God help me I’ve been at this for three years now. Let’s turn off the chrome-plated megaphone for a moment.
I’ve been at this for three years and you know what? I’m okay.
A joke–perhaps the central joke–of a review blog like this is that it exists at all. That I’m watching an old sitcom and giving it way more attention and hate and love than I give most people I’ve ever known. That I’d engage with a show so terrible it saps my will to live. That I’m doing this so no one will ever have to watch it again. If you take that at face value, that’s a fuck of a long way to go for a single joke.
You all realize that’s simply not true, right?
I’m finding it difficult to weave my way through an anniversary post without saying some of the things that will come up when I finally close up shop on this blog–but I’ll say this: Perfect Strangers has never been so bad I wanted to quit this blog, certainly not so bad that I feared I’d go insane over it. Hell, if you wanted any indication of Perfect Strangers‘ staying power in its viewers’ minds, consider the fact that it spawned four different review blogs, only one of which folded within a month.*
I’ve had some bad times while writing this blog, but they were never the direct fault of the show. Reader, commenter, and all-around great bunch of guys Ross, back towards the beginning of season 6, asked if I was doing alright.
And you know what? I wasn’t.
Most of 2017 was a terrible year for me. I quit a job almost exactly one year ago without having another one lined up. I spent three months out of work. That week I skipped last September because I was supposed to be starting a job? That didn’t happen. I interviewed; they offered; I accepted; and suddenly the budget disappeared.
I have a job now, since December. I’m settled. I’m finally approaching enjoying it. But Season 5 coincided with a very rough stretch in my life, and especially in those unemployed months, I dreaded writing about this show because I dreaded everything, especially having to be seen and having to measure up to whatever standard of writing and jokes I thought I’d been maintaining. I felt I’d peaked with “Ain’t no lie Biki bye bye bye”.
Have I depressed you yet?
So this blog’s first birthday I didn’t mention because, well, there’d be two more, so who gave a fuck? The second birthday was last year when I put in my two weeks’ notice. It was a shitty birthday. That’s what I came to call them when I spent three years on dialysis waiting for a kidney transplant. Shitty birthdays.
This is a good birthday.
I could have had a review for you this week. It would have been a review of “The Gazebo”, in which Larry and Balki build a gazebo. To have that on this blog’s last anniversary would have lent itself too easily to some extended riff on how terrible the show is. And last week was fairly heinous; seriously, that they went that whole distance of having an actual ghost show up, for it to be only an excuse for the cousins to smack each other around… that’s the closest I’ve ever come to suspecting that the show was trolling me, or someone like me, boasting that it could squander limitless potential if it so chose.
The central joke is that a blog like this exists, that someone would spend their time on something so awful, and these blogs probably owe their existence ultimately to Mystery Science Theater 3000 more than anything else. When Joel Hodgson left that show, his character Joel Robinson’s parting shot was that The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao was his favorite film. In case you’ve never seen it, The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao is a terrible film. It’s also a great film. I’d argue that Hodgson in some way or other loved most of the films he tore into. I don’t think you can really have any fun trashing media unless there’s something good there, in the ideas, the acting, the potential. Maybe Rifftrax will eventually cover Foodfight!, or even Billy and Bobby: The Wacky Duo on Vacation, but I doubt it.u
Is there a way to riff on something that’s essentially unwatchable? You’ll have to wait until next week’s review of “The Gazebo” to hear my answer.
But my point is–3 is a much better birthday than 2 for me and this blog. Vast swathes of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are no longer in question for me, and as I approach the end of Perfect Strangers, I’m picking up steam. I feel once again like I know what I’m doing here, maybe simply because I’m not trying to figure out that same question for every other part of my life.
It’s possible there’s a psychological effect whereby, when we know that some sequence of choices will run out soon, we choose to “cheat”, that is, to try to get some greater payoff with less, or less honest, effort. News sites rebroadcast the study simply on the basis that “cheat” can refer to games of chance as well as intimate relationships; that is, if we think a relationship is ending, we’ll spend time with someone else instead. There’s a different set of psychological effects going on there, but, yeah, with a creative project, there’s a possibility I’ll have moved on to the next one** before finishing this.
But my intent was always just to joke about how Balki and Larry have sex with each other as soon as the women are gone, so there’s not much danger of me phoning it in over the next 25 episodes.
I’ll thank you all for reading and supporting me when this blog’s done; in the meantime, we’ve got more shit to sift through. So let me *ahem* give you a timeframe for when this blog might be done.
We’ve got 25 more episodes. There will be at least two more “How I Spent…” posts; and two more reportage posts. There’s a good chance of one guest post. One or two individual season reviews; and one final review for the series as a whole. Maybe a separate post on my experience doing this.
Probably not a hell of a lot of bonus content, I’m disappointed to say. I’m going to make a last-ditch effort to ask for interviews with actors and writers and the janitor that had to clean up all the horseshit, turkey feathers, disgusting little cheese dogs, shattered plates, bibibabka cream, and various other rare victuals. I’d be happy to review the actual Club Mypos jacket that’s on eBay right now if someone buys it for me. If someone has some particular Perfect Strangers content they want reviewed, let me know!
But before you do: Larry and Balki hosted TGIF and did intros to episodes for awhile; there are also commercials for a number of Perfect Strangers episodes, and both those and the intros are on YouTube. Talking about those, trying to joke about them… it would be anticlimactic, trust me. I mean, they rap in one of the TGIF intros, and Balki says words wrong…
…and there you go, I reviewed them
There’s also going to be a second Larryoke stream at the end, but I bet you knew that.
What you didn’t know, mainly on account of I ain’t told you yet, is that I’ll announce the winner of the Last Annual Perfect Strangers Reviewed Caption Contest part 1 when we get to the end. That poor soul has to look at those promotional slides the rest of their life. Logic demands, then, that there be a
PERFECT STRANGERS REVIEWED
PART THE SECOND
Here’s how it works: I’ll put up a screengrab, and you caption it with some silly turn(s) of phrase in the comments. If I think yours is the funniest, you win! If I don’t think yours is the funniest, I’ll write you a personalized message telling you the bad news. Again, I’ll announce the winner at the end of the blog.
That’s right, you heard right, the big prize tonight is 80 trading cards to the commenter with the funniest caption. I reviewed this pitiful stack of cardboard a couple of months ago, and now you’ve got a chance to win a set!***
And all you have to do is write the funniest caption for the below image! Simple as Balki!
Put your entries in the comments, and I’ll see you next week for “The Gazebo”!
*But somehow no podcasts? This is a statistical anomaly of some sort.
**I have like 30 “next ones”
***Look, I–a person on immunosuppressants who opens step-on garbage cans with disposable, sterile 10-foot poles–am not going to send you the actual set pictured. I burned them shortly after taking the photo; MAD magazines make good kindling. You’ll get the cleanest set eBay has to offer!