Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Birthday, Hank! I Got You The Thing With Two Heads!

Okay, the title kind of spoiled the surprise, but today is the birthday of Wo'C contributor Hank Parmer, the artist formerly known as grouchmarxist.  Hank joined the gang here in 2013 -- I believe the gateway drug which seduced him into a life of bad movies and cat-blogging, and inspired his first comment, was this post about the 1961 Maciste film, Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules -- and within a year he was a World O' Crap Special Correspondent, bringing an encyclopedic knowledge of film, ninjas, and ninjas-on-film, as well as an eye for a wry quip to his studies of horrible movies, both low budget (Night FeedersCurse of the VoodooBrides of Blood) and high (The Haunting remake), not to mention his take on the holiday classic, A Country Christmas, starring half of the country music duo Brooks & Dunn (the back half, I think).

Of course, he's also known around these parts as an eloquent memoirist, writing poetic, evocative tales of youthful adventure that always seem to involve boating and the involuntary immersion of a domestic animal (The Unexpected Bass Meets the Cat with No Name, and A Doofus Dog's Amazing Adventure); but when I went shopping this year I decided only a movie-related gift would do. But which one?

Well, since Hank wrote what I consider to be the definitive takedown of 1972's Frogs, in which Ray Milland plays a loathsome, wheelchair-bound millionaire, I decided to complete the set and review the other movie Ray Milland made in 1972 in which he played a loathsome, wheelchair-bound millionaire, The Thing With Two Heads.



The Thing With Two Heads (1972)
Directed by Lee Frost
Written by Lee Frost & Wes Bishop and James Gordon White

Meet Ray Milland, a cranky millionaire. He’s confined to a wheelchair, and is presumably cranky because he lives in the single most handicapped-inaccessible mansion on the planet. Just to get in the front door he's got to be manhandled up the stoop by his chauffeur and his wizened houseboy; the foyer offers a wide array of staircases going up or down, and his hideous experiments are rather inconveniently located at the bottom of a rickety flight of basement steps. I don’t like to tell people their business, but if I were a mad scientist with limited mobility I’d buy a rambler in the suburbs and pursue my evil plans while puttering around on a Rascal.

Anyway, like a lot of geezers with too much time on their hands, Ray has a hobby, and down in the basement, next to the foosball table, he’s got one of those Black and Decker workbenches with the special monkey head-grafting attachment. And as unsanctioned transplant experiments go, he's pretty good, since he’s managed to sew a Don Post ape mask onto the shoulder of a Rick Baker gorilla suit, while Rick Baker is still inside it. (As a haunting, horrific image, it’s kind of weak, but as far as pranks go, it’s funnier than anything they ever pulled on TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes.)

By day Ray runs a transplant clinic on Sunset Boulevard where the wealthy come for kidney upgrades. But since he’s confined to a wheelchair, the operations are actually performed by that guy. You know who I mean – he was in that one episode of Star Trek where they accidentally go back in time to 1967? No, not the one with Terri Garr and the guy with the cat, the other one; he played the Air Force pilot. That guy. Except here he’s sporting a poufy, yet contour bouffant which makes me suspect that before California passed a motorcycle helmet law in the 80s, they passed a hair helmet law in the 70s. Anyway: That Guy.

Back in Ray’s basement, the Houseboy attempts to jab a hypodermic needle in the two-headed gorilla’s ass, presumably so Ray can graft two or three more butt cheeks onto him. But the ape escapes, runs outside, and promptly goes on the Parade of Homes! Then he takes a break to lope around the aisles of a corner market and shop for Foster Grants and Screaming Yellow Zonkers.

Now things take a wacky turn as Houseboy bursts into the market with a tranquilizer rifle, but doesn't shoot because the gorilla’s dual heads are performing synchronized banana eating and it’s just so cute.

