Talking Nerdy, Ep. 216: Grab Em By the Front Butt

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Son of Zorn misses the mark / Disney’s First Kid and the discovery of the Great Ape conspiracy / Justice for Harambe and Clinton Attacks /When and where to buy your steel buildings / Trump and Billy Bush, the Access Hollywood Tape / Joe is always stuck at the front of the haunted house group / Power Rangers is underwhelming / Everyone is going to see John Wick 2 / Negan kills someone on The Walking Dead / The first full trailer for Iron Fist / Delco accents on SNL / Another heaping dose of TommyNC2010.

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Disney Pre-9/11 Video Vault: First Kid

31996 was a big cultural year for America. We hosted the Atlanta Summer Olympics, which was subsequently bombed by terrorists, killing one person and injuring over 100 more; the first three-parent baby was conceived through mitochondrial donation in New Jersey, of all places; The Ramones played their final show while Bob Dole was officially nominated for President by the Republican Party; the story of the Reagan CIA‘s role in crack cocaine importation to fund the Contras is published in the San Jose Mercury News; and a 3-year old boy fell into a 20-foot deep gorilla enclosure at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, ending with Binti Jua, a female lowland gorilla sitting with the boy until he was rescued…basically the opposite of Harambe.

But in the midst of all of this craziness in our country, Walt Disney and Buena Vista Pictures released a little Sinbad vehicle called First Kid.

Like most Disney family films around this time period, it starts off relatively safe in a boys-will-be-boys goof-off kinda way, turns needlessly melancholy, and then gets straight-up bonkers. So let’s begin.

1Sinbad plays Secret Service agent Sam Simms, a fat goofball who is essentially always a cunt-hair away from being fired. Why he’s qualified or continues to keep his job doing one of the most no-nonsense jobs in the country is beyond even him.

Brock Pierce plays the title character; First Kid, Luke Davenport, son of President Paul Davenport, and all-around little piece of shit teenager.

3.jpgThe movie starts out with Luke treating everyone around him, especially his personal Secret Service Agent, Agent Woods, like utter garbage. Woods is kind of a dickhead, but he doesn’t seem to deserve Luke’s bullshit. Eventually, Luke pisses Woods off so thoroughly that the Secret Service Agent grips him up, and is promptly fired…and replaced by, you guessed it, fucking Sinbad.

But don’t sleep on Agent Woods, because he’s not out of the picture just yet.

After seeing Luke get his ass handed to him by that punk bitch Zachary Ty Bryan from Home ImprovementSinbad decides that it’s now his duty to not only teach Luke how to fight, but to help him get laid. Again, Luke is a young adult teenage boy.

Sinbad proceeds to risk his entire career, freedom and reputation, go against Luke’s parents (the President and First Lady, remember), and technically kidnap the First Kid to help him score with some school crush.

1You see, Luke can’t relate to any other kids because he’s constantly under protection and surveillance as the First Kid. He eats lunch alone, and gets bullied by Zachary fucking Ty fucking Bryan from Home Improvement. And even though Luke is a dick to Zachary Ty Bryan as well, we’re supposed to feel bad for him because he cries about not having any friends or family time.

The only time Luke gets to talk to anyone freely, it’s either Sinbad–a grown ass man–or, his mysterious anonymous online-pal “Mongoose12.” Not creepy at all.

Luke and Mongoose12 really “get” each other and chat almost every day. Remember, this is in the mid-90’s, a time where the Internet was new, and we were very naive about child predators using clever pick-up lines like “ASL?

After Luke defeats Zachary Ty Bryan (who we think is the villain of the film), the Secret Service bursts into the school dance and Sinbad is fired and forbidden from speaking to the First Kid ever again. Remember, this is in the mid-90’s when a Secret Service Agent putting a child’s life in danger is met with a slap on the wrist, apparently.

So, while Luke is under “White House arrest” with a homing device attached to him, his bestest online pal, Mongoose12 starts offering him advice on how to escape from the White House and meet up at a local shopping mall…as normal kids do.

But what happens when Luke follows through with this fool-proof plan?

1.gifIt turns out that cool-kid Mongoose12 was none other than Agent WOODS, the disgruntled Secret Service Agent from the beginning of the movie! And he’s gone over the edge. Woods kidnaps Luke, and now the President has to figure out a way to get him back!

Who should he turn to? The police? The FBI? The numerous other Secret Service Agents who aren’t incompetent or homicidal? Fuck no, call up Sinbad! He can’t possibly screw up again!

Oh, and boy oh boy did things get worse because of it. Agent Woods was planning on returning the boy to his parents and taking credit as the hero. But when Sinbad showed up and Woods got found out, he decided he was just going to murder Luke.

Agent Woods tries to shoot Luke but Sinbad takes the bullet. Don’t worry, he lives, and Woods is taken to justice.

In the end, Sinbad is regarded as a hero and given the option to guard to the President (for some reason, based on one act of heroism)…which he declines so he can keep fucking Luke’s biology teacher; a subplot that no one could have predicted.

Then Luke hits a street hockey puck into Sinbad’s stupid face, and that’s how the movie ends.

If you thought that final hostage scene came out of fucking nowhere, you weren’t the only one. Apparently, 1 and a half minutes of the film were cut from its British Home Video release because the scene was deemed too graphic for a PG-audience.

Yikes.

This movie is so bad-ass that it almost became Disney’s first PG-13 movie. Well, technically, The Black Cauldron came the closest…but who gives a fuck?

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Pepe the Frog VS Harambe

Hello, Children of the Internets…Father Time, here. You may not believe this–shit, I can scarcely believe it myself–but there once was a time when memes were developed, ran their course, and eventually died. Occasionally, the meme would see a resurgence, riding on the white horse of creativity. Using wit, or simple nostalgia, a meme would be brought back into the mainstream.

