Saturday, September 24, 2011

Got Wood?

Without a doubt Walt Disney’s Pinocchio, which followed Snow White into theaters two years later in 1940, is one of the finest, most amazing, and beloved animated films ever made, still towering over even recent animated films on a visual level. But let’s look a little deeper at some of the plot’s flaws or weirdnesses. Remember, I love this movie; this is all from affection. I love Pinocchio because he can always get wood.

Okay, there’s a big visual problem right off in the first shot. Jiminy Cricket is singing When You Wish Upon a Star (A song which has resulted in people wishing on me for decades, and not cleaning up afterwards either.) while seated on a candle-holder above a book of Pinocchio. A spotlight picks him out. (Where is he singing, and who is putting a spotlight on this bug?) The shadow of the shelf is clearly seen, and equally clearly we see that Jiminy is not casting any shadow.

"Shadow? I don' need no stinkin' shadow!"

Hello? This has bothered me every time I’ve ever watched this movie. (Beside Jiminy are books whose spines show the titles Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. Disney making promises? Disney would release his Alice 11 years later, and his Peter came out 13 years later, as did his movie of Peter Pan.) At the instant he finishes the song, they cut to a much closer shot, and suddenly the shadow he was missing before appears, so it’s not like they forgot he needed a shadow. They just didn’t bother.

Budget concerns? In a movie with one shot that cost over $50,000? That $50,000 shot is the multiplane shot from Jiminy’s point-of-view of Gepetto’s shop as Jiminy hops closer, which comes only a moment later. It’s an amazing shot, especially on big screen.

In the book Pinocchio, the cricket is killed by Pinocchio in chapter one. Clearly Jiminy had a better agent when dealing with Disney.

Kindly loveable old Gepetto has no child to love. Aaaww. Why doesn’t he? Was there never a Mrs. Gepetto? Was he sterile? Gay? He couldn’t adopt?

Jiminy leans his hand on the hugely bustled butt of a china lady, and begs her pardon, This is the first butt joke in the film, but far, far from the last. Disney’s anal infatuation appears over and over. (We have already had by this point the shot of the cricket warming his butt on the hearth.)

It’s also the first, but far from the last instance of the cricket showing lust for human females. This is an odd idea, animals with sexual lust for human females, that reappears throughout Disney. Look at the way Donald Duck goes bananas for human ladies in The Three Caballeros. (“We’re three caballeros, three gay caballeros, they say we are birds of a feather.” Birds? Yes. Caballeros? Arguably. Gay? Clearly not.)

Cleo the goldfish shows a lot more interest in Gepetto’s doings than any fish I’ve ever seen. Neither Cleo nor Figaro the kitten can speak, but both understand English (Why Italian Gepetto speaks English, without even an accent, is never dealt with. Later, the villainous Stromboli at least has an Italian accent. The villainous coachman has an English Cockney accent.)

Later, Gideon the cat wears clothes (as does Jiminy), and functions as a person, though he can not speak. (He had a voice. Mel Blanc, in his only job for Walt Disney, recorded all his dialogue, but then the decision was made to make Gideon Harpo-esque, and all his dialogue was cut. All that remains of Mel Blanc in the finished film is a hiccup. In his charming autobiography, That’s Not All Folks, Mel says he worked 16 days on the movie at $50 a day, so he was paid $800 for a single huccup. At that rate, I would be a billionaire!) (I had lunch with Mel Blanc once, in 1976, a total charmer. We spent the entire lunch talking about Jack Benny.)

But Honest John (In all materials about the film his name is given as “J. Worthington Foulfellow,” but in the film he is only ever called “Honest John.”) is a fox who can speak, and even sing - as famously does Jiminy - and seems accepted by humans as a normal member of society, albeit a crooked one. What planet is this?

Next butt joke: In the song Little Wooden Head (What an explicit anatomical feature to sing about in a children’s movie, though it can make me sing my brains out!) is the lyric: “Little wooden feet and best of all, little wooden seat in case you fall,” followed by Gepetto giving the lifeless puppet a prat fall on his little wooden butt.

Cleo breathes out bubbles throughout the movie. Where is the air for those bubbles coming from?

Third butt joke: One of Gepetto’s cuckoo clocks marks the hour by showing a fat woman spanking a little boy’s explicitly-depicted naked butt. Yes, there is little boy ass crack 10 minutes into the movie.

Cleo the goldfish likes being petted and having her stomach tickled like a kitten. Ever known a fish to enjoy physical contact from a human?

Cleo and Figaro are reluctant friends. I’ve known a lot of pussycats in my long, long life, and they all loved goldfish too, preferably for lunch. As Cat sings in Red Dwarf: “I’m gonna eat you little fishey!”

When Gepetto declares it bedtime, Cleo goes to sleep. I’ve never heard of a fish that sleeps.

Gepetto smokes in bed. He even has a peg on his headboard to hang his pipe on, so he does it habitually. Wonderful comic actor Jack Cassidy and beautiful actress Francis Drake might have warned him against this, except that both of them burned to death after falling asleep while smoking.

The Blue Fairy grants Gepetto’s wish that Pinocchio be alive. I’ve known hundreds of fairies of all colors, and not one of them has ever granted my impossible wishes. My water taps here at Morehead Heights, mounted ever-less-firmly atop mighty Tumescent Tor, which thrusts insistently skyward, still do not dispense Vodka.

Gepetto sleeps with his glasses on. Bad idea, though not as bad as smoking in bed.

Pinocchio comes to life already able to speak, fully conversant with English, and with the intellectual level of a 7 or 8 year old boy. Where did that knowledge come from, particularly given his brain is pinewood, and he’s been sentient for only 2 seconds? I guess he came already programmed, like a PC.

The Fairy gives Pinocchio a goal: prove himself brave, truthful, and unselfish, and he gets to become a human being. No other human was ever given this entrance requirement, though it would be a vastly better world if they were. But why didn’t the Fairy just create him that way? I mean, where does his personality traits come from if not from she who made wood sentient?

The transparent coloring of the Blue Fairy is exquisite.

Once again, Jiminy’s lust for human women comes to the forefront. The Blue Fairy cons Jiminy into being Pinocchio’s conscience by hitting him close up with her beauty, and Jiminy blushes deep pink out of desire for her. Okay, I’ve seen fairies charm insects they should have squashed many a time. She makes him kneel before her to receive her blessing, like all fairies I know. At least he gets a new outfit out of the deal. She gives him a magic make-over. He needed it, He was wearing the raggediest outfit I’ve ever seen household vermin wear. It’s Queer Eye for the Straight Bug.

In the charming third musical number, Give a Little Whistle, Jiminy teaches Pinocchio to whistle. How does a creature with no lungs, made of solid pine, expel air? And what was Disney’s obsession with whistling? Snow White also sings Whistle While You Work, though at my age, one pants as one works.

Fourth butt joke: As Jiminy slides on the violin strings in the song, the string snaps, and strikes him in the ass (Who knew crickets even have asses?) hard enough to send him flying.

Jiminy flirts with a mechanical wooden human-esque milkmaid in one of the clocks. Now he’s lusting for mechanical wooden human effigies!

Fifth butt joke: Gepetto lights a match by scratching it up his own butt. I guess he has a hot ass.

Turns out Gepetto keeps a loaded pistol under his pillow. He’s going to blow his brains out in his sleep that way. What other dangers for the unwary sleeper are lurking in his bed besides pipes and guns? A bear trap? Rick Perry? 

Sixth butt joke: Pinocchio startles Figaro when he’s walking under Gepetto’s nightshirt, and the cat flies straight up into Gepetto’s butt under his nightshirt, which so excites Gepetto that he fires one off, and his pistol shoots also.

Seventh butt joke: Jiminy asks to “cut-in” on two mechanical dancing figures by taping on the female’s hugely-bustled butt with his phallic umbrella handle. Then he asks the human effigy “How’s about sittin’ out the next one, eh?” He is obsessed with lust for human females!

Pinocchio still has one wooden aspect, he can not feel physical pain, as we see when he sets the index finger of his left hand on fire. (This still is flipped. In the film it's his other hand, Figaro is on the other side, and the basket is on the other side. A giveaway is that the feather in Pinocchio's hat is on the wrong side. I do not know why the image is flipped but I'm too lazy to flip it back now.) At least until Gepetto reaches Cleo’s bowl, when it is his right hand that is on fire and gets dunked. Pinocchio’s burnt glove self-repairs, or maybe it “heals.”

I don’t know how much money they spent on the stunning multiplane shot of the town waking up the next morning, with the camera panning about, tracking in through archways to different locales, while dozens of animated schoolkids and their parents enter and scamper about, but one biography of Disney I consulted (out of 5) cited the shot as costing $1000 a second. That would nail it at $44,000! Anyway, the shot is worth it.

When Pinocchio asks what the other children are, and Gepetto answers “Boys and girls,” Pinocchio makes a momentary face on “girls,” but then enthusiastically asks: “Real boys?” Gay! (Cleo and the Blue Fairy are the only female characters of any importance in the movie. This is a very masculine fable.)

From here on in, we must pay attention to the timeline, because it’s central to the plot problems of this move. Okay, it’s the morning after the night when Pinocchio comes to life. We’re roughly ten hours into the timeline here.

Enter Honest John & Gideon, a fox and a cat who wear clothes and are accepted as full members of human society. We do not see any other animals in the film who are. They are struck by the novelty of a living wooden mannequin, but no one is struck by how weird it is to have a fox and a cat being a sly comedy team amongst humans. A talking fox in clothes, considerably larger even than a wolf? Well what’s so strange about that?

Eighth butt joke: After tripping Pinocchio, Gideon sweeps his butt with a whisk broom, then picks his rear pocket.

Ninth Butt Joke: As Honest John begins seducing Pinocchio into a life in the theater, he admires his many physical aspects. As he says: “That physique,” he taps Pinocchio’s butt with his phallic cane. We’re in very dangerous waters here, but he is about to launch into the great song An Actor’s Life For Me, my own personal theme song. It also contains the shockingly honest lyric: “Hi diddley day, an actor’s life is gay.” True, but this is a Disney film!

During the song, when they cut from a ground-level medium-shot, to the stunning overhead tracking shot of them singing as they dance down the street, the book and apple core Pinocchio is holding vanishes out of existence.

Jiminy oversleeps his first day (out of only two days total) on the job. I had no idea insects slept at all, let alone overslept.

We then jump ahead to that evening. We are 24 hours into the story. Pinocchio is opening in Stromboli’s puppet show, where he has learned a musical number but, as one would expect from an amateur with only one day’s rehearsal, he screws up the choreography.

No matter. He’s an instant star. Jiminy momentarily abandons him with the great line: “What does an actor need with a conscience anyway?” Good question.

Well Stromboli gets an Italian accent, though we’re told he is a gypsy.

Tenth butt joke: In the I’ve Got No Strings number, the Dutch girl puppets sandwich Pinocchio between their out-pushed butts.

When the French female puppets begin doing a can-can number, Jiminy does a double take, and then puts on his glasses, enthralled. More lusting for human female effigies. I may never take my clothes off in front of a cockroach again, unless he’s very cute, and I’ve never seen a cute roach.

Back at Gepetto’s house, it’s dinner time and Pinocchio is not home from school yet, so they are holding dinner. I understand Geppeto’s concern for what happened to the boy (Gepetto should have taken him to school himself, rather than shove a ten-hour-old wooden boy out the door unchaperoned.), but why wait dinner? Pinocchio is made of wood. He has no stomach nor digestive system. He can’t eat or drink.

Cleo has a piece of cake in her bowl. Even if fish ate cake, no one wants cake that’s been immersed in water. Ew. Let them drink cake!

Figaro’s dinner is a cooked fish, which Gepetto intends him to eat in full view of Cleo. Double ew! Cleo must live in constant terror.

There is no Stage Puppet’s Union, so Stromboli decides to keep Pinocchio as an unpaid slave, though he gives him a worthless slug as token payment before locking him in a birdcage, and threatening him by throwing an axe into a “dead" puppet, in a gruesome shot. Disney never backed off from terrorizing kids, and certain scenes in Pinocchio would be at home in a horror movie.

Eleventh Butt Joke: When Stromboli mentions Constantinople, he shakes his gigantic ass in our faces in a comical parody of a belly dancer.

When Jiminy catches up to Pinocchio in Stromboli’s coach, he refers to himself as “your old friend.” Pinocchio has been alive at this point about 24 hours.

Pinocchio and Jiminy both routinely wear their hats indoors. Manners, boys, manners!

Does our heroes own resourcefulness get them out of the tight spot they are in? Nope. The Blue Fairy arrives and frees them. A deus ex machina halfway through the movie. Sloppy plotting.

Pinocchio’s famous trait of having his nose grow when he lies has always brought to my filthy mind the image of a bed partner for him one day, whether male or female (He shows no interest in the female puppets that so entrance the cricket), screaming in the heat of passion: “Lie to me, Pinocchio, lie to me! Lie bigger! Lie harder! Tell me Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. I need a BIG lie!”

Twelfth butt joke: To hide in shame when the Blue Fairy appears in Stromboli’s caravan, Pinocchio faces away from her and bends over, presenting his butt to her in greeting. So Pinocchio is a bottom. By the way, this is the proper way to greet a fairy that materializes in your room. The fairy’s “magic wand” will set you free that way.

Twelfth-and-a-half butt joke: Jiminy is also presenting his butt to the fairy, with his head buried in bird seed. Kinky! He’s playing “Tweety” with her.

Pinocchio’s nose doesn’t merely grow. It sprouts twigs, leaves, a bird's nest, and hatches two baby birds, suddenly called into existence by Pinocchio’s lies. Well, they aren’t the first to be given life through someone lying to someone else.

(Also, we are told by the Blue Fairy that Pinocchio is made of pine. Why then does he sprout leaves instead of pine needles?)

The fairy says: “This is the last time that I can help you.” This is a lie. She will help him twice more.

Next we have a talking fox, a large dressed cat hiccuping with Mel Blanc’s voice, and a Cockney coachman drinking and plotting evil together in an Italian saloon. I’ve never seen Englishmen drink with talking animals in a bar in my life, anywhere in the world, not just Italy.

Okay, this is a big one. Let’s look at the whole Pleasure Island scam. To wit: it involves kidnapping large numbers of little boys, indeed, requires a steady supply of them to be profitable. Wouldn’t wholesale disappearances of children be noticed by - oh - hundreds of people? The perfect crime, this is not.

The scheme requires the creation, construction, operation, and apparently drastic nightly repairs to, an entire, rather large and elaborate, theme park (the theme being “Wholesale Hooliganism”), which would cost millions!

What do they get from this? A supply of work-donkeys to sell to farmers, salt miners, circuses, zoos, etc. Is the market for donkeys so enormous that there’s a chance in Hell of this scheme being even remotely profitable? Wouldn’t it be vastly more cost-effective to just breed donkeys in the normal manner, not to mention the legal risk? As horror movie, the Pleasure Island sequence is magnificent. It has terrified kids and grown-ups for 71 years, and caused nightmares beyond counting. It is incredibly disturbing and frightening. But as an economically feasible scheme, it’s beyond idiotic. This has bothered me for many decades, ever since I was old enough to stop being freaked out by it, and able to think about it rationally.

And one other point: given that it posits that turning kids loose in a huge theme park causes them to mutate into donkeys, isn’t it ironic that Walt Disney would go on to create the most-popular theme parks on earth? His studio successors have even put Pleasure Islands into the parks, in the Pinocchio rides in the Fantasylands, and in Orlando, actually making a genuine island called Pleasure Island. Is the Disney corporation running a secret sideline in black market donkeys? (The studio was even run for many years by a major jackass named Eisner.) Do they have signs saying “Unruly children will be turned into donkeys and sold”?

“I’d rather be smart than be an actor,” says Pinocchio. You can be both (Hello!), but it’s still a damn funny line.

In “diagnosing” Pinocchio, Honest John listens to Pinocchio’s “heart.” His chest is solid wood. He has no heart, nor any internal organs at all. This fact will figure in my greatest plot objection, later on.

