Thursday, October 12, 2006

Here Comes Mr. Bill's Dog, Or, Speaking of SNL

Following up on my Saturday Night Live post below, I should mention that I recently watched a DVD of perhaps the greatest late-'70s SNL character, Mr. Bill. Like a lot of people my age, I actually didn't encounter Mr. Bill until I'd already seen the "Pizza Head" commercials that the creator, Walter Williams, did for Pizza Hut -- where he took the same concept and characters but replaced Bill with a slice of pizza and Sluggo with a pizza slicer:

I think the reasons I like Mr. Bill so much -- and Pizza Head as well -- are twofold. One, it's a parody of a certain type of cheaply-made children's programming that used to be all over local stations; seeing horrific violence injected into that familiar and boring world is very satisfying. The other thing that makes it work is Williams' decision never to have Bill's nemesis, Sluggo ("He's going to be mean to me!"), say anything or do much of anything. All the horrific violence is inflicted by Bill's supposed "friend," Mr. Hands, who keeps telling us that Sluggo says this, or did that, and following up by pummelling Bill. And the original SNL shorts even has an arc of sorts, where Bill slowly comes to realize that Mr. Hands is out to get him.

Mr. Hands is the unseen creator who has absolute power over his creation. In that way, Mr. Bill is very similar to Chuck Jones's "Duck Amuck," which also plays on the idea that there's this off-stage force who's happily screwing with reality just to torment us.

Here's a Mr. Bill segment from the original SNL:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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