Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rest In Peace Parody

Over my life time I've watched and listened to a good share of parody music, movies and television shows. Weird Al Yankovic, Tenacious D, The Lonely Island, Jon Lajoie, Richard Cheese, (*takes a breath*) Spaceballs, Hot Shots, UHF, Mad TV, Saturday Night Live. What all of these things that I've mentioned have in common is that they attempt to satirize popular culture. They provide an absurd look at something that otherwise attempts to appear serious.

Humour in general often tries to make the same attempt. Irony presents the opposite of the anticipated result. Comedy pushes the envelope by taking the absurd to extreme levels. Whatever experience one may have in real life parody turns up the volume, color or contrast in order reveal a truth about humans and their behaviors. The truth that is generally revealed is that one part of the species is acting in an idiotic manner. As stated in my previous essay, the desire of satire/sarcasm is to make idiotic human behaviors visible and shame them out of existence.

But lately we have been presented with an ever increasing problem. We once thought that reality and parody were two distinct sets of tracks running parallel indefinitely beyond the vanishing point of human perception. But, we were wrong. Much to the chagrin of our intelligent ambition, or primitive lizard brains love watching crap, and not just one piece of crap but several helpings of the same crap. This crap might change in color from red to blue to green but we love it regardless of shape or smell. I don't think that any of us need to apologize for liking crap, we just do and that's a fact. We as a species and as individuals hold ourselves to a higher standard in public as a matter of ego but advertising dollars don't lie. For the record, not liking crap and not complaining about it/boycotting it is considered liking crap.

The problem with crap is that it is high in caloric content and it is clogging up the arteries of parody causing it to die a premature death. While many parodies are generally poorly done and typically considered a lower form of humor their inability to be expressed is evidence of a bigger problem. That bigger problem is of course the merging of reality with parody. This means that the arc of crap that we call reality has risen so high that it is now exempt from being ridiculed. In other words the absurd/silly has become the serious. Shows like The Jersey Shore and Toddlers and Tiaras are free from scrutiny because they parody themselves. The sane among us regard these shows as little more than mindless entertainment but (and it's a big but) we are not aware of the hidden and long lasting effects.

My wife and I have listened to several people pronounce the word "chipotle" incorrectly. Also, everyday our Inbox's are flooded with LOLCATS. The way that others say chipotle "chip-poat-el" is amusing to us, thus we adopted it as an inside joke. Further, LOLCATS are hilarious and as such we often find ourselves speaking in LOLCATisms. We know we are not serious but the world at large does not. So, often what happens when we are out in public or meeting new people we will accidentally mispronounce chipotle (or words like it) because of our programming. What once was parody for us has now become reality and often because of it we appear stupider than we are. The next step of course after being incorrectly programmed is to slowly devolve into the thought patterns and topics of interest of the people who we were at one time mocking.

Recently on a tabloid show I watched them do four minutes on Kendra Wilkinson Baskett. At first, I hope you are thinking "Who is Kenda?" Well, Kendra was a former live in girlfriend of Hugh Hefner who finagled her way into a television show with two other prostitutes who lived in Hugh's mansion. She eventually went on to C-list stardom with her own reality show which landed her a juicy spot on Dancing With The "Stars". Still with me? good.

In this particular video Kendra was practicing her dance moves while talking to one of the producers of DWTS. Instead of a nip slip she accidentally offered up a left cheek sneak which was made audible by the enormous boom mic hovering around her posterior. Ten years ago this inconvenient truth would have been edited out to preserve the credibility of the young starlet. These days Access Hollywood not only teased the spare the air incident three times throughout their show but they played the fart about four times in succession during a video breakdown segment. They then followed up on the story the next time that they saw Kendra on a red carpet to get the details about what happened on that fartful day.

Access Hollywood: What happened?
Kendra: I farted.
Access Hollywood: Do you fart a lot?
Kendra: Yeah.
AH: Have any of your farts ever gone too far?
Kendra: What do you mean?
AH: Have you ever shit your pants from farting.
Kendra: Not that I know of but I gotta be me ya know? Everyone once in a while you need to crack a few eggs to make a shit omelette.
AH: Ain't that the truth.

Zoom out on a pregnant Kendra doing a booty dance on the red carpet.

Enjoy it while it lasts folks, parody/comedy are going the way of the Dodo, Blockbuster and Bookstore. There is no sadness, there is no fear, the future is here and progress doesn't have room for shame or humility.


  1. I didn't need to read the post to know it was comedic gold--as soon as I saw the still of Spatula City I was sold. You basically elucidated every reason why I don't watch TV (it seems as if everything is a total rehash of our childhood, whether TV shows, movies, etc). I keep wondering if we hit a cultural high point and are now regurgitating what worked in the past. Plus, I really think the masses can't sit still for quality any more; too much thinking. We've become a people without an attention span and need constant explosions or fart-filled slapstick to keep us entertained. Dialogue? Heavens no. Great post.

    - Sy Greenbloom

    P.S. - The other day I was at Sea World and saw a kid with a Ghostbusters II shirt. I know they must've reprinted the original logo on newer shirts, but this 12 year old looked like he was wearing a 20+ year old shirt. Shit, now I've got that Bobby Brown song stuck in my head...

  2. Your post on our love of crap made me think of the human palet. I began thinking of all the things in this world that we love to eat: cheese, mushrooms, wine, and worchestire sauce. Essentially: rotten milk, fungus, fermented (how the social elite pronounce rotten) grapes, and shit that some dudes forgot in a barrel for years letting it rot then opened the barrel and decided to taste it (I've never had the urge to taste what I found in the long forgotten tupperware container at the back of the fridge.). Essentially, our tongues are designed to love the taste of rot. You are what you eat. So heat up some queso hombre and turn on the tv it's time for American Idol. I cannot wait for VH1's behind the music on American Idol. I've got my fingers crossed that all the winners are living in a crack house somewhere having sing-offs to see who get's to use the clean "oil burner".

  3. that was an interesting point about my point (serious)

  4. As long as I get to shop at spatula city. I'll be OK

  5. I liked your post. I loved the fact that now when we (collectively including myself in this) comment on something it comes with the caveat of (serious), as in I'm not being a tool right at the moment.

  6. Please know that I love the mispronunciation of words many people get emo about, like Ch-ard-o-Net. Please say this in a fancy wine shop. Or at a vineyard. I swear we were almost asked to leave from a wine tasting once. Can't these idiots take a look at them selves and laugh?
    Nope. They think they are smarter than they are, and every a-hole thinks they have a sense of humor, and THEY DON'T...
    Which puts extra pressure on you- Drone!

  7. @violet, I live in the ghetto of wine country so I'll have to try that. Pee-not noir/grigio lend themselves to this fun as well.