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[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jersey Joe’s Top 100 TV Themes (21-30)

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We’ve made it to the top 30 of my 100 favorite TV themes countdown.  We’ve seen a lot of classic show intros that you may have forgotten about, but hopefully they’ve brought back some great memories.

 

Let’s get to it and see what the next set of 10 in our countdown will be…

 

#30 THE A-TEAM

Airdates: 1983-1987 (NBC)

 

 

This may be one of my favorite TV shows of all time!

 

A group of crack commandos are hunted by the US government for a war crime that they didn’t commit.  They reside in the Los Angeles underground and survive as soldiers of fortune.  You’ve got a problem and no one else can help… maybe you can hire The A-Team!

 

Once they dropped the annoying female reporter from the show (she really didn’t fit into the plot lines), this series hit its stride.  The A-Team was much more than just guys shooting guns and blowing things up (although that part was AWESOME and yet somehow nobody ever really got seriously hurt!)  The series also interspersed comedy and some outrageous situations while their lives are on the line and somehow they always got the job done.

 

I loved how Mr. T’s character of B.A. Baracus, was afraid of flying and each time they had to board a plane, the team would have to find a different way to knock him out.

 

I started wearing Chuck Taylor shoes as a kid thanks to Dwight Schultz’ character of Murdoch — the insane pilot who the team always busted out of a mental institution.

 

Another of composer Mike Post’s brilliant TV themes, these opening credits spell out the adventure you’re about to go on with perfect detail.  They really put some thought into these credits.  Did you ever notice the shot of the Cylon with Dirk Benedict?  The Cylons were part of his previous big name series Battlestar Galactica.

 

After the ratings started to dip at the end of season 4, the series was unfortunately retooled for season 5.  The team was captured and mock executed by the Feds.  They then went to work for a millionaire (played by Robert Vaughn), who was head of a worldwide foundation.  Their new mission involved helping countries in trouble around the globe.  They now had to fight everything from drug cartels to out of control dictators. They also added a new member of the team, Frankie, a special effects specialist.  Sadly, they also made Murdoch sane.

 

A new synthesized version of the theme song was also introduced, but all of these changes tainted the core of the show and it was gone by the end of the season.

 

 

A few years ago, a big blockbuster Hollywood movie hit theatres based on the series and was an absolute disaster.  The plot was dumb, everything was shot on bad green screen, and the characters were simply trying too hard.  That film should have NEVER been made.

 

#29 THE TWILIGHT ZONE

Airdates: 1959-1964 (CBS), 1985-1987 (CBS), 1988-1989 (Syndicated), 1994 (CBS), 2002-2003 (UPN), 2008 (MyNetwork TV)

 

 

It’s the TV show that takes ordinary people and places them into extraordinary situations.  What would you do if you were the last person left on the planet, or saw a monster ripping apart an airplane wing at 33,000 feet, or being able to alter reality and bring back a loved one from the dead?  Then perhaps, you’ve entered The Twilight Zone.

 

For over 50 years, The Twilight Zone has captured the imagination of audiences with several stories over 30 or 60 minutes that places you into the world of the supernatural.  Some of the tales are down right scary, while others are meant to leave the viewer pondering their life decisions.

 

The power of this show has brought it back to TV multiple times and another new series or movie is currently in the very early stages of production.

 

 

I think the 1985 version of the opening theme is by far the coolest.  As soon as that simple piano intro starts up, you know you’re about to enter the Zone.  There’s also a slot machine based on this show that plays the theme over and over, that I’ve actually hit on a few times.  There’s also an amusement park ride based on the show as well!

 

Here’s the intro from the latest revival that aired on UPN and was rerun for a summer on MyNetwork TV.  This theme was composed by Korn’s Jonathan Davis.

 

 

#28 THE OFFICE

Airdates: 2005-2013 (NBC)

 

 

A hilarious faux-documentary about a group of people who sell paper in Scranton, Pennsylvania, it’s a simple as that.  Cameras follow the staff on their everyday misadventures led by their inept boss, Michael Scott (Steve Carell).  The office pranks, the absolute political incorrectness, and team building misadventures with hilarious cutaways and staff interviews made this show a hit!  Would your boss take you out on a booze cruise, sign everyone up for a marathon, or pack everyone into a bus and travel around searching for pies?

