The Madness of OH! Mikey (Part Two)
Overview: "OH! Mikey" is the sort of gem that crosses my desk once in a blue moon. It's too clean to be a porn review, too bizarre to be a movie review, and too good to be completely trashed. "OH! Mikey" tells the story of a comically stereotypical American family named the Fuccons that are resettling in Japan and meeting new people. The Fuccons are "Mother", "Father", their young son Mikey, and his cousin Laura who frequently visits. They live in a house and neighborhood that looks like it would belong in "Blue Velvet's" Lumberton, USA. I think Lynch would feel a bit of camaraderie for the creators of "OH! Mikey" when you consider that they decided to fill the entire cast list with immobile mannequins.
Before I get into the meat of this article let me first say that the response and interest in "OH! Mikey" has been overwhelming. I knew I loved the show for its insanity, but I figured writing an article about it might not do much to entice others to be interested. I was very wrong! One thing many of the people who emailed me requested was a collection of video clips from the show. I have never in my entire life ripped a DVD and I knew that I couldn't just rip the whole thing and post it because on top of being illegal one of our sponsors provided me with the DVD. That would be a pretty shitty way of rewarding their generosity. Instead I attempted to rip a few very short clips from the DVD, a process that quickly introduced me to how convoluted and downright silly the world of DVD ripping is. I started out trying a guide to ripping a DVD, but of course it included screenshots from an earlier version of the software I was instructed to use and did not make any allowances for subtitles. What I produced was a shrieking garbled mess.
I turned to the SA Forums for advice and was quickly given about twenty totally different lists of bizarre software combinations I was supposed to use to achieve effects I had never even heard of. I puttered around for a while like a septuagenarian trying to decipher a Palm Pilot and then uninstalled seven different pieces of software; none the wiser but a hell of a lot crankier. I have failed you! I only hope that I can make up for it with more screenshots than you could possibly want.
We ended last week's "OH! Mikey" recap with Mikey's introduction to the evil identical twins Tony and Charles. These sinister Brits loved two things; smashing Mikey's sand architecture and leaning against a metal bar. We return to "OH! Mikey" at part seven of the first DVD with a whole new adventure featuring Tony and Charles.
Part 7: "The Twins' Visit"
Charles and Tony pay the Fuccon household a visit, but only Mother Fuccon is there to greet them. She explains that Mikey will be right down and offers them juice. Tony requests tomato juice, Charles wants apple juice, and a rapid fire argument ensues when it turns out the Fuccons are only stocked with orange juice. Things only get worse for the besieged matriarch of the family as Tony and Charles demand two different types of cake, neither of which the Fuccons have, and then proceed to complain about what a horrible house the Fuccons must have if it doesn't stock Strawberry and Tomato cake. Father Fuccon shows up just as it seems Mother is about to have a nervous breakdown from the twins' high speed banter. Actually she always looks like she is emitting a high-pitched death scream, but it seemed particularly appropriate during this scene.
Father Fuccon gets pretty cranky about the way Tony and Charles are speaking ill of his humble home, but before he can really tell them what assholes they're being they manage to confuse him totally. Just when things are teetering on the brink of an even more pervading madness than usually seen in "OH! Mikey", Mikey arrives home from the park. Tony and Charles fess up that they weren't even there to see Mikey, they just came by to get some juice and be bastards. A mad laugh into the camera is had by all.
Part 8: "Mikey's Date"
Mikey has made a date with Emily, the cutest girl in school, to play on the playground together. While he waits for her to arrive by standing on the swing and languidly rocking back and forth his worst nightmare is given form. Laura appears at the playground and begins tormenting him. She quickly keys into the fact that he doesn't want her to be there, which naturally inspires her to not only stay but also continue being mean to him. When Emily finally does arrive Laura continues with her sassy remarks for a few seconds before hatching a scheme to simultaneously extort money from Mikey and ruin his date. She flops face first against the extremely popular metal bar on the playground and wails about Mikey being a bully and taking her money.
