Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Oedipus wrecks

Much as "Plan 9 From Outer Space" gets pegged as "The worst movie ever made," there's a little show that (unfairly, in my opinion) makes the tops of the "worst TV shows ever made" list.

That's not to say this is up there with "Mary Tyler Moore" or "M.A.S.H."

This show features everyday schlub Dave Crabtree, who, while looking for a family car on a used car lot, stumbles across a 1928 Porter. This beater of a car just happens to be (you should probably sit down for this, especially if you took some Nyquil) his reincarnated mother who communicates to him through the car radio.

I like panties as much as the next guy, Jerry, but daaaamn...

Yes, it's "My Mother the Car," starring future Big Lots pitchman Jerry van Dyke (okay, he was on "Coach," too) as beleaguered Dave Crabtree, and Ann Sothern as the voice of Dave's mother.

Now aside from dealing with reincarnation as a given--the theme song even starts with "Everybody knows in the second life, we all come back sooner or later."--this was essentially "Mr. Ed" with wheels.

But if you stop to think for a few seconds, which is something that often gets me into trouble, you'll realize how creepy the show's premise is. I'll wait for you.

::checks watch::

See what I mean? Okay, so this grown man is riding around in his mom. Is this supposed to symbolize returning to the womb or something? It's different this time, though, because he's the one in control. This is getting creepier already.

I haven't watched every episode yet, but I'm hoping they had the sense to avoid any prolonged scenes of Dave filling her up at the gas station.

God, I think I need a shower after that. And I didn't even approach the topic of farting in the car, especially when stuck in traffic. I don't do such things, of course, but I've heard about them.

Now that I've skeeved everyone out, I should mention that you can watch the entire series--all 30 episodes--on Hulu. I've taken the liberty of embedding a couple of episodes below.

In the first episode, the series' premise is laid out in checklist manner, even making sure to introduce a comic nemesis for Dave--in this case, the crazy car collector Captain Manzini, played by Avery Schreiber, who to me will always be the guy in the old Doritos commercials.

He wants the 1928 Porter for his collection. His schtick is that he never gets Dave's last name right. I don't know if this gag was ever funny, but I can't help but think it was already played out by the time this show hit the air.

In the second episode here, about midway through the series' run, Manzini is still after Dave's car, but this time he's threatening to shrink the car to the size of a toy if Dave doesn't sell it to him.

Now keep in mind, this isn't a horrible show; it's just not really that great. I've seen worse shows, that's for sure. But even if this is one of the worst shows ever, I'm happy to see it on Hulu so we can all make fun of it together.