Ah, Twin Peaks. What could’ve been an ever-obscure, early ‘90s throwback has held its cultural ground through DVD releases, intellectual discussions on sites like PopMatters, and fan-made YouTube videos like this one. That and the fact that David Lynch made it.
Considering how many plot threads the show had going on in its short, two-season run, its pretty amazing the man going by “MC Chris” managed to fit most of them in there. With all these characters and scenes referenced at such a breakneck pace, you kind of have to sit back and admire everything Twin Peaks had to offer. The lyrics are hilarious, and the beat set to the original theme is “damn fine”. Does anyone else think it sounds like Aziz Ansari on Autotune?
And now you are probably thinking: wow, is that guy for real?
Oh, he’s real. And we have footage.
I mean, I know.
There’s so much going on here one scarcely knows where to begin.
Like: who knew Jackie Gleason had a show? (I didn’t.)
And: Can you say “The White James Brown”? (or, as Wayne Cochran was drolly known, The White Knight of Soul). Seriously, every single move and mannerism is ripped wholesale from The O.G. (Original Godfather). What we have here is not an instance of someone using another artist and incorporating his own style or making it his own. This is complete and transparent larceny. And its shamelessness is what makes it tolerable. It even manages to make it, in a circus freakshow sort of way, irresistible.
I have to confess, I’ve gone my entire life without seeing Wayne Cochran in action. (That, of course, is what YouTube is for.) He was briefly—and amusingly—referred to in the classic “Maury Sline” sauna scene from The Blues Brothers.
Wait… I can’t believe you are actually reading this and not watching that video again.
Let’s briefly break it down.
Okay, so how about Jackie Gleason “spontaneously” lighting up his cig as the camera pans in? Suave.
And how about the (obviously paid and staged) people at the tables? At first, it’s not quite as obvious (if you’re like me, your initial impression was: well, they were prepped and implored to “get into the spirit of the thing!”), but about half-way through, it’s undeniable: look at them, dancing along and grooving. The only way white people can approximate this type of synchronized movement is if they’ve been paid, or drugged. In this instance, it’s quite likely both.
Oh, yes. There is a second video.
2. That is just epic late ‘60s shlock.
3. This choreographed, insanely over-the-top audience participation also reminds us that a bunch of wealthy, utterly out-of-touch, supremely dorky old white men were calling the shots in Hollywood back in the day. And let’s face it, not too much has changed. But don’t kid yourself: it could never get this bad—and by bad I mean bad and good, as only the late ‘60s and early ‘70s could ever be—again.
Trekkie compilations like “Star Trek Sex Compilation” really hit home the pint of sexism in the various series. The plots, undertones, and catchy phrases connected in this compilation tell much of that story. Another story is even more visually reductive. The black women in an episode from the final season of Deep Space Nine provoke one of those ‘cases in point’ that causes for pause (to literally press “pause”). It is undeniable that the entire Star Trek franchise resists ethnic diversity on Earth, and even fails to hire black extras for even the most mundane roles. Hence, when we see some cocoa where no man has gone before, we notice.
Like most all women in modern Star Trek series, she wears a unitard as if she is ready to twirl on a pole. This might work well on most of the unitard-wearing women in Starfleet. Yet, on this sister, you can’t avoid those healthy humps—in the back and in the front. Beyoncé has got thighs like that. So, isn’t it out of character that some officers wear unitards and others wear shirts and pants? While there’s regularly a camel toe threatening to burst out, have you seen any male packages on Star Trek?
Admittedly, some aspects of this gender divide are certainly worse than the second skin that 7 of 9 wears in the Voyager series. Another unitard diva is T’pol is the Vulcan science officer in Enterprise. I am searching for a tailor to copy T’Pol’s red velvety V-neck unitard, or the spandex turquoise unitard she more often wears. Yet, one cannot help notice that over half the women encountered in the whole galaxy walk around with their chest so perched out they look like they have a sever case of scoliosis. Why are so many women in the 24th century strutting around with the “f**k me” walk!?! Enterprise is the series which chronologically predates Spock, Kirk, Sulu, Scottie, Uhura, Checkov and Bones. Each character was a stereotype of the main players in the geo-political politics of the day—and reflected a preferred world order. For sure, men wore the pants, and women wore teeny, tiny, short mini-skirts.
If it weren’t for the military setting, one is certain that the women would have been assigned hooker heels to announce and help reproduce them as weak and in need of being escorted and rescued by men. Though Tina Tuner makes it look sexy, that’s part of the allure of performance. And anyway, what woman wears a unitard into battle? Oh, women are still not on the frontlines in many nation’s military or heads of corporate structures. And as Sarah Palin’s candidacy shows, even women in modern politics better wear some lipstick and sexy clothes. I guess we’ll expect the first female president to have served her time on the pole.
Best known as “Ginger Grant” from Gilligan’s Island, Tina Louise recorded several swingin’ albums, the most notable of which was 1957’s It’s Time for Tina. The single, “It’s Been a Long Time” is available for listening on the YouTubes (non-embeddable, dammit ... but there’s an excellent album cover). According to Wikipedia, the album featured Coleman Hawkins (!) on tenor sax, and Harkit Records may be re-releasing it. Their site is worth browsing for the album art alone. Also, Louise’s real name was Tatiana Josivovna Chernova Blacker, which is just awesome.