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Series / Tenacious D

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The double-dip cream-dream thrill ride of your life.
Okay, up next, these two guys have been here for the last... couple weeks... um... they asked me to read this: "Warning: if you want your asses blown out, stay in the room."

Ladies and gentlemen, Tenacious D.

Tenacious D (subtitled "The Greatest Band On Earth") is a TV series that ran on HBO in 1997 for three episodes. Each episode was made up of Two Shorts, all chronicling the (fictional) trials and tribulations of Tenacious D, a burgeoning acoustic Heavy Metal band made up of Jack Black (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Kyle Gass (lead guitar). They regularly make appearances at the local open mic night to play their Power Metal-inspired tales of riding with kings, smoking weed, battling demons and butt sex, to an inevitably apathetic crowd, and Paul, the nonplussed host (played by Paul F. Tompkins).

A falling out with HBO ended the series pretty quickly, but luckily, the episodes that did see the light of day got a lot of attention from fans, ranging from fans of alternative comedy to some showbiz friends - for instance, Dave Grohl wound up playing drums for them on their debut album. As well, they quickly secured spots opening for Beck, Pearl Jam, the Foo Fighters and tool. The original show, as you can imagine, has become something of a Cult Classic, and perhaps even ahead of its time.

Speaking of their debut album, a good amount of songs found on this show wormed their way into said album, such as "Kielbasa," "Kyle Quit The Band," "Sex Supreme" (aka "Double Team"), "You Broke The Rules" (aka "Karate"), "Explosivo," "Lee," "The Road," and even their Signature Song, "Tribute." Meanwhile, "Jesus Ranch" and "Cosmic Shame" turned up as B-Sides and live versions respectively, and "History" was rerecorded for "The Pick Of Destiny".

"It's not just a list of tropes we've done in the past, but it's also a chronicling, of our rise... TO POWER!!!"

