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My 2 Cents on Fluff Daddy
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Bilbo67
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Joined: Fri Oct 27th, 2006
Location: The Daisy Hill Cluster Lizard Farm
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 Posted: Sun Aug 17th, 2008 11:30 pm

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My 2 Cents on Episode 4.09: Fluff Daddy
(8/17/08)

 

All right, all right, all right, it’s that time again. Don’t know about the rest of y’all, but quite a bit has happened to me since our last communal foray into the Dark Zone (although if you think any of it had more than an infinitesimal bearing on my dusty, dilapidated social calendar then you’ve obviously been turning a deaf ear to my intermittent cries for help lo these past six years). First and foremost, I competed in my second strongman contest, opting this time to dispense with the "wide-eyed, slack-jawed, overstimulated newb who’s just happy to be there and will gladly settle for the silver because he doesn’t really know what he’s doing" act in lieu of kicking ass and raking in that brass ring (…or in this case, edging out the local favorite by a fraction of a point in pursuit of a cheap trophy and a free T-shirt...it's all semantics when you get right down to it). Second of all, I made a wee bit of headway in my mostly futile, misanthropy-inducing quest to lock down an agent…still waiting to find out if that is going to pay off, or if I’m due for another late-night bout of shaking my fist at the sky and denouncing Lady Fate as a two-faced trollop. On top of all that I got roped into helping my brother and his girlfriend schlep their monumentally disproportionate collection of crap into their new place because I thought it would be a nice gesture…

…oh yeah, and I almost died. Guess there’s precious little to be said for my clean livin’ ways. After no more than five or ten minutes of what I dismissed as a mild headache I puked a third of my blood volume across the floor of my shower. How I stayed conscious after that—let alone coherent enough to make three phone calls—is a mystery to me (until informed otherwise by an accredited source, I’ going to assume that at some point one of my ancestors had a tryst with a nubile young Kryptonian), but the next thing I knew I was lounging on a paper-thin hospital cot and nursing an IV for the first time since I was nine months old (all told, once every quarter-century is a pace I’m plenty comfortable with). Turns out I’ve had a stomach ulcer for who knows how long, of which I was completely unaware until it ruptured a large blood vessel and nearly felled me. Yikes indeed, but nothing that couldn’t be remedied with a heaping dose of the finest anesthetics Canada can send us and a surgical-grade soldering iron. Two boring days and four bags of lightly chilled Chateu d’O+ hobo blood (1985…a criminally underrated vintage if you ask me) later and I’m back to my old self: cocked, locked, and not above milking a little sympathy if it suits my purposes. Why, oh why, couldn’t my brother and what’s-her-name have waited until now to haul all that shit across town!

And because I couldn’t find anywhere else to put this: my pharmacist gave me four free samples of Levitra along with my Nexium prescription. Do I honestly look that old?

Anyhoo, since it will be a little while yet before I can get back to training my way toward middle-aged knee replacement, I figured I would use my newfound free time to indulge in some of my other interests...and since bungee jumping, bare-knuckle bear hunting, and world domination are also a bit too rigorous to engage in right away, I might as well check back in on the Lexx gang before yet another video upload site gets raided.


With that in mind, I’d like you all to gather ‘round. Nothing formal, a loose little semi-circle will do. Angel, what did I tell you about touching Maya? Well I don’t really care who started it. Ketana, did you bring enough gongsplangar root for everyone? Well then you’re going to have to give it to me. What?…no, I didn’t say anything about staying after class. I mean it! Good Lord, did you learn nothing from that last restraining order!?!…

…now then, show of hands…is there anyone here who does NOT know what a fluffer is? Because a lot of this episode’s humor is derived from the assumption that you do, and in the interest of injecting a touch of urbanity into our customary discourse, I’m going to be leaning pretty heavily on some artful euphemisms and circumlocutions once we’ve blown past the soft stuff and gotten down on the real meat of the plot. So if any of you feel you need to bone up beforehand, be my guest. I’ll wait…





…aw hell, who am I kidding? A Lexxian who is not supremely versed in the seedy vernacular of the skin bidness is like a hockey player with a Mid-Atlantic accent and a million-dollar smile.


Hot off the heels of one of the best, most intense, and first twenty minutes or so notwithstanding, most deadly serious episodes in the show’s run, this outing presents us with a radical left turn. As I’ve mentioned time and again already, Vlad is one of my very favorite eps. That said, if forced upon pain of duct-tape-and-dynamite-induced gender reassignment to pick out a flaw, it would be that nothing is really resolved when the credits start rolling. Yes, the good guys made it out in one piece, but the buxom, leather clad harbinger of death that could lay waste to them and the rest of the Earth with little more than a twitch of her pencil-thin eyebrow is far from vanquished.


"So what’s the problem?" you must be wondering. "Season 3, which you’ve always professed to be your favorite, played the cliffhanger card in almost every episode, yet here you are pissing off on the exact same story device less than a season later? Where I come from we call that hypocrisy, and in days gone by we’d already have you half slathered in hot tar for such an egregious transgression (assuming you hadn’t already parlayed it into a four decade stint in public office)." No problemo, I assure you. It’s just that I was expecting an immediate continuation of the previous ep, and instead was treated to…this.

As with anything Lexx related that cannot be easily explained nor rationally quantified, the burden of blame can be laid at the feet of one Jeffrey Horatio Hirschfield I, Esq. I figure it went down something like this: Tom DeVille, the unimpeachable up-and-coming rookie all-star was all prepared to deliver the sixty minute coup de grace to his Transylvanian Trilogy when all at once Jeff emerged from the darkest corner in the room, clad in his customary banana suit and slapped his crayon scribbled contract down on the table (right next to the donut holes and the stun guns) demanding his semi-annual Hey Guys, Can I Play Too clause be recognized or he would walk. Realizing with horror that such a scenario would force them to either recast the voice of 790 or switch him off and shove him in a closet for the remainder of the show’s run, Paul Donovan buckled. Next thing you know the new kid was axed (not a figure of speech…I truly believe DeVille wound up in one or more recycled oil drums), Jeff was handed creative control (one more sign that we may be living in the End Times), and the result was…this.

