max Wolfe (Allen Garfield), the character based on Bill Graham. Stephen recommends selecting Colin Beverly (Begley, Jr.), who is Wolfe's concert promoting nemesis. Tom likes it.
- Evan in Providence develops a video game of the animal revenge classic, Orca. Players can smash boats and village homes as the killer whale, attempt to kill/sweat and worry about it as Peter (sic) Harris, or pine after Harris as Charlotte Rambling. Evan says he would choose the whale. Tom isn't sure how the film got made, but he did think Robert Benchley's script was good.
- Daniel from Boston calls, and Tom wants to know if he's planning any big Super Bowl parties. Daniel says he'll be in New York on Sunday and doesn't care about the fate of his hometown team. Tom recommends removing his Patriots jersey after they win to avoid getting hurt. Daniel can't imagine any situation where he'd buy any Patriots-branded clothing, let alone wear it in enemy territory. He does think there is a chance he'll jump on the bandwagon to get off from work the following Tuesday for the victory parade. Tom is confused unless the parade route goes through his office or Daniel works in the middle of the street. He now really hopes the Patriots lose because the city has the plans worked out and people are banking on a holiday.
Daniel has a video game adaptation of Gymkata, the 1985 gymnastics/karate action film starring Olympian Kurt Thomas. Thomas plays a secret agent who travels to a fictional central Asian country to compete in a decathlon so the U.S. government could set up a missile facility. Daniels says the film's locations were littered with gymnastics equipment, including an alley fight in a leper colony where Thomas fended off 50 guys with the aid of a pommel horse. Tom says he cannot greenlight this disastrous and overly-clever game.
My Super Bowl prediction: Giants 17 Patriots 14. Mark it down. And don't sleep on David Tyree.
- Tom in Austin wants to bundle a multi-player online The Cannonball Run game with Brian's Smokey in the Bandit game. Hal Needham two-pack! He guesses that Tom would play as Burt Reynolds, but Tom informs him that there is no such character in the film. He will select J.J. McClure. Tom in Austin calls dibs on Jack Elam's Doctor Nikolas Van Helsing. Tom points out that there would be a Roger Moore character because despite playing Seymour Goldfarb, Jr., he kept reminding people that he was ... Rajamore! Tom loves the game. Home run.
- Jonathan from
Mellow Cedar Grove says he began meditating about why there's so much competition in the world after hearing all of the video game talk. Tom's glad that he's getting in the spirit of things. He briefly considers trying to explore these issues, but he's got no time for it. Tom is especially irked that Jonathan called in after the topic buzzer to drunkenly mumble this weak take. He suspects Jonathan falls asleep and snores during his group meditation sessions. Tom gives him the dubious Flop of the Night award in a show otherwise filled with success. The sole blemish on a flawless evening. He thanks the Best Show callers for stepping up for the topic. He puts Jonathan in the penalty box and bans all callers from Cedar Grove -- an entire town takes the fall for one's man's folly. Tom will not lift the ban unless the mayor of Cedar Grove calls to beg for reinstatement. He's furious about the call, but he makes things right with a fusion of Paul McCartley, Ron Wood, Kenney Jones, Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan, and Rod the Mod.
[Some additional Movies -----> Video Games can be found here.]
[Slogans and a bit more to follow.]
Where Turkeys Dare by Weirder Jon from Maplewood:
It had snowed that day, and The Hate Pit was frigid. Now evening had descended, and Jeff Garlin was busy looking for twigs to keep the Pit fire lit. Bob Saget looked on, offering no assistance.
"Hey, Jeff, whaddya call a nun in a humidor?"
"SHUT UP, Bob!"
Jeff was in no mood for Bob or his debauched revelry. If it wasn't a filthy joke, then Bob was pitching his follow-up to Farce of the Penguins. The new movie had something to do with a horse that could perform surgery, and it was called Stable Condition. The thought was enough to make Jeff wince.
