Thursday, June 2, 2005

DAY OF SWINE AND PROSE

"In some other world, maybe people will be in cages,
And animals will be throwing us peanuts
."
Wilbur Post
'Mr. Ed'

The list of 2005 inductees into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame was set well in advance; in fact, I'm prepared with at least three more years of nominees... just in case someone needs to pick up the mantle and shoulder on. (And next year we revamp slightly to induct somebody new every week!)

So it was not only sad but ironic to note that Eddie Albert passed away last week, just before one of his 'Green Acres' co-stars would be the June inductee into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.

As much as he is deserving of the honor, Oliver Wendell Douglass will easily gain entry into the Hall when his time has come because he officially met the requirements. But one of his co-stars, however, needed to be herded along from the sty to the Hall before somebody made a dime bank outta him.
I'm referring of course to Arnold Ziffel.

Arnold Ziffel was the son of Fred and Doris Ziffel. Not their natural-born son, of course; he was a pig. So he's adopted.

(It could be that Sam Drucker, the first ever inductee into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, may have been responsible for the deaths of Arnold's birth parents. At the very least, he was an accessory after the fact. Sam sold pig's knuckles in his general store at 89 cents a jar, which worked out to be about 12 cents a knuckle.

Arnold Ziffel was smart. According to TV Acres:

"Arnold could play the piano, drink lime soda from a straw, deliver letters from the mail box, turn the channels on the television (he loved to watch THE CBS EVENING NEWS with Walter Cronkite), predict weather with his curly tail, and play cricket with his own miniature cricket bat. "

He was such a smart pig that it's a porcine puzzle as to why he was still in school. Arnold was not only smarter than the other kids in school, he was smarter than many of those in that farming community of Hooterville. He ended up being drafted into the military and he went out to Hollywood to work in the movies. (I think what he really wanted to do was direct.)

Arnold even figured out a way to drink in bars without fear of being carded, decades before Toonces the Cat gave pub-crawling a try.

Young Master Ziffel proved to be so popular that he even showed up on Joey Bishop's late-night talk show. Technically, since Arnold was playing a tele-version of himself on his own show, it could be argued that this appearance was the third requirement for entry, fulfilled. But I wouldn't push that.

(It might be fun, however, to take that clip from Joey Bishop's talk show and rejigger it through editing. Excise any mention of 'Green Acres' as a show and of his co-stars as actors, and splice in an establishing shot from Joey's old sitcom so that we would be watching him host as Joey Barnes, not as Joey Bishop. The real trick would be to broadcast it to make it legit, but hey! That's why there's public access!)

In 1990 we were reunited with Arnold and most of the other "Poople of Heeterville" in the TV movie 'Return To Green Acres'. And this marks the second fulfillment for entry into the Hall of Fame.

Now, some might think I would choose the episode of 'The Jackie Thomas Show' in which Jackie tried to enlist the help of Eddie Albert in getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Arnold Ziffel. But that's actually a "Zonk!" which violates the integrity of the TV Universe. It belongs lumped in with Arnold's appearance on 'The Joey Bishop Show' and on 'What's My Line?', as well as appearances on the annual telecasts of the Patsy Awards. (In fact, all of those appearances would add up to a qualifying sub-set to keep the nit-pickers of pork as happy as a pig in shit. But where's the sport in that?)

One of the main reasons for the existence of the Inner Toob is to splain away the discrepancies of the TV Universe. This is something I've been interested in since Darrin Stephens changed from looking like Dick York one week to looking like Dick Sargent the next. Such a mission would include why - and how! - a pig could be as intelligent as Arnold Ziffel clearly was.

'Hercules: The Legendary Journey'
"Porkules"
80. Discord shot Hercules with Artemis' bow, turning him into a pig. Then she sent the hunter Colchis after Hercules, but the pig jumped from Iolaus' arms and ran off. After a butcher caught him and threw him into a meat wagon, Hercules was befriended by a female pig, Katherine. Autolycus and Iolaus rescued the two pigs from a slaughterhouse, where Hercules communicated with his friends through Fleevio the parrot.

