We watch... so you don't have to.

Long-Lost Mongoloid Cousin of TeeVee Mailbag

You know, it's not easy being funny.

Oh, sure, it has its perks. The groupies, for instance. We can't spend five minutes on the web these days without some comely lass, overcome by side-splitting hilarity, e-mailing us polaroids of her lacy undergarments and begging us for a seedy chat room encounter. Naturally, most of the time we decline. At restaurants, we never need reservations for restaurants anymore. It's nothing short of amazing what doors a mention in The Net will open. And, of course, we can't deny that the money is good. That generous NEA grant we landed for pissing on everybody's parade has come in real handy.

But there's a dark side to comedy. Believe it or not, occasionally we rub folks the wrong way. These are always ugly times. Angry missives fly into our world TeeVee headquarters, irate zealots threaten to picket, and we stand red-faced, forced to acknowledge once again that, yes, the people are always right.

So you can imagine our chagrin the other day when one tpendlet@individual.com dropped us a line to inform us that he didn't particularly care for Philip Michaels, one of our most prolific contributors and a notoriously unfeeling lout to boot. Wrote tpendlet@individual.com:

My, but you are so witty. I'm not discounting anything that you may have to say in your writings, but the way you say what you mean to say comes across very smug and full of yourself.

I know you aren't gonna change your writing style because of me. I mean, who am I? It's just my opinion that maybe you should climb a little bit off of that high horse of yours before you fall and hurt yourself.

Thad Pendleton

What could we say? As much as Thad's words stung -- and they did -- we couldn't deny their basic truth. In recent months, Phil's ego has become a two-ton gorilla, swiping at every banana in sight. In fact, on many an occasion, we've tried to sit him down and tell him exactly that. But to no avail.

Us: Phil, you may want to cool it a litt--

Phil: Shut up, you!! I'M GRRRRR-EAT!

Thad's blistering assault was precisely the comeuppance that we'd long feared. When Phil saw it, his psyche crumbled. There was much weeping. And incoherence, lots of incoherence. For hours, Phil could only babble, "Is that what Thad thinks of me? Is that what he thinks?" And, of course, muscle relaxants. It took doctors hours to pry him out of the fetal position.

Thad, there was no need to be so ham-fisted. We hope you're satisfied.

Boorish as Thad may have been, though, he was no match for pud1@ptd.net, who got his underwear in a bunch over "CHiPs Ahoy", also by Phil. In this article, the thrice-damned Michaels had scandalously charged that the late-'70s hit TV show CHiPs was -- and there's just no delicate way to put this -- scientifically unsound. He cited an episode in which Ponch (Erik Estrada) frantically advises Jon (Larry Wilcox) that a vehicle mired in a swimming pool "could blow any second!"

"I can't imagine how it 'could blow any second' seeing as how the car was 10 feet under water," wrote Phil. "I mean, sure, if one of the extras standing uselessly on the edge of the pool so Poncherello can be the big hero were to light a cigarette and carelessly throw the match into the pool, the surface of the water might burst into flames, a la the Miami Vice Action Spectacular at Universal Studios. But even then, with gasoline having a different density than water, only the surface of the pool would be in danger of igniting, not the car well below the surface. I find Poncherello's frantic assessment of the situation to be less than convincing."

A solid application of eighth grade physical science principles? Not in the eyes of "CHiPs" superfan pud1@ptd.net.

Look it was just a show. And like the rest you probably watched it when it was on in its prime. You may not admit to it, just like the others, but you probably did. Don't criticize it for its fake accidents. It was just a play on what could happen. And it kept the viewers watching. After all its alot better than all the violent shows of today. Never once did they use their guns, which I admit is a little far fetched, but fun in the same manner. So nothing personal, I just hate it when a nice show like 'CHiPs' gets critiqued and criticized and someone gets paid to do it.

We needn't tell you what first caught our eye. "Paid? Ha ha ha! Hee hee hee! Hoo hoo hoo!... Whoo-ee... Man, that's funny...."

But then we took a second look. And now, frankly, we're a little scared. What has us so creeped out? "Look it was just a show. And like the rest you probably watched it when it was on in its prime. You may not admit to it, just like the others, but you probably did."

Like the rest? Just like the others? Good God in Heaven! If we're reading things correctly (and keep in mind, none of us has really paid much mind to what pud1@ptd.net said since he is, you know, a nut), somehow we've managed to step smack in the middle of some long-running CHiPs cover-up. A "CHiPs Files" conspiracy, if you will, to deny Ponch, Jon, Bear, Sgt. Gatrear, Harlan the mechanic, and most important of all, Randi Oakes their rightful spot in our nation's cultural milieu. If our theory is correct, then pud1@ptd.net is some sort of über-CHiPs fan, a lone defender of highly-rated, moronic '70s TV shows who patrols the Net at night, seeking to extinguish unwarranted invective aimed at Erik Estrada's hair.

Well, if that's the case, then let us be the first to say: Hey, back off, Chuckie!

We are truth-tellers, and as such, our invective spares no one. If that means tearing down '70s icons like Jack Klugman or Harlan the Mechanic, if that means exposing the fallacies of "nice" shows like CHiPs, if that means ripping up a few covers of Dynamite! to champion the likes of William Conrad's vastly underrated Cannon, then so be it. As the saying goes, sometimes you have to burn the villagers to save the vill-- or, burn the city to-- burn the...

Oh hell, you know what we're talking about.

Additional contributions to this article by: Peter Ko.


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