Jesus. He comes up quite a bit on the Adult Swim program Moral Orel created by Dino Stamatopoulos, but in this case I actually am yelling “Jesus!” Because you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen this season. I’m a regular Adult Swim viewer and to some extent I’m relatively familiar with Dino’s work, having watched every episode of Mr. Show and TV Funhouse, and of course he’s from right here Chicago. But this is supposedly the final season of Morel Orel and all beats are off, or maybe it’s the gloves that have come off. SOMETHING is off because the people behind the show are taking the scorched earth approach to TV. Basically, fuck it.
Here’s what I know; right in the first episode of the season it said “final season.” And a few months ago on the Adult Swim website they had some video footage from a comic convention where Dino and the guys from The Venture Bros had a little on stage fracas. Dino didn’t like the hair on the other guys and wasn’t happy that his show had been canceled. The Venture guys didn’t seem to attack back but said stuff along the lines of the station keeps quality shows no matter who makes them. In other words, if your show was good or even BAD but people watched it you wouldn’t be cancelled.
So this is the cauldron in which the current season of Morel Oral has been brewing. I WANT TERRIBLY to tell you what’s happened in the 5 episodes I’ve seen in the last 2 weeks. Ok, let me stop for a second. 5 episodes in 2 weeks? Yeah. The station has been showing 2 a week, plus tonight early online access to Sunday’s show. Why would they be doubling up like this? I’m guessing it’s in some contract somewhere that the shows have to air at least once (if they get past the censor) and not go straight to DVD because it’s the feeling I’m getting is just somebody saying “just get it over with.” So we have these new shows and…well it’s weird.
The episodes are very Pulp Fiction. I can’t tell if they were created like that or the network is just showing them out of order. It appears they were created like that because many scenes are repeated in the “right” time and sometimes you might see the scene earlier where it doesn’t seem to fit exactly but you get the idea. So maybe it’s more like Momento. At any rate, that still doesn’t examine the CONTENT. Holy Shit! The content of the show is bananas. Plain and simple it’s gone from a “dark” show to a BLACK show. The premise has always been this sort of satire of the Davy and Gumby religious claymation from the 60’s (50’s?), but they really only hinted at certain things up to this point. This season, on the hand, is just explicit as can be and from subject matter to depiction it’s just RAW. Take no prisoner, cut no corners, no vagueness or innuendo. Basically; show that shit is the theme they’re working from. And what can I say? I mean it’s both entertaining and sad. The obvious thing that people are saying on the message board is that it’s “disturbing.” No it’s not. I know much more hardcore shit, and even regular people should not be “disturbed” in 2008 almost 9. But it is sad that it takes a show’s cancellation for people to both stop censoring themselves and for a network to allow a creative team to really express themselves. You know what I’m saying. It’s a backed into a corner type situation. So hurry up and watch, at this rate it’ll be off the air in a few more weeks. And I’m guessing the re-run potential is pretty low for this season.
Well I really haven’t been a VH1 viewer since almost since the last Celebrity Rehab I that wrote about. And what can I say I just got sucked in last time, since I really am not a celebrity guy or drug guy-so both of those combined SHOULD have meant nothing to me, but the show just caught me. So this time I’m on board early. Me and Dr. Drew baby! As soon as I saw a commercial for it last week I knew I was going to watch. So I’m writing this AS the first episode is airing.
The collection of people is as diverse as you might expect. First up is “non” patient Gary Busey. It’s been said before and it’s been said repeatedly that Busey is bat shit crazy. He shows up allegedly clean but acting so weird that his behavior would tell you he’s ON drugs, but who knows…
And then there’s model/actress Amber Smith, who’s on prescription drugs. Taking drugs on camera and everything! She looks like a sad case. But really, she’s there to cleanse the palette because next up is Rodney motherfuckin’ King. THE Rodney. I mean the whole premise of his beat down is that he was SO deep into drugs that the cops had to beat him down. 3 words; vomiting out truck. Next up is Tawny Kitaen, who’s a little like Amber; a rather typical Hollywood pretty lady who from back in the day who finds her way to drugs-but watch as she gives Busey the big blow off. Speaking of typcial; of COURSE there’s a rockstar, Steven Adler from Guns N Roses. And a jr. rockstar, somebody from American idol, Nikki McKibbin.Speaking of jr’s there’s also Rod Steward’s son Sean. Jeff Conoway is back in a STRANGE spousal abuse situation/co-dependance situation.
Here’s a little more grief for you. Below is Rodney King being asked about his feeling regarding the beating.
And here’s Ambe in full blow detox.
The mentally challenged are funny! Or so NBC has recently decided with their new sitcom Kath and Kim. This is the same network running and WINNING AWARD’S for 30 Rock and the Office. They must feel like they owe Molly Shannon since she’s a Saturday Night Live alumni. But HOW DID THIS SHOW GET ON THE AIR? As best I can tell, the show is about a slightly stupid mother, Shannon, and a REALLY stupid and emotionally underdeveloped daughter-played by Selma Blair! Selma Blair? What corner is she so backed into that THIS seemed like a good idea?
I guess the whole sort of “core” of the show is that these 2 women, and their age and developmentally appropriate male partners, are supposed to be “mall people.” You get the feeling some writer said, “man I ran into such an airhead at the mall, those kind of people just spend their LIVES there. God, I bet they’re just stupid 24 hours a day. Oh My God! I should write a TV show about it, and all those stupid people will be FANS and then the really smart people like ME can watch with a cool and aloof condescending eye!” Not realizing that she herself has to be an idiot to invest all that energy and FUTURE energies into spending time immersed in such a vapid and shallow venture. Some comedy shows are broad, like 3rd Rock from the Sun, where the characters are space aliens and that makes sense. But what happens when the characters are supposed to be normal but ACT like aliens? The show is horrible. I predict it will not be back next year.
Meanwhile NBC also premiered My Own Worst Enemy a few days ago starring Christian Slater. The show had pretty bad ratings, but I think it was pretty good. That’s because the premise is a Sci-Fi staple. Guy has a “spy” personality he doesn’t know about. Phillip K. Dick’s story about this theme was used for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone in Total Recall. I can’t remember the name of the book but another book that I thought was by Stasheff or Heinlein also had that type of story. Not to mention the John Woo movie Paycheck with Ben Affleck.
So this idea of an agent who voluntarily erases his memory is just an interesting premise. That Gondry film explores the idea too, but the motivation for the memory erase in that case is love and emotions in general. But these other works take the concept of job and lifestyle being removed from the conscious mind to a new level. Who are “you” really? Is it your collection of memories that make you “you?” Or would you be the same if you didn’t recall any of that at all? A totally separate person in the same body.
And let’s here it for Slater. His acting has never been in question, but in this show he gives believable performances as both “characters.” There’s a comic co-worker in the show who has a similar split personality. But Slater is beginning to get a nice middle-aged gut, and those features of his face, that were unique as a youngster, are beginning to look positively satanic now. And that’s actually GOOD. We’ve had enough Johnny Depp and Ryan Seacrest to last us a lifetime, where is all the character in the face of male actors these days? The entire WB (now called CW) network is just littered with these plain faced bastards.