We begin with what my old speech professor used to refer to as a "Hoover Deluxe" intro, in that it immediately sucks in the audience (…and is filled to the brim on the inside with all manner of vile, disgusting filth): a Paintshop sketch of Kai done up to look like some sort of chemically bleached Kabuki puppet. Might the beans be using this episode to pay homage to the brilliant works of Akira Kurosawa? Fat chance Bilbo, take another gander at the writing credit and come back when some of that bargain basement blood reaches your brain.

From there we take our customary jaunt up to the Lexx, where our battle-hardened heroes are still winding down from their supernatural smackdown; and while most of us would probably be vacillating between violent nightmares and a newfound respect and reverence for the precious gift of life, Stan and Xev have already forgotten all about it, as evidenced by the Stunner’s opening question:

"Where should we go?"

While the obvious answer to that question is that he should go to the cryochamber and deal with the pissed off, all-powerful problem lying in wait behind a micro layer of plexiglass before she regains the feeling in her killing arm and causes the glutinous remains of dead thing pie still sticking to his ribs to go all over the wall, Kai reverts to his apathetic old self, proclaiming that the dead do not care where he goes, likely under the assumption that his friends are too polite to formally declare Shenanigans.

You can definitely tell Stan’s thinking about it. Boy oh boy does he ever want to lay into Kai…until something else that he’d rather lay into materializes on the viewscreen. Bunny’s back! Boasting yet another new hairstyle! And she’s figured out how to call the Lexx on her nana’s old hand-cranked call box (having finally mastered that whole eating/breathing thing)! Looks like you’ve been granted a reprieve dead man, the figurative tongue-lashing will have to wait until after the literal one.

Now, despite my firm belief that no phone call should ever last longer than forty seconds, I’m willing to relax that little rule just this once, because I like Bunny and I’m genuinely interested to know what she’s been up to since last we saw her. Alas, we’ll have to take a rain check on the small talk, because she’s here on business. She has an urgent message for Stanley H. Tweedle (I would gladly pay a serf’s ransom to know what that "H" stands for), and nothing on Earth or beyond will forestall its delivery. That message:

"I. Want. You." (You know, I once attended a commercial taping with a friend who was auditioning, and I must say, Bunny card reads better than most. It’s actually a lot harder than it looks. See, you’ve got to read and talk. Really.)

Anyone out there who’s not a cripplingly compulsive gambler care to get a pool going on what happens next? Because while we’re at it I’ve got some magic beans I’d like to sell you (and before you even suggest it, no, I am not implying that I’ve kidnapped Jeff H. and Lex G. and intend to sell them into slavery…although I’m not entirely opposed to the idea…check back with me when gas hits five bucks a gallon).

Spoiler alert for all you takers: Stan reverses his resolve yet again, striking out for the moth chamber as the blood that had previously occupied the common sense lobe of his brain sounds a hasty southward retreat, only to stop in his tracks when Xev emphatically announces "I’m coming too" (first and last time I’ll ever hear Xenia say that). As she power walks onto the bridge ol’ Marty assails us with a jarring musical cue…possibly owing to the fact that she’s inexplicably wearing her old lizard-skin outfit, even though it was left behind on Zig-Xig. This would-be faux pas certainly warrants intense critical analysis, but because I frankly do not trust myself to dwell at length on Xev’s clothing without circuitously treading into some unsettling fetishistic waters, I’m simply going to assume that she either molts from time to time (kick over enough stones in Stan’s quarters and you’re likely to find a moist, fleshy "bean bag chair" still under construction), made multiple outfits following her regeneration (out of who the hell knows what…where oh where is Valdron’s genius-level fanboy acumen when I really need to mooch off of it), or that in addition to partially digested mung bean tapioca, the Lexx can conjure up absolutely anything, ala the robot in Forbidden Planet.

And so it’s back to Earth—for the…hell, I don’t even know anymore, seventeenth time? Is that close enough without going over?—leaving Vlad…alone…on the Lexx…in a thin glass kegerator…three feet from Kai’s protoblood (thank heavens Stan remembered to put it up on the top shelf this time). Is Kai still woozy from the fight or something? Given the fact that he himself has malfunctioned on numerous occasions, and that in the course of their travels together nearly every fantasmagorical technological innovation he and his friends have touched, looked at from afar, or even occupied the same space-time continuum as has crapped out in a big, loud way, is he really willing to place his un-undying faith in a four thousand year old convenience store cooler, or is he secretly harboring some kind of death-death wish?

I guess we’ll never know, because no damn body asks him.

Washington, D.C. If our heroes lived there they would be home by now. You know maybe it’s because the last picture of the National Mall I studied was a novelty place mat from a Maryland Denny’s that found new life as a piece of packing material in my most recent shipment of left handed tongue depressors, but it seems to me that season 4’s placement of the Washington Monument is wildly inconsistent. This episode gets it…mostly right; although I don’t think it’s quite that close to the White House.

I don’t know, maybe I’m over thinking this. This is the near future, after all, and for all I know that could be a completely different giant phallic obelisk. Perhaps it’s a monument to Prince’s prowess. In fact, I bet if the director had bothered to pan up a skosh we would have seen an oversized replica of Stan’s hat adorning the tip.

In short order our heroes assemble in front of a matte painting of the White House—which can only mean that they’ve parked their moth in the middle of the street—where we learn that Xev has suddenly developed an underbite, a bowlegged walk, and she’s talking like an oxygen deprived Miss Teen South Carolina (harkens back to my student teaching days, when a bunch of the cool kids decided to overdose on caffeine pills at lunch…ah, to have plied my not-quite-trade in the halcyon days of unregulated corporal punishment). Stan, meanwhile, is equally jittery for all the slightly-to-the-right reasons, and rather than deal with both of them, Kai hurries the captain off to PRINCE’S BASE OF OPERATIONS not with a hearty "Godspeed," but an unenergetic "Enjoy your sexual encounter with the President’s wife." Gamblers…you still with me? Because I’ll bet fifty bucks and three of my favorite fingers that those words have never been grouped together in that particular order before.

Despite being a notorious fugitive, Stan effortlessly strolls through the front door of the White House (meanwhile I can’t even petition my local alderman to remove Wednesday from the calendar in order to make the work week go by quicker without being asked to fork over two forms of government ID and three forms of DNA) where he finds Bunny ready, willing, and rarin’ to…

…okay, so maybe not all that willing.

