MONDO EXTRAS

Strange Frequency

The reason that this wreck of a show caught my attention and, truthfully, the only reason my channel surfing ever has a layover on VH1 is because of John Taylor. Yes, that John Taylor, the aging Duran Duran member who seems to have taken up permanent residence on VH1. John Taylor, who, of course, should not to be confused with either Roger Taylor or Andy Taylor, who are, of course, not related. And while I certainly understand that going from the raging excesses of eighties stardom and all its perks to the half-life dullsville existence of the rest of the unmanicured masses can be a difficult transition, I certainly do not understand the urge to embarrass oneself by agreeing to appear on anything VH1 produces. The List, Mr. Taylor? And while you certainly held your own against Kevin Bacon and that irrepressible Danny Bonaduce, your company was unappreciated. And, yes, Mr. Taylor, while you do hold a certain cachet on VH1, and they certainly have a plethora of openings for fallen stars, there have to be other options. You can't have sunk this low yet. Call your agent. Call him now.

A hapless and overworked manager is stumbling out of an elevator at some high-falutin' and storied hotel in some unnamed urban center. He is busily apologizing to a reporter for his client's failure to show up for an interview. The jaded rock reporter nods, unconvinced of the agent's defense. The frazzled agent pats him on the back, saying don't worry, don't worry, he's learned! He's found positive ways to channel his extra energy. I look out the window, and Foreshadowing is standing there in bright red short shorts, waving a big huge flag and pointing at my television set and giggling. I glance back at the television just in time to see the agent open his "reformed" rock star's hotel-room door to absolute mayhem. There are naked chicks here, drunken debauchery there, and John Taylor standing in the middle of it all wearing Axl Rose's headband. As the writer and the agent survey the room, John Taylor grabs a television set and tosses it out of the window, then watches excitedly as it crashes onto the crowded street below. Wow, that looks like a great idea. Especially if the little men who live inside my television and act out the television shows insist on reenacting this crap. The agent introduces the reporter to John Taylor, who is working under the pseudonym Jimmy Blitz. Oh yeah, sure, like we don't know it's you. The reporter whips out his tape recorder and starts asking questions. Jimmy, are you happy to be back on the road? Do you mind playing smaller clubs? John Taylor says that he doesn't mind, because he's giving something back to the fans. The reporter asks what he's giving back to the fans when he's charging fifty bucks a ticket. John Taylor rolls his eyes and says, dude. If Rick Astley can do it, so can I. The reporter asks if he still gets drunk before each show; in response, John Taylor spits his drink all over him and threatens to light him on fire. Game, set, and match. The reporter retreats out the door, and John Taylor smashes a mirror with his head in celebration. He's so rock.

An elevator stops on (can you guess?) the thirteenth floor. One of the hotel's maids steps out of the elevator and pushes her squeaky little cart down the hall toward John Taylor's room. You can tell she's serious about her work because of her Protestant hairstyle, the fact that she has decorated her cart, and her sensible nurse-style shoes. ["You can also tell that Holland Taylor's agent hates her." -- Sars] The radio is playing a muzak version of "Footloose," and I wonder why Kenny Loggins hasn't made an appearance on VH1 yet. The maid opens the suite's door and finds, of course, utter chaos. She stares in horror at the scene, and stares in even more horror as John Taylor stumbles out of his room, drops trou, and whizzes in the potted palm. I'm staring in abject horror myself. In fact, I'm staring in such abject horror that my eyeballs have fallen out of my head and scattered about the room. One has lodged itself under the couch, and the other rolled under the radiator. Well, I suppose that was bound to happen sooner or later, what with all the crap I watch. I hot-glue my eyeballs back in just in time to see John Taylor straggle out of the room with a blonde floozy under each arm. The maid rolls her eyes and begins the task of cleaning up. She spics and spans and dusts and mops until the room is back in perfect order. She smiles at a job well done and shuffles off down the hall. John Taylor's agent is trying to convince him to apologize to the reporter, because reporters are important when a washed-up rock star is attempting to stage a comeback. John Taylor is not terribly interested in apologizing, but agrees to meet with the reporter again. As they head back into the room, John Taylor notices that the room is spotless. This upsets him. What upsets me is the fact that he has bleached hair, is decidedly paunchy, and has a kind of burly accent. The crush I developed on this man when I was a hapless twelve-year-old is certainly dwindling.