When Honest John gives Pinocchio his “ticket” to Pleasure Island, he gives him an Ace of Spades. This is known as the Death Card. That implication is probably intentional on the studio’s part, but Pinocchio is not being threatened with death, rather with life. When he begins changing into a donkey, his ears and tail are meat, not wood; he’s becoming a real, live donkey.

Early in the film, roughly 50 clocks inform us that Gepetto went to bed at 9 PM. This means Pinocchio’s birth occurs about 9:05 PM. We are explicitly told that the coach for Pleasure Island leaves at midnight, so when Pinocchio goes off on it, he’s 27 hours old. I’m going somewhere with this timeline. Trust me.

It’s not really presented as a gag, so I won’t list it as a butt joke, but on the coach, Lampwick repeatedly uses his slingshot to shoot rocks at the asses of the asses pulling the coach. Though it’s never made explicit, plot logic demands that these donkeys are all ex-little boys.

The whole trip to Pleasure Island and the indulgence of the boys there features spectacular animation.

I should add that the large sidewheeler steamboat that transports the kids to the island is another large expense in this scheme. The price and demand for donkeys must be gigantic.

Among the unique attractions at Pleasure Island are a tent in which boys are encouraged to just beat the snot out of each other in a giant, ongoing brawl, and Tobacco Road, where they boys are given free cigars. The latter becomes ironic when we remember that it was smoking that killed Walt Disney.

Another attraction is the “Model Home,” a large, mostly glass palace the boys are allowed to vandalize, including smashing complex stained-glass windows. Just repairing that for the next batch of boys must cost more than they could get for the donkeys, not to mention requiring weeks to fix.

Lampwick strikes a match on the Mona Lisa, which has already had a chalk stick figure drawn over it. Well, I’m sure it’s merely a reproduction.

The Pleasure Island scam also seems to employ a lot of men, many pockets to pay, many mouths that know of this ongoing, ferociously cruel and horrific crime.

When we see the park later, it seems to have suffered damage to the tune of millions of dollars. Donkeys better be worth more than diamonds.

Fortunately for Pinocchio and the plot, he and Lampwick are the last to transform into jackasses. I can accept that the factors of Pinocchio’s pure spirit, his utter lack of malice, and the fact that he’s made of wood not flesh, delayed his transformation, but why is Lampwick the last flesh human to transform? He’s pretty much an irredeemable delinquent from the moment we meet him, the very essence of a Bad Influence. He was a jackass going in. Even on the coach ride in, he gave as one of the island’s best features: “no cops.”

The pool hall shaped like a giant 8 ball is a swell idea.

Pinocchio learns that smoking will make you sick. Too bad Walt Disney didn’t pay attention to that lesson. But how does Pinocchio smoke? Again, he has no lungs! The danger of smoking to him isn’t lung cancer, it’s setting himself on fire, something he’s already done once.

“Ah, you smoke like me grandmother,” says Lampwick, a really funny line, though bewildering to Little Dougie. One of his grandmothers was a Mormon, and the other was a Christian Science Practitioner, so neither one of them ever smoked. (Perhaps the funniest line I ever heard in a gay porn movie was a bottom shouting at the top who was giving him too gentle a pounding: “My grandmother fucks harder than you do!”)

As you can see from this picture, lungs or no lungs, Pinocchio smokes a cigar the way most people smoke a medicinal joint. Don't Bogart that cigar, Pinoc.

Lampwick’s nickname for Pinocchio is “Slats.” That’s pretty funny. He seems to take it in stride as no big surprise that his sidekick is made of wood.

When Lampwick picks up Jiminy, he asks: “Hey, who’s the Beatle?” How amazing that Lampwick already knows of The Beatles, given that the two oldest ones, John & Ringo, were only born the year Pinocchio was released. How prescient. (Ringo Starr is 71? Oy vey!) Lampwick is also very blase about meeting a talking cricket who is dressed better than he is.

Once we get to the donkeys, we are presented with one of the most nightmarish movie sequences in all of 1930s & '40s Hollywood cinema. And bear in mind, while Pinocchio escapes (Apparently the moment he’s off the island, its power to transform him is escaped also.), no one else does! All the other children go to their Hellish fate with no sign of rescue or restoration ever.

Nor are any of the Pinocchio villains ever apprehended or punished. They all get away with it, scot free. Pleasure Island remains an ongoing unspeakable horror. Hey, Blue Fairy, how about intervening here?

Pinocchio has been drinking beer. How? He has no throat nor stomach. Does he absorb it? Pinocchio’s time as a were-jackass reminds we theatrically-minded of Nick Bottom’s stretch as a were-jackass (right down to Shakespeare’s punning name for him: “Bottom” becomes a literal Ass.) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a role quite successfully played onstage in 1997 by Little Dougie. But with Bottom, it’s pure, hilarious farce. For Pinocchio, it’s total terror.

The shot of Lampwick’s hands clawing in terror at Pinocchio, only to mutate into hooves as he does so is more horrifying than anything Universal Pictures was making in that era, and their The Wolfman came out the following year. Few took their kids to The Wolfman, but everybody took their kids to Pinocchio.

Does the shot of Pinocchio’s ass’s tale suddenly shooting out of his butt constitute butt gag # 13? No. It’s not a gag, but a shot that sends the kids watching into a frenzy of terror as their now-beloved little hero is suffering the same horrible fate they’ve just seen befall Lampwick.

Pinocchio reaches home before dawn of that same one night. He’s been gone less than 24 hours. Since Gepetto didn’t leave to look for him (And after his initial departure he must have returned. Because when he left the first time, he left alone, but now Cleo and Figaro are gone with him) until after dark (Let’s say 8 PM-ish), he can’t have been gone more than 8 or 9 hours.

Yet the house interior is covered in dust and cobwebs. An army of wildly industrious spiders must have been spinning their tiny brains out. The place looks like it’s been abandoned for years!

A great deal of plot mechanics are now lept over by having the Blue Fairy, who just a few hours earlier said she could never help Pinocchio again, send him a message via Dove-Mail that informs him that Gepetto went looking for him and got swallowed by a whale.

In less than ten hours, Gepetto has exhausted all the land around his home where Pinocchio could be, gotten passage on, or chartered, or already owned, a boat, collected his pets, went to sea, and got swallowed by a whale. What a busy night he’s had.

Pinocchio now, for the first time, begins showing the qualities the Blue Fairy told him he must achieve, by instantly charging off, free of fear, to find and rescue his dad. Good thing for Gepetto that he didn’t run into Honest John a third time. (Honest John got paid a large bag of gold for seducing Pinocchio, and is never seen again, also getting off scot free to enjoy his ill-gotten goods. No retribution for anyone in this movie, despite some of the most despicable characters in the whole Disney canon.)

It is dawn of the second day of Pinocchio’s life when he ties a rock to his tail and jumps into the sea, not committing suicide, but on his rescue mission. He’s about 33 hours old now.

The whole sequence of Pinocchio’s underwater search is of surpassing visual beauty, of a type not seen in a Disney movie again until the exquisite Finding Nemo, over 60 years later.

But note, because it's important later, that Pinocchio has no problem being underwater for an extended time. Someone without lungs, who does not breathe, can not drown. Of course , the tendency of wood to float can be a problem, but he has that rock tied to his tail. He and Jiminy (whose failure to drown is more problematic) are even able, somehow, to speak to each other underwater.

Butt joke thirteen: To stay underwater without floating upwards, Jiminy puts a pebble in his pants, which makes him look like he has, let’s say a large load in his diapers. I’m sure that, after the donkey sequence, many a kid in the audiences over the years did too. It’s a movie where you could say there was not a dry seat in the house.

The fish in the sea also understand human language, at least enough to flee in terror when the word “Monstro” is somehow spoken.

A clam emits bubbles. How? One bubble is so large, Jiminy is contained within it, but he pokes a hole in it, and it fills with water. This has no relationship to actual air-in-water physics. What cosmos is this?

Finally, at 1 hour, 13 minutes and 12 seconds into this movie, we meet the most dynamic and fully-realized character, my personal favorite, Monstro the Whale, although the character is a monstrous libel against whales, beautiful and gentle giants of high intelligence.

Monstro is gorgeously designed and magnificently animated. Inside Monstro there is a lot of open air. A lot! Also a lot of room.