…and while we’re at it let’s go ahead and strike "ready."

…and she certainly doesn’t look like she’s rarin’ to do anything. She looks more like she’s being forced to receive Stan at gunpoint, which is entirely possible, and in which case she would be in the safest position imaginable, because from what we’ve seen of the ATF grunts thus far, she stands a better chance of getting hit by lightning four times in four minutes on a crystal-clear mid-December afternoon than getting clipped by one of their bullets, regardless of how close they are or how many rounds they’re packin’.

So I guess that means she must really believe in what she’s doing, although you wouldn’t know it from the death-mask of pure, unadulterated boredom that clings to her face as she attempts to seduce Stan with all the go-get-‘em zest of a sleep deprived DMV worker. Not that a dearth of enthusiasm has ever been enough to cool Stan’s jets. No siree, he assures the fitful First Lady, "you’re causing quite a commotion in my pants." How do I even begin to address that statement? I suppose I could take the low road and remind the viewer that for as fit as he may be, Stan’s fast approaching that age where we can’t rule out the possibility of incontinence (yeah, I went there)…but on second thought I think I’ll stick to the high ground: Stan, you don’t even wear pants. Last time I checked (and it was only by accident) that jump suit was a onesie.

Clearly Bunny doesn’t share my fastidious passion for parsing people’s speech. Like ripping off a Band-Aid or kissing her grandmother, she’d rather just get it over with, and so, with visions of lording this ghastly favor over her husband for the next sixty or so years dancing in her head she leads Stan off for a once-in-a-lifetime rendezvous in the Oval Office. That’s right, everybody’s heard of the Lincoln Bedroom, but only a chosen few know about the William Henry Harrison Spring-Loaded Craftmatic Model IV…it’s a Freemason thing.

*Sidebar
* Is it just me, or is Bunny suddenly a whole lot more coherent? Always a possibility she’s been pulling the old "stupid like a fox" routine most of the time, and if that’s the case then she’s dedicated to her role to a degree that would shame even Mike McManus.

At long last it’s blastoff time. Stan’s wearing that seldom-sported winner’s grin of his while Bunny—Teflon vomit bag in hand—tilts her head forward for what the highest court in the land has ruled is not sex as we…

…cut away! AGAIN!!! Didn’t I go over this last time?!?! I’ll admit, I’m as anxious as anyone to find out what else is going on, and the thought of watching Stan on the job is probably enough to overload most rational peoples’ bile ducts, but there is no excuse for these epileptic, Michael-Bay-inspired cutaways!

Unless they cut right to Xev. That I can most definitely live with. When last we saw her she looked well on her way to morphing into Karl Childers. A scant five minutes later and she’s curled up in a little ball on one of those notoriously pristine downtown D.C. street corners looking like she’s coming down hard from a guarana binge. She’s obviously in need of help, and for as self-reliant as Xev has proven to be on multiple occasions, that’s saying something. Unfortunately, Kai is nowhere to be found…despite the fact that is capable of moving at superhuman speed when necessary, and that he started walking behind her ten seconds after she left. Sheesh, if he’s that easy to lose it’s a wonder he was ever any good at his old job.

From that quick image of genuine human suffering we cut right back to something even more horrifying. I guess I really should be careful what I wish for. Had I hunted up Goblin’s transcript before hand I would have known to close my eyes, cover my ears and hum for the next few seconds. Instead, my senses were besieged by Stan the Man’s unique brand of pillow talk, which consists of making a face like a gelatinous Jack-o-lantern and muttering "I’m all wigg-lay" (nurse, this man needs a live wire and five thousand ccs of pineapple juice, stat). Now ordinarily, this is the part where the female party will futilely pound on Stan’s chest a few times in hopes of wringing every spare drop of blood out of the ol’ ticker before ultimately abandoning her work and making that oddly enticing pouty face. This time around, however…history repeats itself to a "T."

Despondent and seemingly on the verge of tears, Bunny appears to regret her inability to bring her A-game (or would that be O-game?), frustratedly prattling on about raging tigers and dead cats (sigh…you know, I can swallow an awful lot [STOP THAT THIS INSTANT!], but if these animal metaphors are any indication of the direction we’re headed, I may have to avert my gaze), before throwing up her hands and switching on a movie. Now, the flick is already in progress, but from what I’m able to gather it seems to be a scathing expose of the long-houred, wage-deficient American pizza delivery industry cleverly disguised as an introspective, coming-of-age personal narrative about a geeky but loveable young social pariah who works long, debilitating hours in hopes of squirrling away enough money to keep a greedy trampoline tycoon from foreclosing on his family’s gourd farm while at the same time saving up to buy those calf implants that will win him the admiration of his peers and the love of the one-eyed lice-ridden biker chick who operates the tilt-a-whirl at the crosstown carnival on alternate Tuesdays every month after Labor Day…honestly, if you’ve seen this story once, you’ve seen it a million times. So what makes this telling any different from all the others?

Simple: they don’t star Lyekka and Jeff Hirschfield (who looks like a parasitically emaciated Hunter S. Thompson…which doesn’t surprise me in the least). Yep, two of our favorite on-again/off-again bit players have carved an agreeable little post-reincarnation niche for themselves in the adult entertainment world…perhaps with an eye toward eventually branching out into the mainstream, or perhaps because neither of their fathers ever told them they were pretty and this is their way of getting back at them. Bunny would probably know, as she boasts a staggeringly diverse porn collection that was given to her by Prince (which is disturbing on a multitude of levels).

Oblivious to the fact that he and his reluctant would-be squeeze appear to share at least three common interests, Stan demands to know where he can find Lyekka. Once again dispensing with the airhead act, Bunny informs him that the films are shot in Kennebunkport, Maine (a funny little aside, but I believe they could have wrung a bit more humor out of a slight mispronunciation of Hyannis). That’s all Stan needs to know. Quicker than you can say "Happy birthday, Mister President," he vanishes in a partially engorged puff of smoke with nary a parting word for Bunny…who now looks like she’s upset that he’s leaving. Man, Popeye was right…women is fickle.