Now things take a socially relevant turn as Ray greets his new surgeon at the transplant clinic, but discovers that the producers have secretly switched his regular white doctor with the black guy from Land of the Giants. Let’s watch…

Well, in addition to his skills as an ape head multiplier, it turns out that Ray is also no slouch in the racist dickhead department. Dr. That Guy doesn’t stand up to Milland, but you can tell he’s disappointed because his pneumatic hair helmet loses an alarming amount of p.s.i.

Later, before he even gets a chance to pump it back up again, he gets called out to Ray’s M.C. Escher mansion of endless staircases and shown the hydra ape. Ray explains that he’s got three weeks to live, but he’s such an accomplished surgeon, such a brilliant researcher, and such a tireless racist, that his brain must live. Dr. That Guy agrees to find a donor body, and we cut to the Transplant Clinic, where a phone bank of sexy nurses are cold-calling cadavers.

Sadly, there are no takers (hopefully the nurses get a base salary and aren’t just working on commission). Cut to Death Row, where Rosie Greer is about to die in the electric chair. The executioner, a groovy black dude with a Super Fly mustache, murmurs to Rosie, “More power to you,” as he saunters over to the switch, while Rosie gazes off with an look that seems to say, “What an incredibly insensitive thing to say to someone who’s about to be electrocuted.”

But Rosie claims he’s innocent, and his girlfriend is close to proving it, so he tells the warden (who eerily resembles a live action version of that mascot from Monopoly) that he’d like to donate his body to science. Cut to Ray’s non-OSHA compliant mansion, where Dr. That Guy takes delivery of the huge Negro that will serve as his bigot boss’s host body, and tries really super hard not to laugh.

They scrub the basement with germicidal solution and shave Rosie’s back, and we’re off to make fake medical history! The surgery scene is surprisingly good, with articulated prop heads that look quite realistic – the mouths move faintly, the eyes flutter – including the hair, which looks considerably more real than Ray’s toupee.

Ray wakes up and is displeased to find himself sharing a body with a soul brother (“Is this some kind of a joke?”), while Rosie is unhappy to find himself sharing a liver with the guy from Lost Weekend. They get in a argument, and naturally the authorities chloroform the black guy.

The movie tries to come up with authentic medical dilemmas to overcome (the immunosuppressive drugs given to the patients to combat tissue rejection allow for opportunistic viral infections like pneumonia) and it all sounds quite genuine, except when it leads Dr. That Guy to say things like, “Cut down the sedative dosage to the black head,” which makes it seem like the worst post-operative problem they’re dealing with is acne.

Disaster strikes when Rosie is awakened by Ray’s snoring head, and foils the nurse’s efforts to sedate him, jabbing her with the needle instead, because the masterminds who successfully transplanted a human head couldn’t figure out how restraints worked. Anyway, Rosie staggers to his feet, while Ray’s head continues snoring. (You know what? Forget everything I’ve said up till now. Unlike it’s sister film, The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant, this movie is actually funny on purpose.)

Rosie gets dressed (his clothes, including his dress shirt and sport coat, still fit sharply, even though he’s got an extra neck, so here’s a tip: shop at the Big & Tall Store if you suspect you might ever be the victim of a non-consensual head transplant), knocks out a cop and steals his gun. He flees, taking the Black Doctor from Land of the Giants along to serve as his hostage/chauffeur.

Hey, remember, back around a paragraph or so, when I said I kind of liked this film? Well, then there was a 20-minute chase scene, including stock footage of some motocross event somewhere, so now I hate it again.

Wait…No…A biker sees two black guys in suits running in his general direction and panics, abandoning his motorcycle and sprinting away on foot, which isn’t how the Hells Angels I knew as a kid would have reacted (I had rather a picaresque upbringing). Then Rosie Greer, Black Doctor, and Wigstand Milland climb onto the abandoned dirt bike and start competing in the race, so now I sort of love it again. God, I’m fickle.

Despite the fact that their motorcycle is being ridden by two and a half men, the fugitives win the race, but due to the police cars in hot pursuit, they don’t stop to pick up their loving cup and giant check.

