Tuesday, February 22, 2000

Hazel Barbershop Television Land

I’m standing in the living room of a house.

Music from Fellini’s "Juliet of the Spirits" plays in the background.

Shirley Booth is in the living room with me. She is dressed as Hazel, the character she played on the television program in the 1960’s.

“I’ll get your briefcase, Mr. G,” she says.

She leaves the room and quickly goes upstairs.

"Hazel?" I think, "Where did she come from?"

I suddenly hear laughter in the background.

Canned laughter.

I look around, puzzled.

I can't see where the canned laughter is coming from.

The doorbell rings.

I walk to the front door and open it.

A man with a television camera on his shoulder and a woman are standing there. They’re both dressed like the poorest trailer park trash you can imagine ­ bad teeth, bad breath and everything.

The woman has a photo in her hand. She sticks it into my face.

The photo looks like Andy Griffith, dressed in shabby clothes like the people in front of me.

“Well?” the woman asks.

It’s as if she expects me to say something. I’m dumbfounded and just stand there.

"You're the sheriff. Ain't you goin’ after him?"

I look at the photo again.

It doesn't look like Andy Griffith. It looks like me.

"No," I say, "I’m not going after him. I really don't want to get shot today."

I hear giggles from the canned laugh track.

“What do you mean?” she yells. “He’s up on the hill makin’ moonshine and causin’ a heap of trouble! I heard he even stole somebody’s cat!”

There is laughter from the canned laugh track. The Fellini music becomes more prominent.

I seem to know that these two people do a kind of very low budget version of “Cops”, produced by trailer park trash.

I look out on the street in front of the house. It’s a typical sit-com suburban neighborhood with neat little houses and well kept lawns.

The bus from “The Partridge Family” passes by.

“Now you’re the sheriff ‘round here,” she says. “Ain’t you gonna do somethin’?”

The man with the camera focuses on my face.

“No, I don’t think so,” I say, annoyed. “Why don’t you go get him yourself? He won’t bother you.”

I close the door on them.

There is laughter and applause from the canned laugh track.

I think for a moment. I realize that the man and woman were Daisy Duke and Cooter from “The Dukes of Hazzard”.

Suddenly, I feel as though I am going through a tunnel, almost being propelled through some kind of portal.

I’m standing in the Cunningham living room from “Happy Days”.

Ritchie Cunningham is talking to his mother, Marion.

"Well, it's like this, mom," Ritchie says, "Think about it this way: What if Mr. Cunningham was a pimp, but Mrs. Cunningham didn't know about it?"

"Oh, I just don't know," she says.

There is more laughter from the canned laugh track.

Suddenly, I feel as though I am lifted through the portal again.

I’m standing in Floyd’s barbershop from “The Andy Griffith Show”.

Floyd, Opie and Goober are there.

Also in the room is Rob, the character from “Annie Hall” who was an actor in a television sit-com that convinced Woody Allen’s character to go to Los Angeles and work in television.

"I just don't understand it," Floyd says, "Aunt Bea has turned into such a whore."

"Well, times change," Rob says. Giggles from the canned laugh track.

"Floyd," Rob asks, "is there a tanning booth in this town?"

Laughter from the canned track.

I am sucked through the portal again.

I’m standing on the lawn in front of the “Hazel” house. It’s bright and sunny outside.

There’s no one around and I seem to have a moment to collect my thoughts.

“I don’t understand this place,” I say. “I just don’t know how to move around here.”

I look down and see a dog and cat run past me.

It’s Tom and Butch from MGM’s “Tom and Jerry” cartoons.

The dog and cat are like the cartoons, only three-dimensional and appear very real. They run around the lawn getting into trouble. They take tumbles and knock things over.

Tom runs up to me and comes to a sudden stop.

I hear the sound of screeching tires.

Tom looks up at me.

“You should have gone after that guy,” he says.

There’s something menacing about him that I don’t like.

He takes off after Butch again. They chase each other around, knocking things over and causing more havoc.

I hear cartoon music and sound effects.

Once again, Tom comes to a screeching halt in front of me.

"You know you should have," he says.

I look down at him.

"No,” I say. “I don't belong here. I don't understand this place."

"Of course you do," Tom says. "It's Los Angeles. You were born to be here."

Tom takes off again with the sound of a cartoon “ping”. He causes more havoc with Butch.

I suddenly realize that Tom’s voice sounds like Rob from “Annie Hall”.

As he runs through the yard, Tom screams at me to let him into the house.

“Oh no,” I yell, running for the door. “You’re not getting in here!”

I run into the house, quickly slamming the door behind me.

The door has a large window that covers almost half of it. I look through the window and see Tom running towards the door.

He’s unable to stop and slams into the door, smashing his head flat with a loud “thump”.

I watch as Tom slowly falls to the ground, his body sticking straight out from the door.

His smushed head makes funny cartoon sounds as it slides down the door.

Tom sits up, his head bobbing and weaving. There are little three dimensional stars and birds spinning around his head.

I hear a voice behind me and turn around.

“Here you go, Mr. G,” Hazel says, smiling and handing me my briefcase.

“Aren’t you late for work?”

Then I woke up.

No comments: