February 27, 1989: The CBS network airs “What’s Alan Watching?”, a bizarre sixty minute sitcom pilot in which a pre-“Parker Lewis Can’t Lose” Corin Nemec stars as a television-obsessed teen named Alan Hoffstetter. Young Alan’s family is mired in a swamp of typical sitcom problems—his sister is dating a balding loser, his car salesman brother is on his way to becoming a balding loser—but our hero barely notices the chaos thanks to his psychotic love affair with the boob tube. Alan watches so much TV the characters on the screen actually talk back to him, advising him about his life, occasionally mocking him, and generally sucking the willing shrimp into a weird, satiating void where life’s problems don’t matter.
The most notable of the back-talking stars on Alan’s TV is Eddie Murphy, who also produced “What’s Alan Watching?” in an attempt to fill the Fran Drescher-less void in our pop culture lives at the time (Drescher plays Nemec’s aforementioned sister, Gail). Murphy spends the majority of his scant “Alan” screen time recycling his James Brown impression from “Saturday Night Live” in a fake TV movie-of-the-week called “Soul’d On The Rocks.” Eddie was still pretty electric in ’89, and while his bits certainly stand out, they’re not as savory as some of the other weirdness emanating from the Hoffstetter’s set. Submitted for your approval: Frogs lifting weights, a shockingly political “Mr. Ed” documentary, and über-sexy commercials for industrial flanges.
Unfortunately, the long stretches that center on the rote Hoffstetter family drama drag “What’s Alan Watching?” down, and it’s easy to see why CBS ultimately passed on turning this strange concept into a full-on series. Six months later, “Weird Al” Yankovic’s UHF hit theaters, a TV-skewering tale so deft and funny it became the gold standard for idiot box mockery. Though UHF may have flunked at the box office, it successfully buried “What’s Alan Watching?” as cherished cult (in a strange coincidence, Fran Drescher also appeared in UHF, portraying “Weird Al’s” frazzled secretary Pamela Finklestein).
Some of “Alan’s” failure could be attributed to the presence of Pauly Shore as the vapid fool dating the titular character’s untouchable love interest, but hey, it’s Sunday, you’ve got nothing else to do—why don’t you watch the whole damn thing and judge for yourself? If you end up feeling truly burned by the experience, write a firm letter to Eddie Murphy Productions expressing your discontent. Who knows, maybe Ed’ll comp you with an autographed copy of Nutty Professor 2!
You may have noticed no news has developed on the Chuck Biscuits interview front. There’s an explanation for this, but I don’t really know if it’s cool for me to talk about it here. Suffice to say exterior forces have reared their ugly head and all I can do is wait. Patiently. Hopefully fortunes shall reverse and the interview will take place as planned. If not, I’ll eventually unravel the entire sordid affair (which surprisingly does not involve as many clowns or stolen ice cream trucks as you’d imagine).
Things I learned watching Nerdcore Rising (a.k.a. See, White Guys Rap About D&D & Calculus Like This): MC Frontalot is way more likable than previously imagined; “Weird Al” apparently likes to prop up a bunch of his old CDs when pressed for set decoration; Jello Biafra NEVER has time to SIT DOWN to be interviewed for ANYTHING because he’s SO BUSY SPREADING THE TRUTH and having nasty herpes-looking scars on his lip; MC Frontalot has a full band and not just a guy and a laptop like MC Chris; MC Frontalot is Pat Boone to MC Chris’s Carl Perkins.
Putting Masters Of The Universe and Flash Gordon at the top of my Netflix queue seemed like a good idea Monday night; now that arrival of these discs is pending, I regret not falling down a well Tuesday morning.
While we’re on the subject of talkies, the trailer for the Nightmare On Elm Street remake looks promising:
Sadly, this probably means they aren’t making Freddy vs. Jason vs. Bruce Campbell vs. Predator or whatever the hell the Freddy vs. Jason sequel was supposed to be. Oh well. We’ll always have our dreams, won’t we, fan boys? By the way, this Nightmare remake is being helmed by “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video director Sam Bayer, who totally looks like a cross between Mickey Rourke and that guy from Nickelback:
No wonder Kurt Cobain gave him such a hard time.
Okay, so we’re all in agreement that the best episode of “Saturday Night Live” ever was the one Sinbad hosted, right? I just wanted to make sure. That “Black Lightening” shit is more hilarious than Seth Meyers’s entire career.
Someone please buy me the t-shirt pictured below as soon as possible:
What’s funny is that kid is probably in fuckin’ Cleveland.
So, I have a YouTube account, and I have a video camera, but I can never think of any good video ideas. If you don’t believe me, look for yourself. That’s the best I could come up with in two weeks. I don’t think I was made to vlog.
It’s Fran Drescher’s birthday today. Make up your own “OMG, she sounds like a bleating sheep!” joke.