Our gang putters over the crest of a hill, followed by ten police cars. Things look bad, but fortunately, police cars are like lemmings, and are compelled by their mysterious nature to run over the edge of cliffs. So that thins the first responders a bit. By the end of this sequence, the overloaded motorcycle with the two recovering surgery patients is fine, but the entire Bakersfield police force looks like those Smash Up Derby cars by Kenner.

The fugitives reach the house of Rosie’s girlfriend, who’s astonished but philosophical, gazing at the old white head stitched to his shoulder and marveling, “You get into more shit…”

Rosie takes a nap, and Wigstand takes the opportunity to seize control of their body by slowly and excruciatingly doing that “here’s the church, here’s the steeple” thing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last, and he can’t even summon the power to prevent Rosie from feeding them collard greens. (“What’s for dessert?” the racist carbuncle sneers, “Watermelon?” Unsurprisingly, everybody agrees they should cut Ray off and pretend he was just a melanoma, or an oddly placed foreskin.

Rosie and Black Doctor break into a medical supply warehouse to steal drugs for the surgery, but Wigstand seizes control again. He coldcocks the Land of the Giants guy, then punches Rosie in the face and knocks him out too, then decides to go home and amputate Rosie’s head himself.

Black Doctor and Girlfriend arrive at Milland Manor just in time to stop Ray from cutting off one of his two available heads, then Black Doctor calls Dr. That Guy and tells him to hurry over to Ray’s house if he wants to catch the Night Gallery-style twist ending. That Guy arrives to find Ray’s severed head lying on a tray, feebly demanding someone go out and get him another body just in case anybody’s interested in a sequel. Meanwhile, the black people drive away, accompanied by the toe-tappin’ gospel hymn, “Oh Happy Day.”

The end.

Well...!  Race relations have certainly changed a lot since 1972, but in some ways they’ve remained eerily the same. For instance, while I doubt today’s racists would appreciate the black characters getting a happy ending, I suspect they identify with their plight; except in this case, Rush Limbaugh is the Rosie Greer character, while Obama is the parasitic black head on his shoulder, trying to take control of white America, or at least moderate its intake of oxycontin, because unlike Rush, Obama has shit to do and can’t spend all day amped up and babbling nonsense.

So there’s your choice, America: black head or crack head.

Anyway, please join me in wishing a very happy birthday to Hank, and many happy returns (to the front page of Wo'C, with whatever he choses to write about next). And just to put the official stamp on it...
Sexy Birthday Lizard!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Leapin' Lepus!

In the latest episode of the All Star Summer Jamboree podcast, I had the privilege of joining host Jeff Holland, along with the proprietors of No-Budget Nightmares, Doug Tilley and Moe Porne, for a probing, Face The Nation-style panel discussion of the 2014 film, Beaster Day: Here Comes Peter Cottonhell.
Jeff thinks he has become violently allergic to bad films. His panel of experts convinces him otherwise. There is swearing, there is laughter, there are boobs, there is a bunny puppet.
If you've got half an hour to kill, click here. It's a relatively merciful form of euthanasia.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

They Call Her One Eye

There's a new addition to the World O' Crap Extended Family of Wildlife. Say hello to KWillow's new cat:
And no, she wasn't caught in mid saucy, come-hither wink. As K explained...
She was up for adoption at our Vet's office. Poor thing had been there 6 months. No one wanted a one-eyed black cat... except Jesse. I caved almost immediately, tho I protested feebly...she's a sweetie. Rescued as a kitten and raised in a cage, poor baby. A biggish cage, but still! Right now she lives in Jess' bedroom, and LOVES sitting on the window sill, especially when the window is open (it's screened). 
Jess named her "Dani", tho the people at the Vet's called her Nattie.
Adopting a handicapped cat is something few feline fanciers would do (other than Sheri, of course), so kudos to K and Jesse for their kindness and charity, and congratulations to Dani for her good fortune in finding a home with them.  (The great thing about a one-eyed cat is that -- unlike the rest of the family -- they probably won't bug you to buy one of those new fangled 3D TVs.)
Jess says Dani gets v agitated when Jess showers. Like the comic said "All that water! ALL OVER HER!" 
She's scared of my other 2 cats, tho they're not aggressive. Chester is not well -kidney problems- and just looks at her disdainfully. Rai wants to PLAY, but poor Dani is unclear on the concept of play. I think they'll be pals eventually, and Chester may eve wash Dani's face like he does Rai.
Chester (left) and Rai, just to refresh your memory...