Retreating to Alcmene's home, they eventually got the drop on Discord. Iolaus shot the mischievous goddess with Artemis' bow, turning her into a chicken, and Hercules returned to normal.

"One Fowl Day"
81. The pig Katherine, who had fallen in love with Hercules, told him of her deisre to become human. Hearing this, Aphrodite turned Katherine into a woman in her own image. The human Katherine happily stripped off all her clothes to roll in the mud.

Meanwhile, Ares punished Autolycus and Iolaus for turning Discord into a chicken. Mistaken for the Big-footed Two-headed Forest People of legend, the pair was on display at a circus when Hercules rescued them. In the end, Aphrodite turned katherine back into a pig, and the animal was happy to rejoin her family.

We don't end up seeing every moment of Life in the TV Universe. Some of it ends up taking place during the commercial breaks. (Classic example: Chekov's introduction to Khan on 'Star Trek'.) And that's what happened with the relationship between "Porkules" and Katherine. Whether it happened during episode 80, "Porkules" while they were both piglets, or in 81, "One Fowl Day" when they both assumed human form, it's probable that Hercules got Katherine pregnant.

Come on! Of COURSE they had sex! Hercules - even in the guise of a pig! - was a demi-god, the son of Zeus.

"Like father, like son.... Think about it, won't you?"
[anti-smoking PSA]

And it's standard practice in mythology that all unions between gods and mortals will bear issue. And it's not likely he wrapped his pigskin in lambskin first. No, his piggly-wiggly was probably riding bareback.

So the children of Hercules and Katherine would be part god, part human, and part porker. Those in piglet form would have the intelligence of all sentient beings, while those that were more humanoid in appearance would still bear porcine characteristics like the snout, the ears, and the curly tail.

And there would have been humanoid babies in that litter, but they would have been looked upon as monsters by society at large and by the gods who would have been offended y such issue. Most of these babies would have been tossed into Tartarus to be raised as demons, so it's possible that a fellow like the demon Clem (who wasn't such a bad sort as seen on 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer) would in fact be descended from Hercules. And a piggy.

Some of these humanoid hogs would eventually have made it back to Earth where they would continue to interbreed with humans. Some of their descendants would many generations later be found in Royston Valley and in Mellonville, Ohio. ('The League Of Gentlemen' and 'SCTV', respectively)

But for the purposes of this essay, we are more concerned with the descendants of those children who had the outward appearance of pigs. Even as they diluted the family line down through the thousands of generations, yet their intelligence quotient would have remained high.

And some of them might have continued to evolve to become more erect in stature as their ancient brethren had been. When the Slitheen launch their plot to destory Earth in March of 2006, I don't think they had to do much fiddling with the brain and skeleton of that unfortunate Ungulate which crashed a spaceship into Big Ben. ('Doctor Who')

Not that the Time Lord known as the Doctor would have known this, but I think that pig was kin to Arnold Ziffel.

Someone in Arnold's family tree admired the Ziffel heir so much that they named their child after him. Kipper the Dog has a friend, Pig the pig. And Pig's little cousin, Arnold the Pig, always comes along on their adventures even though he's too little to speak yet.

I wonder if Arnold Ziffel served as his namesake's hogfather?

And because such a theory would help to broaden the TV Universe and splain the reasoning behind this character, that is why Toobworld Central is so high on the hog about inducting Arnold Ziffel into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame for June of 2005.........

Okey dokey, Porky, er Pokey?

BCnU!
Tele-Toby

2 comments:

WordsSayNothing said...

Wow, that explanation is really funny. Hercules' super-sperm reigns supreme even after 2000 years. You go to great lengths to make Toobworld and the HoF work, don't you? ;)

Toby said...

Yes. Yes I do.


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