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Series / The Weird Al Show

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And he really makes a mighty fine jellybean and pickle sandwich
For what it's worth.

The Weird Al Show 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:

  • Achievement In Ignorance: A real life case with Fred Huggins. Al claimed that he had no idea if any of the ukulele chords he was playing were accurate, they just sounded right.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Both the first and last episode of the series have essentially the same moral about being a true friend that listens and encourages others. And in both episodes, Al learns this by being the worst friend ever. During the show's original broadcast, these two episodes aired very close together (being the 10th and 12th episodes aired) essentially making this very similar pair of morals take place almost back to back.
  • Aesoptinum: The Mood Pie in "The Obligatory Holiday Episode" exists to show how well Al's party is going, shifting forms based on how the guests are feeling and thus serves as a reminder to Al to be a good listener. As the party keeps getting worse, Al will check on the pie and find it in increasingly uglier states until it finally is so hideous it's unable to be shown on camera. Al tries to fix the pie by making everyone who feels bad leave, causing the entire party to empty out. When everyone comes back after Al promises to be a better listener and he fixes all their problems, the mood pie turns silver and shiny.
  • Almighty Janitor: A delivery man played by Bill Mumy appears in one episode hauling tons of books and stuff to Al's cave; he turns out to have several PhDs and a Nobel Prize, among other things uncovered while looking for a pen (and he gives Al his Master's thesis on subatomic particles to use in place of a clipboard).
  • An Aesop: Every episode would start and end with one. A few specific Aesops appear in the series:
    • Be Yourself: While never actually stated openly, "Al Gets Robbed" and "Talent Show" seem to be versions of this, with the latter being taught to Corky when she's afraid of appearing in a talent show and the former being taught to Al when his house gets robbed and he has to perform the show with just whatever creativity he can manage.
    • Fighting Back Is Wrong: Not actually the stated moral of "The Competition" but in practice this is what the episode teaches. It declares that the moral is to play fair in competitions but Al doesn't actually do anything to his rival Uncle Ralphie until Ralphie begins to actively harass him and sabotage his show.
    • Prejudice Aesop/Suspicion Aesop: "Mining Accident", in which Al learns to be accepting of... miners. Not a race of miners, just... people who work as miners. Specifically, this pair of miners. Who start out as rude jerks and Al meets them because they collapsed a wall into his house.
    • Trend Aesop: "Bad Influence" involves Al trying to join a club with a guy named Spike who he thinks is the height of cool, causing him to make a fool of himself and chase of his real friends before Spike is exposed.
  • 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.
    • Don't you dare call Harvey mediocre. Al will destroy you.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: "The Obligatory Holiday Episode" features a sketch where Siskel and Ebert argue about a movie and end up resorting to calling each other things like "doodyhead" and "snotface", ending when one of them calls the other a hootiefish, leaving the other so confused by the insult to continue.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Al sometimes goes to his kitchen for a "Nutrition Break", in which he makes things like split-pea cookies. Most of his creations contain non-edible things, however, which may fall under Extreme Omnivore instead. He also makes a "mighty fine jelly bean and pickle sandwich", according to the theme song.
  • Black Comedy: The theme song starts with Al living in a sewer, which he is promptly kicked out of by the sanitation workers.
    • The entire concept of The Guy Boarded Up in The Wall, who is very open about not being happy in there but everyone else treats as perfectly normal and even amusing. The talent show episode pushed it even further in which he performs an entire stand-up comedy routine where the punchline of every joke is that he's trapped inside the wall.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Another 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.
  • Broken 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.
    • "The Competition" has as its moral simply “Play fair”, given to Al as he tries to win a Best TV Show host competition against rival Uncle Ralphie. The moral itself is never defined beyond that - does it mean following the rules? The contest’s rules are never given so it’s hard to know how they were broken. Does it mean to be the bigger man when you’re being harassed? Because Al actually does try to "play fair" and just focus on running a good show and only cracks after suffering repeated sabotage by Uncle Ralphie. The episode ends with both of them losing to Fred Huggins, “the only one who played fair” but Fred Huggins wasn’t the victim of any sabotage and had been completely ignored. The actual moral just seems to be “Be so lame that nobody would ever bother you and watch your enemies destroy each other."
    • "Mining Accident" is supposed to teach a Prejudice Aesop about respecting and learning from people who are different from you, but the entire reason Al encounters the miners is because they cause a cave in and invade his home, plus they make fun of Harvey and almost kill him. The plot clearly puts the entire onus on Al to learn to respect people who are different when it *should* have been a lesson where both groups learn about respecting *each other.* That's before we even touch the fact that the episode is trying to teach about racism without saying it, which causes a different problem when Al has a good reason to not like the miners (because they're jerks and miners are just people that work in a job and not a race.)
