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Watching

Video Digest: February 2, 2007

Laughing at tragedy: Piñatas get the vendetta treatment; Zarf, daytime's most British transsexual ever; OK Go in a high-school talent show; music videos reach new lows (or highs?) on YouTube; Faces of Death, the muppet version.

My favorite piñata story—yes, I have one; you don’t?—involves a particularly murderous season on Days of Our Lives. It was Thanksgiving in Salem, and there was a Thanksgiving piñata—because along with turkey and stuffing, the traditional piñata is one of the most heartwarming American traditions. So there was this Thanksgiving piñata, and the kids were beating on it, and laughing, and having a great time, and when they finally crack it open, out falls…a dead body! A murderer is on the loose in Salem, and he’s terrifically arts-and-crafty!

This tale that I recount—and which, by the by, has about a 10 percent chance of being factually correct, as it’s been years since I saw the episode—forever changed the way I felt about piñatas. And now, word comes from a Video Digest friend that piñatas are back in the spotlight. (Back? I have no idea what I’m talking about right now.) Anyway, here is the Piñata Hunter. The piñata is a cruel, savage beast.



While we’re talking about soap operas, I want to share something with you. It’s a little something I call Zarf. If you don’t know, Zarf is a character on All My Children, the first transsexual ever on daytime, and he is also a rock star, a singer, a poet, a yogi, and awfully efficient at filing. In what we can only surmise was fate, Zarf’s first appearance on AMC made it to the Video Digest. But back then, he wasn’t making a MTF transition to becoming Zoe; he was just plain old, Mike Patton-worshipping Zarf. Well, Zarf has become a tiny little obsession in my world, and I’m not the only one. VH1’s Best Week Ever posts daily Zarf appearances on their website. Fearing the character will be written off the show, they’ve even posted a “Save Zarf” petition. All this for another time. But in case you haven’t seen Zarf, here is one of his finest moments. And yes, as my friend Lisa pointed out, he always sounds like Judi Dench.



Back in my high school talent-show days, most of the entrants were way lame. A slutty little dance routine, some jock pretending to sing. I have never, ever seen the commitment to a talent show displayed by these four young gentlemen, who not only learned the OK Go treadmill dance, but also nailed the sucker. I get a little spike of love in my heart at the end, when the crowd leaps to their feet.



In a tricky little piece of meta-something, the Japanese hip-hop group the Teriyaki Boyz have a new video which looks like a video on YouTube, which basically means it looks twice as crappy. But in a clever way. Bonus points: I dig the song.



Okay, this is silly, but since I was semi-obsessed with Faces of Death as a kid, I totally enjoyed this Conan O’Brien spoof: Muppets Faces of Death. You know what could have made it better, though? Thanksgiving piñata.



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