And here we find Gepetto, Cleo (In her bowl. She is, after all, a fresh-water fish), and Figaro, who, having eaten seafood, has now been eaten by seafood, and Gepetto’s boat. There is no evidence of anyone else. So either he was sailing it himself (though it looks large enough to require at least two if not three to man it), which would mean he either owned it already, or was able to buy it and sail it off in that one evening, or the crew all died when Monstro attacked the boat. The question is never addressed.

Gepetto and his pets are starving to death. They act like they’ve been inside that whale for weeks. Gepetto actually says of his fishing inside the whale: “Not a bite for days.” Is he counting the days before Pinocchio was brought to life? Because the timeline proves that, even if we say it’s noon by now, he can not have been inside that whale more than 12 hours at the most. Is it a dire situation? Yes. Can they be starving to death in less than 12 hours? Well, can you starve to death in that time? At most, they might feel a tad peckish. This is the aspect of the movie that bothers me the second-most, Gepetto’s behavior like he’s been without food for a month, when he tromped off from a full table of dinner at most 18 hours earlier, probably less. The idea of eating Cleo has apparently not occurred to either Gepetto or Figaro.

Also, Monstro seems to be part Tardis, because he’s considerably larger on the inside than he is on the outside.

All the fish we’ve met up to now have been anthropomorphized to some degree, but now we get a school of tuna that are rendered as realistically as possible. Whenever Monstro moves, it’s wildly wonderful animation, and the tuna eating sequence with Gepetto fishing inside the whale is tremendous.

That, when panicked, Pinocchio manages to swim faster than the tuna is, let’s say remarkable. It seems silly to call something "implausible" in a movie about a live wooden boy.

Again, the idea of a whale sleeping seems unlikely to me, and if it did sleep, it would not do so on the ocean floor. A whale breathes air. It can drown.

The shots of Jiminy with Monstro’s eye and teeth are hilarious scale-joke shots. Great comic fantasy art.

Pinocchio getting swallowed by the whale is somewhat scary, as getting swallowed by a whale always is. Just ask Little Dougie. He’s been swallowed by a few whales himself. And we’ve both been swallowed by Monstro ourselves together, at Disneyland.

Side note, I only fairly recently realized that the Monstro that swallows you into Storybookland in Disneyland these days is not the original Monstro, built back in 1956, shortly after the park opened. When Fantasyland was redone in 1982, the old Monstro was torn down and a new, smaller one replaced it. See the comparison in the photo below. I’m embarrassed that it took me 20 years to notice the change.

Dougie is always attracted to folks who are hung like a whale. Here we see Little Dougie back when he was young and less repulsive, French-kissing the Original Monstro, in hopes that he's a sperm whale.

Coming out and telling your parents you’re gay is hard enough, but how do you explain to Dad that your hooliganish behavior has turned you into a were-ass? Fortunately, Gepetto is into unconditional love. He may be a loveably befuddled character, but he’s also a saintly father figure.

For someone who is at most 40 hours old, Pinocchio is more resourceful than Papa, and quickly devises a brilliant, simple, and effective plan to escape from the whale, involving fire, a phenomena he understood so poorly only 40 hours earlier that he set his finger on fire with little more reaction than “Pretty, pretty.”

And how in hell did Gepetto build a raft like that so quickly? Remember, he can not have been in that whale even 12 hours, no matter that he says it’s been days. (Unless Monstro is some kind of Tardis whose inside runs at a different time rate than the outside universe.)

However, if I were made of wood, I’d be a lot more careful about setting a big wood fire, and also, some of what he’s burning may be relatives of his. (In a sequence written and possibly animated, but cut from the film, Gepetto was to tell Pinocchio about his grandfather, a pine tree.)

They need a big, showy climax, and the whale chase certainly provides that. The escape from and chase by Monstro is a great sequence. Never has any of the numerous attempts to film Moby Dick ever achieved anything like this great action scene. Frankly, the best qualities of Moby Dick, another libel on the sweet nature of whales, are essentially literary anyway. It’s not actually good film material, despite the varied and interesting cast of characters.

I can find no evidence that sneeze specialist Billy Gilbert was called in to provide Monstro’s giant sneezes, but Walt was well aware of his talent in that area, having used him for the voice of Sneezy shortly before.

And now, at last we come to my biggest problem with this movie’s story: The Death of Pinocchio.

He drowns.

How can Pinocchio drown? How? He has no lungs. He does not breathe. He can not drown. In fact, I would think that to kill him, given his life is created and sustained solely by fairy magic (much like Little Dougie’s) I don’t see how he could be killed at all, short of burning him up. If you chopped him to bits, by logic, the bits would still be alive until such time as the Blue Fairy took back the life that she created. He wasn’t smashed against the rocks, as he might have been in that climactic moment. We can see he is undamaged.

Drowning is the only possible cause of death for him here, except he can not drown. Remember, earlier we saw him spend a lengthy and protracted period of time strolling about the ocean floor, even chatting with fish and with Jiminy, all without drowning. (Nor did Jiminy drown, which is more problematic, since he does breathe to live.)

So what killed Pinocchio? The most deadly movie hazard of all, Plot Necessity.

In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White sort of dies, everybody has a good cry, and then she is resurrected by Love’s First Kiss, and rises again, explicitly Christlike, and all feel joy as she rides off to Happily-Ever-After-Land. It worked really, really well, and Walt Disney blatently decided to go with that end-formula a second time.

Pinocchio dies so that the Blue Fairy, once again helping him even though she said she couldn’t do that anymore, can resurrect the now-noble, self-sacrificing boy, even more Christlike. (He died for his father.)

You’d think that merely getting back to shore safely (Even Figaro and Cleo in her bowl wash up on shore OK, by a wild coincidence, right beside Gepetto.), with his bravery and resourcefulness, would be enough for the ending, with Pinocchio getting his promised reward of becoming a genuine human being, but no. Walt felt the need to go all Easter Sunday on us: Death and Resurrection, along with transformation into a little boy who is, let’s be frank, not as cute as the wooden version.

But joy after tears repeats the audience-pleasing catharsis, and audiences for 71 years have been elated by the joyous end of Pinocchio. And so, after less than 48 hours of life, Pinocchio is real. Music, dancing, and Jiminy gets a medal he tells us is “Solid Gold,” though it says right on it “18 KT, which is not solid gold.

And it tells us at last that when we wish upon a star, our dreams come true. It’s bullshit, but it’s sweet. The real moral is that it’s good to be brave, truthful and unselfish, however, if you get killed in the process, don’t expect any fairies to save your ass, though I know a few (more than a few) who will savor your ass.

Cheers darlings.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Emmies Schmemmies!

Ah the Emmy Awards, three hours of the TV industry telling itself how important and talented and wise it is, before we switch back to Jersey Shore. Here’s some Rye musings I had as I sipped some rye.

When was the last time you saw a TV show that opened with an alien making gay jokes to an out Lesbian? I know: same old, same old.

Leonard Nimoy was a last minute replacement for Alec Baldwin who had already shot his bit when he learned that Fox had cut a Rupert Murdoch joke of his. Alec walked out, and I say good for him.

This show was, after all, produced by Mark Burnett, aka, Palin’s Pimp, that is, the man who produced Sarah Palin’s unreality show about raping Alaska’s wilderness and killing its wildlife, pretending it was a “Nature Show.” The only nature it revealed was that of the abominable Mrs. Palin, and the revolting Mark Burnett. Next up from Palin’s Pimp: A Dr. Phil type show with people getting help and compassion for emotional problems from Mr. Empathy and Sanity himself: Dick Cheney. It will be called Have a Heart. Anyway, good for Alec. I applaud him. Someone with principles at last.

If I had Superman’s eyes, or a TV the size of a Cinerama screen, I might have been able to see who I was supposed to be laughing at in those tiny apartment windows in the opening filmed bit. Palin’s Pimp, my TV doesn’t come equipped with a microscope. Please remember to make the images larger than an amoeba.

Sure enough, a gentle ribbing of Bristol Palin appeared in the opening filmed musical number, a joke so soft it drew no blood. Comically eviscerate her or don’t mention her at all. (However, some of the number was indeed funny. Don’t tell them I said that.)