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Strange Frequency Doogie is out on the road when the aging hippie pulls up in his oil-guzzling, anti-green coupe. As they drive they begin to talk about -- what else -- music. Doogie has even fewer manners than the last girl. He says that "his music," like such fine acts as STP and Tool, matters, and that his mom used to listen to that hippie crap. Then he starts flicking the hippie's peace-sign air freshener. The hippie tells him to stop it and turns up the tunes. They make fun of each other's music and generations for awhile. Pot smoking this, junk bonds that, Vietnam here, derivative there, blah blah blah. Doogie moves to turn off the tape, and the hippie grabs his hand and shoves it back. The hippie's car starts to break down and he pulls off the road. He pops the hood and asks Doogie to get the screwdriver out of the trunk. Doogie looks suspicious and asks why he has to get the screwdriver. The hippie says that he can either help or start walking. Doogie goes to get the screwdriver, and the hippie picks up a claw hammer from the floor of the car. Doogie starts going through his trunk and finds the signs of all of the hippie's previous victims. Meanwhile, the hippie starts going through Doogie's backpack and finds a stack of license plates that say things like "Flwr Pwr" and "Woodstck" and "Prple Hze." Just as he's about to look surprised, Doogie bangs on the window and says, hey, Bob, you're my first New Hampshire, and holds up the hippie's "DeadHead" license plate. D'oh! He's serial killer too! Hijinks are bound to ensue. Thank god, a commercial break. My eyes were starting to bleed again. The hippie jumps out of the car with hammer in hand. Doogie holds up the license plate and says that your music, like your time, has come and gone, and asks him if the phrase "I hope I die before I get old" rings any bells. The hippie points the hammer at him and tells him that his generation with their hip-hop beats and insipid boy bands are ruining rock and roll. They square off for a good round of name-calling until the hippie gets sick of it and swings the hammer. He misses, of course, and cracks the hood of his car open instead. Doogie laughs and says that a hammer is a bit old-fashioned. He pulls out a…compass? What the hell is that? What next -- he beats him to a pulp with his scientific calculator? I mean, I know VH1 has a lot of parents in their demographic who probably don't want to see a lot of guns or knives on TV, but come on. This is so insultingly stupid and annoying to the teeth. Besides, are parents watching this crap? I really don't think so. Give someone a knife! Give them a gun! Give them a firm handshake! I don't care, just don't give them a compass as a weapon and expect me to keep watching. It's just too stupid. The hippie snorts, too, and asks if he has a protractor in his pocket. No, Bob, he's just happy to see you. They chase each other around the car, trading insults and trying to land blows. Doogie has a much harder job, because he has to land the tip of the compass directly in the hippie's jugular or it won't kill him. But the hippie is old and can't move so quickly. More running, more jabbing, more stabbing, more taunting. You get the point. Their battle is interrupted when a large RV pulls up and an old, old man gets out. He wants to help them fix their car. He starts mucking around under the hood, and Doogie and the hippie start vying to off him. The hippie says it's his kill because it's his car. Doogie points out that's he's a guest. They play odds, and Doogie wins. The hippie says that if he's going to kill him, he should do it right, and pulls down a secret compartment in the back of his car, which has weapons of every make and model. Including, thank you, both a knife and a gun. They decide that piano wire is the way to go. Which makes me shiver, because I have an irrational fear of being strangled with piano wire. I think I saw it on an old episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents when I was young, naïve, and impressionable. Where was Congress to intervene back then? What, they had better things to do than regulate what's on the airwaves? I don't think so. Anyway, Doogie heads to the front, but the old man gets the car started and heads off with a wave and a no, no, don't thank me, I'm a member of the highway savior's club. Helping people is what we do. Doogie and the hippie wave haplessly. They're sad that they didn't get to off him.

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