Laura cries that she was saving her money to buy a birthday present for her mother and Mikey beat her up and took it all. Mikey is confused, but Emily springs into action, chastising Mikey for stealing Laura's money and demanding that he repay her. When Mikey continues to plead ignorance, Laura turns on the water works and gobs of thick and immobile tears appear beneath her eyes. Furious, Emily says she will never forgive Mikey's transgressions. Laura intervenes and asks Emily to find it in her heart to forgive Mikey's intolerable cruelty. Laura explains that she will pick a boquet of flowers for her mother instead of buying her a present and Emily is mightily impressed with her thoughtfulness. She compliments Laura on it and offers to help her since they have become such fast friends in the midst of the crisis. Laura agrees, but then suggests they visit a coffee shop instead; something she could never convince Mikey to do.
Laura and Emily walk away as Mikey looks on in horror from the background. Just as they're about to walk out of sight they turn back and Emily bids Mikey a confusingly friendly farewell. Then it cuts back to Mikey who is standing in front of moving swings and the insane laughter begins from the girls. Mikey comments sadly "Why does it always end up like this?" Why, indeed, Mikey. Why, indeed.
Part 9: "A Heated Exchange"
Mikey's father has just been paid and the Fuccons are going out to dinner at a restaurant that looks suspiciously like their own house. While they're standing outside chatting with each other Mikey's teacher Bob and his attendant Bob-Mama arrive and say hello. Bob wants to eat at the same restaurant as the Fuccons, but he explains - through his mother - that his mother suddenly wanted to have noodles and he is upset about it. This opens a bizarre argument between Bob and Bob-Mama in which Bob-Mama relates every single thing her sun angrily whispers to the Fuccons and then offers her own counter argument. Things get downright dirty when, in an effort to undermine his mother's argument, Bob points out that she is not even capable of selecting matching shoes. Things are finally resolved with Bob-Mama negotiating a careful compromise in which they will have Chinese. Bob doesn't seem to agree, but she does not translate his final angry whispers.
The funniest aspect about this scene is the way the Fuccons and Bob and Bob-Mama move around dramatically. Naturally they are never seen actually moving, but every time the camera cuts they are in a totally different position and even some of the props are rearranged with no sense of rhyme or reason.
The scene comes to an end with Mikey's mom whispering exactly like Bob to Mikey's dad and Mikey's dad translating "we should go and eat too". This is followed by the requisite insane laughing sequence.
Part 10: "Mikey and Milk"
The Fuccons are gathered around the breakfast table before a long day of school, work, and whatever mother Fuccon does besides silently screaming all the time. Mikey is taking his sweet time finishing up his breakfast so his parents urge him to hurry it up. He declares that he'll just leave his disgusting milk on the table. This causes quite an uproar and the Fuccons insist that Mikey drink his milk, but the spry lad resists and defies his parents. Not to be bested, the Fuccons hatch a scheme to force their son to drink his milk.
When Mikey returns home from school he finds his mother and father tied up with rope on the couch. Standing next to them is an ominous man dressed in black with a blue ski mask and some painfully rigid posture. Mikey's parents urge the boy to do whatever the sinister kidnapper says, or he might just kill them! In a strained and slightly perverse old man voice the ski-masked intruder urges Mikey to dance. To my amazement Mikey actually sways back and forth slightly in this part, but not good enough for the discerning tastes of the masked man. He insists Mikey put more feeling into it, and Mikey does just that, spinning and whirling like a hopped-up retard.
Next the kidnapper orders Mikey to stand on his head. Mikey complies and performs one of the most difficult looking headstands I have ever scene on earth or the moon. Then the masked man tells Mikey to drink the bottle of milk sitting on the table. Mikey resists, but his parents beg him to do it and he eventually relents. After finishing the entire bottle off screen, Mikey declares that it wasn't nearly as bad as he thought it would be. Mikey's parents then reveal that Teacher Bob was helping them teach Mikey a lesson about drinking his milk and the mad laughter begins.