In the number, Jane Lynch bragged that her haircut “cost more than your house.” One does not brag about being such a dope you’d pay a huge amount of money for a haircut, particularly in this economy. You can get that exact same cut for $12 from most any competent barber. Here, let me give you my barber’s card, a Mr. S. Todd of Fleet Street. And afterwards, stop by downstairs for a yummy meat pie. Their speciality? Long Pig. Tastes like chicken.

You know, much as I like Jane Lynch, her character on Glee is simply too obnoxious and mean-spirited to be enjoyable, or even bearable. Are they still doing that unfunny throwing colored liquid on people thing? They did it on last year’s Emmys, and it didn’t amuse me then. I am really beginning to wonder how anyone can even stand watching Glee.

When they switched from on-film to live, with live singing instead of lip-synching, you could really hear the difference; suddenly Jane was singing flat, very flat. The audience gave her a standing ovation for going deeply off-pitch. What a forgiving house. Still, for the most part, the lyrics were clever, with some cut to the satire.

Jane’s monologue, however, was a definite step up from the song. It was pretty damn funny. The Betty White line made me laugh, as did “finger pistols.” Why would Jane be “afraid” of Tom Cruise? She’s twice his size. She could pick him up and put him in her pocket or just step on him.

The intro singers (Which included Joel McHale) , promised that none of the Comedy sucked, and then included a clip from Mike & Molly. Liars!

Nice to be reminded why I never watch Jimmy Kimmel.

The first award was finally handed out at 16 minutes into the show. Great. No wonder it runs 3 hours. At least it went to lovely Julie Bowen, Jack’s ex-wife on Lost. She must have dressed hurriedly, because 90% of her top was missing. I’ve seen women in hardcore porn who was more decently attired.

Interesting. Apparently all the men on Modern Family are “Supporting Actors.” as the women on it are all “Supporting Actresses.” Modern Family is a great show, and unique, the only TV show in history with no leads at all! Or maybe Baby Lily is the only lead.

Ty Burrell had a very funny acceptance speech. Imagine writing such a good piece when your win is far from assured. Four nominees from the same show could easily split the vote, and give the award to the effeminate boy from Glee.

Once again, Ricky Gervais was the funniest person in the room, and he was in London. Hilarious bit. “What bunch of cowardly/Countrymen...” I can’t imagine that gag getting on the air even five years ago. I roared with laughter.

On the other hand, Jane’s comment about Ricky was not funny, and sounded rather like someone was miffed that he was funnier than she was.

Who wrote these idiot, unfunny voice-over jokes as the winners walked up? Less funny and less funny as it went along.

Having done his Arrogance Crazy Tour only to crash and burn, Charlie Sheen was presenting as part of his Apology & Humbleness Tour, which has had him on most every talk show on earth over the last two weeks, letting us know that he’s not the insane obnoxious dickwad he was six months ago. Good luck, Chuck.

Charlie’s message of good wishes to the show that had to fire him was classy on paper. If only he sounded like he meant it, rather than sounding desperate to look like he had suddenly grown up. He’s a professional actor of talent; he ought to be able to fake sincerity better than that. Anyway, it was tasteful of him to resist doing a tasteless gag or two (That’s my job). I’m sure he’ll make up for it tomorrow on his Comedy Central Roast. When does Mel Gibson come out to give good wishes to gays & Jews?

And consider this irony: Sheen so destroyed his own reputation that now, when he comes out and is totally professional, and even sane, the house is a little bit disappointed. The audience wants to see the flame-out, not a man who woke up to reality, and is trying to show he’s not still a flaming jerk.

It was lucky that Modern Family has no leads at all, as that prevented it from sweeping every comedy award. Sofia Vegara was dressed far more decently than her co-costar Julie Bowen had been.

Why did all the Lead Actresses in a Comedy come up on stage? Why? When Amy Poehler came up, I laughed, thinking it was a genus bit, running up to accept the award when she’s only been announced as a nominee, but no, that was not it. As soon as the big-boned woman from that horrible sit-com came up, it was destroyed. When they all came up, it just became meaningless.

The plus-sized woman from Mike & Molly won. Hello? I watched one episode. It sucked so badly, I’ve never turned it on again. I can not believe she is funnier than Amy Poehler or Tina Fey. (Who admittedly, is not exactly starved for Emmys. She’s running out of shelf space.) Was the academy just afraid that if she lost, she’d eat them? And then, in her acceptance speech, she tells a blatant lie: “I work with the best cast.” Darling, was your entire cast nominated, the way Modern Family’s was? Did your show get any other nominations?

The filmed bit parodying The Office was very funny, even if I had not a clue as to who the guy delivering crystal meth and the girl who didn’t understand the word “work” were.

Amazing Race wins Best Reality competition again? Honestly, it’s past time for it to go to So You Think You Can Dance.

I had to run the writers for my beloved The Daily Show a second time, this time in slo-mo, to read all the hilarious faux-Newsweek captions they’d each been given. Well worth it. Hilarious. That’s why they’re the winners yet again; they are the best.

Sorry, I had to fast-forward through Michael Bolton. Like most sane people, I can’t stand him. And is his face rotting? He looks like he’s decomposing without dying first. He’s starting to look the way he sounds. And then someone named Lea Michelle said that Michael Bolton “still looks good.” How does she read the teleprompter if she’s stone blind? And the use of the word “still” implied that at some time in the dim, remote past he was good looking. When was that? Pre-birth?

Don Roy King, director of Saturday Night Live, has a 14 year old daughter? He looks like he should have a 14 year-old grand-daughter.

When The Daily Show stops being the best show in its category, it may stop winning. Still, what a great line-up of nominees there. Six great shows. No mystery as to why Jay Leno’s disgraceful mess that once was The Tonight Show was not nominated. These are shows that do not dumb down the way Leno relentlessly does. They all play at the top of their intelligence, and invite the audience to rise to their level. Jay wants to make sure every overly-stupid, low-IQ Teabagger in America tunes in. He’s number one in ratings but, with George Lopez now gone, he’s in last place in quality. Well Pride can’t buy you more cars than any one man can drive in a lifetime, so whore it out, Jay, whore it out.

(30 years ago I knew and highly respected Jay Leno, as the comic’s comic. Boy, those days are now deader than Osama Bin Laden. It makes me sad.)

The first acceptance speech that was so conventional, read off a card, that it bored me all to heck came halfway through the show, from the guy who won for writing Friday Night Lights, which I found ironic. If that’s how well that show is written, I’m glad I never watched it.

Was Margo Martindale too drunk to get up those steps?

Frankly, with Lost over, it’s hard to get interested in the Drama acting categories.

Please. Martin Scorsese nominated a with a bunch of TV directors? Who do you think would win? Zero suspense there. For a riveting director, he sure gave a dull speech. Nothing more boring than reading off a list of names. It’s like reading aloud The Begats.

Nice to know that Peter Dinklage’s lovely wife is not a size queen.

Whoa. Julianna Margulies husband is hot! What show is he on? And how unusual of Julianna to wear a top made of giant Swiss cheese.

Kyle Chandler, if you can’t think of what to say, stop talking and get off.

I quickly hit Fast-Forward when LL Cool J ran out and began yelling at me. I have these old fashioned ideas that shouting at someone is not “singing.”

How in Hell did that hatchet job on the Kennedys get nominated for anything? Is Best Hatchet Job a category, or Best Libel?

Jane Lynch introduced the cast of Entourage as the reason she’s a Lesbian. Okay, but there were at least three of them I would shag in a heartbeat.

By this point in the evening, there had been so many references to Jane’s Lesbianism that any Teabaggers who had tuned in, rooting for the Kennedy hatchet job to win, had already turned it off and begun writing angry letters in crayon, complaining about the “deviants” on TV. “Now I gots to ‘splain to my yung ‘uns ‘bout preverts. Hows I s’posed a do that? That bootifool dyke makes me sick.”

Seeing Doctor Who’s Stephen Moffett sitting there applauding disappointedly when Downton Abbey won in his category made me sad, not that the winner didn’t deserve it. But that was a really tough category.

Maggie Smith won. Of course she did. She is a goddess, and she was hysterical in Downton Abbey. (Of course I saw it. Didn’t you?)