I sent K my felicitations and mentioned that I probably would'a been mean and called the new addition "Popeye," because I'm mean. K wrote back to say:
I was calling her "One Eye", but making myself get used to Dani. She doesn't answer to any of them- probably has a secret name (One Eye?)
And why not? It was good enough for Christina Lindberg!
Welcome to Wo'C, Dani!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: "The Flash(er)" Edition

Moondoggie can't get the sight of Aquaman's rampant sea snake out of his mind.
I'm never touching my tuna treats again.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

There Is No Unseeing This

I asked about this on Facebook last night, just to determine if a.) I was crazy, or if b.) other people saw it too, and the consensus seemed to be that a.) yes, others saw the same thing, and b.) yes, I'm crazy, and c.) thanks sooo much for bringing this up, Scott...so the whole thing was kind of a wash. Anyway, it's continued to haunt me, and I feel like the World Must Know...

So...Aquaman's new costume:


Is it just me, or does this look like an upskirt shot featuring his piscine-green penis and scrotum? I mean, it's just... right there, and now that I've seen it, it's never gonna go away. So is it just me?

It's not just me.  Is it?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Doofus Dog's Amazing Adventure

By Hank Parmer

The Narrows of Harpeth. Photo by Hank Parmer

I have a mystical thing about water.

It may have begun when I was far too young to remember: According to my mother, when I was an infant, she and my father would go paddling on a slow stretch of the river in our old canoe, with myself snugly tucked away in the bow.

Or it may have been the creek which ran near our house, where I spent many a happy hour as a child, discovering how tadpoles become frogs, catching minnows and turning over rocks looking for crawdads. As well as learning important life lessons such as the fact that a big snapping turtle can chomp through a three-quarter-inch stick as easily as you or I bite off a piece of a Slim Jim.

Or it might have been those summer weekends my family spent at my grandmother's cottage on the lake, where from the time I was eight I was allowed to take that monstrously heavy old wooden, fiberglass-covered canoe out on my own.

Whatever the reason, stick me on something that floats, on a scenic body of water, and I get as close to nirvana as I'm ever likely to be. (Yes, I want a Viking funeral.)

This river where my parents used to take me is only about half-an-hour's drive from where I live. Hardly deep or wide enough to merit being called a river, the Harpeth meanders through fertile bottom land, and past high limestone bluffs capped with a thick layer of the mudstone peculiar to this area, with its multitude of shades from tan to yellow to dull reddish-orange.

One bend of the river encloses a mound complex from the Mississippian culture. Some long-dead hand carved a depiction of a ceremonial mace into the rock on top of the bluff which overlooks the site. So we humans have been hanging out here for a good while, even if it's only a blink of the eye in geologic time, compared to the 350-million-year-old fossil corals and shellfish which are embedded in that limestone.

Like other small rivers and streams in the Central Basin, the Harpeth alternates between low rock ledges, gravel bars and long, still pools, punctuated with the occasional stretch of easy rapids to throw a little excitement into the float. Most of the time, it's an ideal trip for a family or a newbie canoeist or kayaker. Yet it can rise with unnerving swiftness -- as I found out one afternoon on a solo trip, when a brief but torrential downpour a few miles upstream turned this placid river into a muddy, swirling flood.

As you might have guessed, my dear wife and I canoe and kayak this river frequently. Our favorite times for this are the early Spring and late Fall, partly because these are the most beautiful seasons on the river, when the water clarity is best, and partly because there aren't so many people out on the river. And the ones you do meet then are usually the more dedicated river rats, who're by-and-large a much better-behaved class of boater, that is, less likely to be loud and/or obnoxiously drunk.

On a day in early April, a number of years ago, Joan and I were canoeing the river. It was one of those glorious, crystalline Spring days: red-wing blackbirds trilling, wildflowers blooming on the river banks, the trees just beginning to leaf out in puffs of brilliant, almost translucent jade green. After the wet winter, the river was up and moving along at a good clip. The water was so superbly clear we could see down several feet into the deep holes where the big carp and gars lurked. When the river hustled us over shallows, it was like gliding through the air, skimming along just above the boulders and ledges and gravel.

As well as being the first time we'd been on the river that year, this was a particularly enjoyable trip not only on account of the fine weather and beautiful scenery, but also because for once we didn't have our dog Pete with us. I should say, although he had his quirks, Pete was a pretty good little guy, a cocker/spitz/God-only-knows-what mix who really dug the water. He'd normally have been with us, despite the fact that he could be a major pain in the ass in a canoe.

Pete had a remarkable talent for standing up on the gunwales at precisely the worst moment, requiring lightning reactions on our parts to keep him from dumping us all in the drink. Another of his favorite stunts was to leap out of the boat at the least excuse, say, if we got too close to the riverbank, or scraped bottom in a shallow spot.

But given the sheer joy Pete took out of dog-paddling around and tearing up and down the gravel bars where we'd stop to stretch our legs, we'd have felt guilty if we hadn't taken him along with us. Except that this time, he'd just had some minor surgery; we couldn't let him get his stitches wet. So we were savoring our guilt-free, Pete-less and somewhat more relaxed canoe trip.

When it comes to notions of an all-powerful, omniscient bearded sky guy who's constantly obsessing over what we're up to with our naughty bits, I am, to say the least, a skeptic. However, I fervently believe that someone or something with a very dry sense of humor listens in when we do what Joan and I had done, which was to remark out loud how nice it was not to have the dog with us that day.

Because not half an hour after that particular conversation, we met the Doofus Dog -- “Kinda big, kinda strong, stupid as a log.” (h/t to Dave Barry)

Since the river was high the current was such that even in the slower reaches we hardly had to paddle at all, except to keep the bow pointed downstream, or for the occasional bit of maneuvering. We floated past a spot where the family who owned that land often fished and camped: a grassy bank and open spot beneath tall trees, with a couple of picnic tables and a fire pit. A man and woman were standing on the bank, along with a young boy; they all waved at us, and we waved back.

They also had a dog: a large Husky or Malamute -- I don't remember precisely which -- who stared at us for a moment, comically dumbfounded, as the river carried us rapidly past. Then he began to bark.

I believe that he had never seen a canoe before, and instantly leaped to the conclusion it was some kind of hideous two-headed monster, waving its arms and horribly malformed flippers threateningly at his humans. Most infuriating of all, this cowardly abomination of nature had turned tail at his first bark and was scarpering down the river.

What else could any self-respecting Doofus Dog do, but take off after this fiendish thing? Even if he couldn't catch it, at least he could warn everyone downstream that it was coming, no doubt to terrorize and savage the unwary.

So off he went, barking furiously, crashing through the undergrowth as he trailed us along the riverbank. His peoples' frantic shouts were soon drowned out, between the ruckus he raised and the noise of the rushing river.

You could have been yelling at the top of your lungs, just twenty yards distant, and it would have been impossible to hear you above the water's uproar. You see, right after that fishing camp, the river abruptly changed its character, as it undercut a limestone bluff on that side, and lost a bit more than the average in elevation. At summer depth, this stretch is dotted with easy-to-negotiate boulders, where the current picks up enough to make a nice change from the long calm pool preceding it. That Spring day, with the river level three or four feet higher, it was a boisterous ride, not exactly challenging white water, but a fast, mostly straight run through chaotic boils, eddies and low standing waves created by the now-submerged rocks.

Nothing could deter the Doofus Dog. Though the way became progressively more difficult, the strip of riverbank beneath the bluff ever narrower and steeper, he pursued us through weeds and cane brakes and underbrush and over fallen trees, with the kind of single-minded determination you sometimes encounter in the mentally deficient.

