Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don’t dream it, dread it

Posted By on Tue, Oct 19, 2010 at 11:40 PM

Somehow, I resisted tonight’s Rocky Horror-themed episode of Glee. It wasn’t easy; I had to politely beg off when a friend phoned in an 11th-hour reminder. (And this was somebody with whom I once shared a stage in an actual production of Rocky -- so admitting to no interest in the episode was kind of like telling an Army buddy that you’re going to skip the American Legion picnic this year so you can take a Thai hooker to Smokey Bones.)

But honestly, I’ve never seen an episode of Glee, and I didn’t intend to start now. See, most of the people in my Facebook status feed are actors, homosexuals or have some other reason to claim their middle name is “Equality,” so 15 minutes after the show ends, I always know everything Sue Sylvester said anyway.


More fool me. I momentarily forgot one of the basic facts of life: When God starts doling out the punishment, you always wanna opt for what’s behind Door Number One.

Because there I was a few hours later, happily basking in my success at having avoided a medley of “Over at the Frankenstein Place” and the title song from Xanadu (yes, this is what Glee looks like in my head). I was pretty proud of myself, and with the way I had dodged the latest nail in the coffin of a phenomenon (Rocky, I mean) that hasn’t been genuinely transgressive since about, oh, 1976, and is now this close to getting its own themed restaurant at Universal CityWalk.

And then I saw this.

Yeah, I’ll give you a minute to let that all sink in. Your eyes haven’t failed you; you did indeed read the words Rocky Horror and “Jack Nicholson” in the same paragraph. And “Danny DeVito.” And “Ricki Lake.” And for some reason, they’ve all been pronounced the perfect cast members for producer Lou Adler’s 35th-anniversary tribute to his Rocky movie, being performed “live” next week in L.A.

I guess the best way I can describe how I feel about this is to say that Ricki Lake is to Rocky Horror as Outsourced is to the nation of India: If you’ve never even heard of the latter, you see no reason why it can’t be adequately represented by the former.

But if you ever, once upon a time, had the tiniest shred of mall-rebellious affection for Rocky, the thought of a post-Bucket List Nicholson getting anywhere near it will automatically have you singing “Let’s do the Justifiable Homicide again.”

Please, please tell me Uncle Jack isn’t playing Frank N. Furter. ‘Cause you know that thing would be all over the YouTube like a Christine O’Donnell debate answer, and I’d really like to be able turn on my computer between now and next Bastille Day.

At this point, I’m holding out hope that the all-star cast – which also includes a Pussycat Doll and Hurley from Lost -- isn’t going to be forced into a one-on-one correspondence with the RHPS character bullpen. I’m looking for wiggle room in the endearingly vague (and flagrantly ungrammatical) official description of the show as “a hybrid musical event combining the film version with select live musical performances from the film.” (Tonight it’s gonna rock you tonight.)

So while it’s hard not to envision Jorge Garcia ending up swinging a sax to “Hot Patootie, Bless My Soul,” maybe some of the other participants will have to be incorporated a bit more creatively. Like

um, Cheech Marin. Because the closest thing to his demo to be found in the original is that callback line some shadowcasts use about getting Brad and Janet a Hispanic mechanic. (Sing it, Cheech: “Transylvanian-Americans

don’t like to get up early

but they have to

so they do it real slooooow.”)

Oh, and the tickets are being handled by LiveNation, and the whole thing is for charity – something about sick kids – which just takes it all two more steps (to the right, natch) from the property’s origins. When I first started going to midnight shows of Rocky, the proceeds went directly to a very different charity:  the projectionist’s smack habit.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so cranky. At least Florence Henderson got the ax before she could pull off that “We Remember Stiv Bators” routine on DWTS.

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