Saturday, January 12, 2008

What Were You People THINK-ING!?!?!?

Dr. Phil is out of control and his friends just want him to STOP.

Okay, I have never been a fan of Dr. Phil McGraw, native of Vinita, Oklahoma (ironically, or appropriately, home of the Sooner State's enormous state mental hospital), but lately he is verging on annoying me as much as Madonna, Michael Moore and George W. Bush, three people whom I consider to be the three stations of the American Apocalypse. McGraw has come to embody the same level of hypocrisy and greed that those three do. So, perhaps it's advanced from a toxic trilogy to a quacking quartet.

Why do I hate those three (and now four) so much? Because they are obsessed by three things -- money, fame and a "legacy" and (on top of it all) are hollow to the core. The fact that each have different politics is of no consequence. All four are made of the same things -- bullshit and cardboard.

A good seven to nine years ago, Dr. Phil was relatively benign, no more than an Oprah also ran who espoused solid but bland advice. He shared trite Powerpoints about setting life goals. That initially served as the template for his show as he fled from the Oprah mother ship to launch his own empire, shrouded in the veneer of "helping people" but clearly driven by greed and fame. There were plenty of frustrated mid-career professionals who needed "get excited about life" and substance abusers looking for appropriate 12-step programs. Solid, traditional and boring. So, soon Dr. Phil learned that the biggest coins are wallowing at the bottom of the cesspool, and you have to choke on a few turds in order to go for the gold. Madonna certainly understands that, and she has emerged from the feces pond to emerge as a self appointed lady of the manor who has cash to burn and buy babies in Africa.

So Dr. Phil has come to air shows with increasingly sleazy themes. "Only you can own your life, Imogene, but I gotta tell you that if you're pregnant with your grandson's baby, you're just askin' for trouble."

Then there was the debacle of Dr. Phil's weight loss challenge. Oh, doctor heal thyself! He even introduced his branded of "Dr. Phil Bars". What were they made of? Bacon grease and elephant lard? Like this man is authorized to give me tips on weight loss? My favorite line during this stage of his career was: "Steve, you gotta get real about bein' fat or get real fat!" Apparently being real is a key to surviving while under the watchful eye of Dr. Phil.

I have to admit I've been pretty oblivious to Dr. Phil until his recent dive to below the deepest depths of the toilet bowl of fucked up Americana during his emergency intervention at the behest of the family of Britney Spears, a process he promised to expose in all its tabloid trashiness for record ratings until even his most loyal fans agreed that this tubby Texan had finally gnarled on one too many dysfunctional trailer trash famiies.

Mercifully, I think Dr. Phil is on the verge of nearing the end of his syndication contracts. While flying from the fattest city in the U.S. (where you can buy 320 count boxes of Dr. Phil bars at Sam's Club), I did transit through Houston (which is really pissed that it has lost the #1 spot in the tubbo metropolis competition). Though I usually cringe when I hear that we are landing in George Bush Airport (Gee, why not name it Placa de Pinochet or Hitler's Hide-Away?), I was sort of pleased to learn that Dr. Phil is making a smooth transition from broadcasting franchising to food franchising. Not with Dr. Phil's bars but the artery clogging food he so loves. Wedged right in between Bubba Gump's and Starbucks in George Bush Airport I discovered the new collaboration between Dr. Phil and the often maligned Cracker Barrell - FAT CRACKERS. He has wisely chosen the lead of other washed up entertainers (Arthur Treacher's Fish 'n' Chips, Kenny Rogers Roasters, Jimmy Dean Sausage) and learned the importance and residuals of unhealthy food branding. There at the entry was a huge portrait of Dr. Phil gnawing on a barbecued rib as he dispensed advice on setting one's life goals. Just as I started to nab a photo, a member of the TSA shook an angry index finger of me and I had to put away the camera.