Until about half a mile downstream from where he first took up the chase, where the riverbank finally disappeared into the near-vertical face of the limestone bluff. Despite his praiseworthy attempts to emulate a mountain-goat, he soon slipped and plunged right into the river with a tremendous splash, not far from the canoe. And promptly proceeded to swim after us.

Though he clearly excelled at the cross-country part of the course, it quickly became apparent that Doofus Dog was not very experienced with this new element. He was doing the "lift my fore paws up and try to claw my way out of the water" crawl of the novice canine swimmer. Add to that the swift and unpredictable current, and in no time at all he was in real trouble.

After he went under for the third or fourth time, I had worked our canoe near enough to grab him by the collar, just as the water was closing over his head yet again, and somehow -- maybe it was the adrenalin -- managed to horse that big, exhausted, thoroughly soaked dog over the gunwale and into the boat. (Fortunately for him, I'm a pretty hefty individual, plus all that canoeing and kayaking definitely helps with the upper-body strength.)

Once inside the canoe, he of course did the natural thing for a very wet dog, deluging us in a spray of icy water. Perhaps he realized by that point that we were just people, or my monster theory could be way off-base: maybe all along he thought he was rescuing us. Either way, instead of Pete -- who only tipped the scales at around forty pounds -- we now shared our easily-upset craft with seventy or eighty pounds of large, extremely friendly, very excited dog. For whom the concepts of balance and the advantage of a low center-of-gravity in a canoe were as obscure as quantum physics.

He wasn't in the boat for more than a few minutes before he fell out again while trying to get a drink, almost flipping us in the bargain. After being hauled back in and favoring us with another bracing shower, the idea that staying in the boat might be a bit trickier than he'd first thought evidently filtered through all those protective layers of bone in his head. Although that didn't prevent him from trying to overturn the canoe at odd intervals, and almost falling in a couple more times. As far as I could tell, he seemed to be having a wonderful time.

We, however, were presented with something of a quandary: There was no way we were going to paddle him back upriver against that current, and we hadn't the slightest idea how to find the place by road.

While I was occupied steering and constantly shifting my weight to compensate for the Doofus Dog's sudden, random movements, Joan turned around in her seat and examined his collar.

She began to laugh. When I asked what was so funny, she said she'd tell me later. But at least, she assured me, this numbskull hound had a name tag with a phone number. Which had an out-of-state area code.

Understand that this took place back when cell phones were nowhere near as ubiquitous as they now are. If we had one, it hadn't been for long; regardless, I wouldn't have taken it with us on the river. I wasn't about to try to locate a pay phone out in the boonies and feed it quarters. Any attempt to contact his owners would simply have to wait until we got home.

Against all reasonable expectations, we made it to the take-out without getting dumped in the water by our rambunctious passenger. No one there or at the canoe livery had any idea who his owners were, so homeward we all went.  He was just as thrilled to go for a ride in our car. No coaxing necessary -- all I had to do was open the door.

When we arrived back home, we tied the Doofus Dog up in the back yard and gave him food and water. Then I called the number on his nametag. As was to be expected, no one was at home. But they did have an answering machine. I left a message and hung up, leaving us both wondering just how long we'd be stuck with this uninvited guest. (”We're gonna need a bigger bag of dog chow!”)

Thankfully, only a couple of hours later we received a return call, from a very uncertain-sounding young boy. Did we have his dog? We answered in the affirmative, gave the adults directions to our house, and to everyone's relief, shortly thereafter the furry nitwit was reunited with his humans.


Oh, and the reason Joan laughed when she first read the Doofus Dog's tag, and so did I, when she later told me his name: Because it was so completely appropriate, so cosmically inevitable that this big galoot should have been gifted with the moniker "Lucky".

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Play Mommy For Me

By Bill S.