 

This series is absolutely hilarious, but I never got into it until the reruns in syndication.

 

Honestly, I don’t know if I could ever buy paper from salesman as messed up as these, but I wouldn’t mind giving them a call!  I love how the city of Scranton has embraced the show, even hanging up a banner downtown with the Dunder-Mifflin Paper Co. logo.

 

Sadly, this show lost its mojo, after Carell left at the end of season 7.  NBC kept it alive for 2 more seasons, but it wasn’t until the very end that the show started to get funny again.  Without Michael Scott – it wasn’t really The Office.

 

Here’s a look at the Carell-less opening credits:

 

 

A plan to create a Dwight Schrute spin-off known as The Farm failed and that pilot episode was screened as part of the regular series.

 

The Office was originally created in the UK and aired for 12 episodes (and 3 Christmas specials).  Here’s a look at the brief run of the UK version that aired on the BBC:

 

 

#27 SAVED BY THE BELL

Airdates: 1988-1989 (Disney, under the title Good Morning Miss Bliss), 1989-1993 (NBC), 1993-2000 (as Saved By the Bell: The New Class)

 

 

Sadly, it seems that most versions of these opening credits have been removed from Youtube, but this should still bring back memories.

 

If you grew up in the 90’s – you were watching this show!  At, least I don’t know anyone who didn’t.  And remember when there were actual kids’ shows on Saturday morning?

 

Saved By the Bell was the adventures of Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and his friends’ daily lives of growing up and surviving the world of high school.  This show scored blockbuster ratings for NBC, but was actually started off as a completely different show.

 

In 1987, NBC aired a pilot under the title Good Morning, Miss Bliss that starred Haley Mills as middle school teacher Miss Bliss.  This series focused more on the teachers than it did on the kids.

 

Here’s a brief look at the original pilot:

 

 

There were some up and coming stars also made an appearance in that original pilot.  Did you see Brian Austin Green, Jaleel White, or Jonathan Brandis?

 

NBC passed on the series, but The Disney Channel picked up the rights and reformatted the show to focus more on the students than Miss Bliss.  It aired for 13 episodes.  Only Miss Bliss herself made it to the new series and Dennis Haskens was cast as Principal Mr. Belding, a job he would have for over a decade.

 

NBC took a second look at the show and ordered a full season for Saturday morning kids TV where it became an instant hit.  After the first season aired, NBC executives wanted to keep the ratings high during the summer, so they took the Good Morning, Miss Bliss episodes and quickly shot an intro with Zack, explaining these were their adventures in junior high.  They modified the new Saved By the Bell intro to add on the additional cast that didn’t make it through to the NBC version, including Miss Bliss.

 

Here’s a look at the original Disney Channel credits, then stay tuned for the modified Saved By the Bell intro and credits.

 

 

The following summer, NBC executives ordered more new episodes by having the gang take summer jobs at the Malibu Sands resort.  Their boss is future King of Queens star Leah Remini.

 

Saved By the Bell continued on for 5 seasons and for the final year, NBC doubled their order of episodes, but Tiffani Thiessen as Kelly and Elizabeth Berkley as Jesse did not want to sign on for the additional episodes, so Tori (Leanna Creel) is introduced for a block of episodes near the end of the series run.

 

After the cast graduated high school, NBC kept most of the gang together and spun them off onto Saved By the Bell: The College Years.  It aired for one season and downright stunk.

 

Here’s an actual episode of the series.  Fast forward to 1:16 for the credits and new opening theme song.

 

 

NBC still kept the original series alive, by casting a whole new set of kids and retitling the show Saved By the Bell: The New Class.  Although it was never as popular as the original show, the series added and subtracted main cast members each season.  Dustin Diamond, who played Screech during the original series (and was free after The College Years was cancelled), was brought on as a school assistant starting with season 2.

 

 

By the time the show left the air, the kids were a completely different cast.  Here’s an entire episode of The New Class from season 7.  Even through all the changes, I’m glad they still kept the theme song and look of the intro.

 

 

#26 PERFECT STRANGERS

Airdates: 1986-1993 (ABC)

 

 

It’s the misadventures of Balki from Mepos, who moves to Chicago to live with this American cousin Larry.  Their clash of cultures was the setting for this great sit-com!

