Series / The Weird Al Show
The Weird Al Show
And he really makes a mighty fine jellybean and pickle sandwich
For what it's worth.
is a half hour, Saturday morning live action show hosted by "Weird Al" Yankovic
. It showed a little adventure of Weird Al living in a cave 20 miles below the surface of the earth with his hamster, Harvey, then taught An Aesop
. It was only on for 13 episodes in 1997 before CBS
took it off.
Yankovic had wanted to make a straight entertainment program for kids (like Pee-Wee's Playhouse
), but the show ran into severe Executive Meddling
. The previous year, the Children's Television Act had been amended to require U.S. broadcast stations to air a minimum three hours of educational programming for children each week (which affected Saturday morning cartoons on free to air TV). As such, CBS wanted its Saturday morning lineup to focus on shows that met the guidelines. The Weird Al Show
had to incorporate pro-social Aesops into each show, which the creators found frustrating to say the least — and that was only part of the meddling they faced. Still, the makers did their best under the circumstances, even if the end result wasn't at all what people wanted out of a wacky kids' show starring "Weird Al" Yankovic.
This show provides examples of:
- An Aesop: Every episode would start and end with one.
- Androcles' Lion: Per the Expository Theme Tune, how Al got the show. One day, Al was in the forest trying to get a tan when he heard the tortured screaming of a funny little man. He was caught in a bear trap and Al set him free, and the guy that he rescued was as grateful as can be, and it turns out he's a big shot producer on TV. So he gives Al a contract, and whaddaya know? Now he's got his very own Weird! Al! SHOOOOOOOOOOW!
- Berserk Button: Fatman doesn't care if a villain will change all water to pea soup or turn the town into a giant omelette, and will even be tempted to help the villain. But if it's BAD food, like a plain egg omelet, THEN he gets angry.
- Blind Without 'Em: A real life case, as the show was filmed shortly before Al had surgery to correct his vision. He notes on the commentary that his blind, wide eyed stare while playing the glasses-less Fred Huggins actually adds a good deal to the performance.
- Bowdlerise: Thanks to Executive Meddling, Al was not allowed to call Barenaked Ladies by their actual name, instead forced to introduce the band as "BNL." Note that plenty of other kids networks at the time had no problems with using their actual name — just Al's. In the end, he called them by their full name anyway.
- Broken Aesop / Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Several episodes seem to be giving either the opposite message they were trying to convey, or a message that isn't exactly worthy of emulating (i.e. "Don't try to be the best at anything — it's too hard.")
- Celebrity Lie: Weird Al claims to know John Tesh and brags to his friends about inviting him over, and then spends the rest of the episode having to come up with a scheme to raise money to book him for the afternoon to continue the lie.
- Christmas Episode: "The Obligatory Holiday Episode," which covers most of the other holidays as well.
- Classy Cat-Burglar: Valory Brentwood: Gal Spy — in appearance anyway.
- Continuity: Quite a few lapses occurred, most of which are pointed out (and mocked) in the DVD Commentary. Two notable ones include the youngest Hanson brother's hairstyle switching back and forth occasionally from regular to a ponytail (due to his refusal to keep his hair the same way as previous takes during the last take of their performance) and the Hooded Avenger putting on a party hat in one shot and the hat going back into his hand in a shot barely two seconds later (which Al Handwaved in an "Ask Al" column as "one of [The Hooded Avenger's] many superpowers!").
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: In one episode, the sadistic host of a kid's show threatens his sidekick with a "Pauly Shore marathon."
- Cool, but Inefficient: "The Egg Man" flies around with helicopters that look like eggs and have eggbeaters for rotors.
- Creator Cameo: Dick Clark (whose company produced the show) appears at the end of "The Obligatory Holiday Episode" to count down to the end of the episode.
- Crying Wolf: In "The Obligatory Holiday Episode," Madam Judy gives Al a warning about the future, before saying "April Fools." Immediately after, she gets another prediction, trying to warn Al to listen to his friends, but Al thinks it's another April Fools joke.
