TeeVee Mailbag XXIV: And What Can The Wizard Do For You, Scarecrow?
At the risk of revealing the movie's inscrutable denouement -- and if you plan on piecing together the mystery yourself, read no further -- "The Skulls" ends with a pistol duel between our hero, Joshua Jackson, and the conflicted pretty-boy son of the villainous Craig T. Nelson. Jackson, who has just spent the past hour out-running sport-utility vehicles and exposing the evil machinations of the once and former Coach, is beaten to the draw by Conflicted Pretty-Boy. But, instead of sending our Pacey off to his eternal reward, Conflicted Pretty-Boy turns the gun on Craig T. Nelson and fills him full of lead.
A fairly predictable ending that should have been apparent to any tool-using adult shortly after the opening credits. Western Union doesn't send things this telegraphed. Still, that didn't stop one woman in the theater from shrieking, in apparent shock from this not-so-sudden turn of events, "Oh my God!"
We're pretty sure that this woman is a regular reader of TeeVee.
We don't like casting aspersions here at TeeVee, at least not unless it's at Shasta McNasty. And we like to think only the utmost of our readers, many of whom are as clever and quick-witted as we delude ourselves into thinking we are. Still, despite our best intentions, our inclination to see only the best in people, our crazy love affair with the brotherhood of Man, the evidence we've seen points to one unpleasant yet inescapable conclusion about our readership.
Some of you are a little thick.
How else to explain the startling numbers of readers who fell for our April Fool's Day parody? That's our annual April Fool's Day parody, as in, we've done this nonsense each year for the past four. And this time around, just to make our hoax particularly transparent, we made as if AOL had shelled out big bucks to buy our penny-ante little Web site. That's AOL -- the company fresh off the largest corporate merger in history -- buying us and our total assets of the $3.75 in quarters and X-rated movie arcade tokens that Collier has in his trousers right now.
A pretty obvious fakery, right? A two-bit forgery that could have been spotted by even the densest schoolboy?
Let's have reader Supervixen62 tackle those questions:
Indeed. What the hell is this shit? A thinly veiled gag that shouldn't have tricked anybody in possession of a calendar and their five wits? A ham-fisted ruse thrown together by a handful of people with apparently too much free time? Or just your run-of-the-mill bamboozle best handled by the boys in the bunco squad?
You want to handle that one, Bookwrm456?
Hey, at least Bookwrm456 entertained the possibility that we might be pulling a fast one. Other readers -- like Michelle Haskell -- were vowing to hit the road to Dulles, Virginia, ready to burn down the office complex of the corporate Man what wronged them.
Then start applauding, Michelle. And be sure to put down the Molotov cocktail before you do.
Folks, we're touched by the outpouring of support, the kind words, the threats of bloody reprisals against Steve Case and company. But fear not: We're still here, and America Online hasn't done anything hackneyed and awful in recent weeks, unless you want to count the preview release of Netscape 6. So relax, everybody. Take a deep breath, pour yourself a stiff drink and enjoy the good chuckle we intended.
And if any of you that were fooled plan on operating heavy machinery or driving automobiles in areas where we live anytime soon, um, could you let us know first?
Or just follow the lead of self-described "faithful TeeVee reader" Jen:
Thanks, Jen. We knew we could count on you. Unless money is involved, that is.
While we're on the subject of easily fooled readers, here's Angie, who's been tricked into thinking that a) Profiler is a good show and b) that we give a sack of drunken monkey sick what she has to say.
Turns out Angie was right. We got one whole more "mail," this one Elizabeth Vega, every bit Angie's intellectual equal. Our tip-off? When she signed her e-mail " Lots of Sunshine, Ally, and Classic Profiler."
Actually, Liz, before his recent move to San Francisco, the author of the article in question, our own Philip Michaels, lived roughly twenty minutes away from Hollywood, give or take a traffic jam on the Santa Monica freeway.
Or were you speaking metaphorically?
There's nothing metaphorical about Animal Planet's "Crocodile Hunter, at least as far as jwfan4life had in mind. Just a few snide words from our Jason Snell about animal provocateur Steve Irwin, and jwfan4life leapt into action, context, self-restraint and reading comprehension skills be damned.
All right. Here goes. Hey Jason, Steve Irwin is an animal lover who is only interested in conserving animal populations and really enj...
Oh hell. Snell can read this on his own. Jwfan4life still has something on her, for lack of a better word, mind.
Will do. We'll get started right away on the jwfan4life plan for success. Step one: Write pissy letters to Web sites. Step two: Repeat step one.
Between easily duped TeeVee readers, insane Ally Walker groupies and Crocodile Hunter fans who have vowed to defend Steve Irwin to the death, you can understand why we might have found this month's mailbag to be a downer. Thank goodness for alert TeeVee reader Paula, who read a sneering Philip Michaels article about televised cheerleader competitions and decided to set the non-Hollywood bound grumpus straight.
If we've read Paula's letter correctly -- and we pride ourselves on our ability to read for speed and accuracy -- we get the impression that she's inviting us to spend a significant chunk of time, hanging around cheerleaders. Young, innocent, impressionable cheerleaders. Watching how they train. Seeing how they spend their leisure time. Learning their innermost thoughts and secrets.
This is the best e-mail we've ever gotten.
And, in the spirit of détente proposed by Paula, we'd like to extend her invitation to other, oft misunderstood professions -- porn starlets, stewardess, exotic dancers, information systems managers with favorable stock option packages. By spending time around these folks, we hope to have a great appreciation for what they do and why they do it.
And believe us when we say: this offer is no April Fool.
Additional contributions to this article by: Philip Michaels.
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