 

Their opening credits theme is one of the better from the 80s and 90s and you knew exactly what to expect of the show.  But, their more famous intro was not the original one.  Check out the opening credits from the first season:

 

 

While the first season does give us more of the theme and some cool b-roll shots of both Larry and Balki moving, those shots over the pink background make them look like a gay couple.  The later version of the credits was much better.

 

I also read that Louie Anderson was originally cast in the role of Larry in the original pilot.  I would love to see that, but I don’t think that’s ever seen the light of day.

 

#25 CHARLES IN CHARGE

Airdates: 1984-1985 (CBS), 1987-1990 (Syndicated)

 

 

I flat out hated this show when it was on the air, but I did think the theme song was kind of cool.  It set the tone and clearly explained that Charles (Scott Baio) lived in the basement and was the family’s housekeeper.

 

It debuted on CBS in 1984, but only lasted a season due to low ratings.  When it entered syndication for local stations to air, the show did much better and went on three more years.

 

I want to know, who was the sloppy editor for those first season CBS’ credits?  Did you catch how the names are slapped on the screen almost a second before the shot of many of the actors?

 

When the show came back in syndication, it underwent some major changes.  First, the original family the Pembrokes, moved to Seattle and a new family the Powells moved in, allowing Charles to stay in the same role.  The theme song was jazzed up and the new cast members were introduced.  Here’s a look at the revamped and much better credits:

 

 

#24 FAMILY GUY

Airdates: 1999-2003 (FOX), 2005-present (FOX)

 

 

What was originally ordered as a set of comedy sketches for MadTV, turned out to be a Sunday night animation staple!  FOX has had ratings success with the adventures of The Griffins with their TV parodies and political incorrectness.

 

The best part of this show is all the cutaway gags in which no one is safe.  Whether they’re making fun of Jews or the President, everybody takes an equal ribbing in this hilarious show.

 

This is one of the rare television series to come back from the dead to even bigger ratings.  After airing the show on Wednesday nights, FOX cancelled it in 2003.  The producers kept the franchise alive with a direct to DVD movie that did blockbuster sales.  FOX decided to put the show back on the air and broadcast it with the rest of their Sunday night adult cartoons and the ratings have never looked back.

 

The show has been so successful; it’s spawned two spin-offs The Cleveland Show and American Dad.  Executive producer Seth Macfarlane has gone on to write a few blockbuster movies and is even said to be working on a new version of The Flintstones.  If that ever happens, I’m sure it will be comedy gold.

 

Where the writers of The Simpsons have seemed to run out of ideas for the past decade, Family Guy shows no sign of slowing down creatively.

 

#23 NIGHT COURT

Airdates: 1984-1992 (NBC)

 

 

No TV theme countdown is complete without Night Court!  If I ever had to end up in a New York City courtroom, I would hope that it’s Judge Harold T. Stone’s (Harry Anderson.)

 

The premise of the show was simple.  You get arrested or sued for a petty crime; you end up in Judge Stone’s late night court.  The series dealt with the crazy people that would end up in front of his bench as well as the lives of the judge, his defendants, and bailiffs.

 

There were a few major cast changes over the years.  First, it took three seasons to cast Markie Post as attorney Christine Sullivan.  For the first two seasons, we had three different attorneys in the role.

 

Secondly, there were three female bailiffs.  The first was chain smoking Selma Diamond as Selma, died from lung cancer after the second season.  She was replaced by Florence Halop as Florence, but she died after season three.  Finally, Marsha Warfield took on the role as Roz from season four onward.

 

There were also two court clerks during the run.  Karen Austin as Lana during season one and Charles Robinson as Mac from season two onwards.

 

Here’s a look at the pilot’s credits.  Check out the different cast and Richard Moll with hair!  I also love how you get to see some awesome shots of the gritty 80’s New York City streets.

 

 

…and here’s the season 3 intro with Florence Halop.

 

 

#22 THE COSBY SHOW

Airdates: 1984-1992 (NBC)

 

 

It’s one of the most popular sit-coms in TV history and may have saved NBC from bankruptcy in the 1980s.  The Huxtables were the family that everybody wanted to be a part of.  No matter what the problem, Cliff (Bill Cosby) and Claire (Phylicia Rashad) would make sure to turn it into a teaching moment for their kids.  Sometimes they would break into song, sometimes they would turn the house into a giant apartment building to teach their son a lesson, or they would welcome yet another long lost relative that’s a great jazz musician!