So I went onto Dr. Phil's website and was intrigued to learn that there was quite a number of names Dr. Phil went through before settling on FAT CRACKERS. Here is a sampling:
  • Phil 'Er Up
  • Gravy a Go Go
  • Fry Me Up, Fry Me Down!
  • Beyond the Gravy
  • Gotta Fry Before I Get Too Old
  • What Would Elvis Eat?
  • Gravy Acres
  • Lord of the Onion Rings
  • Garçon, There’s a Pig in My Gravy!
  • Phat Phil's Phry Depot
  • The Good, The Bad and the Gravy
  • Yes, We Pecan!
  • Dr. Phil's Gravy Pops (Too close to Gravy on a Stick for my attorney's comfort)
  • Fry Ask Fry?
  • Ain't Nuthin' But a Butterhorndawg
  • Fry, Mommy, Fry!

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At 11:49 PM, Blogger Bryce Digdug said...

I think it was MAD TV that made fun of Kenny Rogers. Hilarious.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Dr. Phil IS annoying, and is really becoming too tabloid to even be remotely credible. I will NOT however, stand for ANY criticism of Madonna...she is a BRILLIANT genius, who's been able to market herself and "reinvent the wheel" many times over a period of decades - a feat few artists manage to do successfully. Now, George Bush...well, I think he'll burn in hell. ;-)

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Bryce - I've always wanted to go to a Kenny Rogers Roasters just to be able to come home with some of the cups and napkins.

JDZS - I totally agree with you that Madonna is a genius at marketing herself. But then so are George W. Bush and McDonald's. It's not the marketing skills I question, it's the product. Like them, she's been able to transform from one hollow, pointless product to another. Though I'd call her wily not brilliant. Anyone who can produce movies like "Body of Evidence" and "Swept Away" and still be able to get gigs must have her own Karl Rove.

At 9:20 AM, Blogger jason said...

It's Minnie Pearl!
That makes everything ok.

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Jason - Oh, yes, I too adore Minnie Pearl! I hope no one construed that the photo implied that I was including her on the list of losers. Minnie is a perfect example of an entertainer who never felt compelled to "reinvent" herself since she got it right the first time. I loved seeing rare interviews of her out of "Minnie drag". She was an attractive, classy, well read, eloquent woman beneath her garb. Favorite quote reputedly (somewhat dubiously) attributed to her: "I don't mind goin' through a little bush to get to a picnic."

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Gavin Elster said...

Yes We Pecan! Now thats damn funny. My sister seems to watch this guys show whenever she is in town. As she is not in the country for most of the year this seems to act as some sort of decompression tool. I don't understand it. I find myself watching Dr Phils show with her and wondering what the hell are his qualifications. As I see it he is really good and not getting to the root of anyones problems while forcing a studio audience to clap along anyone of his seventeen responses to mental illness. As for Kenny Rogers... Why chicken? Why food at all? Why not a tax service like H&R block? Why not a line of leather vests or a book indian gaming? I dont get it. Was his chicken at home that good that he just had to make it for the world? His gift to the world was chicken?

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Gavin - I'd also thought about "Yes We Pecan, Yes We Pecan Can Can" a la the first Pointer Sisters' hit. Dr. Phil also seems great at having a copy of his latest book under people's chairs. As I recall, Dr. Phil is an actual Ph.D. but not qualified in family therapy but dealing with trial witnesses. Yes, food does not seem to be Mr. Rogers' forte. Why not plastic surgery clinics?

At 1:52 AM, Blogger WAT said...

I have always hated Dr. Phil, and blame this on Oprah too, who should be on yer list, NOT MADONNA.

MADONNA? No, no, noooooooooooooooo. A brilliant entertainer.

At 7:43 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

WAT - I'm not quite as negative about Oparh. As far as that other creature, we'll choose to disagree.

At 7:48 AM, Blogger WAT said...

You're right. I'm being too hard on Oprah.

Thanks for giving us Dr. Phil!

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

WAT - I would pity any candidate that got an endorsement from Dr. Phil. He seems like a Fred Thompson man to me.

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Roddster69 said...

Dr. Phil is out of control and his friends just want him to STOP! Yes, please stop. I cannot stomach this man - sorry... he just works my last nerve

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Roddster - Can't stomach him. Good one! Yes, Dr. heal thyself. Or just check into rehab with Britney.


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