In 1992, following the success of Twin Peaks, David Lynch was the darling of the US TV Networks. So much so that they gave him pretty much free reign to produce a situation comedy, in the hope he might repeat his inexplicable success. On The Air is one of Lynch’s forgotten works, and rightly so, because it was actually pretty awful. Only seven episodes were made, and only three of those were shown in the US before it was pulled (although BBC2 screened all seven over here). It has never made it to DVD, so is very hard to track down, but there is a low quality VHS scan of the first episode on YouTube, if you need to see it.
The one thing I remember about it though, the one good recurring joke, was Blinky. The show was set in a 1950s TV studio, and Blinky was the blind “Special Effects Sound Engineer”. In each episode we’d get to see at least one scene as the viewer sees it, and then again as Blinky sees it.
Voice Over: “Blinky Watts is not blind. He suffers from Bosman’s Simplex, he actually sees 25.62 times as much as we do. If we were to see what Blinky is seeing right now, it would look something like this:”
I am reminded of this by Rudy, my boy, who’s now 2 3/4, and sees the world in a very different way to the way I see it. So when I’ve had a bad day, and I’m obsessing over something very important and very serious, I step back and instead review the day how Rudy saw it.
There is a poster splattered across our town at the moment, advertising the new Uma Therman masterpiece, which I can only assume is a rare example of advertising honesty; a poster designed to be deliberately poor so as to warn the unsuspecting off from seeing what I can only assume must be a god-awful film. Here we have three people, seemingly standing very close to each other but somehow each lit completely differently. One of them appears to be made of rubber, while Uma looks like she has had new eyes painted onto her closed eyelids, like a corpse. Add two weird disembodied hands in the foreground, and … hey, it’ll do, get it to the printers. Someone got *paid* to create this y’know.
There are no shortage of horrors that can be witnessed on DVD, but the one that has the power to disturb me even 20 years after I first witnessed it is the brutal act Molly Ringwald commits upon Ally Sheedy at the end of The Breakfast Club.
I better give a spoiler warning for the ending of the film, even though if you haven’t seen it by now you probably aren’t very interested. Although it might make the film more enjoyable if you know the right time to look away. Anyway, in short; the grebo gets a make-over.
The Breakfast Club are the Rebel, the Jock, the Princess, the Basket Case and the Nerd. They all have their emotional journeys through their days detention and come out of it having learned something about themselves. All very life affirming and touchy feely so far. But Sheedy’s character, the Basket Case, the cute goth who quite reasonably has little interest in the rest of the lame stereotypes she’s stuck in a room with, has her emotional journey lead her within the viscious influence of Ms Ringwald, the Princess. Who then does THIS to her:
Clearly, the moral here is that all any confused, introverted, iconoclastic emo kid really wants is a makeover. This message; of conformity, superficiality, and a twisted sense of personal fulfillment, sends shivers down my spine.
Poor, poor Ally. Having had her individuality stripped, her face painted, and a stupid bow tied in her hair, she is then further humiliated with the sexual attentions of Emilio Estevez, The Jock (who only notices her for the first time once she’s dressed like bloody Barbie). Maybe it’s just me, but can you really see that relationship working? Was the sequel ever written, where we revisit Alison after the traumatic gang-rape by the rest of the football team?
Jim Henson is best known as creator of The Muppets. But he was also a bit of a hippy, and on the road to mainstream success he had quite a reputation for surrealistic / avante garde film. Below are three fine examples of his lesser known experimental work.
The first, Time Piece, was nominated for an Oscar in 1967, and is one craaazy groove, daddio. The other two are short collaborations with legendary electronica pioneer Raymond Scott.
Time Piece (1969) 8 mins
Ripples (1967) 1 min
Limbo – The Organised Mind (live on The Johnny Carson Show 1974) 4 mins
If you don’t have much else on this afternoon, Henson also did an hour long TV film called The Cube, for a 1969 series called Experiments In Televison. It is pretty unique, and can be seen here.