Life is busy.
That is my cheap shit excuse for neglecting to surrender my share of contributions to the Site here over the past weeks.
Truth is, my life is very busy, although I am in the process of transitioning from one of those more than demanding day jobs that really pays the bills and provides my health care, to the ranks of the retired. Although for me retired means writing four or five baseball columns a week, working on some fiction, being at the ball park, playing music, writing songs, and well, writing here too among other things.
Well, rest assured, just because I get distracted and forget to post stuff here, it doesn’t mean I am not thinking about it.
And, while I have a lot of fodder floating around in my grey cells, somehow when watching Family Guy a couple of weeks ago I saw this which demonstrates just how brilliant Seth MacFarlane and his mates can be.
I get if you hate Family Guy. Peter Griffin is as oafish and mostly offensive a character as we can imagine. In fact if The Simpsons has proved to be the best representation of American Family life ever recorded, the Griffin family has pushed that envelope by showing our basically soulless full of reality TV instant experts internet cell phone culture in an even more visceral way.
In other words, yeah: lots of fart and toilet jokes, too much blood and vomit, lots of gags that no one can let go of, and on and on.
However, if you can indulge creator MacFarlane just a little, when he is on, he is so on it is scary.
And, very often, that on is the result of some musical genius.
Not that we are talking Lou Reed or the Hellacopters or original music.
More like knowing that the ever-hot Lois Griffin banged all of Kiss as a young woman, something that makes her Trog husband Peter proud.
But, the show also riffs other songs and genres and stuff so brilliantly. As in the song/sequence below where MacFarlane and mates take on Disney, not only in song, but with just a few deft line changes from the animators, and a little creative use of metaphor, well, you get this:
OK, so it ain’t rock’n’roll, but it is funny and I do like it. It is also smart, which I also like.
When I think about it, in fact, most of my earliest exposure to classical music–aside from what my parents usually had going in the background–was the result of Looney Tunes, as in this great clip of Bugs playing Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody #2 (although when I first saw it, I had no idea what the music was):
To finish off, I am going back to Family Guy, again with a song and dance number that is so clever, and to pair with Bugs and his ilk, links back to the 30’s with the song Bag O’ Weed which totally riffs on the Marx Brothers and Duck Soup (I looked for a video clip of the brothers banging on the helmeted heads of the enemy Sylvanians with dubbed xylophone music that MacFarlane parodies, and could not find one).
However, if you watch carefully during the finale, you will indeed see a Groucho head spill out (at 2:49) among the images, giving credit where credit is due right after the Duck Soup riff (instead of helmets, Brian and Stewie are banging on bongs).
OK, so I got that out of my system, and I can start writing about some serious music. Like Foghat.
Happy and safe holiday to you all.
Much of my classical knowledge started with Bugs Bunny.
(also, you should definitely post more)