Barry Pepper won an Emmy for assassinating the character of our assassinated hero Bobby Kennedy in that tabloid, sleazoid garbage The Kennedys??? Now I am OUTRAGED! Everyone involved in that libelous garbage should be run out of the industry, not rewarded. Pepper, shame on you, shame! I will never forget how Bobby made my heart soar when I saw him speak live, from 15 feet away, three days before he was murdered, and how devastated I was those three days later. So now he’s been murdered again, and they rewarded the accomplice. Shame! Shame! Shame! Everyone who voted for Pepper, go fuck yourselves with a hot poker, you evil bastards. You made the Teabaggers happy. And Pepper, you better not ever cross my path. Goes for you too, Kinnear. Bastards!

Oh and by the way, Bobby was a billion times better looking than Pepper also. Pepper, I have a suggestion as to exactly where you should lodge your ill-gotten Emmy. The coward didn’t even show up. Good.

What a let-down that everyone involved in The Kennedys were missing from the Dead People Montage.

A film editor for The Beverly Hillbillies was included in the Dead People Montage. Okay, Fine. But you know, two years ago, my dear old friend Ed Cotter died. He won an Emmy many years ago for editing Happy Days, yet he didn’t make the Dead People Montage that year. How come this editor made it and Ed did not? What is the criteria? Again, Ed was an Emmy winner.

Since it would be crass to go right on and hand out another award on the heels of the Dead people montage, instead they broke, and spent three minutes trying to sell us stuff, because that isn’t crass at all.

Okay, Guy Pearce was funny. He could insert himself into my inner circle (More of an oval, actually) any time he likes!

Kate Winslet won Joan Crawford’s Emmy! And unlike Joan, Kate showed up, though she was so flustered, she forgot to wear a bra. Mildred Pierce is a fine James M. Cain novel, but I still prefer Double Indemnity.

Jane, “Hakuna Matada” does not mean “Circle of Life.” As everyone who made The Lion King #1 at the box office this weekend for the first time in 17 years knows, it means “No worries.”

Oh look, there’s my darling Bobby Morse, standing up there with the rest of the cast of Mad Men, not getting to speak. Love you, Bobby! From How to Succeed to Mad Men, Bobby just can not get out of advertising in the 1960s.

Gee, I wonder which show will win Best Comedy series. The suspense is unbearable.

I am so over Gwyneth Paltrow. She has become such a bore.

Hey, who won Best Reality Show Host? I was rooting for Kat Deeley. No one ever announced the winners of last week’s Not-Good-Enough-for-Airtime Emmies.

I drifted off, Which show won Best Comedy? I have no idea. It’s a wide open field.

And I’m ready to drift off again too, so cheers darlings.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Surviving the Horror of BB13.

Oh, the horror, the horror.

Last Wednesday, CBS decided we needed a 90 minute finale of Big Brother 13. They were wrong. 90 seconds would have been too long for that horror. We had the worst season ever, even worse than the infamous winter season back during the writer's strike, bottomed off by the worst winner ever. Voldebitch won. I may vomit. Strike that. I DID vomit!

And the worst thing is, even I have to admit that Boobiac deserved the win. She remained in the house despite effort after effort to get the bitch out (I blame Queen Kalia, who learned just what a commoner she is, in fact, about as common as you can get), and she won a hell of a lot of competitions. She even used her own hypocrisy to win, by endlessly saying how she hated "Floaters" while getting rid of players and keeping floaters around so that she would win any final vote. Edsel has the brain of a Model T, and Knobby, the Ultimate Floater, is just a useless waste of flesh. 

Knobby had a particularly terrible last show, since he finally decided now to start PLAYIN' this game, not realizing in his incredibly dim excuse for a brain, that the Final Episode was leaving it way too late. "If not now, when? If not me, who?" he asked us. Answers: When? Never. Who? Anyone but you. His wild ego trip when he was finally evicted, his grandstanding hollering as though he was greeting his fan clubs on a triumph was especially revolting. I picture Tori Spelling somewhere, voting for Edsel over him. Meanwhile, his performances in the final challenges were his most pathetic yet. He actually bragged about what he will do when he returns as an "All-Star". Hey dipshit; you are no All-Star; you are an All-Pathetic. All-Stars are not people so stupid that, in an underwater competition, they throw away their goggles, only to find that they can't see underwater without them, and have to get out and go get them again. Too stupid even to be funny.

Queen Kalia's exit show was also an embarrassment, as the stupid woman, who had failed due to her own indecisiveness, especially in her idiot wimp-out the week she allowed Lawon to evict himself (Lawon, you  win the title of The Stupidest BB Player of All-Time) instead of sticking to her guns. Idiot! Idiot! Idiot! Watching her freak out and not just weep, but wail and cry and shriek in the toilet was sickening and disturbing, almost as disturbing as the fact that there is a camera recording the toilet at all. I wonder who has the unenviable job of monitoring that footage every day.

Edsel, about riding the giant mixing blades: "I'm feeling nauseous, and I definitely do not want to give up on this competition, although I don't want to be swimming in my own throw-up either, so it's like a Catch-22." No it isn't. Edsel, don't pretend you've read - a book. I have read Catch-22. In fact, it's one of my favorite books ever. (Right now I'm reading Erica Heller's Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller was Dad, The Apthorp was Home, and Life Was a Catch-22 - a book title that also doesn't seem to understand what a Catch-22 is, but then, as Erica admits in her book, She's never read Catch-22 any more than Edsel has. Her book is really Yossarian Dearest, an adult child of a celebrity raking in cash taking literary revenge trashing her parent in print. Refusing ever to read her father's best-known book is just more spite from a spiteful middle-aged woman. I met Joe Heller, and he was extremely nice to me, but then, I never tried to get a pony or an allowance raise out of him.) A Catch-22 is a situation that has been rigged with circular logic so that you can never win, not a dilemma with two unpleasant alternatives. In a Catch-22 there are no alternatives.

Edsel also sealed her own fate when she opened Pandora's Box out of greed, and so saved Voldebitch. Moron! Notice how when Edsel opened Pandora's Box, it saved the last vets, whereas when Voldebitch opened it, it benefited all the remaining houseguests, therefore also benefiting Voldebitch, though it was punishment for Jesse. (Alison Grodner, STOP bringing back Jesse! No one on earth except Jesse is ever glad to see that stupid asshole.)

Dani's statement that "[Voldebitch] is the biggest floater in the house," just isn't true. Biggest bitch in the house, and outside it too, yes, but a floater she was not. Come on. She won more competitions than anyone else. It was Voldebitch's social game that sucked. She had an Anti-Social Game.

Jordumb on Edsel: "Portia has done nothing in this game. She just walked around in a bikini, cooked." Actually Jordumb, except for cooking, you just described yourself. Edsel won several challenges and made several big movies, and several big, big goofs. Jordumb looked at the pretty colors. Jordumb, advocating Knobby the House Elf over Edsel for the win: "Adam walked in the house from Day One was playing the game." No he wasn't. He tried playing it the last week, but was no good at it once he finally tried.

In the end, Leatherface emerged as the season's true villain: a lying hypocrite who, in the end, cast the vote that gave the money to Voldebitch.

What was with The Chenbot only letting two non-jury evictees speak and then turning it back over to the jury to yap? Not a word did Dominc or Cassi get to say, and frankly, I was more interested in their POV than Evel Dick's. They didn't let Lawon speak either, but that was probably wise, though it robbed him of his last chance to announce that he was ready to start PLAYIN' this game. Keeping Keith silent was very wise.

But I'm too revolted by the whole season, and the disgusting outcome to discuss it any more. I watched it before Survivor (Thank you , DVR) So at least I had Survivor to wash the bitter taste of BB13 out of my mouth.

At least on Survivor I had a new cast, where, for now, I only hate one of them going in, Coach Wade, whom I called Voldepussy the last time I had to flog her. I have issues here too though. They've once again brought back two veterans, Voldepussy and the Wizard of Ozzy. (Ozzy has done porn. I've seen stills that revealed his hidden assets. I like that.) Plus they've kept that stupid Redemption Island crap that fouled up last season.