Today is Mother's Day, and it's customary for me to mark that occasion with a look at some of the less-than-stellar movie and television moms. This year, I've decided it's time we pay tribute to an actress who's excelled at playing such parts. Of course I'm talking about the fabulous Jessica Walter.
Born in 1941, Ms. Walter began her career in film and television back in the early '60's, but didn't hit her stride until a decade later. Her breakthrough role came in the 1971 thriller Play Misty For Me , as a crazed fan of a radio DJ. 
It made her a star, and established that she wasn't cut out to play ingenues, frumps, or anything in between. In 1975, she won her only EMMY for playing a police chief on the mini-series Amy Prentiss. Then in the '80's...

Wait, what? She only has one EMMY? That doesn't seem right.

...in the 80's, she landed her first sitcom mother roles, on the short-lived Three's a Crowd (not to be confused with the 1969 movie, which she was also in). The idea of her playing such a role seemed so absurd that, in his book TV Sirens, author Michael McWilliams likened it to casting Anthony Perkins as the father on Family Ties. I choose to interpret that as meaning, "Kinda wrong, but also kinda awesome." Walter doesn't play wholesome, Donna Reed-Marion Ross moms. When she plays one, she slings cutting barbs, downs booze, flirts inappropriately, or simply conducts in decidedly non-maternal fashion. And we love her for that. Well,I do, I don't know about you. Maybe you're an idiot with no taste. Here are some of my favorite Walter roles:

Fran Sinclair on Dinosaurs. More often than not she was the show's voice of reason, as much as a talking dinosaur could be. Still, there was that episode where a play date between Baby Sinclair and another boy goes horribly wrong. Which is to say, Baby Sinclair eats him. Fran and Earl have to deal with the other boy's indignant parents, and the Sinclairs address the problem as you'd expect -- by eating them. If I'm not mistaken, that was also the ending in the original draft of Yasima Reza's God of Carnage.

Tabitha Wilson on 90210. A retired actress who still craved the spotlight, even if it was only her family. She decides to oversee the class production of Spring Awakening her granddaughter Annie is appearing in, because this reboot of the '90's series takes place in a parallel universe where a high school is fine with letting kids perform in a musical featuring songs with titles like "The Bitch of Living" and "Totally Fucked". In this clip, Tabitha helpfully offers pointers to Annie and the other girls on performing the opening number.

Listen to your granny, Annie. Unfortunately, Walter was only on the show for the first season. I don't know why. Perhaps her character was deemed too similar to Susan Sullivan's character on Castle* Or perhaps they noticed that she didn't look that much older than the show's "teenagers".

(*idea for a TV series: a geriatric reboot of Charlie's Angels with Jessica Walter, Susan Sullivan and Holland Taylor as the Angels, and Kathleen Turner supplying the voice of a female Charlie. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd watch the crap out of that!)

Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development. Her most famous, and arguably, funniest TV mom. Lucille could never be a typical housewife, because there's no way to balance a highball glass on a vacuum cleaner. She raised her daughter Lindsay and eldest son Michael as fraternal twins, concealing from everyone the fact that Lindsay was A.) adopted, and B.) five years older, which nobody -- including Lindsay and Michael -- ever quite picked up on. Treated middle son GOB with utter contempt, although to be fair, anybody else would. Having withheld affection completely from her first three children, she showered a bit too much on youngest son Buster, which may explain why he ended up dating a woman who was not only the same age as Lucille, but shared the same first name. And let's not forget THIS horror (as if we could!)

Malory Archer on Archer. As the head of the super-secret international spy agency her son worked for, she was his boss. She used her position to satisfy every selfish whim she had, commit global atrocities, and display maternal instincts that made the Madea of Greek tragedy look like the Madea of Tyler Perry comedy. In other words, she was a heightened parody of every mom role Jessica Walter ever played. Which makes sense, since the show's creators conceived Malory with the actress in mind.

Walter is a mother in real life too, and we can safely assume a better one than the ones she's played onscreen. So let's wish her a Happy Mother's Day! and hope she continues keeping us entertained with many more bad moms in the future.

And to all the Moms who are reading this, a Happy Mother's Day too.

-Bill S.