And so while Stan absconds with the moth without ever once considering his friends’ perpetual proclivities for peril, Xev attempts to medicate her rampant, out of control mood swings with food. Unfortunately, she forgot to pack a box of emergency cookies, so she opts for a slightly less palatable quick fix and rolls up on some guy in a car and gives him the ol’ H.R. Giger surprise (one last Alien reference for the road…or maybe in this case I’m thinking about the chick from Species…I think Giger designed her too).

Ten seconds and five hundred miles later Stan arrives—plastic drop cloth in hand—at Huffertainment Productions (wholesome family entertainment made by asthmatics, for asthmatics) where he is set upon almost immediately by a burly security goon who takes a very Irish approach to diplomacy. So let me get this straight: Stan can barge right into the White House during cocktail hour and no one so much as bats and eye, but catches a third degree beat-down for coming within fifty feet of a seedy porno set…meh, makes sense to me.

God only knows where Kai has disappeared to at this point…I think it’s safe to officially declare him missing and presumed dead (come on damn it, that’s clever!). So with that in mind we meet up with Prince, fresh off his little two episode sabbatical, as he paws through a refuse bin in search of some unshredded Congressional credit card statements and finds Xev in her Margot Kidder phase. Given what recently went down we can only assume that Xev is already stuffed from wolfing down that fat guy wingtips and all, or Prince’s character shield is impervious even to Cluster Lizard fangs.

Hoping perhaps that she might slip him the keys to Stan’s bedchamber if he makes nice with her for a while, Prince helps Xev to her feet amidst her fourth or fifth declaration that she hates Earth and wants nothing more to do with it. But as we all know she’s wont to change her mind every seven seconds, so ol’ Izzy prevails upon her to stick around and help him wreck up the place even more. To sweeten the deal, he offers to take her to the one person on the planet she wants to meet more than anyone…unfortunately, Jeff and Paul neglected to contact me about making a cameo appearance in time, and so, after a backhanded apology and a couple ephedra-fueled all night rewrites/impromptu finger puppet shows, they settled on the living Kai.

As Prince explains it, when Fire and Water were destroyed, most of the souls that were released came to Earth. I’m probably grasping at straws here, but I think it’s interesting that he didn’t explicitly state that all of the souls came here. I wonder where the others ended up. For that matter, did the souls that descended to Earth do so of their own accord, or were they "drawn" there, for lack of a better term, just as they were drawn to Fire/Water when they died? I would tend toward the latter, seeing as when Kai journeyed through the center of Water he encountered a host of souls—his own included—that essentially existed in a state of mindless suspended animation. Assuming that a "physical" encounter with the planet’s core (which may or may not be a supernatural entity unto itself) was a prerequisite for physical reincarnation, it would seem to me that the souls are at the mercy of chance...but then again, maybe not. Perhaps the core entity consciously drew the closest souls in from time to time. Perhaps only a finite number of souls could be reincarnated on Water (and presumably on Fire) at any given time…remember, shortly after Gametown was decimated it was cleaned up and repopulated with a cast of fresh faces. I don’t know about you, but to me this offers a whole new insight into both the nature and the necessity of the Fire/Water conflict.

But once again, that’s fodder for another discussion. What’s sticking in my craw at the moment is the fact that although the Fire/Water souls have been reincarnated on Earth, nearly all of them (with one or two very notable exceptions) seem to be living uninterrupted lives, despite the fact that it has only been, at best, a few weeks to a month or so since Fire and Water were destroyed. If I knew the first thing about quantum mechanics I might try to speculate on the nature of time as it relates to the physical/metaphysical planes of existence that Fire/Water occupied and how that might relate to the rest of the universe, but I would make a spectacular ass of myself if I did that, so instead, I’ll touch on another theory that washed up in my grey matter viaduct:

Is it possible that the entire population of Earth was replaced when the souls stormed our beaches? Perhaps the planet was emptied out in one fell swoop and all its inhabitants replaced. Or—if you’ll pardon me for skewing just a little too close to the Scientology hinterlands—perhaps the souls somehow glommed onto the planet’s inhabitants like parasites. In either case, I think it was Prince who set it all up. Perhaps for his own amusement, or perhaps because he is at the mercy of some unquantifiable higher power. If you think about it, his status hasn’t exactly changed…he’s still a few steps ahead of the curve, but he’s still beholden to some sort of rules/laws, which will be touched upon later when he implies that he is as "attached" to Earth as he was to Fire. As Valdron was fond of saying, "He’s not the zookeeper…just the smartest monkey in the zoo."

Heavy stuff (particularly coming from an episode that primarily functions as a lighthearted spoof of the porn industry)…I could sit and chew this over all day. But apparently Xev can’t. After hearing Prince’s offer and working the remnants of the fat guy’s toupee out from between her teeth she tells him off with a snarky "Cheery bye" (huh…so Xev stole that phrase before I did…makes me feel an eensy bit better about being so pathetically unoriginal) and goes off on her merry way. For about five steps anyway. She stops dead in her tracks outside a hole-in-the-wall community theater adorned with the same Kai-buki image that opened the episode. So let’s see now…we’ve got a stentorian Canadian bloke with an inexplicably Asian-sounding name done up like a fifteenth century Japanese version of The Crow performing Henry V. Pass the popcorn, this is gonna be good.

By now we all know that Stan’s motto—you know…if he had one—is "If at first you don’t succeed, chip off a piece of your dignity and try again." (Anybody know how to say that in Latin?) After walking off the rent-a-cop’s haymaker he manages to penetrate the impregnable walls of the Huffertainment compound by claiming he’s the new fluffer. Personally I would have exhausted a few more options before sinking to those depths—such as disguising myself as a bush and inching my way along the floor in hopes that no one will notice—but Path-Of-Least-Resistance is Stan’s middle name (…provided you can find a way to spell it with a "H") and besides, given what he’s gone through with Feppo, Smoor, Poetman’s diamond-tipped French tickler, Brother Smiley, and ol’ Izzy, working a stint as the head crank operator on a porno pit crew should be a breeze for the Stunner.

In short order the security goons change their tune and introduce the would-be woodsman to Huff— played by none other than Lex Gigeroff—the sweaty, cigar chomping man with the plan (you know how Freud said "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"…well, sometimes it ain’t…chew on that for a bit) and his up and coming and coming and coming starlet, Lyekka…or as she’s known here, Looloo. As in any pressure-packed job interview, they grill the new meat, demanding to know what makes him think he’s qualified, and with nary a trace of doubt in his voice our man Stan coolly replies that he’s the best there is, as he’s spent countless years honing his craft (we knew that the first time we saw him dangle by one arm for the better part of half and hour. Hell, I can’t even do that, and I…you know, I don’t really like where this is going). But there’s more to it than that…much more, because just like football, fluffing is 40% physical and 80% mental. Or, as Stan sums up his pitch, "I understand women’s needs a lot better than a lot of women" (which is why, to this very day, Prince gently breathes the name Stanley Tweedle before dimming his reading lamp and turning in for the night).

And what would sixty minutes of Hirschfield penned madness be without the man himself, or as he's known in this ep, Richard D. Ongler (what's so funny?). You know, I just can't put my finger on it—not that I'd ever dream of putting a treasured appendage anywhere near these two—but there's something deeply unsettling about seeing Lex and Jeff together, in the flesh, with smiles on their faces.

Not that the unnerving stuff stops there. Oh heavens no. From one sweaty, venereal disease ridden venue we jump directly to another, where at long last we catch up with Kai...in a manner of speaking.

*Sidebar the second
* It’s pretty clear that "Kai" is this bohemian bozo’s stage name, and that the entire sequence is a good natured, over-the-top parody of Mike McManus’ theater career. I laughed, you laughed, we all laughed. That said, it was still a bit of a letdown. I mean come on…resurrecting Kai as "Kai"…not much of a stretch there. I think it would have been far more interesting if he had been reincarnated as Bob Salaryman, unmarried workaday corporate drone. So, from here on out, I’m calling this guy Bob.

Very much alive and very much in need of a tan, the dead man's metabolically advantaged doppelganger takes the stage, passionately reciting the St. Crispin's day speech...while hanging upside down from a big red sash...wearing little more than a sumo wrestler's thong and what looks to be a few bucketloads of flour...while some offstage bit players help set the Shakespearean mood by banging the hell out of taiko drums. Golly...I wasn't really prepared for...this. As the speech reaches its crescendo Bob finally lowers himself all the way to the stage, which appears to have been thoroughly covered in kitty litter, and further reveals that he has a large, blood-red cross smeared across his chest...as though some gravely impatient med school flunkie started doing an autopsy on him, then lost interest.

Well now…suddenly being smack dab in the middle of a porno shoot feels pretty normal. As we double back in at Huffertainment we find the Not Ready for Showtime Players fumbling through take after take in the latest installment of the multi-part Anchovy Diaries epic. Something about "Mars meat"…which somehow brought to mind the little mutated dude from Total Recall. Can’t honestly tell you how I made that leap. But that’s hardly important because the on-set scenes are really just filler. The real star of the show is Lex G, as the portly, pontificating, perpetually perspiring political puppet turned pioneering porn profiteer. My initial thought when they first introduced his character was that this would have been an ideal role for my man Jeff Pustil (they could have easily recycled Farley if they’d kept him alive), but within a few minutes I completely banished that notion, because Lex stepped up and knocked it out of the park with his performance. Cringe-worthy as so many Lexx guest stars are, Huff is one of the few who I actually wanted to see more of.

As for Jeff…he’s not acting folks. That spaceman suit he’s wearing is not a costume, and at no point during the filming of this episode was he aware that the cameras were rolling.

So Huff’s a down to earth kinda guy (you know…in a "sniffs his own socks to relieve stress" sort of way). Richard D. Ongler (seriously, what’s so funny?), on the other hand, apparently fancies himself some sort of pipe packin’ prima donna, as evidenced by his haughty air and rock-star-like approach to personal hygiene. Working as she does in an industry renowned the world over for its standards of cleanliness, Looloo recoils in horror at the mere whiff of his rank man musk, demanding he hose himself off and gargle (I imagine Paul tells him the same thing before, during, and after each production meeting).

Apparently "hose off" is one of those inside-the-biz euphemisms, because the next thing you know Stan is called upon to help Richard D. Ongler (…still not getting it) get his ducks in a row, and while a savvy shyster can bluff his way through just about anything, even Stan has his limitations, and so, rather than simply playing it cool and pretending to be one of those telekinetic fluffers who are all the rage in India and Tibet, he drops the act and makes a half-hearted grab for Looloo, who responds by shrieking "HURT HIM!" nearly high enough to shatter paper.

Like sweaty, underpaid clockwork the security goons advance on Stan yet again. Calling upon the valuable lessons he gleaned from his last encounter with one of their kind he…stands perfectly still while they rough him up yet again. Stan…I love you man, and I’m sorry as hell about what happened to the heretics, but if this is an example of the Ostral-B fighting style, then quite frankly, those guys got what they had coming to them.

At this point Stan has some choices. He can lie on the boardwalk and wallow in what may or may not be liquid self-pity, or he can hop in his moth, zip back to D.C., find Kai, and demand he stage a full frontal assault on the Huffertainment complex. It’s difficult to tell, but it seems to me like he is about to choose option A…until he glances across the boardwalk and spies a phone booth. There’s no reason whatsoever why he should know how to use one, so I’m going to assume he’s a colossal Dr. Who fan.

Lord only knows what he intended to gain by going into that booth. Personally, I think a ludicrously extended scene—like, say, five minutes or more—of Stan futzing around with the phone and attempting to communicate with it as though it were some sort of stuck-up artificial life form could have yielded comic gold. Instead the phone rings…it’s Prince. Sparing not a second to bother explaining the mind-mashing logistics of how he could possibly have placed a call to that particular booth from deep beneath the White House, let alone known that Stan was going to be in that particular spot at that particular second (I’m tempted to picture an increasingly frustrated Prince, nails chewed bloody, coffee in increasingly twitchy hand, hunched over a growing mound of spent cigarettes dialing thousands of New England based phone numbers at random until he finally manages to connect with Stan, only to nod off from sheer exhaustion just before Stan picks up), he attempts to work the same Mephistophelean mojo on Stan that he failed to exact on Xev: I’ll help you get the girl if you’ll agree not to leave Earth until I’m ready to go.

Loopy though she was, Xev managed to hold fast to enough of her moral fortitude to tell ol’ Izzy to pound sand (though in hindsight, Prince’s plan was remarkably half-assed, seeing as she managed to stumble across the living Kai herself roughly six seconds after he made his offer…I guess that two episode layover left him nice and rusty). Stan, being of sound mind and mildly pulverized body? Well…

…possibly tipped off about a massive shipment of cheap Canadian sildenofil citrate, an entire legion of ATF agents storm the Huffertainment complex and declare Stan the new owner. Now if it were me in that position, I’d do as little to rock the boat as possible. Huff clearly knows the ins and outs of the business and so, after verbally browbeating him for seven or eight hours and usurping his prime parking spot, I’d leave him to run the day-to-day operations while I kicked back in my new office and watched the money roll in. Instead, Stan beams with delight as Huff is drug off to the slammer and Looloo—who clearly knows a thing or two about looking out for number one—comes to the sudden realization that he’s not such a bad guy.

Back in the theater it’s now intermission time…I think. Most of the groundlings are gone and Bob has cleaned himself up a bit, swapping yeast and greasepaint for some off the rack slacker attire and fluffing his hair out to the point where he resembles either Chris Angel or a skinny Penn Jillette. A militant student of his craft, he has decided to forgo the traditional wrap party frivolities in favor of further enhancing his thespian chops by engaging in that most time-honored of method acting exercises: firing high powered staples into one’s own feet.

Given all the weird stuff she’s seen in her day, this sort of behavior hardly registers with Xev, who performs one of those prolonged inhalations that we all recognize by now as the precursor to her back story. To his credit, Bob takes it in stride, although personally, if I had just shot a bunch of tiny metal spikes into one of the most sensitive parts of my body I’d probably half-interestedly nod my head to just about anything. Quite expectedly, the conversation turns to sex, which Bob quickly dismisses, explaining that he has taken a vow of celibacy for the duration of his show’s run (probably for the best…who the hell knows what other parts of his body might have rusty staple edges protruding from them; although seriously, can anyone imagine that show lasting very long? Then again, Cats ran for like eighteen years, so what the hell do I know?) before curling up on an uneven pile of dirt for a nap. Huh…and here I expected him to sleep suspended from a ceiling fan by meat hooks while a brother/sister team of midget gymnasts in Marlon Brando masks took turn throwing handfuls of flashlight batteries at him…or something like that.

Truth is I could spend the better part of my lonely excuse for a day attempting to divine just what it is that makes Bob tick, but because that would take too long (and quite possibly cause overwrought liquefied grey matter to start pouring out of my ears), I’m going to pare my analysis down to the two most pressing questions:

1) Is that really his hair?

2) Where can I get one of those bitchin’ Kai T-shirts?


Okay, seriously, where the hell is Kai during all of this? I realize that shuffling Mike McManus back and forth between two different costumes probably took a little longer than usual, but surely the beans could have thrown us a bone…perhaps a brief cutaway of the dead man addressing a Senate subcommittee, explaining how the Divine Order managed to all but eliminate pork barrel spending by implementing a minor 100% protein tax…an idea that would catch on and spread like wildfire, eventually giving way to the write-in election of President His Divine Shadow (I'll take him over what they're offering us in a heartbeat).


Stan, meanwhile, has managed to get Looloo into his moth, which is definitely progress. Just as Xev cannot break the ice without telling her origin story verbatim, nor Kai without acting indifferent and withholding critical information, Stan can’t chat up a member of the fairer sex without bragging about holding the key to the Lexx, which, to be fair, we would all do were we in the same position (hell, if I had a slightly nicer car I probably wouldn’t shut up about it). Looloo seems intrigued (either that or she’s masterfully adept at faking it, but you know…), expressing a desire to board the Lexx and fly away with Stan, but not before costarring with him in one last film, a porn to end all porns shot on location in the White House: Oval Orifice (kinda hard to write jokes for stuff like this).

From there we check back in at the theater, where Bob has awakened from his impromptu powernap. While most of us greet the morning with a cold shower or a stiff cup of Joe or ten good minutes of precision scratching, ol’ Bobby gets the pep in his step by standing in front of a giant fan in a Tarzan loincloth and screaming random passages from Henry V while flinging tomatoes at the blades (lucky for him he decided not to use carrots…no amount of staples fired into any body part could prepare someone for those kinds of consequences).

Following an eight-figure preproduction process that consisted of pulling Huff out of the pokey before some of the more tenured inmates could agree on his approximate worth in cigarettes and slapping a blue clown wig on Looloo (an obvious nod to Xev’s old coif, which I miss from time to time), production on Oval Orifice begins. That is to say, it starts to begin (redundant?…yeah, maybe), when all at once Looloo calls a halt to the action. Seems now she wants to shoot in the moth. More specifically, she wants Stan to shoot in the moth, which he does all of about eight seconds later, thoughtlessly passing the key off to Looloo, who immediately gives him the boot and flies off toward the Lexx with Huff, pausing only to drop a groggy, uninvited Richard D. Ongler (…that’s it, I give up) to his death, which I also maintain was no mere scene. I can easily imagine them legitimately pitching Jeff H. from a tremendous height…just as easily as I can imagine him crashing through the skylight of a Canadian mattress factory and walking away unscathed.

So what’s a jilted, now former captain to do? Spare a kind thought for whoever designed that remarkably stain resistant jump suit? Perhaps. Pick right back up where he left off and try to make time with Bunny? Too little, too late, I’m afraid, as Prince decides he has no further use for Stan and calls in the dreaded Code Dandelion. Things are looking grim for Stan, as a pack of burly ATF heavies advance on him with pistols and rubber gloves and then…and then…and then…take him about a block away and tell him to get lost. Man, oh man, is Izzy ever phoning it in this week.

There’s little time to waste. Moths are unbelievably fast, but they’re not that fast, and if Stan acts right now he could blow his ocarina, reclaim the moth, the key, the girl, and a sliver of his dignity, scoop up Xev and Kai, and pretty much be the hero of the day. Instead he is arrested for stealing porn, placed in a mental asylum, crammed into a straight jacket and Hannibal Lecter goalie mask, and summarily sentenced to a full lobotomy and castration (all of which seems a bit draconian, but if the good people of Maine never bothered to formally remove some of those old Puritan-era laws from their books then they’ve little choice but to enforce them, and I for one applaud any government, no matter how big or small, that makes promises and actually keeps them).

