I just saw this bizarro Mr. T video on facebook. A friend posted it in honor of Mother's Day.
Where to begin? If this video from the early 80's doesn't leave you mesmerized, you have no soul. I actually blogged about Mr. T back in 2009. He left a vivid impression on me with his Flavor Wave Turbo infomercial. So I feel uniquely qualified to offer my thoughts.
Let's dissect some of the finer points from the opening scene. This kind of back and forth hate speech probably laid the groundwork for the widespread bullying crisis currently sweeping the nation.
"Well, you couldn't be more than 5." - How old is this boy anyway? Maybe 7? I honestly don't know if I would have taken such offense. Maybe it constitutes anti-age discrimination. Hard to say.
"You're so ugly, you're ears stick out to get away from your face." - A bizarre thing to say because the girl's caucasian afro visually obstructs her ears. And from what I can tell, they don't seem unusually prodigious.
"Well your mom is..."
Enter Mr. T - he emerges from nowhere. Just in time to save the day! Back in the Bears Against Drugs days, we used to call this "emerging from carpet." Whenever a youthful, aspiring telemarketer got hired to sell the West Virginia Troopers Association gift box assortments... well that's what we'd call it.
Me (talking to my coworker Sam): "Who the hell is that? Where did she come from?"
Sam (perplexed, scratching his head): "Uhhh, I dunno. I think she emerged from the carpet."
Mr. T comes in to mediate what surely would have escalated into some vicious UFC ground and pound. But I do like the instant resolution. His observation that when "you put down one mother, you put down mother's all over the world" is specious reasoning at best. But I think it works well here. I liked how the chubby teen girl assuredly nods her approval as this future interracial couple leave the stage in a dual embrace. Could this one loving moment have foreshadowed the Maury Povich paternity craze 2 decades later? I'll tell you what... at the very least, it laid a foundation.
Another oddity. It sounds like Mr. T uses the mere absence of "mom" as a justification for not hurling insults. If you were to take him at his word, he seems to imply... "Well, if mom were hear to defend herself, then you could continue unabated with the belligerent disparagement. But she ain't here. So until she shows up, keep your trap shut!"
And how about the Pointer Sister knock-off background dancers? That choreographer must be spinning in his/her grave. I do like their stilted, disjointed, incongruous dance moves. Their garb seems a bit muted. Screw the Solid Gold dancers. These are the professional-insurance-secretary dancers. The one on the far left seems to have this "adult Dana Plato thing" going on - you know, Mr. Drummond's daughter from the sitcom Different Strokes. Didn't she rob a video store or something. Ohh, how the might have fallen. I think she might be dead.
So here's the chorus...
There is no other
So treat Her right
I always Love Her
So treat Her right, treat Her right
Not much insight there. Seems pretty straightforward. I can dig it.
M is for the moan, and the miserable groan
from the pain that She felt when I was born
- alright, who came up with these lyris? And why must it be a "miserable" groan. Plus, "groan" doesn't rhyme with "born." I would have gone with the "womb from which I was torn" and segue into "pain she felt when I was born"
O is for the oven with it's burnin' heat
where She stood makin' sure I had something to eat
- I would have substituted "burnin" with the word "fiery." Makes for better lyrical progression and continuity.
T is for the time that She stayed up at night
and took my temperature when I wasn't feelin' right
- Maybe Mr. T. could have relived a rectal thermometer experience instead of going with "night and right." Check out this interpretation...
T is for the temperature, I'll you what
She stuck that thermometer, straight up my butt
H is for the hard earned money She spent
to keep clothes on my back and try to pay da' rent
- this would seem to arbitrarily denote a single parent household. I'm not sure this song represents the time or the place to rehash the harsh economic conditions that pervade the ghetto. In the ghetto (Cartman).
E is every wrinkle I put on Her face
and every worry that I caused when I stayed out late
- Yet again. A horribly ineffective rhyme (face and late???) E stands for "Every?" Weak. Lame. (additional Cartman).
The last letter R is that She taught me Respect
and for the room up in Heaven that I know She'll get
- Not sure why Mr. T needs to invoke the tired, duality of good vs. evil, heaven vs. hell. As an atheist Jew, it's a bit cumbersome. But not as bad as that song "Cumbersome."
Now that song was truly fucking cumbersome.
Onto the lyrics of the background singers...
She's a Queen
Second to none
Take care of Mother
You only get one
- What about stepmothers and moms who take on an adoptive role? What about lesbian couples with kids? You certainly get another mother there. Isn't that what Herman Cain was yapping about on the campaign trail? Wasn't he the "Koch brother from another mother?" Well, maybe not. But with Barack Obama finally coming out in support of same-sex marriage, I think we can unequivocally say it's feasible to acquire additional mothers.
Let's take a scene-by-scene look at these ingratiating glimpses of motherhood.
A Connie Chung imposter mom gets a cheek full of lipstick. Why in god's name would a girl under the age of 10 be wearing that much lipstick? I can only surmise that she's spiraling toward a life of prostitution, or hopefully, a career in the clown business.
In the following scene, a mother with an odd purple hat gets a lackluster hug. At first glance, this woman looks like Todd Bridges (yet another Different Strokes coincidence).
Next up are these two moms co-pedaling through the park. I don't have the foggiest idea why that fits in.
This merges back into another Mr. T refrain, or T-frain if you will.
In the next scene, there's a woman who bears a sharp resemblance to Phylicia Rashad of the Cosby Show. Her presumed daughter opens the car door for her. I've never seen a car like this. The vomit infused color makes it even stranger. What's with those mammoth plastic headrest restraints? Seriously, what is the make and/or model of this vehicle?
Next up is a seemingly androgynous child giving his/her mom a neck rub. If you notice, the kid's wearing some kind of creepy massage gloves. It seems a bit young for driving gloves.
Then we have this young lad helping mom carrying in the groceries. I can't find anything objectionable here. Maybe throw in a "paper or plastic" reference.
In the final shot, a young boy with feathered plumage in an excessively triangulated shirt surprises mom with one of those exploding pop-out snake boxes. I thought those things came in a Pringles-like container, not a box. Anyhoo, after the shock and awe subsides (in less than 1/3 of a second), he presents her with a box of chocolates, Forrest Gump style. Nice!
Let's "close the lights" (Sopranos reference) with another Dana Plato lookalike aerobic instructor telling you to "be somebody." What the fuck is that about?
Happy Mother's Day indeed.