Bob simply dismissed Jeff as humorless and retreated down one of the Pit's darker catacombs, the one that emptied out into the television viewing area.
"Remembuhthetimei ... Yeahitwaslikethetimei ... Remembuhthetimei ... Yeahit'slikethetimei ..."
The television. Tom Scharpling was cruel overlord, putting Family Guy on infinite loop and spot-welding the controls to the television casing. But in a way, Bob found the repetitive noise from the television soothing. It allowed him to drift off, to cancel everybody else out. For brief periods of time, he could forget Jerry Seinfeld's constant demands for everyone to build him a car out of rocks, ash, and twigs. He could forget Mickey Dolenz's requests for people to shake his pinky finger. Of course that little move had backfired horribly on Mickey a few days earlier. Mickey had proposed the pinky shake to a ravenous Jeff Garlin and promptly lost that digit.
Bob was in his own little world when a noise grabbed his attention. He looked around and noticed that the sound had grabbed the attention of the others as well. The sound was coming from above, and the Pit inhabitants were all looking up. It was not an abnormal sound. People hear it every day. What was abnormal was it's proximity. It was close. Damn close. It was a helicopter. After another 10 seconds a high wind blew and a blaring light shined down. The helicopter was clearly hovering, but why? What new madness did Tom have in store for them, Bob thought. How much more could they take? The next sound was an amplified click followed by crippling feedback. A man's voice boomed, but it was not Tom.
"Listen up! A ladder is about to be lowered into your Pit. Bob Saget is to climb the ladder. No one else should attempt to climb the ladder. If anyone else attempts to follow Mr. Saget, tier gas will be deployed."
A ladder immediately unfurled into the Pit right next to Bob. The only feeling running through him was fear. He thought that leaving the Pit for any reason - even death - would bring with it unspeakable exultation. But no. He'd become strangely comfortable in his new surroundings. Stockholm syndrome, perhaps. He looked at the other Hate Pit inhabitants one last time. They looked back, full of the bile and venom that had gotten them there in the first place.
"Move it, Bob! Time is of the essence!"
Bob broke his gaze, looked up, and began to climb. Before he was even halfway up, and just after he had broken past the lip of the Pit, the helicopter lurched forward. It was moving frighteningly fast within seconds.
Moments earlier Tom Scharpling had been inside his trailer park, sucking on a bottle of Boone's Farm Country Quencher, watching the blooper real from Strotesick. Dogmo had noticed the sound outside even before the Pit alarm had been activated. Tom sprang from the couch, blew out the votive candles around the life-sized Kevin Smith poster, and grabbed his crossbow. With one hand gripping the weapon he used the other hand to vault over his kitchen table. He burst through his screen door head first. He was too late. The helicopter was already out of firing range. Tom was angry, but he was also fascinated. Who had the nerve and the resources to pull off a nighttime aerial Pit raid? Was the F.B.I. involved? The Yakuza? Dogmo growled. Tom spat on the ground in disgust and wiped his mouth with the hairy side of his forearm. He'd find the punk or punks who had taken what was his. You may fool Tom once, but then, inevitably, you turfed out.
A local Monkees fan had tried to pull Dolenz out of the Pit last year with a spool of discarded shock cord. That Monkees fan had ended up running away with a limp, holding his shirt to his swollen lip, trying not to swallow his own teeth.
to be continued ...
Tom read the electrifying conclusion to this story on the not-yet-recapped 2/12/08 program. Here it is.
Bob was exhausted when he entered the helicopter. He grasped for breath, and pulled himself from the carpeted floor to the luxurious leather seats. He was now too tired and confused to be scared. He looked around, panting, trying to figure out the nature of his circumstance. A wet bar to his left, a muted MSNBC broadcast on a small monitor to his left. Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto's version of "The Girl From Ipanema" playing in complete surround sound, perfectly audible in the soundproof cabin.
"Welcome aboard, Mr. Saget."
The voice took him by surprise. A young woman entered from behind a curtain, pushing a cart. Her slight build carried the burden of enormous blue eyes and black, cascading hair.