Well now, look who finally decided to join the party. It’s Kai, fresh off besting the Lincoln Memorial in a staring contest, he wanders into the theater, now completely barren except for Xev and an oblivious Bob, who enthusiastically douses himself with water while babbling at the top of his lungs in German (anybody have any idea what he was saying?). Xev is confused and clearly unwell,

and while a real friend would offer to help, Kai checks his watch, sees that the show has passed the 49:00 mark, and launches into exposition mode.

Turns out Cluster Lizards are subject to a seven-year breeding cycle that causes violent, feverish mood swings (a sci-fi character convention that is wholly unique to this show alone…). The reason Xev feels so crummy is because she has been repeatedly blacking out, morphing into a lizard (like in Terminal) and feeding. Bob’s rapidly waning audience…let’s just say that only some of them pulled the "Gee, I’m really diggin’ this show, but unfortunately I think I left my dryer on" act. Now it’s down to just Xev and Bob, whom Xev will soon mate with and then devour. Rather than escorting Xev out to spare her further psychological trauma, Kai indifferently stands in the corner, perhaps mentally critiquing Bob’s diction.

Up on the Lexx, 790 puts in one of his contractually obligated appearances, giving the new crew a crash course in operation the Lexx’s weapon, with which they quickly vaporize Venus and Mars (way to show those water-based bacteria that may or may not reside in the polar caps who’s boss!!!)

After one last indeterminate passage of time Xev awakes to the still hum of an empty theater, finding naught but a pool of blood and a mop of stringy black hair (I knew that regal, raven mane was too good to be true). Her pained, disturbed reaction to what she’s done—though brief—stands among some of Xenia's best performances, and though it sticks out like a sore thumb compared to this ep’s overall tone, it manages to inject a touch of humanity into a gimmick that was mostly played for dark laughs. Near the end of that scene she whispers something barely audible to Bob’s hairpiece as she cradles it in her arms. I wonder what she said…

Alas, poor Bob, we hardly knew ye. And flights of moths sing thee to thy messy rest.



What…what’s that you say? …Something about the cryochamber? …Well, I don’t know what could possibly be. …Come now, that’s the first I’ve heard of that. …Well I’m sure it’s no problem. …Well I’m sure Stan remembered to leave them a note. …Well…that’s not good…


I can’t stress enough: not the follow-up to Vlad that I was expecting. Certainly not the follow-up I would have written had they handed me the quill, but an enjoyable little tongue-in-cheek (among countless other points of entry) gagfest nonetheless. I wonder if all of Mike McManus’ scenes were scripted exactly as they appeared, or if he improvised some of them. Either way, it was some great self-deflating zaniness on MM’s part, and if he was having anything less than the time of his life poking fun at himself it certainly didn’t show in his performance. In the grand scheme of things this is a largely forgettable "filler"-type episode, although the situation with the key does set the stage for the next story arc, in which the beans manage to pull off the nigh-unthinkable feat of ratcheting the weirdness up yet another level. So batten down the hatches (you know…if you have hatches), because we’re in this one for the long haul.


And whatever you do, don’t worry about me keeling over on you. For I intend to die with my boots on…and I don’t even own a pair of boots. Ponder that one if ya dare!


Cheery bye.



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 Posted: Mon Aug 18th, 2008 10:06 am

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well well well...the old Bilbo is indistructable after all..*sigh*..a stomach ulcer..nearly did ya in...well thank the Goddess you're well now and healing..it would have been le tragic if we lost ya..I personally would have shed a tear..but I'm glad you lived to tell the tale..DON'T DO THAT AGAIN! OH AND I TRULY LOVED THIS REVIEW but you know you're the Queen *ahem* of Lexxian reviews so I won't inflate your ego anymore..

loves ya!



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 Posted: Mon Aug 18th, 2008 03:52 pm

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Whoa, Bilbo, can't believe you had such a horrible experience, I hope you recover fast enough to get back into the competitions..geez.

Another Brilliant review, Bilbo, I laughed loud enough that my next door neighboor (Frat boy extraordinaire) actually pounded on the wall.

Quote:

…now then, show of hands…is there anyone here who does NOT know what a fluffer is? Because a lot of this episode’s humor is derived from the assumption that you do, and in the interest of injecting a touch of urbanity into our customary discourse, I’m going to be leaning pretty heavily on some artful euphemisms and circumlocutions once we’ve blown past the soft stuff and gotten down on the real meat of the plot. So if any of you feel you need to bone up beforehand, be my guest. I’ll wait…

:Unquote


 BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA...you're a bad bad man..

As for a couple interesting bits regarding the theater performance, Michael wrote most of it himself, along with Jeffrey. Probably on one of their many poker-playing nights. He said it was a satire of both his own ideas of theater and what the The-a-Tah, thinks about itself...*snort*

The rant in German was part of "Dante's Inferno". We had it translated  by a couple of German fans when it first aired..most of who also commented that Michael's German pronunication was less than recognizable.

And Xev's murmured response was actually "Kai, what a way to end a relationship"..

How do I know? I have Jeff's script. It also contains 3 scenes not even included for
the episode because it ran so far over in time. (there are some deleted scenes added to the DVD release) They mentioned that it would have taken about an hour and forty minutes to put in all the bits they wanted. There was one scene where Xev was supposed to kiss Kai, who then said "I see, you're the whore in the temple", to which Xev would get REALLY pissed, in spite of the fact that a Love Slave is basically a paid whore, and then she blacks out and eats him, but they cut that scene out, because MM got his kissing lip perforated by Goose, the little white fluffy dog he's dragging around his theater set. Needless to say, Xev eats him too. That's why you see some white fluffy material on the floor.

The scene where Michael was throwing the tomatoes is a little misleading. We see him throwing them, but the close-up where they're suppoedly being flung back at him was actually done by crew members because the fan kept getting jammed with Tomato guts and stalling out. It was said he practiced for that scene in costume (or lack of it) outside in the snow for ages to try and get it right....