 

The series concept was almost perfect, two professional working parents, and five kids.  Except that when the kids started to grow up, the show lost something.  The first five seasons were hilarious, well written, and well produced.  Once they brought in Olivia (Raven-Symone) this show down right sucked.  At this point, both Rudy (Keisha Knight Pulliam) and Vanessa’s (Tempestt Bledsoe) characters were useless.  The writers also tried to go for the “look at the little cute kid” tactics and would really derail the plot.  The last three seasons each saw major ratings slides.

 

What I did love is how each season; they would shoot a new set of opening credits, and rework the theme song.

 

Somebody on Youtube edited every single version of the theme into one big movie.  Take a look!  The theme used for the last season, was actually supposed to be for the season before, but producers could not get the rights to the mural in the background, which is why seasons 6 & 7 intros are the same.

 

 

#21 READING RAINBOW

Airdates: 1983-2006 (PBS)

 

 

I had no idea this show was still on the air in 2006, but who is the knucklehead that pulled the plug?  It’s an educational TV show that’s teaching kids to read!  Fortunately, host LeVar Burton is working to bring this series back, and I predict it will be on the air within two years.  It’s already back as an IPAD app and a Kickstarter campaign rose over 5 million in days!

 

I grew up watching this show.  I don’t like to read, but this show sure made me want to.  Plus, I learned all kinds of life lessons from the vignettes and on locations shoots that Burton would present.  My favorite was the behind the scenes tour of Star Trek: The Next Generation, where he played Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge.

 

Here’s a remastered version of the theme that was used from 1999 on…

 

 

THE 411

 

What: TV Theme Songs

 

Use: themes used to open a TV series or cartoon

 

Purpose: introduce main cast and introduce audience to the theme of the series

 

Numbers reviewed: 21 – 30

 

JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:

 

We’re in the top 30 and some really big name shows are now making the list.  I wanted to add Saturday Night Live to number 29, but they are so tight with their clips, that none of their opening credits have been uploaded online.  I at least wanted to give them an honorable mention!  They are another series that have kept the general theme of their credits, but have changed along with the times.

 

Next week, we hit the top 20!  We’ve got a number of crazy families on the list!  Plus, we’re only two weeks away from the big countdown finale!

 

I don’t own any of the rights to these, nor did I upload them to YouTube.  This blog is presented for educational and informational purposes.

 

Image credit – Daniel Horacio Agostini

[California Seething] A Day in the Absurd Life

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Transcript of phone call between Eric & Ronni Sims- March 1, 2013:

Eric: The mayor won’t let them film COPS in Albuquerque, that’s ridiculous! I agree, you should totally write about that in DESERT DROPPINGS (SHAMELESS PROMOTION ALERT). OK, hey listen, I’ve gotta go. No, everything’s ok- I’m just at work. Yeah. Well, they’re doing a reading upstairs of this new play about a Mexican-American family during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yeah, I know- it does sound interesting. Lots of interesting themes to explore there. Anyhow, they’re about to finish, so I’ve gotta strike all the chairs and music stands and set up the bondage mannequins and sex toys for the 50 Shades Red Room before the balloons arrive. What? Yes, bondage mannequins. Yes. Yes. Oh, sure, of course I’ll take pictures. What was that? You’re right- I should totally write about this.

Look, I know that in an Office-Parks and Rec-Community world, everybody thinks that their workplace would make just the funniest, quirkiest single Cal Seething-031014-parkscamera sitcom ever. While this means that 40 year old writers can feel better about their barista jobs because they can tell their worried parents that they’re “doing research” while they borrow money for rent, the result is a whole lot of terrible spec scripts and an epidemic of reader suicides. Don’t judge-you’d eat lead too if you had to read Coffee Shop followed by Post Office followed by It’s Totally Not the Apple Store Even Though We’re All Wearing Black T-Shirts and There’s a “Smart Guy” Bar at the Store followed by Office Max- about a corporate office supply super-store- where, get this, the main character’s name is actually MAX- get it?? Get it??? GET IT????? Hey, wait, that’s pretty good. NBC would totally produce that. I should write it. CRAP! I just killed a reader. Sorry, dude. I’ll tell your wife you loved her.