"May I interest you in some broiled duck, served with mango chutney and a freshly-baked popover?"
Bob didn't answer. He simply dropped his face into the plate and began to move his jaw. The taste of real food was overpowering. What he had eaten in The Hate Pit had not been "food." It had been an endless supply of aptly-named #2 meals from McDonald's.
"Welcome aboard, Bob," the voice came over an intercom, loud, friendly, male. "Let me just say that I am thrilled to finally meet you.
"Who are you? What the [bleep] do you want?!"
"Easy, Bob. I just saved your life. You're free! You've risen from The Hate Pit like a Phoenix from the ashes. This was said in a half-chuckle that did not please Bob in the least.
"Listen, you son of a [bleep], you tell me who you are right now! I'm an important man. People will be looking me - one call from me and you're in deep trouble!"
"Then let's just say my name's, uh, Hesh, or James. Take your pick. But that's all kind of irrelevant, you see, Bob. I'm your biggest fan, and I'm just here to save you."
Bob paused for about three seconds. "Really?"
"Really. I've been watching you since way back when you were just a potty-mouthed comic. Then I continued to watch in amazement as you repurposed yourself for the majesty that was Full House. But you didn't stop here. The scripting of sitcom television was holding you back, and the ad-libbing was always calling you. Enter America's Funniest Home Videos. You kept us laughing through those slim Reagan years with endless clips of good, honest people breaking their clavicles. But, alas, dogs [Henry Miller-ish filth censored by Tom] may keep people enthralled for years, but not you. Time for Bob Saget 4.0: penguins passing gas. Now you were a director, an auteur, a stage actor, there was no stopping you. So back you came being a toilet-mouthed comic. My hat's off to you, sir, for all those reasons. I spent my entire life savings to purchase this helicopter and plan a daring rescue from the dreaded Hate Pit."
This last sentence had ended in a dramatic crescendo with the final two words pronounced with their own respective exclamation points. Something like this: from the dreaded Hate! Pit! Unable to speak, Bob began to clap, slowly at first, then fast and fervently. The female attendant clapped along and smiled politely.
"That was amazing," Bob said. "It was like you've always known me, and you understand me. Thank you, thank you, I'm back!"
Bob got up out of the seat and began dancing around the cabin.
"Whoa, Bob, park your carcass, this ride can get pretty bumpy and that snowstorm sure kicked up a lot of wind. So sit back and enjoy the ride. I'm taking you New York City ASAP, where you can call a car service and make your way back to wherever you need to go. But first ..."
"I just need to make a quick stop over in Maplewood, New Jersey."
"What's in Maplewood, New Jersey?"
"Gas. Need gas for the chopper."
"Oh for crying out loud, fine, but make it snappy. Comedy is waiting for me!"
The chopper made a hard turn to the right and began to descend. Bob looked out the window and tried to make out where he was in relation to the city. But to him the suburbs were just the pathetic old suburbs, and so it really didn't matter. Soon enough he would be pitching his masterpiece Stable Condition to the big shots in New York City. Bob felt his body jerk, and his attention came back to his surroundings. They had landed. After a moment, the door slid open. The sound was deafening. In front of him stood the mystery pilot, a friendly enough looking bald man, probably in his late-30s. Poor thing, Bob thought. This guy's never going to see the fame that I have. Never.
"WHY ARE YOU OPENING THE DOOR?!," Bob screamed over the whirring blades.
"WHY ARE YOU OPENING THE DOOR?!"
"Can't hear you. You better follow me to where it's quieter."
Bob was cold and annoyed. The wind from the propellers only added to the frigid temperatures. He could see his breath again, just as if he were back in The Hate Pit. The thought was too painful to consider. If this guy Hesh was such a fan, then shouldn't he be trying a little harder to pamper his biggest hero? What infernal cheek. Reluctantly, Bob this fellow behind the house. The sound of the helicopter blades died as it shut down for refueling.