More trivia? Most of the audience members are actually Lexx fans let in to be part of the episode by Paul. And MM used a wig for the 'out of costume' stage bit.

BTW, you didn't mention anything about Lex's uncanny resemblence to Bill Clinton's act during the Fluffing part of the ep..:) But we'll let you slide on that since you did such a fabulous job.

 

 



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 Posted: Mon Aug 18th, 2008 05:40 pm

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Quite a lengthy and inspired review, Bilbo: you indeed prove that you're up & running again, despite the ulcer... which must have been a harrowing experience. Glad that you've recovered fully.

After the spectacle of 'Vlad' this was indeed a bit of a let-down. Some of the references were too superficial: the Hannibal Lector mask was funny but a tad overdone, the crew leaving Vlad in a cryopod was too sloppy, and yes, Maya, I wondered about the Clinton reference too but suddenly I wondered about timelines. Was this Lexx episode made before, or after? History has never been my forte, not even recent history...

Maya, thanks for your stories. I had the feeling that living Kai was a highly satirized version of MM, and you confirmed it. Nice to know that MM wrote part of it himself: being able to poke fun at oneself is a strong feat under any circumstance.



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 Posted: Mon Aug 18th, 2008 08:39 pm

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Bilbo darlin', how truly sorry I am to hear of your illness and I hope you are on the mend and wish you a speedy recovery so you can get back out there and show those young 'uns a thing or two about powerlifting!  And let's hope the blood is flowing to all the correct places....um.... um.... ahem....um... :s010a:

*Maya slaps Angel's hands away*  "But they make such nice pillows!"  *sigh*

*listens to Bilbo weave his tale of the Daddy of Fluff, the Fluff of Daddys, errr FluffDaddy*

I love how you describe the characters and what they are doing through each scene, it's hysterical and really on the nose, you really hit the mark and when you pour your own thoughts and humor into it, it makes for an enjoyable read.  It also helps that I have the 3 stooges going 'nyuk nyuk' in the background on the TV.  As always Bilbo I take pleasure in reading your reviews and look forward to each and every one of them.  BRAVO!  :0-02:

 

 

 

 

 

 



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 Posted: Tue Aug 19th, 2008 01:10 am

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Karin Spaink wrote:
Maya, thanks for your stories. I had the feeling that living Kai was a highly satirized version of MM, and you confirmed it. Nice to know that MM wrote part of it himself: being able to poke fun at oneself is a strong feat under any circumstance.



The part that's really interesting to watch is LiveKai's monologue about the Evils of Fandom and his opinion on his more rabid fans. VERY enlightening, to say the least..

"Ah, the fans...I despise them" . Says a lot....:fear2:

And I believe the Clinton reference was made AFTER Bill left office. With his reputation as a ladies man and all-around letch being bandied about in D.C., the joke inference (at least in Canada) was that this was a new career for Bill waiting in the wings...*snort*



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 Posted: Sat Sep 27th, 2008 01:01 am

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Ketana wroteyou know you're the Queen *ahem* of Lexxian reviews

Gunpowder...gelatine...dynamite with a laser beam.  Yeah, I'd say that pretty much sums up what I see in the mirror most mornings.



mayaXXX wrote: I laughed loud enough that my next door neighboor (Frat boy extraordinaire) actually pounded on the wall.


That alone makes the entire endeavor worthwhile.  BTW, if yoyu want to get rid of this putz just give me the high sign, and I'll switch over to the A-material.

Now then, when you say that MM and Jeff frequently played poker...are we talking about good old fashioned five card draw, or a high risk game involving a case of aged Canadian hooch and a quiver full of fireplace tools?

Some cool insider info...oh to have been a rubbernecking motorist while MM was rehearsing the tomato flinging scene.  I'd have been shouting to the heavens for the nearest Mountie.



Karin Spaink wrote: the crew leaving Vlad in a cryopod was too sloppy,

Nice to know that MM wrote part of it himself: being able to poke fun at oneself is a strong feat under any circumstance.

For the sake of playing devil's advocate, one could argue that neglecting to deal with Vlad is in keeping with what we know about Stan and Xev's nature.  Deep down they're both good people, but they both tend to have short attention spans, and are easily blinded/distracted by the promise of self-gratification.  If anything, I believe they could have driven this point home by having Kai suggest they not leave Vlad alone on the Lexx, which Xev and Stan brush off.

Totally agree about MM.  Self-deprecating humor is an art form (just like synchronized swimming and metaphor mixing).



Angel wrote:   And let's hope the blood is flowing to all the correct places....um.... um.... ahem....um... :s010a:


Ah yes, my eyebrows.  I suppose it's possible to live a normal, healthy life without them, but to be honest I couldn't imagine a worse kind of hell.


Angel wrote: It also helps that I have the 3 stooges going 'nyuk nyuk' in the background on the TV.

Suits me right down to the bone...just as long as it's none of that Joe Besser crap!



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 Posted: Sun Sep 28th, 2008 02:21 am

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Bilbo67 wrote: Ketana wrote


Now then, when you say that MM and Jeff frequently played poker...are we talking about good old fashioned five card draw, or a high risk game involving a case of aged Canadian hooch and a quiver full of fireplace tools?

Some cool insider info...oh to have been a rubbernecking motorist while MM was rehearsing the tomato flinging scene.  I'd have been shouting to the heavens for the nearest Mountie.




Totally agree about MM.  Self-deprecating humor is an art form (just like synchronized swimming and metaphor mixing).






Well my guess would be during the Lexxian boys poker games, many bottles of the finest rot-gut money could buy were exchanged and first dibs on MM's collection of back issues of "The Economist" were anted up. Knowing the 'thrifty' habits of one or more of the participants has led me to that conclusion.

Oh and if anyone is interested in the "LiveKai rantings" translation, I bookmarked my copy of the script (with a lovely personal poetic notation and signature by the most depraved Scifi writer in TV history) so I could access the actual lines at will. Really has more punch when you read them instead of hear them.



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 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 09:20 pm

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I got an education of pron production:fear2:



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 Posted: Wed Oct 1st, 2008 01:52 am

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Soooooo.... no jobs as Fluffer for you?  *runs*



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