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for April 24, 2002

Look On My Works, Ye Viewers, And Titter Convulsively!
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love detected a new scent in the air weeks ago; a topic of conversation that did not include: a. airplanes; b. Britney; c. that prickly pointy Middle East steel-cage grudge match. MTV has given us something to talk about, finally. The last interesting thing MTV did was the first episode of The Real World. Ack! Strangers! Cameras! The horror of sharing a bathroom! Subsequent episodes taught us MTV’s supersecret wisdom: having roommates sucks. Did you know that? Fast forward a thousand years to now, when MTV demonstrates a decent idea sometimes stumbles on you and breaks its ankle.
The Osbournes, MTV’s wild idea, features Bewitched-style graphics introducing smartly edited reality-TV - yes, cameras in Ozzy Osbourne’s house. In direct contrast to everyone else on MTV, the Osbournes are not polished and over-beautiful. Viewers observe as the Osbournes move into a new house with boxes labeled DEVIL HEADS and DEAD THINGS. Ozzy’s wife Sharon says it’s the 24th home her children have lived in. Small wonder son Jack is a powder keg, and daughter Kelly complains her classmates taunt her with dad’s bat-biting history.
After the first few episodes aired, Your Tastycake was caught looking. Yes, the very fact that MTV developed something interesting ran smack into Your Bite Size Treat’s slick conglomerate commodity antipathy: I resisted. I admit it. MTV? Can’t be. Nuh-unh. As more and more of Your Entenmann’s Coffee Cake’s witty, charming companions raved, Your Cream Filling caved. Okay, then, is it really as funny as all that, or is The Osbournes funny in the retelling by erstwhile comediennes?
The Osbournes is a panic. Ozzy’s constant cries of "SHARON!" when things go wrong, tiny frou-frou dogs underfoot, the swearing, a beleaguered nanny cajoling the kids into getting ready for school, Ozzy lecturing the kids on avoiding drugs, the extended family staring at Ozzy’s X- rays, all screamingly funny. Ozzy, hair tied in a bun and wearing a fluffy bathrobe, complains to Sharon about shower water pressure. Sharon informs him that California regulates that with plumbing devices, but they’ll remove them if he likes. "No, no," says Ozzy, "we’re not breaking the law."
While dinosaurs roamed the earth, a sociologist mentioned to Your Little Debbie psychologists dealing with children from dysfunctional families asked them to watch The Addams Family. Why? Because for all their ostensibly violent idiosyncrasies, the Addamses were gentle and affectionate with one another. Likewise, the Osbournes are tough stuff (everyone argues, lies; Kelly and Jack wrestle, punch one another) but their closeness feels real. When Ozzy goes on tour in a snit and without the family, Kelly says to the camera Ozzy does that sometimes, then calls three or four days later and says, "I miss you." When Sharon, Kelly and Jack show up on his birthday, Ozzy’s overjoyed (smiles patiently and opens gifts) and everything’s hunky dory again.
As an aside: constant bleeping throughout the show may inspire trendmeisters at The Sharper Image to create portable ambient bleepers. Bored with your co-workers' insipient prattle? Bleep every third word! The boss a snooze? Bleeeeeeeeeeeep! Think of it as Mad Libs reversed. Maybe thanks to Ozzy and MTV, we’ll have exciting conversations and topics, no matter how tired, may never matter again.


©2002 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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