Having no newbies to hate lasted only until the intro of Russell's nephew. Oh please! Contestant nepotism? This little moron is highly religious, a sure sign of an absent intellect, and actually thinks he can hide his last name despite it being tattooed on him
TWICE. He thinks he'll be able to keep his shirt hiding them all season, on a show where the men all go shirtless. Even that repulsive little geek Cochran had to take his shirt off, something that should be illegal for him to do. And could he get a tarp to cover his gigantic nose? 50% of that geek's body weight is nose, and the rest are pimples.

Hantz Junior said: "I came out here to change the course of the Hantz Family's name." The "course"? He's mixed his metaphors to where the sentence has no meaning, but then, this kid is married and a father at 19, and a devout churchgoer. He clearly has no brain.And to make matters worse, his name is Brendon. We have to vote Brendon out AGAIN???

It was certainly hilarious to see how horrified the Blue Tribe was to get stuck with Voldepussy on their tribe. Can't blame them. Suspicious as I am of Blue Tribe rancher Rick (He's from Utah, which means there's a large chance he's a Mormon. Also, his full name is Rick Nelson! Everyone knows Rick Nelson is dead. Shouldn't he be on the other tribe? Because if he's Rick Nelson, that makes Ozzy his dad!), I had to respect his statement re: Voldepussy: "There ain't no dragons, and, ah Hell, he's in his 40s." So true, although on her CBS online bio, it says that Voldepussy is 39, but given that most everything else this fabulist says is a lie, I see no reason to take her being "39" at face value. As Oscar Wilde wrote: "London society is full of women of the very highest position who, of their own free will, have remained 35 for years." As Voldepussy pretends she's a man, she's upped it 4 years, to Jack Benny's perpetual 39.

I loved Ozzy giving a quick grope to one of Jeff's tits before he ran off. Can't blame him. And that's not all he groped, as the above illustration shows. (Remember that you can click on the pictures to see them larger and in more detail.)

Given that Hantz Jr and Voldepussy are on the Blue tribe, I am already rooting for the red tribe, though the presence of Hot Albert mitigates the tribe somewhat.

 Let's look at some players.

One of my favorite people on earth is playing on the Blue Tribe, my friend Dame Edna Everage. She is very much a survivor. Go Edna, g... What Dougie? The Edna on the show is some other Edna. The real Dame Edna is in Rome at the moment? Drat! Oh. Never mind. What is this Edna wanna-be? She's an anesthesiologist. Great. Her job is putting people to sleep. She'll be riveting on the show.

I have a favorite contestant already: Albert. Remember Fat Albert? Well this is Hot Albert! Good Groucho, he is GORGEOUS!!! He is an Adonis. He gives his profession on his CBS online profile as "Baseball/Dating Coach". What the Hell is that? Here's a coaching tip; don't date baseballs; date humans, especially ones that look like Hot Albert. He gives his hero as Crash Davis, the character Kevin Costner played in Bull Durham. His hero is a fictional character. Like anyone who actually exits, Al? Mind you, many of my best friends are complete fictions, but still, a hero should be a real person. But so what? I loves me some Hot Albert. He didn't get much airtime this week, but soon.


This Keith seems a vast improvement over BB13's idiot horndog Keith. Keith is Little Dougie's middle name, but Dougie on the best-looking day of his life was no Keith. Too soon to see if he's more than just beautiful, but he's seemed level-headed and sane so far.

Repulsive little Cochran is a Superfan. He has "a Buff collection." Oh great, another Knobby, albeit, Knobby is no law student. Cochran has book smarts, but he's also an obsessive Survivor fan. Obsessive fans are always creepy and pathetic, unless they're superfans of me, or WC Fields or the Marx Brothers. He said of being on the show: "This is an out-of-body experience for me." Good idea. Getting out of that eyesore body is an excellent idea! I predict he will never make my Studly Hunk of the Month, nor ever lose his virginity. (To do so would mean cheating on his own hand.)

I immediately liked Papa Bear. Hello, a career as an out-gay NYPD detective? Wow. That took major balls. This is a man with courage. He instantly won my respect, and I'm rooting for him. Of course, once the tribes merge, he'll probably be rooting for Albert. I'd offer to shag him, but he didn't seem interested. I'd suggest Little Dougie for him, but he'd probably find Little Dougie too old and decrepit.

When he brought up being a bear, some of his tribemates thought he was referring to Wall Street bears. Jeeze guys, where have you been hiding out that you don't know that plump hairy gay men are called bears? Admittedly, he's a Polar Bear, but after a few weeks on this show, when his fat is gone, he'll be a silver fox.

Right off, in the first challenge, we had Voldepussy doing his yoga crap to center himself to lose the challenge, which was a worked-out version of a classic old logic puzzle. Since logic is beyond this moron, this challenge was over before it began. Ozzy had no chance to lose it. I thought opening with a one-on-one challenge was a DREADFUL idea, but the tribes, to the production team's surprise, turned it into a group challenge by loudly coaching their champions. As it turns out, logic puzzles are too much for the whole Blue Tribe.

Neither Voldepussy nor Ozzy the Great and Hunky got the puzzle rules in their heads right. We saw both of them get corrected by Probst. Actually, when it was shot, they fouled it up so badly, they actually had to stop it completely and drum the damn rules into their heads, and then restart the puzzle portion of the challenge. King Cheops built pyramids faster.

Okay, Semhar wins the "Most-Pretentious" Award for Episode One for being a "Spoken Word Artiste." Oh puh-leaze. You know why they call them "Poetry Slams"? They're named after the way people slam the door behind them as they flee from them. Nice gobbledygook she spouted, but it's not making me throw out my Edgar Allen Poe books. And what the Hell kind of name is "Semhar" anyway? I'm so glad we won't be seeing much more of her, unless they somehow manage to send someone even lamer to Redemption Area next week, and she somehow survives their duel. I miss the old days of Survivor, when some really idiotic old lady would get evicted first episode, and when you saw her again on the reunion show, you couldn't even remember her name.

Cochran was wise to not want to get undressed. Please remain dressed, Cock. He also runs VERY effeminately.

Voldepussy told his tribe he was not a threat. They already knew this. What he is is the tribe joke.

What's with the Russian commie on the Blue Tribe? Shouldn't she be on the Red Tribe?

Edna likes Voldepussy. Edna, you are not worthy of your divine namesake.

Christine the Evil Car thought she was being sly looking for the idol in the first 10 seconds. Way to paint a target on yourself, lady.

Jim is a Medical Marijuana Dispenser owner? Hello Jim! You're my new second-favorite, after Albert. I don't care that you're awfully doughy (You won't be long anyway), I'll shag you. Just bring along my medicine. I need it right now to fight off the nausea of seeing Vodlebitch win BB13. I needs me some over-medicating! Little Dougie chimed in "Me too!"

So he told them he's a science teacher. Why? Nobody votes out the marijuana dispenser! Tell them the truth and you'll be the most-popular guy in camp!

Dawn wanted the shelter built. Ozzy The Great & Terrible wanted to loaf in the sun. Dawn, you're right, but crush your control-freak tendencies or you'll be going bye-bye next. She called him "a little Bob Marley" to her. Dawn, Jim is the Bob Marley with the ganja! Sober people are such a drag to be around. She said she didn't think Bob Marley was "a planner." You ever worked a music tour, or written a song or organized enough rehearsals to make professional music? It takes a planner. Marley is just happy while he does so. Me not liking Dawn yet. In fact, I've never liked Dawn, which is why that's usually when I go to bed.

Brendon's ashamed of his "Loco" tattoo. He should be, but he is loco. He's also got some very bad church-based sexual repressions (though not enough to have kept him from becoming a dad by 19), and called one girl on the tribe a "Delilah." Oh puh-leaze! Later he complained of Mikayla "flaunting herself" by dressing exactly the way all girls on Survivor have always dressed, even as the cameras caught him literally lurking hidden in the bushes, peeping at Mikayla's titties. (Which found it's way onto The Soup this week.) I foresee a "her slutty clothes forced me to rape her; she was begging for it" defense coming at his trial someday. He may well turn out to be worse than his uncle, while not anywhere near as smart. Repressed pervs are dangerous. Stupidly over-religious (which is to be religious at all) repressed pervs are the worst of all. This boy is a stalker-in-training. He'll be serial-murdering "sluts & whores" one day, mark my words. I just hope he waits until he's off TV. He's making my skin crawl, and I look terrible when my skin has crawled off.