The problem is, despite what aspiring writers in workplace approved polo shirts may think, most jobs are more depressing than Cal Seething- 031014-dilbertwacky-not so much Parks and Rec – more like Franz Kafka guest-writing for Dilbert. And, to be fair, my job isn’t a sitcom either. It’s straight up Eugene Ionesco – and for those of you that didn’t squander your education by becoming Theatre Majors, that’s “theatre of the absurd.” Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with becoming a theatre major- hey- if you can spend 4-6 years saying “red leather, yellow leather” over and over again for course credit, lying on the ground and really paying attention to your breathing and rehearsing scenes from True West in your dorm room between gravity bong hits- then, Mazal Tov, Amigo- you win college. But, just a word of advice- if you do decide to convert your Theatre Major into an actual career in the field then get a temp job that makes you learn Excel- cause nobody in the real world actually gives a shit if you know who Eugene Ionesco is as long as you can make a budget for The Bald Soprano.  

Anyhow, the whole point of Absurdist Theatre is that characters are doing and saying utterly nonsensical things with the utmost Cal Seething-031014-binabeseriousness and conviction like Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar speech or a less bonkers version of CPAC. And doing nonsensical things with the utmost seriousness is exactly what being a theatre professional is all about!  Or, as Eugene Ionesco would have said “Cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos.” Because- when it comes right down to it, making theatre is about putting in absolutely heroic efforts to achieve utterly ridiculous objectives. I mean, just imagine you’re part of Seal Team Six only instead of being sent to kill Bin Laden, you’ve been deployed to help him alphabetize his giraffes. Or, even worse, to help produce his one man show about Abraham Lincoln- and, oh, did I mention it’s a rock opera? And you know it’s a terrible idea and that no one will come and that he can’t even sing, but you still spend three weeks frantically searching for the perfect stovepipe hat that’ll fit over his turban while you argue ferociously at a production meeting about the budget with the set designer, who wants to import lumber because it’s totally impossible to find enough trees in Pakistan to make a good log cabin- and if it doesn’t look 100% authentic, well then nobody’s going to believe that a singing Bin Laden is actually Lincoln. IT’S A FUCKING DISASTER.

Or, more to the point, imagine you’ve got to set up an S&M themed VIP area for 50 Shades! The Musical  and figure out how to share the space with a public reading of a serious new play about a Mexican American family during the Cuban Missile Crisis named Hope. Cause that’s actually a little more ridiculous- I mean, Bin Laden and Lincoln- well they’re both tall and have beards and were shot by Americans, so it’s practically like they’re twins – whereas Hope and 50 Shades! The Musical have absolutely nothing in common. 50 Shades! is a silly, fun and extremely raunchy show performed by a sweet, earnest, fresh-faced young cast that’s singing their eager little hearts out as they rhyme every possible synonym of penis and vagina- like Deep Throat performedtyler perry as madea by the cast of Glee. And the women coming to see the show- well, let’s just say they’re fanning themselves with their programs but it’s not actually that warm in the theatre. So actually, with all the well dressed, fanning, hollering women the whole thing feels like going to Sex Church or something out of Madea’s Bachelorette Party which is hands down Tyler Perry’s filthiest film. So, yeah, totally worth seeing for a good time. And naturally, a show like this needs an S&M themed VIP room or “Red Room”- which is a reference to something in the books that I am SO PROUD TO ADMIT I DO NOT GET. And the business to sponsor the Red Room- why that could be none other than independent, locally owned sex shop Pure Delish cause when it comes to nipple clamps, I’m strictly a locavore (pretty sure it’s a Mom & Pop cause one of the owners goes by “Daddy”).  Now, I’m no naïve little blushing kitten bunny, but I had absolutely no idea Pure Delish was a sex shop- I mean, I’d been by it a million times, but I just assumed they sold cupcakes- which I still think is a totally reasonable assumption- I mean, come on, it’s Culver City for god’s sake- I see Pure Delish in this part of town- I’m thinking Red Velvet not Red Room. It was only my devotion to the Sprinkles ATM that saved me from the unbelievable awkwardness of stopping in for a sugary treat at Pure Delish and being offered Cal Seething- 031014-delishan entirely different and far more disturbing kind of sugar from Daddy which I’m pretty sure is some kinda kinky sex thing or, at least, Def Leppard seems to think so.