1Some memes even caught on so strongly that entire long-running television shows were built around them; shows that wedged the confusing meme into the show as if the showrunner was obsessed or driven to the brink of insanity. None of us knew what it meant. The Internet was so young. We just…went with it. The next thing we knew, we were all recognizing Calista Flockhart was. Next thing we knew, she was married to Harrison Ford…when we woke up, it was too late.

We now have two memes that won’t die despite the best efforts of the ubiquitous “fun police.” So, what does a culture that has become morbidly obsessed with self-victimization and virtue signalling do when they realize that people they disagree with are having all the fun? 

Declare those memes racist, of course.

3First, we have Pepe the Frog. The character was ripped from the pages of Matt Furie’s comic series, Boy’s Club, a counter-culture stoner strip that grew popular among the indie web-comic crowd. But Pepe truly came to life on 4chan, the brightest beacon of the dark-web, where message board addicts developed Reaction/Rage Faces. Many of which have faded into obscurity over the years, but Pepe–for his seemingly random nature–caught on with vicious staying power.

Pepe the Frog‘s only true purpose was to convey “feels good” or “feels bad.” It slowly evolved into becoming a variant symbol for Internet Trolls, hiding behind “Smug Pepe” faces as a symbol of pride and accomplishment in their trollings.

Enter Donald Trump. Trump’s candidacy was the single element that thrust troll culture, which had been evolving through GamerGate and years of ripping on inane popular fads, into the real world. And nothing makes trolls happier than the anger-berries generated by Glorious Leader Trump.

So, it seemed Pepe the Frog was a perfect fit for faux hate-mongers on social media. A troll could pretend to be a white supremacist and use Pepe as an in-crowd hint that they’re trolling. A plan with no drawbacks.

Well…one drawback. The mainstream media taking it seriously.

Yes, that’s right. Pepe the Frog just trolled a national election. But it doesn’t stop there. The (((Anti-Defamation League))) has officially declared the cartoon frog as a symbol of hate. That’s right–it’s a burning cross, swastika, triple-parenthesis around something you’re identifying as Jewish, and Pepe the Frog–all equally threatening and worthy of hate-crime status. Because if the 24-hour media cycle creating bullshit stories is going to get under the skin of anyone in this crazy, mixed up country of ours, it’s the upper class of concerned hand-wringing Jews.

And speaking of cultural pearl-clutching, let’s breathe some life back into Harambe the Gorilla!

3It’s not completely accurate to say that Harambe ever went away (except, of course, in the literal sense, for the actual Harambe), but the over-saturation of the gorilla meme has caused many to lament its longevity.

Longevity, in the meme world, means literally 1 Summer that might as well be 100 years.

I sincerely doubt anyone needs their memory jogged about the Harambe incident, but let’s remind ourselves anyway.

On May 28th, 2016, a child fell into the gorilla encampment at the Cincinnati Zoo, leading their beloved male gorilla Harambe to be shot dead by Zoo Staff for fear of endangering the child’s life. The incident sparked initial outrage, first among the Black Lives Matter crowd, comparing the gorilla to a proud African life taken to save precious white child. Then, they figured out the child in question was black, and immediately blamed everyone else for questioning the responsibility of the child’s parents. Animal rights activist fought tooth and nail (pun intended) against those who believed the Zoo made the only sad, but sensible, decision they could.

4It was the shot heard ’round the world.

But it didn’t take long to fade away, out of the news cycle, and out of the public eye.

And then it came back hard. The trolls had won the day again, spreading “Justice for Harambe” memes, comparing the deceased gorilla to beloved celebrities lost in 2016, shouting “Dicks Out for Harambe” and other such nonsense, just to put the ridiculousness of it all into absurd perspective. People who had previously been fighting about the emotional and ethical impact of the killing of this beloved animal were now coming together in good humor to celebrate Harambe’s life.

So, needless to say, harmony over Harambe could not last long before those who refused to be “in on it” began to drive the wedge yet again.

One of the most notable opponents of the Harambe Party was actor, comedian, and all-around professional dipshit, Kumail Nanjiani, who declared the Harambe memes racist because Harambe is a silly African name, and therefore must only be used out of hate.

3You know when your pseudo-progressive cocksuckery has gotten out of control well-and-good when people like rainbow-haired Max Landis have to attempt to settle your hash. But Kumail can’t be swayed, even though his opinion stinks like yesterday’s curry.

Of course, Kumail isn’t the only one. A battalion of social justice warriors have jumped on the “Harambe Memes are Racist” bandwagon, and they aren’t going anywhere.

Clearly, the only course of action is to continue ad nauseam with the antisemitic anthropomorphic frogs and the racist great apes, but at what cost? Sure we can ram these things down the throats of everyone who is fake-offended by them, but do they lose the comedy?

2When the memes stop being funny, the beauty and purity of the joke is lost. But it’s even more important to note that not all jokes are created equal. And not everyone’s sense of humor is the same. Pepe the Frog creator, Matt Furie, was recently asked about the use of his character by Trump supporters and racist trolls. He said that he finds it funny and entertaining; that it’s just a phase, and more in line with out-shocking another person with how vile he can make Pepe than it is about any kind of actual hatred.

Conversely, the Cincinnati Zoo and many others have grown very upset over the continued Harambe memes, and have requested many times over that they be stopped, or at very least, directed elsewhere.

The beauty in this double-edged decorative replica sword is that as long as there is someone out there, fudging their drawers and getting needlessly triggered over a drawing or photoshop of an amphibian or ape, tossing around Pepes and/or Harambes will never go out of style.

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