Mikey interrupts the mad laughter and comments that it's weird that Teacher Bob would be helping them since he escorted Mikey home from school. We see Bob standing in the entryway of the house and Mikey's parents briefly flip out before it's revealed the masked man is none other than Bob's domineering mother Bob Mama. A renewed round of madcap chortling ensues.
As a brief aside, this was my favorite sketch, and just to prove it I created an animated GIF file of Mikey's wonderful dance routine.
Part 11: "Mikey Gets Dumped"
Mikey heads to the park to see if his rendezvous with pre-teen hottie Emily is going to take place. When he sees her on the swings he calls her name, but then realizes to his horror that she is with another boy. Mikey begins crying as they laugh and swing in the background. Distraught, he returns home and voices his problem to his parents who are very supportive. His father swings into action with a foolproof plan to win Emily's heart back; he dresses Mikey up as a girl. Mikey's parents never explain how dressing up as a girl will win Emily back and both of them insist on calling Mikey "Mayumi".
Mikey reluctantly heads to the playground to introduce himself as Mayumi while his parents watch very obtrusively from the background. Mikey soon learns that the boy Emily was swinging with was none other than her brother and he's got one heck of a crush on Mikey thanks to his keen new look! Emily invites Mayumi to date her brother and before Mikey can offer a response the insane laughter begins. With Mikey crying in the foreground, his parents comment that their plan worked perfectly.
Part 12: "A Peep Hole"
Mikey is once again waiting to rendezvous with Emily, this time next to a slightly unsettling concrete fence with an odd hole in it. Mikey notices the hole and the sign above it that warns not to look into the hole. As Mikey waits for Emily he becomes increasingly anxious about the hole. Eventually, his resistance wears out, and he looks into the hole and sees a wacky prank message inside about staring at a pig's ass. When he pulls his face away from the hole he has a black circle around his eye. About that time Emily shows up and immediately asks about the circle around his eye. Mikey puts two and two together and realizes what happened. Being an honest kid, he explains to Emily about the hole and how he got the circle around his eye from looking through it. She immediately does the same and gets her own matching black circle.
Proving once and for all that she's a hypocritical and stuck up cunt, Emily lectures Mikey about how only jerks peep through holes. His hopes of romance once again dashed on the icy rocks of Emily's frigidity, Mikey returns home. He finds his parents waiting for him and much to his surprise discovers that they have both paid the peephole a visit. After a moment of family camaraderie the insane laughter carries us to the next episode.
Part 13: "Laura's Love"
In this final vignette on the first disc Mikey is playing with a top when Laura approaches him. For once Mikey stands up for himself - much to Laura's surprise - and refuses to be cowed by her shrill insults. Just as things are really heating up between them, the twins appear, and before even being introduced they point out that Laura is in love with Mikey. This seems to strike a chord with Laura, who gets very angry. The twins flee when Mikey joins in on the Tony and Charles hate bandwagon, but Emily quickly arrives to replace them. She and Mikey go off to play with his top together while Laura wanders away to ponder the implications of what the twins said. She is returning to America and realizes that she might actually be in love with Mikey.
When Mikey returns to her side the tables are turned, and as she seemingly pours out her feelings Mikey gives her nothing but sass, although in the end he bids her a cheery farewell. On her way home Laura spies the twins again and as she cries her slightly disgusting jizz tears she throttles them both. No crazed laughing closes this final episode.
Conclusions: "OH! Mikey" is the rare gem that would never succeed in even the most alternative American TV outlets. Okay, so there are a lot of Japanese TV shows like that, but every other one I've seen would fail here with good reason. "OH! Mikey" is more clever and, ironically, more action-packed than almost any TV show I can think of. If you've got the money and the ability to play Region 2 DVDs I highly recommend you pick up this first disc. If you lack either of these things, don't worry, I'll be back before you know it with the second disc of the "OH! Mikey" saga.