Tuesday, December 21, 2004

There was nothing on TV last night, so we got out SCTV Season One and watched the Pledge Week episode. There are several classic bits on this one, including:
Guy Cabellero threatening to broadcast nothing but soccer if not enough money rolls in. The soccer footage he then shows has Toby Charles doing the play by play. It must have been a direct lift from “Big League Soccer,” which PBS used to show (and my dad and I used to watch) every Sunday. What a strange program for PBS to air, now that I think about it.

Mel’s Rock Pile 20th Anniversary Special. Mel reunites the original dancers from the first Rock Pile episode, shows old clips, and faints in the presence of Roy Orbison. John Candy is hilarious and a bit scary as a bitter German fellow trapped in a loveless, childless marriage. It turns out he met his future wife on Mel’s Rock Pile lo those 20 years ago. “Tell them,” he shouts at his wife when Mel catches up with them in the present day. “Tell them all—why you can’t have children!”

Tracking the Unknown with Edith Prickley. This may be my favourite few minutes of television ever. What the hell is it? Who thought this would be a good idea? I don’t know; it’s just one of those completely random things that SCTV would throw at you occasionally. Stitched together from a faded old documentary about India’s Gir Forest, some film of piglets scratching themselves, and footage of Edith “Tracking the Unknown” in an Edmonton park with a tiny, overexcited dog (who steals several scenes) and two disinterested guides, it presents Edith at her most out of control, sputtering and smutty—a sustained freakout that I can’t do justice in words. Andrea Martin is a genius.

Farm Film Report. Where the hosts discuss both foreign and domestic film. Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point gets a nod because everything blows up at the end, while Blow Up is a disappointment because nothing blowed up in it. And the best movie ever is David Cronenberg’s Scanners because of the part where Louis Del Grande’s head blows up.

I sure hope I find season two under the tree next weekend.

(Man, I wanted to see Scanners so badly when I was a kid. I had to settle for reading the novelization, which was a lame substitute for actually seeing someone’s head blow up on the big screen. I barely even considered asking my parents if they’d take me. I remember reading the novelization of Alien, too, and leafing through a picture book about the movie at WH Smith, where I could finally see what it looked like when the alien burst through Harry Dean Stanton’s chest. The equivalent sorts of cool things must be easier for kids to find these days. I’m glad the Web wasn’t around when I was a kid; I’d be a complete sociopath.)

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