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Watching

Video Digest: June 30, 2006

An education in phobias: pickles on Maury; Tyra, Star, and Barbara Walters; David Spade vs. Vin Diesel (and Diesel, movie star, vs. Diesel, breakdancing instructor); Brando reanimated; Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street

I have a few minor phobias: I dislike flying; I get queasy on rollercoasters; I try to avoid possums, especially the ones who will lure me on an airplane or a ride at Six Flags. But apparently some people have crippling phobias, and obviously, there’s only one way to deal with those crippling phobias: Talk about them on daytime. This week’s viral video award goes to the woman on Maury terrified of pickles. You should see how she reacts to salami.




A recent episode of The Tyra Banks Show, in which some poor woman faces her fear of—I kid you not—garden gnomes, would make the perfect companion piece.

Meanwhile, on other channels, people were facing another kind of fear: Star Jones. On Tuesday, Star made an annoucement that had been “on her heart” lately and painfully obvious to everyone for months now—she was leaving The View.




More compelling, however, was Barbara Walters’s terse explanation a day later, in which roiling seas of resentment, disgust, and professional exhaustion lurk beneath every well-chosen phrase.

Speaking of Barbara Walters, much has been written about the death of the celebrity interview. The questions are too soft. The handlers are overbearing. There’s too much Anderson Cooper. Rarely does anyone dare to name the true perpetrators of this crime: the celebrities themselves. Why aren’t they more interesting? Smarter? Funnier? David Spade is a man unafraid to mock celebrities, as long as he’s not trying to sleep with them. Here’s a hilarious clip from the Showbiz Show, in which Vin Diesel presses play, repeat.




Maybe it’s time Vin returns to his roots as an instructional breakdancer. Can you believe Vin Diesel isn’t his real name?




Perhaps a more compelling, and certainly less ridiculous, instruction comes in the form of this video on re-animating Marlon Brando for Superman Returns. If only Francis Ford Coppola had this technique when they were shooting Apocalypse Now, he could have kept the guy on script.

Few people are better at instruction, however, than Sesame Street. It’s from Sesame Street that we learned to count and plan a picnic for a dozen ladybugs. Come to think of it, maybe that’s where we got our indelible sense of groove.




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