Anyhow, a few days before the first 50 Shades! performance we picked up the disassembled mannequins from Pure Delish using a dirty old white van (just for extra creepiness) and, let me tell you, you don’t know what it means to be thankful you’re white until you’re driving through LA in a white van full of body parts- especially cause all the mannequins were white women. When we got to the theatre, Cat, the store’s owner (I may have slightly exaggerated about Daddy #poeticlicense #itstheonlylicenseicanget) guided me and a couple of my male staff members through the process of assembling the mannequins with the infinite patience and kindness of an American Julie Andrews- if Julie Andrews was a petite dominatrix in colorful yoga pants teaching arts and crafts at a Special Needs S&M Summer Camp. Actually, I was the only Special Needs student there. Both of my staff were surprisingly adept at putting the women together from spare body parts and dressing them proactively. One of them in particular was particularly adept. Disturbingly adept. Adept in a Criminal Minds, don’t go in the crawl space, it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again sort of way. I mean, I don’t like to judge, but he named his mannequin Gladys and I think they went to see Her together. For me, though, the whole thing was just a giant Elementary School Arts & Crafts anxiety nightmare. Like all of a sudden, I’m eight years old again, tears of frustration in my eyes, fingers all stuck together with Elmer’s glue, a pile of busted up popsicle sticks on the table in front of me glued together in every which way but the right one and all around me perfect little girls with perfect little collars up and perfect little bows in their hair and perfect little popsicle stick houses in front of them while I sit in the middle with my popsicle stick shitbox like that trashy house in the perfect suburban subdivision that everybody whispers about with the unwashed, homeschooled kids of indeterminate age and number who were never allowed to play street football with the rest of the kids but just looked out the window with the dead eyed curiosity of Russian orphans, the fleshy wife with the tired eyes and tight-lipped smile whose washed-out floral pattern bathrobe showed just enough cleavage to make her an unspoken masturbation favorite of all the neighborhood boys and the scary guy with a beard like a red-eyed angry Jesus with a beer belly and, yes, I realize I’m getting pretty far afield but if you made popsicle stick houses that were this evocative of The Virgin Suicides YOU WOULD HAVE ANXIETY NIGHTMARES ABOUT ARTS & CRAFTS PROJECTS TOO.

So, as you can expect, when it came to putting the mannequins together, I was useless. Every two minutes, I was like “Caaaaat, I can’t get the panties to stayCal Seething-031014-poppins on” “Caaaaat, why are her hands in backwards”, “Caaaaaaaat my node id caught id da nipple clampd.” And every single time, Cat would rush over with her infinite American Julie Andrews dominatrix patience and deftly rescue me singing “Just a spoonful of patience helps the nipple clamps stay on, the nipple clamps stay on, the nipple clamps stay on. Just a spoonful of patience helps the nipple clamps stay on. In the most erotic way.”

So, OK, great. Mannequins put together. Gladys looking fierce. Project done, right? Well…not exactly. We still had to hang the Pure Delish banners; set up the 50 Shades! step & repeat (that’s the thingamajig with logos you take pictures in front of at press conferences and premieres and stuff- I know, right- there’s a name for those! ) for photo opportunities; arrange the S&M paraphernalia on the table next to the 50 Shades! step & repeat including a feather, blindfold, riding crop, mask plus a wrench and a screwdriver for some reason that I pray to God I never have to know; put out the gift bags complete with commemorative tie, lube, Pure Delish postcard and women’s orgasm gel (I tried some. Amazing); and set out the decorative balloons, because everybody who loves bondage also loves balloons I think!

So, OK, great. Room is set up. Project done, right? Well…not exactly. Because right in the midst of the first weekend of performances we had that pesky public reading I was talking about earlier of the serious play about a Mexican American family during the Cuban Missile Crisis- and somehow, the director didn’t think the S&M mannequins would work for this presentation, even though he did keep trying to give Gladys his number and offered to let her read stage directions #poeticlicense. So…on Friday afternoon, before they came to rehearse, we hid the mannequins, took down the Pure Delish banners, struck the step & repeat (you feel cooler cause you know what that means right? Right? Yeah, you do.); boxed up the S&M paraphernalia including the wrench & screwdriver (I DON’T WANT TO KNOW); stashed the gift bags, popped the balloons and brought out chairs, music stands and a keyboard. Red Room becomes Reading Room- Ta Da!

Of course- after rehearsal – we had to strike the music stands, move the keyboard, put away the chairs, hang the banner, pose the mannequins, put out the step & repeat (go on- use it in a sentence. You know you want to) , set up the S&M props including the wrench and screwdriver (LALALLALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU I CAN’T HEAR YOU), set the gift bags back out, and put out the fucking balloons. Hurray fucking balloons!!

Then, Saturday, early in the morning…well I think you can guess. Banner, mannequins, step & repeat,  S&M paraphernalia, gift bags, balloons- OUT! Chairs, music stands, keyboard- IN! Serious reading about Mexican American family during the Cuban Missile Crisis GO!!

Which brings me back to that phone call to my mother, right where we started. The reading was about to end and I was tired. All I wanted to do was just restore the Red Room one more time and get the fuck out. And everything had been going so smoothly. We were practically home free. Just one more time- chairs, music stands, keyboard – OUT! Banner, mannequins, step & repeat, S&M props, gift bags and balloons…wait a second….where the fuck are the balloons??? What do you mean the new balloons haven’t been delivered yet?? How is that fucking possible??? Don’t these people know I want to go home????? How many question marks do I need to use to show just how FUCKING UNACCEPTABLE THIS IS????????????????????????????? ????????? QUESTION MARKS????????????????????????

Half an hour dragged by. I called the florist. They said the balloons were coming. They lied. Half an hour dragged by. I called the florist. I said terrible things. I screamed, I railed, I pleaded with desperation like a soldier in the Korengal valley covered in blood screaming into the radio for a Medevac while he watches his buddy bleeding to death on the hot sand only I was screaming cause the goddamn delivery of decorative balloons for my bondage themed 50 Shades VIP room was a motherfucking hour late and that shit was LIFE AND DEATH. GET ME MY FUCKING BALLOONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET SOME !!!!!!!!!GET SOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Balloons, that is.

So, anyhow, a few minutes later, the balloons arrived, we set them up and left. Everything was fine. The way it always it. Cause that’s the other thing to know about theatre- we live in a constant state of narrowly averted disaster. And you would think that would mean I would calm down and relax a little cause I know things are going to work out and, sure, that’s what a rational person would do but if I was a rational person I WOULDN’T HAVE MAJORED IN DRAAAAAAAMA.

So what’s the point? No point. What, did somebody tell you there was going to be a point? Weren’t you paying attention? Music stands go out, bondage mannequins go in, balloons show up, I go home. Cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos.

So how do we cope with the meaninglessness? Me, I like to attend City Council meetings. There’s nothing like taking an active role in government to remind me just how much I love theatre. At a recent Council Meeting, a local man got up with his well worn yellow Legal pad and said: “I live at the corner of ______ and __________  and for the last 20 years, I’ve been coming before you to say we need a stop light. Well, last night, the long awaited accident finally happened- and while nobody was hurt, I urge you to take action.” And the Council naturally reacted like this was a serious problem but all I could think was- “Dude, that’s great! You have one little accident every 20 years- you’ve gotta live on the safest fucking street corner in America! You don’t need a stop light- you need a plaque and a parade in your honor!” And, talk about theatre of the absurd- check out these little dialogue snippets from last night’s meeting:

“Is there a special notification list for trees?”

“That would just be the initial initiation of an initial plan”

Are you kidding me? That’s straight out of Ionesco’s Twitter feed #cockatoos. He missed his calling as a playwright- he should have just run for mayor. As for me, I’m just gonna stay back at the theatre. With Gladys. Where it’s safe. Well, relatively speaking. I still don’t know what that wrench is for- but I’ve got a sinking feeling I’m gonna be around long enough to find out. At least I don’t live in Albuquerque. I hear the mayor won’t even let them film COPS there. Now THAT’S absurd. (SHAMELESS PROMOTION ALERT.)

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