25: Manna Manna 6-5000

And Other Tiny Mashups

I’m not a person who knows how to use sophisticated music-mixing software to create fancy mashups that make you realize that Master of Puppets sounds amazing mixed with the Jeffersons theme song or whatever. But sometimes I get these tiny mashups in my head that I just can’t let go of — just snippets of two songs that might go well together. And luckily, I know enough about editing to mash together two tiny music clips and see how they sound.

So here, for your enjoyment or revulsion, are three tiny mashups.

Alanis Meets Michael

This tiny mashup has been stuck in my head since I first heard Hand In My Pocket in college, where the local radio station probably played it in between Barenaked Ladies’ If I Had $1,000,000 and Dead Eye Dick’s New Age Girl every couple hours.

After all these years, I’m going to finally make the tiny mashup and see how it sounds. I’ll be right back.

Okay, I’m back. Let’s listen:

Hmm. Did it work? Do the songs match up? I guess so. But after all this time hearing it in my head, I’m a little underwhelmed.

But also, I had completely forgotten how bonkers the Black Or White video is until I made this tiny mashup. And I’m not even talking about the crotch-grabbing dance sequence that was cut from the video after it was released. I’m talking about the first few minutes, which is a sketch about Macauley Culkin playing guitar too loudly for his parents George Wendt and Tess Harper, and then mischievously playing it so loudly that Wendt gets launched into space. It feels much more like an ’80s video than a ‘90s video. And then there’s the morphing sequence at the end, which was the first time I’d seen that effect used with people, and which actually still looks amazing today.

If you can look past Michael Jackson, it’s worth rewatching the video for everyone else’s involvement. But I feel icky even just talking about Michael Jackson these days, so I won’t embed it here.

King George Meets The Turtles

My fourth grader is obsessed with Hamilton, as I guess happens at around his age. And for a while the song he wouldn’t stop singing was King George’s number “You’ll Be Back” which has a “la-da-da-da-da” section. But when my kid sings it, all I hear is the Turtles song “Happy Together.”

Do they mash up? Let’s find out:

Eh… I don’t know. It kind of matches. But it’s not the best Turtles mashup. The best Turtles mashup is the time they sang the theme to It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, giving it their own spin:

I loved that show, but I haven’t watched it since it aired. Suddenly I’m reminded of a girl in eighth grade who used to call me Grant because she thought I looked like the character Grant Schumaker from It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.

I don’t see it:

Okay, maybe a little.

Manna Manna 6-5000

I don’t have much to say about this Tiny Mashup except maybe: You’re welcome?

A Schitt’s Creek Thought

This weekend, Catherine O’Hara won her first ever Golden Globe for playing Moira Rose on Schitt’s Creek. This gives me an excuse to mention something I noticed about that show.

One of the supporting characters is played by Chris Elliott whose father, Bob Elliott, was half of the comedy duo Bob and Ray.

There are two minor characters on Schitt’s Creek named Bob and Ray. They don’t have many scenes together, but every time I see them I wonder if they were named in honor of Chris’s dad and his partner Ray Goulding.

My first exposure to Bob and Ray was a series of commercials they did in the ‘80s for The Arizona Bank. I loved those commercials because they used humor even though they were ads for boring banks. When I later learned that Bob and Ray were famous, I was thrown off. Was it really the same Bob and Ray? I had assumed these were just a couple of local actors. Nope.

A Ted Lasso Thought

This weekend, Jason Sudeikis won a Golden Globe for best television actor in a musical or comedy. I was a little late to the Ted Lasso party, but when I finally watched it I found myself constantly asking one question: Whose story is it?

One of the basic rules of storytelling is that your protagonist has to change between the beginning and end of the story, or nobody will care about them. But in this case the main character only changes a little bit. However, he is the catalyst for big changes in the characters around him. Even the character introduced as the antagonist changes more than Ted, to the point where she’s no longer an antagonist.

So I kept asking myself: if Ted’s not the one who changes, then whose story is this? Keeley’s? Rebecca’s? Roy’s? Nate’s?

I kept coming back to it being Ted’s story. But the structure breaks the rules and still works. Maybe all the secondary characters are protagonists in their own overlapping stories, and Ted’s story is just the thread that presents them all to us.

Turns out there is a term for this type of protagonist: the change agent. Other examples of change agents include Mary Poppins and Forrest Gump.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

And that brings us to the end of another newsletter. One day I’ll learn how to make a real mashup. I think a proper “Manna Manna 6-5000” remix has potential.

See you next week!