The Most Alarming Paragraph I’ve Ever Read On Wikipedia This Week


From Wikipedia’s entry on Teen Angel, the short-lived ABC “Thank Goodness It’s Funny” sitcom. The show was created in 1997 by The Simpsons‘s Al Jean and Mike Reiss, I imagine to comply with the terms of a very specific ransom demand:

Teen Angel follows a high school boy, Steve Beauchamp (Corbin Allred), and his recently deceased best friend, Marty DePolo (Mike Damus), who dies from eating a six-month-old hamburger from under Steve’s bed on a dare and is then sent back to Earth as Steve’s guardian angel. Marty’s guide is a large, orange and disembodied head named Rod (Ron Glass), who identifies as God’s cousin (a running gag throughout the series is that Rod is mistaken for God himself). Maureen McCormick, who played Steve’s mother, Judy, left the series halfway through its run.

That first sentence is the one that most sits on my head and makes me beg for mercy. Not just for content, but the way it’s said. I write some convoluted sentences myself, but that’s in order to achieve a deliberate effect. A big old Wikipedia Heaping Pile Of More Words (Now With More Words! If you find some more, please add them to the pile!) like this makes me want to diagram sentences, which I shouldn’t be doing since I’m not in eighth grade anymore.

So naturally I would like to know: why, in the start of the 1974 Rankin/Bass animated special Twas The Night Before Christmas, are the children of Junctionville sending letters to the rather touchy Santa Claus in September? Well? Huh? Maybe Santa had no idea a mouse published mean stuff about him in the local newspaper and instead he was just peeved they were begging for stuff before Labor Day For Crying Out Loud. Maybe all the characters’ little drama just went completely unnoticed.

Making Years Without A Santa Claus


Like most people do this time of year we’ve been watching Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated specials and trying to figure out more of how the whole Rankin/Bass Christmasverse works together. But we were on The Year Without A Santa Claus yesterday and noticed that a lot of Mickey Rooney’s dialogue as Santa is various grunts and groans and aching and paining about, which fits the whole plot about calling Christmas off because he’s too grumpy this year.

Thing is that’s got us wondering about the voice recording sessions. Did Mickey Rooney just do his dialogue for every scene in order, including his grunts about his aching ball joins and whatnot, as they came, or did they crowd all those into a single afternoon of recording Mickey Rooney go “Oooh. Owww. Ugh. Argh”? And, did he get all the groans down in one take, or did the director have to say stuff like, “OK, Mickey, that was great but could you do that round of grunting again, this time with maybe a hint of the agony from suspecting that somewhere there might be a mouse writing bad stuff about you in the local newspaper? How many feet of recording tape are nothing but out-takes of Santa groans? And who has possession of that Santa groan out-take tape today? What are they keeping it for? What do they intend to do with it?

To borrow a phrase, these are all questions I feel I cannot answer.