"So, James, can we wait inside. I'm freezing my [bleep] off!"
James/Hesh said nothing. He just smiled at Bob in the dark. The moon was full, and the two men looked blue and black in the not-so-dark darkness.
"Well, you gonna say something, Harpo?"
"Hey, Bob, look over here, on the other side of the yard near the rope swing. You see something?"
Bob squinted, but he didn't need to squint too hard. The object shone brightly in the cold, moonlit night. It was white and rectangular and probably a half-inch thick.
"Sure I see it. Looks like a screenplay."
"It is Bob, it is."
Bob was intrigued. It had been so long since he had seen one.
"And it's a comedy, Bob."
"Tell me more!"
"Really ridiculous premise. So ridiculous in fact, Nic Cage even turned it down."
Bob was starting to salivate at this point. He just wanted to thumb through it to see what it was about. Sure, Stable Condition would keep him busy for awhile, but what then? He always had room for more low- to zero-brow comedy.
"And ... uh ... what's it about?"
[Farrelly Brothers toilet jokes censored by Tom.]
Bob went from standing still to running in one second. Then he went from running to falling in half a second. The Pit opened up underneath him, swallowing him along with the artificial turf cover, a seesaw, and a snow blower. Bob landed hard about 30 feet down with the snow blower just missing his head. He was covered in snow, dirt, and unraked autumn leaves. He got up slowly, breathing heavily. He tried to speak, but no words would come. It was then that he saw the eyes. Several pairs, peeping at him from the shadows behind the fire. One of the pairs rose and advanced.
"It's okay, he's nice to us. He feeds us McDonald's if we're good, Arby's if we're bad."
Will Shortz, the editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle, emerged from the shadows, holding a ragged piece of paper.
"He also gives me these when I think on the others. It's a Daily News crossword. Maybe you can help me. Seven letters. Samuel L. blank."
Bob recoiled in horror. More faces moved forward from the shadows. Matthew Barney. Carrot Top. David Blaine. Avril Lavigne. They spoke in unison: "McDonald's if we're good, Arby's if we're bad. McDonald's if we're good, Arby's if we're bad." They approached slowly. The voices grew louder: "McDonald's if we're good, Arby's if we're bad." Bob looked to the heavens, unhinged his jaw, and let out an Earth-shaking cry of defiance that would go unanswered.
Jon from Maplewood looked down into the The Pit and washed off his hands with a moist towelette. He may have given fake names to protect himself in case the mission went awry, but everything about the life savings was true. He had scrimped and saved ever since The Aristocrats. Jon had no regrets. The man was now in his Pit, and all was right in the world.
Then the world seemed to skip a frame. Jon was on the ground, his knee in searing pain. Whatever it was that was sending the feeling of radiating fire through his leg had been powerful enough to take him off his feet. Teeth clenched, guttural noises, hissing, he willed his eyes open. Looking over his shoulder, he saw what had brought him down: an arrow. Tom swaggered around the corner and stood quietly next to Jon. Dogmo began to lick Jon's face. Tom smiled and opening his mouth to speak. All he said was "clowntime is over." He put one foot on Jon's leg to hold it steady and pulled the arrow out with the opposite hand. Jon let out a scream. The scream had nothing to do with the arrow being removed from his kneecap and everything to do with crushing failure. Tom took another arrow with heavy boating line attached to it and shot it into The Pit. A scream came up.
"Sorry about that, Carrot Top. Bob, climb on up."
Quentin Tarantino's There Will Be Sweathogs:
[More to come.]
© droog on AST
On the Next Best Show on WFMU: Super Tuesday!!!
Catering by: Captain's Donuts, Los Amigos, and The Pancake Promenade. Gift bags courtesy Dame Lola's Erotic White Chocolate and The Fudge Tub.
Will Spike prove himself to be the black Bruce Vilanch? Don't miss it! James and his fictitious girlfriend will be on the edge of their seat in the frathouse: