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Video Digest: June 23, 2006

Horror in many forms: tragic Hervé Villechaize; unwatchable Connie Chung; liquidating Verne Troyer; conjoined twins; younger brother gets his Barkley on

The most soul-crushing E! True Hollywood Story I ever saw was about the actor Hervé Villechaize. This was dark stuff even by tabloid standards: drinking turpentine, stabbing his own self-portrait, smashing guns into his assistant’s face. As a child, I adored Fantasy Island, but by the time this show was over, I didn’t feel bad for Hervé so much as terrified he might come and get me. Forget the Boogeyman. You should see what Hervé can do with a seven-inch blade.

I was reminded of all this when I came across a softer, gentler Hervé earlier this week.

In the context of his gun-brandishing and eventual suicide, this earnest plea for peace and sunshine is either that much more poignant—or that much more morbid. Either way, I couldn’t help but lose a little piece of goodwill toward man when I saw the first comment: “this suxx send this child to kill himself.” It made me love Hervé all the more, which is exactly the kind of condescension that drove him crazy. And got him mad tail.

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I had a similar feeling of protectiveness when I saw internet sites fall all over themselves to mock Connie Chung’s ill-advised farewell performance from her television talk show last week. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re obviously too busy at work.

It’s the kind of self-deprecation that Meredith Viera and Regis Philbin engage in all the time, but on Connie Chung, it’s like an embarrassing period stain. She was trying to be a good sport, and she comes off like a deranged bride. Clearly, she’s in on the joke—it just happens to be a bad joke. That’s more than you can say for Verne Troyer, who once peed naked in the corner while drunk, in what is either the best—or worst—moment of VH1’s The Surreal Life. I would actually argue it’s the worst moment, but that hasn’t kept me from watching it four times already.

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All this talk of train-wreck entertainment and the question of exploitation brings me to what may be the weirdest movie of the year, Brothers of the Head. It’s the fictional story of conjoined twins who start a ‘70s punk-rock group.

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Wow, today’s video digest is really starting to creep me out. With that in mind, let’s end with an example of some harmless, all-in-good-fun exploitation: Older brother spies younger getting his Gnarls Barkley on. We’ve all been guilty of this private dancing before—although, probably not with the big floppy dog.

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