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Vidiot Mailbag

Few are so lucky as to be on the Vidiot mailing list that lurks behind the innocuous teevee@teevee.org address. True, we have to see all the mail from people trying to save Freaks and Geeks, Roswell and the rest. But we also get to witness brilliant repartee and banter among the Vidiots -- stuff you at home never get to see.

But this week -- a week in which we're cleverly not writing about television, in case we haven't beaten this lame premise into you already -- is different. This week, you get to peer behind the curtain.

It began, as it always does, with a reader letter, this one from Erika Dery.


I just wanted to let y'all know who's tops in my personal standings. Peter Ko used to be my favorite TeeVeer, but since he's dropped off the face of the planet, Philip Michaels slid into his place through sheer volume I believe. But, I wanted to warn him that I think he's about to lose his number one spot in my heart. James Collier has been making me giggle entirely too much lately.

I would like to make it clear that in no way do I mean to slight any of the other writers, I love you all. But unlike a parent, I'm honest about choosing favorites.

Thanks for being funny and stuff.

How sweet, Erika! It's nice to know that you like the site. No matter who your favorite is, we're just glad you read us regularly, enjoy our work, and even recognize us by name.

But what's this? A letter from a Philip Michaels.


It should be noted that James Collier is a completely unsavory character who is cruel to both children and puppies.

I, on other hand, have been known to send out crisp one dollar bills to TeeVee readers who do right by me.

Just something to keep in mind the next time you read so-called "funnyman" James Collier.

-- P. Michaels
The Vidiot Who's Not Above Tearing Others Down If It Means He Holds The Top Spot In Erika's Rankings

Apparently Michaels is offended that he had zoomed to #1 on Erika's charts merely because he's been churning out the pieces at an ungodly rate while Pete Ko's on the side of milk cartons.

But to write such untruths! To say such lies to such a lovely young lady as Erika Dery! That's an outrage! Because as anyone who knows will tell you, Phil's a cheap bastard who would never, ever give dollar bills to anyone.

However, the stuff about Collier is true.

Matthew Robinson, who is inexplicably on the Vidiot list despite having only written a couple of pieces, chimed in:

I think what will interest her is where you stuff those $20 bills when James does his special dance for you.

We can't emphasize this enough: it's just not true. Michaels would never stuff $20 anywhere except his own damned pocket. He won't even rent porn until it's on the bargain rack.

But perhaps we've said too much.

Proving that all our non-Freaks and Geeks-loving fans are okay, Erika Dery kindly replied to Phil's offer:

Unfortunately, due to your response, I'm now especially torn. I feel all tingly and special having received a response so promptly from *the* Philip Michaels. But, what's that I see up at the top? AOL?! Now I just don't know what to think. About anything. My whole world has crumbled.

But if you send out some of those crisp bills you mentioned, I just may be able to get over the trauma. So how about it?

Yes, it's true. Philip Michaels has an AOL account, and uses it as his primary e-mail address. You may be asking yourself, "How could such a groundbreaking Internet publisher still be using an online service that's currently targeting lower primates with a mass CD mailing campaign?"

Here's a hint: the answer has something to do with Michaels being a cheap bastard.

But enough of this nonsense. It's time for the ultimate Vidiot letter-writer, James Collier, to jump into the fray. Here's the thing about James: his grip on the truth is tenuous. Here's the other thing: he's an evil, evil man. Put those two together, and you've got someone who tends to reply to reader letters personally, with a great deal of care -- and tell incredible lies.

Why, just the other day, he responded to the avalanche of "Save Freaks and Geeks" letters with a note pointing out that Freaks and Geeks has actually been renewed by The WB, so they can stop writing.

A total lie. That's our Collier. Our cruel, evil, brilliant Collier.

And so James wrote back to Erika:

Thank you for your wonderful comments. Reading them made my morning. You like so many other Teevee readers are finally begining to see that I am the TRUE genius of Teevee, not that bastard Phil Michaels.

The bad blood goes deep between Phil and I. Many years ago he and I were like brothers. I can still remember it like yesterday:

Summer in San Francisco. 1992. We were an up and coming comedy duo known as The Danville Brothers. He played the banjo, I sang country songs with racy lyrics.

Things were going for us. But there was trouble on the horizon, in the form of sultry redhead named Susan.

Susan was, for the lack of a better description, a comedy groupie. She had caught our act at a club Sausilito, and attempted to seduce me. I rejected her out of hand, I could see she was trouble.

But Phil, he fell for her in a hard way. Soon not only was she his lover, but she was his confidant. Telling him that I was out to sabotage his career, that I was holding him down.

Soon Philip was making outrageous demnads: not only did he want to sing more, he wanted to ditch the banjo in favor of the sitar, and he wanted to change the name of the duo to Philip Michaels and Friend.

I was of course was outraged. And I quit the duo. And didn't speak for years, hearing only stories of each other through mutual friends.

I would later find out that Susan dumped him for an acordian-playing comic who go on to some limited succcess on the Hollywood Squares.

And of course we would end up working together on the Teevee site. But the bad blood still remains.

Anyhow, thank you again and take care.

James Collier
The Vidiot Who Knows That Bastard Michaels is Spreading Slanderous Lies About Me

This, of course, is total bunk. Philip never learned how to play an instrument, on account of him being a cheap bastard.

But before we close the book on this little saga, it's important to remember that Erika's original #1 Vidiot was the great Peter Ko. What does Ko have to say about this little pissing match between Michaels and Collier?

Not a damned thing. Frankly, we've got no idea where Ko is. But he's still on the mailing list. And you're not.

Additional contributions to this article by: Jason Snell.


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