One of my favorite takedowns of all-time appeared in GQ in early 2012.
Every year, they compile a list of “The 25 Least Influential People Alive,” and in this particular year, cable TV gasbag Ed Schultz appeared as #3. Here’s the takedown:
“There are so many repugnant political pundits on TV now, we tend to forget that the likes of Sean Hannity actually represent the best of the lot. Hannity is a piece of shit, but at least he can get your average 85-year-old, gay-hating, gold-hoarding grandma to tune in. Then there are pundits like Schultz. Do you watch The Ed Show on MSNBC? Of course you don’t. No one does. The only reason people watch The Ed Show is they’re working out in a hotel gym and they can’t find a staff member to change the channel to ESPN. Did you know MSNBC suspended Schultz this year? It did! He called Laura Ingraham a ‘right-wing slut,’ and he still couldn’t get noticed.”
The element that made me laugh the hardest in that demolition of Ed Schultz (and Sean Hannity, and gay-hating, gold-hoarding grandmas, for that matter) is the idea of that show’s ratings coming entirely from hotel gyms populated by unwilling travelers.
Having found myself trapped in many a gym with no remote control in sight (once while this loathsome envirofraud was on), I know the pain of being subjected to the likes of Ed Schultz and the rest of the gym TV Gestapo because the remote is never anywhere near where you fucking need it.
When you work out on the weekend, it’s way worse than half-baked left wing bloviating.
It’s kid’s programming. And I think we can all agree kid’s programming is pretty much the worst thing in the entire universe.
I gawked at this show for the whole fucking half hour it was on, and let me tell you, it was terrifying. Any time I’m compelled to take a break from rocking out to Pennywise to Tweet in the middle of a workout, you know what I’m seeing is unquestionably horrible. The show was so frighteningly surreal, yet oddly captivating, I had to look it up later.
Turns out, I was watching something called “Lazytown,” a show designed to “positively engage kids and families in choosing a healthy lifestyle.” I realize kids are fat shits now, but is this really the best way to get them involved? With a guy dressed like Seth Green in Can’t Hardly Wait crossed with Rollie Fingers’ mustache who flips around like an extra from Step Up 2 The Streets? Let’s take a closer look at the principals.
You’ve got Stephanie, who seems less obnoxious than your average children’s show heroine. Although with that haircut, she’s got sort of a creepy Molly from “The Big Comfy Couch” vibe about her. Poor Stephanie looks like she was invented by some Japanese pedophile, but thankfully hasn’t been forced to visit his candy van yet.
You’ve got Sportacus, the ostensible hero, who hovers above this batshit fucking town in a goddamn blimp and can’t stop exercising. I always wondered what happened to Ben Stiller’s fitness mad camp counselor character from Heavyweights, and now I know. He’s turned into this parkour asshole on this obnoxious kids’ show. Sportacus always manages to save the day with his constant flipping about, after which, I’m sure he celebrates by going rollerblading and sharing Michelob Ultras with the other Crossfit douche bags.
Then there’s the character that inspired this entire post. This universe’s villain is Robbie Rotten. Robbie’s wardrobe is clearly inspired by Bart trying to look taller in order to play Fallout Boy in that classic episode of “The Simpsons.” Robbie’s sole purpose on this show seems to be to wear awful facial prosthetics and make goofy, ugly faces. This happens roughly every four seconds on this show. Glenn Hetrick does not approve of Robbie’s cartoony features.
The rest of the town, incidentally, is populated by rubbery-looking half puppets that seem to be from the same universe as Primus in the “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” video, which everyone knows is the creepiest universe of all the universes. I didn’t bother looking up any of these characters except one because I’ve already spent way too much time thinking about this, but I will note that Stephanie’s uncle, as it turns out, sounds just like Colin Quinn’s impression of Chandler from that SNL parody. Also, he’s black, but only as black as C. Thomas Howell looks in the movie Soul Man.
There are too many references in this article, I might break the internet.
I almost wish I hadn’t started writing this because in looking up these bugfuck crazy characters, I came to learn that Magnus Scheving (the guy who plays Sportacus) created this show and a whole bunch of related products to help parents raise healthier kids and inspire kids to live healthier lives. He’s a hero in his native Iceland, and he’s traveled the world inspiring people to get healthy.
And considering I’m on my own health journey (down 30 lbs since the end of November!), I feel like a grade-A jagoff for shitting all over this show. Whatever gets people healthy, no matter how manic or terrifying-looking to a captive elliptical machine slave, is ultimately a good thing. So, fuck my face, I guess.
In reality, this is a parable about ensuring you know where the gym remote control is. Anything less just leads to fright, followed by regret. Kind of like a night with a Thai ladyboy.