- Dark Horse Victory: Al and a competing TV Show host both lose the TV Show Host of the Year award to recurring character Fred Huggins, the only host who played fair.
- Don't Explain the Joke: A frequent piece of Executive Meddling. Many of the explanations noticeably come from someone who's not onscreen at the moment, a sure sign that they were dubbed in at the last minute.
- Expository Theme Tune: The theme song is composed of three animated segments that explain why Weird Al is on television in a cave underground. It was released on his album, Running With Scissors.
- Extreme Omnivore: Weird Al is definitely one, and to a certain extent, most of his friends are too (though to a lesser degree than he is).
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: A bunch of stuff, but especially notable are the Vomit Indiscretion Shot of Baby Boolie on the Fred Huggins show and the brief HoYay between Fatman and the Slaw Meister.
- And they were somehow able to include the shot from Al's "Jurassic Park" music video where Barney the Dinosaur gets his head graphically bitten off by a T-Rex.
- In one scene of the opening, Al is holding a cocktail glass.
- The DVD commentary even mocked the inclusion of a scene from the "Gump" video of Forrest being carressed by bikini-clad women in a hot tub, wondering how that didn't get flagged for "imitatable behavior."
- A couple of the musical guests get away with surprisingly racy lyrics: Barenaked Ladies (who already have a racy name) perform "Shoebox," which is about a May–December Romancenote and Radish perform "Little Pink Stars," which has the refrain "I wanna feel you from the inside."
- Grand Finale: "The Obligatory Holiday Episode", the last in production order, which "celebrates" about three or four holidays and wraps up several ongoing threads. The series ends with show producer Dick Clark (symbolizing New Year's Eve) walking in to have everybody do a countdown to "HAPPY CLOSING CREDITS!"
- Gray and Grey Morality: In "The Competition", Al and Uncle Ralphie both sabotage each others shows after they are nominated for best children's show host, and both end up losing to the one nominee who played fair. However, Uncle Ralphie starts the sabotaging, while Al initially tries to ignore the sabotage and run his show in spite of it, only fighting back when Uncle Ralphie insults Harvey. And even after that, when he finds out that Ralphie's musical guests haven't shown up because Val kidnapped them, Al is initially against what she did before he decides to make them perform on his show.
- Hurricane of Puns: One of Fatman's enemies, "The Egg Man", has such a gratuitous overuse of egg puns that Harvey agitatedly demands for it to stop.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: In the Adventures of Fatman, Harvey is obviously more intelligent than Fatman.
- Imaginary Friend: Weird Al has an "imaginary" friend named "Gilbert". He's actually Gilbert Gottfried, and he professes that he's real, even going so far as to try to show Weird Al his driver's license. Al ignores him.
- Jerkass: This universe's version of Al is a selfish, rude, and inconsiderate jerk that lies to his friends, ditches them for people he thinks are "cooler", yells at them for his own mistakes, and berates them for not living up to his standards. The real Al made a running joke in the DVD commentary about what an unlovable cretin his character was on this show. In fact, the only time he wasn't this annoying was in an episode with a one-shot character that was a bigger Jerkass than he was, making Al seem kind and considerate by comparison.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: How Al is likely supposed to be seen. This does shine through now and then, such as when Al uses his time machine to try and get Harvey a birthday present, but the character's Jerk streak is just a bit too long for its own good.
- Large Ham: The announcer. No one else can say the phrase "glandular problem" with more emphasis!
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Cousin Corky.
- Medium Blending: The intro shifts animation styles from 2D animation, CGI, and claymation. Then, at the very end, it switches to live action.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Once an episode, Al shows us how to make food hybrids similar to the Twinkie wiener sandwiches he's fond of. These are intended as a joke however, as most if not all contain an inedible ingredient (which is ironic considering the many scenes containing "imitatable behavior" that were removed thanks to Executive Meddling). An example would be the potato-gummy worm-ink snack mentioned above.
- Papa Wolf: Al to Harvey the Wonder Hamster.
