Saturday, November 28, 2009

His blood runs through my instrument

The real brilliance of Seth Green and Matthew Senreich's "Robot Chicken" is that it may be the first sketch comedy series to fully grasp the concept that, while blasphemy is funny, blasphemy against "official" religions is pretty hard to do these days: It's played out, for one thing, and the ever-decreasing irrelevance of organized faith in much of the modern world means that there aren't as many people who'll actually be offended.

SECULAR "religions," on the other hand, are much more a part of our lives now, and the jokesters who "get" that tend to be the ones who're on the real cutting-edge now - think Stewart/Colbert's open mockery of journalistic gravitas, South Park's constant assault on politically-correct piety, "Borat's" goosing of the politeness-instinct, that sort of thing. Or recall that in it's early prime "The Simpsons" drew gasps for it's evisceration of the sitcom nuclear-family ideal.

"Robot Chicken's" idol-to-be-shattered of choice is the religion of Nostalgia: Their main recurring them is taking the movies, TV shows, cartoons and - especially - playthings that my generation (which is, of course, also Green & Senreich's generation) tends to hold sacrosanct because of the impression they made on us at certain ages. And they're damn good at it - I've seen an aquaintance who regarded themself a casual student of the "nothing can offend me" school of psuedo-nihilism respond with bug-eyed shock at RC's re-fitting of "The Neverending Story's" famous "SAY MY NAME!!!" exchange into an (innevitable, in retrospect) sexual context; and I have an aunt whom I'm fairly certain would burst into tears if someone showed her the "Wizard of Oz alternate-ending" sketch.

With that in mind, my favorite RC sketch of all time is probably the short bit goofing on Dan Fogleberg's song "Leader of The Band." If you're not familiar, here's the song:

So... yes, one of those sappy/sentimental ballads; but if you knew of it beforehand you probably also know it's up there with "The Cowboys" or "Brian's Song" in the "stuff guys are allowed to cry during" pantheon. People play this song at their father's/grandfather's funerals. There's a pretty good chance that at some point, somewhere in the English-speaking world, someone is fighting back manly tears while quoting from this in the vicinity of a casket and/or headstone.

So, here's what "Robot Chicken" did with it...

When I saw that the first time, I remember thinking "That's WRONG!!!" and THEN realizing that this was the first time I actually MEANT it in a long time. Brilliant stuff.


Tim said...

Not sure if this will freak you out or make you laugh.

Apparently in Japan you can marry videogame characters. As if the Japanese weren't giving me enough reason to move there already.

Anonymous said...

Can't see the clip if you're not in America.

Anonymous said...

He went to guam to have the ceremony. And it's not a legally binding marriage, just a japanese citizen going out of country to have a 'marriage' with his ds game. He doesnt get tax breaks or anything.

tyra menendez said...

optimus prime getting cancer, rainbow bright as a pseudo-britney spears a la chaotic, soundwave transforming into a portajohn, inspector gadget getting cyberdine parts, the carebears killing the cousins and getting doomed to become new jersey. the list goes on.

on that octive, why is it "just a pop-culture" reference, in regard to something like star wars, but a "literary allusion" if you do the exact same thing shakespear or even hitchcock? isn't the original trilogy represented in the smithsonian? why is that still "low culture"?