  • Anger Montage: When Kyle quits the band, Jack goes into a crying, screaming, violent rage (as only Jack Black can).
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Death Of A Dream." Meeting Sasquatch - yes, that Sasquatch - gives the D a new lease on life after having their spirits broken. But they also break Sass' heart by rejecting his audition to be their drummer.
    Sasquatch (after a D performance): Tell Tenacious D they were kickass.
    Paul: And... who shall I tell them said that?
    Sasquatch (starting to cry): Tell them it was Sas- [pause] ...tell them it was a friend.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: "History" is used in the closing credits, and is also the song which the band are introduced with in the first episode.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Captain Ed, the record shop owner, does this in his one appearance to describe the five stages of the Death Of A Dream.
    • Jack does this in the first episode to teach the audience about the creative process, aka their Search For Inspirado.
  • The Cameo: Laura Kightlinger shows up in "Angel In Disguise" as a "Backstage Betty." This was around the time she and Jack Black started dating in real life.
  • Cassandra Truth: After Captain Ed denounced the Sasquatch as a myth, not even Jack and Kyle's hard evidence (plaster foot cast and their tape recording of sasquatch noises) could change his mind.
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
    Jack: Okay. We got a crucial clutch cargo gig comin' up Kyle, you COCK-SUCKER! YOU DON'T GIVE A SHIT, AND I'VE BEEN SITTIN' AROUND GETTIN' SICK OF YOUR ATTITUDE! YOU FUCKER! YA FUCKIN' BITCH!!!
  • Cock Fight: "Angel In Disguise," when they fight over Jack's longtime crush Flarna.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Jack's response to Captain Ed's story about how hard you can crash and burn in the rock business is that it sounds amazing.
  • Control Freak: How Jack treats the band.
  • Couch Gag:
    • The sign on the nightclub door has a different "Open Mic Night" blurb at the beginning of each episode.
    • Paul is given a new, obscenely over-the-top intro by the band for every one of their open mic sets.
      Paul (flat and uncaring): "Caution: the surgeon general of rock warns that viewing this next band is equal to 29 orgasms." Here they are, Tenacious D.
  • Dreadful Musician: Sasquatch when he auditions to be the band's drummer. Unfortunately, he can't keep time and his audition is a mess.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: "Tribute" has a different arrangement to the popular rerecorded version, which doesn't include the familiar chorus, plus includes some sections from "Stairway To Heaven" that were later cut. This is particularly noticeable because the video for the rerecorded version is a shot for shot remake of the one in the series, sans a change of actor playing the Devil.
  • End-of-Episode Silliness: JB and KG standing in front a curtain doing a short mini-skit for a fake audience, before waving goodbye to the viewers.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Double Subversion. "The Search For Inspirado" is centered around Jack and Kyle waiting for inspiration to strike, so they can write a new song within a week to play at the next open mic night. Something always sabotages their efforts: they come up with a cool rhythm by snapping their fingers only to lose the idea because the tape machine wasn't on, they come up with a nice vocal harmony that turns out to be the jingle from the ice cream truck, and going out of the house for once just winds up with Kyle running naked through the forest and Jack sitting in a wading pool eating ice cream. The tension catches up with them, and they have a spat and break up before the open mic night even happens. However, they reconcile, and write their new song about getting back together, which they perform at the open mic the week after.
  • Five Stages of Grief: When Captain Ed briefly destroys Jack and Kyle's faith in rock music. Of course, since this is the Tenacious D show, the stages wind up being Anger, Denial, Door To Door Rocking, Temp Job, and Acceptance.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kyle takes a bullet for Jack. Thanks to a convenient little Chekhov's Gun, he's Not Quite Dead.
  • Hot-Blooded: Jack, big time, making Straight Man Kyle look all the more level-headed.
  • I Know Karate: "With karate I'll kick your ass, into Tiananmen Square..."
  • Large Ham: Even in 1997, Jack was an absolute avalanche of ham.
  • Metal Scream: Not usually their style. But on "History Of Tenacious D," Jack breaks up the song's false ending with a deafening screech.
  • Obsession Song: "Lee" is an obsession song written about their own stalker. It's... this whole weird thing.
  • The Power of Friendship: "Special Things," sung with Lee.
  • Punch a Wall: Part of Jack's Anger Montage.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: After Kyle's band quitting, Jack despairs by destroying a tape and, in the next scene, he smashes a mirror in a manner that parodies the intro scene from the movie Apocalypse Now.
  • Retired Outlaw: Captain Ed, from Captain Ed's Record Store, has a rather cynical view of his former rock star lifestyle.
  • Sasquatch: Makes a guest appearance in "Death Of A Dream" to restore the boys' faith in rock music, and then attempts to join the band as a drummer (and fails, miserably). Played by John C. Reilly.
  • The Slacker: Both Jack and Kyle. The first episode sees them lazing around their apartment for a couple days, reminiscing about how much their last gig rocked.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Mostly from Jack.
  • Spoken Word in Music: "Cosmic Shame," where Jack lectures the audience about following your dreams (unless the D tell you to stop).
  • Stalker with a Crush: Played with in "The Fan." Lee (played by JR Reed) starts out this way, until Kyle and Jack turn the tables on him in bizarre fashion.
  • Straight Man: Kyle, as always.
  • Streaking: Kyle does this through the forest as part of the creative process (yeah) in "The Search For Inspirado," set to rare Tenacious D song "Bowie." note 
  • Surreal Humor: This show firmly established the D's very offbeat take on rock stardom.
  • Swallowed a Fly: Happens to JB in the middle of his "Inspirado" speech.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Paul doesn't bat an eye when the Sasquatch, standing right next to him, sends the group his regards.
  • Tough Room: Every open mic night. It's a wonder they keep going back so often.
  • Training Montage: "The Greatest Song In The World" features Jack and Kyle's pre-show rituals, which includes extreme hot and cold conditions, swallowing a long piece of string, and installing a skylight.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Exploding brains from Alzon to Zanzibar... to the shores of ye olde rustic Chinook!"
  • Writer's Block: "The Search For Inspirado." The whole plot is them spending a week trying to overcome this in increasingly nonsensical ways so they can write one song. At one point they think they've come up with a hook, but it's just the jingle from the ice cream truck.

Sasquatch (reentering bar): You know what? You better tell them it was Sasquatch. Then they'll know which friend you're talking about.
Paul: Oh, okay, sure.
Sasquatch: See ya.


Sasquatch and Rocking

Captain Ed tries dissuading Tenacious D from following through on their dream, calling it a myth like Sasquatch. It is not until Jack and Kyle reach the "Acceptance" stage of their dream's death do they see Sasquatch for real, the two of them immediately breaking out into a song as their dream had spontaneously come back to life.

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