    • “Because I Say So” is a particularly toxic lesson that teaches kids that bullies are just sad and lonely people and it’s their victim’s responsibility to peacefully reach out to them and improve their lives. Even the show seems to acknowledge the problem when Al admits to getting a restraining order against Huey after he finally leaves. The DVD commentary has them take this lesson to task as being comically false.
    • ”One for the Record Books” is supposedly about how you shouldn’t worry about being THE best as long as you do YOUR best, which itself still isn’t a great moral but could be understood for children as encouraging them to pursue what they love regardless of whether they’re already an expert or to not let pursuit of perfection overtake their ability to be happy. Instead, the episode portrays people who *are* the best at something as losers who sacrificed their entire lives to do stupid things and they have no friends. The moral the episode unintentionally teaches is “Don’t try anything because it’s too hard.”
  • ”Talent Show” in theory is “When faced with a challenge, try your best and don't be afraid to seek good advice.” But the “challenge” in question is Al running a talent show and forcing Cousin Corky to participate against her will, causing her to first humiliate herself because she has nothing prepared and then only discover her actual talent literally by accident. So nothing in the lesson actually takes place and also Al isn’t really interested in helping Corky much but instead making her be in his show. Strangely this episode portrays Al as being right but Corky as wrong.
  • Captain Obvious Aesop: "The Obligatory Holiday Episode" seems to be making fun of this trope, as when The Hooded Avenger tells Al the incredibly obvious advice of "When one person shares and the other person listens, those two get to be better friends," the music swells into a heavenly choir as Al declares "That's so darn sappy it's just gotta be true!"
  • 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. The real John Tesh actually does show up - to complain about the awful product Al sold him through an informercial.
  • Christmas Episode: "The Obligatory Holiday Episode," which covers most of the other holidays as well.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Valory Brentwood: Gal Spy has the classic look with a black catsuit and a hair color and matching cape that changes color every episode.
  • Constantly Curious: Parodied with Bobby the Inquisitive Boy. Once an Episode, Bobby shows up to see Al and give him extremely out-there questions (often for equally out-there school projects). Al never has a proper answer for him, but there's a Running Gag of Al playing an instructional video on a projector reel for him, filled with 1950s stock footage and cheesy narration, and it never actually answers Bobby's question. One episode opens with Bobby launching a stream of questions at Al (including "Why can't we breathe gravy?"), even though Al keeps saying "I don't know" - to the point of bringing in a gospel choir to announce "He doesn't know!"
  • 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 rival kids' show threatens his sidekick with a "Pauly Shore marathon." In the same episode, Al threatens the kidnapped band Radish with a tape of Pauly Shore films to convince them to play for him.
  • 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," Madame 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most notably Harvey and Uncle Frank's Genius Ditz-esque sidekick from the Fatman segments.
  • 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.
  • Don't Try This at Home: After Harvey does a stunt in "Mining Accident", Al informs the audience that hamsters watching at home shouldn't try Harvey's stunts because he is a trained professional.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: In the Fatman segments, Weird Al works at a donut shop for cops.
  • Easily Forgiven: Among the guests Al invited in "The Obligatory Holiday Episode" include Uncle Ralphie, whom Al competed against in "The Competition" (though Al was quick to realize he should have played fair, Ralphie didn't seem to lose that attitude), and the chef from "Al Plays Hooky" who previously tried to cook Harvey.
    • Huey in “Because I Say So” because the episode literally is about forgiving your bully. He’s not at the holiday party though so presumably Al’s restraining order went through in time!note 
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Lampshaded in "Al Plays Hooky". When Al calls Corky the second time, he's sitting in a cafe in Paris with the Eiffel Tower behind him. When Corky asks Al where he is, Al says "Gee, I thought this Eiffel Tower thing back here would be a dead giveaway".
  • Evil Uncle: Fatman's archenemy is his evil uncle Frank.
  • 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).
  • Fat Idiot: This is somewhat Parodied with Fatman. Where Al'd start out as a skinny person with average intelligence and eating a simple donut at Donut World always makes Al form into his fatter alter-ego, which makes him enhance his stupidity entirely.
  • 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 the show's executive 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 other's 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 (though it starts after he accuses Al of trying to sabotage when he finds out that Al is the one on the phone calling to correct him that he might not win after gloating on the air that he'll win), 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. And while Al acknowledges that he should have played fair, Ralphie takes out his loss on his sidekick by forcing him to watch a bad movie.
  • Hi, Mom!: Parodied in "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Hamster", where pet psychiatrist Dr. Phillips (played by Emo Phillips) is informed that he's on television and responds by shouting "Hi, Mom", then apologizes for his abrupt action while explaining that the cameraman looked like his mother.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Inverted! Al decides to go on vacation in one episode, leaving Cousin Corky to host the show while he's gone. She reacts as anyone would under such circumstances - like a deer in headlights - and is a complete washout as a host, jumping for joy whenever someone comes along to break up the awkwardness.
  • 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.
