The Weird Al Show
The September Episodes
The Weird Al Show was a Saturday morning kids' show on CBS which ran from September to December 1997. Weird Al Yankovic was riding high from the success of Bad Hair Day (which was Weird Al's White Album) and had already starred in a major motion picture (UHF). So the final step in building his media empire would be to have a hit TV show.
Note: Weird Al's media empire was the equivalent of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it was kind of a flop and really shouldn't have been attempted in the first place. I was a huge Weird Al fan at the time (and still am) but I could never get into the show. It was only on for three months, at the time when I was just entering my teenage years, so I had little interest in watching Saturday morning TV or getting up before noon on a day without school.
The show was cancelled after only 13 episodes. Saturday morning kid's programming on the broadcast networks was on the decline and I guess CBS put all their hopes in Weird Al being their last, best chance to fend off the mighty army of Nickelodeon. It did not work.
The theme song can be found on Weird Al's 1999 album Running with Scissors. It describes Al's wacky life up to the point where he freed a CBS executive from a bear trap and was given his own show as a reward. His show was stuck on Saturday mornings and got cancelled after one season. That TV executive was an ungrateful fucker. If I ever see a TV executive stuck in a bear trap, I'm going to demand a 24 episode deal in primetime, or I'll leave the bastard in the woods.
The theme is animated. It starts off as traditional cel animation and then goes to a 3-D style that resembles the music video to Weird Al's "Jurassic Park" song. It's madness.
Episode 1: Bad Influence
Originally Aired: September 13, 1997
We open with Weird Al showing us his new invention, an x-ray spray. Either it only shows his bones, or Weird Al has no internal organs. We see that Al swallowed his car keys, which is for the best. This Al doesn't seem like a man I would want driving a car.
Al is excited because he has been invited to join an exclusive club by his new friend, Spike. But Spike is not a good guy. We can tell because he is dressed like a 1950s Greaser. He wants to use Al's x-ray spray to see what's inside Christmas presents and the combination to locks. I like how one of his schemes for the spray is criminal and the other is what a 7 year old boy would want to do.
Al then sings the "Harvey the Wonder Hamster" song, which he sings in most every episode. They were really hurting for ways to fill airtime on this show.
Spike then tells Al that he must go through several initiation tasks in order to join his club. The first is to tear off one of his pant legs. Al eagerly does this. His next task is to dip his arms in a hot chocolate. And as luck would have it, Al has a vat of that stuff in his home. A lot of Weird Al's home life can be explained pretty easily if you just remember he is unmarried and childless, so he can spend all his money on whatever crazy shit a single man would want.
Al and Spike then watch TV. Spike takes the best seat and remote control, which annoys Al but he doesn't speak up. Al shouldn't complain. Spike is a guest, he should be given the best seat. Also, Al only has one chair, so I guess he expected Spike to stand while they watch TV.
The TV they watch is full of wacky parodies of TV shows and commercials. It's the best part of the The Weird Al Show because it reminds me of UHF. The first commercial is for Pirate Day Care. It's funny to see that pirates have fallen on such hard times that they've had to resort to babysitting to make a living. God damn British Navy! But it's a kids' show so the writers couldn't have taken the jokes very far. For instance, we couldn't have seen a pirate hit a baseball with a peg leg, or a pirate with a hook for hand try to change a baby's diaper and accidentally impale the baby.
There is also a commercial for a pizzeria that advertises that is does no put their pizza in boxes, which saves precious seconds on the delivery time. Instead, you get a bunch of people putting their hands all over a hot pizza, which is way better. The pizzeria worker also keeps shouting "No boxes!" which I found to be way more funny than this show intended.
Let me explain. Johnny and I and some friends went to an Alice Cooper concert several years ago. A man a few rows in front of us had a t-shirt that said "No boxes" with a picture of a cardboard box crossed out by a red No symbol. We thought that was an absurdly funny shirt and kept shouting to the man "No boxes! No boxes!" which he found funny at first and embarrassing after a few minutes. A few days later, Johnny was telling a classmate the story because he was still mesmerized by the t-shirt and wanted to find one. His classmate informed Johnny that "no boxes" was a slang term gay men use because a box is a term for a woman's vagina, and gay men want none of that. Johnny then asked his friend what a homosexual was.
Later that day, I got a phone call from Johnny. In between bursts of laughter, he was able to fill me in on what "no boxes" meant and also that there were men out there who have sex with other men. I laughed so hard that milk came out my nose and I pooped my pants to the thought of two men sticking their wing-wongs in each other's doodles. Heavens!
After TV time, Al is forced to shave one of his eyebrows and wear bunny ears. Oddly enough, the bare skin underneath Al's eyebrow looks just like an eyebrow with makeup over it. I think he should go to a dermatologist soon.
The little kid who likes to stop by wants to hang out, but Spike makes Al shoo the boy away because Spike wants to look at porn. I wonder what kind of kinky porn Weird Al is into.
Next, Al decides to read some viewer mail, but Spike stops him by saying that's lame. It's true. Spike is just saying what the audience was thinking.
Patton Oswalt stops by. He is also a member of this club. So far the club only has two members. It's really just a men's club for guys to meets in the sauna and give each other massages--but not in a gay way. Al is better off not joining. Turns out, there is no initiation process so Spike just made Al look like a fool with chocolate covered arms and his pale leg exposed to all the world. Patton and Spike laugh and laugh and laugh.
The little boy and Al's neighbor, The Hooded Avenger, enter. Al learned a lesson and now knows who is true friends are, even if his true friends still laugh at him.
Next, Canadian music sensation the Barenaked Ladies stop by after wrapping up their medieval LARPing game. Those boys were into LARPs even before The Lord of the Rings movie. They were ahead of the curve on other young men who never talk to girls. Turns out they saw Spike trying to steal some stuff and kicked his ass. Justice! The Barenaked Ladies then sing a song to end the show. Have you ever watched any of Weird Al's old music videos and noticed how many were parodies of artists who no longer have careers? I think this will the case with many of the show's guest too.
Episode 2: Promises, Promises
Originally Aired: September 20, 1997
Weird Al's is having his friends over, who all really love and want to meet John Tesh. I guess Weird Al's friends are not impressed to be friends with him. Al can't believe his friends think John Tesh is a better musician than he is. I'd be pissed if my friends like John Tesh more than Weird Al too! Al lies and says he is friends with John Tesh, which makes his friends ask to meet Tesh.
Al finds out it costs thousands of dollars to book John Tesh for an appearance, and he will have to provide a dozen slaughtered house cats, as per the rider. Al asks his psychic friend for help. She strokes his arm (which is the first time Weird Al has ever been touched by a woman for either the character or the real life person) and uses her crystal ball to summon two infomercial guys from the 90s who tell Al to raise money with an infomercial.
Al does just that. His infomercial has an energetic man in a sweater assisting Al in getting people excited about the amazing products they offer to sell. I wonder if this is a parody of 90s infomercials, because I'm familiar with a series of infomercial parodies on Mad TV that were in this style. Maybe Weird Al is making fun of how much Mad TV sucks.
Turns out Al's products aren't any good and he has to give everyone refunds. So he cannot afford John Tesh. However, Tesh is one of the customers demanding a refund. I guess John Tesh is an impulsive buyer and also stays up late at night watching infomercials. Weird Al does not recognize him, and neither would the audience.
The 90s infomercial guys (whose names I do not know, but one of them looks like he must be Chris Farely's brother) are disappointed in Al. I would not have mentioned this, except the two of them re-enact the Yoda and Obi-wan conversation from Empire after Luke leaves Dagobah to fight Vader on Cloud City. Old guy says, "That boy is our last hope." "No," Chris Farley's brother says, "There is another." I felt a stirring in my pants listening to that.
I guess I should have gone into more detail, but it's 3am when I watched this episode and I was tired and kind of bored watching it. I don't even remember the products Al was selling. I have no idea how I am going to get through eleven more episodes of this show. Taking up this project may have been a mistake.
Episode 3: Mining Accident
Originally Aired: September 27, 1997
Al is trying to write a song about cheese when four miners burst through his wall. They were drilling for coal and got lost. Keep in mind, Al's home is twenty miles underground, because Weird Al is a monster who hates sunlight and people. Al is pissed, but this is what can happen when someone else owns the mineral rights to your property. Come on Weird Al, it would be better for you as well as less expensive if you just lived above ground. You live underground next to a mine. An accident like this was only a matter of time, really.
Al doesn't like the miners because they are dirty and uncultured. Note: uncultured for Weird Al means a person does not enjoy song parodies set to an accordion. Also, they blew a hole in his wall and are taking their sweet time getting around to fixing it. Lazy unions.
The miners do not like Al. They call him a Hawaiian shirt wearing faggot. They don't use that word exactly, but that's basically what they think of him. These miners are the type of working class guys who are employed in very tough, labor intensive jobs, so they act like they have the hardest job in the world and most men are too sissy to handle it. It's kind of like how the crab fisherman on Deadlist Catch go on and on about how dangerous their job is and how most people aren't tough enough to fish crab in the Arctic Ocean. Whenever a new guy joins the crew, the seasoned crab fishermen will refuse to shake his hand or respect him, and force him to pee sitting down until he has earned the right to be considered a man in their eyes. In reality, that show is so fake. They're all actors and they film those boats in that giant pool in Mexico that Fox built for Titanic. Everyone knows crab is really caught by people throwing buckets attached to a rope into the Gulf of Mexico.
Al's neighbor, The Hooded Avenger comes over. The miners crashed into his underground home last year, but they had a hell of a good time getting drunk and playing Naked Robber.
Al and the miners watch some TV together in order to get along. There is a parody of Bill Nye, the Science Guy and something about ninjas pouring milk on people. The Bill Nye parody has the character yelling that grass is green over and over. Man, I used to like Bill Nye as a kid, because any science more advanced than that show would confuse me, even now. I wonder why they chose to make fun of Bill Nye. I suspect it was because the show sometimes did song parodies about science topics and Al got pissed. Song parodies are his domain, and he doesn't need some else trying to peddle that to his 9-year-old fan base. Time to take that Bill Nye fucker down a notch.
Al and the miners get along when Al offers his split-pea fudge as a way to clear the rats out of their mine (do rats live in mines?) and the miners harmonize on his cheese song. It is beautiful.