Monday, May 25, 2009

They say Nostalgia means the "The pain of an old war wound"

Our English usage is best defined as "longing for something that has been lost" as in your youth.

Speaking of lost, The SciFi channel is doing a marathon of The Land of the Lost all day today. The purpose is to promote the new movie starring Will Ferrell, a dude I don't find funny at all. This is a clear-cut in-house promo job. Universal NBC owns the SciFi channel. NBC owns the original TV show. Universal produced this new movie. Ergo they are enlisting the aid of a wholly owned member of the corporate family to do the promo job.

I watched the show when I was a kid. I was about 7 years old when the show first appeared in the year 1974. We didn't have a lot of good choices back in those days, so we watched it a lot. We all grimaced at the cheesy visual effects, the lousy cross-bows the Sleestack shot, the claymation dinosaurs, but it was a lot of fun. All kids loved dinosaurs. There was enough SciFi mystery in the show to keep us smarter kids active. Eventually, as the series grew and expanded we loved it.

So, here I sit watching an episode called "The Stranger". This was the episode which introduced us to Enoch the Altrusian. Enoch was a being from the ancient past of the Land of the Lost. He was an ancestor of the Sleestack, living in his own post-apocalyptic hell.

Guess who wrote this key episode? A dude named Walter Koenig. You know him better as the original Ensign Pavel Chekhov of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Yep, that's right Chekhov wrote (arguably) the most important script in the history of "The Land of the Lost". Enoch was probably the most important figure on the show. He was the key expository figure who knew the questions and the answers. He made sense out of everything. Now guess what? That was the only episode of "The Land of the Lost" that Walter Koenig ever wrote.

Other members of the Star Trek mafia like David Gerrold (the creator of the Tribbles) and D.C. Fontana (who did a bunch of episodes of classic Trek) were active writers on the show. They were free to play on this series, so they eventually wound up developing a rather beefy SciFi universe. It took time, and it came by degrees, but eventually these two created a pretty rich canvas. This is what the Classic Star Trek mafia did for money in the immediate aftermath of the cancelation of the series. This is how they survived, and it was good.

Still, it is hard to watch after all these years. Wesley Eure and Kathy Coleman are such devastating over-actors that it is almost brutal to watch the film. Another thing: Wesley's attitude too often stinks of the message "Hey, I am the hot young bisexual guy on the show! You aught to be sexually aroused when you see me." This, I did not notice when I was a 7 year old kid. I was too innocent.

Still, the show became wildly successful on the re-run circuit. The powers that be were astounded that re-runs of the 3 season Saturday morning kid show were outperforming "Good Morning America" and other morning TV magazines on the major networks. This is when they attempted the deadly 1991 remake that went 13 episodes before death. I never watched that. It looked terrible. Folks told me it was a wacko-ass comedy. It didn't work at all.

This brings us forward to the Will Ferrel movie that is about to be released. I remember grimacing in pain when I discovered they were going to make a "Land of the Lost" movie. I remember expressing my shock when I discovered it was going to be a comedy. Didn't they already try that notion? Didn't it go down in flames? Wasn't that a catastrophic massacre that ruined careers and lives? Does anybody remember Timothy Bottoms?

I remember hurling in disgust when I discovered that this was going to be another Will Ferrell vehicle. I fucking hate that guy. Of all the non-funny guys ever to make it big Hollywood, Ferrell must rank very close to the top of the list. If he isn't #1, he is the #1 contender. If you ask me he is responsible for more of the comedy catastrophes of the past 10 years than anybody else. Nothing but titty, potty, penie, squatty, farty, shity jokes here folks. He's dumb as hell, ergo he speaks to many. The fact that this approach produces a consistent 15% internal rate of studio return constitutes a serious warning about the quality of the human gene pool.

Still... with that said... there is a little something winsome about those commercials for the new movie. I am pretty well sure it is going to be a stinker. Nevertheless, I do believe these bastards are going to trick me into buying a ticket. The joke is on me, and they will laugh all the way to the bank. Still, I think I am going to give this one a chance, out of pure nostalgia. It will be the pain of an old war wound, I am sure.

The druggies 'n junkies will buy some weed, MDMA, and crack; they will smoke out; they will walk into the theater high as a kite; they will laugh because they are fucked up; they will walk out saluting Will Ferrell as a comedy genius. Nope, he just connects with the stoners. You laugh because you are fucked up, not because Ferrell is funny.

Still, watching the series this morning is pure nostalgia. I am remembering my childhood vividly right now. That isn't easy for a guy who is 42 going hard on 43. A lot of lost and forgotten memories of elementary school are coming back to me.