- In "Al Plays Hooky", after Cousin Corky stops by and agrees to help with the show, Al suddenly decides to take a vacation, without telling Corky. Al calls from time to time, insensitive to what he's put Corky through, and he doens't even care when informed that he'll be fired if he doesn't come back soon. But when Corky informs him of a guest who suddenly dropped by, a chef from a country that considers hamsters a rare delicacy, Al rushes back to stop him from cooking Harvey.
- In "The Competition", Uncle Ralph keeps harassing Al and tries to sabotage Al's chances of winning the award they are both nominated for. Al tries to ignore it, and doesn't start fighting back until Ralph insults Harvey.
- Parody Commercial: Al's tv watching montages often included at least one of these, some of which were more obvious parodies of existing products (such as an action figure that is only a head and his body parts sold separately).
- Patter Song: The theme song. The first verse is even a run-on sentence!
- Pet the Dog: Jerkass that he is, Al obviously does care about Harvey, and heaven help you if you do something bad to him.
- Punny Name: A helicopter load of eggs descends into "Lake Convenient".
- Scare 'em Straight: Re-edited actual classroom films become hilarious sendups of this (even with the Executive Meddling, they knew their audience quite well).
- The commentaries recall one film (Soapy the Germ Fighter) which was so hilariously bizarre that they wanted to just air the real thing...only for the execs to tell them it would be too disturbing.
- Shout-Out: Several supporting cast members of UHF, Al's only starring role in a film, made appearances.
- Kevin McCarthy, who played the villainous R.J. Fletcher, plays the mayor of the town in the 60% Chance of Rain parody.
- David Bowe (not, not that one), who played George's friend Bob, appears as one of the miners in the episode "Mining Accident".
- Gedde Watanabe (already somewhat famous for playing Long Duck Dong in Sixteen Candles) plays a martial arts instructor that was clearly intended to be a version of UHF's Kuni, complete with his trademark catchphrase.
- Saturday Night Live alumna Victoria Jackson, who played main squeeze Terri in UHF, has a bit part as a crying woman in one of the fake TV shows on Al's TV in the episode "Time Machine".
- Longtime friend Emo Phillips, who played shop teacher Joe Earley in UHF, shows up as the voice of the villainous Slaw Meister (modeled to look very much like Philips at the time) in the Fatman cartoon accompanying the episode "Mining Accident". He appears again in the show proper as "Dr. Philips", a loony psychiatrist Al hires to try and calm Harvey down in "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Hamster."
- Al's late mom Mary Yankovic also guest stars as herself in the talent show episode. His band also comes in and performs "Yoda" for Harvey's birthday.
- Show Within a Show: Several episodes have the animated Adventures of Fatman. Also, the recurring segment of Al watching TV allows many different shows-within-a-show to be seen, most notably the Fred Huggins Show.
- Sure, Let's Go with That: In the DVD commentary, Al says that CBS told him they were looking for educational shows. His reply? "Suuuurrreee, we can be educational!"
- Techno Babble: The Hooded Avenger uses technobabble to explain why Hanson taking flash photography of giant Harvey will make him go back to his normal size.
The Hooded Avenger: No, no, stop! The flash effect from those cameras may displace neurons in Harvey's radioactive aura, damaging his neo-electrical field resulting in a complete and immediate growth reversal! (Harvey shrinks) See? Told ya.
- Thematic Rogues Gallery: Fatman's villains are all either food-based or have food-based plans. Or both.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Val Brentwood: Gal Spy doesn't actually perform any espionage or anything spy-like in any of the episodes we see her in except for one: "The Competition." Given the number of episodes where actual spy work would be useful to Al or his friends, it's surprising that she pretty much doesn't do anything but hang around at Al's house.
- Title Theme Tune: Repeats "The Weird Al Show" many times during the end of the theme song.
- The Voiceless: Harvey occasionally communicates with thought bubbles, but is otherwise a normal hamster. This was a compromise, as the execs wanted a Talking Animal.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Quite surprisingly given the strict censorship, we get one from Baby Boolie.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Fatman's power of flight is slower than cars, thanks to his heft. Also, the Hooded Avenger has the power to craft a tiny horse out of an ice cube with his tongue.