Sunday, December 31, 2017
Waiting For Stuffy
I can't speak for Lee Durkee, but I don't think he entirely approves of my idea to watch all of GREEN ACRES chronologically from the beginning, especially when there are so many prime nuggets to be had by skipping bravely around, the way Julio Cortazar would want us to do. Evidence from a recent communique indicates that Lee has been experimenting with just that method on his own. Lee reveals, "there is a magic realism scarecrow named Stuffy whom Eb interacts with and who at one point leaves his post in the field to go get Eb a hamburger (spoiler: he forgets the ketchup!)." Meanwhile, my lonely search for the exact moment that GREEN ACRES becomes GREEN ACRES continues. Or will it occur so slowly that I can't see it happening, like the opening of a crocus? Or I don't know, is it easy to see a crocus opening? Never mind. I feel bad for Bill Boyle, a GREEN ACRES neophyte whom I forced to watch some early episodes. "I didn't know this was what GREEN ACRES was like," Bill said, as ever a good sport. Well, it's not what GREEN ACRES is like! Bill compared it to THE MONEY PIT and the Chevy Chase vehicle FUNNY FARM. Fair enough! But mortifying to my honor when I had falsely promised the second coming of VIRIDIANA. Bill may never come back to the house again. Once Dr. Theresa and I started watching DEADWOOD, I was able to note the close kinship between the dissembling, painfully transparent, nosy, avaricious, irritating, and oratorically inclined Mr. Haney and his direct descendent (ancestor?) E. B. Farnum. Continuing a line of thought, I guess, the first season of GREEN ACRES is like THE WIRE. It takes Oliver at least nine episodes to decide what he's going to plant in his field. (See also.) Then they spend two or three episodes explaining how the generator works. Doesn't that sound like THE WIRE to you? Very patient, procedural and detailed, with long arcs. But not the GREEN ACRES I remember. In episode 10, Lisa does leave a note for a chicken, to which the chicken seems to respond, but I'm still not convinced we have reached a true level of GREEN ACRES. [Episode 14 establishes beyond doubt that Lisa can communicate with chickens. - ed.] In episode 12, Eb reads a note from Lisa aloud and Lisa's voice inexplicably comes out of him. So I'm tempted to believe we're almost there! I'll let you know when we arrive. Let me remark on a deficiency of this GREEN ACRES box set. It is not formatted for our rectangular television sets we all enjoy today thanks to marvelous advances in science and technology. Rather than seeing our TV pals in their proper aspect ratio, they are made to fill the screen unnaturally, to their aesthetic detriment, a fear addressed by an especially prescient protagonist created by yours truly for my delightful and universally beloved short story collection MOVIE STARS: Arnold the pig turns on a TV set in episode 15, which astonishes Oliver, but not me, not sufficiently, being no more than any reasonably intelligent, non-surreal, everyday pig could do.