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Friday, September 17, 2004

Post of Shame

And here’s where I lose all my readers.

There is a show on network television that is among the funniest, wittiest and most engaging parodies ever presented on the medium. It has aired more than 1,000 original episodes, and while some have been truly tedious to sit through, it has never failed to make me laugh out loud at least once each time.

There is a show on network television that understands camp as an art form and celebrates it freely. Not the forced, self-involved “ha, ha, we’re so bad, we’re good” type of low humor that passes for camp these days (I’m looking at you, “Best Week Ever!”), but the truest definition of pure camp – the unadulterated wallowing in its own banality and unoriginality much like a marinade, soaking it up until it becomes a purely original, funny work in its own right.

It has everything – murder, betrayal, infidelity, witches, warlocks and orangutans.

It is the only place on network television you may ever hear a mother offer her daughter advice with the immortal words, “Don’t put down being a ‘trampy slut’ too much…it’s paid off for me really well!”

It is the only show on network television where not only did a young woman unwittingly have sex with her half-brother, she’s currently pregnant with their soon-to-be mutant offspring.

It is the only show on network television where a real, live orangutan is a regular cast member, serving as a live-in nurse and no one in the small town even blinks.

It’s called “Passions”. It’s on NBC during the daytime.

It is not a soap opera.

It is a knock-down, drag-out, hands-down hilarious parody of “daytime dramas” and all the bullshit associated with them.

Now, I know what you’re all thinking (besides, “Holy Christ, John, you total FAG.”) – isn’t that the really bad soap opera with the witch and the midget?

Well, yeah. I mean, it used to be. But trust me, it’s so much more than that. This show realizes every minute of every episode just what it truly is and what it’s doing. It’s going for laughs – highly conceptual, big payoff laughs. It does take some time and investment to get into it, but once you do, the laughs are worth it. For example:

• A few years ago, the goody-goody Bennett house got sucked into Hell. It began when the show’s former heroine, Charity, realized her bedroom closet was actually a portal into the netherworld.

• The show’s current heroine, Sheridan, has been killed or pronounced dead a total of seven times in five years. One of those times, she was literally blown to bits, pieces of her body identified in an autopsy and yet she still came back to life.

• One of the show’s villains used to be confined to a motorized wheelchair which she would use to great effect, at one point peeling out and leaving smoke and tire tracks in her rush to stop her son from sleeping with another character.

• A psychotic lesbian befriended another of the show’s villains and together they schemed to capture a pregnant Sheridan, hold her in a pit for months until her baby was born, then dump Sheridan’s body in the ocean (where she died and yes, was revived once again later). We then found out the psychotic lesbian was neither psychotic nor a lesbian, but in fact Sheridan’s father with a really good rubber mask.

I could go on and on. Granted, the show these days is a pale shadow of what it once was at its goofy height, but there are still plenty of laugh-out-loud moments if you can invest the time. It’s definitely a show that requires a TiVo to truly appreciate, since there are plenty of tedious moments to zip through.

Just don’t call it a “soap opera.”

Fine Folks

"...and by hubris, I mean overweening pride!" - Johnny's Greatest Hits

25 Year Loop
Fucking Woof
David Live
The Night Before
Jobriath Was First
She's in Parties
She's in Parties Pt. 2
Tales From the Dragon Club
Tales From the Dragon Club Pt. 2
Okay, California...You Win
How to Sell Used CDs

Previously on "Johnny Is a Man"...

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