"I wish we had an astrologer here," said Russian-spouting Sophie, hoping to be voted Most Stupid. She's a medical student. Yes, just what I like in a doctor, someone who believes in the idiocy that is Astrology. "Your finger is broken."

"What should I do about it?"

"Let me consult your chart?"

"My medical chart?"

"No, silly. What good would that be? I meant your astrological chart. You're a Gemini. Hmm. Nope. No point in treating you. Your chart says 'bad things are unavoidable at this time.' I'll have to amputate."

On her CBS online bio she lists one of her Pet Peeves as "People who walk slowly in cold weather." Hello? Why do give a crap how fast strangers walk in any kind of weather? You know my Pet Peeve? Idiots who like Astrology.

The morons on the Blue Tribe seemed to be thawing to Voldepussy. No, no. Stay focused on voting that gasbag out. I am not having to put up with The Dim Lord for another season.

Dawn has missed her calling. She should be a slapstick comic. The woman falls over more than Snooki. "This has nothing to do with the game. This is two people talking," said Ozzy to Dawn, who believed him, thus cementing her position as tribe buffoon. Dawn, you idiot, it's ALWAYS the game. You're letting Ozzy know that you're a lame-o they should get rid of. Anyway, if she's falling apart on Day Two, her tribe won't want her on Day 10, when she's a gibbering wreck. Butch up, bitch!

Cochran and a machete is a recipe for lost fingers.

The onscreen caption gives Brandon's occupation as "Russell Hantz's Nephew." Do you have to go to school for that? Or did CBS just not want to put up "Professional Floozy Stalker"? Once we saw him with his shirt pulled up, exposing his - ah - physique, I became very glad that his tattoos force him to remain shirted, and not flaunting himself like a Delilah. But I'll give him this, he seems to be able to fish, though it's because fish smell like floozies, and so he had to stab them and stab them and stab them and stab them and stab them and...

"How big?" Mikayla shouted at him when he caught a fish. Oh my Dog, she is a Delilah, and a size queen to boot! Where's my butcher knife? Floozies and temptresses must die! (Brandon's answering gesture back told her he has a tiny little peepee. I am so unsurprised.)

Madame Sophie the Astrology-Lover said she suspects Brandon is hiding something. Duh. You are a real Einstein. The guy who won't take his shirt off is hiding something. You betcha. He's hiding the bodies of 14 Delilahs he's buried in his basement.

The Immunity Challenge was Classic Survivor: an obstacle course topped off with Cocoanut Basketball. Plus it inspired Albert to play shirtless, and Semhar to self-destruct, a winner all around. Semhar stupidly insisted on being one of the hoop shooters, which it turned out she sucked at. If you volunteer for a particular task in a challenge, you damn well better be able to do it, or you'll be having one-woman poetry slams for the crabs over on Redemption Area.

Much as I wanted Voldepussy voted out first, the Blue Tribe owned this challenge. Did you see Albert haul Brandon up the wall by himself? That man is awesome!

Jeff Probst: "Rick's got a hand on it!" Jeff! How uncalled-for. So he plays a little pocket pool to motivate himself, does that mean you should announce it to the world?

You could see Brandon studying the way Rick chopped through the ropes like a row of Delilahs. That machete may make Mikayla 8 inches shorter before this series is through.

Jeff: "Mikayla is a scoring machine!" So he thinks she's a Delilah too?

Mikayla's CBS online profile gives her occupation as "Lingerie Football Player." What the Hell is a Lingerie Football Player? Sounds like it involves flaunting herself. It gives her Personal Claim to Fame as "I was on the cover of Playboy February 2011 and met the hard working Hugh Hefner." Good gracious, she IS a Delilah, or at least a full-fledged floozy! Doing the Playboy cover is the very definition of flaunting yourself. And she "met" the "hard working" Hugh Hefner. Is "met" what they're calling it now? And did she meet the Hugh Hefner we see on TV, the doddering dirty old man in the Popeye-The-Sailor hat also, or just this "hard-working" one. I have trouble believing that Hugh, at age 194, gets all that "hard" anymore. As George Burns once said about sex after age 80: "It's like shooting pool with a rope." Creepy as Brandon is, he may be right about Mikayla the Delilah. She is so going to end up in a shallow grave down by Redemption Area.

Jeff: "Keith drills one for Savaii." Ooh great. Which one? Who are the Delilahs on the Red Tribe? Keith, drill me next! (Dougie, don't look so scared. When do I ever call you by your middle name?)

Semhar "didn't realize the cocoanuts would be so heavy." How lame is that? The average weight of a cocoanut is 1.5 pounds. Oh my aching arms! A pound and a half? Who do they think she is, Hercules? Albert's testicles weigh more than that. Cochran's nose weighs twice that! (Which may account for his posture. Stand up straight, boy!)

At the Blue Camp, the hunt for the clue was on. No one found it though. Stacey, the scary mortician (Brendon may have some work for her when he goes Delilah-Hunting.) actually looked right at the clue, and removed a stick from the same tree bore it's in without noticing it. Very observant. With razor-sharp skills like hers she will go far. In fact, all the way back to America. Talk about being literally clueless!

Semhar tried to make Jim sound bad for admitting he hated losing, in order to draw fire away from herself. More lameness. "No one can feel worse than I did right now,"  she said, apparently having never seen anyone in end-stage cancer. Way to charm votes away.

Ozzy did not want to vote out Semhar. In fact, he wants to keep all the hot girls. Of course he does. He's voting with his dick, which can be a dangerous thing to do if it gets caught in the voting machine. What he really wants to do of course, is cement a loyal harem of hot, dim girls to be his cadre of supporters. He quickly found that the tribe would prefer losing the full-of-herself Spoken Word Artiste who was speaking too many words: words like: Let me shoot cocoanuts, I'm good at it, or Jim, you're a poopyhead. A true Spoken word Artiste knows when to shut up. Semhar does not. Anyway, Jim was not so stoned that he didn't sniff out what Ozzy was really up to. Jim is smart, and if a fourth of Purple Haze were to arrive at Morehead Heights soon, I might even say more nice things about him later on. Yes that's right. I'm bribe-able.

Jim went right to Cochran to tip him off that Ozzy was trying to divert votes from Semhar-the-big-boobed to him. (Ozzy loves Delilahs, frequently! He's done straight porn, remember.)

Cochran: "Survivor is not meant to be a comedy routine." I beg to differ. That's my gig, Pasty Boy. Fortunately for him, the others want a strong tribe without full-of-themselves "Spoken Word Artistes" whose mouths write checks their bodies can't cash, and they don't want Ozzy assembling a harem to carry him to victory. They all saw last season and Boston Rob. They learned. They want her cocoanuts out of there before she drives them all cocoanuts. (To me, The Cocoanuts is primarily The Marx Brothers' first movie.)

Even Ozzy quickly noticed at Council that tribe feeling was against Semhar. He was smart enough to cut her loose.

Semhar to Cochran: "Your name has come up. I will just say that." Yes, his name came up, when Semhar brought it up. Freely translated, she was saying: Vote me out with my bodacious boobs and huge ego? No. Vote out Pasty Boy. His tits don't compare to mine. The argument did not sway Papa Bear.

Cochran turned attention to Semhar's laziness. She bought up her giving them "toothbrushes." Crest has been show to be an effective voting-out-preventing dentifrice, when used in a conscientiously applied program of oral hygiene and regular, professional care. Cochran pointed out that it had consisted of giving folks sticks. The back-and-forth was hilarious, and since Cochran is approximately 1000 times smarter than Semhar, it wasn't going well for the boobed one. He said she stands by the pot all day. I half-expected Jim to say: "No, that's my job!"

Cochran assured everyone they would not have to rub him. That's a relief.

But Semhar's was the only vote for Cochran. Even Ozzy, seeing how the tribe was swaying, voted to oust her. She went away whining about how her tribe all lied to her. "It shows me how fake they all are." I don't know about them being fake, but she sure is lame.

Wanna see the real reason Semhar was voted out first?

Cheers darlings.