  • Idiot Hero: The aforementioned, titular Fatman being the heroic Fat Idiot in the Adventures of Fatman, whom has a more intelligent and sarcastic hamster sidekick Harvey.
  • 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.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The animated Fatman segments have Weird Al voicing an animated version of himself and the one-shot villain the Slawmeister also resembles his voice actor Emo Phillips.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Harvey in the live-action segments on occasion, these would occur when launched into a cannon in both episodes "Back To School" and "Mining Accident". This was somewhat justified where the episode "Back To School" where it looks like Harvey got an anvil dropped onto him by Al, but was stronger than he looks.
  • 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. Also, Harvey from the Adventures of Fatman series is an snarky Hypercompetent Sidekick version of this, this is better shown in the "Al Gets Robbed" episode.
  • Karmic Twist Ending: "The Competition" ends with both Al and Uncle Ralphie losing the tv show contest because they refused to play fair, causing Fred Huggins to win by default.
  • Keet: Well yeah, it's Weird Al.
  • Large Ham: Madame JuuUUUUUuuudyyyYYYYY!
  • Large-Ham Announcer: The announcer, as voiced by Billy West. No one else can say the phrase "glandular problem" with more emphasis!
    • Also, the other announcer for the Al TV segments (Beau Weaver) would sometimes lean into this.
  • "Lesson of the Day" Speech: The start of every episode will declare "Today's lesson" in clear terms. Then through the episode the narrator will constantly repeat the moral while basically yelling at Al for not even trying to learn it. Furthermore, in many of the episodes The Hooded Avenger will show up and serve no other role in the plot but to repeat the moral directly to Al.
  • 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.
  • No Longer with Us: The Hooded Avenger shares the sad tale of his former friend, Mr. Molasses, the slowest superhero ever.
    The Hooded Avenger: Every time we'd go out crime fighting, he'd want to tag along, so I'd have to drive the hood cycle at 2mph. We ended up getting into a big fight over this. We stopped talking to one another. Then five years, he was in a freak road paving accident and I've missed him ever since! *breaks down into sobs*
    Al: You mean he...?
    The Hooded Avenger: Yea! HE MOVED TO BOISE IDAHO! WHYYYYY?!
  • Nuclear Mutant: In "One for the Record Books," Harvey stood in front of a microwave while Al microwaves a burrito. But the microwave has a radiation leak, which makes Harvey grow 4x in size and gets into the Guinness World Records for world's largest hamster. He returns back to normal after Hanson takes pictures of him, resulting in their camera flashes wearing off the radiation.
  • 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 doesn'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".
  • Real-Person Cameo: Mary Yankovic, Al's real life mother, plays Al's mother in the show as well, continuing a trend from his earlier projects up to this point where his real-life parents always portray his parents.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: Re-edited actual classroom films become hilarious sendups of this (even with the Executive Meddling, they knew their audience quite well).
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The Expository Theme Tune is an example, including details that are not relevant to how Al got his TV show (such as the fact that he had a reoccurring dream where he fell into a vat of sour cream).
  • Shout-Out: Al met Spike from "Bad Influences" while playing a game of 43-man squamish.
  • 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.
  • Stock Scream: When Al and the miners are watching TV in "Mining Accident", one clip shown is of a small man floating in a fish tank accompanied by the Insane Tantrum Scream.
  • Squee: Cousin Corky meets Fabio (As Himself) in one episode, and makes a lot of incredibly high-pitched noises.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Billy West as the narrator would tend to do this, mainly when reading the moral at the beginning and during the Fatman segments.
  • Super-Strength: Cousin Corky somehow never noticed she had this, until the talent show episode, in which she couldn't think of a talent to perform until Al casually pointed it out. Her resulting performance, where she bends a barbell around her neck, is a big hit.
  • 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. However, at least once she makes an off-handed remark about not being able to divulge information on a mission, so presumably she's doing her work off-camera.
    • The Hooded Avenger comes close, as the only time he's seen doing anything related to crime fighting is when he catches the guy who robbed Al's cave in "Al Gets Robbed". Beyond that there's a flashback of his doomed sidekick Mr. Molasses, but the flashback
  • 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.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: One of Fatman's enemies, Dr. Legume, wants to put a capsule into the water supply turning all the towns water into split pea soup, which would allow people to get the soup through anything that produces water. Split pea soup may be a very undesirable food (not to mention contaminating water), but Legume really likes the split pea soup recipe used and sees it as a breakthrough in science. In fact, Fatman, who hates split pea soup, tries some and finds that he really likes that recipe and becomes happy with the thought of Legume's plan.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Fatman's power of flight is slower than cars, thanks to his heft (a frequent visual gag is showing him flying while slow things such as snails outpace him.)
    • The Hooded Avenger has the power to craft a tiny horse out of an ice cube with his tongue.
    • Mr. Molasses, the slowest super hero ever. He's, well, a giant pile of molasses.
  • World of Weirdness: This is the Weird Al Show after all, and the show itself has its the '90s randomness filled vibe in it.


Video Example(s):


Lousy Haircut

The song "Lousy Haircut" has Weird Al, resembling Keith Flint of The Prodigy, lament about his silly-looking haircut.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / GagHaircut

Media sources: